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Questioning Popular Thinking

A mindset that everyone should have.

By Alexander SarmientoPublished 6 years ago 3 min read
Image by Cliff Etzel

We all at some point of our lives want to fit in the society's perception and please its expectations. What expectations? Well, the right age to get married and have kids, what degree you should obtain if you want a good future, where to live, etc... Perhaps we do it because we want to feel ourselves as part of something, or accepted by a group, a community, or an organization. It might be okay, as long as you don't lose your own identity and keep your ideals. However, the truth is that these expectations please an imaginary individual called popular thinking. Even though many people may agree on certain expectations or thinking, it doesn't mean it has to be correct or, at least, the best way.

Popular thinking consists basically in following the routine that most of the people are used to. It also represents idle and leisure and disparages innovation and development. Popular thinking is carrying the old ways to do things as time passes by. Another name related to is herd mentality, which means accepting and following what the majority says or does, and ignoring your thoughts and feelings just to please a group or feel part of one. This concept serves as an example in the stock market, where most people buy stocks and invest in what the majority thinks will work.

Another example of popular thinking may occur at the workplace. It can keep group members from accomplishing organizational goals. Because of popular thinking's nature, it may lead to groupthink, which is a phenomenon that occurs in decision-making when group members avoid disagreement as they strive for consensus. You must be cautious when deciding to take different approaches or when presenting new ideas to the group. Attempts at innovation and creativity may turn to hostility and objection among workers; therefore, goal displacement may occur.

In contrast, unpopular thinking bypasses the ordinary life and breaks the limits of the present. It consists in constant improvement and growth. In unpopular thinking, people act as innovators and creators. People with this mindset opt to change suddenly the way of doing things and stretch their creativity.

Dare to Stand Out

Why is it too bad to follow other thinking?

Well, let's start by saying that doing so shows that you are not living your life in your own way, but in the way of others. Since you are not thinking in your own way, do not expect to embrace change rapidly, instead sit down and wait for someone brave enough to bring change to you. By the way, entertain yourself in the meantime, because change takes its time.

Have the guts to face the consequences of success and go for it. At the beginning, you will find yourself with little support, or with no support at all. But that is fine. Thinking on your own makes you different from the pool of conformists.

Popular thinking goes along with conformism, mediocrity, and idle. How? Because it conforms the simplest ways to do things. It doesn't push you, neither encourages you to new development. Here are some suggestions to change your lifestyle a little bit:

Image by Jimmy Swartz

  • Be doubtful about everything that crosses your eyes. It can be advertising on the internet, pamphlets, magazines, or news on tv. You don't know the purpose behind them.
  • Analyze, do some research, and find out where the information comes from. Also, look for evidence from different sources.
  • Join people with the same curiosity. Befriend those with this peculiar personality; they tend to push you forward. These people will help you think big.
  • Get out of your comfort zone. Don't be afraid of exposing yourself to critics, embarrassment, mockery, or humiliations. That's the price of success. It is true that everyone is comfortable with the easiest ways to live, but it doesn't help you grow either personally or professionally. You may be safe, free of risk, but you won't achieve much from the common things. Expose yourself to the unknown; it does not matter if you are alone, because that means you could be the first one in a change.
  • Do it as a pleasure, just to refresh your style of doing things, so you don't get bored of your routine.
  • Even if you think you're right, doubt your own thoughts. Always try to come up with better ideas or thinking and discard those previous ones.
  • Maximize your activities rather than satisfice them. By maximizing, you get the best out from anything you do after comparing them. In the opposite, satificing means using the most common and convenient way, which involves no effort at all.
In conclusion, popular thinking decelerates creativity and impedes your productivity growth. It is difficult to notice the detriment that it causes, since it is something that affects us gradually with no perceptible sign. Nevertheless, when something becomes too ordinary and easy, it may be time to work on change.
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About the Creator

Alexander Sarmiento

I'm a flight attendant, day trader, and freelance writer.

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    Alexander SarmientoWritten by Alexander Sarmiento

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