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10 Reasons Why What Others Think Of You Is Not Important

10 Reasons Why What Others Think Of You Is Not Important

In an evermore connecting society where personal value is wrongly correlated with social status, it becomes easy to get swept away in the opinions of others. Who likes who, who wronged who, who is doing what and so on are all regular topics in our daily interactions. Let’s not forget, gossip evolved as an evolutionary device – a successful one at that.

Yet despite this, those with their eye on living an honest and fulfilling life should avoid any temptations of this social Whodunnit. It’s true. Caring about what others think of you is an arrow to the knee of your happiness. Here are 10 reasons why.

1. Nobody Knows You Like Yourself.

People can be arrogant in the fact that they tend to judge a persons character within second of meeting them. We all generalise, we form assumptions, we create an opinion of people from the first moments of the first interaction, often inaccurate ones. The truth is, despite the lightening-quick opinions people form, nobody knows you like you do. You know your own strengths, your own weaknesses, your likes and dislikes more than anybody else in the world. Yes, people can be quick to judge. Are their perceptions of you at all accurate? It’s unlikely. Don’t concern yourself with them.

“The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself” – Thales

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2. Nobody Likes to Feel Bad About Themselves.

We all like to feel confident and that we lack nothing major in our lives. Since it is often difficult for people to directly face their personal issues head on and get over them, people like to bring others down as a means of feeling more secure about themselves. People who readily form negative opinions are often casting their own insecurities onto others as a means of overshadowing their own. It is admittedly easier, but that doesn’t make it right. It’s often nothing to do with you in the first place.

3. You’ll Be Forever Walking On Egg Shells.

Do you wan’t to live a life of anxiety? A life where the views of others sting you like a wasp every time you hear a negative or insulting remark about yourself? I bet you don’t. If you do, you’ll quickly become a people-pleaser. You’ll be that Mr. Niceguy who gets trampled all over by everyone in fear of offending anyone. Mr. Niceguy on the outside, is Mr. Sadguy on the inside. You’re better than that.

4. They Will Take You Everywhere But Up.

Successful people don’t care deeply about what others think of them. Why? Because there are some terrible people out there, and in order to achieve something great you’ll have to make some of them angry. If on your path to success you find that absolutely everybody is agreeing with you, then you’re probably doing it wrong. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. So why not Do.

5. You Simply Don’t Have Time.

Success means becoming the strongest, most well-rounded version of yourself possible. In order to achieve success, you’ll have to build upon your strengths and minimise your weaknesses. How can you expect to do that if you’re too busy wasting your time contemplating the views of others? If you want to be successful, you don’t have those precious seconds to throw away. Focus on developing yourself, not developing others’ thoughts.

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“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

6. Confidence Isn’t Rooted In the Thoughts of Others.

How many times have you heard a confident person say that they get their confidence from the negative opinions of others? Not many, I bet. It’s usually the contrary. Confidence comes from realising the pettiness and inaccuracy of other people’s negative view of you and then ignoring them. Confident people know exactly what they lack and they get comfortable with it. They don’t need others to do it for them.

7. Only Those Who Aren’t Going Anywhere Criticise Others.

In Andrew Carnegie’s world-renowned book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, he mentions the importance of not criticising others if you want to be successful. Before he was president, Abraham Lincoln criticised a man in a local newspaper and it almost landed him in a sword fight. He learned never to condemn people ever again. And then he became president. So… yeah.

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity” – Dale Carnegie.

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8. If You Do, You’ll Become Them.

If you concern yourself with the negative views of others for long enough you will end up believing them. It’s a sad truth. You will turn into the very person you are trying to avoid because you don’t have the will to ignore opinions. This is bad. Don’t be fooled into a false version of yourself, remember that nobody knows you like you do.

“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent” – Eleanor Roosevelt.

9. You’ll Adopt Their Habit.

Since we are the average of our peer group, the thoughts of others begin to dominate our minds. You could end up adopting their negative habits yourself if you’re not careful. Specifically, you will begin to automatically ridicule and form negative opinions of others in an effort to overshadow your own. Can you see the cycle here? It’s the echo chamber effect in full swing.

10. You’ll Regret It On Your Deathbed.

Not that I want to take a gloomy turn in this article, but it might just be necessary to drive my points home. In Bronnie Ware’s touching book “The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying”, Ware recalls her years in palliative care and her interactions with the dying. She noted their top 5 regrets. Can you guess which was top? Yes, it was listening too much to the opinions of others.

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“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” – Top regret of the dying.

Featured photo credit: PixaBay via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on July 23, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore, the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather though.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally, we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Take a look at this guide to improve your body language: 11 Incredible Ways You Should Try Now To Improve Your Body Language

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly, in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here, we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now, go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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