Other people can tell us a lot about ourselves. Even if they’re not directly offering feedback, we can pick up on certain cues that say a lot about who we are and where we stand. Author Ramit Sethi calls it “The Seagull Theory”.
Photo by Alexandre Albuquerque
Sethi explains that, in the old days, sailors often used seagulls to tell they were approaching land. The more seagulls they’d see, the more confidant they could be that land was close. He explains how this relates to your business and personal life:
The Seagull Theory describes how the subtlest of clues can signify you’re on the right track. For example, when someone says something once, you might not notice it. When you hear it again, that’s interesting. When you hear it three times, you lean in and start paying attention.
The Seagull Theory can give you ideas about what you should do in life. One person says you’d make a great entrepreneur, OK, whatever. Another person agrees, that’s interesting. After three, maybe it’s something to consider.
Or, you could use the theory for personal development. Maybe someone says you’re too sensitive, and you don’t believe them. But if three, four or five people say the same thing, it might be time to take a hint.
Finally, it’s a great way to see where you stand with something. Sethi gives a personal example:
If you listen to people describe this site, some of them will say, “Oh yeah, I Will Teach You To Be Rich, that’s the personal finance site, right?”
I haven’t written about personal finance in years. This seagull shows how difficult it is to change positioning in someone’s mind. It’s not their fault — it’s mine for not making it easier to describe IWT. (I write personal development, not personal finance.)
His suggestion? Think about the possible “seagulls” in your life. They might offer insight on something you’re missing. For more detail, check out his full post.
The Seagull Theory [I Will Teach You To Be Rich]