August 29



Seth Godin defines sheepwalking as the “outcome of hiring people who have been raised to be obedient and giving them a braindead job and enough fear to keep them in line”.

I write today to the South African people and companies, I am sure other countries suffer from this too. But today I wanted to focus on us in the good old S.A.
Its something that we seem to suffer from here, we struggle to think for ourselves. And its not a race issue, we all do it here in South Africa. Its not an education thing either, even the most brilliant minds sit in for all intensive terms, in cults and brainless employment.

Innovation and creativity, seems to wane from our lives because we simply “do as we are told”. I really am not sure where it stems from, but South Africans rarely question anything. I know that is a general statement and not all people are that way inclined. But most generalisations are generally true (ha ha ha), you know what I mean.

I am just saying that we tend to keep it the way we received it. Which is okay, if we are drones and zombies. The generation before us got us to here, but we have our own race to run. We cannot look at things only the way it was done and handed to us.

We need to acknowledge what was done before and build from there. But that requires some form of creativity and innovation. Those 2 words never developed from people who “do as they are told”.

Companies and even churches are not looking for people who think different and think for themselves. They want obedient people. And that normally means the people who don’t question.
We have discarded the thinkers and developers and innovators for “those who obey authority”. Which sometimes is just a cover for a compliant person who refuses to mess with the status quo. Of course there are disruptive people, but they are just that, disruptive whether they think or don’t think, they have decided what they are already. You should apply wisdom and recognize that when it comes up.

Is that really what you see for your life? Do you really just want to be a sheepwalker?

I know Jesus said we should be like sheep and His sheep know His voice.

But I do not recall him saying that we should become sheep and lose our brain. Also when, ever did He apply that analogy to anything outside of His relationship to His followers? Did Jesus say follow your boss like a sheep? Did Jesus give the right to pastors to treat you like their own personal sheep? Think about that for a moment…….

I know I am sounding harsh, but how can one say this with a soft tone?

All truths and beliefs should be open to be challenged even if they are age old. Simply because they are new to you when you come across them and you should be able to know what life is about for yourself.

Don’t be a lemming.

I will leave you today with a video clip, by the one who I see as a true prophet of our day.
Click here



Compliance, Education, innovation, Mindless, Sheepwalking, Status quo

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  1. I think it’s a bit presumptuous to say that if we do what we are told we are not innovative or creative. I agree that when change has to happen then change has to happen but we do we challenge just for the sake of challenging (as in the case of the disruptive person)?

    But back to the point, we are hired to perform a specific function and if we feel that we don’t feel fulfilled with what we do should we be as arrogant to challenge the status quo? Would it not be more beneficial to leave and find your creativity or innovation elsewhere? You can only do so much in a company or job that you are paid to do, and with the market saturated with unemployed people, do you blame an individual for just doing his job as apposed to threatening it by challenging the status quo as you put it?

    South Africa is at the point where it finds because of abuse especially in the forms of employers or those with power. The workforce however have learned the opposite extreme of creativity and innovation by taking to the streets in strikes. So while the employee strikes to take advantage of the situation the employer enforces to safeguard against the situation, then comes the lemming who challenges to status quo because he genuinely wants to make a difference for all and is branded as the big bad wolf.

    My point: be creative and innovative – resign, get out and start your won thing (hopefully we don’t perpetuate the cycle when we are in the seat of power).

    1. Firstly I see where you are coming from, I just personally wish people would refrain from saying where we come from as a reason to validate why we are where we are.

      I never said that we are not innovative or creative, given the circumstances some of us have, we are very creative. But that is not what I was referring to. We do not have an environment that is conducive for those 2 elements to thrive.

      Is everybody happy with the cost of living here? What do we do about it? In terms of percentage, how many people here simply because its the only job they can find. Should they just leave and find something more fulfilling? How is that working out for you? Are you doing what you really want to do? Of course their are a certain number who this does not apply to, but I wrote this specifically to the general population of which this issue is really relevant to.

      I have worked in various environments and find this to be the case. Of course I wrote the post in such a way as to provoke thought and question, but not as an attack. I apologise if that is how you received it.

      Why should we have to leave a place to be creative? Why should we do only what we are employed to do? Why not try and change your environment and if we find that it is us not them then we can move out.

      I simply want to point out that as a country we are very compliant, we see that in companies, in churches and schools,etc…. If companies hire us for a specific task, there is no law that stops us from looking at things differently. In that sense challenge the status quo. It did not mean look for a reason to be disruptive. Why should we just do as we are employed to do. I have never seen people fall by the way side for just trying to do better or for looking at things differently.
      I hope I am being clearer than in the post.

      I specifically wrote in in an unclear manner so as to spark debate.

  2. No offence incurred, I’m really chuffed that you brave enough to voice these thoughts, it’s admirable.

    Seth Godin is brilliant and I loved his book “The Purple Cow” but the problem is our general management populace and even pastors are not brave enough to grow in their foresight or vision of what can be and their response to anybody who challenges the status quo is one of being threatened and they then guard their “thrones” in whichever format it may appear. Challenging the status quo in essence is living out your principles and beliefs that is why the challenge is often seen as a threat and is unwelcomed. And that sux when people aren’t willing to see another perspective, to dream a bit and even work together to reach another more profitable and enjoyable paradigm.

    The world can’t handle innovators or the creative (my opinion) and it’s a lonely perch to be on.

    But Mr Pillay believe this or not, I do agree with you 🙂

  3. Amen. Yes, we need to question everything. We need to raise our children to question everything. Because while men like Adolf Hitler envisioned the holocaust, it was the sheep of the SS and their affiliates, allies and subordinates that made it happen. And so on throughout history. I think finding the balance between questioning, challenging, and collaborating is difficult – both to live and to teach. But voices like yours are the beginning. Great post!

  4. Great post

    I believe that it is an issue of leadership. Humans have been designed to live in groups and do things together. That is why some have been made to lead, and others to follow. It’s just a reality of life. And, in a perfect world, good leaders would lead people to productivity, creativity, and innovation (Like Steve Jobs from Apple). They would create a culture of critical thinking and questioning. They will create an environment for the followers to thrive in.

    Mindless Sheepwalking on the other hand is the corruption of this. It is when sheep do not have a good shepherd that they end up walking off a cliff. There is nothing wrong with being a sheep, or being a follower. The key is realising that you are one and then finding a good leader to follow. People today simply do not choose a good leader to follow or philosophy to live by. They either choose bad ones (celebrities, political leaders, etc) or they let the media and the people around them choose leaders for them. This is the problem.

    I personally, have chosen to follow Jesus Christ. And Jesus addressed this issue often in his earthly ministry. He was not hard on the average Jewish sheep. He loved them and took care of them. He taught them and guided them. He lead them like a good leader should. The ones whom he rebuked were the leaders. The scribes and the pharisees. Those men who where responsible for guiding the sheep to truth and life were not doing their job. They were using the system for their own selfish gain and leaving the sheep to care for themselves. This is why the people were in disarray and in desperate need of a loving leader. And so, when leaders do not take up their jobs (pun), and protect the sheep, it is easy to see why they would aimlessly follow each other to the edge of a cliff, killing themselves in the process.

    So it’s not that we need sheep to become individually intelligent, (that is impossible). Sheep will always be sheep. We need good leaders to guide them away from the cliff and up the mountain of creativity and life instead.

    In an environment where critical thinking and innovation is encouraged and appreciated, I think we will find that the Sheep are not that stupid after all, and in fact, can achieve a lot more together, than they ever could alone.

  5. Dylan I agree, I think where people miss it, is that leaders are also human and can get it wrong. Just because someone is a leader does not leave them above correction and need of help.

    Also cults tend to form around leaders who simply are elevated to a place where their actions are never questioned. The blame for being in a cult lies on the sheep because the leader is simply expressing his opinion, its the followers that enable the situation. Therefore I promote the strength of the individual rather than a mindless mass.

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