According to Dale O’Shields, “People tend to think they are not led; that they make their own choices. But this is not true. We are all led by different influences in our lives whether we acknowledge them or not.”
The following are some of our influences or leaders:
1. The Media in all iterations – tell us what’s in/out, what we should wear, where we should go, and who we should go with.
2. Culture – the world around tells us what we should aspire to and what we can or cannot do with our lives.
3. Spouse/Family – who we are intimately associated with influence the kinds of things we listen to and accumulate.
4. Friends – pressure us into making choices for better or worse.
5. Authorities – parents, bosses, government, and others who tell us what is allowed or prohibited.
6. Experts – help with car, finances, and doctors. Whoever we seek advice from will influence what we hear and the decisions we make.
7. Self – what we tell ourselves. The voices we have stored in our heads from birth influence the decisions we make and how we listen and think.
8. Circumstances – what are you experiencing right now? Sometimes, our current circumstances have such a profound impact on our listening, understanding, and decision-making. For example, the person who takes his/her own life because of a failed relationship feels there is no other way out.
The problems of listening to so many voices are myriad. They include: missing out on important information, misinterpreting the message, making major life mistakes, mis-perceiving or misjudging people, minimizing or magnifying problems and issues, and of course, making wrong decisions. Yet a mightier problem of listening to so many voices is imbalance. Just like the physical ear lends to balance in the human body so does it mentally. When you hear and follow so many voices, you become off-balance in your thinking and acting.
You must be careful of all the voices that speak into your life. Discern which ones want the best for you and shut out those voices that would keep you unbalanced and unproductive.