People just don’t realize how much peer pressure, the desire for peer acclamation, influences them.
We’ve all had conversations with our mothers that go something like this:
Me: “Mom, I shaved my head.”
Mom: “Why did you do that?”
Me: “They made me do it!”
This is peer pressure, and it’s not always the best thing in the world. In fact, I’m sure peer pressure has led us all to do some pretty stupid things – like the time I smoked my first cigarette – or like the time I gave the substitute teacher a hard time in junior high school – or like the time I ordered a bunch of food at the McDonald’s drive through and then drove away. All these events were influenced by peers, and they aren’t the kinds of things that make me proud.
But what if peer pressure was actually a good thing?
What if our peers could actually get us to do things that we really should do?
One of the reasons I seek out accountability in my life (like from our GSAB – Guatemala Strategic Advisory Board) is because I know these people will actually have a positive impact on my life. They will make me do it – the things I need to do.
Without accountability I may be able to accomplish a few things, but I know I’ll accomplish more of the things I should be accomplishing when I surround myself with people who will spur me on.
The best kind of accountability on a team is peer-to-peer. Peer pressure is more efficient and effective than going to the leader, anonymously complaining, and having them stop what they are doing to intervene.
“It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a partner suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18 my paraphrase) From the very beginning of time, God placed people together to encourage and uplift each other. Adam was not complete without his accountability partner, Eve.
“A chord of three strands is not easily broken.” In Ecclesiastes (4:12 my paraphrase), Solomon recognizes the power of doing things with others.
“Don’t give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing. But spur each other on all the more as you see the day approaching.” In Hebrews (10:24-25 my paraphrase), we’re reminded again of the power of community, the power of accountability that comes from hanging out with other people.
You and I need this kind of peer pressure in our lives.
Peer pressure is not always negative. Sometimes, it inculcates new hobbies, habits, attitudes health conscience or a strong urge to succeed amongst people and where this happens, it is positive.
We need people who will spur us on. We need people in our lives who will make us stronger. We need people who will partner with us and make us better.
I hope you have this kind of peer pressure in your life. If not, what are you doing about it?
How has peer pressure influenced you positively or negatively? Share your thoughts in the comments.