The Power of Crowds
Where does an individual’s power come from? Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Hitler, Einstein. These were all powerful people, yet all in very different ways. Their commonality, what made them powerful, was their ability to move people to action. Whether through intelligence, compassion, political clout, or anger, crowds of people were led in a unified direction that affected change.
The power of the crowd is obvious when seen through this lens. When an influential leader moves the crowd toward a common goal, the impact is much greater than that same trailblazer riding into battle alone. Those who fail to amass a crowd behind their efforts do not make the pages of the history books.
What is less noticeable is the power of the crowd within our daily lives. Your life tends to be a reflection of your inner circle. The crowd you spend the most time with has a direct correlation with who you ultimately become. Sure, there are outliers, but those are so rare that we hold them up as heroes and make movies about them.
Studies show that you are more likely to break your own values for those of the crowd if you believe there will be backlash for standing out. Conformity is the name of the game, and most people like it that way even if they complain about it regularly.
For generations it served us well as a species. Small tribes needed cohesion to survive. Everyone had to do their part, without deviation, to ensure a continuation of our genome. That very same genetic instruction runs our brains today. Built up over hundreds of thousands of years, our primary predisposition is to fit in and ensure survival of the crowd.
In today’s society, standing out only has the abstract sensation of death. We falsely equate the fear of ridicule, rejection, questioning, and the like with actual danger. It erodes our confidence. What starts as a brilliant idea is quickly stamped out by doubt and hesitation.
A contrarian view is difficult to sustain, even if the message of the crowd is obviously flawed. Today, as I write this, the COVID-19 or coronavirus is the main topic of conversation. The wisdom of the crowd, led by numerous experts, is that no one is safe from this global pandemic. We all must stay home with cases of Purell and face masks until the contagion stops.
Regardless of whether this becomes a mass extermination event for the human population (it won’t), the hysteria of the crowd is driving the narrative. Say anything remotely optimistic about the outcome and you are labeled a heretic. Only once the fear has stopped spreading and life returns to normalcy (it always does) is it safe to introduce your true views to the crowd.
How then, do novel ideas spread? If people are innately resistant to change and the bulk of the crowd will only do what their peers also do, how does something reach critical mass? The answer lies in a two-pronged approach of attracting dedicated enthusiasts and clever mass marketing.
It starts with the nerds. Those who follow your field of choice for fun. The users who love to beta test new products or hear pitches for crazy concepts. If you can get this group on board, especially if they have an audience wider than your own, you can start to move onto the broader crowd.
The less-connected audience will not be attracted to the same pitch used for the geeks. The initial insiders were enticed by the technical differences or new features of your offer. The crowd wants to know how it’s similar to something they already use and how it will make their lives better than that other thing. Selling them change is a losing battle. Offering a better life is what they are looking for.
Even if your idea is far outside the box, frame it in a way that your audience can understand the benefits to something they care about, something familiar. The electric light was a better candle, email an easier fax, the car a faster horse. Once it is accepted by the crowd, you become the standard all others must compete with. The crowd will fight to protect you as one of their own.
If you’re reading this, chances are you want to better your life through a sexy mind and body. The Stackd protocol is quite unorthodox by typical fitness standards and is likely to receive backlash from the crowd. If you are an unabashed beta tester, forge ahead and spread the word, the world will be better for it. If you are unsure, we are working hard to build a community where you feel part of something amazing and are supported through your journey.
Either way, be aware of the power of crowds as you move forward. Crowds can be a driving force for good if well guided, or a mindless panic machine if fearful. Recognize when to harness that power or stand against it on the side of sanity. The backlash received for the contrarian is rarely life-threatening. Take the heat and move on. The others will come around. If they don’t, at least they know where you stand.
Stay energized, confident, and sexy my friends. Peace.