Are You Part of the Group?

August 11, 2016
Reading time: 3 minutes
Self Improvement, Self-Worth


Better Leo than never. The New Moon in Leo began on August 2nd and, according to Kabbalah, brings with it a pure burst of unharnessed Light, it is an open portal of possibility. Leo is the only month ruled by the Sun which is symbolic of fire. Fire brings with it heat and burning but also visibility and life-giving energy. Destruction and rebirth. These themes parallel quite closely with the practice and principles behind the Ninth of Av. Leo characteristics are strong, but are inherently paradoxical. They are very confident and strong, charming, spontaneous, and immune to common stressors. Leos are often independent, fearless, and non-conformists, yet they crave attention and accolades. These qualities make Leos incredible leaders but, when the leadership is born from ego, the damage they create can be devastating. On the positive side, a Leo that can lead with compassion and the ability to put the needs of the team ahead of their own, becomes a trailblazer and an agent for change.


Because Leo’s have such strong personalities, other may be afraid to disappoint or disagree with them. This is the foundation of the psychological phenomenon known as groupthink. Groupthink is when a large group of people desire harmony but their decision-making results in an irrational and dysfunctional outcome. Instead of each individual evaluating a situation or decision on their own, they act in such a way as to not disrupt the group, even if it is very much to their detriment. It is a misguided attempt at acceptance, success, and comfort, something we all crave but can hurt ourselves, and others, trying to create if we force it or work against our own better judgment. Most of the greatest atrocities in the world have been perpetrated by followers, people affected by groupthink. If they were being honest with themselves, they would clearly see and know that what they were doing or supporting was wrong. 


            On macro level, this is what led to the overwhelming power of Hitler and the Nazis. On a micro level, groupthink can be found in our impulse to follow the crowd at a concert or arena. We believe that everyone knows where they’re headed regardless of the fact that there is no evidence to support that. Or a ridiculous fashion trend that we buy into, even though it isn’t flattering on anyone. Think back to the days that you were in school. Do you remember a classmate who was viewed as odd or different? Maybe there was a girl in your class whose family was less affluent, she wore hand-me-downs or boyish clothes, and was teased for being different. This reminds of a quote, “It was easy to not like you because you were different”. Because someone doesn’t “fit in” for social or superficials reasons, they are cast out. All because their “difference” frightens us. This is the reasoning that often comes up in almost all of my discussions around this topic, and it isn’t only relagated to school children. It is just as evident in adult life, permeating company culture, organizations, and politics.


            One of the greatest gifts we are given is the gift of free will, the ability to constantly make choices. At any time, we can look inward and decide if what we are bringing forth is from the Light or from our egos. Are you an original thinker? How do others influence your thoughts and behaviors? Do you wait to get approval from others before deciding what you believe in or think? We should all strive to act and to think as our truest selves regardless of who is looking or, more importantly, who is not looking. We are all susceptible to groupthink, as it often has nothing to do with intelligence. It is a deep and powerful human need to be accepted and included. If you find yourself acting with the group, all that is required is a step back and a thoughtful reevaluation of your thoughts and actions, in order to really see that you have fallen subject to this phenomenon.


Your beliefs are only in danger when you don’t know what they are. During this month, take an inventory of the ways you behave within the various circles in your life. Come to a place where all of your actions and thoughts support beauty, truth, and unity.

Thought to Action

If you’ve been involved in a groupthink situation, be honest about where you are afraid to disagree or disappointment, and adjust your thoughts and actions accordingly. Remember that you are the only one responsible for your beliefs, thoughts, and actions.

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