Easy way to stop opinions of others screwing up your life
I have never really hesitated to tell people “No” (and in some cases tell them off as well) and cared much about what somebody thinks about my words and actions. I am talking about non-requested opinions and advice now.
Well except maybe after couple of particularly wild parties in my early 20s. But even then I did not really dwell too long on “oh my God, why did I do that, what people could only think about me”.
In the end if I felt I offended somebody with my behaviour, I just sincerely apologised and usually it has been more than fine.
I don’t know if it came from my parents or from my general Russian mentality. Try to ask a Russian for a favour and if he does not feel like doing one-he will not hesitate to give a direct “No” without apologising and politely explaining you myriad of reasons on why he can’t do a certain thing. And most probably won’t be beating himself up with “what if they think that I’m not a nice person now“.
I applied it in my personal and professional life, treated this as a given and never thought of it as being some kind of a special skill. I assumed most of the people around me are acting in the same manner.
Until I actually started my coaching career…
Almost with every new client I realised how caring about what “others” will say or just think about your words or actions literally ruin people’s lives.
How a simple phrase or advice heard in a casual conversation stops people from doing things they WANT to do.
And how fear of coming across as “not a nice person” makes some of you say “yes” to the stuff you don’t like and don’t want to be involved with, losing precious time that you could spend on something useful and enjoyable.
The worst thing is that some of us are scared to change life or career, not even because of what family and close friends will say, but what some of not-so-very-close social circles might assume.
Just think about it, lots of guys and girls there care way too much about what people (who are not even really 0,00000000000000000001% important to them) say about what they should and should not do in life.
I was absolutely blown away with this discovery.
And it even gets more complicated with close friends and family.
We don’t want to upset them. We think they are right because they are older. We assume they have more life experience and know what’s good for us and what’s not.
I’ll reveal you a secret! Most of the times caring about their opinions too much and letting them influence your decisions and actions will screw up your life.
A lot of times you decide not to do what you really want and dream about just because this other person thinks it is not realistic, not possible, not cool, it’s not the time now and blah and blah and blah…
I want to propose you a quick but extremely efficient tool that helps to immediately see if those opinions and advice are really worth listening to. It lets easily define if you should or should not apply those words to your decisions.
This almost magical tool is called The Bullshit (BS) Filter.
And now I’ll tell you how to use it for the sake of your own good and self-confidence preservation.
Let me start with asking you a simple question:
- Will you ask your hairdresser to fix plumbing issue in your kitchen?
- Do you really care what your plumber thinks about your recent haircut? (unless of course you have some kind of romantic interest in this person)
I bet you say “No, no way“. And if your plumber or hairdresser suddenly will start to give you advice outside of their specific expertise, what will you do?
Exactly what everybody else does in this case –you just let their words pass through your ears and forget them instantly.
You will even wonder – how this person who has no clue, no expertise and no experience (in haircuts or plumbing) could even dare telling me what they think about what should I do. It’s not their business.
Now answer the following question:
Why the heck do you still let people who have zero experience and zero expertise on the subject tell you what to do and what not to?
Because this is exactly what you are doing.
- Next time you hear an advice/opinion on your relationship from a friend, before even digesting it -apply the BS filter. Just look if he/she is happy in the relationship for long enough to act as an expert? If he or she went through the similar issues as you are going now and succeeded?
- Next time your relative tells you “This is no the time or place to start your own business”. Ask yourself (and the unsolicited advisor) the BS Filter question: “How much of entrepreneurial experience does this person have and how he can judge and consult on this topic? How many businesses of his own he has started?“
- Next time your colleague tells you that transitioning to another job will not make you happy, because it is not prestigious enough, won’t pay that much and it’s better to choose stability over passion – use your BS filter!
Does this colleague looks satisfied with his job, passionate about what he does, comes across as happy and balanced person?
Or he complains about everything, on Monday – waits for Friday, have not achieved significant success in his career, had been in similar jobs all the time and never dared to change?
If you think that second option is more about him than first one, stop listening IMMEDIATELY!
Because he says bullshit!
Thank him for the opinion and go away or change the topic and never ask him for an advice again.
This person has absolutely no idea what he is talking about. If he continues to nag you and impose his opinion always “BS test him”: “Have you ever tried to change yourself? How many times did you actually try? What actions have you taken to make it a success?”
You’ll see that he will most probably NOT be able to answer you.
This basic, but super effective BS Filter tool will help you to stop caring and depending on the opinions of people around you. You’ll understand that there is no point to be scared to give a shot at something just because somebody who has no clue about the subject decides to tell you so.
Image courtesy of: Matthew Wiebe