In a 2016 NYT Op-Ed, Ruth Bader Ginsburg shared some marriage advice her mother-in-law gave her. We can apply it to any partnership – marital, professional, or otherwise, in our own lives. Here’s what she said (emphasis added):
Another often-asked question when I speak in public: “Do you have some good advice you might share with us?” Yes, I do. It comes from my savvy mother-in-law, advice she gave me on my wedding day. “In every good marriage,” she counseled, “it helps sometimes to be a little deaf.” I have followed that advice assiduously, and not only at home through 56 years of a marital partnership nonpareil. I have employed it as well in every workplace, including the Supreme Court. When a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, best tune out. Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.
RBG knew what mattered. Instead of getting knocked off our track by something out of our control, we’re best served by focusing in on what we can. We don’t have to hear everything they say. We don’t want to ignore everything either. What we want to do is pick the right partners and edit accordingly. Sometimes be a little deaf. Great advice to follow.