Uncomfortable truth you may not want to hear: One of the reasons why many people don’t succeed or reach their full potential isn’t because they’re afraid of failing— they are afraid of what people think about them.
I always advise my coachees: once you stop caring about what anyone thinks about you, your life will get exponentially better.
Here are 9 mindset shifts to help you stop caring about what other people think about you:
1. We Live In A Tiny Blip In Time.
A few months ago, I was running across the train station in France to catch the very last connection to my destination. I tripped and fell, flew a few meters, and landed on my face… got up and sprinted to the train with a 100lb suitcase in tow. Made it with 30 seconds to spare.
Filled with adrenaline, I was literally laughing at my catastrophe and I didn’t feel embarrassed at all because no one in that train station was going to see me again.
I’ve also done much more harrowing and embarrassing things in my life for that to be of any significance but I do have a scar and a story to tell so someone else can be entertained for a split second!
I trained my mind to not get embarrassed, knowing most of those people will never see me again. And when I see someone do something embarrassing, it glazes past my mind because I have other things to worry about.
A good question to ask yourself: do you care about what other people do?
If you do, YOU are judgemental. So maybe it’s you— not them? Something to think about.
2. We Are Walking Paradoxes.
We get annoyed at people who post selfies or too many personal updates online, yet selfies are often the most liked photos in everyone’s feeds, and we feel a deeper connection with those who show vulnerability openly.
a) Our brains are hardwired to identify faces.
Studies show face recognition is important because we need to recognize if a person is a friend or foe— what are their intentions and emotions? Our brain evolved to facilitate social interaction because, in order to survive, we must “follow the herd” in a sense.
This is inherent everywhere. For example, we tend to see facial patterns in everything from clouds to burnt toast because we are wired to see and gravitate toward faces. Marketing professionals strategically use faces to draw attention to an ad, and since we’re social creatures, we can manipulate the direction the eye is looking at (towards a product) so we follow their gaze.
b) Vulnerability builds rapport.
As toxic positivity and masculine toxicity invade society, most of us are taught it’s not okay to express ourselves.
How wrong has that message been?
Brené Brown, best-selling author, and expert on vulnerability taught us that being courageous wasn’t about how strong your outsides were, but about your willingness to show your insides.
Those who are truly strong and resilient are able to get real with themselves and show that side to the world. We are drawn to them because we all have a deep longing to be heard and understood so we gravitate toward those who pave the way even though it’ll always seem uncomfortable at first.
3. Confront Your Own “Hater”
When you become the smartest person in the room, find a new room.
We only get “annoyed” because we are projecting our own insecurities onto others.
When we care too much about what others think about us, it’s a sign of our insecurities.
Our brain is hardwired to protect us from external and internal dangers, including painful emotions within ourselves we don’t want to feel.
Why We Become Fearful Of Others
When we see something in others that we lack, it often causes negative feelings of shame, guilt, and sadness and in order to protect us— our brain’s strategy is to ironically project it onto an offending person.
Just like running from the tiger, we run from our emotions.
I don’t know about you but I value my inner peace and hate conflict so I strive to be patient and understanding with everyone. It all begins with yourself.
To end these bad behaviors that are causing much division in our communities, you simply need to become aware, catch yourself every time this happens, and then question yourself on why you’re projecting yourself on that person.
Once you solve the root of the problem, those feelings will tend to subside. You may not find the answer right away but keep on catching your emotions.
*Highly recommend working with a licensed therapist when doing this type of work because it may uncover unresolved emotions and traumas.
4. The World Doesn’t Evolve Around You.
People care too much about what others think because they think they are special. I’m sorry, but you’re not special. I am not special. No one is special. Once you realize that simple concept, life becomes much easier because you will stop giving a flying fuck about what anyone thinks about you.
The brands you wear, the car you drive, the photos of your luxurious vacations— no one cares but yourself because everyone is too consumed with their own lives.
We’re all pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I had this insight drop in my first out-of-body experience when I was six years old. One day we’re all going to die and the world is going to go on… so let’s make the most out of the one life we each have to live!
Start that business or post your selfie on social media— life is too short to care about what others think about you.
5. We’re All The Same: Confused & Insignificant.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned: no one knows what they are doing.
We’re all literally making it up as we go along. Life and entrepreneurship are an endless string of problem-solving and once you solve a problem, you create a new one.
As depressing as this sounds, it’s not.
Life never gets easier, but you can get better.
We are wired to evolve— grow. Problems keep us on our toes; whenever we overcome a challenge, we feel better and get better at life.
You may not be remembered or recognized as an individual, but you can give yourself meaning by simply knowing that you are connected to a mysterious cosmic consciousness. Your tiny seemingly insignificant actions are a part of a universal chain of events that contributes to the fabric of existence.
As long as you are trying your best and contributing to the world, just do YOU.
Relax, enjoy life, and take risks, knowing that most of us won’t be remembered in the grand scheme of things.
6. We’re The Average Of Our Environment.
You are the average of the people closest to you. Your environment has a huge effect on your success and this is one thing you have absolute control over.
The problem is that this is uncomfortable truth no one wants to talk about. If you want to be better at life but no one around you does, they are going to be negative and try to bring you down— and this is just how our brains are wired. When people around you sense that you aren’t the ‘same as them’ anymore, their brains which are always scanning for ‘familiarity’ will scream “danger! danger!”.
This is a survival mechanism we all have and we have to overcome it with simple awareness.
But it’s also your own fault for not curating your self environment to align with your values.
You should have different friend groups— here is a fun exercise to find out about yours:
- Write down these 4 types of support groups we should all have:
- Emotional – Friends or family who listen and provide hope and support. They are there to give you an ear or a hug when you need it.
- Informational – Friends who teach you valuable information, and give advice, suggestions, wisdom, and insights.
- Instrumental – Friends who provide practical, tangible aid or support such as helping you buy groceries, bringing you dinner when you’re sick, taking you to the doctor, helping with home repairs, or brainstorming solutions to problems.
- Companionship – Friends who do things such as hobbies with, and spend quality time with. They make you feel loved and respected.
- List all the people in your life you can think of in each of those groups.
- Which ones are your strongest? Weakest?
- Work on making new connections to strengthen your weakest support group(s) to create a more well-rounded life.
Remember, it’s okay to have different friend groups for different purposes. It’s also okay to change support groups as we transition through major milestones in life. Your friends may also give different types of support at different times. Nothing is constant— stay adaptable and open-minded to change.
There are people who are going to hate you no matter what. Do they matter so much in your life that you are going to let their own insecurities ruin your future? It’s not your job to help or fix them.
7. We’re Not Made For Everyone.
Only the opinions of those who matter, matter.
There are over seven billion people in this tiny insignificant period we are living in. If you are trying to make everyone like you— gosh, that sounds astronomically exhausting. We only have so much energy to spare and so let’s spend it on what matters.
Let’s squash that irritating people-pleaser wired in all of us. We only overwhelm ourselves with self-induced expectations. For example, if you feel like you never have enough time in a day, try this:
- Write a list of everything you need to accomplish that morning.
- Choose the top 3 that will add the most value to your life that day.
- Cross everything else out.
8. Be A Creator— Not A Victim.
Focus on only what you can control.
See yourself as the CEO of your life— you are in absolute control of your habits, actions, environment, priorities, and decisions. Everyone else is part of the ‘company’ you call your life and you can choose how they affect you— are you going to let their negativity ruin your vibe, or are you going to reframe it to power you to take positive action towards your dreams?
Caring what people think about you is playing victim because you think the world revolves around you. You’re not taking accountability to finally step into your power to create your own opportunities.
Everything is a choice. Choose to stop sabotaging your life by playing victim.
Instead, choose to go out there and create something meaningful to you, minus what everyone thinks.
- Write down: What makes you happy? What do you love to do? What’s important to you?
- Break those down into smaller actionable steps on how you can make them happen.
- Take action!
9. I Have 99 Problems And You’re Not One.
This may sound selfish but I have 99 problems and don’t have time for yours.
What you do, including your failures isn’t insignificant in my life. Your failures and successes may inspire or teach me, but I’m not going to waste energy judging you because I have better things to spend my attention on.
Because of how I see the world, I don’t care what others think of me. And I know that nobody cares what I do. I stay in my lane and you stay in yours. We can occasionally come out to collaborate.
I also know it’s not my job to save anyone because no one can be helped until they are ready to help themselves.
Once you start thinking this way, you’ll truly stop caring about what others think. You’ll start to take more risks. You will feel more fulfilled and you will have more life satisfaction.
TL;DR: 9 Mindset Shifts To Stop Caring What Others Think
- We Live In A Tiny Blip In Time.
- We Are Walking Paradoxes.
- Face Your Own “Hater”
- The World Doesn’t Evolve Around You.
- We Are All The Same: Insignificant & Confused.
- We Are The Sum Of Our Environment.
- We Are Not Made For Everyone.
- Be A Creator— Not A Victim.
- I Have 99 Problems And You’re Not One.
I don’t know about you, but life is much easier not caring about what other people think than trying to get everyone to like you. Trust in the process, stay in your lane, don’t stray from your values and you will attract like-minded people a.k.a. your tribe.
Now please go out there and do YOU.
LIVE because we only have one life to live!