shrine in Tokuyo
Motivational

Herd Mentality

The Honey bee is successful because it is a master of teamwork and collective decision making. They use their communication system to allow good decisions to spread and diminish information that is unhelpful.

Joanne Reed
bee

According to Author Joanne Reed, humans in a group, are influenced by what the majority of others are thinking, or doing, a similar thought, or thing, rather than the message, a type of herd mentality. When there is uncertainty in the environment surrounding a decision, she notes that people tend to feel safer, ‘siding with the crowd,’ rather than going it alone, even if that decision might be a bad one. Yet we are alert to bad news, it garners our attention, more so than good news.

Social Experiment on Herd Mentality

Citing a social experiment using slot machines and payouts, Joanne Reed talks about how people tended to follow the choice of the majority, once they had learned a particular slot machine paid out, more often than the rest. When the winning slot machine was changed, they stuck with playing that same machine even after it no longer paid out.

When uncertainty increased, players apparently took even longer to break away from conformant behavior.”

authorjoannereed.net

Many marketing techniques exploit this tendency in human nature. Just this week, I saw a video advertisement for an online program designed to teach you “Secret Ways to Boost Sales,” (of one’s art products). The message was clear – You would be foolish to pass this opportunity by, as everyone, yes, everyone, is doing this and everyone, is increasing their sales exponentially.

Really?

Everyone?


Social Media and advertising plays around with this herd mentality and our decisions as a consumer. We seem more inclined to trust a beauty or personal product if it is endorsed by a particular celebrity, or professional. Products that receive a gazillion ‘likes,’ or positive reviews, appear to be seen as trustworthy and reliable, than those with a mere one-star rating.

Where am I


“People are sheep. TV is the shepherd.”

Jess C. Scott, Literary Heroin (Gluttony): A Twilight Parody

Some are tempted to follow blogs or social media accounts with large followings, based on the quality of the site’s content, or the curiosity to check out what all the ‘hype,’ is about? These folks might think there is a very good reason people view them and they want to know too, right?

In smaller groups or where there was a less challenging task to undertake, people seem more comfortable pursuing, or willing to explore, less popular or divergent decisions. But this feeling of certainty and penchant for safety in numbers, that draws us to side with the crowd – where has it come from? George Patton appeared to value divergent thinking.

“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”

George S. Patton on authorjoannereed.net

Given that bees are highly successful using collective communication methods, it is interesting that we have been successful despite our tendencies towards herd decision making. Some research suggests that we have been successful, not just because we were a co-operative species, but because we have been friendly. People are more likely to work cooperatively, if their colleagues are friendly.

Some folks might be more inclined to join a protest rally when their friends were doing it, or it seemed the right thing to do because there is a subconscious message as everyone is doing it? Would they still join the protest on belief in the cause, alone?

The nail that sticks up, will be hammered down

Japanese Proverb

Food for Thought

Does this have implications in what we see in today’s society? Or how future societies might be?

Are we just as guilty of herd decision-making, if we side with the majority of a team in a workplace?

How influenced are you by the herd?

Do you listen to divergent opinions?

Something to Ponder About




Community

Sunday Sayings – Children and Parenting

Stacia Taunscher quote

Sayings, quotes and proverbs offer us knowledge; knowledge that is passed to us in much the same way a relay runner might pass a baton. Once it’s handed over, it is up to us what we do with it and how we pass it on.

sunday sayings

If you are a parent of a young child, you might worry about what your child may or may not do with their life. Often these concerns are unfounded, and the universe sorts everything out in time. Sometimes it doesn’t and we need to listen to our gut feelings, follow up and intervene. But how much intervention is really beneficial?

children parents Vigeland sculpture


‘What parents whisper, their children shout!”


~ Dutch proverb



children

It is a difficult task to know the boundary between what might be considered a helicopter/over-protective parent and on the flip side, a casual approach to child rearing that allows a child to develop without any sort of intervention.

Children are like wet cement – whatever falls on them makes an impression.”

— Haim Ginott, child psychologist

I think most parents try to find that middle ground. Each child’s needs are so uniquely individual.

Christmas gift

Several years ago, I created ‘Proverbial Friday’ on my blog. I became fascinated with traditional proverbs, quotes and sayings, their metaphorical layers and the many different interpretations found within just a few, succinct words. I marveled at their ability to transcend race, religion, opinions and age.

LeggyPeggy and I read a relevant article about children, parenting and boredom, that I shared recently on Sunday Sayings. It makes for interesting reading and started me thinking: –

Have we become slaves to the potential to our children? Do we wish them to succeed so much that we bend over backwards in providing the best opportunities for them?

In doing so, have we prevented them from experiencing opportunities that might assist them to become more self-reliant and independent?

as the article suggests.

Teach your children early not to pass the blame or make excuses, but to take responsibility for their actions.”


–Eric Greitens


“Your children are not your children.
They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.”

~ Khalil Gibran

Today on Sunday Sayings, I am looking at several thoughts on the subject and would love to hear your opinions. You may strongly disagree or agree. Everyone’s opinion is important.

What do you make of the words shared today?


They are invariably Something to Ponder About

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Community, Mental Health, Motivational

Is Life too Stressful? A Different Take on Handling Stress

There’s a lot of people in this world who feel ‘stressed.’ PicsArt camera app

Many of us have attended workshops titled ‘What is stress?’,  ‘How to handle stress’ etc. They offer basic  practical tips, but do they really address our underlying behaviours and motivation, or why we might react in this way?  With a little reading, I discovered a different way of looking at, and handling, stress.

Marc and Angel recently posted on their blog about the thinking processes behind one’s own personal feelings of stress.  They believe that ultimately it is one’s own behaviour, (not good luck or lack thereof), that impacts most, on whether a person feels happy and successful, or not.  By ‘behaviour’, Marc and Angel are referring to:

How you react under stress.  Whether you decide to meet your commitments or not.  How you communicate and interact with loved ones.  Your attitude toward bosses, colleagues, employees, and customers.  How hard you’re willing to work to do a job right.  Whether you’re focused and disciplined or scattered-brained and distracted.

Some people certainly have more than their share of bad luck; others may experience a lack of opportunity, in life, through circumstances totally out of their control, and this of course, will impact on their stress levels, and how their life pans out.  Others might manage to cope and even be successful for a time, muddling through, until the pressures in their personal, or professional lives build and boil over into feelings of STRESS. It is then they might find they react with self-destructive behaviors, or other actions that cause them even more personal grief. These behaviours often affect those closest to them in a very detrimental way. Do you recognize any of the commonly beliefs or behaviours that may trigger stress, outlined below?

Belief 1

“It is all too hard! I don’t have time”

Do you believe life is too hard for/on you?  Is it too hard to find time to exercise or get fit, resolve conflicts with loved ones, spend with your family, or follow-up on an opportunity? Marc and Angel believe that “You are where you are because of the choices you’ve made in the past.”  It really is just as easy to develop good habits as bad ones.

All of us make a choice to go online, watch TV, or spend time with the family; we also have the choice to work on a special project, go to the gym or further our education, and even the choice to show kindness and concern to those around us, just as much as we have the choice to sit, sleep in, or chill out and let things slide.

It takes around three full weeks to begin to develop a new habit and building a new habit, every day, IS hard work. However, hard work pays off and this has to be a personal choice one consciously makes, and that choice is relatively easy. It might be even easier for you to think that life has thrown you a curve ball and that this effectively prevents you having any choice in the matter. If you do happen to think this, ask yourself if you really want to put in the hard yards to effect real change in your life? Then hang in there for the three weeks, and see if it is easier to keep it going, after that. Develop a habit that will help you deal with your inner stress. Use a star chart/reward system or whatever works for you. The first day you miss, in those first three weeks, might break the whole habit, so hang in there and persist!!

Belief 2

“It’s Not My Fault” – Shifting the blame

When we consider our motives and those of others, we often look for who is at fault and this inadvertently causes stressful feelings in us, because we feel it is unfair/unjust. Some of us blame family, friends, parents, teachers, the education system, work bosses, even the government. Many times I have been guilty of this very thing, yet I like to believe I am the one who is in full control of how I choose to deal with my life! So how can I blame external people or things for taking the ‘responsibility’ for my personal actions? I can’t as I am the one with that responsibility. If I want to grow and move on with my life, I have to accept responsibility for the whole of my life, as the only person that can really do this is ME. This gives me choice and with it, the confidence to tackle life’s crises, as opposed to feeling stressed that everything negative that happens in my life, is completely out of my control.

 “Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.”  [Sigmund Freud]Don’t let this be you.

When you blame others for what you’re going through, you deny responsibilityyou surrender full power over that part of your life.  In reality, the price of happiness and success IS responsibility.  And no one else is responsible for you. [Marc and Angel]*Europe 2011second batch 016

 

Belief 3

People Can’t be Trusted

I know a few people who find it extremely hard to fully trust anyone. Of course, some level of discernment is a natural defense mechanism that we use to protect ourselves, but most successful people don’t assume that the world is out to ‘get’ them.  They are relatively trusting of others to do the right thing/task. In doing this, they build up a supportive community around them, by conveying trust by their words and actions.

Contrast this with someone who is suspicious and distrusting of others, who must do or verify everything themself. These are people who are full of negativity and this closes the door to any new friendships and possibilities. This belief causes loads of stress and physical fatigue, as they attempt to analyze the intentions of those they interact with, on a daily basis. This self-destructive behaviour, which they falsely believe will protect them, will in fact cause them anxiety and stress.

Trust grows trust. Distrust breeds suspicion. There  are many more good people than bad in this world. You are one of them.

Belief 4 

Others seem to Manage

Comparing our situation with other people’s, seems to not only elevate stress levels, but also makes us feel less competent, in an instant.

Marc and Angel explain this one better than I can:

Don’t let envy (or jealousy) get the best of you.  Envy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own – there’s nothing attractive or admirable about this behavior.  So stop comparing your journey with everyone else’s.  Your journey is YOUR journey, NOT a competition.  You are in competition with one person and one person only – yourself.  You are competing to be the best you can be.  If you want to measure your progress, compare yourself to who you were yesterday.*

Belief 5

Expectations – they ‘should’ have …

Expectations breed disappointment and stress. Has anyone ever felt every expectation was fully met? I doubt it. Many conversations  I hear, revolve around working out why others around them have said, or did, this or that and what the others, in their opinion, should have done. These “shoulds” are statement that are difficult or near impossible to fulfill. Try not to have expectations of others. Rather, believe that most people are out there, trying to ‘be’ the best they can be, with what they have got, and with the information to hand, at that very moment in time.  It may not be right, we might not agree with it, but we cannot expect any more than this.

A Final Word

Life is Dynamic, full of change, drama and is often unpredictable. It can be scary, but the universe has a plan and it is always in motion. This is beautifully summed up by these wise words from Marc and Angel:

Some of the great moments in your life won’t necessarily be the things you do; they’ll be things that happen to you.  That doesn’t mean you can’t take action to affect the outcome of your life.  You have to take action, and you will.  But don’t forget that on any day, you can step out the front door and your whole life can change in an instant – for better or worse.  To an extent, the universe has a plan that’s always in motion.  A butterfly flaps its wings and it starts to rain – it’s a scary thought, but it’s part of life’s cycle.  All these little parts of the machine, constantly working – sometimes forcing you to struggle, and sometimes making sure you end up exactly in the right place at the right time.*

Questioning our underlying beliefs may assist in reducing the extent to which we feel stressed and this, in turn, may help us to modify those undesirable behaviours that can be destructive. Eliminating expectations and comparisons with others, might change how we ourselves react to stressful feelings, and gives us confidence to take responsibility for our own life. Developing new habits to deal with stress, takes persistence, but carries with it a multitude of benefits.IMG_9148

 

 

How we can handle Stress is Something to Ponder About