Many years ago, before the white man killed off all the buffalo, the Indians had a unique way of hunting them. They would stampede the buffalo herd toward a large cliff. Then they would set up their butcher shops at the bottom and have plenty of meat for the winter. This was a great plan considering that their weapons were crude, and these animals were massive and powerful.
There are two unique features of buffalo that make them susceptible to what we would call the herd instinct. First, their eyes are set in their heads so that it is easier for them to see what is beside them than what is in front of them. Secondly, they run with their heads low so they cannot see above the herd; they cannot see where they are going.
The herd instinct is running with the crowd, not knowing where it is headed, unaware of the consequences. Humans, as well buffalo, are susceptible. We tend to go with the crowd. Cavett Robert, a sales and motivation consultant, gives this advice to sales trainees: “Since 95% of the people are imitators and only 5% initiators, people are persuaded more by the actions of others than by any proof we can offer.” Advertisers don’t have to convince us directly that the product is good; they just inform us that the product it is “the largest selling”.
We do what everyone else does because we assume they must know something we don’t. Often the crowd is not acting on the basis of superior information; they are simply reacting.
So how do we deal with pressure to follow the crowd, to do what everyone else is doing? “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think” (Romans 12:2, New Living Translation). Don’t let the world form you and mold you; let God transform you. Don’t let it be pressures from the outside that determines who you are and what you do. Let it be the power of God that changes you from the inside out.