The Rule of 500

One pretty good definition of immorality is: Any activity that, if everybody at once decided to engage in, would lead to the collapse of society.

So, consider stealing for a moment.  This is the activity of taking something that’s not yours from someone else, the owner who probably worked very hard to obtain it in the first place, without their permission.

Life would go on relatively smoothly if only a few people in society engaged in stealing.  But, imagine if everybody in a society decided to become thieves.  They all decided to acquire their possessions by taking what’s not theirs, from other people around.  Everybody’s stealing.  That means nobody’s really working.  Everyone wants to get something for relatively nothing (like lotto players).  No one is producing anything.  And an unproductive society soon collapses.

What about deciding not to have children?

Some people legitimately cannot have children, due to medical reasons.  Some people decide not to have, for some other reasons.  Some would not have because of the nature of their nuptial arrangements.

But what if everybody decided not to have children?  That society won’t be able to reproduce itself, leading to its eventual collapse.

How about something seemingly innocuous as littering the streets?  It’s okay if only a few people littered.  It would be easy for others, those who don’t litter, to pick them up from the streets and dispose properly.  It would also be easy for the sanitation workers to clean up easily.

But what if everyone in that society decided to become litterbugs?  Everyone decided to carelessly drop their banana peels, yoghurt wrappers, egg shells, water sachets and all the street food wraps in public places instead of properly disposing them in the garbage bins?

Well, hello slum!  That society collapses into an unhealthy slum, where nobody can think beyond the clutter.

The point is not to give you a lesson on morality.  I know that many people now have their different definitions of the term.  Some even say that it is subjective – you define your own morality.  To them, I send my kind regards.

The point, rather, is to get you thinking – thinking about the imminent collapse of society and the prevention thereof.

Thanks to Statistics and the normal distribution of events; we know that not EVERYBODY can decide to do one single thing at the same time and in the same manner.  There’s the majority who do things casually, and there are those at the two extremes of the bell-curve who either do too much of it or none of it at all.

These people in the middle, the majority, are mainly ‘followers’ rather than ‘leaders’.  And it is highly likely that you and I belong to this group.  We do what we see others do.  We are highly influenced by society.

But what if we decided to become leaders instead?  What if we finally came to realize that it is up to no one else but us to identify ourselves as leaders, and begin to influence those around us, the majority, the followers, with our actions today?  It is quite simple.

Just consider ‘The Rule of 500’.

Before you do anything, ask yourself: “If 500 people around me were to do this same thing, what would that look like?”

Ask yourself before you drop litter in public.  Ask yourself that question before you drive on the wrong lane in traffic.  If 500 cars saw you switching lanes and decided to follow you, what would traffic look like?

Ask yourself that question before jumping the queue anywhere.  If 500 other people refused to line up, what would that look like?

In other words, always consider those around you first, before you engage in any activity that affects others.

This is how to be a leader.  This is how to prevent the collapse of society.  It begins with you as an individual, setting the right examples for those in the middle of the bell-curve of life, the majority, to follow.

Everybody may never decide to do something detrimental all at once, but five hundred people can.  One thousand, even five thousand could!  But it is up to you – one person – to set the tone for what you want to see happen around you, in society.

Others are watching, believe it or not. So quit trying to be the exception and become the example.

  • Tobi M


    October 7, 2018
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