Unplug Yourself From Groupthink!

Unplug Yourself From Groupthink!

Written by Lars

Topics: Comfort Zone, Self Improvement, Self-Discipline

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Groupthink is one of the most insidious aspects of daily life. It is something that almost nobody is consciously aware of, yet extremely pervasive in every institution, social group, political affiliation, and country.

 

Groupthink is defined as, “The practice of thinking or making decisions as a group in a way that discourages creativity or individual responsibility.” In essence, groupthink occurs when one person (usually unconsciously) adopts another’s opinion because they feel like it makes sense, or just “seems right.” Notice there was no logical analysis of the new opinion, just a blind faith in the opinion because so many other people believe in it.

 

Groupthink often happens when an inspiring, persuasive leader is present, causing listeners to agree with their opinion. A frightening example of the destructive effects of groupthink is the rule of Adolf Hitler, who convinced a nation of people to commit unspeakable acts of hatred and murder on millions of innocent people. Groupthink was the reason that few people questioned what was going on. If everyone else believed what they were doing was right, then who was one person to disagree with that? How could the vast majority of people be completely wrong?

 

I see people every single day who affiliate themselves with all the views of their chosen political party without thinking critically about each one. Since they agree on one issue, they decide to agree with all of them without thinking critically about each one. These issues are usually completely unrelated, yet many people adopt all the views that fit within the framework of the label “Democrat” or “Republican.” It’s very rare that I meet someone who, for example, thinks that the environment should be cared for much more than it is now, yet also thinks that abortion is morally wrong, even though those issues, by themselves, are absolutely unrelated.

 

Take the time to deeply analyze your political, spiritual, and moral beliefs. When I attempted to do this, I realized that many of my long-standing beliefs fell apart because over time I had unintentionally allowed myself to be limited by groupthink. My beliefs were like a tree growing against a wall. The wall was the groupthink, and when I took that out of the equation and just examined the tree by itself, it had nothing of substance to support itself.

 

It’s very important to challenge your set of beliefs so that you don’t fall prey to groupthink. I personally attempt to cultivate a variety of unique beliefs about close to everything. In terms of political issues, I have strong beliefs about different issues that could be labeled as “very liberal” “very conservative” and “very libertarian.” I have researched each one of these issues, and the best resource I’ve found by far is www.procon.org. This website gives you 10 very credible arguments on each side of the spectrum for each issue, and each argument is well supported by solid facts.

 

Form your own beliefs about everything in life, by yourself, without letting the influence of your parents, social circle, or others you trust get in the way. There isn’t much of an excuse not to do this, especially as practically all the world’s information is available at your fingertips. Don’t be afraid to hold an unpopular belief. In the words of Mark Twain, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”

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