Whether you are a gardener or the CEO of an Inc 500 company, letting the opinions of others control every fiber of your being is unhealthy. Period.
Perhaps you drive a Toyota Hybrid instead of the Porsche you can afford because you don’t want to look like you think you’re all that. Or, perhaps you squeeze your savings dry to buy that Toyota Hybrid instead of taking the subway because you’re afraid that people will see you as a not-that-successful startup CEO?
If you are anything like the other 98 percent of the people who reside on this planet, you actually do care what other people think of you. This realization can be really frustrating when living and working in a world where nearly everyone you talk to claims to not give a crap what others have to say about them.
Well, most secretly do and just say they don’t. Agreed?
We all have to care how we’re perceived at some point in life. But doing so constantly leads to a life of instability and leads to a paralyzing fear of ever going against the grain: a trait that all successful entrepreneurs everywhere share.
Let’s look at a few ways to start making the mental shift toward a life of mental liberation. To free yourself of the encumberances of society and their judgement, and move toward a happier, more successful, less anxious, more you, YOU!
Recognize that judging and assuming are part of the human condition
It’s in our DNA. Yes, if you’re over 40 and trying to pull off that pathetic comb-over, people will notice. Some will be abhorred, others will laugh and snicker behind your back. And most will assume that you’re a silly-willy for trying to fool anyone with at least 10 percent vision in one eye that you still have a full hairline.
This might sound like a harsh attack on the balding men of the world, but what I’m getting around to is that even the much less obvious things you do are open to speculation and judgement by others. Why let it rule your life? Do what you want to do and let people talk.
Come to the realization that you won’t like everyone and not everyone will like you.
Hey, have you ever heard of the world completely stopping on its axis at anytime in our history? Of course not, and even if it did, have all of us become so narcissistic that we suddenly believe that one person has the power to make that happen?
It’s perfectly okay that you don’t like your neighbor, co-worker or co-founder, or the weird old fella that traps you into a long boring conversation whenever you see him out on the stoop of your building. Same goes for others liking you: recognize that in most cases, it isn’t even your fault they don’t like you.
We all cling to something; some people cling to their dislike for you! Let them be and move on with your life.
Own the fact that you (and your company) are but a tiny spec in the sphere of this planet…
…but understand you matter (much) more than you think.
Most people in the world don’t know who you are and never will. And those same people aren’t sitting around sulking and crying at the loss that comes from not knowing you. But here’s the real kicker: just as you’re but a dust-sized blip on the radar, so are the people who would cast judgement on you, or feel contempt or hatred toward you for no good reason.
In the end, we’re all just dust in the wind and all the time spent judging or in judgement is time you can’t get back.
Yes, there is a silver lining to not caring about what others think. It’s world-changing actually. It can make you a better person. Iconic even. Even better, understanding, acknowledging and experiencing that you matter to God (or god, or Greater Being, depending on your belief system) – much more than you think – is liberating, at the very least.
As a human being, you are special. But you need to work hard to uncover your awesomeness.
I could talk about Richard Branson, Mark Cuban, Lori Grenier, Gary Vaynerchuk, Daymond John, etc. Real heavyweights in the business world. People who’ve gained immeasurable success by doing their own thing and not giving a care about what the world thinks of their ideas, their goals, their personalities, etc. But I’ll point you to three of the most truly epic souls who never lived their life giving a pinch about what the world thought of them: Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela.
Each lived their lives in service to their fellow man and woman. They didn’t focus their lives on caring what people thought of them, but rather focused on how people felt about their own lives and humanity in general. All but Gandhi were Nobel Peace Prize winners, and most people find it shocking he was never given the award.
Each were so at peace with themselves and their goals in life, they had little time for worrying about how they were perceived. And the world rewarded them a permanent place in the history books, never to be forgotten.
All those people whose opinions you’ve been mistakenly holding in such high regard, aren’t truly alive. When most of us feel judged, we in turn judge right back, meaning you’re just getting sucked further and further into the abyss of unhappiness by participating.
Stop caring about what other people think. Start living and do wonders for the sake of your business, community, family – and yourself. It’s long overdue.
Happy New Year!