Why do we dismiss input that could help us? Sometimes it’s to protect our ego against a painful truth. When we have an entrenched opinion, we can easily adopt a dismissive approach towards the thinking of others. And not only do we hurt them, we hurt ourselves.
‘Better a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who will be admonished no more.’ (Ecclesiastes 4:13 NKJV) Yes, you have areas of expertise. But you also have areas where you need advice. The day you decide to stop listening is the day you decide to stop growing. Thomas Carlyle said, ‘Every man is my superior in that I can learn from him.’
Even if what you learn is negative or a lesson in what not to do, it’s still valuable information that can protect and enrich you. Dr John C Maxwell says: ‘What is the one thing—more than any other—that will determine the growth of an organisation? The growth of the people in the organisation. And what determines the people’s growth? The growth of the leader! As long as people are following you, they will be able to go only as far as you go. If you’re not growing, they won’t be growing—either that, or they will go somewhere else where they can grow.’
The story is told of an old breeder who entered his horse in the Melbourne Cup. ‘Your horse has no chance of winning against all those thoroughbreds,’ a race official told him. ‘I know,’ he replied, ‘but I thought the associations would do him some good.’ To grow, you need the right associations and the right input.