When I was in High School band, our band teacher tried to get us a motivational speaker to talk to us and help us act like a single unit. I don’t remember the speaker’s name. My band teacher told us some of the stories he’d heard from the speaker, and I think he showed us a video which included stories and anecdotes. The idea was to get us thinking about our band as a single unit, and to get us to respect and value each other.
I don’t remember everything from those lessons, but there’s one anecdote that has stuck with me. I’m reminded of the truth of it almost daily. I’ll try to explain it:
In every group of people, 80% are followers. They want to go with the crowd, and are more comfortable being directed than being alone, isolated, with no answers to their questions. Of the remaining 20%, half of those people are positive leaders, unsatisfied with leaving things as they are. They try to lead the group in some direction. The remaining 10% are negative leaders. They attempt to lead the group in the opposite direction.
To put it another way, for every given group of people, 80% are sheep, 10% are shepherds, and 10% are wolves.
I don’t know how true it is, but it feels true.
If it makes it more palatable, I don’t think that people are always sheep, or always leaders. Joe Body might be a magnificent leader on his bowling team, a comfortable, stolid worker where he is employed, and the black sheep of his family when they get together. There’s probably a little bit of sheep, shepherd, and wolf in each of us.
I’m reminded of this almost every time that I almost Facebook, or follow political postings.
Today’s reminder came in the form of “Obama signed an anti-free speech bill” posts. I had a family member and an old high school friend both post about it, concerned and ready to get their torches and pitch forks.
A simple google search easily debunks this. The anti-free speech posts link to Fox news, showing a picture of Obama looking angry and about to speak. The video actually shows Obama speaking, but we don’t hear his words. Instead, we get some Fox correspondents telling us how bad it is that Obama is crushing the First Amendment under his booted heel and wiping his ass with the Constitution.
In this instance, my friend and my family member are the sheep. They’re not actually thinking for themselves, but reacting and parroting. Fox News is the wolf. And since I’m posting this, and I responded to their posts, I’m trying to be the shepherd. Or maybe I’m just the guy crying “Wake up, Sheeple!”
Maybe who the shepherd is and who the wolf is can be a matter of perspective. Maybe.
I just want people to think before they post, and try to limit the effects of their knee-jerk reactions. The world could do with a lot less angry reacting, and a lot more thoughtful, careful proactive measures.