5 things that you lose when you conform

You might be asking yourself, ‘What is a loser?’ A loser is someone who loses and does so consistently across time.


I’ve observed 5 things that are consistently lost as a result of being a part of the crowd. After reading this you’ll know exactly what type of loser you are if you choose to conform.


1. You lose your identity

In a strange way, groups tend to take over the individual identities of their members. This is because the group itself forms a type of meta-identity that represents what all possible members should be like if they reside within the group.

The problem is, you are most likely different from many people within a given group, and that difference is usually suppressed and overshadowed by the group’s identity. This means you are unable to express that part of who you are that doesn’t align with the group.

Your ambitions, aims, and the whole idea of ‘yourself’ is reduced to the purposes of the group. You aren’t really yourself, a well-developed individual person, you are more of a cog in the machine working and living for the purposes of the group, which you may or may not naturally align with.

If you are a part of a group that aligns with who you naturally are, then that is better, but it’s still important to distinguish between who you are and who the group is. You don’t want your identity to be lost in the crowd, because what happens when the crowd turns on you?

Or what happens if that crowd disappears? You’ll have to have an identity that is independent of the group to continue to function after the group is gone.

In Freudian terms, you have to develop a strong enough ego that is capable of managing the superego. You have to develop a strong enough personality that enables you to distinguish the differences between yourself and who you are as a part of the group.

Unfortunately, most people don’t know this and are often swept away in some group, never to return to a place inside themselves where they are even capable of identifying who they really are.


2. You lose your leadership potential

I personally believe we all have leadership potential for a specific area or domain. As we all have our own identity, we also possess specific abilities that are a result of the unique combination of our human development. These abilities are what enable us to display our leadership potential and have a unique impact on our domain.

The problem is that we lose the opportunity to exercise our leadership potential when we allow the crowd to dictate our position in society. In other words, you might be a musical genius, but the group you’re a part of needs a cook, so they’ve got you cooking instead of revolutionizing the music scene.

Leaders have to break away from the group’s idea of what they think you should do or what they think you are capable of doing. You must identify those unique abilities that you have, and follow the vision you have for yourself so that you can exercise those abilities. Otherwise, you’ll end up in some job or group that severely undervalues your powers of contribution.

Crowds will always overlook the leadership potential of an individual until that individual positions themselves to display their leadership abilities and reveals their power to contribute in a certain area.


3. You lose the ability to think for yourself

Being a part of the crowd too often involves surrendering your capacity to think for yourself. Crowds follow prescribed conclusions, and utter ideological nonsense in support of their group’s preferences, with no idea of how or why they hold their beliefs.

In contrast, free thinkers discover and formulate their own conclusions, analyze their own beliefs and continue to refine them. Free thinkers don’t just follow the predominant dogma of the group or time they belong to, they continue to learn for themselves about what they think is true and what they disagree with.

In a sense, if you attack the ideology of a group, you are attacking the very thing that holds the group together. It’s rare to see a group of people have many arguments and refine and develop themselves as human beings. Most of the time when people disagree they have a big kerfuffle and then they make sure they stay as far away from each other as possible.

So in order to stay in the group, you have to submit to the thought patterns of the group. Slowly dumbing your cerebral capacities down to the menial levels necessary to cognitively process the group’s pre-established ideas. This type of dysfunction and psychological phenomenon can be seen in what has been described as groupthink.

I also want so say that you don’t need to necessarily disagree with a group to think for yourself. In fact, many people make a lifestyle of disagreeing without even validating why they disagree. You could be in complete agreement with a particular group’s conclusions, and be far more informed on why you hold those conclusions than the group is. In other words, you’re the real deal  among a bunch of phonies.


4. You lose your power to speak freely and honestly

Similar to losing the ability to think for yourself, you also lose your power to speak freely and honestly. This is because groups seem to value conformity more than authenticity.

People are afraid to look humiliated in front of a group so they try to suppress anything that might make them look bad, even if it’s true.

This works both ways. The truth teller is scared to reveal to the group anything truthful because they know they will receive backlash from those in the group who want to hide the truth.

Unfortunately, it’s those who do speak freely and honestly that get criticized by the group the most. No one wants to deal with problems, and groups think problems can magically go away by collectively ignoring them.

Of course, some groups are more open and honest than others, but there does seem to be an inherent filter against truthfulness within groups. It seems to me, that when people talk one on one, they are a lot more open and honest.


5. You lose the potential you have to display excellence beyond the average intelligence of the group

The subject of intelligence is taboo in our culture because quite frankly no one wants to be seen as unintelligent. But the reality is that people do differ in their abilities and there is nothing wrong with that. Intelligence can have an impact on our lives (income attainment, achievement, etc.), and for this reason, it should not be dismissed.

It is beyond the scope of this post to look deeply into the intelligence research, but I’d love to continue to learn more about it myself.

The average IQ score is 100 with the vast majority of the population scoring between IQ 85 and IQ 125. This means that only a small minority of people have an IQ above 125. This indicates that most groups of people would consist of those with average intelligence. If these groups make decisions by consensus (as they often do) their actions would be limited by the group’s average intelligence.

From my perspective, this means that groups hold back those who are of superior intelligence because most people in the group don’t understand those who are more intelligent than them, or they see them as a personal threat to their own dominance within the group and use the crowd against them.

A lot of the time people in groups will ignorantly confirm their own views by comparing them to the views of the crowd (who are of the same average intelligence as themselves). So anyone who follows the crowd is most likely adopting a position steeped in ignorance.

Most people are of average intelligence and ability, so if you subordinate yourself to the crowd’s potential, you are only going to be able to display average results.

You’ll want to go do something because you have the capacity and understanding to do it. But the group either won’t understand or is incapable of doing what you want to do. In other words, the group is holding you back.

Why do groups hold back great individuals? Because they are made up of mediocre people, with mediocre abilities, who have mediocre comprehension skills.

You might clearly see a great way to do something, but no one else quite understands what you are saying, even when you try to explain it, they are incapable of grasping the complexity or relevance of your proposal.

No one want’s you to be more intelligent than them. Most people are scared to death of intelligent people. I’m not just talking about smart people who know a few facts, I’m talking about really intelligent people who understand knowledge, emotions, concepts, ideas, creativity, justice, and are the full-blown enchilada.

You might think that this sounds harsh but it’s not harsh at all. For example, if a really intelligent person at work approached their boss with a solution to a workplace problem but the boss didn’t understand the solution, the boss would most likely dismiss it.

Furthermore, the boss would feel threatened that one of their employees is possibly solving problems they can’t solve. The intelligent person is suppressed along with their ideas and their excellence isn’t able to be displayed to the world.

The intelligent person tries to explain this to one of the other workers but they don’t understand either and think the intelligent person is being too ‘cocky’. At this point, the intelligent person can either decide to just follow the crowd and concede to being beaten into submission, or they can decide to gain back what they’ve lost to the crowd, their full potential.



Life will reward you for being authentic and holding onto those things that make you unique. You can start by distancing yourself from places and people who seem to strip away the important parts of who you are. Remember, you never have to lose yourself for other people.

Question: Have you ever felt like you’ve lost out by conforming to the crowd? Feel free to share your experience. You can leave a comment by clicking here.


Interesting fact

Creativity is correlated with the personality trait openness. The more open you are the more creative you are likely to be. So why not read some of my creativity posts? If you’re open that is.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.