Majority ain’t always right
What is right is not always trendy and what is fashionable is not always right. Was the majority right when they refused to believe that the earth moved around the sun and let Galileo be driven to his knees like a dog? The truth is; majority is not always right. But in this day and time, everyone wants to be in the majority, because they love to identify with what is popular and trendy. This is one of the reasons why men and women of strong and sturdy convictions are very uncommon and rare today.
What I am sharing with you today is the reason trailblazers always leave the rest of the world in the dust. It always does give birth to new trends. And it is also the reason why just one idea can suddenly take over the world. In addition, when the world is low, the trailblazers reach high. And when those who birth rare solution to problems wreaking havoc on the world go left, everyone else usually looks right.
This is so profound: a lie does not become truth, wrong does not become right and evil does not become good, just because it is accepted by the majority. Many years ago, I hosted some leaders to brainstorm a critical leadership issue that was causing confusion in the country. One of the leaders present said and I quote: “I believe something is true only when it is popular and accepted by the majority…” After taking the mentioned popular leadership stance, we deliberated on it intensely and ultimately, we were able to see eye to eye, taking an unpopular deportment and stance—that so far something is popular does not make it true.
It is also said that whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect). In every generation, this is the truth. Each time the majority is running with an issue, I like to pause and think through the issue. The truth is; the majority rarely embraces the truth. It takes only those who are in the minority to cuddle and run with the truth in every generation.
In an attempt to take this decisive and elemental issue a little further, I’d like to say that wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it. Take for instance, because the majority of young men and young women are “sagging” their pants does not make it right. And because the majority of ladies are wearing chains on their legs does not make it right. What is wrong is wrong even if the majority embraces it. Do not forget this and do not mix it up.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “the only tyrant I accept in this world is the ‘still small voice’ within me. And even though I have to face the prospect of being a minority of one, I humbly believe I have the courage to be in such a hopeless minority.” I completely agree with Gandhi, one of the great leaders of the 20th century. To become a great and exceptional leader in the 21st century, you’d need to build up and develop the courage and bravery to face the prospect of being a minority of one, if the need arises.
As I set in motion to round off today, I want to lay an interesting story before you as onions and I am very sure that it is going to add an awe-inspiring value to you and your leadership. A king wanted to make a crucial decision and before doing so, he invited about 400 leaders to rub minds with him. Before you could say ‘jack’, all of them spoke in one voice that what the king wanted to do was the right thing to do. If you were to be in the king’s shoes, wouldn’t you feel secured that the decision you want to make is a sure banker, resting on the corporate minds of 400 people?
The king in question did understand the issue I am sharing with you today. He sensed that something was underhanded and fishy about the corporate position of those 400 leaders. The king understood that because the majority takes a position does not make it right. And because kings (leaders) are not allowed to make decisions, banking on lies, he went ahead to consider a man—who was in a minority of one as Mahatma Gandhi. The question is: is it possible for 400 people to be wrong while one man is right? I shall come back to answer this question.
If you were to stand amongst 400 people, will you blend with them or stand out? It is easier to blend than to stand out of the crowd. It is easier to run with a lie (especially when the majority is running with it) than to run with the truth, especially when the majority kicks against it. The future belongs to leaders—who will stand their ground even if they are going to stand alone. Remember, it is better to stand alone and be right than to stand with 400 folks and be wrong.
Let me quickly answer the question I asked the other time: it is possible for one man to be right while 400 folks are wrong. This is ratio one to four hundred (1:400)! Four hundred men said yes while only one man said no. Against what is right, the king chose to move with the majority and kicked against the minority of one. And that decision ultimately backfired!
In leadership, you are not allowed to go with what is popular just because the majority is in support of it. And each time you find yourself standing with the majority, always pause and think on it. Remember, the majority is not always right. Always stand with what is right even if you are going to be alone, running with it.
See you where great leaders are found!