To Do or Not to Do?

We resolve to be better each new year, listening to the advice of those who (supposedly) know so much more than we do: Eat healthier! Become more fit! Earn a higher salary!

But who and what are we really listening to as we ponder our lives, and strive to improve?

Many of us pay more attention to, and heed the words of, the people at work more than we do anyone else. Mathematically, it makes sense: we probably spend more time with our bosses, coworkers, and clients than with anyone else.

Some of us pride ourselves on reading self-help books and listening to Ted Talks or other motivational speakers when we struggle. This also makes sense: education and team work enables us to do so much more than we can do by ourselves.

And when our ears and minds become overloaded with the words and advice of others, we often relax by listening to music. I’m a musician myself, so I understand the magic of melody and the motivation of an uplifting beat.

But I’ve often wondered why we don’t listen to ourselves more. Why do we tend to forget that voice that lives inside, the one that struggles to be heard amid all the clamoring and shouting around us?

Why do we believe other people are smarter than we are? That they have all the answers and we can’t make a single decision without bowing to their superior knowledge?

Why do we doubt ourselves so much and, when we need to make an important decision, default to our belief in the propaganda that “they” are always right?

This year, I resolve to listen to myself more. To find more quiet spaces after I seek the advice of others. To allow that little voice inside me the opportunity to sing loud, and strong, and true … and share the music of what I really know, who I really am, and all I can really be.