Accepting and Rejecting Information
How many times have you heard about a famous actor dying only to discover that it was just a rumor? Do you remember if you took it at face value when you heard? People can say anything about anything. I could tell you that today I pet a pig and also that today I pet a dog. Only one of those is true. Which do you think?
Surprisingly, the lie there is that I pet a dog. We all have a tendency to put automatic trust into the things we read about so long as it doesn’t seem absurd. My opinion: be a skeptic. How many times have you seen self-help books charging high amounts of money online that promise to get your life back on the right track? I will be clear here when I say that I can’t guarantee you anything. There are no guarantees in life. You might follow everything I say perfectly and things end up going south anyway. You might take risks and fall flat on your face. I have many times.
The problem is how quick we are to assimilate any information we read or see. Giant corporations know this and often use it to their advantage in their various advertising campaigns. Some random guy loving Coke over Pepsi in a commercial gives the cue to the audience that means Coke is better than Pepsi. You know, instead of meaning what it actually means – that one guy likes it more (make that two, but I digress). It’s not that we should automatically discount every opinion we see – we just need to hold them to a higher standard than we do.
Opinions Versus Advice
I’m as opinionated as anyone. You can go to any website and read a variety of different opinions about any topic. My personal emphasis is on self-control and taking goal-oriented actions step by step. I’m sure some other website will tell you instead that to succeed, you have to be some sly, manipulative snake. Maybe I’m wrong and they’re right for all I know (nah, I’m pretty certain I’m right). When you read opinions (and I emphasize the word choice of “opinions” in place of “advice”), you decide if they’re valid and worth your time. I’m not an expert. I’m a guy that has some life experience that wants to help encourage and motivate you to make the changes and growth that you want. That is all. I will never claim to be some master of weight loss, psychology, relationships, or anything else we talk about. Yeah, I’d personally call myself knowledgeable, but you have to choose whether or not you agree.
I will talk about a variety of topics about self-improvement that deals with different aspects of life. You might see me talk about relationships or about getting in shape. I might talk about psychological studies and how you can apply that information in your everyday I life. Some things I will be more personally familiar with, others I’ll be doing research on and looking at on my experience and applying them back to everyone else. If an article I write is based around an opinion that I personally disagree with or am uncertain about, you will know.
That’s where this whole issue of “trust” comes in. You shouldn’t automatically trust what you read or hear – that includes me, your friends, family, co-workers, someone at the store you’re shopping at, or anyone else. I want you to be successful. Heck, in a way my own success rides on that. We all want to succeed. That is something wholly up to you and not me, even if I will try to help along the way. However, you might still fail. I wish I could guarantee you of your own future, but sometimes even I am uncertain of mine. I still have a lot of life left, too. For all I know, I could be on the streets shaking a cup for change in ten years. I truly believe we all have enough control over our lives to be successful – again, “my” opinion. See what I’m doing here?
Am I Just Full of It?
I’m going to blow your mind here: Don’t take me at face value. Don’t take any information at face value. Apply your own experiences in there too and come to a decision with each and every word I or anyone else says. Don’t sell yourself short by automatically accepting everything you hear. A lot of people will tell you a lot of things, but unless you have the experience yourself they’re just people saying things. No better or more significant than your own opinions and experiences.
That being said, this applies anywhere you go. That rumor about your one friend might not be true – even if every person know believes it. That car salesman might not be giving you a once-in-a-lifetime deal. That promotion your boss keeps promising might never come. It’s okay to trust someone – it’s another to have complete blind faith. Many times we aren’t even conscious that it’s happening.
To me, it’s basically the idea of having pride in yourself. You are smart enough to filter out inane information. You are compassionate enough to see through the crap that comes out of people’s mouths every day. You answer to yourself, and by falling victim to listening to whatever some random schmuck tells you nothing of note happens save for you giving power to another person. Answer to yourself, not what everyone else is spoonfeeding you.