Updated: Aug 25, 2019
One can over come the tyranny of the herd mentality by adopting the following traits and improving them by practicing them on a regular basis:
It is very difficult to upset or to disappoint your fellow companions in the journey of life - family, friends, partner, colleagues - it is hard to see them suffer or even insult you just because you decided to do something that contradicts their expectations from you. However courage is a necessity to overcome offenses from other people and to admit and to live with the fact that sometimes you have your own thoughts, feelings and motives that don’t have, all the time, to correlate with those of others. I once went near a tennis field, and a tennis ball was accidentally thrown near me. One of the players asked me to retrieve the ball, but I said that I’m in a hurry (and I really was). The player got mad and called me a “moronic kid”. I was deeply insulted, but I knew that people in a hurry are not by definition, necessarily morons. It gave me the courage to continue to walk away - logic.
The thing which usually convince people to put their beliefs into something and to to certain deeds is logic. The more logically correct and believable a belief is, the more convince-able it would become to other people which are exposed to this logical structure. Because people are convinced by logic, even by the weakest of the logics, social structures and ceremonies are built. If one to overcome the herd mentality, one should enforce his non-conformity with a proper logical structure to support his abstaining-from-the-herd mentality. Just because there is a large enforcement on a certain belief by the amounts of people (for example, believing in a certain popular deity or even creating a fanbase around a certain idol), it doesn’t mean a single individual cannot overcome their own logic. For the foundations to guide one in overcoming this mentality, the individual ought to be in contemplation and to ponder about the following questions:
Why do I wish to overcome the herd mentality? What do I want to achieve in this, and why do I wish to actualize the said ambitions? What are the consequences of doing so? Would I be satisfied with the results? If so, at what cost? If not, is my cause in my perspective a justified cause, regardless of the cost? What would I lose and what would I earn in this solitary revolution against the masses?
Ask yourself these questions, and attempt to answer them the best you can. The more logically-convincing your answers be (even convincing to yourself), the more acceptance you will earn from others and for yourself, and thus, the easier the task would be with the decreasing withdrawn of guilt, shame and negative isolation.
Standing all by yourself against the masses and their beliefs is not an easy thing. Regardless of the reason that made you wish to overcome their mentality, it is all your “fault” for being against the popular beliefs and practices. Seeing the masses from the viewpoint of a single person in an empty field (even if the said person has family and friends) can be a very isolating experience. The herd is living as if nothing, even for eons, has been done under the sun. But, since a certain person decided to reform the constant and non-dynamic mindset which define the herd mentality, that said person may find himself completely alone even in the midst of the most social of conventions. While in this ideologically solitary state of mind and being, few, and even none, may be the people who can agree upon your own systems of beliefs. Therefore, you cannot blame anyone for going against the flow. Even if you were convinced by someone or something, this decision is completely yours, since you decided and wanted to do it on your own autonomous will. Autonomous individuals therefore can only direct the responsibility to themselves, and to no one else. This is because you could’ve remained in the comforts of the herd, and perhaps live like a zombie for the rest of your life. But being finally awakened by a certain call, is a sign of pure individualism, and thus a very vital call not only for you but for others to follow your path even long after your death. Take thus responsibility for your actions, and find comfort in the fact that you’re in a start of a journey, even if it a solitary one, to explore the possibilities and options in which the herd mentality blocked you from doing so.
This is the most fundamental aspect of being a black sheep: the fact that one is in disagreement with a certain or a set of subjects and the execution of issues. When in doubt, an outcast of the herd cannot find any answers but in him or herself only. Taking doubt on something, regardless of conformity, is a very courageous act, and it is vital for one’s own development, and perhaps, also for the possible development of others. Being skeptic is like working on a muscle on a regular basis of workouts: the more you would doubt, the more hurtful and damaged the muscle will be, and thus the more difficult it would be to train it in this specific workout. Just like working out, being skeptic is an action that requires strength, and sometimes, rest. After being skeptic about a certain subject, one needs to rest and find other occupations, so he will be recharged and, on the side, become stronger on the intellectual level. Indeed, the intellectual is a mentally strong person, like the fit person is physically strong. The dumbbells of the solitary intellectual (as intellectualism can, at times, lead to isolation) are his skills to produce stable and reasonable doubts against agreed concepts. Being skeptic is being a reformer: to reshape a certain issue and transform it into a new one. Therefore, the overcomer is not only an intellectual, but an artist, a producer of potentially something new and original.
May my wisdom and advise accompany you on your journey to the solitary yet abundant island of the herd-overcomer, where one can find happiness in the corner of the herd-controlled world.