I wish that I could go back in time and pick off all the times in my life where it was appropriate to listen to the noise and where it wasn’t. And by “noise” I’m referring to any kind of impediment to progress, focus, and fluidity in your life and work.
You see, many people subscribe to the adage of “blocking out” the noise. And I agree with that, to an extent. If someone criticizes me or threatens me in any way, I get fired up. I don’t walk away from it. If anything I use that as motivation to do better, to be better, and to work that much harder so that I NEVER hear from them again.
But here’s the rub. There are definitely times when listening TOO much can hurt you. And when are those times? Simple, when they interfere with you doing any kind of valuable thing. If you perseverate on a topic to the point that it’s actually impeding your progress, that’s when you have to take a deep breath and ask yourself, “is this improving my situation?” If it’s not, then you know you’re wasting your time. Want an example? Here you go:
Twitter trolling: I’m actually a proponent of READING bad stuff about either me or whoever. Why? Because why not? I know that I can pick off what means something to me and what doesn’t. What’s truly HARD to do is know HOW MUCH to think about it. There are some folks who take criticism and it literally ruins their entire day. I’ve been guilty of that a TON in my life. In hindsight I know it was awful and I should have just taken a walk or gone to the gym, but it’s OK to be a slave to the brain sometimes, it’s life.
But there are other people who can compartmentalize to great ability the signals they get. It’s the identification of these signals that needs honing. Like I said, I like taking in criticism because it helps me improve. But it’s another thing if someone tells me to drop dead with zero reasons as to why or clues on how I can work on it. THOSE are the times you just need it slide off your back. I know, easier said than done.
So far all of you out there who are used to thinking you should block out the noise, DON’T. Just get good at interpreting what that noise is and how you’re going to react to it.