Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Let’s get started part 5: Finding the right herd

With each and every project we undertake there is an associated social cost. The things we do change the way others see us, create good will or bad and cause others to question who we are. Starting on the road to personal growth or making any major changes in our lives can cause you to lose friends. This is only one reason that we need to consider peer pressure when we begin a project.

Let us start with the example of the college student who in there freshmen year parties all the time. As there sophomore year rolls around they realize that they need to get serious and decide to stop drinking. The first Friday of the new semester arrives and they have text message after text message telling them to come out and party and sure enough by 10 p.m. they are standing in frat house with a beer in their hand.

This is just one example of how peer pressure can cause us not to start behaving in the way we would like to. As humans we are social animals, the approval of the herd is important but sometimes when we want to change who we are we need to change our herd as well. If we surround ourselves with people who want the same things as we do it is easier to achieve them. However when the people we are around do not want us to change it can be devastating.

Now when people do not want us to change it is usually not out of maliciousness but because of the impact it will have on their lives. Let's look at our example of the college student who does not want to party. Most of his friends are in the party scene around school and want the good times to continue. He is part of those good times and if he is gone they are worried things will be different. They do not want him to fail at school because he is partying the just want him there because that is part of their good time.

It is important to take a minute and understand that our friends are not our herd. Most like our friends are part of our herd but they are closer than the rest of it; the same is true for family. For friends and family we are more than just a trapping to their good time and because of this we need to handle them differently when we decide to make big changes. When we are worried that we may alienate friends and family by making changes in our lives, when this worry is keeping us from starting or their influence is we need to take the time to get them on our side. Make them understand why we want to do what we feel we need to. If we can make them see the necessity of our actions we suddenly make peer pressure a tool to motivate us rather than an obstacle to overcome.

The downside is those people who are just acquaintances; the people who our college student sees at parties every week but does really know they may drift away. If we are not the same person doing the same things the people around us will change. We go to different places and begin to find people with shared values to our own.

Editing project: My big news


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