This is the first part of the 3-part series about the Sheep on Autopilot theory.

What I’m about to share with you in this 3-part story is a very controversial and harsh point of view about how the human society works.

Be warned that I do not share this with people on a daily basis, I think I’m going nuts by sharing it publicly. Some people tend to feel offended and not everyone is ready or interested in performing an in-depth reasoning about how society works; most people just prefer not to dwell too much on this type of subject.

And I respect that.

Reflecting about the society standards is what led me to believe we’re here to aim high, and that all we need is a reset in the way we think and live.

I thought this would be the best way for you to know where I found my entrepreneurial drive. Perhaps it can help underlining yours!

The ‘Sheep on Autopilot’ theory

Have you ever thought about why human beings behave like a flock of sheep on autopilot?

Some weeks ago for the second time, I was watching “The Count of Monte Cristo” movie inspired by the famous book of Alexandre Dumas.

In this film, I noticed that Napoleon Bonaparte had an interesting opinion about people. He used to separate us into two major groups:

“Kings” and “Peons”

He would say there was nothing in-between those roles. We are either Kings or Peons.

I found this example interesting as it made me recall my old theory which I proudly called “Sheep on autopilot”. I’m afraid the translation isn’t up to the original Portuguese version – “Carneirada” – which means “a bunch of rams”.

The origin

I’m no expert on cattle, quite far from it actually, but over years I’ve come to realize the human society works pretty similar to “Sheep on autopilot”.

In fact, I didn’t create this concept; solid references such as John C. Maxwell, Simon Sinek, and Steve Jobs have already addressed similar notions years ago.

During the last years, approximately since 2014, I’ve been stepping into this subject from time to time.

Three of the aspects I find fascinating:

  1. We tend to do things without even questioning what we are doing. Small paradigms and habits that we cultivate our entire lives that can be very questionable.
  1. Our default behaviour is acting on an autopilot, which is no more than the whole life experiences we’ve been gathering in our mind. The human being doesn’t like to think; he prefers to automate everything whenever possible.
  1. We spend too much time addressing gossip and cheesy matters such as chitchatting about people or deciding what the best nails/shoes combination is; instead of meditating about life and learning how to put our current status into perspective.

Now, we will dive into the reasoning, from the bottom base to the tipping point.

You would agree that human beings act in a collective and social way, right? As a matter of fact, this is the single most important reason why we’ve thrived up to where we are today, as a whole race.

Working and thinking as a group allow us to achieve anything. But it can also lock us down to a standard society paradigm.

Let me tell you this story:

When I was with my colleagues at the European Street Food Festival, in our first day of activity (we were creating a Burritos street food business called Walkamole), I’ve heard something that I will never forget.

It was the first event of its kind in Lisbon. It was in April, the weather was great, and the Estoril’s Casino garden was overcrowded.

As a result, all the food concepts had lots of people in queues! I mean long lines that could vary between 30 to 60 minutes of waiting.

I'm not joking - insanely long queues at the European Street Food Festival
I’m not joking 😉

While I was walking around the garden, I accidentally heard one gentleman saying to another:

‘I don’t even look at those who have no queue; I only go to the full ones.’


Also, while I was accepting payments at our stand, I had the chance to talk with a lot of guys who were on our 45 minutes’ queue.

Would you believe that one in five customers would reach me and ask:

‘Tell me, what do you guys sell here?’

What do we sell here? This gentleman was 45 minutes standing in a queue burning at the sun without even knowing what he was going to eat? Up to this point, I had no idea such thing was even conceivable; I would never be in our queue for 45 minutes, standing in the sun.

And then I suddenly realised what so many authors have already said before me: the human being feels extremely well in crowds, it’s like his life purpose was to be in that particular queue, side by side with dozens of people, gladly smiling.

For me, this sounds hilarious, but I believe deep down all of us know this. It’s a biological phenomenon.

In fact, our mental and emotional stability come precisely from the moments like these, moments in which we don’t need to have reason about anything. The moments in which we are simple sheep grazing.

How do you find the Sheep on Autopilot theory? Do you agree with that? Feel free to leave a comment down below!

If you find this controversial theory interesting, don’t forget to share it with a good friend and keep waiting for the next parts!

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