Why you shouldn’t be a sheep and mindlessly follow the herd in life

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Kevin Mangelschots

We have a tendency to follow the crowd for various reasons. But it’s typically because it’s easier, more convenient, or because they’re afraid of going against the crowd out of fear of being judged harshly, or negatively.

And while it might be handy not having to think by simply pursuing the decisions of others, blindly following the group is dangerous, and is something that I would advise against.

Let me explain why you shouldn’t be a sheep and follow the herd blindly.

Why you shouldn't be a sheep and follow the herd

A herd of sheep standing outside while the sun sets.

You give away the power over your own life

If you are a sheep and follow the herd, then you’re giving away the power over your own life. Sometimes, placing the responsibility over your own self in someone else’s hands can be satisfying because we don’t necessarily need to think, or make the hard decisions ourselves.

Yet, this is a poor choice in my opinion. Because nobody should be as invested in your personal well-being as yourself. When we’re personally invested in our choices is when we typically think things through thoroughly to prevent making bad decisions.

To prevent groupthink

Thinking critically is something that we should always do, even when following other people’s judgments without necessarily having to think on our own accord. This can prevent the group from turning malevolent, and from making bad decisions due to groupthink.

That’s why we should actively practice our reasoning, as this can counteract this detrimental process.

Can lead to totalitarian thinking

But this is hard. Because people might try to get you back in line. It’s because every person that strays from their thinkings, actions, and values is a potential threat.

They will move heaven and earth in order to get you to follow the rules that they’ve decided is best for you, them, and everyone else involved. And while this can be true at times, it’s most certainly not always the case.

This kind of reasoning regularly leads to totalitarian thinking. And this is not a good way to develop a critical society, nor does it produce varied, creative thoughts and ideas. This implies that all issues will be attempted to be resolved through the same rigid way of thinking instead of through creative, varied problem-solving behavior.

If the only tool you have is a hammer, you will start treating all your problems like a nail is appropriate in this instance.

The group doesn’t always know what’s best for you

 

A group of people eating together.

Not only that, but others aren’t always right, no matter how confident they might seem that they are. As a matter of fact, people who are too certain of themselves often fall victim to the Dunning-Kruger effect. This basically means that they overestimate their knowledge and competence, and as a result make worse decisions than their smarter, less overconfident and arrogant peers.

Each individual is different, there’s no one size fits all solution

Since each individual is different, the right choice for me might not be the correct decision for you.

Knowing this, going against the grain is beneficial at times. But like with everything in life, there’s a place and time to forge your own path. When you know that the people in charge are incompetent, overconfident, or not nearly as smart as they think they are, then it’s clever, and even advised to go your own way.

Because why would you follow the folks who make dumb decisions not rooted in logic and rational thoughts? Make sure not to follow people who make choices based just on their emotions, since this is a surefire way to get into problems.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

What does “don’t be a sheep” mean?

Don’t be a sheep is a way of saying that each individual of a group shouldn’t blindly be thinking, or acting, the same way.

It conveys that they are thinking, and behaving, exactly the same way as the other members of their group. It means that they can’t, or will not, act on their own accord. Folks who are sheep are conformable and nonresistant, preferring to simply follow the decisions of the rest.

Thus, being incriminated of being a sheep is not a positive thing, and typically has a negative connotation. They are often called “sheeple.”

Don’t be a sheep quotes

Image of a sheep.

  • A tiger doesn’t lose sleep over the opinion of sheep.
  • The greatest fear in the world is of the opinions of other, and the moment you are unafraid of the crowd, you are no longer a sheep, you become a lion. A great roar arises in your heart, the roar of freedom.
  • I once complained to my father that I didn’t seem to be able to do things the same way other people did. Dad’s advice? ‘Margo, don’t be a sheep. People hate sheep. They eat sheep.’
  • I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep. I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.
  • It’s better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life.

Conclusion

Image of the word, “conclusions” written on a black backboard with white chalk.

Don’t be a sheep and follow the crowd. But be aware of the fact that if you don’t follow the herd, you risk getting expelled.

At times, it can be positive to follow what the majority thinks and does when they’re more competent at that given thing than you are.

Still, even then you should attempt to think critically, and to understand what the best possible course of action is in that instance. Because nobody should be as committed to your own prosperity as you.

Do your own thing, even when people attempt to get you in line or use it against you. Remember that a lion doesn’t concern himself with the opinion of sheep.

Call to action

“Make it happen” written on a card with a pen and cellphone lying next to it.

Develop your critical thinking skills by making your own decisions and by questioning your own, and other people’s choices.

If we believe that each individual is different, then it is only logical that we all have our own strengths and weaknesses.

That’s why the right path for me might not be the right one for you. This means that you will have to go against the grain sometimes in order to figure out what road you should walk to become content and thriving during your lifetime.

Don’t be a sheeple, and do your own thing!