Elevate Your Mind.

Through the Re:Mind Newsletter, delivered every other Tuesday, we unleash your full potential and upgrade decision-making. We’ll explore mental models and life design.

Social Proof

By Juan Carlos


Individuals are influenced and mimic what others around them are doing — monkey see, monkey do.

That effect becomes more pronounced when folks are uncertain, stressed, or confused.

Why Use It

Regardless of how individualistic people believe themself to be, most folks have an innate desire to conform. Humans assume others understand the situation better than they do and tend to exhibit a herd mentality as a result.

The behavior stems from a natural disposition to behave correctly and fit in. Interestingly, people are affected by this principle, whether they are with others or alone.

When to Use It

Social proof leads us to make fewer errors and has real-world utility: when you look at user reviews or consider seller ratings on a shopping site before buying something, you rely on others’ decisions to make your own.

How to Use It

Look at how you act in a group, and notice when people agree with each other too quickly. Are you or individuals using social queues to influence how you act or react in a situation? Being conscious of the invisible ways our mind naturally works can be enough to know whether to maintain or modify a behavior.

Marketers and salespeople take advantage of social proof to get individuals to take a specific action or convert them into customers. When someone credible evangelizes a product or service, it becomes desirable because you imagine yourself as them subconsciously.

How to Misuse It

Being unaware of this tendency makes you vulnerable to being manipulated, and people or entities can take advantage if you’re not careful.

While herd mentality and deliberate manipulation are two ways the problem manifests itself, it is not usually dangerous until the stakes are high. In these cases, social proof can give people a license to act violently or show antisocial behavior.

Next Step

Before buying the next thing you need or agreeing with someone else’s thoughts, or mimicking a group behavior, take time to pause and reflect. Ask yourself where that action or need to act originated from and gut check whether it’s something you want to do.

Where it Came From

While there are many examples of social proof throughout history, the term was coined by Robert Cialdini in his 1984 book, Influence.

Hi, I’m
Juan Carlos

Fueled by a passion for storytelling and excitement for life design, I find joy in reframing narratives to illuminate paths toward fulfillment. My experience spans high-growth startups, filmmaking, and social impact. Through mentoring and coaching, I guide teams and individuals to discover purpose and cultivate a meaningful life.

My Story

I started in film, directing award-winning features such as ‘Know How’ and ‘Second Skin.’ These cinematic endeavors earned me recognition and allowed me to serve as a spokesperson for Adobe. I founded the White Roof Project, a grassroots climate activism campaign that mitigated the urban heat island effect and spurred community-led social change.

I carried my storytelling skills and passion for societal transformation as I transitioned into the startup ecosystem. Initially, I contributed to social impact apps, converting complex issues into accessible solutions. This early experience laid a foundation for my later work, where I led the development of groundbreaking products within high-growth startups. My work has underscored the potential of technology to innovate and amplify the quality of human life.