It's my life!

Dealing with people who won’t listen to you

Wouldn’t you feel frustrated if you come across this situation? No matter how much you advise, no matter how much you say, people won’t listen to you because they think that you are wrong and they are always right? 

That might be true. You might be in the wrong. But, what if you know, without a slightest hint of doubt, that you are right? Maybe, you have prior knowledge of it? Maybe, you have been through it before? Maybe, you have compelling evidence to prove your point? It doesn’t matter. They won’t listen. One of my friends, Thet, said to me, “Evidence doesn’t work on irrational people”. How true.

The thing is, it’s hard to advise people when they don’t know that they are wrong. Let me emphasize on that: When you don’t know what you don’t know, how can you know whether you are right or wrong? (When I think of this, I always think of Plato’s idea of knowledge, anamnesis. I don’t understand why because it is not relevant to this topic at all).

Back to my topic, my experience with counselling friends and acquaintances, in general, is if their minds are not receptive to what you are saying, it’s impossible to make them listen. Impossible.

10 of 365 - Let Go

Image by admitchell08 via Flickr

I don’t know exactly how to handle this situation yet. Perhaps, my emotional intelligence is not blazingly high as I wish it to be (maybe I ought to reread Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People). But, for now, I am learning to let go on a lost cause.

Rather than wasting precious water on a barren land, I should instead pour water on a patch of land that I know has the potential to flower. In a recent Buddhist camp, one of the speakers, Brother Sebastian, told me, “Don’t be foolishly evangelistic. Teach when they are willing to listen. If they’re not, just leave it.”

Let them learn the lesson the hard way. Me, for being unable to persuade them otherwise, I’ll take this as a lesson where I learned to deal with the diversity of mindsets and human behaviour. This will be my lesson in letting go, to not take everything so seriously and to achieve ‘upekkha’ (~ equanimity).

It’s good that I’m in such a situation before graduating to the working world. After all, learning comes from being uncomfortable, isn’t it?


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