It’s Stupid to Ignore People’s Opinion of Your Actions (Here’s Why)

Frustrated girl

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”.

Ever seen or heard that? I’m sure this post of mine isn’t the first place you saw it. Or was it?…

The internet is flooded with posts or books that tell you ignoring people’s opinion of you is best for a happy life. You’ll never be truly happy if you let what people think of you get into your head.

At least many experts think so. They can’t be wrong right?

You want to take a particular action. Many people around you think you’re too dumb to do it, let alone have any chance of success at it.

Undeterred, you take action. The consequences don’t matter to you. You may actually fail, but you believe you’ll succeed anyways.

Yeah, you believe you’ll be another against-all-odds success story. You believe anyone thinking you’ll fail is dumb. You believe only your opinion matters.

What would you do?

I’ve always dreamed about working anywhere and any time I please. I gulped down every information I could get on working online . After a year of reading the info I found online, I felt I could take the plunge.

Everyone felt I was stupid. Stupid to refuse taking up a job because I believed in something nobody around me was doing. Stupid to believe anyone would be interested in paying a writer from a third-world country a premium for writing. Stupid to think I can make a living from writing.

And you know what? Yes, I was stupid.

It was stupid of me to think that simply because it was working online then old-fashioned hard work could be ignored. It was stupid of me to think that having a fall-back plan in case business doesn’t go well was folly. It was stupid of me to think I could learn just from reading “online writing theories” without practicing to see what would work best for me. And the list goes on.

I was stupid

“History teaches us that people and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.”

    – Abba Eban

I was broke and the taunts from the naysayers almost drove me to insanity.

My friends were right after all. I needed to work to support my online business at first. Sure, some people dive headlong into it, but most times, you need to have a way to support yourself for some months (three to six months at least).

It could be savings from your previous job, living on friends or family members, or the path I took — working part-time to support myself.

I’ve deviated from the headline

Okay, maybe I have. But I told the boring story you just read to drive home a point.

I had folks tell me to keep a job while working at my online business. Maybe the excitement of finally working online clouded my thinking. Maybe I felt they were ignorant (after all, they did not know a young Nigerian has made hundreds of thousands of dollars from freelance writing already.) Or maybe I was just plain stupid.

Don’t get me wrong. I make money from writing. So my point isn’t that thinking of making money online is a bad idea. Not. At. All.

My point is that not considering what people thought of my diving headlong into an online business without a fall-back plan was crazy. That’s what made me stupid. Not the thought of making money online .

But I learned, and I learned the hard way. Considering the opinions of others is wise even when you feel you’re on the right path. At least for these two reasons:

  1. You don’t know it all

I don’t know everything. I’m sure I can say the same of you. No matter how intelligent you are, no matter how successful you’ve been, you’re human.

If you have an idea, listening carefully to the opinion of others can help you make the idea better. Deep down, consciously or sub-consciously, humans value the opinions of others.

It’s why people do surveys before product launches. It’s why companies do trial runs. It’s why you even wonder if an action you’re about to take will make you look dumb, or stupid.

  1. Life is short

Yeah. Too short for you to try figuring out everything by yourself. Too short for you to close your eyes to the fact that you can’t do all you’d ever wish to do in your lifetime. Too short for you to try learning only from your mistakes.

The opinion of others could be based on lessons learned from their mistakes. How will you learn if you ignore it completely?

“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

And don’t forget, when you use time for anything, no matter how little it may be, you can’t get it back. Time has never waited for anyone. It won’t start with me or you.

You’ll say mistakes are lessons or experiences in themselves. And you can learn from them. I agree. But have you ever spared a moment to think that having certain experiences could be fatal? No one learns in the grave I’m sure.

There are several other reasons why it’s wise to seek and consider the opinion of others. I believe the two I’ve mentioned are the most important of the lot.

The story so far…

I’ve not been saying you should live your life always waiting for the approval of others before you start a task. I’ve not been saying you should let people live your life for you.

And I’ve definitely not meant that the opinion of others about what you’re doing will always be right.

It can’t be.

Think of it this way: A hammer in the hand of a carpenter is a wonderful work tool. Does he always use the hammer no matter what task he wants to carry out? Certainly not.

Conversely, a hammer in the hands of a murderer is a weapon of destruction.

The opinions of people are your hammer. It’s your choice to be a carpenter or a murderer.

And I know your choice.

 

What have you found to be good reasons for considering the opinions of others? Kindly share in the comments below.

Comments

  1. 'austin says:

    Hello Mr ‘Ini, I stumbled upon your guest post on problogger, and I was so hooked I had to track you down here even before finishing the post. Nice work

    Don’t get it twisted, though, it feels a bit eerie being the first to comment on this post. I like this post on the opinions of others, I can relate to it deeply, however I disagree with some of your thoughts and I intend to do so briefly without much ado:

    – You essentially allowed others to do your thinking and planning for you: that does not make the opinions and advice of your folks and loved ones valuable, because guess what? You didn’t need their opinion in the first place pertaining to something as critical as your life passion/career/occupation – error #1

    – You made a fatal error oby assuming or believing that you’d instantly meet a bed of roses in your blogging adventure(or whatever venture)? Wrong! On rare occasions you may discover that good old ‘luck’ or ‘timing’ may surpass the best brains or planning! That someone out there ventured out and had a big break may just be down to the aforementioned; for you not to be reasonable or shrewd enough to realise that is your issue(not necessarily a credit to folk who gave motivated advise!) – error #2

  2. Hello Austin,

    Good to have you here.

    – I did not allow others to do my thinking or planning. I just did not weigh both sides of the coin as it were. Sometimes emotional decisions aren’t always the best.

    – I agree with your second point. Gurus selling online courses or information products make it look so easy…like it can be done with little to no work. They simply say “if I can do it, then you can.”

    But it doesn’t always work that way obviously. Because hardwork.

    Still like to give credit because it may have taken a longer time to figure out otherwise. I’m wiser though.

    Thanks for overcoming the eeriness to comment!