This is the 53rd in a collection of newspaper ads written by Harry Gray, then CEO of United Technologies, that appeared in the Wall Street Journal from the late 1970s through the early 1980s. Here is the text from that ad.
Submit to pressure from peers and you move down to their level.
Speak up for your own beliefs and you invite them up to your level.
If you move with the crowd, you’ll get no further than the crowd.
When 40 million people believe in a dumb idea, it’s still a dumb idea.
Simply swimming with the tide leaves you nowhere.
So if you believe in something that’s good, honest, and bright – stand up for it.
Maybe your peers will get smart and drift your way.
This ad is almost Seth Godin-like in that it encourages people to pursue what they were meant to do, and to not listen to the naysayers, to the crowd.
It also reminds me of Jim Rohn’s comment that “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”.
So it seems that if you combine these ideas, the best approach if you want to do something meaningful is to be part of a group that stands out from the crowd. There’s power in groups, but not if your group is just like every other group that’s out there.
It is certainly much easier today to both find “your” group, and to stand out from the crowd.
Sites like Facebook and meetup.com enable users to find people of like interests and beliefs. and tools like Twitter and WordPress allow anyone to let their voice be heard.
I’ve certainly found myself more willing to express my views once I started blogging. I’ve written posts where I’ve stated my views on issues such the death penalty, gun control, violence, taxes, nutrition, animal rights, the environment, and education. Writing those posts forced me to think more deeply about my views, and sharing my views is a way for people to get to know me and my beliefs, and for me to get to know people who may hold similar beliefs. (I’m still trying to find a Presidential candidate who has the same set of beliefs as me, so far, no one matches 100%).
I also find blogging a far easier way to express my views as compared to trying to do so in a conversation.
However, there is the flip side to how easy the Internet has made it for people to express and share their views with the world. All one needs to do is to take a look at this year’s presidential campaigns, the spread of terrorism, and Pewdiepie.
So I’d encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities to stand out from the crowd, to find like-minded individuals, and to share your thoughts with the world.
Who knows, one of you may be a juggling, blogging, vegan accounting professor who is anti-gun, anti-death penalty, pro animal rights, pro public education, pro environment, and thinks Springsteen is the greatest musician of all time.
If you’re out there, let me know; we can start our own club.
*photo courtesy of the Hi-Note