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herd of sheep

The Herd Mentality And Your Ego

Are you a sheep? That's a rhetorical question, of course you're not! But are you influenced by peers, not in a peer pressure way, but subconsciously follow what the majority of people do? There's a really good chance you are, and this could be holding you from being your true individualistic self. The herd mentality (also known as mob mentality) is a psychological term that describes how people are influenced by peers to adopt behaviors, follow trends, and even purchase items without consciously knowing it in situations.

According to a new research studyScientists at the University of Leeds believe they may have found why humans flock like sheep and birds, subconsciously following a minority of individuals.

Researchers discovered that it takes a minority of just five per cent to influence a crowd’s direction – and that the other 95 per cent follow without realizing it.

This is not all too bad on its surface and can be used for good such as directing crowds in need of emergency, however in the grand scheme of things, if you're constantly on a day to day basis have a "herd mentality" and not self-aware that your actions, behaviors, tastes, and even materialistic things are the result of what your peers or the majority of people do, then you may end up going nowhere fast having regrets realizing that many of the decisions you made were not even consciously made by you. However, you will justify it afterwards, and this is the ego at its finest, the ego is there to protect you and will do whatever it takes to make sure you feel superior."

Where this becomes an issue, is that it can make you an irrational decision maker, doing things that you actually don't enjoy but are doing based on the "herd" and then justifying why it's okay afterwards. This in the long term can lead to an unfulfilled, and unhappy life. Imagine for example entering a career based on what the majority do, when in actuality you'd be much more fulfilled in a different career. Or finding someone to date just because everyone else is dating even though you're "actually" not happy with this new person. Therefore, the herd mentality may be keeping you from true happiness in the big picture.

So, how can you 'avoid' subconsciously making decisions based on what everyone else is doing? And start doing what makes you happy?

Self awareness. Self awareness is the way to break this, which can be practiced through various forms (meditation, yoga, making a decision to be consciously aware, reading, etc...). Self awareness helps you make more conscious decisions as opposed to unconscious ones so that you are more in control of your actions, and not effected by outside influences.

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