People Only Hear What They Want to Hear. Accept It Rather than Explain Yourself

Consulting with others is important, but at some point, we need decisions and action.

Thomas Vogel
4 min readAug 2


Cow thinking it’s a crocodile
Cow thinking it’s a crocodile (source: LinkedIn)
Cow thinking it’s a trunk
Cow thinking it’s a trunk (source: LinkedIn)

Two cows look at an object reeking out of the water.

One cow is convinced it’s a crocodile.

One cow is convinced it’s just a trunk.

The cows debate for a while, and eventually, the cow thinking the object was a crocodile steps on it and is eaten alive by the crocodile.

Now the other cow, thinking the object was a trunk, changes its mind and says the object is a crocodile.

Enter a third cow.

The third cow is convinced the object is just a trunk.

As Paulo Coelho said: “Don’t waste your time with explanations; people only hear what they want to hear.”

Does this sound familiar? How many times have you explained your thinking, giving reasons and arguments, for the other side still not to share your thinking and reasoning?

Speaking for myself: as a father of three, and a co-founder & CEO of a company of 30 employees, I have experienced such situations many many times.

Kids need to learn and develop, so it’s obvious they don’t always share the thinking and reasoning of their adult (or in their words aging) dad. On the other hand, it’s less obvious that adult people in a professional setting are still immune to other people’s thinking and reasoning.

Let’s focus on some examples from the daily work in a B2B SaaS company.

1. Precious little gets done when everyone is in charge

The easiest way not to do something is to discuss it. We can debate for days if that object reeking out of the water is a crocodile or a trunk. At some point, somebody needs to take charge and prove their claim — even if it means that like the unfortunate cow in the example, you get eaten alive.



Thomas Vogel

Entrepreneur, engineer, enemy of all administrative hurdles, general staff officer, solar power advocate.