Diss the Messenger, not the Message

Do we judge a book by its cover?

Do we judge a book by its author?

Do we judge a book by the ideas it holds?

Do we value the message or the messenger?

When I read, learn, or listen to someone speak, I try to reach out to the idea behind whatever they’re saying. When the message takes priority over the messenger, the source doesn’t matter.

When I adopt this attitude, life instantly opens up. It explodes like a spectacular display of fireworks. It becomes a master instructor. It nudges me to learn from experiences, and ideas instead of learning from people, and things.

To envision every moment as an opportunity to learn is incredibly hard – I lose track of this. I stay the course for a while only to find myself wandering astray. It dawns on me that this is what I set out to do — learn from every moment. I start again. The same process repeats.

Whenever I surrender to this process of learning, I’ve observed, there is no friction. Why? Because in this state of continuous learning I’m curious to see the how, what, which, whether, and why. Contrary to this approach, when I think I know something, I imagine my opinion to be true and my judgement sound. This impairs the learning process and I lose the opportunity to learn.

Occasionally, I come across a great piece of music, whether as a background score in a movie or a game. I look up the artist and discover that their music is really great. It was on the off chance I found obscure artists and some famous ones I never knew existed. If it were not for the background score in The Intouchables, I would have never discovered Ludovico Einaudi. His music resonates with me deeply. It needn’t be a Bach, Mozart, or a Beethoven, but sticking your neck out to grab the message has many benefits.

We have been witness to situations where a prominent personality was turned into a heap of garbage because of their past actions. It makes us cringe that we may have quoted them, posted snaps of their work, or even managed to grab a selfie with them. We trash their ideas and messages along with them.

I’ve seen another instance of this Messiah destruction mentality. When I suggest a piece of music, a book, or a restaurant to someone – they associate something negative with it and dismiss it completely. The messenger is tainted, so I don’t want the message.

It isn’t the Messiah you’re losing, but the Message.

Cover Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

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