I was driving into work not long ago and came across what I thought was a metaphor for life. I hit the road early, shortly before 7 a.m. on a beautiful spring morning to get a head start on my day. There was not a cloud in the sky, but there was a little chill in the air, and as I made my way east on the outer-belt I was struck by the fact that there were very few cars on the road. Seeing that made me glad I’d decided to head to the office early. Unlike some major cities, Columbus traffic isn’t bad at all if you leave a little earlier than normal. When I do that I can make it from my driveway to the State Auto parking lot, nearly a 15-mile journey; in 20 minutes or less if there are no accidents or road construction.
As I enjoyed my coffee, alone with my thoughts, I noticed there were cars well behind me and some a good distance in front. Like most people I don’t quite adhere to the speed limit so I was going about 70 mph in a 65 mph zone. The further I drove the more I noticed the cars behind me continuing to gain on me until all of a sudden I was surrounded by cars.
This applies to much more than just the highway. You might be reading this feeling a bit of pride because you don’t change your driving habits based on the habits of other drivers but there are many ways consensus might be at work on you:
- Do you stand during standing ovations…even when you didn’t like the performance? Most people do.
- Does your dress conform to those around you? If you doubt it just loo
k at some old photos and you might be hit with this thought, “What was I thinking when I wore that outfit?”
- Have you ever tried a restaurant dish because, “It’s our most popular menu item”? Part of reason the dish remains so popular is that little phrase used by the server.
- If you’ve had a question have you ever held it until a few others asked questions first? It’s amazing how group dynamics change after one person breaks the ice.
- Excessive speeding can be dangerous to us and others.
- For teens, wanting to fit in can lead to bad choices when it comes to drinking, drugs and sex.
- Following the crowd at work because “everybody does it” can cost you your job.