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 ?