Do you like to feel validated? I know I do. Being confident that you’re doing the right thing or heading in the right direction is a great feeling. Now, you can seek validation for various reasons. You can also find it in multiple sources. But not all validation is equal.
You can look to the opinions of others for validation. But in doing so, who will you choose to give your attention to? Will it be to anyone who offers you their thoughts? Or maybe to those who appear important? What value will you place on the voices of people online you don’t know? Or will you give preference to the opinions of people you both know and respect?
Or you could focus instead on quantifiable metrics. In this case, which numbers are most important to you? What exactly determines success? Is it based on a pre-defined benchmark, or compared to your peers, or in relation to your past performance?
And regardless of the sources you choose, there’s still the why behind it all. Why pay attention to this person and not that person? Why focus on that number instead of this one? Why do the sources you’re looking at make the most sense in your situation? And ultimately, why do you want validation to begin with?
Validation isn’t bad. Wanting to make sure you’re heading in the right direction is a good impulse. But to ensure you are on the right track requires determining which signals to pay attention to. Which ones are worth your time? Which ones are true indicators you’re heading the right way?
If you choose poorly, you could spend a lot of time chasing meaningless metrics. You could wind up trying to gain the approval of people whose opinions don’t matter. And in doing so, you could head in the wrong direction. You could even end up saying or doing things you later regret—all out of a desire to prove yourself.
Validation feels great. But remember, just because you feel validated doesn’t mean you’re on the right path. Which is why it’s important to pick your sources of validation carefully.