As a rule, we are instructed from childhood that serious consequences shall arise if we dare to rock the boat. We learn instinctually that it is always better to go along so that we get along. To slip off the assembly line of groupthink means to risk ridicule, rejection, banishment. Being alone sucks, but being alone while you are attacked, smeared, and scorned is about the same as picking up a hot poker and jamming it in your eye. Who in their right mind would want to do that? Especially when conformity to the community offers as its reward acceptance, support, love and the chance to be comfortably numb.
I guess we can all admit that there’s a lot of truth to that. There are few people who have enough courage to really stand for what they believe, to openly question things and to risk having themselves ridiculed and rejected because they have different opinions or views about certain things. It’s not always easy to do this, but it is something everyone should do.
We all want to achieve things in life. But at the end, you’re going to have to ask yourself: “What personal sacrifices did I have to make to achieve all of this, and were they worth it?” And especially, you’re going to have to ask yourself what sacrifices you had to make in your personal integrity, in your beliefs and basically in the person you believed you were. How much did you have to change, perhaps to be accepted or to be regarded as part of the group, to be able to get what you wanted? And was it worth it?
Examples can range from things like trying to change to be accepted by a boy-or girlfriend, to things like trying to conform to your boss in order to benefit from it (even if you don’t always agree or things are against your principles) or to not lose your job.
Always be yourself, stand behind your beliefs and never stop questioning things that don’t seem right. To be able to make a difference requires that you sometimes don’t conform to what Michael Moore calls “the assembly line of groupthink.”