Are You Guy #3?

Putting yourself out there, feeling uncomfortable, without any assurance or predictable outcome is really hard. But without a guy #3 (watch the video below, specifically around the 1 minute mark), we, as a whole, would never start anything or do anything remarkable. Read this blog post by Seth Godin. To create positive change, someone has to put themselves out there, take a stance, and, with conviction, stick to it. Someone has to then believe in this conviction for themselves, and join in.

Then, a third person has to tip the scale, and watch the masses come. Watch carefully for the 7, 8, and 9 dancers…and then watch as a guy actually runs over. And more start running. Soon enough, people are sprinting down the hill. They see how something has taken root, is validated, socialy accepted, and they realize they have to be in. This is how trends and change usually starts. Wouldn’t it be cool if you were guy #1, #2, or #3?

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Karolyn Chowning

Nice, positive spin on the conformity studies from Solomon Asch and later social psychologists in his tradition. Three is definitely the tipping point:

“Which aspect of the influence of a majority is more important – the size of the majority or its unanimity? The experiment was modified to examine this question. In one series the size of the opposition was varied from one to 15 persons. The results showed a clear trend. When a subject was confronted with only a single individual who contradicted his answers, he was swayed little: he continued to answer independently and correctly in nearly all trials. When the opposition was increased to two, the pressure became substantial: minority subjects now accepted the wrong answer 13.6 per cent of the time. Under the pressure of a majority of three, the subjects’ errors jumped to 31.8 per cent. But further increases in the size of the majority apparently did not increase the weight of the pressure substantially. Clearly the size of the opposition is important only up to a point.” http://www.panarchy.org/asch/social.pressure.1955.html