Avoid mainstream thinking.
That is, if you want a happy life and to get what you want.
Rise above it.
“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe.
If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened.
But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”
Friedrich Nietzsche (German philosopher, poet, composer 1844 – 1900)
It’s Time to Think for Ourselves
Many people believe the masses are correct i.e. mainstream thinking. “If everyone is doing it, it must be okay.” Wrong. Mainstream thought is filled with potholes. It is mostly the media, the government and our friends who tell us what to think. We no longer think for ourselves and that should trouble us. Does this mean many people have become robotic? Do you hang out with the latest topic of the media? It’s likely all our beliefs are being manipulated. What about you? What do you think?
“The man who reads nothing at all is better educated
than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.”
~~ Thomas Jefferson (Third US President and principal author of US Declaration of Independence 1743 – 1826)
I saw a well-written article a year ago about mainstream thinking on the site www.dailyreckoning.com and thought it explained the concept well. A site intended for investors, but the article applies to life in general. Although the article is a year old, it still applies today. In fact unfortunately for us, this article applies to the last several hundred years and will continue to unless we change. Here is an excerpt.
By Eric Fry
09/09/10 Laguna Beach, California – Mainstream thinking tends to produce mainstream results. The outliers of human behavior and consequence – for better or for worse – tend to reside outside of the mainstream…out on the thin tails of the probability curve.
Out on those distant tails, you might find the creative genius of a Bill Gates or a Thomas Edison…or of that Chinese guy who invented gunpowder. On the other side of the curve, you might find the incomprehensible perspective of a Pol Pot or a Hernando Cortes…or of that woman who underwent 31 operations over 14 years so that she could look like “Barbie.”
Then, occasionally, you find those individuals like Vincent van Gogh who were so idiosyncratic that you can’t really say which thin tail they would occupy.
But, by definition, most of us live our lives where most of us live our lives – i.e., somewhere near the mainstream. That’s mostly a good thing. It is safe, comfortable, and conducive to a lengthy and well socialized existence. Out on the Serengeti, for example, the “outliers” usually become lunch…or if they’re lucky, dinner, a little later in the day.
But mainstream thinking and mainstream behavior also possesses a very dark side. It lacks insight. It shuns self-examination. It repels intellectual honesty and creativity. Mainstream thinking, therefore, can sometimes nurture more detritus than a petri dish; more dysfunction than a sanitarium. In Ages past, mainstream thinking has nurtured idiocies as innocuous as the periwig or as horrific as the virgin sacrifice.”
It requires courage to think for yourself; to be an independent thinker. But it delivers the richest rewards. Deep down most people are concerned about encountering disapproval from those around them, becoming ‘lunch’ on the Serengeti for the mainstream thinkers; people who tow the line.