Selective Ignorance: How to Be Okay With Following Your Passion

Plant on a Bench

The amount of useless information that can be found both online and offline is astounding. I am not speaking in absolute terms, because what is useful depends entirely on what you.

Lately when I’ve been browsing the web and hanging out on Twitter, I’ve started seeing more and more trashing of stuff that works.

The talk not so long ago was that blogging was dead. People embraced Twitter and other platforms, but in the end, you’re best of ignoring this kind of information and going with your heart.

Sure, listening and learning is good, but the problem is that there’s so much noise that it leaves you confused and paralyzed. If that happens, then it does you no good.

I used to read everything that came my way. I needed someone else’s opinion to form my own. As I’ve grown, I have become more independent and I have found myself consuming less and less.

I still read, but I only read a few blogs regularly and tend to lean towards books. Most important of all, I tend to produce more, because I am focusing on what I can put out, instead of consuming what is already out there.

I Don’t Care

I don’t care if something I do has already been said. If I feel like I need to say it, then I will. There will always be people out there that will tell you that you’re doing it wrong. You have to cultivate the courage to follow your heart, because that is what will give you peace in the long-term.

A good example of going with my heart was when I was producing my first ebook: Article Marketing Traffic Booster. I was constantly bumping into articles, interviews and information that told me that ebooks were going out of style.

If I wanted to make a living, I shouldn’t focus on ebooks. When I heard that, instead of changing direction, I trusted my own feelings to guide me. It felt good to write an ebook, because getting it done was easy for me.

And I knew that I had to start somewhere. There’s nothing wrong with starting small and taking small steps upwards. I knew that I could always move on to other things if my ebooks didn’t pan out.

The key here is to get some momentum going, even if you’re not doing what is most optimal from a money perspective, you are doing what is optimal from a life perspective.

Selective Ignorance

Cultivating selective ignorance has been a very important part in my productivity. I value my own feelings more than anything else.

I also know where I’m going, which allows me to reject anything that comes my way that doesn’t fit my plan. It gives me clarity, strength and motivation to move forward.

Increasing your trust in yourself is as easy as taking action and making mistakes. As you make more and more mistakes, you’ll start to see that failing isn’t all that bad. It’s another widespread myth that making mistakes will somehow make you a bad person.

Once you get comfortable with your fear of failure, you’ll naturally start to trust yourself, because it just feels so good to go where your feelings take you.

At this exact moment, I know you may not feel like trusting yourself, but it will come. Accept what you’re feeling right now, do your best and for fracks sake relax! ;)

Minimalistic Production

Having your own opinion and standing out may not be good in high school, but it’s good if you want to create a following online.

The more of yourself you can be, the more you will attract the right people. Sure, you will attract people that are against what you stand for, but that’s just a sign that you’re moving in the right direction.

Trust your feelings. Trust the force to guide you where you need to be. Getting to a place where you trust yourself completely isn’t going to happen overnight.

Trust the fact that you will be able to trust yourself more and more as time passes. It has always been hard for me to trust myself, because I am constantly bombarded with external messages telling me that I have to be something that I am not.

I need that car. I need a certain amount of money, and I need to have a certain sized house with a nice fence to be worth something.

When I realized that I can release all these shoulds, I felt a great weight lifted off my shoulders. I now live a minimalistic life with my girlfriend in Spain. [Update: I have since moved back to Finland. The 11 months I spent in Spain were some of the best in my life however]

Who knows what the future holds, but I do know one thing: I will keep following my heart and my highest excitement as best I can, because that is what truly matters to me.

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Comments

  1. Jen Smith says:

    I really enjoyed this Henri … it really struck a cord. I have realised in the last few years that if I am not careful I can absorb other people’s opinions far too easily… it’s a bit of a character trait. More and more I am trying to learn to listen to my inner voice and cut down on what I read whilst increaisng what I produce. It’s easy especially with blogging to take so much in but it can really cloud your own judgement if you let it.

    • For me, it’s a balancing act. I often go too far in either direction. Then I’m in balance for a while and on the game goes ;)

  2. Hey Henri,

    standing out by being yourself is the way to go – always !
    Your intuition or your soul guides you personally to your perfect style of living. Even if 100 people are against your decision, if it feels right for you – it is right.

    I have started listening to my inner voice a year ago and my life has been a magical blessing since then…

    • Agreed, Mars!

      I have no clue what’s going to happen or where I’m going to be a year from now. I follow my feelings and see where they take me. It’s scary and fun at the same time.

  3. The minimalist approach toward taking in information- online and other formats – is one I”ve adopted as a ‘survival technique.’ There is just too much information out there, it becomes overwhelming, and I stopped caring about hearing what other’s have to say. Mindless information consumption and hours online can leave one feeling disconnected and distracted from one’s life.

    When I recovered from that information overload I opened up to the online world with selective lenses- and now read what I feel inspired to read. Information and reading can be part of an integrated, conscious life. Connecting with the people you can help or touch or inspire is some way is a great reason to be putting yourself out there online.

    Enjoyed your post.

    • It’s always helpful to know what you want to achieve and then discriminate ruthlessly. Only read what you need to read. It’s too easy to get stuck for hours.

  4. “I don’t care if something I do has already been said. If I feel like I need to say it, then I will.”

    Amen dude! If you feel like you have to restrain your writing because it has already been talked about, what would we write about?

    • Keith, exactly.

      Nobody should ever write about sex, drugs and rock and roll because it’s all been written about before.

      Cripes.

    • That’s exactly the feeling I get when I try to restrain myself. When I lie down in the grass, stare at the sky and let myself be, the ideas come, and I listen even if my mind tries to censor.

  5. Henri,

    This is a pretty timely post for me since I’ve been tossing around the idea of an ebook in my head and I’ve gone through exactly the same debate you mentioned here. But maybe I haven’t used enough selective ignorance. It’s funny but this idea can be used in so many other areas of our lives. Today I wrote about our most magnetic qualities and perhaps if we embraced selective ignorance when it comes to critics, naysayers, and those who might not think that highly of us, we’d become even more charismatic because that would be the focus of our effort and energy.

    • What helps me is that I think about this as a marathon. It relieves the pressure of trying to make your ebook just right. What matters isn’t that it is perfect. What matters is that it solves a problem.

  6. I just don’t like people telling what I can and can’t do. I really don’t like it. Ranting against ebooks makes me want to go write another one. A better one. One for me!

    • Yes sir!

    • Nathan Hangen - Digital Emperor says:

      Who’s telling you what to do? If you’re talking about me, then I’m simply suggesting that you look beyond ebooks for ROI.

      I’m launching an ebook next month, and I’m writing a “manifesto” of sorts, but from my experience, unless you are a superhuman, writing enough ebooks to pay the bills is going to leave you burned out and out of gas.

      You’re doing consulting, so you know that it’s important to spread your assets…but why not turn an ebook into something like what Danielle did with the FSS? It was an “experience.” Kind of cool.

  7. Nathan Hangen says:

    I think the reason that people are trashing stuff that works is because they are craving originality. Just as we get tired with the same movies or TV shows, so do we get tired of the same products, blog posts, and marketing methods.

    My personal complaints are that there aren’t enough people like you…willing to be creatively unique, stand up, and make a difference.

    Sometimes my RSS reader looks like a late-night infomercial.

    • Thanks Nathan!

      I couldn’t agree with you more. We need originality. It doesn’t come from avoiding what has been done, it comes from doing what you love.

  8. There’s always someone out there who thinks they need to tell us what we ‘should’ be doing or writing, etc. My inner GPS has proven to be a heck of a lot more reliable than any of that external chatter, so I’ll stick with listening to that.

  9. Nathan Hangen - Digital Emperor says:

    Quick question….why do we read books?

    Entertainment…
    New Perspectives…
    To learn…

    If Donald Trump walked into my office and told me how I could make more money, I’d listen to him. Same goes for Tim Ferriss or Jason Fried or Seth Godin, etc.

    If Dan Brown told me how to write a better novel, I’d believe him.

    The point I’m trying to make is not that people giving advice are as legendary as these folks, but that there’s always something that can be improved. I think it’s dangerous to make rules and draw lines in the sand…don’t you?

    • Exactly. My message in this post and on this blog is to do what you want to do. Find your own way and follow your heart.

  10. Thanks Henri for this post. We have to listen to our desires and instincts all the time

  11. In our hand lies our destiny. While there are some factor that will alter the course that we want, it’s still our choice what to make of our lives. We all have the capacity to do great wonders but unfortunately, most are prevented by their ignorance. You are wise to stand up for what you believe and pursue despite negative criticisms from others. :-)

  12. yes the “i don’t ” care advice is extremely important , lots of people are discouraged by remarks from friends and peers, a person should ignore these remarks and go forward in order to succeed. thanks you:)

  13. Joshua Noerr says:

    Henri,
    I always encourage a low information diet. I don’t watch news, I don’t read the newspapers, and it’s amazing how much more I get done.

    I often wonder how much of the US economic recession was due to hysteria building and everyone buying the hype. I also agree that blogging is not dead. I just started seriously this year, and it has been very fulfilling. Thanks for the post

  14. Good points.

    What I have also found out lately, like you said in the article, is that it is better to focus more on what you could do yourself instead of drowning in the huge amount of information online.

    There are so many blogs and websites out there that it is impossible to do anything well if you just try to keep up with what others are doing. Also, different blogs have different strategies for succeeding, so it is sometimes easier to concentrate on own way of doing things when you shut out the huge flow of information for a while.

    I think the only good reason to dive into the information flow is the need for inspiration or new ideas, but otherwise it should be kept to minimum.

  15. Archan Mehta says:

    Well said, Henri, as usual: quite a nice post too, and the timing is right.

    The inventors of the Personal Computer did not rely on ‘market research’ to guide them.

    They were ignorant about “market research” because one kid lacked even a college degree and the other kid had a background in engineering.

    There were not clued into market research.

    That selective ignorance compelled them to invent the PC. There was no market for the PC, because it did not exist. The two kids did not know any better.

    So, these two fellas created a market for the PC by inventing it. People started to buy the PC, left and right, because it was an antidote to a lazy and unproductive lifestyle. The PC enabled them to get things done more efficiently and live effectively.

    Find a need and fill that need= Entrepreneurship 101 at B-Schools.

    Your post reminded me of this fact. Sometimes, you just have to rely on your gut instincts regardless of what the market says or even if people are critical.

  16. Henri: Thanks for this post. It couldn’t have come at a better time. You are so right that there is so much information out there to consume and you can really get overwhelmed by all the different advice. I think that you really do have to do some searching within and figure out what is right for you. What feels right at this moment of time and learn how to listen and trust yourself. This approach applies to just about everything we are trying to accomplish in our lives. I think we are always looking for confidence that we are making the best decisions and moving in the right direction. This post confirmed that I should be finding my own path and doing what feels right. Thanks so much for the post Henri. It is much appreciated.

  17. This is exactly how I live and I love when I see affirmation of it here and there! I don’t think it’s so much that I don’t care what others think; just that I don’t think it doesn’t apply to ME! I heard the blogging is dead or passe from my own hubby who now thinks differently – and following that heart has been the only thing I have learned to trust, especially after years of not listening to it in a horrible corporate position. Thank you Henri (and thank you Jen ‘ Reach our Dreams ‘ for the link here).

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