How to improve the quality of your work

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Could you improve the quality of your work? Consider the novel suggestion that you stop paying so much attention to what others think…

Do you care too much about what others think of you? A recent blog post by Derek Sivers (pictured above) caused me to reflect on this question.

Sivers is an American entrepreneur best known for being the founder and former president of CD Baby,  an online CD store for independent musicians. I’m a big fan of his book, Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur, which I read earlier this year. He posts to his blog irregularly but I usually find his posts interesting and helpful.

His most recent column describes the experience of driving through a mountain range near his community. The road is steep and winding, he says, and when he drives slowly enough so that he can feel relaxed about it, a long queue of cars lines up in his rearview mirror. His solution?

He now tilts his rearview mirror up towards the ceiling, so he can’t see anything behind him. As he puts it:

Now it feels like I’m almost alone on this gorgeous mountain drive. Going at my own pace, not influenced or stressed by anyone else. 

There’s a passing lane every few minutes, so when it comes, the other cars whiz by me. For 30 minutes, they’re not my problem. When I get to the other side, I put my mirror back. 

If you work in the writing or communications business I ask you to consider this: how do your worries about other people — and what they think — affect your behaviour? Is there any way you can ignore their thoughts and opinions and continue marching to your own drummer?

If you can, you’ll likely be a happier person. And, I suspect, the quality of your work will improve as well.


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