My mistake: the difference between hearing and listening

January 17, 2013

No matter what. No matter WHAT, don’t let other people’s opinions get you down.

Earlier this week I got some criticism for something I did. For something I have been doing for a couple months now. I know this is annoyingly general, but there was a process I identified a while ago as needing a little bit of fine tuning. It needed a little attention. So, I gave it some, and came up with a new plan that felt efficient, worthwhile, effective, and, well, me. It felt like me, it really did. I felt great about it. I’m finally getting this taken care of! And taken care of well! Go me!

And then someone went and shared their opinion. Their negative opinion. Which is their right, as always. That part wasn’t the problem.

The problem was that I listened to it.

I always hear the feedback, both good and bad, but upon processing, you have to learn how to let stuff go. This time, however, for whatever reason, I listened listened to it.

I let it get to me. My mistake.
I doubted my actions. My second mistake.

I let that one negative opinion roll around in my head for several days, mulling it and reconsidering my options and debating with myself.

Before the opinion came in, I was sure. I was implementing my new process and I knew it was a good thing.

And then in a split second I gave someone else the power to make me unsure. I let someone else create self doubt.

This evening, while pulling up to a stop sign on my way to the grocery store, I decided that my car wasn’t the only thing that was going to be coming to a halt. Enough was enough. I was going to take my confidence back, thank you very much.

I shouldn’t have let you borrow it for the past few days, you mean, negative-opinioned person. Next time I’ll remember that it’s always a choice – my choice – whether I doubt myself or not. Next time I’ll remind myself that I, and I alone, know what’s best for me. Next time I’ll be quicker to remind myself that you can’t please everyone.

“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” -Bill Cosby

Next time, I will hear you when you’re talking – I always will – but I will think twice before I allow myself to listen.


Happy almost Friday, ya’ll! On a more uplifting note (sorry), I’m working on a huge roundup of everything I read in 2012. The stuff I hated, the stuff I loved, the stuff I didn’t get to, etc. Would that interest you? Considering all of the milestones we crossed last year, I feel pretty good about the list of books I was able to put down. Quite a bit worthy of discussion. So, let me know!

(And, my perpetual question, what’re you reading? I’m working on Nate Berkus’ non-design design book, and about to jump on the bandwagon with Godin’s The Icarus Deception.)


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