The Magic of Not Giving a F*ck of What People Think
We’re all guilty. From the moment we wake up, we live our lives caring about what other people think of us.
We accept the status quo for what it is because everyone around us does. We tiptoe our way through life by doing things to please others.
Eventually, our actions, appearances, and lives become moulded by how we think other people perceive us. How are these pants going to make me look? What will my colleagues think if I spoke out? If I take this job, what will my friends and family think of me?
Reading that paragraph alone gave me a headache. It’s exhausting, and it has to stop.
Living a life that follows the notions of what other people think is a terrible way to live. It turns you into a spectator in your own life, who waits for other people to take action first. It turns you into a follower. Worst of all, it makes you become someone who doesn’t take a stand for anything.
Today is the last day we live a life dictated by others. Today, we’re going to get to the bottom of this people pleasing and the constraints it places upon your life. Today is the day we stop giving a F@$%.
You often worry family or friends might not approve of something; people are talking about you.
No One Cares
Believe it or not, we’re not that special. We go through our days thinking about how other people might be judging us. But the truth is—those people are feeling the same thing. No one in today’s “smartphone-crazed” society has time in their schedule to think more than a brief second about us. The fact of the matter is, when we do have time get our thoughts straight, we’re too busy thinking about ourselves and our shortcomings—not others.
A study done by the National Science Foundation claims that people have, on average, 50,000 plus thoughts a day.
It means that even if someone thought about us ten times in one day, it’s only 0.02% of their overall daily thoughts. It is a sad but simple truth that the average person filters their world through their ego, meaning that they think of most things relating to “me” or “my.”
So unless you have done something that directly affects another person or their life, they are not going to spend much time thinking about you at all.
I’ve always enjoyed watching performers trying to hustle for some change at train stations. These guys don’t give a flying F@$%.
But the more interesting observation I made is how the spectators react. Rather than watching the actual performers, most people are looking around to see how other people are reacting. If people were laughing, they would start laughing too. But if people weren’t paying attention, they would also pay no mind.
Even when provided with the blatantly obvious opportunity to judge someone, people are still thinking about how others may perceive them. Once you understand that this is how people’s minds work, it’s a big step towards freedom.
You Can’t Please Everyone.
It’s impossible to live up to everyone’s expectations. There will always be people—no matter what we say or how we treat them—that will judge us. Whether you’re at the gym, at work, taking the train, or even online playing Call of Duty. Even now it’s happening. You will never be able to stop people from judging you, but you can prevent it from affecting you.
Stop Being a People Pleaser
If you’ve always felt a compulsion to meet everyone else’s needs before your own.
Think about the worst thing that could happen when someone is judging you or what you’re doing. I guarantee that chances are—nothing will happen.
Nothing, no one is going to go out of their busy lives to confront us, or even react for that matter. Because as I mentioned before, no one cares. What will happen is that these people will learn to respect you for claiming your ground. They may disagree with you, but they’ll have to respect you and the stance you have taken.
Start standing up for what you believe in—causes, opinions, anything. You’re going to have people that disagree with you anyway, so why not express how you truly feel? I’ve learned that it’s better to be loved by the few people you care about than to be liked by everyone.
These are family, friends, your spouse—the people who love you for who you are, and the people who will be there for you during your worst times.
Focus on these people. They’re the only people that matter.
You Reap What You Sow
Worrying too much about what other people think can become a self-fulfilling prophecy because the way we think starts to become the way we behave.
These individuals become people-pleasers and are overly accommodating to others, thinking it will stop them from being judged. The opposite is true. Most people don’t like push-overs and are turned off by it. The behaviour we use in an attempt to please others can cause the opposing effect.
If you’re a push-over, then you’re going to be attracting push-overs, and vice versa.
This a dangerous path to go down if you don’t recognize its consequences.
When we start to attract and associate with the same people that share our weaknesses —we’re stuck. We stop growing because there’s no one to challenge us to be better.
We start thinking that this is the norm, and we remain comfortable.
Now, let’s talk about the cure. Here are five ways to stop giving a F@$%.
Reclaiming Your Freedom
Know Your Values
First and foremost. Identify what to you in life, what do you truly value, and what are you ultimately aiming for?
Once you know who you are, and what matters to you, what other people think of you becomes significantly less important. When you know your values, you’ll have something to stand up for —something you believe in.
You’ll stop saying yes to everything. Instead, you’ll learn to say no when friends pressure you to go bar-hopping, or when a tempting business opportunity distracts you from your business. When you have your values straight, Everything else will straighten up too!
Put Yourself Out There
Now that you know what your values are, it’s time to put yourself out there.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Wear a style or colour that you would never normally choose in a million years!
- Public Speaking
- Flirting/Asking someone out
Keep in mind that when you’re doing any of these activities, you have to speak your mind. Start small if you have to and build up to new challenges until you feel comfortable but be ready to stand your ground with integrity and quiet strength if someone else questions your choices.
Surround Yourself with Pros
Surround yourself with self-assured people who live life without compromising their core values. Their habit will rub off on you quickly.
One of my best friends has been a significant influence on me. Having spent the summer with him, I’ve observed countless times where he voiced his opinion on controversial topics. What I learned was that he was voicing opinions that most people already had in their heads, but were too afraid to voice.
People admired him for being so honest and direct, even when they disagreed with his views. Thanks for not giving a F@$%, buddy.
Create a “Growth List”
A Growth List compiles all the things in life that makes you uncomfortable. These are fears, insecurities—anything that gives you the jitters. Here’s how it works.
You start by writing them then one-by-one, you do them. Once you complete the task, you move on to the next.
Rinse and Repeat.
My first growth task was taking a cold shower. I turned the water as cold as it could get, and I could feel my body shake before I even entered the shower.
The inner voice in my head was talking. It was hard at first. But surprisingly, it got more comfortable the second time. Then even easier the third time. Before I knew it, my body stopped shaking—I was no longer uncomfortable; I’d conquered my fear.
This exercise works wonders. I have yet to find a better way to get out of my comfort zone. You can read all the books in the world about being confident or getting over your fears, but if you don’t take action, you’re just someone who’s read how to ride a bicycle without ever having ridden one.
If you’re looking for an ultimate transformation that combines all of the points above, you should travel alone. Travelling with other people can be fun, but you won’t get the opportunity to get out of your comfort zone truly.
You’ll be exposed to different social cultures, break social norms that you didn’t even know existed, and ultimately, be forced to burst out of your small bubble.
Bring as little as possible, and fit everything into one backpack or small suitcase.
Plan nothing, except for a one-way flight ticket to your destination—figure everything else out when you’re there.
Trust me; you’ll be just fine. It won’t be easy initially, but don’t get discouraged. Being comfortable with uncomfortable will grow with time. I continue to struggle with it every day, as do many others. But you need to get started today.
The world is already full of people who obey the status quo. But the people who don’t give a F@$% are the ones that change the world.
Be one of those people.
Start living life the way you want, be fearless like you once were as a child, and always, always stand up for your truth.
Someone has to.