Nobody can tell me what to do. It’s a truth I’ve had to come to terms with about myself. Once I’ve made up my mind, it’s hard work convincing me to change it. Now, it’s not that I don’t like to listen, I see it simply as that I stand by my opinions and thought processes.
Lemmie explain. When someone offers me advice that is contradictory to the path I envisaged taking, I find it hard to put aside my own inclinations and stand behind someone else’s. This is because I’m not a very whimsical person when it comes to decision making; I’m steadfast and unwavering; once I settle on a plan of action, you can be sure I’ll follow through.
While some of my friends were ‘umming’ about which subjects to drop at GCSE, I had locked mine in from the start of term. When it came time to pick again for college, my four subjects, complete with reasonings had been chosen the September before. My conviction on choosing my university and degree never wavered while others around me needed time in the form of gap years to decide or changed their subjects a year or two in.
Now I’m not saying there is anything wrong in taking time to let decisions marinate before coming to conclusions; these same friends that made their choices after I did have gone on to achieve great things. My point is, because I live my life so decisively, I feel the need to stand behind my reasonings, big or small, to the end. So when someone might offer advice on a direction to take a project or point out an alternate method to get something done, I often feel the need to justify my initial choices as also being correct and struggle to change direction and take advice. In my mind, my reasonings work just as well.
The trouble with that I’ve learnt, is that, although there might be nothing wrong with my thought process and I might have produced a plan that gets me from A to C, my plan means that I have to first complete B.1, B.2 and B.3. The advice I’ve been given could well have saved me those extra three steps if only I’d stopped to really hear and consider it.
And that is the main crux of the matter. It is ok to say ‘thanks, but no thanks’ when someone offers you advice. However, there is a difference in bluntly disregarding someone’s ideas without a second thought and mindfully sticking with your original direction after some consideration. This is what I failed to recognise I wasn’t doing until it was pointed out to me. Once it was said, I took some time out to do some real introspection and saw it for myself, not a moment too soon.
This stubbornness (lets call it what it is) has definitely gotten me into some heated situations over the years and my wilfulness means I can hold a grudge (or two). However, I’m now a lot more aware of how I manage peoples advice and I’ve grown a lot as a person because of it. I’ve also improved on my work when I’ve let go of my stubbornness and used the advice of others which had the result of making me want to listen and take outside instruction more – winning!
Just as a side note; the above growth is only in relation to general advice and decision making. When it comes to sticking to my opinions – well that’s a whole other thing.
Sometimes, we can cling to our ideas so hard that we suffocate them because we refuse to let others breathe life into them and that’s just not good.
Let me know in the comments if this is something you can relate to and maybe this week we can all make a conscious effort to be more mindful.
The Extroverted Introvert