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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | Cut Yourself Loose from the Herd!

Cut Yourself Loose from the Herd!

I’ve now had a guest blog post from nearly every member of my family — except one. Well, today, I’m very pleased to introduce you to my husband, Bob. He’s my best friend, my advisor, my tech crew, and the reason I ever became brave enough to publish a book. Today, he’s going to share some tips on cutting yourself from the herd …

THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED – advice from Bob Salerni

“So, you like to take the road less traveled, eh?”

I was startled by the words of the Disney employee standing next to an empty FASTPASS machine. I already thought it must be broken or some kind of trick. After fighting my way thru the heavy crowds in Adventure Land, most of whose deodorant was not up to the task that day, I found myself watching other park-goers standing in FASTPASS lines 15-20 deep for the same attraction — as my machine spit out a ticket with a small, reassuring noise.

I looked at the Disney employee as he smiled at me. He made no move to summon the other guests or to organize the mob. Was he there just keeping tabs on Disney’s little social experiment? The machine was located by itself, a short distance away from the others, but still clearly labeled and open. Why did everyone go stand in the long line? Duh! Because there was a line!

What is it about our nature that makes us want to follow the herd? As I had already read — and was quickly discovering to be true — when at any crowded venue, it’s best to do the *opposite* of everyone else.

A website that I used to plan our Disney trip offers a complete analysis of Theme Park crowd psychology. What’s really scary is how accurate and useful it is. Big event here today? Nope. Avoid it like the plague. Extra hours tonight? Probably not. Go to sleep and start out early tomorrow while everyone else is tired. Time and again, this strategy worked flawlessly.

I’ve seen it in operation elsewhere too. Really, almost everywhere you look you can find examples of how *not* following the crowd will get you where you want to go faster.

Even when someone offers helpful advice for avoiding a line, most people will resist. On a recent jaunt through security at the Philadelphia Airport I was waiting in a very long and growing line at Terminal B. A nice TSA employee circulated through the crowd and told everyone there was NO LINE at Terminal C. Just walk about 500 feet out of your way and back to avoid standing here for 45 minutes to an hour. Did she get many takers? Of course not. Everyone stood frozen, unwilling to risk the unknown of walking over *there* and back.

Being the risk-taker that I am (and being able to clearly SEE the other empty TSA line from where I stood!), I walked over and was on my way in less than 2 minutes.

Look around and see where you really want to go. There may be a better way to get there.

Which road do you prefer ?

13 Responses to Cut Yourself Loose from the Herd!

  1. salarsenッ says:

    This was great, Dianne. He blogged for you. How cool.

    I would have to say I’m someone who does not follow the crowd. Nope. I usually do just the opposite. “;-)

  2. I absolutely agree. I always tell my reporters that when you go the opposite direction of everyone else, you often find a better story. I remember the great story about the man who dug the grave for JFK. I think it was Jimmy Breslin who wrote the article for New York Herald Tribune. Reporters flocked in one direction and Jimmy went in another. Who would have thought to interview the grave digger making like 3 bucks an hour digging graves at Arlington. Anyway, great post and can be applied in so many areas of our lives.

  3. Linda G. says:

    Great post, Bob. 🙂

    Being rather independent soul–and hating crowds–I always tend to choose the road less traveled.

  4. Claire Dawn says:

    I can see why you’d marry him 🙂

    @Bob, I also dislike a crowd, and if I can avoid one, I will. When I was little and my Dad took us to the drive in, there’d always be a line to get out when the movie was over. My dad would either sense the end was near and move off early, or stick around and watch the credits. Guess it’s genentic.

  5. Talei says:

    Oh I’m always on the road less travelled too! 😉

    Funny – just two weeks ago at a concert, there was a huge queue which everyone kept joining – ignoring the other two gates. I couldn’t understand it, I walked up to one of the empty gates and asked the guard if this was any different. It wasn’t and I was through security in 2 seconds. Funny how everyone gravitates to queues.

  6. JEM says:

    Love it! I’m really bad about crowd mentality, especially when it comes to food lines. I’ll wait for someone else to make the first move no matter how hungry I am. Must…over…come…

  7. Lenny Lee! says:

    hi mr bob! that was a pretty neat post. i like that picture to. for me mostly im with my brothers or my sister at a place thats got a big crowd. i stick with them some and then i just gotta get away and go see whats all around the place where people arent all smooshed up together. they get sooo worried cause they say i always getting lost. but im not lost cause i know right where i am and mostly is lots more exciting and fun then where they are. 🙂
    …smiles from lenny

  8. Boomergolf says:

    Bob –
    You are spot on! My wife thinks I have sold my soul because I can find a parking spot in the front row at the mall EVERY TIME! People just assume that those rows are full and *follow the herd* to the back row.

  9. Boomergolf, If you sold your soul, I’m sure it was for something much better than a parking space! 🙂

  10. Thanks everyone for the comments. It’s fun to go your own direction and beat the crowd, its even more fun when it winds up being a unique experience !

  11. Amie B says:

    the robert frost poem is one of my favorite. i always strive to take the road less traveled. it makes all the difference.

    besides, i’m no sheeple.

  12. The common consensus here is that writers are notorious for not following the herd! I guess that should come as no surprise!

    Buffy — I had not heard that story before. What a marvelous example!

    Thanks, everyone, for responding and giving the hubs a thumbs up on his first guest post. That makes it more likely I can convince him to do another one … 😀

  13. I love the message! And I love that your family blogs with you. You know what they say about a family that blogs together…