Why do we always want to follow the herd? Why is it that we want to conform to what everyone else around us agrees with?
Herd-mentality is hard-wired into us. Why? Possibly because of
- Our upbringing : a major part of bringing up children is about setting boundaries and disciplining. But when we grow up, we forget that boundaries and disciplines are meant to help us, not hinder us. We slowly get into the habit of living within boundaries and doing the safe thing, without giving a thought to the usefulness of the boundary.
- Our need to belong: It’s another one of those core evolutionary load we carry. We feel a deep need to be part of something – of a community, of like-minded others etc. Again, this was important in the context of tribes. And it’s the reason behind societies, cults, nations, associations and what not. But, the real question is what do we really belong to? Is it helping or hurting us?
Because of this crowd-sourcing of our thought-patterns, we unconsciously start imbibing the beliefs, mannerisms, language and attitudes of those around us. Before long, we become unrecognizable. We become one of those unnamable generalities walking this earth.
Luckily, there are some remarkable and exceptional souls who break away from the herd (in a good way) and show us how to be different.
Here are 10 simple steps I have observed in exceptional people. We could all start in that direction (it’s not going to happen tomorrow, but at least let’s begin): I try to keep this list in front of me as a reminder (I need lot’s of reminding!):
- Stop complaining, stop blaming others.
- Take complete responsibility for what you think, how you feel, what you do, and what you get.
- Stop trying to find fault with the world. You can either go around crying about what’s wrong with the world, and make yourself miserable, or you can let it slip over your back and find joy.
- Stop being angry. Stop showing anger. It is the first symptom of a weakening personality. If the symptom persists, it will lodge itself and spread thru-out your moments and eat up your life. (Sajith, are you listening?)
- The size of a man is the size of the things that bother him most. Don’t fret over silly minor things.
- Find the hidden treasures in life’s daily drama. Humor, meaning, gratitude, lessons and experience.
- Shine the light away from you, onto others. Spend time looking to serve others and enriching their lives, and you won’t have any time for meaningless petty botherations.
- Carry a smile often. Inside first, then outside. A smile is alike a feather massage. Incredibily light. Amazingly soothing.
- Intentionally summon up good cheer. And presence, And enthusiasm.
- Simply focus on adding value to your moments. Hour by valuable hour. Life will build up to be exceptional and remarkable.
(I want to grow this list. With you. Please add your own tips. Let’s build a grand list)