Our culture has a bad habit of assuming.
And you know what they say happens when you assume…
I’ve come to notice that many of the people in this world follow leaders blindly. It seems as though the age-old mom question “if your friends jumped off of a bridge, would you too?” has a definitive answer among my youthful friends.
And the answer is “yes.”
It doesn’t even have to be to that extreme—I promise, death doesn’t have to be directly involved. It’s usually small things such as assuming that because the majority of people believe something, it’s inherently true. Why would everyone just believe something that’s wrong?
Well, imagine something on a smaller scale. Perhaps there are two ways into your neighborhood and to your house. Four of the five members of your family take one route, while your mom always takes the other. You assume that your way, everyone else’s way, is the fastest because that’s the way you all choose to go, and why would you all collectively choose the slower road?
But then, you measure the distance and time that both take and discover that (shocker) your mother has been right all along.
Shared misguided assumption.
This is something that I’ve frequently battled with. However, in the recent past I’ve realized that a lot of the opinions I believed I had, that I assumed were correct because everyone else said they were, are absolute nonsense. I had to do a huge amount of growing (and thinking) to realize that most of my actual opinions are the exact opposite of what the world was telling me was right.
The bandwagon effect is a strange one. It’s kind of like we’d rather someone else do the thinking for us, but that doesn’t do anything to help us grow. When we aren’t growing, we’re remaining stagnant and that’s unhealthy and unproductive and opens us up to personal corruption.
We’re all entitled to our own opinions, even if our opinions are (ahem) wrong, but at least make sure that you’ve thought about them from all angles so that you can actually claim them as your own. It warrants so much more respect. People will be much more excited and willing to hear what you have to say when they can tell that the thoughts you’re spewing are your own, and aren’t just regurgitated and recycled information.
Like I mentioned in a previous blogpost, saying that something is okay, doesn’t actually make it okay. So try not to just jump onto the wagon with everyone around you.
That being said, in an ideal world, discussions about differing opinions would be done respectfully. It’s okay to have a conflicting views, even different morals than the people around you. Grown adults should be able to handle healthy debates and conversations about contrasting outlooks. Not everything has to turn into a bloodbath.
Speak your mind responsibly, my friends.