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..... people simply tend to do what others are doing, so as not to look ridiculous, regardless of their personal beliefs.

Group Think Dynamics is nothing new. It has been running through human veins for centuries. When life insurance was being introduced, people of the mid eighteenth century looked at insurance as a vulgar commodity that was making the sacred ritual of death as obscene business. When modern commercial banking was introduced, people of that time were suspicious of putting their money in banks. When the Hungarian physician, Ignaz Semmelweis pioneered the antiseptic procedures to reduce death of mothers during delivery due to fever, which was primarily caused by the infected hands of the doctors, the Group Think Dynamics of mid nineteenth century went against him. Doctors refused to acknowledge that their dirty hands were responsible for the childbed fever that caused death of pregnant women.

But that same Group Think has now made us believe that buying a life insurance policy is a smart decision; not having a savings account is foolish. And hand disinfected procedure has become a standard protocol among doctors, which was proposed by Ignaz Semmelweis, a century and half ago. So why do people follow this Group Think Dynamic? The reason may be the irrational behavior of humans but there is a term for that – Bandwagon Effect.

Until 1581, we had the Julian calendar, when the New Year was observed on and around April 1. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII ordered to follow the Gregorian calendar with January 1 as the New Year. When France adopted the Gregorian calendar that year, many people either refused to follow the new calendar or simply didn’t know about the change, which resulted in observing April 1 as the New Year day. This resulted in labeling the traditionalists as fools which slowly spread to the rest of Europe. And hence, the legend of April Fools’ Day started.

If we look closely, this could be the prime reason why people tend to believe in Group Think. They simply tend to do what others are doing, so as not to look ridiculous, regardless of their personal beliefs. This is the simple definition of Bandwagon Effect. This is the reason, why people still believed in syllabus based educational system as a smart choice, even when all they end up is in a job in a company founded by a school dropout.

I remember an interesting story but I could not trace the reference. There was a businessman, who was extremely rich. He had dropped out of school when he was a five grader. After twenty years, the principal of his former school invited him to deliver a lecture to the students on how to become successful in life, given that he was a well known businessman of his time, and hence was extremely successful. That businessman was in great dilemma. He knew, had he not dropped out, he would have been an employee to another dropout, but he couldn’t tell the students to drop out of school in the very school he was invited to speak!

Life is funny. And the way people think is even funnier. At the end, the objective of life is not to believe or disbelieve in Group Think Dynamics, but to lead a life the way an individual would like to live.

The objective of life is to be happy, not to make someone else happy at their own expenses.

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