“Received opinions are the path of least resistance”.  Deepak Chopra

This comment made during one of the Success Meditations offered by Oprah and Deepak struck a chord with me so I thought a blog post would be an ideal way to share my thoughts on this.  I know I’ve certainly set myself up to overvalue opinions received from others, whether solicited or not.

So you might wonder “what’s the big deal about asking others for their opinion?”  The big deal isn’t in seeking outside opinions per se, but in valuing those opinions more highly than your own opinion.  It is a lazy way out of owning responsibility for the choices we make.  And it fosters the decay in our belief in ourselves and our ability to run our own lives.

Far too many people not only overvalue others’ opinions, but feel paralyzed without them.  How sad to feel unable to move forward in one’s life without the opinions of others.  And, the more people from whom one seeks opinions, the more differing opinions one tends to get!  Furthermore, it amazes me how often people are willing to capitulate their own powerful opinion to the shaky opinions of others.  A great rule for this is asking yourself “Would I gladly trade places in life with this person?”  If you wouldn’t trade your current life circumstances for his/hers, perhaps you also don’t want to value his/her opinion more highly than your own.

The problem is nobody truly knows you as well as you know yourself.  Nobody else is in the unique position of living in your skin and being with you 24/7.  Therefore, it seems obvious that you are in the most powerful position of making the choices that are right for you.

Stop abdicating this unique and powerful position out of fear!  Take the “risk” of making your own decisions.  Will you screw up?  Absolutely!  Will you learn from those screw-ups?  Absolutely.

Now, I’m not saying never seek an outside opinion.  Oftentimes others will have a vantage point that we don’t have and can provide useful guidance.  What I am saying is there’s a “sweet spot” in decision-making that is a combination of highly valuing your own opinion, plus seeking guidance from those you trust to have the wisdom to offer a valuable opinion. You factor the information from all sources, valuing your own opinion the most, then YOU make the decision.  Literally, others are offering input, but the decision is ultimately yours.

If this idea strikes fear in your heart and soul, it’s likely you are one of those individuals who overvalues others’ opinions.  Just begin to pay attention to how many people you ask for opinions on something and how swayed you feel by what they say.  If you notice you’ve crossed the line in some way (asking too many people for feedback, valuing anyone else’s opinion more than your own), take some time to get quiet and listen to your own inner guidance on the subject.  Then act.  The more you do this, the stronger your decision-making “muscle” gets.  Know that it will take some time and some mistakes to turn yourself into a decision-making champion.  Allow yourself the challenge to get there and feel the joy of victory when you do!