I always have this desire to look at things from up on top of a hill to “see the big picture” even if it is only in my mind. It just sets you up to analyze all aspects of the situation.
I was wondering to myself where I picked this habit up. You are probably thinking it is from all the reading I have done or by all the smart people I have been influenced by. That may be a part of it. I grew up in the Helena Valley and when we went somewhere you had to go over a mountain and it sure taught you about getting up high to see everything.
All this is a big part of the habit, but I had an experience when I was in high school that was a real success lesson. The high school kids in my time were mainly four groups. The jocks, the stoners, the cowboys, and the misfits who really did not fit into any group so they were their own group. What I call the cowboys were pretty much ag kids and all my buddies that I did everything with were from this group.
Keg parties were a popular thing at the time, and they were held at places that were thought not to be found by the police. One night there was a huge party up Remini Gulch and we were all having a big time. A big bonfire, lots of beer kegs, and people having big time fun. The jocks, the stoners, the cowboys were all represented and from what I remember getting along.
All of a sudden someone yells “COPS!” Everyone goes into panic mode and started running. Well I started to do the same thing. As I took off, a hand caught my wrist and a voice said “Wait.” It was Kevin Nordahl. He was a couple years older than me and had been really helping me with my rodeo skills. While everyone else was running around in a panic, not thinking at all but just doing what everyone else was doing, we picked up a keg of beer, carried it up the hill to a safe spot. We then sat down, got comfortable, drank beer and watched for a hour or two. We saw everything from up on the hill. Some of the panicers got arrested, some had to wait for their parents to come get them, but Kevin and I just sat up on the hill and watched it all. When all the activity was done, we carried the keg back down, got in our vehicle and drove home.
Now I am not condoning keg parties, drinking and driving, breaking the law or any of the things I was doing as wrong. However I do think a young person learns from these experiences and I am glad I was a little on the wild side when I was younger.
So as I look back on this experience and what we can learn from it is this…
When panic sets in, different groups become a herd and this turns into a stampede. Movement creates movement and if panic is involved, thoughtless movement.
When you loose control of emotions and panic you may be running off a cliff our into real trouble.
Even when panic is not involved following the bunch should be done very carefully. I feel because of a “lack of self discipline epidemic” in our world and the fear of standing out in a crowd we are in the time of everyone doing what everyone else is doing because it is the easy way to do things without embarrassing yourself. Be real careful of this. From what I have observed, it is like using drugs, short term satisfaction and long term negatives.
I see so much financial hardship from people following the bunch and buying things they can’t afford such as homes, cars, clothes and electronics just because everyone else is.
It seems every kid that graduates high school is supposed to go to college. It does not matter if the kid knows what they want to do or not, have the skills it takes to learn in that environment, or even want to go. We are willing to spend money we don’t have to send them because of everyone else doing it. Many of the college graduates I am in contact with are in debt from college loans, changed their mind on what they wanted to do, or would like to change their mind but can’t because of too much time invested as well as money. Following the bunch here is meant to be good but I am not sure it is the best for everyone.
Marketing is a huge part of the movement creating movement in modern society. A good marketing campaign gets the movement started as the bunch moves it draws more to the movement.
If you have lots of extra money it’s ok to spend it on extravagance, if you don’t have the money it will bring lots of problems. Even if you have the money I wonder if stuff just to fit in will be worth it. It never has been for me.
So I am not sure if the night up on the hill above the panicked partiers taught me all that I needed to know in life, but whenever I need to really figure things out, getting to a place in my mind that I can look at the facts and not be drawn by the bunch has become a habit of mine. I hope this may be helpful for you to have the confidence to take some time to sort things out before going with the stampede.
~ Curt Pate