I’ve attended a couple of personal and business development seminars recently and find the herd mentality fascinating. When you take a room of strangers whether 30 or 600, and lead them by example, they will do all manner of things they would ordinarily never consider. Yes, I am talking about the typical stretching exercises coupled with shoulder massaging of the folks next to you and then hugging of complete strangers. Yes, I do think it went too far when the seminar leader instructed us to go from shoulder rubs to butt massages and many of us did resist (some parts need to be sacred for our private lives!), but others jumped right in. These same individuals are often shy types, not particularly affectionate or touchable, but in a crowd they want to fit in. Leaders never fit in. It is not by doing the ordinary or by doing what everyone else is doing that will make your difference in your life and the world. Instead, it is by stepping out and wailing on the saxophone in your own band (too many beats and different drummers already!)
Which side of the stage do you want to be on? It is kind of like those that watch a lot of TV. I don’t because I’m more interested in getting on the other side of the set. As long as you spend your life watching, you’ll be far less likely to be the one leading. Yes, I do believe in attending events to study how they are put together, the triggers used, new techniques presented, and nuggets of gold provided. However an intelligent observer gets a very different perspective than a myopic participant. I went to lunch with participants and was fascinated, though not entirely surprised, to realize that while I got all that they did, I also understood the material and methods on a much deeper level as I was keenly observing, instead of blindly participating.
Can you step out of the fray, observe the expertise while absorbing it, and start your climb to the top? This is important whether you are a speaker, team leader, designer, business professional, or family head. Or will you follow any lead provided, do any activity suggested (no matter how bizarre or goofy) just to fit in with the crowd.
Follow the flock and you may end up a lamb chop.