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Why Minding Your Own Business Is Important and How to Start Doing It

by Fatin Hafizah. |

Ever so often, we hear the phrase “mind your own business” but how often do we say it with the thought of putting it into action? The phrase “mind your own business” in a glance may seem harsh as it is often used to brush someone off. However, I am here to tell you that minding your own business is much more complex than that and it has its own set of benefits. For starters, it will help you to realize your own value instead of basing it on other people’s opinions so you won’t have to compare yourself to others. Besides that, it will also give you more time and energy to focus on yourself in all aspects as well as teach yourself to be less judgmental and become more empathetic. If you think you need a breather from other people’s business and would like to focus on your own personal growth, below are a few things you can do to start the art of minding your own business.

1. Ask whether the matter affects you personally

We often think that the first thing we should do when hearing certain news or gossip is to give it a response. This is not true because the first thing you should do before giving a response is to ask yourself whether this matter affects you personally. If that particular matter has no impact on your life, then it is best to remain silent. No matter how trivial the matter may seem, if it does not add value to you and your life, it is best to just leave it out. Sometimes, the smallest things can take up the most energy, so be cautious of what you let into your mental space.

2. Practice active listening

As written in this article by Adrian F. Ward, it has been proven that people generally like to talk about themselves. Hence, when you are listening to other people’s stories, rather than just thinking about how to respond, pay attention to the other person’s words. Constantly remind yourself that you don’t know the whole story as no two people are the same. Just because a certain thing makes you happy, it doesn’t mean that it makes the other party happy as well. Just like in this short podcast by Gretchen Rubin, Little Happier: What’s Inconvenient for You Might Be Convenient for Me, Gretchen emphasises that everybody comes from different places, hence each of us has a different perspective. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to be kind and just listen.

3. Not everyone needs your advice

Relating to point number one and two, another thing to do when practising the art of minding your own business is to remember that sometimes, people do not need your advice. Sometimes all a person needs is someone who is willing to listen. You can also take this opportunity to take lessons from other people’s experiences. In her book, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin under Chapter April: Lighten up, Gretchen talked about acknowledging other people’s feelings. In this chapter, she stated that by acknowledging other people’s feelings such as sadness, anger, irritation, and so on helps in bringing peace to the conversation. This shows that though we mean well, sometimes it is best to just keep our advice to ourselves.

4. Practice strategic ignorance

We often hear the phrase “ignorance is bliss” and to a certain extent, I can’t help but to agree with this phrase. Sometimes, there are things that we are better off not knowing. In this article written by Benjamin Hardy, he explains the benefits of strategic ignorance. As the article stated, “Strategic ignorance is not about being close-minded.” Other than that, strategic ignorance is when you avoid situations that you know are distractions for you. In other words, you are selective about what you choose to know. Knowing what to avoid is simply having the intelligence to know what is worth your time and what is not. If you are indecisive, strategic ignorance will also teach you how to limit your choices hence ensuring that you choose based on what will bring the most benefit to you; be it for people, skills, etc.

5. Stop gossiping

I think we are all guilty of this. I, for one, am not free from it. So, let this be a reminder for you and I that gossiping is not cool and let us all try to stop gossiping. Whether you are at work or just hanging out with your friends, gossiping is a toxic trait. In this article written by Regina Clarke, Regina writes about Maya Angelou and her stand on gossiping. According to the article, Angelou simply left a table because she heard other women gossiping about a person who was not there. Let us all take a cue from Maya Angelou and remind ourselves that gossiping is talking about other people (often in a negative light) and ask ourselves how we would feel if we were in that other person’s shoes. So next time you hear a juicy gossip, I hope you can find the courage to get up and leave or let the gossip stops with you.

Minding your own business is a practice. For most of us, it does not come naturally, and sometimes we only realise later in life on the importance of it. So, it is okay if at first, you find yourself struggling with it. Keep on practising. Practise being mindful and bringing your attention back to your path. Keep on practising and you will soon realise that by minding your own business, you will naturally have more control in your thoughts, decisions, and life path.

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