“We view a behavior as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it.” ~Robert Cialdini
Unless you’re a sociopath or psychopath, then you probably have a need to belong. When each of us is part of a group, we want to be liked within that group. How many of you can remember when you were in high school and may have been part of a certain group? You may have been a jock and on the football team or you may have been a member of the chess club. Whatever group you belonged to, they had some influence on your beliefs and behavior. Many times it is our attraction based on our beliefs that led us to belong to that group. Or wanting to be part of the “in crowd” led you there. Whatever the reason, the influence of the group increased the longer you belonged.
Robert Cialdini, in his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, stated that we tend to look for social proof as a way to behave in given situations. That way we will make fewer mistakes. This is one of the reasons why people won’t stop to help someone in trouble if they are in a crowd. Each person in a group of people will look at each other on what to do and then do nothing. Alone, it’s a different situation altogether. Now, when one person does take action, then the rest tend to join in. Again, people need social proof on what to do.
One of my friends was a member of the Democratic Party and very liberal when she lived in Los Angeles. When she remarried and moved to a small Southern town, she changed. The conservative influence there led her to become a conservative Republican. I’ve seen the opposite as well, a conservative becoming a liberal. It happens in religions as well. It happens in just about every area of life. We literally become who we associate with the most. The group influences our behavior.
Again, we want to belong and don’t want to look like fools in making mistakes or that we don’t know. How many of you know of people when talk about something that they knew about it? Guess what? This is simply them not wanting to look like fools. It could be a news event or anything else. Other people will simply mimic those around them in order to fit in. This is especially true when they are new to a given area or crowd.
You do have the power to control how you are influenced by a group. How? Well, simply associate with those that you want to be like. If you want to be wealthy, would you associate with people who are constantly saying how bad and greedy wealthy people are? Or would you get into a group of millionaires and billionaires? Now, ask yourself this: How does my group or groups I am with influence my behavior? Be honest with yourself, okay? Because the truth is, they do. Unless, as I stated at the beginning, you’re a sociopath or psychopath. If you feel anything, then you will be influenced.
By the way, part of your influence will be from what you read, watch and listen to as well. Get out and form your own group of associates and friends you’d like to be like. Have fun too!
America’s #1 Mind-Body Transformation Expert and author of Mind Your Own Fitness