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There is certainly no shortage of opinions out there today. As a matter of fact, some would argue that I give my own opinion about something every week through this column. The way I see it, I am simply sharing my observations each week. But then again, that's just my opinion.
One of my mentors in life once told me that the opinions of others should be respected, regardless if we agree or disagree. However, if we are going to base our future decisions or actions on the opinions of others, we should really trust and respect the source of where that opinion is coming from, take the time to understand the basis for such an opinion, and then make sure we are fully aware of the potential outcomes, positive or negative, of the action or decision we are about to make based on that opinion or point of influence. It was great advice.
Now I do love hearing the different thoughts that people have when it comes to any number of topics. And again, I don't necessarily have to agree with those opinions, but the entertainment value alone is sometimes worth the discussion. And then again, sometimes it's not.
The problem is the amount of opinions available to us at any given moment. The access to those opinions, and the velocity with which the opinions come at us and the frequency with which they change, can sometimes make it impossible to form our own opinion and stick to our belief system. So much so that we take the risk of compromising our beliefs and our own character because we bought into what someone else has said or based on someone else's thoughts or personal agenda. And when that happens, we may even react too quickly and do or say something out of character.
Would you agree that all too often we are swayed by the last person we met, the last thing we heard, or the last thing we read based on the opinion of the individual we are speaking with or the author who presented their views? We could say that all we really have to do is look for the facts, but sometimes the facts seem to be harder to find these days than unicorns and leprechauns.
OK, so here it is, you knew it was coming, didn't you? This is my opinion. Opinions make a terrific starting point for a conversation; however, they make for a horrible starting point to draw a line in the sand that could seriously damage or even destroy a relationship. I mean sometimes we react or defend an opinion of someone we don't even know. Or we overreact to an opinion that we "think" someone else has of us or maybe we heard something that was said about us. And as my good friend Frank always says, "Other people's opinions are none of your business."
This was just my opinion, and I am sure that the irony of that isn't lost on you. And how about you? Have you figured out a way to escape the overwhelming noise of opinions and focus on what you know and believe to be true? If so, I would love to hear all about those ideas, and of course your opinion at email@example.com. And when we can appreciate the opinions of others while sticking to our own beliefs, trusted insights, and fact based truths, it really will be a better than good week.
Michael Norton is a resident of Castle Rock, the former president of the Zig Ziglar Corporation, a strategic consultant and a business and personal coach.
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