12 July 2011

Why We Despise Successful Normal People

I have noticed an interesting trend in business and politics: we do not like "normal" people succeeding. Quite frequently whenever a "normal" person becomes successful, rumors begin to spread about how the said person is not truly "normal". Indeed, these rumors seem carefully designed to draw enough, even if subtle, distinction between the successful individual and the less successful "normal" population.

As observed, this behavior seems to be a coping mechanism the "normal" use in order to assure the common individual that their paltry efforts are indeed acceptable and that those who have chosen to break from the herd in order to be successful were, in fact, never really part of the herd. Instead, they were a bit like the ugly duckling: an immensely successful person who had not yet realized their potential and so was hanging out with the inferior crowd.

As comforting as such thinking might be, it is truly damaging to the "normal" and is the reason they have retained their normalcy. Instead of inspiring the individual to do and be more, the herd mentality encourages each member to hold on to their common bond by forsaking any thoughts or behaviors that would allow the individual to push beyond the implied limits of the herd and thus allow them to enter the realm of success that they, and indeed the whole herd, are ever jealous of. This pervasive thinking is mostly perpetuated by the laziest of the "normal", the ones who want the grandeur and glory but who do not want to work for it. Indeed, they think that such should be handed to them. They suppress the general population (a feat usually more consuming than actually doing the work) because they fear that if their fellow "normal" beings were to suddenly start to succeed then they would leave the "normal" herd and the lazy would be left behind all by themselves.

How sad "herd mentality" can be.

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