Get automatic updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Connect with Steve Sipress


An entrepreneurial “skill” we can learn from a dog


Our beloved doggie is almost completely deaf. We’re told that’s common for cocker spaniels, and I guess it was to be expected, since we’ve dealt with his ear – and other – issues ever since we rescued him from a shelter (of course we got him from the “Animal House” shelter, since that’s my favorite movie. But I digress…).

It’s gotten so bad that we’re considering changing his name from Emanuel to Tommy, as in “Tommy, Can You Hear Me?”
But while we humans may consider near-deafness to be nothing but a handicap, there are some positive things about it for our doggie.

For example…

  • He no longer gets agitated at every neighbor that walks by (or pulls the obligatory “bark at the mailman” daily routine).

  • He doesn’t wake up to follow me up the stairs (which are getting progressively more difficult for him to navigate these days) when I’m only going up for a quick trip to grab something and come right back down to my basement office.

  • He doesn’t scratch all the paint off the inside of our door while we’re pulling the car into the garage when we come home. Nowadays, after we get home, we have to find him wherever he’s sleeping and wake him up (some watchdog – sheesh!).

  • And he pays a lot more attention to us (with his eyes), practically staring up at us whether we’re walking around the house or around the block. Sometimes it’s nice to feel so important – even if it’s just in the eyes of our own doggie.

Now, I’m certainly not saying that we entrepreneurs are like dogs, but I am definitely saying that we, too, can benefit from being “almost deaf” – or at least “selectively deaf.”

Here’s what I mean by that…

If we aren’t careful these days, just about all we’ll hear is news about fear, panic, uncertainty, recession, depression, global economic chaos and other assorted messages of doom, gloom and “the end of the world as we know it.”

And I don’t just mean from watching or reading “the news.” Just about all most people want to talk about these days is some variation of the “woe is me” story, including whomever or whatever they want to blame for their terrible situation.

But while “misery loves company,” that doesn’t mean that WE need to be the ones to comfort everyone (unless your business is psychological counseling, in which case you should be experiencing record revenue and profits these days, even if your entire “marketing system” consists of nothing more than word-of-mouth “advertising.”).

In fact, if we want to be successful and grow our businesses, we MUST protect ourselves by guarding what goes into our mind as if it were Fort Knox (and with panic-based gold-buying at an all-time record high, that’s certainly a place worth guarding!).

Because make no mistake about it, plenty of entrepreneurs are having our best year ever, no matter what’s going on with the President, or Congress, or Italy, or Greece, or Japan, or China, or union workers, or illegal aliens, or troubled celebrities, or big corporations, or “the market”, or ANYTHING.

And that’s because we fiercely defend the space between our own ears, by refusing to allow all kinds of negativity and uncertainty in there.

In other words, we choose to be “selectively deaf,” meaning we aren’t completely unaware of what’s going on in the world around us, but we make the conscious (and often challenging) choice to block it all out so we can focus on doing the things we know we need to do to produce successful results.

Here’s how to be “selectively deaf”…

Years ago, when I was going through a very dark time in my life – I had run a multi-million dollar business into the ground and was homeless and penniless, feeling like a complete failure and ashamed even to be seen by anyone I knew – I started devouring all the “self-help” and “positive thinking” material I could get my hands on.

One of these “self-help gurus” I studied (I don’t remember which one) said the mind is like a glass, and our thoughts are like water: Before we can fill our minds with positive, productive thoughts, we must empty out some negative, fear-based thoughts.

An oversimplification? Maybe. But that concept hit me like a ton of bricks, and has served me and my clients incredibly well for over 20 years.

So if you don’t want to go through the trouble of actually permanently losing your hearing, like our lovable-but-nearly-deaf doggie, here’s the one thing you must do – and do well – to overcome these difficult economic times:

Focus your mind on positive reading material, audio and video input and relationships. Stay aware of what’s happening in the world around us, but do whatever you have to do to stay away from negative, fear-based, past-dwelling people and make a conscious effort to surround yourself instead with those of us who are positive, solution-and results-oriented achievers.

I’d love to hear what you do to insulate your own mind – and business – from the “doom-and-gloomers.” Please let me know in a comment below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *