How to profit from listening to idiots

Idiots are invaluable.

Next time you encounter one, don’t be so quick to write them off.

Instead, find a way to profit from them.

Here are a few suggestions:

1. Track what makes you tick, then do the opposite. I used to have a colleague, Jordan, who was without a doubt, the worst listener in the history of the world. Total conversational narcissist. Major monopolizer. Big time know-it-all.

So, my justification for continuing to hang out with him was, “Well, look at the bright side, Scott. Whenever Jordan’s poor listening ability makes you want to regurgitate your breakfast, just use that as reminder of what NOT to do in your own listening practice.” Plus, Jordan provided me with a wealth of material for my programs on listening. Hooray!

2. “Is there anyone else in my life that I treat this way? By asking yourself this question, you transform an idiot into a vehicle for realization. A bell of awareness. An alarm clock.

Next time you see a customer lash out at a poor cashier who did nothing wrong, before thinking about how stupid that person is, reflect back upon yourself. Observe if you’re practicing that same behavior in your own life.

As it reads in Matthew 7:3, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Or, as Eric Clapton sang, “Before you accuse me, take a look at yourself.”

3. Look in the mirror. Admit it: Sometimes YOU’RE the idiot. It’s cool. Don’t feel bad. I do it a few times daily. The secret is (1) being aware of when you ARE and idiot, and (2) transforming that mistake into a teachable moment by learning from it. A few questions to ask yourself are:

a. What could I do better next time?
b. What did I JUST learn from that experience?
c. What was it – in ME – that caused this situation?
d. What would I have to learn about this mistake to make it no longer a mistake?

ONE FINAL NOTE: Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, has a simple philosophy that underscores all of his work:

“People are idiots.”

Now, I’m not saying I agree with him.

At least, not ALL the time ☺

But considering that Scott Adams writes the most widely-read syndicated comic strip in the world, has written dozens of bestselling books and gets paid $50,000+ for a keynote speech, I’d say listening to idiots worked out pretty well for him.

How are YOU profiting from listening idiots?

It’s the Holiday Season! For the list called, “8 Ways to Out GIVE Your Competition,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

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