Herd animal is a choice except that it is a choice not often recognized. Once a herd animal does not mean always a herd animal. Once a human being makes the discovery and reasons. “Yes, I am a herd animal. I am being herded.” That person flips to the other side and starts reasoning independently of the herd. That hardly ever happens because herding behavior is so normal is it is never questioned.
Living independently of the herd really is that easy. There is one caveat. The discovery of herding nature must be at a deep enough level to influence behavior. Many things are understood academically but are treated like just another thing to know. Understanding occurs at different levels.
Herd animal is the path of least resistance. Herding surely evolved as a survival tool. Go along to get along and your chances of suffering are greatly reduced. Herding behavior surely facilitates ones genes are passed forward into new generations.
Opting out of the herd is risky and not necessarily the best choice. To engage in the study of economics, leaving the herd is is entirely necessary, if being right is of any genuine importance. Clearly very few academics leave the heard. That is why they sound so smart but are never right about anything.