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Success, Accountability and Conformity: How Others Impact Us

When we succeed in what we do, we start to focus on the fact that we were successful and often all the sacrifices we made fade to the back. The success takes over and we move on to our next feat. However, I think that we should take time to focus and appreciate the sacrifices we made to create our success. Most of the time, in order to achieve something, we have to sacrifice some amount. This idea of sacrifice for something else is so important to our society that it is studied intensely in Economics.

As an Economics major, I have studied the theory of opportunity cost. It is defined as the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen. An example of this is you could spend some of your time you spend time going to a movie. However, when you decide to use this time at the movies, you cannot spend that time at home studying. If someone chooses to stay at home and study, their opportunity cost would be the loss of the enjoyment they would have had at the movies. If the person chooses to go to the moves, their opportunity cost would be the loss in studying time and possibly resulting in lower testing scores. I have experienced this more than ever before over these past few months. With my GRE coming up soon, studying has to be the priority in order to achieve the scores I need. However, it is very hard to use my time to study when there are so many things I would rather do. It is so hard to miss out on things that are fun to do something far the opposite. The bigger picture of success is hard to see sometimes but keeping that my focus has helped me to justify studying.

I think it is important for people to feel accountable to themselves but I believe people are far more accountable to others than they feel to themselves. There are countless examples of this regardless of the situation. Often on the news, you will see couples who together were able to lose “x” amount of weight. They will often explain how prior to working together, they individually struggled to lose weight. This is one example of how being accountable to another person has helped in a personal endeavor. Often people get gym buddies because this helps keep people motivated to go to the gym. When you know someone else is expecting you and waiting on you, even if you don’t feel like going, you push yourself to go. In the workplace, you work harder and better when you known your team is depending on your work. On a sports team, it is highly evident as well. You perform your best because you know that your team’s overall success depends on you. I read an article this past week on Harry Styles from One Direction. He talked about how he never experimented with drugs until leaving One Direction. The interviewer asked him why he didn’t experiment with drugs before and his response was that his band depended on him. The One Direction boys had a certain persona to display, and drug use was not part of this look. He said that it would have harmed the group overall if he dabbled with drugs. All of these are examples of accountability being to others.

I think accountability should definitely be a personal one but the need to be accepted and liked by others around us pushes us to adhere to the standards. We often will lose what makes us individuals to fit in with the group. There is a very well known experiment in Psychology that demonstrates this idea known as the Asch Conformity Experiment. In this experiment, there was one target line and three option lines. The participants were supposed to pick the option line that most matched the length of the target line. In the experiment, the participants and actors were in a group setting. One by one they were supposed to answer the answer they believed to be right- and there was obviously only one correct answer. The actors from the study would deliberately choose the wrong answer, and when the real participants were supposed to answer- they almost always chose the answer the others chose, which was the wrong answer. This study showed objectively how people even when they believe the group is wrong, will still conform due to the need to fit in. This idea is seen in every facet of today’s society.

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