Don't Follow the Crowd

Here’s a bold statement I’d like you to consider: 95 percent of people never succeed because they're following the wrong group of people.

One of my favorite mentors was Earl Nightingale. I recall one of Earl’s stories that drives this point home for me. It’s regarding processionary caterpillars. Processionary caterpillars travel in long, undulating lines, one creature behind the other. Jean Hanri Fabre, a famous French entomologist, once led a group of these caterpillars onto the rim of a large flowerpot so the leader of the procession found himself nose to tail with the last caterpillar in the procession, forming a circle without end or beginning.

Through sheer force of habit and, of course, instinct, the ring of caterpillars circled the flowerpot for seven days and seven nights, until they died from exhaustion and starvation. Plenty of food was close at hand and plainly visible inside the pot, but it was outside the range of the circle, so the caterpillars continued along the beaten path until they expired.

People often behave in a similar way. Habit patterns and ways of thinking become deeply established, and it seems easier and more comforting to follow them than to cope with change, even when that change may represent freedom, achievement, and success.

So many people “miss the boat” because it's easier and more comforting to follow the crowd without ever questioning the qualifications of the people just ahead, than to do some independent thinking and research.

Many people find it difficult to fully understand that people in large numbers can be wrong, like the caterpillars going around and around the edge of the flowerpot, with life and food just a short distance away. If most people are living in a certain way then it must be right, they think. But a little research will reveal that throughout all recorded history the majority of mankind has an unbroken record of being wrong about most things, especially important things.

If you wish to become all that you can become and to experience the best that life has to offer, don’t blindly follow the crowd. Seek out qualified mentors, study the methods and lives of those who have achieved the dreams you wish to realize, and plan your own journey of success.

We hope that you have found this article useful and we welcome your comments and suggestions.


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