We all like winning the approval of others to some extent. And, generally speaking, the more the merrier. We gain a sense of security and comfort when our thoughts and actions match those around us. However, what’s popular is not always better.
Certainly, our desire for inclusion runs deep. And this is part of how we’re created.
We were created for relationships and remain very sensitive to disrupting our connections and risking ultimate abandonment.
Often this means we simply conform to whatever group we’re a part of as we seek to maintain the status quo.
And anytime we step out, there’s considerable peer pressure to get back in line.
This provides strong motivation from without and within to adopt whatever is popular –from fashion trends and entertainment choices, to social thought and political opinions.
And, to be sure, we face less criticism, backlash, and isolation when we live within the general consensus of the majority around us.
This is not all bad. Some things are indeed popular because of the inherent value it possesses. It has majority consensus because it works and is good. The wheel is popular for good reason.
But many other times popular should not be confused with better.
Jesus put it this way: The highway to hell is broad and wide and there are many who choose to go this way. But the path to life is very narrow and difficult and only a few ever find it.
In the end, what’s popular is not necessarily the path to life. True life is independent of the crowds and is not found by a vote of the majority.
We must do the hard work of discovering what’s actually true, good, and beautiful, and not merely adopting whatever’s popular.
All too often popularity is just a house of cards that eventually collapses.
Be diligent in finding true life and not simply conforming to what’s popular.