95% of people that find out I'm in the military tell me "Wow! I couldn't do that." Most people seem to think that they're too opposed to authority, too stubborn - too something, that would keep them from succeeding. I disagree with at least 50% of those people.
Humans are a highly social species generally forming social groups of 150 people. We look to others for clues on how to behave in unfamiliar situations, tempering our reactions with those that we observe around us. Why is it most women own a pair of black leggings and Ugg boots? Comfort? Style? Or is it Social conformity?
Social influence (to include conformity) has been studied for over 50 years, with results showing that we tend to play follow the leader. Ask a room full of people 5+7. You know the answer! You're excited! Strangle enough the 10 people before you answer incorrectly. As a general "rule" you will start to doubt yourself and your logic and quite possibly give the incorrect answer as well.
I was (am) stubborn and I like to do things my own way. Why did I do well at bootcamp? I followed everyone else. I didn't want to draw the drill instructors attention my way - and I bet if you were there too - you wouldn't want to either.
Sources: Lilienfeld textbook chapter 13
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