“I don’t care what people think.”
It’s a popular notion to not give a damn and act however you want. If people’s opinions don’t have any value, I guess it’s right to not care. But if people DO matter, then we might want to listen to what they have to say. There really is no other way to hear what your reputation is. And trust me, you need to know what people think of you.
Should you care what people think? Want to be an influential person? Then we must listen. If you’ve got a bad rap, don’t point the finger. Take responsibility. Hear what people are saying—whether they’re right or wrong—and do something about it.
In this world of ever changing values and priorities people are drawn to constants. If you don’t care what people think–and you act and do as you please–people will not sense a constant character within that is firm regardless of the circumstances.
You may like to portray yourself as a reliable person, but people will read you as inconsistent. As in you’ll be seen as a flake. And flakes aren’t able to influence and change things.
People’s perceptions of you become reality to them.
You might be the nicest guy around. But if you rubbed a few people the wrong way, that may not be what you’re known for. One instance can bruise your reputation. It’s important to understand how you’re perceived so you can make it right and present yourself in the best light.
You may be a man of integrity, but perceptions are based off of as little as one action. Your character should be what stands out. If it doesn’t, then you do need to be concerned with the perceptions others have of you. Word of mouth carries beyond boundaries you might try to place.
Make Your Character Known
You only want to be concerned with what people think when it’s contrary to who you really are. You want them to see your character. The reason you want to be concerned with their perception is if you are a person of integrity, and their perception is built off of observing you make one mistake, then they won’t see you for who you are.
We’ve all got blind spots. Sometimes those closest to us are afraid to point them out. Some of the best feedback I’ve received in my life is from brutally honest people that don’t like me. Who else was going to tell me the truth?
Their opinion may have been coated in angst, but there is still a nugget of truth.
Listening to what others say we need to change can bring about real self-awareness.
Be the Go-To Guy
Men want to matter. We want to influence things. We want people to listen to our opinions at work. We want to be a part of changing things and making them better.
If you live your life for the sake of others’ approval you’ll be a paper thin man.
If your focus is to please others then you won’t influence anyone but will instead open yourself up to negative influences.
You’ll be a chameleon changing your color to please whatever environment of people nearest you. As you continue down this road your identity will suffer. Who you are and what you stand for will no longer be concrete. What you enjoy and desire to pursue will be lost to what others are currently consumed with.
The Growing Cancer of Insecurity
At some point we know that people are going to talk trash. Listening to that isn’t helpful. It will only increase our insecurity which will paralyze us from making the right decisions.
Don’t worry about living up to the expectations of people’s harsh criticism. Some people want to put you down so they can feel better about themselves.
Conclusion: Weeding through the feedback
How do I tell the difference between feedback I should listen to and what’s simply hypercritical?
I personally always listen to what people have to say. Regardless of what I think their motive is. If they have bad intentions, I might as well listen and know them. And if I can dig down to what has built angst within them towards me maybe I can make things amicable again.
Sometimes I sense that someone’s negative feeling towards are repeated and aren’t based out of interactions we’re having. I then start to ponder if this is merely them projecting their own shortcomings onto me.
What do I do next?
What do I do if I’ve fallen victim to not caring at all what people think? Or if I’ve fallen into a pit of people pleasing?
- GET UP. Start moving. Start making changes. Listen to what people have to say.
- If people are pressuring you to change into someone you shouldn’t be, don’t follow an unhealthy way of thinking.
- Your job isn’t to listen to critique just to make people happy. Your job is to listen to feedback and improve yourself, whether or not they approve of you.
- Some people are impossible to please, and you don’t have to live up to their relentless request for more.
Don’t expect to change on accident. Make a choice. Your character will not begin to change in a way that matters until you begin to behave differently.