You Are Not Alone!

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On a day-to-day basis people deal with making decision, whether they are influenced by others or not. I feel that five years from now the idea of social influence and social psychology will stick with me.

Unconsciously, fellow peers influence people's decisions. We often conform (tendency of people to alter their behavior as a result of group pressure) or obey in order to avoid being the odd one out. In our culture, Americans do not like to be singled out. We often loose our identity (or deindividuation: tendency of people to engage in uncharacteristic behavior when they are stripped of their usual identities) and morals just to hide ourselves and agree with others. This leads to another idea called groupthink: emphasis on group unanimity at the expense of critical thinking. Americans like to get things done in the fastest and easiest way possible, so if everyone agrees the job will get done. This is not always the most effective way with the greatest turn out though.

Take a minute and think about it....
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How many times have you made a decision that was not fully and truly your decision? How many times have you worked in a group and people all just agree with one person's ideas to get the job done faster and possibly not to the full potential?

I feel that this is not only an issue now in all our lives but will be in years to come. As we graduate and make our way into the working field, we are all going to have big decisions that need to be made on our own. We will also work in several groups to get tasks completed. We need to keep in mind who we are individually and what we believe in. This is the only way to be true to ourselves and fair to all other people.

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I agree completely with this blog. I believe in order to be successful in life you have to be willing to take some chances. This means not always conforming to what everyone else is telling you. Sometimes you have to step outside the box and be willing to stand on your own and take a stand for what you believe in. I believe people these days have a hard time doing this because everyone beleives that the majority is always right. If you are able to think as an individual you will be much more successful in life.

I agree with you totally. I think that in our lives everyone, at least once, has made a decision based on the fact that everyone else agreed so they just conformed to agree with the group. It is important to stick up for our beliefs, especially as we enter the work force, because it could be a decision that affects multiple people's futures. Although it may seem hard at the time not to go with the majority, it is essential that people express their ideas because there could be an even better solution than what the majority has thought of.

I agree with you, but I think there is a time and place to conform and a time and place not to conform. I know that when I have a group project, I just say anything goes because my main concern is getting it done. I figure if I am easy going, the other group members won't complain and BAM! we have a finished project no complaints. But when it comes to more important things, it is important to stick up for our beliefs. Even when it means going against others sometimes you have to. But You also have to be aware of the consequences. Sometimes even if you are right, by not conforming you can make enemies. And it shouldn't happen this way but sadly it does. I'd say if you can be yourself for the most part, you are generally set to go.

I like your comment, but I will just like to add that most of the times the right answer is not simple. In many situations the answer is ambiguous, and saying that or not that is very difficult. Additionally, being the only believing in something, and everyone in the contrary, is a difficult state of being.

I know of a Indian story that takes care of this situation of cohesion. I don't fully remember it, but the idea is the following. Something happens to the water supply of one kingdom, and everyone, less the king, starts to become crazy. The king has a special reserve of water that could prevent him from drinking of the affected water for the rest of his life.

After a long period of time, the king get tier and drinks from the common people water supply. That night, the hole kingdom celebrates that the king become normal.

I have gone through this in studying in the US. While not being form here, many of your traditions and habits are strange and sometimes funny. As an example, the US is the only country in the world that like American Football. Therefore, I believe that saying you should always stick to your ideas is wrong, and I believe that the answer is it depends.

This blog brings up a extremely good point, especially as students in a large college atmosphere all of us have fallen prey to peer pressure in a negative way. As I was listening to the social psychology lectures, Professor Gonzales emphasized how the Western culture as a whole is individualistic in nature. Compared to the Eastern cultures i can see this individualistic nature demonstrated, but within peer groups I see more conformity. Coming from my own experiences and observations, I have seen more conformity than individualization being represented. Is this just me? or do others see it represented as well?

The more I think about it the more I realize that I make decisions almost daily that aren't truly my own. While some of the decisions are based on questions others ask like, "Wanna go get lunch?." I can decide, then, based on who's going, where we're eating, and if I'm hungry, if I want to go.
I have also just agreed with someone else's decision (even if I didn't like it) just to get the job done. It happens a lot, for me, in group work. I do not like working in groups because there are so many different opinions and it's rare that everyone agrees on the same thing 100%. Usually, if I've thrown out some ideas as well as the others in my group, and no one seems to like anyone else's idea, I'll just conform and agree to follow through with the other person's idea, just to get the work done. A consequence of that is that I might not be as willing to do the work if I don't like the idea, but it gets the job done.

The title it's self is very interesting. I forgot who said it but theres a saying that what ever your feeling and going through, theres a extremely high chance that it happens to everyone else. For instance public speaking, nobody really talks too much about it, but it's proven to be the number one fear in the world, even above death.

For awhile, many of my peers always said, "You are looking too deep into it." In my mind I thought I was looking as far as possible to get the best reasonable solution or outcome where every benefits or the original layer of truth lies. It was my decision during group discussions to be the guy when everyone agreed I kept searching for a better answer. No doubt it came off cocky and mostly as if I thought I was always right. Hardly the case, if anything, I spent my time opposing others decisions because I either did not feel the solution was thoroughly reasonably thought out, or, I felt like it was simply an unfair answer. In my opinion, I find that "going with the flow" is an incontrovertible act many fail to identify how hazardous it can be to the development of their ability to transform into leaders. I believe that one of our biggest and catchiest phrases - now the slogan for failures to become content with ignoring their issues - has deviated many people from maintaining a mind state that is responsive to the teachings of leadership. The phrase goes "If you do not stand for something, you'll fall for anything." Quoted from who I have no idea, but my point is that when you go with something you are deciding to put your faith in because others have i.e. Trayvon Martin/Zimmerman case, you forfeit your ability to develop your own analysis, your own conclusion, and your own self awakening necessary to become who you are destined to be.

- Cori Coleman, author

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This page contains a single entry by thom3393 published on April 29, 2012 11:57 AM.

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