Stop Listening to Others

By Lindy Earl

Now, I realize the irony of the title of this blog.  If I’m telling you to stop listening to others, then why should you listen to what I say here?  Conundrum.

It seems I am hit, not physically but sometimes it feels like a slap upside the head, multiple times a day, with things I should do (be positive, show your leadership, practice good communication) as well as things I shouldn’t do (a good manager never . . . ).  Headlines tell us how to improve our managerial style, our effectiveness, our gratitude.  Oh my gosh!  I just scrolled through Linked In and immediately found three posts about effective leadership.  Statistics are thrown at us proving that we’re doing everything wrong.  Dollar figures are introduced to prove that we’re wasting talent and energy and money.

Well, your ideas may not work for me.  If it works for you, then great!  Do it.  Enjoy it.  Succeed with it.  But maybe you shouldn’t tell me how to do my job.  Maybe your passions aren’t my passions.  I’ve found everyone has some passion in their life, and that’s a great thing.  My challenge is when others try to force their passions on me.

If you want to save pets, then go do it!  If you think nobody should smoke, then don’t.  But just because you’re melodic doesn’t mean you can infringe on my solitude by getting me up and singing.  It’s not my thing.  You may be a great cook, but it doesn’t mean everyone has to enjoy these amazing meals.  Sometimes a cheeseburger is just fine with me.  And I like bacon, too.  Yes, I know it’s unhealthy.  Maybe I prefer to die three minutes earlier for every piece of bacon I consume in the last decade of my life.  Isn’t that my choice?

The world tells us what time to get up in the morning, by setting normal working hours, country by country.  But that’s not enough.  Now we need to get up early enough for quiet time and exercise.  Well, maybe my exercise comes better at noon, and I should enjoy my quiet time in the middle of the afternoon, so I can get through the rest of the day.  Who are these people who have determined what’s best for me?  Since writing my first draft of this article, I happened upon a list of nine things I should do before 9am every day.  Really?  Starting with, get up earlier . . . to, relax and give yourself a break.  How can both of those items be on the same list?

I love experts.  They are experts because they have great knowledge.  But, one size fits all, in my experience, means that one size doesn’t look good on anybody.  It’s just a big drape that covers imperfections.  It may be best to not cover our imperfections.  Sometimes those imperfections show some transparency and humility, and that’s a good thing. In my seminars I am quick to share that there are some things I don’t do well – accounting!  While I love numbers and how they apply to algebra and quantitative analysis, I just don’t do the accounting thing.  Bookkeeping is okay.  So there are two ways to deal with it. Some would tell me to face that challenge!  Overcome my mental blocks.  Fight to learn. I can do it.  I say, “forget it!”  I will, and have, happily pay the brilliant accountants of the world to handle my taxes for me.

By not taking on every challenge, it frees up my time to do what I do well.  I can perfect the things I enjoy.  AND, I’m doing things I ENJOY!  In a world where time is limited, why would I fight to learn something that others enjoy and do well?  Not doing accounting makes me happy.  My quality of life is better by not being everything to everyone.

I am going to stop listening to all these experts who tell me how to be a better leader, how to succeed in life, how to stop fearing failure, how to stop fearing success (yes, I’ve been on Linked In again and all these topics immediately popped up).  I’m going to take the information I have gleaned over my life and apply it, when and where I feel I need it.  I am going to focus on making and keeping myself happy.  By being happy, I will be nicer to others, because I’m happy.  Others will be happier because they were treated nicely.  And they might figure out that they can listen to their heart, and learn from their own experience, and stop trying to be all things to all people.  Maybe we can all do our best, and stop trying to fix others, and focus on ourselves, based on our own experiences and what we know to be true.

Lindy is an Author, Speaker, and Consultant. You can contact her at or find her on Linked In or Face Book.