How to Stick Your Fingers in Your Ears

Listening is overrated.

History has proved this time and time again.

For example:

Henry Ford. If he listened to his customers, they would have asked for faster horse.

King David. If he listened to his family, he would have kept his job as a sheepherder.

Thomas Edison. If listened to his critics, we would still be going to bed at seven.

John F. Kennedy. If he listened to his generals, Russia would’ve deployed warheads.

Steve Jobs. If he listened to his pundits, we’d still be carrying cases of compact discs.

THAT’S THE SECRET: When you’re willing to stick your fingers in your ears, you can change the world forever.

Tired of listening to people? Consider these ideas:1. Safeguard your vision. Although you don’t need permission to dream, you do need protection to make that dream a reality. Otherwise the vultures will destroy your seed before you have a chance to harvest it.

The secret is to remain vigilant about the company you keep. In the book Ignore Everybody, Hugh McLeod explains:

“You don’t know if your idea is any good the moment it’s created. But neither does anybody else. The most you can hope for is a strong gut feeling that it is. And it’s not that your friends deliberately want to be unhelpful. It’s just that they don’t know your world one millionth as well as you know your world, no matter how hard they try, no matter how hard you try to explain.”

Stop gushing to people who are going to belittle your ambitions. Surround yourself will mirrors that make you feel beautiful. Are you listening to your voice or a program created by someone who doesn’t get you?

2. Learn to trust your voice. Feedback is useful when it comes from people who matter. But more often than not, feedback hinders performance. Feedback burdens your capacity to act. Feedback induces unnecessary self-doubt. And feedback forecloses your creativity’s full expression.

That’s why your fingers belong in your ears: It protects you from being swallowed by everybody else’s vision. It protects you from people who will try to dilute your core mission by injecting their views. And it helps you develop a chronic predisposition to persistence.

Decide that you’re on a mission and nobody is going to stop you. Otherwise the arena of feedback will be an exhausting and fragile place to be. Who’s stopping you from executing by offering irrelevant feedback you didn’t ask for?

3. Listen for the guilt. Being approachable means not afraid to be confident. It means dogged persistence in your own truth. It means you’re not haunted by the fear of standing for something. And it means you’re willing to stand up in front of the world and put yourself at risk. Even if people think you’re crazy.

The problem is, following your own heart might break everyone else’s. And that’s a hard reality to swallow. In fact, the guilt that lay within that reality is the culprit of a million dead dreams.

But you can be a prisoner of your own remorse. Better to follow your heart and fall on your face than swallow your voice and watch freedom escape. Besides, the people who love you just want you to be happy. Give them what they want. Is it worth making your idea ten percent better if you feel thirty percent less free?

4. Pick the path of initiative. You don’t need a map. You don’t need to wait for instructions. You don’t need permission to use someone else’s machine. And you don’t need to put your life on hold until someone more successful than you stamps your creative passport.

Lean into your dream. Forgiveness is cheaper than permission. Personally, I’d rather take action and risk being scolded than stand by for approval to do something great. Besides, the last thing you need is more advice that will force you to work against your instinctive grain.

You are the shaper of you. Don’t destroy yourself in response to an invitation from others to stop living. Battle that which blocks your free expression with everything you’ve got. Because in the end, that’s all you’ve got. What do you need to give yourself permission to stop waiting for?

REMEMBER: If you’re too busy listening to everybody, you’ll never hear the sound of your own voice.

Don’t deny what is central to your makeup.
Don’t let one piece of information fill your entire identity screen.
Don’t let people’s feedback define who you are or dictate how you see yourself.

Believe in your dream.
Believe in the availability of your own answers.

Stick your fingers in your ears.

Who are you still demanding excessive reassurance from?

For a list called, “49 Ways to become an Idea Powerhouse,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor

“I usually refuse to pay for mentoring. But after Scott’s first brain rental session, the fact that I had paid something to be working with him left my mind – as far as I was concerned, the value of that (and subsequent) exchange of wisdom and knowledge, far outweighed any payment.”

–Gilly Johnson The Australian Mentoring Center

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