Are you listening? And are you doing?

Listen, really listen. Then decide and move on. —Seth Godin, Tribes

Are you listening to those around you? Listening is very difficult to do: it’s tempting to be constantly forming witty comebacks or arguments while others are talking; it’s a lot harder to focus on what they’re actually saying for its own sake. But when you do, people notice, just as they notice when you aren’t listening. It’s powerful when someone listens to you, because it validates you as human. Who doesn’t want that? So resolve to listen to those around you. It’s the ultimate sign of respect from one human to another.

Now do something!

There’s another part though. Oftentimes when we’re listening, it’s because we’re seeking advice. It can be tempting to constantly seek the counsel of advisors, to waffle between options because you don’t have enough data. You’ll never have enough data. If you’ve been given the responsibility to make a decision, then you’ve been given the responsibility to make that decision, not seek out what others think you should do. If you decide given the best of your abilities and knowledge, who can fault you? This can be scary. Listening is safe; you’ll never get yelled at for listening to someone. But if you make a decision, you could be yelled at. You could make the wrong decision. The costs of your decision could range from what restaurant you eat lunch at to the fate of a thousand souls in a war. I challenge you to not be afraid. Think of something you’ve been putting off making a decision about. Given what you know, what decision should you make? Oftentimes there will be an overwhelming one, one that your subconscious recognizes, even if you don’t want to admit it. Decide now, write down why you’ve made this decision and then move on. And when you have doubts later (you will; we all do), reread why. That’s moving on.