You can talk all you want, but a tree won’t listen.
Sound familiar? How many times in your life, with only the best intentions, have you talked to someone who was doing stupid things? You tried to help them out, only to find out it was a total waste of time. They either ignored you, got mad at you for “interfering,” or worse, agreed with you completely then kept on doing the same things as soon as you were out of sight.
I call this talking to a tree.
Some people only want to hear your advice if it aligns with what they want to do anyway. Don’t waste your time trying to convince a tree to listen. So learn something from the experience and save yourself time, energy and frustration. Recognize the reality of the situation. Set yourself up for success instead of misery. In sales, we don’t ask questions that we don’t know the answers to. That’s not a bad idea for offering advice. If you aren’t sure they’ll appreciate it, keep it to yourself.
If they aren’t ready to listen, you’ll only alienate them.
The more you stay on them, the more they tune you out. When the time comes that they’re open for some help, they won’t come to you. They’ll go to someone else, and who knows what they’ll hear there?
The hardest lesson for well meaning, brilliant people like us to understand:
Sometimes people are happiest if we just shut up and leave them alone.
- Maybe we’ve already told them the same thing too many times already.
- Maybe we don’t understand the situation as well as we think we do.
- Maybe now is just not the right time.
- Maybe we’re actually not as brilliant as we think we are.
- Maybe they’ve already tried our advice and it didn’t work.
Does the reason really matter? No it doesn’t. But there will be one.