When and why do we conform?

Imagine yourself being part of a tour group on a small island. You are having the time of your life when you hear a man make this comment: "They should have brought more women here to keep the man happier and more satisfied" What would you do? Speak up of course! When asked this question, 95% of people believe that they would. So why is it that when those same people were put into this situation, only 55% of them actually spoke up!

Conformity! Hang with me for a second, there are a number of explanations for this:

1. Groupthink - Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Do I need to elaborate on that definition? It simply means that you would rather keep the peace with others than speak up for your own needs or do what's right. If you have been there before, keep reading, there is a way to get better at this!

2. What the! Freeze! - another possible explanation is that third response that everyone forgets about; freeze! We are all too familiar with fight or flight responses these days, but there is a third response! It's called "Freeze". Freeze occurs when our system perceives the situation as too much or too overwhelming to handle, so it shuts down. Another way too think of this is that we "play dead" because it's safer to retain our energy than actually take the situation on. It can be the reason why you didn't say something when your brother yelled at his kid, it can be the reason why you didn't tell that guy to F off when he pinched your butt at the club, it can be the reason why you didn't react when you were told that your now expected to work over time, without pay..

So what can you do in either one of these situations?

Always revisit and get the do-over you needed! If you are sitting in your car kicking yourself for not saying something in any particular situation. Get a do-over! Here is how:

Step 1: Think about what you wish you had said or how you wish you had reacted

Step 2: Think about how you could have said what you needed to say for the other person to hear you. This is an important step!

Step 3: If it is safe to do so, go back to the person and re-visit the situation and say what you needed to say. If it's not safe, that's okay too, visualise yourself having the conversation or reaction that you wanted. Your mind won't know any different, you are still creating a blueprint for your future self!

To learn a bit more on this topic, check out Episode 2 of the Walking Session Podcast!

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