Knowing When To Be ‘A Little Deaf’

This article looks at some sage advice from Ruth Bader Ginsburg, about knowing when to be ‘a little deaf’ and how it can help any professional career.

“In every good marriage, it helps sometimes to be a little deaf. I have followed that advice assiduously, and not only at home through 56 years of a marital partnership nonpareil. I have employed it as well in every workplace, including the Supreme Court. When a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, best tune out. Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Being a little deaf to thoughtless and unkind words is essential to having. successful and fulfilling career. It is the basis of being able to accept constructive criticism and not letting poorly considered comments impact your emotions.

A Little Bit Deaf
Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio PEXELS

The author has been running a survey into how resilient people are which found that less than a quarter of those surveyed were able to easily let go of anger and move forward after receiving tough feedback. But of those who can accept the tough feedback 42% are more likely to love their job.

Being able to filter out negativity and thoughtless comments will help keep you psychologically healthy and and build your resilience to bounce back from stress, failure or other adversity.

Many things have been written about the life of the remarkable Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but something we can all takeaway and learn from is the merits of being a little tone deaf, as she said “Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.”

Key Takeaways:

  • There is a time for not hearing criticism or poorly worded comments, by letting the moment pass you can retain relationships and not let it impact performance.
  • Knowing when to be a little deaf, have selective hearing or filtering what you heard is not an excuse for avoiding feedback. Being able to listen to and accept constructive criticism is a skill to build.
Synopsis of an article from Forbes
Ruth Bader Ginsburg Delivered The Best Career Advice You'll Ever Hear, In Just One Sentence
by Mark Murphy
Published: 20th September 2020

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