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3. Don't Groupthink Your Dreams Away

Hugh Sifu: [00:00:00] Hey guys, thanks for listening to Thoughts of a Random Citizen. I wanted to remind everyone that the ideas expressed in the show are just thoughts from a random citizen. While I do have my areas of expertise and do my best to research thoroughly before each episode, this podcast is designed to stir conversation and provoke your mind. These are just thoughts that pop in and out of the head of an everyday citizen. Please keep that in mind when listening and understand that facts and logic rule the day. Thanks for keeping an open mind and happy listening.


Hugh: All right guys, welcome back to Thoughts of a Random Citizen. I am your host, Hugh Sifu. Quite a big episode today. Just a lot of information for you guys, I'm going to try to get it out as efficiently as possible, a bit more upbeat for sure this episode, definitely compared to the last few episodes I've released. Got a poem for you in the middle that hopefully most of you have heard of, but a reminder of kind of day to day life. Really, some of the episodes have been downtrodden, but you can't turn a blind eye to the way the world operates. If you want to change it, you can't really change it from the outside, you got to change it from the inside.

Otherwise, half the world will still be operating in the way you don't want. It is a pretty nice day here in Adelaide, Australia. The Suburbs. I'm actually in Glenelg, summer is in full swing finally. That is quite nice. Hopefully, all of the US listeners and anyone from Europe aren't having too bad of a winter. Vaccines are here. Hopefully we'll get to be traveling soon, but without further ado, I'll kick us off. Today's episode is kind of about groupthink. [00:02:00] The benefits of groupthink and the negatives of it, the drawbacks. Don't groupthink your dream away, if you know what I'm saying. Groupthink's often referred to as a negative thing. There are a lot of benefits.

However, if you have the right idea in mind, an entrepreneur can especially benefit from groupthink really on both sides, and find the best ways to solve or help a community that doesn't know what they're missing out on because they're involved in groupthink. Some easy examples to kind of compare this are- in my travels, I've noticed that when you move from one place to another, they do things differently, especially in another country. Because of that, you really have an opportunity to bring something from where you come from, to that new community, or vice versa, when you go back home, and you've realized that Australians operate, for example, a bit differently here, you can bring some of that back home.

I mean, you can always see cool ideas on the internet, or movies or whatever but you really don't understand it to that extent, unless you've been there and lived it and done it. We really discover and learn a lot of life when you get out of your current bubble, especially in the last- since 2000 and we've lived in a world with such connectivity. A lot of innovation has occurred just from understanding what somebody in Europe is doing that somebody in the US didn't even consider. We bring that over here, and no surprise if it's a hit in Europe, it's a hit in the US, or if it's a hit in the US it's a hit in Australia, and so on and so forth.

Now, I'm not saying that your [00:04:00] town or city isn't the best place on Earth, it totally might be. Home is where your heart is, but what I'm trying to say is, when you come from Saskatchewan, or Nebraska, or Alice Springs, you might not have the best idea about improving your beach experience, mostly because all of those places are super far away from any ocean. That doesn't mean that a place like Australia, who has beaches everywhere, can't show you or have found something that can improve your summer experience. I know where I come from, Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri--

Well, it's not where I exactly come from but anyways, they have a lot of areas around the lake, restaurants and resorts that have imported a bunch of sand so you have that beach feel on the lake. You can take that to Nebraska or Saskatchewan that have lakes. Alice Springs, not so much, but anyways, you can take some of these ideas that you don't even consider because of groupthink. Again, groupthink can be good, whether it's well-intentioned people trying to make rational decisions with harmony and productive values as your mindset, then groupthink can be good.

Don't forget that. Typically, that's not what you hear when you hear groupthink, which I'll get into that later but. Another example of how groupthink can be good for entrepreneurs who have gotten out of their comfort zone and maybe travelled a bit and decided to come home or traveled a bit and decided to set up camp somewhere else, would be a Radler beer. I'm assuming most everyone has heard of a Radler beer now. This isn't really an opportunity to expand on that much. Maybe if you have a small niche market like Kansas City, for example, or [00:06:00] Alice Springs, or Adelaide, Australia.

You can create more localized craft beer, or Radler or whatever that might be, that you can get people to get excited about locally. I know Kansas City has done that with their beer scene recently and I'm assuming most areas in the US have kind of expanded on, but Radler's not really something that's going to change for most places, considering it's probably expanded to most places. However, just to kind of explain how it started and how your mindset can be changed to find these things. Then you can kind of take these things and realize opportunities. Now the word Radler is German for cyclist. The story's origin dates back to the 1920s from a guy named Franz Kugler.

He was struggling to serve all the bikers stopping by his place for a mid-ride beer. I don't know when I've ever wanted a mid-ride beer but I haven't been to Germany yet. Kugler started mixing lager with his lemon soda in order to keep pace with his demand, and the Radler was born. If you've ever had a Radler, they're amazing on the beach, because they're super refreshing and that's kind of what this barman in Munich did was, he noticed that they didn't want beer, but they stopped by his bar and he needed to find a way to give them a more refreshing experience to quench their thirst and boom, Radler.

Whether that story is completely accurate or not, I'm assuming that at least a gentleman named Kugler did that at one point or another in the 1920s but it has now transitioned into a summer beer, and then you go into seltzers. If I wanted, I could definitely make quite a bit of money over here, [00:08:00] just copying what White Claw's done back in the US because the scene of seltzer hasn't even really started over here. It's catching wave, people are hearing about it. A lot of people in Australia asked me, "What do you think about White Claw?" I was like, "Not a fan, I'm not a huge fan of sparkling water."

Again, these are just things that when you go to another place, I'm assuming we- I mean, in the US, I just assumed White Claw was in Australia but it hasn't made it down here yet. Although it's being introduced slowly, but it's just certain things that- keep an eye out for in the future as an entrepreneur and innovator. Finally, another example, just to kind of keep your mind active on this, trying to get out of the groupthink and could be as easy as you're from California and you want to move to the Ozarks, and creating something such as kite surfing, something that you probably have back in California, that it's definitely prevalent everywhere here in Australia.

That could definitely be done in the Ozarks, although it'd probably have to be in a different style, considering you'd want to do it in a wetsuit and not busy season because otherwise you're going to be run over by a boat, or just getting specific areas of the lake designated to kite surfing, or on specific days or whatever. There's always something that you can do to make your passion, your dream come true. Something that I feel like people often forget, they say "Oh no, there's no way that's going to happen." There's definitely a way it can happen.

It might just require more work than you are willing to put in or want to put in, but it's definitely possible. I've never even heard of kite surfing until I came over here, [00:10:00] which if you're in the Midwest and live on a lake, should make your ears perk up. This is a little bit of a motivating poem in my mind, because I think it's absolutely beautiful and I'm assuming most of us have heard bits or pieces of it, but I did just want to walk you through the entirety of it. It's a bit hard maybe to understand when you just first hear it, but it highlights the benefit of not only you as a person benefiting from it, but society as a whole can benefit from walking away from the power of groupthink.

It's a poem by Robert Frost. Now, I'm not one for good poetry reading and I feel like this does a lot more when you read it yourself, but I'll just give it a try. Hopefully you guys can understand the message.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood

And sorry, I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth

Then took the other, as just as fair

And having perhaps the better claim

Because it was grassy and wanted wear

Though as for that the passing there

Had really worn them about the same

And both that morning, equally lay

In leaves, no step had trodden black

Oh, I kept the first for another day

Yet knowing how way leads on to way

I doubted if I should ever come back

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,

I took the one less traveled by

And that has made all the difference [00:12:00]

Hugh: Really, really love that poem. It just outlines how difficult it is, as well as how easy it is to go one way or the other. When you just take that extra little bit of effort to go the way that- once where that isn't the one most traveled by, it really, really makes all the difference. It's something that we forget, I feel like in this day and age, that for all, anyone in this world knows you only get this one life. If you get another life, no one either is aware of a past life that they've lived and can remember. When you live it, live it the way you want to, not the way you're told to, because you only get one to live the way you want.

Why if you could only remember your memories of a current life, why would you do and live those memories in the way that you were told, not the way that you want, but hopefully that was a bit of inspiration. I'm not one for motivating speeches very often, but I felt like that was something that helped me find my entrepreneurial spirit going and taking the less traveled path. Before I even came to Australia, I remember that most of my friends back home, especially some of my family members, one in particular told me, "Don't go, it's dangerous, there's snakes and sharks and spiders and evil jellyfish."

I was like, "There's 25 million people in Australia and they seem to be all right, so I don't think it's that bad." That's just another [00:14:00] example of how a groupthink can say, "Oh my goodness, Australia is so dangerous. Anywhere outside the US is so dangerous." It's just not true. There's billions of people outside of the US and they seem to be all right. It's one of those examples of- in the US we think that 20s are the time to graduate and work and save a bunch of money, prepare for the future with wife and kids, plan your life. In Australia, 20s are a time through patience, allow you to realize what your driving force in life is.

I found that, unless you're a very small percentage who maybe gets diagnosed with cancer, unfortunately, or something a lot deeper, but in that case, hopefully you lived your life the way you wanted before then, but in your 20s you're not going to need to pay a lot of money in healthcare, you're not going to need all of these extra bills, you don't really need that much. Use that time- unless you have student loans as well, I guess, but use that time to look into yourself and find what it is and what your drive is in life.

Have patience to find it, don't rush into something, because once you find it, you'll be much happier doing what it is that you actually enjoy, as opposed to doing what you're doing, because you were told to do it so you can save, so you can prepare for 30 years down the line, when you're 50 and don't have the same vigor that you did when you were 20. Look into yourself and find what it is you want? Learn to listen to yourself and stop scrolling on your phone. My decision has led me into the most enlightening time of my life. Keep that mind while I go into the [00:16:00] opposite side of groupthink.

Something that definitely needs to be addressed. Now, the social media conversation's for another day, but it is incredible how little we have come in trying to come together with technology. It's incredible to me, how divisive social media and technology have become. If you ask any of the curators of the very first social media startups, they'll tell you that they were trying to create a platform to bring people together, fast forward to today it's a weapon used to tear us apart. How? Because groupthink is forming two sides created by data gathered on your search habits.

I can go into the social media another day, but I'll just start off with that. What happened to the day where we used to not believe or the day where it was don't believe everything you hear on the internet? Don't believe everything you see on the internet? Almost all of it is not true. Now, the only information we get is on the internet. On top of that, it's being much more abused and much more corrupted. It's able to make false things look real much easier, it's able to share quicker, more destructive. That's insane, we now live in a time and place where it's the only place we get our information.

We don't have to consider what's true or even probably more importantly logical. Why? Because social media has created an atmosphere that creates groupthink in a matter of seconds. You think something is true because once you hear a story, which is sometimes just a story, it's everywhere in a few seconds. When you click on a bunch of different sites, they say, once you've got it from seven different sites [00:18:00] it's a fact. What if those seven sites just want to make you believe that it's a fact and it's really not? It's a bit concerning, and groupthink is very dangerous. I had a friend that I met in Broome, Western Australia, beautiful place if you ever have the chance to go.

He was telling me that he had hooked up some things to monitor his brainwaves and he was doing a bunch of different tasks, writing, drawing, math and just watching his brainwaves. Then he had a thought to pull out his phone and see what his brainwaves did when he scrolled through Twitter, Facebook. He said it was incredible and he was shocked that the brainwave measurement went flat. The line that went up and down while he was doing all these other tasks, went flat as he scrolled through social media. That's a bit scary if you ask me, that's an area that allows for groupthink, it's a vice that people don't think for themselves.

What is a way to stop groupthink? Go out in the world and see for yourself how things are- oh, wait a second. You're not really allowed to do that anymore because you're locked inside your house all day, every day. The one thing that would prevent us from groupthink and meaning going out and talking to people and not isolating yourself in reading feeds all day is prohibited. Now, I'm not saying that they're trying to create groupthink, but if you're trying to not create groupthink wouldn't you do the opposite? You're not allowed to go out of your house and see the world around you, find ideas and other places, talk and communicate [00:20:00] with people.

You're just locked inside your house. A bit sketchy, but groupthink is only positive when the group is positive, open-minded and willing to consider more than one option. Ways to avoid groupthink is to bring in experts or outsiders or hold smaller groups and discuss openly about the issue. Groupthink is peer pressure on a mass scale, we use social situations, especially ones with peers to determine what's acceptable, to question [unintelligible 00:20:31] and authorities and give feedback on behaviors. This will cause a group's behavior to influence outcome, positive outcomes. Follow. If a group is oriented around peace, harmony and happiness.

However if a group's behavior is negative, it can be catastrophic. Groupthink specifically occurs when maintaining harmony within the group is more important than analyzing the problem at hand. This very often happens in cohesive groups that are often insulated from other people's opinions and they feel that they are invulnerable. Let's just dissect that a bit more. It happens in very cohesive groups that are often insulated from other people's opinions that they feel that they're invulnerable. Well what is a way to insulate people from other people's opinions? Don't let them go out and talk to other people. That's one.

I won't dive into any more of that, but when you can't go and talk to your neighbor anymore and you just scroll, you're less inclined to be open and friends with your neighbor because you can't even see them. Once you see that they're you're human, you realize, "Oh hey man, how's it going? How have you been? Good? Good." When you just see letters on a screen it's a bit difficult to find that peace, harmony and happiness to have an open conversation, to be in those smaller groups, [00:22:00] to discuss. Groups that are susceptible to a groupthink line of thought often have very powerful, respected or important leaders.

In the interest of group unity members censor their opinions by suppressing personal doubts or maybe actively and openly pressured into conformity of the majority view. In this situation, usually the first suggestions proposed by the leader are usually adopted. If there's little hope of finding a better solution. Now as I say this, I can hear half of you finding all of the reasons to promote your view of things and the other half finding all of the reasons to promote their view of things, which is why I've said it like this, which is really just the definitions, but that's it. You find and suppress the other and don't openly discuss together.

It can be-- I'm just using this for an example of what's going on in the US right now. Both sides are using extreme groupthink right now. It's a bit scary, but if we are open enough to talk to each other, it'll be a bit better moving on from that, ask yourself what is the most monumental discoveries and inventions created since the start of mankind? Were they thinking differently from the populace or were they thinking the same? If everyone thought the same since the beginning of time, we'd still be pushing plows in a field. When I grew up conversation was encouraged. Discourse was incentivized. It's how we grew together.

That doesn't seem to be the case as often anymore. Conversation is discouraged. Discourse is decentivized and we're not really growing. If you want some advice on creating, listen to others, travel outside of your country to see the world. You will not only be inspired but enlightened. Entrepreneurship isn't easy. It takes a lot of work with little guidance. [00:24:00] You have to think independently and strongly pursue in the face of constant adversity and denial, but that's how you grow. You grow by adversity. Most of the time we learn things is from when we mess up.

Now in today's society I feel personally that you're not even allowed to do that, or it's frowned upon. Hopefully you got a little bit of what groupthink is, the positives of it. Also the negatives of it. Again, like I said at the very beginning of this episode, you can't grow into a world that you want to live in without realizing the way that it currently operates. It's not all sad people.


Hugh: Idea time, this one's pretty simple. It's already out there, but I feel like not as effectively. Essentially, I want an app on my phone and computer that whenever I open up any site whatsoever I never see one single ad. Now I know there's ad blocks and ad locks and whatever there might be out there, but I haven't really found one ad blocker that works the way I want it to. I don't want to see ads pop up obviously, but I don't even want to see it on the side or in between an article. I want to find an article. The only things that I see when I click into that article are the words that I searched for.

If I'm trying to find a company that I'm researching or an article that was posted, I would love if I could just read without seeing some new yoga pants on the side, or a guy or girl in their underwear advertising, or like-- Oh, it's so annoying. If you can find a way- and I feel like the best solution is [00:26:00] AI for this, you can find a way to implement that kind of ad blocker. You will be rich. If there is one out there please let me know. I've tried like the top 10 and I haven't found what I'm really looking for but if there is one out there and I'm missing it, please share it on the website

Please because I will download it immediately. It just goes back to the fact that AI is being used almost for the opposite. It's being used to find out how to better promote ads to people. There are some good ones out there but I want one that goes across all platforms. I got a HP computer with a Windows 10 operating system and an iPhone. I think it's like eight. I want to see if any of you guys can create something better out there. You'd make a lot of money because a lot of people are tired of ads. I promise you, I'm pretty freaking close to just boycotting big tech if it doesn't change soon, but we'll see.

I think I got pretty much most of what I was trying to get in there. That was a bit of a longer episode. Hopefully a bit more upbeat for you guys. If you would like to see what I think today's new Radler is, go to our website, Thoughts of a Random Citizen, T-O-A-R-C. That's where that comes from, and check it out under this podcast. I will have a forum with suggestions on what I think today's new, "Raddler," is, in quotations because it's not here, but anyways I think you get that.

If you do have any kind of ideas for anything that I've talked about, [00:28:00] go to that same forum and start a conversation, guys. That's what we're going for here. I hope you guys enjoyed this episode. I will see you guys next Thursday. Stay warm if you're in winter and enjoy your summer, if you're in summer. Thanks for listening to Thoughts of a Random Citizen, bye guys.

[00:28:27] [END OF AUDIO]