You dim your light to make others less insecure. You hold back for fear of judgment and rejection. You don’t pursue your ambitions because others won’t approve, and you second guess your intuition when others punish you out of jealousy.
You walk a tightrope without the exhilaration and amusement of the circus — only the empty promises of the status quo.
It’s no wonder your life sucks.
I was the same way.
I remember all the times I was around people I didn’t like just because saying no was uncomfortable.
Or the girls I put on a pedestal when they didn’t deserve it.
And worst of all, the Spanish vacation that ended early because my paranoid mid-level finance manager was breathing down my back.
I wanted success and freedom. The only problem was I was a slave, and only free people can be truly successful.
To reclaim your freedom is to stop caring about the opinions of others. When you do this, you are free to speak your mind and live on your terms. You are more able to help others and more likely to get rich.
When you stop giving a fuck about what other people think, you become a leader. You inspire others by your actions, garnering respect even from the people that hate you.
No matter what you do, some people will think you’re lame. They will disdain you or not care about you, whether you’re a leader or follower, rich or poor, white or black.
All leaders are rejected. All leaders are subject to dislike, jealousy, and ridicule. It is the price you pay for standing out. Your courage will offend those that hide in obscurity, but hopefully, inspire individuals with the humility to look beyond their own fragile egos.
The leader is guided by his purpose and his instincts. He is not afraid to fail repeatedly in pursuit of his mission. He understands that each failure is a mere steppingstone to the top of the mountain.
The mountain is tall, treacherous, and full of unexpected twists and turns. But the leader isn’t discouraged when he looks back and finds himself alone.
Your obsession with their bogus conjectures needs to end now.
Here are six reasons to stop giving a fuck what people think about you.
#1: You and Everyone You Know Will Soon Be Dead
Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily — Napoleon Bonaparte
Death permeates your life and existence.
Before you can count to one, another human being with friends, family, and hopes and dreams will expire. Whether from old age, a car accident, terminal illness, or heart attack, the outcome is the same.
Your time will run out.
Your twenty-year-old self will quickly progress into your mid-twenties, then late-twenties. The years of your life will fly away at an ever-accelerating pace until the day you look in the mirror and see a middle-aged man with greying hair and wrinkles around his eyes.
It doesn’t stop there.
You will remain in this perpetual state of change until your body can no longer support your existence, at which point your cold, dead corpse will begin to rot, and your earthly journey will be finished.
Your day of reckoning will happen, and when it does, you will regret being crippled by fear.
The manager that caused so much mental anguish, the cyberbully from Instagram, the envious relatives, and fake friends are long gone.
Realizing these illusory threats were figments of your imagination, you will say, “why did I even give a fuck?” I had so much more to give. I gave them too much power. I let life slip through my fingers.
Death is the great and undefeated equalizer.
Memento mori is an ancient roman axiom. It means, “remember death”. Act each day like you know the truth: that your life will soon be over.
The memory of you will vanish from the face of the earth. Not one person will recognize your name or know anything you ever said or did.
Most people continuously seek acceptance. They follow the herd. It makes them feel safe.
What did Napoleon Bonaparte, Muhammad Ali, Gandhi, and Steve Jobs have in common? They were revolutionaries. They were admired and loathed. They did not give a fuck what others thought about them.
#2: Bullies are Cowards in Disguise
It’s true. Bullies act out of cowardice.
The confidence of others makes them recoil.
If you feel just as low as them, they won’t be so scared and lonely.
What the bully says and what he believes are often complete opposites.
The bully calls you stupid because he suffers from feelings of inadequacy. He’ll say you’re a pussy, but he wishes he could be just like you.
He mocks others so he can feel better about himself.
The bully is always a coward deep down. When you stay true to your values and hold your position, they retreat with their tail between their legs.
Ignore the bullies and don’t change for them.
Like the little girl who tells her platonic love he is ugly, they are often secret admirers.
The Bully Secretly Loves You
#3: Nobody Really Gives a Fuck About You
Human beings are selfish and fearful. This is the reason social media and television are practical tools for advertising and propaganda. They constantly bombard you with FOMO (fear of missing out).
Followers chase their tails in fear of missing out. They want to be in on the latest trends and fads. They want to buy shit they can’t afford. They mimic what their acquaintances do.
You are the last thing on their minds.
Their judgments about you are fleeting and are instantly replaced with thoughts and perturbation about their own life.
They have a job, a family, student loans, etc.
They are far more worried about how they are perceived.
You will face backlash for being nonconformist, but the animosity is only skin deep.
#4: Judgments are Like Assholes: Everyone Has Them and They All Stink
“Those who know don’t talk. Those who talk don’t know.” — Tao Te Ching
The average human being has around fifty thousand thoughts every day. Multiply that figure by the global population of seven billion, and you get a mind-fuckingly vast reservoir of shitty opinions.
This dilemma is magnified tenfold in our day in age because of the internet and social media. The overabundance of diversion and advertising ensures most of the global population is distracted into delirium.
In other words, they don’t know what they’re talking about.
Even if you were the most charming, endearing person in the history of humanity, you would still be criticized or worse. The more strength and fortitude you have, the more of a threat you are to the weak-minded.
Get used to it.
Embrace the pain and darkness of their sneers and bickering. It will make you tougher and prepare you for greatness.
A rich, wise, old man once told me, “criticism will make you stronger”.
#5: Average Attention Span is Eight Seconds
We are living in an age of amnesia.
This is why politicians and television personalities can lie non-stop and get away with it. They know everyone is highly addicted to news media, Facebook, and Instagram. This addiction requires around-the-clock maintenance which leaves little time for deep reflection.
This is an unpleasant truth about our society, but there is a silver lining.
Their judgments are maxed out at eight seconds.
Think about this when your instinct is telling you to act, but you are scared shitless due to any of the following scenarios:
- Talking to a sexy girl
- Pitching your business idea to investors
- Contacting a potential mentor for advice
- Asking for a promotion
- Giving a sales pitch
- Cold calling potential customers
- Starting a blog or Youtube channel
Your ego will try to deceive you.
It will say, “You won’t survive. You can’t handle this. You’re too weak and pathetic!”
But that’s a lie.
Vulnerability is your ally. It is your deepest connection to the rest of humanity.
#6: Vulnerability is Sexy
“Before you can win, you have to learn how to lose.” — Michael Jordan
Vulnerability is the training ground of champions and conquerors.
Vulnerability forms deeper, more meaningful relationships and attracts intelligent and successful friends into your life.
You can only be loved and respected for exactly what you are when you stand up for what you believe in and reveal your authentic self.
When you trade your values for a fake persona or the status quo, you don’t get something greater than yourself.
You get absolutely nothing (emptiness).
Accomplished people hurdle their personal demons before coming out victorious. They know what it’s like to stare into a dark abyss.
Harness the darkness and shame within you and become a titan.
Vulnerability is not weakness or frailty. It is the courage to do and say what others won’t and accept the consequences.
Conquer your dread of vulnerability, and you will no longer give a fuck about what anyone thinks about you.
Everything You Want Is On The Other Side of Fear.
Living in fear of judgment is a curse. It is an affliction that resides in the deep recesses of your mind, sabotaging your life in every moment while robbing you of all adventure and wonder.
How many opportunities for joy and excitement have you forfeited because of this dreary way of life?
“Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer.” — Niccolò Machiavelli
The most successful people are willing to put themselves in awkward situations over and over.
The ability to not give a fuck what people think about you is a superpower.
You will not master this skill overnight.
As Confucius once said, “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”
Get started today.
Stop saying yes to things you don’t want to do; their punishments will not harm you.
Be flirtatious with the sexy young lady that catches your eye; the sting of rejection will soon pass.
Say what you honestly believe; it doesn’t matter what your parents or peers think.
Followers are always the last to welcome an original idea, but the most ardent supporters once they feel it’s safe to jump onboard.
They may say you are selfish and ungrateful or accuse you of being crazy, but their worthless speculations are only reflections of their low self-esteem.
They will see the truth when it is popular to do so.
We need more trailblazers.
The world is waiting for you to step forward.
Nothing exterior can give you freedom or success. If you want the real treasures of this world, then it is up to you to own them.
What’s at stake is worth much more than the shallow approval of a crowd of yes-men.
Your destiny is in your own hands.
Bonus: Breaking Out of Homeostasis by Ludvig Sunstrom is an excellent book on getting methodical about stepping out of your comfort zone. I highly recommend this one to anybody that is serious about taking the leap from follower to leader.