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Why You Should Stop Following the Herd - How To Quit Working
Why You Should Stop Following the Herd

Why You Should Stop Following the Herd

Lifestyle means doing it YOUR WAY. It means doing life the way YOU want, not the way your parents, teachers, friends, family, celebrities, politicians or “lifestyle gurus” think you should do it.

Hangin’ with Tom and Walt

On a recent beautiful spring day in St. Louis, I was at a friend’s house and saw exactly what I was talking about. Tom has an English Bulldog named Walter. Walter is old for a dog. He’s about 10, which is up there for a Bulldog. But he hasn’t lost his zeal for life.



While we were hanging out, drinking beer and philosophizing about life, politics and whatever else, Walter seemed antsy, so Tom went to get Walter a raw-hide bone to chew on.

Hearing the sound of the wrapper on the bone made Walter’s ears perke up and his head was tilt to his right as if to say, “Could it be? Is it possible? Today? Might I be about to get a (insert drumroll here) bone???!!!”

Great Day for Walter

Walter’s hope was true. It’s as if he has received the most wonderful thing a dog could receive — a raw-hide bone.

Walter was very excited about this bone and all the joy it has in store for him. He immediately went to town, chewing away at it, fully immersed in the sheer joy of chewing. Nothing could get him down now.

Walter went at the bone for about 5 or 10 minutes, then suddenly stopped. He laid the bone down, sat back on his haunches, and looked around–as though he were looking for something.

He did that for a few minutes and then picked up the bone and headed off with the bone in his mouth to a spot just 5 or 6 feet away. He set the bone down and began scratching at the ground as though he were trying to dig a hole. He kept at this for a while.

The Perfectionist

But he soon set the bone back down and looked around some more, as if to say, “This spot won’t do. I have to find a better place.”

After looking around a bit, he moved to another spot, and went through the digging motions once more. Again, this spot just didn’t seem right. So he moved to a third and final spot, and clearly, this was where he needed to be, because he confidently went through the digging motions, deposited the bone and then pushed his nose in a sweeping manner towards the bone.

A Job Well Done for the Wrong Reason

All done.

Walter plopped down, satisfied with a job well done; his bone supply now one greater.

I left an important detail out of this story: This all occurred in the living room.

Doing What You Are “Supposed to” Do

The Herd

The Herd

Walter was doing what he thought he was supposed to do. He did it because when he was a puppy, he saw everyone else doing it.

The result? A lot of energy spent to accomplish Absolutely Nothing.

Studies show that 80% of people are dissatisfied or disengaged with their job. (citation) That’s because 95% of the population is just doing what they think they are supposed to do.

Scratching at the hardwood floors in a vein attempt to accomplish something.

80% of the population is just scratching at the floor in a vein attempt to accomplish something.

Most don’t even know what they are trying to accomplish and their efforts certainly aren’t leading to anything useful or meaningful.

What’s the difference between the 80% who are unhappy and the 20% who are?

The 80% Say:

But if everyone is doing it, it must be right.


Followers Have Never Mattered

Ancient Greek crackpots had a crazy notion that the world was round. Those nutballs remained on the fringes of society through the days of Plato and Aristotle in the 300’s and 400s BC, through the middle ages, and until Ferdinand Magellan finally circumnavigated the earth in 1522, finally proving who the real crackpots were. Details courtesy of Wikipedia, cause I sure as hell don’t remember any of that from school.

The 20% Say:


Now What?

We’re not followers. We are lifestyle snobs. We want the freedom to pursue life on OUR terms.

We don’t do what everyone else is doing, just because everyone is doing it. We watch everyone else trying to dig holes in the hardwood floor, baffled as to why someone would do that.

“Why?,” we ask.

Keep asking why.

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About Jeff Steinmann

Jeff wants to help you Live More. He is the author of How to Quit Working, A Simple Plan to Quit Your Job for a Life of Freedom. He hosts a weekly show called The How to Quit Working Show that features lessons from Freedom Fanatics who quit their soul-sucking 9-5 job and created a business that lets them live a passionate life of freedom. Jeff also writes for several media outlets, including The Huffington Post, Lifehack and Elite Daily. Most of all, Jeff is a Freedom Fanatic, fiercely devoted to finding a better way to “do life”.

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  • Jasmine Sampson

    Love the story Jeff – you really had me hooked! And a great reminder to keep asking myself ‘Why’ to everything I’m doing

    • http://howtoquitworking.com/ Jeff Steinmann

      Awesome Jasmine! Keep asking why!!!!

  • Khalid Essam

    Great article Jeff, It’s amazing your ability to simplify ideas by giving strong examples and comparisons!!

    • http://howtoquitworking.com/ Jeff Steinmann

      Thanks Khalid! Glad you enjoyed. :-)