They go by different descriptions:-
” Birds of the same feather, flock together ”
” Herd mentality ”
” Collective bias ”
” Wisdom of the crowds ”
Agreed. In his book ‘The Descent of Man‘ published in 1871, English naturalist Charles Darwin presented the idea that human beings and apes have a common ancestor. There’s a simple answer though: Humans did not evolve from chimpanzees or any of the other great apes that live today. We instead share a common ancestor that lived roughly 10 million years ago.
So much for ‘aping ‘ then!
Imitating others may not be the way to go. Or copying their tactics. But tactics, as Neil Gaiman reminds us, can be the subtlest of traps. Just because others are using a tactic or a tool doesn’t make it the most effective way to accomplish your objective.
What’s more, when you copy the “proven” tactics of others, you end up basing your decision only on success stories.
Sure, that photo of hundreds of people waiting in line for Seth Godin to sign books looks impressive. But you’re not Seth Godin (and if you are, I’m a big fan). And you’re not seeing the hundreds of authors who walked into a Barnes & Noble to do a reading only to find a handful of readers waiting for them.
The wiser thing to do maybe to go back to the drawing board and first principles. Understand the principle behind a tactic. Zoom out of a conventional tactic and see the other possibilities that escaped your attention. And as we go along, here is what we could learn:
To stop being a hunter-gatherer of other people’s tools, tactics, and formulas.
Instead, master the principle behind them.
Once you know what the principle is—once you know the why behind the tactic—you can create your own extraordinary how.
We assume erasing our fingerprints from our work and following the herd makes it safe. We hide behind what’s expected and what’s accepted. We’d rather be wrong collectively—we’d rather fail singing the same gospel song that everyone else is singing—than risk failing individually. So we chase trends, adopt the latest fad, and, as misfortune would have it, walk the line.
The line “no one does it that way” stops a conversation before it can bud. This monkey see, monkey do approach creates a race to the center. But the center is too crowded with others. Birds of the same feather. In the herd, you rarely get heard.
Becoming extraordinary requires becoming more like yourself—and embracing your own gifts, whatever they maybe.
When you do that, you become a magnet that attracts some people with the same force that it repels others.
The people you attract are your people. The others aren’t.
You can’t be liked by all and disliked by none. If you aim for that unachievable objective, you’ll only reduce the force of your magnet—the very source of your strength.
This doesn’t work if it’s a gimmick—if you’re just trying to get attention or zigging simply because everyone else is zagging. This isn’t rule breaking for the sake of rule breaking either—rebelling without a cause against the establishment. Rather, it’s an intentional bending of the rules, driven by a desire to live in a way that’s aligned with who you are.
It’s only by embracing, rather than erasing, your idiosyncrasies—the things that make you extraordinarily you—that you become remarkable. Tactics mean doing what you can with what you have.
Rather than spend several, deeply unproductive days wishing that the universe had dealt you a better hand and going into a canyon of despair, unleash you. There is an audience waiting. With drum rolls.
You reckon this is a tactic worth pursuing?