In this post I want to share some advice I received over two decades ago – “Watch who you let near your mind!”
I was given this advice by behavioural scientist George Dudley, one of the authors of a book with the fantastic title of “Earning What You’re Worth”. (If you’re a business owner, sales manager, in sales or business development, I highly recommend you get yourself a copy of the book).
George’s point is that we can readily accept what others tell us, without mindful consideration, especially those who either are, or purport to be, authorities on certain topics (or just have strong opinions).
As I’ve written in the title of this post, my take on George’s advice is to turn it into a question…
Who do you trust with your mind?
As part of my current research into the impact that intentional trust has on our life satisfaction and success, I kept coming across repeated references to a study conducted by NYU professor Michael Solomon that found the following:
People make up to eleven different decision about us in the first seven seconds of contact.
Now I first heard about this study from a mentor of mine over twenty years ago –someone I trusted, and someone who is held in high esteem and trust within the corporate education community.
Here’s the thing… the referred to study and findings are bollocks… it is an ‘urban myth’.
Now this has nothing to do with me sledging my mentor, because my trust in and respect for him has not changed. He just got this one wrong… and so have I over the years whenever I have mentioned it as well!
How do I know this often quoted research on the importance of making positive first impressions is a myth? I checked with the source. Here’s what Professor Michael Solomon wrote back to me via email when I asked about the reported research…
“Unfortunately this is an urban legend. I never conducted the study and have no idea how I got linked to it.”
Now… perhaps there is another Michael Solomon and perhaps there was a study of some kind conducted somewhere, but for now, I’m going with it’s a myth.
However, that doesn’t mean that making a first impression isn’t important! But that’s not the point of this post.
So what’s my point? We need to watch who’s telling us what about aspects of our lives that might be impacting our capacity to live more happy, flourishing and meaningful lives.
Who are you trusting with your mind and the thoughts you think?
Who are you letting influence your thoughts (actions and feelings) on how much you should earn, where you should live, what you should drive, who you should be with, what you should own, and what you should strive for?… and the list goes on!
We need to be careful about making either conscious or subconscious social comparisons where we just make ourselves feel less adequate, less satisfied, less happy, and less complete as human beings.
What others think about you is their business. What you think about you is yours! And I thank George Dudley for his gift of wisdom… ‘Watch who you let near your mind’… and as I’ve just read this post out loud to my wife Liz, she wisely asked “And does that mean that people should think twice about trusting you with their minds?”… and my answer was, of course (although I do hope I have and will continue to earn your trust).