Herd Mentality (Fighting the Urge to Follow) – Rhoads Life Coaching

We have two competing systems built into us. One that follows the herd mentality of “run!” when everyone else around us gets startled. The other that asks us to pause and make informed decisions.

Have you ever watched a flock of birds or a herd of deer get startled? One animal sees something that looks threatening and it jumps and runs. The other animals around it don’t actually see the threat, they follow the example of the first and run without knowing what they are running from.

There is an inherent benefit to the flock as a whole in following the example of these around them. Only when there is an actual threat. When a flock gets spooked too often by false threats, it wastes valuable time and energy constantly flying away. There is a balancing point where running with the herd isn’t an advantage.

I have been observing these dueling priorities inside myself over these last few weeks. I notice the pull behind my navel that keeps asking, “Should I go buy toilet paper?” It is a bit ironic for me that our house hasn’t had to buy more toilet paper until just this week. We didn’t need to run even though I kept checking.

Please do not hear me saying there is not a real threat. We should stay away from others. It is best to be very careful about getting sick. We do not need to run with the herd, though, in panicking about perceived threats (please DO NOT ingest disinfectant).

How often does this happen outside of our current pandemic? Are you able to pay enough attention to yourself to realize when you are reacting from a more primitive survival instinct that wants you to run in fear when there is nothing but fear to run from?

The antidote? Pausing before reacting. Practice taking a breath before you make a decision and look to see if you can actually see the problem to solve, or whether all you see is the herd running by. The system we use creates a dramatically different outcome on a daily basis. – www.rhoadscoaching.com

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