We live in an age of information overload.
If you’re not already worn out by the torrents of information flowing into your life, consider what happens on the Internet every minute:
- YouTube users upload 400 hours of video
- Facebook Messenger users send 216,302 photos
- Instagram users like 2,430,555 posts
Pretty impressive eh? But of course, this doesn’t just happen online. Assuming you live a pretty normal life — you still get bombarded with information as you’re walking down the street, waiting for the train, or sitting in a restaurant.
And sometimes even when you go home, you still have to listen to your mom nag. 😉
I don’t know about you, but sometimes to protect my sanity — I have to tune out. These are the people in my life who I don’t listen to. Do you recognize any of them in yours?
1. People Who Have Conflicts of Interests
At the top of my list are people who have conflicts of interests.
What’s a conflict of interest? It’s a situation where you can’t trust someone to want good things to happen for you — because he’s actually interested in something else that benefits him. Usually your money.
For example, a guy who keeps telling you to buy gold for investment, and then you find out he’s CEO of the Asian Gold Investment Association. Or the guy who keeps inviting you to his home to “watch TV” late at night…
Of course, there’s a difference between an advertisement (where it’s clear that someone is promoting a product for money), and someone pretending to help you with ulterior motives. One is upfront, even though it might be annoying. But the other is dishonest.
I don’t listen to them because I can’t trust them.
So no, that’s why I’m not joining your dodgy MLM scheme.
Stop asking me to go listen to a “great business opportunity!”
2. People Who Have No Credibility
We all have that one friend who dishes out relationship advice as if he were author of “The Game” and “The Truth” himself, Neil Strauss.
And then we remember that he’s single.
(Not by choice.)
Then we have the fat person who says you need to lose weight, the unhappy employee who tells you that you need to quit your job and follow your passion, and the dodgy businessman who strangely needs your money to make you rich.
See the trend?
I’m not trying to be mean and say everyone needs to be a super-achiever before they can open their mouths. But I can’t risk having my life screwed by people who don’t know what they’re talking about either.
The weird thing about life is that often, the people who are most credible doubt themselves. As philosopher Bertrand Russell once said:
“The fundamental cause of the trouble in the modern world today is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”
– Bertrand Russell –
Impostor Syndrome: Honest people don’t feel they’re credible, and are often shy with their opinions. Meanwhile, those I’m trying to avoid fill my Facebook feed with their smug faces and “success” stories.
So how do I filter out the con men?
Here’s who I listen to: People who’ve had real-life experiences. People who’ve done proper research. Even people who may not have much personal experience, but are willing to try.
I listen to people who say, “This is what I know — have you considered doing…”
But I switch off people who say “You should…”
3. People Who Don’t Listen
If you’re a good listener, you know who I’m talking about. And tragically, this kind of person really loves hanging out with you.
A bad listener tells me the person probably isn’t as smart as he is loud. And gets boring very quickly.
Even if he has twenty years of experience, a string of qualifications, and the charisma of a terrorist preacher. But if someone doesn’t have the humility to consider the views of others — he’s not worth half as much as he thinks he is.
As our mothers taught us: “Empty vessels make the most noise.”
(Take that, you crazy preachers!)
I’d rather open up to someone who’s open to ideas.
– – –
Listening is good. Learning from others is good.
But to prevent yourself drowning in today’s tsunami of information — you have to carefully choose who to listen to.
I usually avoid situations where I’m stuck with the above types of people. Life’s easier that way. But sometimes I can’t escape. Sometimes it’s not as easy as blocking them on Facebook, because that person is literally in my face.
So to save myself time and energy, I don’t usually argue or fight back.
Instead, I do as Iron Man says:
“Listen, smile, agree, and then do whatever the f**k you were gonna do anyway.”
– – –
Pic from DeviantArt.