Influence and Change: from Apathy to Critical Thinking

Newton’s First Law of Motion states that an object in motion tends to stay in motion in the same direction unless acted upon by an external force. Tell us about an external influence (a person, an event, etc.) that affected you and how it caused you to change direction.

            My best friend taught me the definition, as well as, the application of good study habits. See, I am extremely fond of watching television and movies; playing computer games; shopping; going to the beach; talking over the phone etc.

I am not very much used to “taking time studying”. In fact, before I met her, I only studied if there are “big and long” exams.

I have always been “okay” receiving low grades, meaning, as long as I pass the subject/courses that I enrolled in, then there is no reason for me to panic or allot more time in studying. That changed, however, when I met her. She loves to read that’s why during break time, instead of gallivanting around the school premises, she would go directly to the library to read whatever book interests her, or if she did bring a book of her own, she would find a place comfortable enough to sit in and then read there until break time is over.

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I cannot explain exactly but because of this habit of hers, I have been intrigued and got myself to read also. Of course, before I got myself into reading, there were times when I would ask her to share with me the stories she have read.

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I can still remember her favorites including: “Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess”; “Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince”; “Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables”; “Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate”; “Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club”; “Jostein Gaarder’s Sophie’s World”; etc (Barnes & Noble, Inc., 2007).

I have learned so much especially from her favorite quotes that I began to read her favorite books as well. This consequently led me to spend more and more time reading, which also made me re-read my class notes when I’m at home, and ultimately allot time exclusively for reviewing. Through the influence of my best friend, I have motivated myself to spend at least two hours during the night before I go to sleep to master the lessons the teacher has discussed in class. This helped me greatly since I would no longer have to cram and study everything for the exams later. I have practiced this by heart and up to now, I have been carrying out these excellent study habits to keep up with school life.

            Going back to the book aforementioned entitled, “Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder”, and through an external influence (in this case my best friend), this became my all-time favorite to the point that I also fell in love with my subject/course which is Philosophy. I became extremely attentive and I have learned so much that I have been applying the principles taught to keep up with life. One particular topic that never ceases to amaze me is the one on critical thinking.

            Another external influence which was brought about by the first external influence aforementioned is this event: my learning of philosophy, specifically on critical thinking. Critical thinking is technically defined as “a mental or cognitive process which is based on philosophical thought and an extreme forbearance with regards to ambiguity which in turn entails being exceedingly self-disciplined, self-directed, oriented, as well as, analytic” (Beth-El.., 2004). This definition, I have memorized by heart since then. It affected me so much that it caused me to change direction. Allow me to narrate one of the most important personal applications of what I learned:

There was a time when I was torn between two jobs that I believe I would love to make a career of. It actually began when I have been accepted to become a part of a consultancy firm specializing in health research. I extremely wanted to join the company but I have also been promoted at my mother’s bakeshop, from just being one of the cake designers, I was given the privilege to manage one of the branches of her bakeshop. This has been extremely excruciating on my part. So what I initially did was to ask for the Human Resources Department of the bakeshop, as well as, that of the consultancy firm, if I could have a few more days to think things over before I finally sign the contract.

This move of mine would buy me some time to sort everything out. Fortunately for me, both the representatives of the Human Resources Department granted me my request. I took advantage of the time provided to me and thought of a decision-making model that I could use to be able to guide me through. Since critical thinking should be involved in the crucial decision that I have to make, I resorted to the four-step sequence decision-making model known as the rational model (Decision.., n.d.).

The four steps referred to include the following: 1) identification of the problem, wherein I had to accept and recognize that in spite of the happiness I felt when I was picked by the consultancy firm, as well as, when I was promoted in the bakeshop, it is not at all easy to give up one for the other. I cannot just resign from the bakeshop, where I have worked for over twelve years now. I cannot just refuse the promotion that I deserve for the dedication, commitment, and perseverance that I exhibited. On the other hand, I cannot just say no to the consultancy firm, which I passed an excruciating examination from;

2) producing alternative solutions, for instance, when I thought that maybe it is possible to keep both jobs and that it is possible not to pick one over the other; 3) selection of solution, wherein I considered that since health research can actually be taken home or consultancy may be done over the phone (from anywhere like my home), and the bakeshop is very near my place and that I can be on-call, I chose to accept the promotion and took the offer of the consultancy firm, as well; and last but not least 4) Implementation and evaluation of the solution, wherein, immediately after such critical thinking, I made up my mind, I signed the contract the firm gave. Then I also took the managerial position in the bakeshop.

            On a final note, there were two external influences that affected me so much that it caused me to change direction as well. First is my best friend, which motivated me to become a wide reader and to study hard, which actually just led to the second external influence which is the event of learning critical thinking. It caused me to change direction in the sense that before, I was not into studying and never bother to include critical thinking in my decision-making.





Barnes & Noble, Inc. (2007). Barnes and Noble Booksellers. Retrieved November 1, 2007


Beth-El College of Nursing & Health Sciences. (2004). Critical Thinking. Retrieved


November 1, 2007 from

Decision Making. (n.d.). Retrieved November 1, 2007 from


Updated: Nov 20, 2023
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Influence and Change: from Apathy to Critical Thinking. (2017, Mar 15). Retrieved from

Influence and Change: from Apathy to Critical Thinking essay
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