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A Warning About the Opinions of Others

Posted by & filed under Personal Growth.

Transcript of Video Below

 
An opinion is an opinion. Nothing more.

I don’t care if the person holding that opinion has been to school for 30 years. Because when it comes down to it, there’s a fundamental difference between “opinion” and “fact.”

It is so easy to fall into the line of thinking that says: “That guy is an expert. He knows what he’s doing. Therefore, I’m going to trust 100% of what he says.”

Shaking Hands

But should we really?

We automatically put our “blind faith” into those with degrees or positions of power, assuming they’re never wrong. But I am gathering more and more proof on a daily basis of how shortsighted that idea really is.

Their opinions are opinions, not facts.

Let me lay out some examples:

  1. Doctors.

These people have gone and spent years of their life developing or acquiring a degree in the medical profession. Yet, they still call it a “practice.” They are still learning on a daily basis. By law, they even have to go to continuing education and take more classes on the latest discoveries.

And then when they tell you their best thinking and give you their advice—it’s an opinion. And you’re supposed to go and get two or three more opinions. One person’s opinion certainly should not give you 100% certainty about what you just heard. Or about what you should actually do.

  1. Lawyers.

These guys are in the same boat. They, too, call their occupation a “practice.” Many years of schooling, study, reading tons of thick books, and test taking… and they still don’t know it all. They can give you the best of what they know. They can tell you what they think is true. But in the end, it still is an opinion.

  1. CPAs.

These are people with degrees in numbers. In accounting, specifically. I don’t know how someone can take something that in my mind is so black and white—adding numbers together—and have so many different opinions. 

I promise you—if you take all of your financial information from the last year to three different CPAs to do your taxes, you will be guaranteed to get 3 completely different answers. I don’t mean they will be within a few dollars of each other. I mean, they could be tens of thousands of dollars apart

(At that point—when deciding which one to actually go with or accept and pay, we’re going with my opinion to pay the lowest!)

Opinions are a dime a dozen. Everyone has one. If you’re seeking counsel (an opinion), then you do want to listen and evaluate the information you’re given as applied to your current situation. You must be humble and thankful for the information given. During the process you must listen and do so with grace and appreciation. 

But at some point, YOU will have to make a final decision on an opinion, on the council you have received. If you are the one on stage, then we have to know what YOU feel, what YOU think, what YOU believe to be true.

What does that look like?

If your name is on the cover the book—you must gather all the facts on the techniques, the text, and transcript—and then we must go with what YOU feel. You are the one who must make the final decision. Because you are the one who must live with the consequences.

If you are optimizing your blog or online business, then at some point you really do have to make your own decision based on all the information you have gathered. It might really come down to a gut feeling. There are flaws even with A/B testing. All facts can be misinterpreted.

If you are an entrepreneur, be careful whose opinions you trust. After all, 97% of them, statistically, are wrong! After a few years, only about 3% of businesses survive.

If you are the one footing the bill, you have to be more right than you’re wrong. At least by that 1%. Meaning 51%. But if you are wrong, you must be in a position to correct that situation instantly.

Quickly do all you can to find out if you are right or wrong. Most decisions will need adjustment a long the way. Possibly every hour. And that’s normal. That’s the rhythm of creation.

You must remember – SOMETHING is always better than NOTHING. Because SOMETHING can be corrected. SOMETHING can be adjusted. Nothing cannot be corrected or adjusted. Because it is nonexistent.

Constantly look at your options. Make an informed choice. And add massive action. This is how you effectively handle the opinions of others.

How do you sort through the opinions of experts when it comes to YOUR life?

 

P.S. I want to give a shout out to all my friends and associates that are doctors, lawyers, and CPAs. I sincerely appreciate all you do. And I’m grateful for all of your “opinions” for my business and my life. :-)

 

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  • http://josephratliff.com/ JosephRatliff

    Yep.

    Where do disruptions in the way we think, what we create, and how we advance technology come from?

    New ways of doing things. If someone’s “opinion” always remained gospel, we wouldn’t explore, improve, create, try new things etc… as much.

    Science is an opinion, just a well-tested one in some cases (like laws of gravity etc…).

    • http://therobertd.com/ Robert D. Smith

      Well said, Joseph!!! Thanks for your input.

      • http://josephratliff.com/ JosephRatliff

        Well, of course that was just my opinion.

        (play me off Johnny…)

  • Jim

    When I go to a doctor or other practitioner, and they give their recommendations, I like to ask them another question: What are the possible effects, if I don’t do what you are suggesting. This helps provide at least one other opinion from the same person. It has worked well for me.
    P.S. Thank you for reading this blog post. I love feeling the intensity of feeling in your voice!!

  • http://www.48Days.net Dan Miller

    Robert – I love your point that even good decisions are made by making adjustments along the way – “That’s the rhythm of creation” – awesome principle. If I want to be more creative I have to make more decisions – even if those need to be “adjusted” now and then.

    • http://therobertd.com/ Robert D. Smith

      Hey, Dan!!! I always love to hear your “opinion”. One that I always really do pay attention to… :-)

  • http://www.jonstallings.com/ Jon Stallings

    I try to be study up as much I can on a particular topic – I am also careful of the source of that reading material.

    • http://therobertd.com/ Robert D. Smith

      Jon…Great point!! You can now research anything and everything exhaustively through Google and other online resources. As a matter of fact, you can discover new and current information that you can share with the so-called professionals.

  • http://shawnlemon.com/ Shawn Lemon

    Love this, the video is really cool and the content awesome! Thanks so much, Robert. It’s too easy to let other people tell me what I’m supposed to do and not take ownership. The upsides are so much better your way. You rock!

    • http://therobertd.com/ Robert D. Smith

      Shawn!!! I really love the way you personally have been taking ownership of your business. Love the new things you are doing to help more people through your website and your online services. Great job.

      • http://shawnlemon.com/ Shawn Lemon

        Thanks, Robert! It’s cool seeing constant improvement and growth. I love seeing how your business keeps getting better and better :)

  • Ken Trupke

    Thanks, Robert!
    Great reminder that we can seek “expert” opinions, but ultimately WE are responsible for decisions about our own work.

    P.S. Love the video! (Did you use Prezi?)

    P.P.S. Adding numbers IS pretty “black and white”. It’s interpreting the tax code that creates such divergent opinions! :)

    • http://therobertd.com/ Robert D. Smith

      Hey, Ken!! Prezi it was/is. And now we have to say that an “interpretation” is an opinion. Are you a CPA or one that works with a lot of tax returns?

      • Ken Trupke

        Yeah, I guess that’s right! Lol!
        I’m not a CPA but I’ve worked at 2 “Big 8″ accounting firms and spent enough time around those guys to know there’s usually not just one answer.
        Like the old joke:
        Business owner asks his accountant “What’s 2+2?”
        Accountant: “What do you want it to be?”

  • http://www.mattham.com/ Matt Ham

    “You’re the one who must make the final decision” and “Massive action”

    I’m preparing cover art, video scripts, and Bible Study content for my book release and I’ve found that its easy to get trapped by waiting for opinions. An extended family member sarcastically asked my mom, “How has he done all of this. It’s taken me ten years and my book still isn’t finished.” I’m so glad I’ve had you, Robert, to keep kicking me in the pants.

    • http://therobertd.com/ Robert D. Smith

      Hey, Matt!!!! You bring up a great point—that getting opinions takes time. And when you have deadlines for a major project like you are doing, that is not a luxury that you have. Thank-YOU for all you are doing on this and you have to wait tell your Mom “hi” for me. :-)

  • http://EvaPScott.com/ Eva P. Scott

    You know that the amount of businesses that fail is also an opinion? It is based on businesses started that close. Some people have closed businesses because they are tired of doing it. Those people are counted in those statistics from what I’ve heard.

    I think it is like the amount of people who are unemployed is based on how many people are seeking a job and not just those without a job.

  • http://EvaPScott.com/ Eva P. Scott
  • Debbie S.

    I’m amazed at patients who don’t do any personal research on their medical condition, don’t get opinions from several doctors and then submit to surgery based on the opinion of only one doctor. I certainly wouldn’t go under the knife if one person told me to! Like you said, there’s a fundamental difference between an opinion and a fact.

  • http://callboxinc.com.au/ Bianca Farrow

    I
    sometimes take opinions from people who had accomplish many obstacles and
    experience in life. And at the end, I make may choice whether I’ll take it or
    I’ll make my own luck.