As a child I can remember wondering why I went to bed at a different time to some of the other kids at school. Or read different books, watched different things on TV, ate different types of food. On reflection, I tended to focus on the ‘cool kids’ the popular ones, the ones I wanted to be accepted by. If they said they went to bed later than I did, I latched on to that. I ignored the other kids whom went to bed earlier than I did. And I believed everything they said. I never doubted or asked for evidence. Our kids are starting to do the same now.
Comparing ourselves to others and peer pressure doesn’t stop in adulthood. Sometimes it gets worse. But the comparison almost always involves people or organisations that have more of something we want or value. More money, more influence, more publicity, more followers, more status. Comparison leads to a feeling of lack, not gratitude.
Peer pressure is similar, leading to doing things because of a fear of missing out more than anything to do with our values.
Comparison, peer pressure, and fear can be powerful levers for change, however when used we can feel manipulated or disappointed in the long run. Change makers know this and therefore ask ‘why’ a lot to help teams unpack the motivation. Asking ‘why’ may not be popular, but it is still important, especially when seeking long term change.