Here I am before dawn having just looked up at the moon. It is just above freezing and the air is crisp. At this time the town is silent, nothing apart from me is stirring.
And I am contemplating the going first problem. Nobody really likes to go first, most want someone else to do this, to initiate or begin things. It is less risky. Yet here is the problem; if you go first you immediately set yourself up for criticism, gossip and finger-pointing. The “I told you so” mind-set is ready to have its say. The more novel and avant-garde that going first is, the more people will seek to limit, to ridicule. In some extreme cases that can get you crucified.
So if you have gone first and had a bad experience therefrom, it is less likely that you will go first again. Genuine novelty is limited by the mental and societal inertia. Despite all the words suggesting that new stuff is welcome, the reality is that it isn’t really, especially if it threatens a “power base” even tangentially. Kaizen may be tolerated, a leap far into the unknown, isn’t. The chattering classes will chatter. It is this that emasculates and prevents, it limits.
We are left with a problem, there may be some urge for new, but those who bring “going first” are told to heel, almost forced to heel. This causes a disinclination. And so everyone says after you, after you. And thus nobody makes a bold leap into the unknown, because one is told to heel and sit. Woof. There is no shortage of control freakery.
In any group of people if the one prone to going first is discouraged, then there is nobody to go first, nobody to initiate or start things. And so the group stands around thinking, after you. People will play the “I don’t know what to do” game.
This is the crux of the going first problem, no after you, I insist, after you. And should someone pluck up the courage, they have to run the gamut outlined above. Thus things which might have gotten started never do.