After Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature last year, it took him two weeks to respond to the academy and accept the award. Most deemed the lack of response as inappropriate and disingenuous, but a recent article from Inc. sums it up perfectly:

“But Dylan taught us something different: Thoughtful responses are always better. Thinking before speaking or acting helps us to put into words what we truly feel over time, not just the first emotion that strikes us. It keeps us from simply getting caught up in the day-to-day, going through the motions in a way that wastes time in the end. And it inspires us to stop and listen to those who disagree with our opinion, instead of getting upset or snapping back.”

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot reflecting on what drives me and others to make decisions. Over the course of my career, I’ve been lucky enough to have co-workers, bosses, and friends who support and share great advice about my direction and goals. I’ve also been faced with challenging decisions and have encountered others who don’t share the same vision as me. And while all these influencers (positive and negative) have been a huge part of my career trajectory, ultimately, when pressed to make a choice for myself, I never really took the time to sit and focus on what my thoughts and feelings were.

Dylan has learned not to immediately respond to the energy and opinions of others. Instead, he listens, reflects, and then reacts. It’s important to take time to process and truly understand the impact of our choices and words.

As further inspiration to listen to our inner voice and do what makes us happy, here are a few of my favorite Dylan quotes/lyrics on work, success, and others’ opinions:

  1. “What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.”
  2. “Well, I try my best to be just like I am, but everybody wants you to be just like them.” – Maggie’s Farm 
  3. “Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats
    Too noble to neglect
    Deceived me into thinking
    I had something to protect
    Good and bad, I define these terms
    Quite clear, no doubt, somehow
    Ah, but I was so much older then
    I’m younger than that now.” – My Back Pages
  4. “You lose yourself, you reappear
    You suddenly find you got nothing to fear
    Alone you stand with nobody near
    When a trembling distant voice, unclear
    Startles your sleeping ears to hear
    That somebody thinks they really found you” – It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)
  5. “I ain’t a-saying you treated me unkind
    You could have done better but I don’t mind
    You just kinda wasted my precious time
    But don’t think twice, it’s all right” – Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right