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Are you an opiniophobe?

June 23, 2009

I was on the flight home yesterday and observing a captivating moment between a mother and her young son of about 4 or 5 when something occured to me.

The boy had a set of lego blocks and was building what I think was supposed to be an airplane. Actually it looked more like a shapeless chunk with two arms protruding so it could be Optimus Prime for all I know but the way he “flew” it told me it was a plane. Pretty cool for a little kid. But his mom thought differently. “That’s so ugly!” I could hear her say. You should see the kid’s face when he burst into tears.

What occured to me then was how often this happens in our every day life. We present our opinions to others as a piece of work, a song, a blog post, or just an idea, and the response can be anything from praises to a nasty flame war.

Which brings me to a new word which I coined – opiniophobia which is a lot easier to say than allodoxaphobia, its official greek equivalent. Let me give you some traits of opiniophobia.

  1. When someone gives you an idea or suggestion, your automatic response is “No!” (hehe, reminds me of a few ex bosses of mine), except when it comes from someone who can whoop your ass.
  2. You tend to be overly sensitive and defensive about the choices you make. You cannot accept that you’re still learning.
  3. If something bad happens, its always other people’s fault, never yours.
  4. You have a habit of telling people to keep their opinions to themselves.

You could say that opiniophobia is extreme close-mindedness, the tendency to believe that only your opinions matter. If it leads to constant anger and depression, since you’re busy either bullying weaker people opinionwise or being bullied yourself, this prolonged hot-and-cold treatment could lead to more insiduous mental problems. Yeah, believe it or not you might actually develop a loose screw up there. 😀

The remedy for serious opiniophobia according to this website: “The most popular treatment for phobias is to see a psychologist, psychiatrist, hypnotherapist, and/or hypnotist.” In other words, go see a shrink.

Personally, I try to listen to all opinions even if I disagree with them. Why? Because a) I accept that I don’t know everything, and b) I actually like variety. Imagine how terribly boring the world would be if everyone ate the same food, dressed in the same clothes, and talked about the same things you do. But if you consider different views as a threat to your personal well being and you are willing to lose everything to assert the “superiority” of your opinion, then your level of psychosis could be deeper than you think.

Now just imagine how many such people are actually out there running big corporations.  🙂

One last word on disagreements. Having disagreements and respecting opinions is normal. Feeling threatened by differences in opinion and making people pay for them is not. The former is constructive. The latter is destructive.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 23, 2009 5:18 pm

    well i admit i am in one of those “NO!” straight away kinda guy (you know me)…maybe not too extreme..

    yeah i know it is bad for me ..
    but heck , life will be too boring if everybody wants to remain neutral ..
    just making this world a lil bit more colorful 😛

    I’m not very neutral myself. I would defend an opinion with facts and will tell a person point blank if he doesn’t have his facts right. But I have no problem letting people air their opinion and preferences. Its part of what’s required in my business anyway.

  2. June 24, 2009 1:27 pm

    It happens all the time to me. People sometimes say my blog post is negative, or my comic is not funny at all. And it’s very easy to just say “u don like it, don read!” or “go screw urself, i don need ur opinions” or “as if u know what i am doing”. But before I say those things or even think like that, there’s one question i need to ask myself – will it help by actually feeling/acting overly protective? How can I improve if i don get feedback or opinions? Well , i can, if i stay alone in this world or I don expect my work to be useful.

    the more i think about it, the more i feel it’s very important to be open-minded enuf to get opinions/feedbacks…be it +ve or -ve. They wil help me in the long run.

    I know sometimes, certain people will be so destructive that they say nothing good and can be quite rude too “wah lau, what nonsense are u drawing man, it’s crap” or “you draw like you’re a 5-year-old kiddo”. Yes, those can be very damaging and they do sting. 😛 What we need to learn is how to ignore those destructive ones, and get the positive ones out. 🙂

    To build an entrepreneur mindset, you have to be prepared to accept that sometimes your best efforts will not be appreciated. You have to learn to let go, and direct your efforts to those who do appreciate your work.

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  1. Are you afraid of other people's opinions and criticisms? | Alvin Lim - The Dreamer

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