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How Joining The Crowd Will Actually Hold You Back
I keep track of a few bloggers. Leo Babauta, Joshua Becker, Jeff Goins, and Michael Hyatt are a few of my favorites. But I don’t consider myself a follower. And I refuse to join the crowd.
Have you ever left a major crowded event? How fast can you move? Last year it took me an hour to leave the 4th of July fireworks display. Crowds slow you down. They steal your time. I could have done an hour of writing, but I was stuck in a crowd.
Everybody Wants To Be Part Of Something
There’s a reason that we tend to become followers. We want to be part of something. Abraham Maslow referred to this as our social needs, or belonging, in his hierarchy of needs. But the groups we join might actually be holding us back. How can we become leaders if we only follow others?
I’m not suggesting that we should never look up to public figures. And I’m not recommending that we never become a part of a group. What I am suggesting is that we can find such comfort in a crowd that we’ll never flourish as an individual.
Why I Never Sign Up For Others’ Mailing Lists
I ask people to sign up for my mailing list. (I gave it up.) But I’ve got to come clean. I don’t sign up for other bloggers’ lists. I did when I first got into blogging, and I still might occasionally if I want to see how another blogger organizes newsletters or runs a course. But I never sign up to be part of the crowd.
Why? Because it wastes my time as a writer. It steals my own creative spirit. In his book, The War Of Art, Steven Pressfield points out that the true artist should break away from the tribe. If we join half a dozen tribes, or even become dedicated to a single tribe, our allegiance is to the tribe rather than our own art.
Continually following others is a form of resistance. Instead of moving forward on our own terms, we get stuck in the crowd.
Are You Yourself Or Just Part Of A Crowd?
Think about it? Are you truly paving your own way? Or are you just following fads and trends? I could follow The Minimalists or Zen Habits. But then I’d spend my time in their programs helping them profit instead of developing my individual simple living style.
I could follow Michael Hyatt or join Jeff Goins‘ tribe and take their courses and go to all their conferences. But it would just steal my time and money. I hear the protest: “But you might learn something that will help you become more successful.” To that I say BS. Why?
First, I know many people who have joined others’ programs, went to their conferences, etc., and they’re still struggling to find financial success as writers and bloggers. True success is how we define it. And we have to reach it on our own terms.
Second, I don’t define success as they do. That’s all part of the crowd mentality. It’s exactly what they want you to do: to yearn for the kind of success they portray. Then you’ll follow them and they’ll become more successful. But in following them, you actually restrict yourself.
So I ask again, are you yourself, or just part of a crowd?