This last winter I got the opportunity to go snowmobiling a couple times. (Yes, the snow was horrible! Yes, it was still fun! Yes, I will still pout about the snow, or lack there of!) This is something that I do with my whole family but I mainly go with my dad. One day we went up on Grand Mesa and pulled into the parking lot there by the Visitor Center and unloaded the snowmobiles. We got ready to go on our ride and we looked out across the lake and saw that the snow had melted in the very center of the lake. You could see the ice/water standing in the middle of the lake.
Ultimately, we made the decision that it was too dangerous to ride across the lake and that we would go around and ride else where. After loading everything back up and riding in the pickup my dad started to questions his decision. There were several tracks that had gone right
across the "melted" portion of the lake, "were we just waisting time going around when truly it would have been fine to go across?" I got to thinking about that statement and the echoed statement I had made in my own mind. The ice was fine for everyone else, wouldn't it have been fine for us?
Oh how quickly we fall into the trap of peer pressure! Just because someone else had done it made me think that I could do it, that it really wasn't that dangerous. Oh, how blind we can be and how quickly our brains can be tricked.
What did it cost us to go around? 20 minutes time and a little effort loading and unloading.
What would it have cost us to ride across the lake? In a nutshell nothing, but I could have easily cost us everything! See we could have been the person to break the ice, odds are both of us wouldn't have fallen in, one of us would have witnessed something that we would have had to carry with us, alone, for the rest of our lives. Something "unforgivable" and for 20 minutes of time and a little effort. Yet, it didn't take us long to think we had made the wrong decision to go around.
See there was one factor that we hadn't thought through yet!
I have had the opportunity to meet many people in my life so far and let me tell you, there are some amazing people out there! They are kind, compassionate, smart, dedicated, passionate, loyal, brave, strong, self-less, and more. Believe it or not, these people do exist! However, for every one of those people I have met I have met an equally opposite person. For as kind as one had been another had been mean, as dedicated as the one lazy was the other, as self-less as the first, as selfish was the second, as smart as the first, was as dumb as second!
Now don't get me wrong, I think anyone is capable of anything if they work hard enough at it, believes in themselves enough, and has the right support system. I have had the opportunity to witness the impossible becoming possible enough times to truly believe that anything is possible, including the impossible! But that doesn't mean that everyone sets out to achieve that. Sadly, there are people that are okay with just being subpar and even sadder than that there are people that don't even care enough to try.
Now I bet you are wondering where I am going with all of this and how it applies to a melting lake... well here it is...
I felt stupid for not trusting the facts my eyes saw by crossing the lake just like everyone else had done, but what I didn't take into account was I don't know who those people were that crossed the lake before me.
Maybe they were dare-devils that rode across on a bet, maybe they were olympic athletes that thought even if it did break they could survive, or maybe they were just being stupid people and didn't stop long enough to think about the outcome. You see it only takes one stupid person to do one stupid thing to make everyone else feel stupid for not doing it.
Isn't that what peer pressure is? One action causing others to follow suit so they don't feel out of place. What if we started to change peer pressure? Instead of it being a negative thing, to being a positive thing! What if instead of one stupid action, we start a one kind action or one smart action. You see all peer pressure is, is a ripple... it is what starts it that defines whether it is good or not!
So the next time you feel drawn into do something, no matter how big or small, stop and think... Are the footsteps you are following Smart Foot Steps or Dumb Ones?