Why NOT Listening To Others Simplifies Life

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a guest post by Jeremy Day of Insight Writer.

Simplicity, a word I love and cherish. When life starts to pile on the difficulty, I turn to my friend simplicity to help take some of the burden away. I prefer to travel light in this world, and aim to keep it that way.

People are often the reason our lives are heavy, the root cause of our difficult lives, and the reason why many people such as Henry David Thoreau fled for wilderness.  To shake off every weight society tries to place on them.  Some never return, some come back with a deeper sense of self, respect for life, and increased capability to live by simpler means.

People have their opinions of course. They love to share what they think about your body, thoughts, choice of friends or spouse, your car, your job, the amount of money you make, products you use (or don’t). Or even what you should be doing with your life.

Stop listening!

That’s right, I said stop listening and caring what others think. People share truths, half-truths, white lies, outright lies, and irrelevance. This does not bode well for the truth we all crave or need to hear.

We all live in community, with friends, family, and people we respect. We all want to listen, interact, and use what we discuss to better our own lives. This is the reason I am writing this today.

Truth is hard to find, and many well meaning people set you down an improper path.  Not knowing the truth makes your life more complex. And knowing the truth is what will set you free.

Here are some ways to start living a simpler life:

1. Recognize an opinion when you see it. It doesn’t matter whether the opinion came from a scum bag marketeer or your best friend. Simply recognize it for what it is.

2. Ask yourself a few questions. Is this truth, a half-truth, a white lie, an outright lie, or totally irrelevant to my situation? I believe the scariest one in the mix is the half-truth because these are the ones that really have the potential to hide in your mind like a ticking time bomb and explode at the most inopportune time.

3. If this is anything but truth, consider your course. If it comes from someone you don’t respect the answer is easy. If it comes from a friend, not so much. In my book, truth outweighs feelings, but the other half of the population feels that feelings are more important. I don’t have the answer, except to say you should keep truth in the equation.

These are drastic changes for some, but everything can be taken in baby steps. Perhaps you can warn your friends that you plan on listening to everyone’s opinion less, though you still respect them. This shouldn’t be a hard communication to have.

With time and practice you will gain more clarity and insight, start to recognize the truth more and more, and your life won’t feel so heavy. Most importantly perhaps, you will accomplish your goal of having more simplicity in your life.

Jeremy Day writes about personal development, finance, and health @ Insight Writer. Check out his website and subscribe to his RSS feed. You won’t be disappointed!


  1. says

    As Eric elegantly points out, it is important to know what to listen to. I wrote a post awhile back on taking criticism that I think is a great addition to this list.

    I have a rule I developed in film school, a place where everyone thinks they have a better direction for your film than the one you are taking. To sort through the myriad of suggestions I came up with this rule:

    Hear something once, file it away. Hear the same criticism twice from two different sources and maybe it’s time to listen.

    Simply put, if 2 different people have the same reaction, then it definitely holds more weight with me. If only one person says something, then its probably an opinion, and not that important.

    Anyway, worked for me!

    PJ_Normz´s last blog post..How To Effectively Handle Resistance in Life

  2. says

    Hey Jeremy,

    By listening to ourselves more than listening to others, we can tune out the noise and really listen to what we want for ourselves. People had created paradigms for how we should live, for example, we must definitely have a job, which is not true. There are people who excel at entrepreneurship and if they really listen to what the society are saying, then there will be no Bill Gates today.

    Personal Development Blogger

    Vincent´s last blog post..Learn How To Get The Most Sincere Smile In 16 Minutes and 23 Seconds

  3. says

    While we should never make others the architects of our lives, it is prudent to learn from the wisdom of eyes and ears that do not rest in our own head. I have been spared many a catastrophe by listening to the wisdom of those who know better.

    Writer Dad´s last blog post..Sliding Doors

  4. says

    @ PJ = Thanks for calling my writing elegant. 😉 But really, you are right. If you have two good and wise people telling you something you should listen. You just gotta figure out if they are wise or not. And sometimes the crowd IS wrong and you gotta follow your gut. Critical thinking and decision making are two courses in the school of hard knocks. These will help you when it comes to choosing which opinion is the correct one.

    @ Vincent – I love your point! Entrepreneurs are people who really don’t follow the crowd. The key to their success is finding people who actually share worthwhile information to build their business.

    @ Ricardo – Great point! Negative opinions are usually not worth listening to. Give me a positive opinion any day!

    @ WR & Maya – This article was written with the risk that I might throw the baby out with the bath water. I certainly wasn’t saying to not listen to the wisdom of others. But I think Maya has it right. I’m asking people to work on this precious skill of discerning true wisdom. The right path to walk seems to be in distinguishing between an opinion full of wisdom and any other kind of opinion out there. Hopefully we can all get better at this.

    @ Eric – Thank you again for giving me the chance to guest post! I’m hoping to see a few more comments…


    Jeremy Day´s last blog post..Why YOU are your own best investment advisor

  5. says

    Hi Jeremy

    I think that truth is better than feelings but is, in my view, more difficult. We want to please others and feel we need to go with thier opinions etc.
    There is not only the confusion of our troubles, but also the desire to be accepted and avoid all those terrible feelings of rejection and isolation.


    LifeMadeGreat | Juliet´s last blog post..Personal Development Pains

  6. Lyne says

    Awesome Post!
    Just what I needed 😉
    It is so easy to get pulled into the opinions of others…. complicating your life. Especially if you are a genuine trusting person.
    Your suggestions helped me to get back on my track of mindful listening in order to keep my life simplified.
    Thanks 😉

  7. says

    I’m usually of the go-my-own-way-thanks mentality, but Daniel Gilbert in Stumbling on Happiness says the the best predictor of our future happiness lies in talking to others and soliciting their opinions.

    He also goes on to say that hardly anyone will do this and I agree with him. I’d rather be slightly unhappy and independent – but as my mother says: I started leaving home the moment I came out of the womb… 😉

    Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome´s last blog post..Do You Know How Happy You Are?

  8. says

    @ Juliet – Very true. There is always that need to please unless you are the most cold hearted person on earth and care about no one.

    @ Lyne – That is awesome to hear! I love it when someone takes the time to let me know my writing is changing their life. Kudos to you! 😉

    @ Alex – You know I have gone to one extreme and back again. I think on any important decision in life it is a virtue to solicit as many opinions as you can, and make your OWN decision from there. I have started to practice this and it does work wonders.

    The main thing I am ranting about in the article is UNSOLICITED advice and opinions. If I didn’t ask you don’t tell me. Unless you are my friend, care about me deeply, and see me going down the wrong path in life. Then I would hope you would intervene. 😉


    Jeremy Day´s last blog post..Why YOU are your own best investment advisor


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