I’ve had some days recently where I’ve been plagued with that question “What will people think?”
“If I say that, will people hate it and could it ruin my career?”
‘If I say the truth and people dislike it, could that ruin an upcoming opportunity?”
‘If they don’t like it, will I ever get another chance?
Whenever I find myself becoming fearful of people’s opinions, I do this:
I compare their opinion to my mortality.
This is the main hack so let’s start with this. Whenever I find myself worrying about what people think and how it may affect my success, I remember that in the scheme of things I am only on this Earth for a short amount of time.
Anything that I say will likely be forgotten pretty quickly. People are so caught up in all the troubles of their own life that they don’t have space in their mind to remember all of my flaws and silly moments. So if people are highly unlikely to remember, then who cares what people think?
Comparing opinions to your own mortality is a fantastic way to get a reality check. This way of thinking always gets me out of my head. Death is a good motivator that will make you take action and not get caught up in your head trying to win a war against opinions.
I’d rather try for greatness than never know because of fear.
Being paralyzed by people’s opinions stops you from ever reaching your full potential. You end up second-guessing yourself and not taking certain actions out of fear for what people may think. You can’t enter their mind and steal their thoughts (not yet, anyway) so you’ll never know for sure.
Maybe people love what you said. Maybe what you hypothesize they’re thinking is wrong. So the truth is you’ll never know for sure.
“What I do know for sure is that greatness is within all of us and it can only be unleashed when you stop giving an F”
Greatness is achieved when you say what you think, you take vulnerable actions, you’re authentic and most of all, you don’t hold back. People’s opinions are holding you back and they don’t matter. What matters is your opinion of yourself.
What matters is you tried.
And your critics probably didn’t. By not being held back by opinions you end up trying things that you’d normally not do. Here are some of my own examples:
- I went to a high interval training workout class. Normally I wouldn’t because I’m currently unfit, but because I don’t care what people think, I did it anyway and loved it.
- I entered a public speaking competition and won against very tough competition. Normally I wouldn’t but I told myself that I can say cool stuff too.
- I took a long plane trip overseas. Normally I wouldn’t because I have a fear of flying but because I’ve now flown enough times, flying is actually fun.
- I started this whole blogging thing. Normally I wouldn’t of because I used to hate writing and found it dead boring. I thought people would think what I had to say was dumb. Then I discovered my passion for blogging and now it’s what I’m known for by millions of people
How much success are you leaving on the table by being shackled down with the opinions of others? Just do what you love and if people hate it then screw them. They’re obviously not your target audience or don’t get your unique talent. Giving it a go will show you more than doing nothing.
I think about not living my dream life.
If people’s horrible opinions of you are weighing you down, then try this reverse hack: Think about what would happen if you didn’t live your dream.
Whenever I second guess myself about giving a talk, I think about what would happen if I never discovered this whole inspiring others gift that I had secretly hidden inside of me.
When you weigh up in your head the difference between people’s thoughts of you, and living your dream life, you’ll find your mind always pushing towards the later. Use this super-sized hack to destroy your fear of opinions.
I remind myself of what the great’s do.
If fear of public reticule is holding me back, I think in my mind about what the greats would do. Would Steve Jobs let someone tell him that his phone needs more buttons?
“Would Martin Luther King let someone tell him that black people’s rights don’t matter and to stay at home today by the warm fire? Not in a million, trillion years”
So if the greats wouldn’t allow opinions to stop them in their tracks, why the heck would you?
I think of what I’m doing in comparison to the world.
An excellent way to put your actions and the opinions about them into perspective is to compare what you’re doing with the world. If you say something stupid in front of your co-workers, in the scheme of things, does that one event change the rest of the world?
Does your little mistake really matter compared with the billions of other mistakes that are happening at the same moment? Probably not.