“Surround yourself with good people. People who are going to be honest with you and look out for your best interests.”
Derek Jeter (MLB Player and 5X Gold Glover Winner)
“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.”
Napoleon Hill, (Author, Think and Grow Rich)
“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. (American Minister & Civil Rights Activist)
The only person who knows what’s best for you is you.
Other people’s opinions are like viruses.
They infect you.
No matter who you are or how strong you may be, other people affect your emotions and behavior.
It’s part biology and part wanting to belong.
Opinions are contagious.
You’ve heard it before that you become like the people you spend the most time with.
And, it’s true.
If your people are positive, you’re more likely to be positive.
If they’re health and fitness minded, you’re more likely to adopt those habits.
If they’re focused and successful, you’re more likely to follow suit.
And, the reverse is also true.
Negative, lazy, gossipy, complaining, go-nowhere people will drag you down and hold you there.
And, they’ll cloud your judgment and have you second-guessing what you want and how to get it in your life.
The problem is that most people will let just about anyone into their lives.
Most people are too free with those they let into their lives and what they take in from those people, vis a vis listening to their blather.
That’s a very profound word, blather.
They passively let negative people share their limiting beliefs and limiting opinions — like your goals are impossible.
Only a fool would try to do that.
Or, your goals are so easy, anyone can do that.
We’ve all experienced that kind of feedback before in life.
It’s not gonna take you anywhere fun.
As counter-intuitive as it seems, most people make better decisions when they don’t ask for other people’s opinions.
Because it’s a vital point.
You’ll do better when you listen to your inner voice, period.
Your instincts, your knowledge base, your decision-making abilities — not other people’s.
This is because what you want in life is strongly affected by what other people want in life.
How Other People Control Your Life
The feelings and actions of others circulate through social networks in patterns similar to that seen in epidemiological models of the flu virus.
A scientific study published in the proceedings of the Royal Society estimated that every positive person you let into your life increases your chances of being positive by 11%.
But, every negative person you let into your life doubles your chances of being negative.
You’re drawn to negativity, and it affects you more than positivity.
This is because what you want in life is strongly affected by what other people want in life.
In fact, just seeing or hearing about what someone else wants makes you want it too.
The Journal of Experimental Psychology calls this goal contagion, and found that people are more likely to pursue the same goals as those in their peer group.
In fact, in multiple goal contagion studies, people who just read about another person pursuing a goal are more inspired to seek the same goal.
Again, what other people want affects you.
Likewise, when you hear advice about what other people want for you, you’re more likely to want the same thing.
Their advice influences what you want.
It can change your motivation, often for the worse.
How To Resist Herd Mentality And Rely On Yourself
Group contagion in mood, goal setting, and motivation is undeniably strong.
Your biology makes you want to follow other people and what’s best for them, instead of what’s best for you.
The need for belonging is a prime need, but it needs to be directed away from negative influence.
Which means that to do what’s best for you means adopting a new mindset, rejecting herd mentality, and following these 3 principles…
1. Have a strong reason why.
Are you reading this because you’re intensely satisfied with your life?
You’ve reached success and just have nothing better to do but scan some blogs?
I bet not.
If you’re reading this, it’s because you want more.
You’re stuck and held back and you’re trying to figure out why… but you know there’s something better for you.
More satisfying. More freeing. More aligned.
Lots of people have glimpses of an alternate reality that glitches in the Matrix.
They fade away because you turn away, or ignore them, or reality check your way out.
For some people, eventually those hopes for more extinguish for good, and off to the herd they go.
Complacent, numbed, and lazy.
Trit trot… off you go, little sheep.
If that mockery incensed you… you might not be one of them.
But, you could catch the same infection if you don’t grab the glimpse and move on it.
And, you’ll never do that without a strong reason why.
Why… do you want more?
What draws you to stray from the herd, anyway?
Carve it out in your mind — exactly how it would look if you became a leader and accomplished your biggest goals.
Fast forward to the end, as if you’ve already achieved it.
What does it look like? What does it feel like? What’s the best part of it?
Go ahead… savour the daydream.
Now, look at the same future as if you… do nothing.
What does that look like? Feel like? What’s the worst part?
Feel the difference?
How’s the pit of your belly feel with the do-nothing version?
How does that outcome impact your happiness and your family’s future?
Why does it matter that you do this?
You have to know the answers to these questions.
You have to write them down.
You have to have them in front of you like “drink the kool-aid” self-indoctrination.
This is your why.
And, if you don’t circle back to your why daily… you’ll slip into herd mentality, and you’ll always find excuses why it’s not the right time to do this.
You will NEVER find the energy and focus to accomplish your purpose if you don’t have a strong enough reason why.
You’ll never be able to stand on your own, up against the influences of the masses, if you don’t have a reason that’s more important than everything else.
When you connect to your reason why as being life or death to you, it’s easy to make decisions that you can have confidence in.
Everything comes back to this, and it becomes the guiding purpose for the direction you take and the choices you make every day.
2. Stop opinion polling.
You either know what you want, or you don’t.
Once you know what you want (and you’ve connected it to your reason why), stop double-checking with everyone else.
Other people’s opinions are clutter.
They serve only to justify the decisions they’ve made in their lives, or the ones they would make that’s best for them.
Not for you.
Even worse, some people will give you an opinion on what you should do that will directly sabotage what’s best for you.
Because they don’t have the guts to go after what they want, their “opinion” will soothe their own jealousy and make them feel better about their lives.
What they’re not doing and the goals they aren’t reaching.
What’s crazy is that we often opinion poll from people that haven’t even succeeded where we’re looking to succeed.
They aren’t experts in that area.
But, you know them well enough to ask their advice.
Why might you do that? Ask a non-expert what they think you should do?
Maybe you’re still too scared and only want advice that keeps you comfortable right where you are.
Other people’s opinions can hold you back in both ways.
And, you’re allowing it to happen by seeking them out.
Soon, you have a 50/50 split on what you should do.
A ton of clutter in your head as you spin the growing pros and cons list.
And, no way to discern good advice from bad.
Other people’s energy, mood, focus, bad habits, and bad advice all have an impact on you — consciously and unconsciously.
Instead of trying to stack one side of an argument against the other, take a step back.
Take a big step back.
Check in with yourself.
Shut off the noise, and get rid of the clutter.
With no one around to influence or judge… what decision would you make?
Rely on your own opinion for your own life, because you’re the only one that has to live out the consequences of your choices.
Everyone else is just weighing in like dollarless bets on a football game.
3. Stop being afraid to fail.
You’re a grown-up right?
And, you’re still afraid of failure?
What you’re afraid of hasn’t even happened yet. It isn’t even real.
Everyone that ever reached any significant level of success failed.
In fact, they failed more times than they succeeded.
Don’t believe me?
Steve Jobs got fired from Apple years before coming back to be the 2 billion dollar company’s CEO.
Bill Gates was a Harvard drop-out.
Albert Einstein had barely learned how to even speak by age 9 and was considered “slow”.
Abraham Lincoln failed in business and had a nervous breakdown 20 years prior to becoming president.
In Michael Jordan’s basketball career, he missed more than 9,000 shots, lost close to 300 games, and missed the winning shot of the game 26 times.
Walt Disney, Vincent Van Gogh, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling.
I could go on.
So, cry me a river about your fear of failure.
Your Imposter Syndrome.
The thing that so-and-so said about you in 10th grade that means you can’t ever be bold in your life again.
The test you failed, the school you got rejected from, the crush that stomped on your heart.
None of this is original.
But, most people let all of the above define them.
One moment, or a few… that they allow to define them for the rest of their lives.
Are you going to let this happen?
Failure teaches you.
Failure makes you resilient.
Failure can strengthen your willpower if you lean into it.
You can shift your entire mindset about it and look at each failure as a stepping stone closer to success.
Count ‘em down.
Check ‘em off.
But, you can’t be committed to greatness and be a weenie at the same time.
Pick one and move on.
Other people will always influence your life. The negative ones will bring you down. The positive ones will lift you up. But, if you rely on the decisions and opinions of others to rule your life, you’ll always be chasing other people’s goals and miss out on your own, entirely. They’ll make you feel insecure and unworthy. You’ll hold yourself back without any help from them. And you’ll start being governed by fear and paralyzed by insecurity. Toughen up. Get solid on what you want, and what you don’t want. Have a strong reason why and circle it in your daily actions. Stop opinion polling and being afraid to fail. And, start relying on yourself as being your own expert on what’s best for you.
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