How important to you is an opinion of other people? Does it tend to motivate you or can it hold you back? Can you separate when it’s worth listening?
“This outfit does not look good on you!”
“You should study to be a doctor”
“This job is not good, you should find something more stable”
“You should find special other, you will die alone otherwise”
Someone ALWAYS will know what’s best for you. There will ALWAYS be someone who will judge you and force their opinion on you. These opinions will find you everywhere. We have to get comfortable listening. Someone will find what’s wrong with what you are doing and teach you their way of dealing with life.
For the most part, it’s usually our family and people close to us. Your parents, special other, close friends, and colleagues. Everyone is doing it for their own reasons. For the most part, parents are giving you advice because they care about you and your well being and we should thank them for that. It’s usually the same with your special other. After this small circle, anything goes and you should be careful. There can be so many reasons for advice to be given to you. Someone can envy and try to hold you back because of fear that you could achieve more and could be happier. Someone can give you bad advice based on her or his own little to no experience. Someone may think that you are not smart enough and some just want to be a cork for every bottle, due to lack of attention. Yeah, we all know few of those. People are so different and their motives can vary so much. We should learn to live with it, but it’s very important to separate and resist all negative and judgemental advice that’s meant to stop you achieving your goals and dreams. Even advice that’s coming from our closest ones. Yes, it may seem rough, but sometimes there is no other way than cutting contact and moving on. Trust me, it will make you work harder to achieve what you really want and prove everyone wrong.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion, but so often someone giving you life advice is so sure about theirs without ever looking at themselves critically. If you want to be a worlds greatest basketball player, asking advice from Michael Jordan would be a pretty good idea. If you want to perform on stage like a queen, listening to Beyonce might be a great idea as well. You should listen to someone who’s competent in something you thrive to achieve.
Should you listen to someone who has done nothing and has never been on the life path you have chosen, but is willing to give you advice? I don’t think so.
I stopped any contact with my own father for quite a while when he could not accept my calling in sales when I went from door to door in order to sell water cleaning filters. He changed his stance when everyone got unexpectedly expensive presents for Christmas. I had to cut contact with friends that wanted a neverending party on weekends. Their stance, of course, changed once I threw that huge birthday party. People will change their mind on what you do ONLY when they will see you succeed. Will it be money, your look, love, new house or car. Whatever they value as important in their lives. They will start to listen when they see you succeed. Some will be happy for you, support whatever you are doing and motivate to keep going. Those are the keepers, you should appreciate and keep in contact with them till the end. There will be another group that will be jealous and might envy you. You will hear: “Got lucky! Right place, right time! I could do the same in those circumstances. Nothing special has been done. It will fall apart soon.
Trust me, for this group, sweetest thing is any setback you are having. If you do fail and future does not look bright in that particular moment, they will be the first to scream: “Told you so! Why didn’t you listen to me?” Your job is to do everything in your power to prove them wrong, again and again. There is no better feeling in the world than proving your doubters wrong. Only action and taking risks is what will get it done. Keep your friends close and enemies closer as they say. Your job is to rent a space in your doubter’s heads. So many sleepless nights with you in their head. Even better might be feeling of your family members who are proud of you now. Imagine the look on your mothers face when you give her a new car, house or vacation to Bali … feels damn good.
Steve Jobs once said he wants to create iPhone. They called him crazy. Impossible they said. Till the end, no one believed until everyone believed. He managed to change the world and every second person you know now owns that impossible iPhone.
What if he listened to other people opinions and advice?
You will face opinions every day, but only you are responsible for the future you create for yourself. Ask yourself an honest question: What do you really want from life? If you are not sure about the answer, what is the first thing that comes to mind when I would ask you to give your grandchildren life advice on your death bed?
I’m pretty sure that listening to negative opinion would not be one of them. It should be background music, not music in your head.