Sometimes I think, in this country in particular, we are taught to listen to others more than ourselves. It is polite to consider the needs of others, but when you can’t make a decision due to trying to keep everyone happy it just becomes stupid.
A quality I really admire in other cultures is a bluntness in expressing what you want/think/feel. Honesty basically. Listening to yourself, and learning how to do this and to understand what your true desires are, is vital to achieving both a successful personal life and career. It is particularly important when making creative work and putting yourself in a position of control. Having a creative decision to make whilst working collaboratively is challenging; you have to allow the voices and ideas of others to influence your own thinking, yet you also have to separate your own thoughts from those of others.
The reason I say this is that it can become easy to be led down a route that, halfway down it, you realise you don’t actually want to be headed down. It’s a hard thing to explain without making collaboration sound like a bad thing. Imagine tightrope walking with another person on the rope. There is a need to be totally in tune both with your own movements and those of the other person, one misplaced physical idea could send you both careering off the rope. Learning to listen to yourself is a vital skill and is, really, as polite as listening to others because if you don’t listen to yourself you’ll just be miserable and grumpy and nobody wants to be around that.