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When to be receptive and when to be closed.

When to be receptive and when to be closed.

Some have a tendency to be very open and receptive, starting with “yes”. Others have a tendency to be very skeptical and discerning, starting with “no”. Which one is better? Do you tend to err on one side or another? 

I used to err on the side of being open. Always scanning the environment for new ideas and how I could help someone was a pervasive pattern that had worked for me for years. Until I began to notice how little time I had left for myself one day. And worse, being open had made me vulnerable and naive in some situations that later, I came to realize were situations I had invited into my life. Through these situations I had also attracted a lesson about the value of being discerning or even skeptical. I learned that not everyone has my best interest in mind. The truth is that a lot of people are looking for others that will allow them to take advantage of them. Some for relatively innocent reasons, like finding a mate that they can influence (manipulate?) into doing their bidding or satisfying their needs. 

For me, it was sad to face, but as I’ve matured, I have learned that some people are downright predators, just like a shark might be. This kind of person is alive and well in business and in life. And they actually look for signs from people who are receptive and then zero in on their target with full force to get what they want. They actually test you to see if you have an ego need to be liked and can be persuaded easily. A great book I read that helped me sharpen my intuition is The Gift of Fear, by Gavin deBecker. This is a must read by all young people who venture out into the world traveling. It takes you to an extreme that is worth knowing. Now most people are not out to kill you, but they may be after things you have missed. And you’ll only see what they took from you later in the rear-view mirror. 

Do you have a tendency to be overly “nice” to everyone you meet? You could be inviting dangerous liaisons into your life if you don’t understand when to be open, receptive and kind (different than “nice”) and when to be guarded, wary and discerning. If you are a young leader, I encourage you to explore both extremes to see where they lead. Just to hone your gut instincts and intuition for the great adventure we call life. A friend of mine who tends to be nice at his own expense in romantic relationships was recently reading a new book called “Not Nice” (Dr. Aziz Gazipura), which is also a great read about how to become intentionally assertive and confident. It’s an incredibly pragmatic book with actionable help, by an author who changed his outcomes dramatically by learning how to be assertive. This book is less about protecting yourself from predators, but more about strengthening yourself from the inside-out so that your relationships are more balanced and rewarding. Read both of my recommendations and you’ll be set when it comes to honing the intuition we all need for a bit more skepticism (if you tend to be overly open). If you do the work, you will find you have a lot more time for your own endeavors and actualize your own dreams. Because that’s the cost of being too receptive - you find your life is about doing what others want instead of finding your purpose and doing the work you were meant to do in this world. You will live a script that was not meant for you. And you will do someone else’s bidding, instead of your own. 

Once you know this line in the sand, you will be free to be naturally open and receptive for what you feel a big “yes” to, while also being wise about when your intuition is telling you “No!”.  Then you will say yes to what delights you at a gut level. You will attract trustworthy people who feed your soul. And you will parse out your time more intentionally and assertively. 

And time is our most precious resource, is it not?