Once me and a buddy were feeling rebellious.
This was back in high school.
I was a bit of a non-conformist.
We were sitting in algebra class, talking about how it sucked to have to follow the “rules.”
Of course, at the time, the “rules” were do your homework, get up when the bell rings, and ONLY when the bell rings.
We decided to rebel.
To give the finger to the system.
Our way of doing that was to stand up BEFORE the bell rant.
(I know, crazy!)
We imagined the teacher yelling at us, the other kids gasping in horror.
In our high school brains, that was us making a “statement” against the “system.”
Only it didn’t quite work out that way.
We stood up, and nobody gasped, nobody was outraged, and the cops didn’t show up.
What happened was that everybody else stood up.
They figured since SOMEBODY had stood up, it was time to go.
They didn’t even notice the bell hadn’t rung.
The teacher looked up, a little baffled.
(He usually read the newspaper in the last ten minutes or so of class while we got started on our homework).
He looked at the clock (still a minute to go) and then back at all the other kids.
They seemed to know what was going on (since they were following me and my non-conformist buddy), and even though the clock wasn’t playing along, the teacher (the actual authority of the crowd) just shrugged his shoulders and went back to his paper.
The moral of the story?
We humans are HARD WIRED to follow people.
And if the RECOGNIZED authority (in this case the teacher) doesn’t do his job, they’ll follow whoever TAKES AUTHORITY from him or her.
Now, we weren’t intending to start a revolution or anything.
But this accidental experiment showed a very powerful (and largely unknown or leveraged) facet of human nature.
Humans NEED an authority figure.
We feel LOST without one.
And MOST of our authority figures (the official ones with the titles and uniforms and degrees) really SUCK at it.
Most of them don’t want authority because they actually want to LEAD PEOPLE to better lives.
Most of them are like our algebra teacher.
It’s a job that pays OK, and comes with BUILT IN authority.
The authority comes with the job (or position or degree or certificate).
NOT THE PERSON.
But we humans are hard wired to follow people with REAL AUTHORITY.
Not the authority that comes with a piece of paper or a uniform or a job description.
You may say that people today are STARVED for real authority.
Which means YOU can step up, and fill the gap.