Think About This.

"All of us are made up of the stories that we listen to, the ones we disagree with and the ones that we agree with". ~ Stanley Crouch.

In our cacophonous culture we're bombarded daily with messages, marketing, links and people vying for our attention. Each saying look, listen to me, I'm worth your time and will entertain, educate or enlighten you. So how do we filter what gets through?

Most people look for commonalities, shared interests and values or pay attention because they've forged a relationship based on similarities of one kind or another. We tend to surround ourselves with those that are agreeable in some shape or another or fit in the frame we've set for ourselves. I do it too. I love communicating with those I respect and admire, those that share similar interests and passions and I certainly have a "Do You Strive?" filter but then something else comes into play - Cognitive Dissonance.

People seem to find it strange that I also respect and seek out those who vehemently disagree with me and those that challenge my baseline similarities. Why Do This? It's certainly uncomfortable to interact regularly with those who hold diametric views or beliefs to ourselves but, conversely, what happens when we insulate? What happens when we surround ourselves only with messages, marketing links and people that agree with us? We sink into a warm gooey mush that says "I'm right - I'm good - and others are not as right or good" Why not have two filters?

1. Do I like, admire, and / or respect this message?

2. Do I dislike / disagree with this message & does it irritate me?

Why not embrace and entertain both? They are equally valuable to us.

Sometimes we learn more about ourselves from the messages and people that create cognitive dissonance than those we share the gooey mush with. Enjoy the mush of similarities. They're nice, comforting, egocentric and secure. But we may also be well served to embrace the challenges and opportunities that contrarians and their irritations present. They teach us much more about ourselves.


  1. Dan,

    The phrase "cacophonous culture" captures the essence of what sales pros face. Your two filtering tips are excellent, but I fear even those aren't enough given the sheer quantity of "stuff" out there.

    I've arbitrarily decided to closely follow the electronic presence of 10 people at a time. Each month I drop two and add two new ones. The idea is to continuously upgrade the quality of what I feed to my brain. What do you think of that strategy? Got a better way?


  2. Todd I think filtering and qualifying our relationships for value add is a very powerful and useful tool. It is very Darwinian in it's survival of the fittest and I think it will constantly add to the quality of what you bring in to your mind and 'sphere'. I respect and see huge value in the approach (it certainly is not a kinder and gentler- all are welcome You are adding an edge that I think is tough love) Good for you my friend.