Bucking the herd mentality

When we are children and teenagers it is very important that we fit in, that we’re accepted by our peers. This leads us to wear our hair a certain way, don a certain type of clothes, maybe piercings, tattoos, etc. This behavior follows most people into adulthood and throughout their lives. Some people call it the “herd mentality,” but regardless of what you call it, I find it very dangerous to success. In a herd, there’s only one winner, the cow at the front, leading the herd. The lead cow eats first, drinks first and decides where the herd is going.

My study of super-successful people reveals that most, if not all, are “contrarians.” To a large extent, they go against the flow. Edison, Ford, Rockefeller, Churchill, Walton, Gates, Gandhi, King and the list goes on and on — all had reputations as contrarians. Not in the sense that they didn’t get along with people and know how to “build teams,” but in the sense that their thinking was contrary to the “mass-thinking.”

Are you thinking like the masses or like the “world –class?” Are you leading the herd or following the herd? If you’re not out front — now is the time to break out. As it’s been pointed out, the leader of the herd is always experiencing a change of scenery. Those following in the herd are always looking at the same thing. 🙂

The value of goals

“When a person of self-esteem chooses his values and sets his goals, when he projects the long-range purposes that will unify and guide his actions—it is like a bridge thrown to the future, across which his life will pass, a bridge supported by the conviction that his mind is competent to think, to judge, to value, and that he is worthy of enjoying values.”

Dr. Nathaniel Branden

A commitment creates magic

“Resolution is the directing and impelling force in individual progress. Without it no substantial work can be accomplished.” — Above Life’s Turmoil

The esteemed philosopher Goethe wrote, “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.” There are so many opportunities that could make our lives better if we’d only make the decision (resolution) to pursue them. Whether it’s fear, doubt or some other insecurity that holds us back, these missed opportunities keep us from living the life of our dreams.

In 711 a North African warrior, whose army was backed up to the Mediterranean Sea, gave the unthinkable order to his men to “burn your boats,” thus taking away his army’s only means of escape. Faced with certain death unless they were victorious, his army routed their opponents even though they were outnumbered five to one. When we are likewise resolved, we too can conquer all the obstacles in our path.

Don’t worry about “how-to-do-it.” One of my early mistakes was trying to figure out how I was going to do something before I’d get committed to do it. Now I think about all of the great inventions of our time, and I wonder if we’d have any of them if the inventor had waited to make his commitment until he knew how he was going to do it. Making the decision (the resolution) to do it is the most important part of any undertaking. As W.H. Murray wrote, “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”

If you don’t feel like you have enough information to make a decision, then by all means, get the information. But don’t put off getting the information as a means to put off making the decision. And don’t think you have to have ALL the information that’s available — you only need ENOUGH to fully evaluate and decide. “Paralysis by analysis” has killed many a dream.

Any decision is almost always better than no decision as it puts into play some powerful forces. As Goethe also told us, “Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.”

And that’s worth thinking about.

The Power of Belief

“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Look at that problem again

“Your difficulty is not contained, primarily, in the situation which gave rise to it, but in the mental state with which you regard that situation and which you bring to bear upon it.” – Byways of Blessedness

It is one of the hardest lessons to accept, understand and learn.

Circumstances are not negative or positive, circumstances are neutral. It is our thinking, our mental state, our perspective, that makes a circumstance positive or negative.

Bob Proctor does some of the best teaching on this subject, using a universal law he refers to as the Law of Polarity.

“Everything in the universe has its opposite. There would be no inside to a room without an outside. You have a right and left side to your body, a front and a back. Every up has a down and every down has an up. The Law of Polarity not only states that everything has an opposite — it is equal and opposite. If it was three feet from the floor up to the table, it would be three feet from the table down to the floor. If it is 150 miles from Manchester to London, by law it must be 150 miles from London to Manchester; it could not be any other way.

“If something you considered bad happens in your life, there has to be something good about it. If it was only a little bad, when you mentally work your way around to the other side, you will find it will only be a little good.”

So it’s clear from Bob’s teaching that every circumstance can be viewed two ways. It’s the way we view a circumstance that determines it’s impact on our thinking and mental state. And we know from James Allen’s teaching that that determines the quality of life that we live.

No matter how bad the circumstance appears to be, taking another look, from another perspective, reveals to us the good. Or as Napoleon Hill, author of the classic Think and Grow Rich, wrote, “Every adversity, every failure and every heartache carries with it the seed of an equivalent or a greater benefit.”

And that’s worth thinking about.

Motivation and inspiration to maximize your personal growth from motivational speaker and author Vic Johnson.