Do Not Be a Sheep

I was once in a critical thinking course, mandatory per my communication major and the professor had the students of the class to think  about a time when we were manipulated by others due to our lack of critical thinking skills.  My professor instructed the class to first read an article, in the paragraph below, and choose to take a stance, agree or disagree.  Additionally, after I took my position on the article, we were instructed to write a short paper, which included supporting facts to backup our arguments, about how critical thinking can or cannot impact our lives.  As I began brainstorming for my paper I told myself, “I have lived much of my life being manipulated by others.”  As my brainstorming session came to an end, and I began writing my paper, I would start my project from the beginning because I began remembering other times in my life when I was manipulated due to my lack of critical thinking skills.  With that said, I am sharing with you about how I lived my life as a sheep in hopes that you can learn from my experience.


Ransom Patterson said, author of 7 Ways to Improve Your Critical thinking skills, “Without critical thinking, it’s easy for people to manipulate us and for all sorts of catastrophes to result.”  This concept of being manipulated, due to the lack of critical thinking skills, resonated with me because I have subjected myself to manipulation of others due to my inability to think for myself and unknowingly succumb to logical fallacies.  With that said, without applying critical thinking skills in life, and intentionally look for holes in the statements made by other individuals, I learned the hard way that you are surrendering your freedom only to become another sheep who will mindlessly follow the herd.  For example, my older sister had baby when she was seventeen and as she is my older sister, I appealed to her authority, emotion, and pity, all of which were fallacious beliefs, and as a result I was manipulated to drop out of college, take an immense amount of time off of work to take care of her son.  Additionally, my lack of critical thinking, and ability to think for myself, lasted ten years, which only led my life into a mental catacomb.  Patterson continues his article by saying, “It helps you make hard decisions.  Critical thinking allows you to compare the pros and cons of your available options, showing that you have more options than you might imagine.”  Not having the critical thinking skills to look for other options led me to believe that the only option that I had was to shoulder my sister’s burden and sacrifice my life so that she can have hers.  With that said, I strongly agree with the basis of this article, particularly due to my anecdotal experience, and also because of another point Patterson made that resonated with me which was when he noted to “question basic assumptions.”  After reading this article, I now realize that it was wrong of me to automatically assume that my sister needed all of the support that I gave her in lieu of making progress in my personal life.  With that said, regarding Ransom Patterson’s article 7 Ways to Improve Your Critical thinking skills, I agreed strongly to his points as they were directly relatable to my life and I would like to know how many other people can, or cannot, relate to this.  On that note, leave your stance on being manipulated due to the lack of critical thinking in the comment section below.


Nolan McDonnell


Nolan McDonnell



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