Opinions have little value

Last year I read an interview with Feri Pal, an extraordinary clergyman, who is also a mental health specialist and a former athlete. A couple of his thoughts grabbed my attention. He came up with the following answer for one of the questions:

“A few years ago I put it like this for myself – it will probably sound harsh – the opinion of people does not raise my interest. The reason is that the meaning of the word ‘opinion’ is not very rich. Maybe there is no knowledge, depth or truth in it. (…) nowadays everyone has an opinion. Lots of people want to express or share there opinion in one form or another. To my experience, it only adds to the cacophony and shallowness in the world. I don’t feel that these opinions would be of too much value. If someone tells me their opinion about say, happiness, I don’t get excited. However, I would be interested to hear when and what made her happy. I am also intrigued to learn what she is doing to become happy, and how she can get through the failures while seeking happiness. All of these I’m interested in. The world of opinions is too shallow for me, and shallow things I find boring.”

Building on these thoughts I have collected what seems a lot more useful to share with others or listen to, especially in work context:

  • observations
  • specific experiences
  • personal reflections on experience
  • data
  • description of a situation/problem
  • analysis
  • deliberations
  • feelings
  • possible scenarios/options
  • solutions proposed
  • ideas
  • questions
  • requests
  • summarising what was understood
  • highlighting key points, etc.
I have felt several times in my life that I am just not interested in certain opinions that I hear but I would never have been able to word it so bluntly. Perhaps you need a good deal of self confidence to admit. No matter, what the opinion of other people will be.

More blog posts:

A2M 4.0

Act2Manage – When dreams come true

Checking our calendar, we had a kick-off meeting at the beginning of 2021 and started dreaming about the 4.0 version of our Act2Manage leadership development application. And now, we have just released the improved version including most of those dreams. It is a major change from professional perspective as well, we implemented a number of new functions based on behavioural science and neuroscience.

Read more »

Can mobile learning contribute to business results?

It’s always great to see when L&D professionals make an effort to find data-based evidence for the effectiveness of various training and development initiatives. One day, Fuse, a digital learning tool provider (no, not LMS, but a totally different approach) joined forces with the AI Center of University College London to work for Carpetright, an international retailer with 420 outlets and 3000 employees. They wanted to find out if digital learning results in measurable performance improvement in sales.

Read more »

Two reasons why goal setting often fails

Over the past twenty years I have had a chance to see hundreds of performance appraisal documents that had a goal setting section. An incredibly high proportion contained low quality, vague goals, such as “keep up with the good work” or “develop communication skills”. All these managers missed an opportunity to actually carry out their primary responsibilities: improve the work performance and output of their people, and help them grow.

Read more »

Six Rules of Giving Truly Supportive Feedback

Having worked with hundreds of managers intending to develop their leadership skills, I heard most of them admit that they should be devoting much more effort to providing feedback for their colleagues. They know at least two strong reasons for that.

Read more »