Who Is the Person You Listen to the Most?
Listen to the feedback you get—both from your mentor and from yourself.
By Dave Donald and Jeremy Burkhardt
We are social beings. Our ability to communicate at such a high level of cognition is one of the major factors that sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. It has allowed us to create the miracles of modern science and the works of the masters in art and literature. Communication is so critical to our natural daily activity that even a brief interruption in that ability can cause havoc in our lives. Imagine losing the capability to hear or speak for even a day.
That being said, every one of us is affected by the input we receive from those around us. Be it a detailed assessment of our performance or just an off-hand comment, external input often results in a change in our perception and behavior.
Many people claim they don't care what others say about them, but that is almost always self-deception and denial. We all care what others say, or even think, about us. In fact, most of us go to great lengths to establish reputations that we value more than we do our most prized material possessions. Fearing that your reputation could be tarnished can be overwhelming.
Even the most confident among us can feel challenged and insecure when those we trust question our thoughts or actions.
And therein lies the interesting paradox. Whom do we trust, and why? Whose input is valid and whose do we dismiss out of hand? If the president of your company, your most valued client or your therapist makes a comment or suggestion, you will most likely accept it as fact. However, if the maid who is making up your hotel room makes a personal assessment of your wardrobe or reading preferences, you will most likely take that input with a grain of salt.