Seen in a meme:
“Sometimes I think I’m crazy because I see things differently than everyone else.”
You’re not crazy if you don’t always agree with the crowd. Group dynamics is one of the most powerful forces in human psychology.
The Asch conformity experiments demonstrate that even the most seemingly logical of people can be influenced to make bad decisions due to one’s internal desire to conform to group expectations.
“Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within groups of people, in which the desire for harmony in a decision-making group overrides a realistic appraisal of alternatives. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative ideas or viewpoints.
…The primary socially negative cost of groupthink is the loss of individual creativity, uniqueness, and independent thinking.” — Wikipedia
Group dynamics can cause people to act irrationally and at their own expense or the expense of others.
Group dynamics can cloud the truth, cause us to desire junk, turn us against people we love, and even follow & support leaders who would do us harm.
Group dynamics is often at the core of prejudice and discrimination.
Independent thinking is far less common than it should be. It should be praised.
It takes an exceptional kind of integrity to stick up for what you believe is right and true when facing a group.
Being able to see things differently is a valuable skill and is often what allows us to make great strides in technologies and processes that benefit all. Due to group dynamics, however, truly new and original ideas are often ridiculed before they are accepted.
“For a work to be truly creative, it has to depart from the status quo at some point. That departure makes many people uncomfortable.” — David Burkus (99u)
The ability to see things differently than the crowd and maintain one’s integrity despite pressure to conform is a gift. Being able to see things differently than other people doesn’t make you crazy. It makes you valuable.
“The person who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been before.” — *Francis Phillip Wernig