It was compelling, if somewhat disturbing, viewing and proved an interesting point. We, you and I, humans everywhere, are susceptible to being influenced by what we think is expected of us, by peer pressure. We know it and we maybe think we deal with it okay and wouldn't be pushed too far. If you're in the UK you can watch the whole programme here.
This show tends to imply that's not true. 3 out of 4 subjects in the experiment went along with what was asked of them and pushed the (stunt)man off the roof of a building. All a little depressing since I can imagine they are reasonably representative of the population at large and, hoping for a sound moral core, I'd like to think we are better than that. It does tend to ratify the related idea that a lot of people would commit a crime if there were no consequences for themselves. Worrying.
But back to the programme which I said promoted growth. the bit I really liked was at the end, after three 'murders' had been committed, listening to the accuseds talking about how they would be dialling up their watchfulness and taking more control of their own lives. I like it when people aim for this and not the slough of lazily being controlled by someone else. Derren Brown was spoken of in terms of 'manipulation' and one tweet suggested how powerful he could be if he used his powers for evil, but I suspect there are already lots more nameless folks out there already doing just that. What else is marketing other than a (not always) subtle attempt to change how you think and therefore what you do? How many CEOs would like to be able to manipulate us to behave in a profit-making way for their companies?
Once we have identified external controls in our life, how can we cut them out? Questions to consider would include:
- Is it a constant or part of a pattern?
- Are we always weaker at particular times, when we are tired, or have had a drink for example?
- Is there a place where we are more easily influenced, for example in the tea room at work, down the pub, at home
- Are we more easily swayed by some people than others (well yes, we are, but which are those with an unhealthy affect on us)?
- Do we react less helpfully in certain situations, because of the impact of others?
Even with all the questions you might be struggling to nail down what the issue is - you just know you are unhappy with the way you are behaving. If that's the case, and the suggestions on the flowchart download have still not helped, then get in touch to talk things through and if I can help you with some coaching then we can work together on whatever is bugging you.