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Why Herd Mentality Is Bad For You and How to Break Free From It

Why Herd Mentality Is Bad For You and How to Break Free From It

Why Herd Mentality Is Bad For You and How to Break Free From It

Jeff Miller Coaching



We all like to believe we’re in control of our own lives, but there are certain situations when it’s much easier to follow the crowd than go against it. In stressful circumstances, for instance, we’re far more likely to go with other people’s suggestions. And though your brain will tell you that your decision is based on your judgment, you’ll likely only be following the herd.

This behavior is best known as herd mentality. You can see examples of it everywhere, from sporting events to political movements. Read on to learn why herd mentality is dangerous and how you can break free from it.

Why Herd Mentality Is Bad For You

First things first: herd mentality isn’t always a bad thing. If you see a crowd running from a real or imagined threat, it’s usually a good idea to run with them, at least until you know you’re safe. In a less extreme situation, however, herd mentality is unlikely to benefit you. If you have to make a decision that will affect your peace of mind, it’s best to rely on your own devices.

The main issue with herd mentality is that you can’t assume that the people you follow know what they’re doing. In any crowd, it only takes 5% of informed individuals to influence the other 95%. Historic leaders like Hitler and Mussolini were aware of this fact and used it to rationalize their behavior and mobilize their countries to disastrous effects.

How to Avoid Herd Mentality

Even for sensible people, it’s very easy to regress to herd mentality. To prevent this from happening to you, stick to the three R’s: research, reason, and reflect.

Research the Situation

With so much conscious and unconscious pressure to belong to a herd, it’s tempting to assume that something is right because most people agree on it. If you want to make a truly informed decision, you’ll need to look at what the “other side” thinks about the issue as well. The more you’re willing to break out of the comfort zone of your herd, the more you’ll grow as a person.

Reason With Yourself

Decisions are complex, and the right choice isn’t always an easy one. If you need to decide on something important, you need to be willing to stand out from the crowd. Think about why you’d want to choose something and whether that will make you happy. Try evaluating and justifying your opinions to yourself without taking other people’s thoughts into account.

Reflect and Delay Action

Finally, it’s essential to recognize the effect of stress on your decision-making capabilities. Herd mentality is most prevalent when you’re pressured to act quickly. In these situations, it’s wise to delay taking action until you’re sure you understand what’s at stake. Remember: large numbers of people can be – and often are – wrong.

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