Herd Mentality – The Antidote to Creativity


Herd Mentality – The Antidote to Creativity

We all know about herd immunity. That point where the herd (that’s us) becomes immune, or at least partially immune to a disease. We strive for that with a combination of vaccination and natural immunity through actually having the disease. Back in the day most kids got measles, mumps, chicken pox and then never had to worry about it again. Being immune was great.

There is another type of ‘herd’ that can be devastating, Herd Mentality. That’s the concept that we attach ourselves to some movement or idea and block out all other considerations. We abandon our creativity to the ‘herd.’

It’s really pretty easy. Attend a meeting, or read an article in the paper and suddenly an idea or group of ideas seems right on. We go to meetings, listen to speakers, and we join the herd.

Take socialism. On the surface it seems really cool. The government supplies your wants and needs. Everyone is equal. Kumbaya is everywhere. Central planning is in control. Really smart people tell us how to work, play, live. And why not. Shouldn’t really smart people know what really good for us?

Of course, we know from experience that in every case where socialism has been tried, it has failed, often with horrendous results. If you think Costco rationing toilet paper is a problem, try to find a roll in Venezuela.

However, the ‘herd,’ mostly young, inexperienced, or those who would be in charge, quickly buys into the concept, and begins to demand change, but only in their direction. There is no thoughtfulness, no creativity, no critical thinking. Its my way or the highway.

Opposing thoughts are anathema. They are shouted down. Those with different ideas are banned. The Herd Mentality is all there is.

Creativity flourishes in freedom.  It feeds on argument, and often anger. It glows in the shadow of discussions. Question storming is its favorite flavor. Creativity often comes from people who may be unfriendly, who snap at you, who maybe you don’t like. Creativity is hated by the herd.

We ignore and lock out creative types at our peril. You may have a kumbaya organization, but is it as creative and forward thinking as you might like. Oftentimes a little friction is needed to spark the idea that changes your world.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. Once again you hit the nail on the proverbial head. If everyone agrees with you then you can be 100% sure someone is wrong. Doesn’t mean you aren’t 99% correct, but there is always room for improvement. If no one in your organization sees that 1% you’re doomed to be swallowed up by your competition.

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