By Nimi Princewill
The more people believe in a thing, the easier it becomes to gradually lure other people into jumping on the bandwagon in agreement. The bandwagon effect, has proven to be a strong mind-controlling force which drags people into abandoning their own opinion in acceptance of a more popular one. One can’t tell for sure if doing something a certain way is right or wrong, as long as other people are doing it, it sure feels right! Ironically, a huge number of the Twenty-First Century population, would rather be informed by other people, than put in work to seek investigative answers for themselves. As a result, the popular ideas and belief systems get to shape the basis on which they make decisions or groom their lifestyle.
The bandwagon effect, ensures certain actions are appropriate to us, as long as it’s embraced by other people. Isn’t it quite stunning how we impulsively join in the laughter even when we don’t exactly get the joke? Or weird sometimes, to see how an entire crowd is driven into giving a round of applause after three or four persons first decided to clap? As music lovers, we’ve occasionally run into songs on radio/television which we detested right on the spot. Amazingly, some of those songs we hated or once branded as ‘wack’ the first few times we heard them, gradually grew into becoming the favorite on our playlist the more it was promoted and endorsed by people around us. I know over a dozen people with very little interest in soccer who’ve hardly ever sat through forty-five minutes of a soccer game without feeling extremely bored or dizzy, but passionately show great support for the popular football clubs they only hear people talk about. “Arsenal will win the world cup!” one of them confidently boasted to the amazement of everyone.
During elections, I get really amused when I try to make small talk with fellow voters in the queue. When it gets to inquiring on their choice of candidate, and why such candidate is preferred, some of them can’t exactly tell why. “My whole family and neighbors are rooting for him, so I decided to tag along!” an excited voter once narrated to me with a huge smile… Well, of course, I smiled back (grudgingly).
In every market, there are a few cheap products that provide better quality than the expensive ones. These products however, continue to be less desirable because almost everyone jumps on the bandwagon that equates high price to high quality.
Mainly in Africa and a few other parts of the world, a lot of marriages are being fiercely prohibited from taking place because of ethnic, tribal, religious or racial sentiments. Sometimes, for silly reasons such as the ill-judged generalized perception of people from a certain tribe, race or religious affiliation.
Ridding yourself of the bandwagon effect, requires courage in taking a step out of the norm. Stick to what you like or dislike regardless of who feels otherwise. Be bold to know what’s right or isn’t right for you without giving much thoughts to public opinion. Allow your own principles to govern the parliament of your heart. Equip yourself with knowledge to know where to draw the line between religious fanaticism and your personal service to God. Win your life back, and take full control of it!
Bio: Nimi Princewill is a Nigerian-born writer and social reformer.