2/27/16

Be Wary of Sheep in Wolf's Clothing


In order to be an immaculate member of a flock of sheep, one must above all be a sheep oneself.
Albert Einstein
We've all heard the old adage, "Be wary of sheep in wolf's clothing." If for some reason you haven't, it's a biblical warning about people hiding their true nature. "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves." (Matthew 7:15) It's used to describe those playing a role contrary to their real character, one who hides how dangerous they truly are and how they work off other people’s trusting nature, leading them to a certain demise. Today our challenge seems to be quite the opposite, as we praise the wolf and disdain the sheep.

We, in our ego driven need to stand out, try our best to not become sheep. Society tells us that, in order to be successful, we need to become wolves, so we are fed motivational meme after meme relating to the badassery of the noble wolves and wolf packs. Maybe this has been an indirect result of "gritty is cool" or "idealism is for kids," yet the direct result is how people are flocking to become pseudo-rebels who "challenge the establishment." These men and women model themselves to fit the expectations of the crowd as they regurgitate what that same crowd fed them in the first place. We used to see it in people taking actions simply for the amusement and validation of their friends. Today, with social media, it has become increasingly worse. They work off "like" and "share" of complete strangers, where their followers tell the "wolf" what to say and do, as they become little more than another sheep in a flock.

How often, in your attempt to be your own person, are you simply following the crowd? How often are you playing the bad boy just for the approval of others? Is their approval more important than the people you're hurting, so often simply to prove how badass you are? Harder to recognize still, but just as dangerous to yourself, how often you take a contrary stance to the crowd just to play the rebel? Isn't the crowd still telling you what to do? Are you viewing the crowd's reactions of approval or disapproval as a validation of your actions, instead of using the actual repercussions as a true measure?

In your attempt to prove how secure you are, have you become that insecure?

That's why social media is sometimes a dangerous place. Anyone can present themselves as a leader, an influencer, as everyone tries to market themselves as the protagonist of their own novel. In reality they're just rehashing the same thing everyone else is doing. If they don't keep their egos in check, or at least are honest enough with themselves to understand why they're doing something, they'll easily fall prey to the comfort of the approval of the masses as the final goal becomes being "liked" by “friends.”

Consider that person you follow and respect. Are you following them because they have something to contribute to your lives or are you following them simply because they validate your own prejudice? Gravitate to those who can make you grow and open your eyes. Do so, not to follow them, but rather to learn from them, as you become your own person. And above all, be careful that in your desperate need to become a wolf, you don't become a sheep.