My favorite definition of “Iconoclast” is someone who does things other people say can’t be done. He or she is an independent thinker – even when that means going against the crowd. That sounds easy to say, but research shows that with enough social pressure, it’s almost impossible for most people to stand alone in their beliefs, views, and opinions.
Study after study indicate that few people are actually strong or committed enough to fight the influence of the crowd. As a result, we hear fewer diverse voices, and original thinking gets lost in the noise of the group. The biggest culprit? Fear. Most people site fear as the reason they hesitate to disagree with bosses, argue for their real political opinion, or stand up for their faith.
We’ve all been guilty of it. But it cheapens our culture when all our voices aren’t heard. From a practical perspective, by just “going along” we hurt our businesses, our families, our religious organizations, and most of all, our dreams. The longer we continue to hold back our own thinking, the harder it will be for us to have original thoughts at all.