You or ‘everyone else’?

Just because “everyone else does it” doesn’t mean you should join in.

It may be ‘everyone‘ around you drinking heavily and partying regularly, it may be ‘everyone‘ procrastinating on purpose, it may be ‘everyone‘ moaning about the state of the course without actively trying to change things.  Whatever you see ‘everyone‘ doing, don’t be afraid to make your own decision and do something else.  Your different attitude probably won’t be noticed.

photo by AndYaDontStop

photo by AndYaDontStop

Shunning the popular choice may be difficult and uncomfortable.  Doubly so if your decision means giving up something you enjoy or challenging yourself to work harder.  So long as you don’t give up anything important, it’s fine to forego the odd social outing or escapade.  You may even be indulging in too many entirely respectable activities.  Do you really need to be an active member of 7 societies, volunteer for 2 causes, keep down a part-time job, and try to stay on top of study?

While you shouldn’t feel obliged to defend your decisions, there will be the odd time when someone does question your actions.  Usually it doesn’t take more than thanking a person for their advice and quickly moving away from the conversation.  On the (very) rare occasion you face greater questioning, stay strong and don’t be afraid to point out why you’ve chosen a particular direction.  If you aren’t getting anywhere, if you feel uncomfortable talking about it, or if you don’t want to justify your actions to someone else, politely explain that you don’t want to discuss it further and (if necessary) physically move away from the situation.

Peer pressure has many faces.  A small percentage is uncalled for and something you don’t need from so-called ‘mates’.  Fortunately, much of it is friendly and of little consequence.  That’s why you probably have nothing to fear when you choose not to do what everybody else is doing.

It feels so much easier to let others make decisions for you.  If it goes wrong, you’ve got someone else to blame.  The truth is that when you make your own decisions, you begin to feel more in touch with what you truly want and need.  Don’t fear that you’ll become arrogant.  You should still listen to others, engage in debate, and appreciate that you’re not always right.  With that, the confidence in your decisions does help you grow stronger, getting you to think more clearly and independently before making commitments.

How have you moved away from an otherwise popular situation?  Have you taken a different attitude and found it worked to your advantage?


  1. agree with this topic so much! thanks for writing. don’t be afraid to not following the existing path. make a new one and leave a trace!

  2. I’ve noticed that in business and leadership, I sometimes feel like the most effective character to display is one of “arrogance” and authority – especially with group projects in school.

    My team mates might not like me, but they listen and we get work done. I don’t necessarily feel arrogant, rather, the other team members perceive me as authoritative. Taking on different attitudes has help me big time.

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