Want to be successful? Don’t listen to people who tell you that you are doing it wrong.
An Overnight Apology?
In the mid 1960’s a student named Fred Smith wrote a term paper about a delivery company that would send all shipments to a central location, sort them out, and then ship each package to it’s location all in one day. His professor gave him a “C“ stating “the idea must be feasible”. Fred ended up making a company around that idea anyway. I wonder if that professor has ever used Fred’s company, FedEx, to overnight an apology.
Who To Listen To
When you have a dream, you definitely have to listen to criticism to make sure you’re headed in the right direction. So what do you do? Instead of listening to people who tell you that you are doing it wrong, listen to those that tell you how to do it right.
This doesn’t mean that you listen to anyone who tells you that you need to do things differently. What it does say is that there are people that limit you and put you in a box. There are people that don’t see outside themselves and only see what they want and need. And there are people that simply don’t take the time to make sure what they are doing is best for everyone.
So many times people will stop you because you’re in their territory or confine you because you aren’t doing it how they like it done or yell at you because you threaten them in some way – consciously or subconsciously.
These are not people who want to see something amazing. These are not people that are trying to help you succeed and become the best version of yourself that you can be. These are people who see you as someone who needs to fall in line, or be controlled, or simply don’t have the ability to do it right.
Find People Who Support Your Vision
If you have a vision to accomplish something, stick to that vision. If someone sees a way to help, you will know the value of their advice by their motives. Are they wanting to help you make something better? Are they wanting you to improve? Or do they want to shut you down? Do they want to stop you? Do they want to put you “in your place”? Do they not think that you are smart enough or capable enough to do it on your own?
Don’t forget, even with the best intentions, people can be wrong. They can be busy. They can be frustrated. They simply may not be looking at your project with clear eyes. I have someone close that just can’t help but tell me, with the best of intentions, how I’m doing things wrong. If you have someone like that, just thank them and move on.
Three Simple Tests
Here are the three things you need to ask when you get feedback:
- Advice or Shade: Did they tell you what could make things better or what you are doing wrong? If all they do is tell you what you are doing wrong, they are not being helpful.
- Good or Ulterior Motives: Do they genuinely want to help or is there some underlying desire to undermine you or some unintended reaction from something else that’s clouding their judgement? Even the best of friends can have bad days.
- Positive or Negative: Bear in mind, you sometimes have to weed through negative comments to get to the positive core, so this one is tricky. For instance, a seemingly negative comment of “avoid jargon” could actually be a positive “use more simple language”.
A Seed of Hope
If you have a vision, a dream, or a goal, look for people who will help you make it better. Look for people who want to build, not tear down. Look for people that see potential, not the lack of it.
What you have is precious – a seed of something great. You need help to see it grow and you need to protect it from those who would destroy it, no matter how well meaning. Keep it safe. Keep it secret from those who would trample it.
Seek those that will help you water it. Listen to them. Let them fill you with hope and courage. You want to avoid the people who are telling you to do it wrong; you want to listen to those who help you do it right.