Why You Should Ignore 99% of People

“Don’t listen to 99% of people.”

Some of my recent tweets have been very controversial.

I’ve read a number of responses to them and people have shared numerous differing perspectives. That’s fine, that’s life.

There’s something great that Tai Lopez said he learned from a mentor of his.

He shared, “The key to success is not listening to 99% of people. You need to identify the 1% of people worth listening to and only listen to them.”

There are things that people are hesitant to be receptive to simply because it’s new to them.

The question then becomes, what do you want to become in this life and what are you working towards?

That’s going to be different for everyone but we all have goals — and if we don’t… that’s still a goal.

The difficulty is understanding and identifying who we should listen to.


There are 3 groups of people that I believe we should make time to listen to in an intentional way and in a way that enables deeper-level comprehension.

1. Family/friends
2. Professional associates
3. Experts

This list is a pretty simple one but it needs much further examination.

There are going to be people in each of those groups who:

— don’t have your best interests in mind
— are not educated on what they are speaking about
— do not care to share the truth and will exaggerate things
— overlook the importance of understanding who you are first

I’m going to focus on a few different ways that we can identify the 1% in each area. In most cases, it’s the things that they withhold from doing rather than the things that we notice them doing.

For example, when someone goes on and on and on about something that you asked them about and it’s nowhere near what you were asking… they’re usually part of the 99%.


Think about who you are… who knows you the best?

Maybe your mother?
Maybe your brother?
Maybe your best friend?
Maybe your spouse?

What do those people know that others don’t?

That’s important to understand.

Then in the same breath, why don’t other people in your life know you as well as the person that you just thought about?

There could be a number of reasons but let’s keep the focus on ourselves. When you really want to get to know someone better, what do you do? Maybe you take them out to lunch and ask them a number of questions and portray a deep level of interest in their past and present and future.

So then let’s be real, why don’t some of your family members or some of your friends do that?

Maybe there is not a real reason — and oftentimes we don’t truly know the real reason — but it’s valuable to consider.

We should give others — especially family — the benefit of the doubt, but, we must also be honest.

If you have family members that only call you on your birthday and then most of the conversation becomes them talking about what is happening in their life, maybe they don’t have your best interests in mind, but that’s something you need to determine for yourself, isn’t it?

Let’s just be real with it… most of our family members and most of our friends don’t truly know what drives us.

That’s okay, but that means that most of their professional or life “advice” should NOT be taken to heart.

How could you ever think of listening and acting upon advice from someone whose life direction is dramatically different from your own?!

That’s preposterous.

Be honest, be respectful, and listen to those who understand what YOU want and THEN provide advice — not the other way around.


This is a tough one.

People are so so so so siloed in today’s world.

In the medical world, there are a number of people who are incredibly knowledgeable and well versed in specific niches but they don’t understand the full picture.

I see this sort of thing at many of the companies that I’ve worked at.

I’ve always sought the opportunity to work alongside everyone with the companies that I’ve been part of.

At restaurants I’ve worked, I’ve spent time in the kitchens, the front desk, the office, and the main dining rooms. This means that I’ve seen firsthand how each person works together — even if they don’t realize it — for the common goal.

But most people either don’t take the time to do that or don’t care about that.

So in much the same way as your family and friends, professional associates simply do not have the level of understanding needed to provide truly valuable input or insight. If someone does not know how the sales and marketing department work together at the company you’re looking to join, how could you accept their comments about ways to climb the ranks? That’s tough, isn’t it?

Then there is the other side of the picture.

There are those people who are so good at the company they are at but have no greater understanding about the market landscape as a whole.

When they try to lecture you on what your company should be doing strategically to capitalize upon the niche that you’ve established, how do you respond? Smile and nod. You don’t have to listen.

No one is ever entitled to action upon their opinion.

Not many people are going to filter their advice and insights through your eyes — we must do that ourselves. Most people will say what they want to hear and hope that it’s also what you want to hear.

Again. Be honest, be respectful, and listen to those who understand what YOU want and THEN provide advice — not the other way around.


This is another tough one because most times we don’t even know these people personally.

People are often led astray or easily influenced simply because someone has a master’s or a doctorate or is perceived as an expert.

We need to remember that most of the time people run independent studies, we hear about them when they prove the hypothesis that they already had. That’s intentional.

Experts are great — they are incredibly smart and well-versed in their field. Just make sure that they stay there.

I’ll give a few examples of experts that I listen to closely in various areas:

Andy Frisella is someone who has built 1st Phorm to a multi-million dollar company along with a few other companies. He consistently shares the work ethic needed and relentless hustle. If I want to learn about working hard — he’s my man.

Dave Ramsey is somebody who was bankrupt, has become a millionaire, and was everywhere in between. He regularly shares actionable advice and biblical principles regarding wealth management. If I want to study stewardship and biblical resource management — he’s my man.

Gary Vaynerchuk is somebody who put up with a ton of flack. He’s gotten a LOT of backlash at numerous points throughout his life. Whether it was because he was an immigrant, he worked at his parent’s wine store in his 20s, or anywhere in between, he had to put up with it. Today, he’s one of the most positive and grateful people I’ve ever encountered. If I want to learn about passion and positivity and maintaining focus on long-term goals — he’s the man.

Heba Ali is someone who’s just on another level in so many areas. There aren’t many people who have ever been able to outwork me in any area — specifically fitness. She’s someone I’m confident could. Heba puts in an enormous level of effort every single day and always maintains her focus and consistency. If I want to study health and wellness and exercise regimens — she’s the woman.

The reason for sharing the above is that they know THEIR expertise.

Heba does not talk a ton about building a business — but Gary and Andy do.

Gary and Dave don’t talk much about fitness — but Andy and Heba do.

Andy does not talk much about finances — but Dave and Gary do.

When experts stay in their core area and consistently share valuable insights, listen.

When experts strive to go outside of their wheelhouse — be aware.

Experts will most likely never know you personally but they will know a TON about their core area and that’s great. Just remember why they’re sharing what they are and ALWAYS dive into the context.


Listen always, understand as best as possible but remember sometimes.

The key to listening is being attentive. That’s easier in certain situations and on certain circumstances than it is in others. Nonetheless, it’s imperative that we listen attentively no matter who is speaking.

We might not like what the person is saying and we might not agree, but that’s not important.

We must value the speaker and be a good listener. Obviously, there are fine lines that should not be crossed. If someone is speaking for a long period of time without a mutual understanding or parallel expectations, then maybe we should cut them short and redirect the conversation. But, in most cases, we must strive to listen attentively and understand what the person is saying.

What we do after understanding what the speaker is communicating is up to us.

Sometimes we will just smile and nod and go on with our day.

Other times, what they share with us will impact us in a great way and encourage us to pivot our approach in more than one area of our life.

Not many people are going to filter their advice and insights through your eyes — we must do that ourselves. Most people will say what they want to hear and hope that it’s also what you want to hear.

THEY comprise most of the 1%.

“Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words.” — Roy T. Bennett
“Comprehension is the most integral part of listening, if we are not able to understand and then absorb what the speaker is saying to us, why are they talking at all?” — Harrison Wendland

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