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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 January 15, 2019

What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

When I wrote my book Extraordinary PR, Ordinary Budget: A Strategy Guide, I was surprised at the various layers of review and editing necessary to get the book to publication. Before I ever submitted the manuscript, I enlisted a former colleague to read and copy edit my work. Then, I submitted my work to an editor at the publisher’s house, and once she approved it, she sent it to her colleagues and then her company’s editorial board.

Upon editorial board approval of my book, my editor sent my work to reviewers in my field, then a developmental editor, then a designer and layout team and, finally, another copy editor. There were a host of personalities with whom I needed to interact along the way.

It turns out that getting a publishing contract was just the beginning – a lot happens between developing a concept, writing the book, finding an agent and publisher, and getting the book on bookshelves or on Audible or Kindle. Through every milestone of the publishing process, my ability to interact with others was crucial. This underscored for me that no matter what or how much a person accomplishes, you never do it alone – everyone needs assistance from others.

While I conceived of the book and wrote the manuscript, there is no way my book could have hit booksellers’ shelves without the dozens of people who were involved in the publishing process. Further, interpersonal skills can propel or stonewall success.

Even as someone who has written hundreds of essays, press releases, pitch notes and other correspondence, writing itself is not a solitary endeavor. Sure, I may write in solitude, but the moment I am finished writing, there are always clients, colleagues, partners, peers and others who review my content.

What is more, even as a published author and contributor for this platform, I try to never submit final copy (content) that has not been copy edited. I send everything to my copy editor, whom I pay out of my own pocket, for her review, edits and approval. Once she has reviewed my work, caught unbeknownst-to-me errors, I am much more confident putting my work out in the world.

How Interpersonal Skills Affect Relationships

It is clearer to me now more than ever before that interpersonal skills are needed in every profession and every trade.

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People don’t elect leaders because the leaders are smart. Individuals are motivated to vote when they have a hero and when they feel they have something to lose. If they seriously dislike the other candidate, they are much more likely vote according to a 2000 Ohio State University study:

“A disliked candidate is seen as a threat, and that will be motivation to go to the polls. But a threat alone isn’t enough – people need to have a hero to vote for, too, in order to inspire them to turn out on Election Day.”

In a work setting, interpersonal skills impact every facet of your development and success. Trainers must collaborate with a design team or the company hiring them to facilitate the training. During the training itself, the facilitators must connect with the audience and establish a rapport that supports vulnerability and openness. If the trainers interact poorly with the trainees, they are unlikely to be invited back. If they are invited back, they may be unlikely to inspire cooperation or growth in their trainees.

Solopreneurs interactions with clients and subcontractors, and those interactions will, in part, support or adversely impact their business. If you enjoy a career as an acclaimed surgeon or respected lawyer, your interactions with patients, clients, health insurance agencies and a team of other practitioners – many of whom are shielded from public view – will improve or decimate your practice.

As a hiring manager, one of the things I consider when interviewing candidates is their interpersonal skills. I assess the interpersonal skills they display in their content and face-to-face presentation. I ask probing questions to learn how they interact with others, manage conflict and contribute to a team atmosphere.

When candidates say things like, “I prefer to work alone” or “I can hit the ground running without assistance,” I bristle. When candidates appear to know everything and everyone, I wonder if they will be receptive to learning or open to feedback. Could these statements be indications that these individuals lack interpersonal skills?

It stands to reason, then, that interpersonal skills are among the most valuable and the bedrock of all talents and skills.

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What are Interpersonal Skills?

Interpersonal skills range from emotional intelligence, empathy, oral and written communication to leadership to collaboration and teamwork.

In sum, interpersonal skills are skills that enable you to interact well with others. They include teachability and receptiveness to feedback, active or mindful listening, self-confidence and conflict resolution.

From a communications standpoint, interpersonal skills are about understanding how colleagues prefer to communicate and then using the appropriate mediums to meet respective needs. It is about understanding how to communicate in a way to get the most out of different people.

For instance, in my career as a public relations practitioner, part of what I am constantly evaluating is which colleagues, clients and members of the media prefer email, text or phone calls. I am assessing how much frill to use with each person depending on what has worked in the past and depending on what I know about the person with whom I am interacting.

Making these decisions and being disciplined enough to follow each person’s known preferences helps me better connect with the various individuals in my orbit. Is this tiring at times? Yes. Is it necessary? Absolutely.

How to Improve Interpersonal Skills

There are tons of resources to teach interpersonal skills. I love books such as Leadership Presence by Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar, and The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

There are also a host of books and articles on emotional intelligence, which is the ability to manage one’s emotions and perceive and adapt to others’ emotions. Emotional intelligence is likewise a critical component of positive interpersonal relations. You can learn more about it in this article: What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why It Is Important

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Active and mindful listening also support improved interpersonal skills. I recommend you take a look at this piece: Active Listening – A Skill That Everyone Should Master

I have further found that humility helps a ton with interpersonal skills. It takes humility to admit you have more to learn and that you can learn from the people around you. In fact, everyone with whom you interact has a lesson to teach you. And employers are increasingly looking for team members who are lifelong learners, meaning they believe there is always room for growth and professional and personal development.

Forbes contributor Kevin H. Johnson noted in a July 2018 article,

“That’s why, when anyone asks what the next ‘hot’ skill will be, I say it’s the same skill that will serve people today, tomorrow, and far into the future—the ability to learn.”

Don’t overlook introspection.

While interpersonal skills may seem simple enough, introspection is critical to learning where and in what ways you need to grow.

Through introspection and observation, I have learned that my interpersonal skills suffer when I am sleep deprived, because then I am short-tempered and irritable. I’ve observed this connection over a significant period in my life. Unsurprisingly, it is also true of others. Fellow LifeHack contributor, health coach and personal trainer Jamie Logie noted:

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When you are chronically sleep deprived, it really does a number on you. A lack of sleep can keep your body in a constant state of stress and over time this can get pretty ugly. Elevated stress hormones can be involved in creating a bunch of pretty nasty conditions including anxiety, headaches and dizziness, weight gain, depression, stroke, hypertension, digestive disorders, immune system dysfunction, irritability.

Additionally, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported,

“Sleep deprivation can noticeably affect people’s performance, including their ability to think clearly, react quickly, and form memories. Sleep deprivation also affects mood, leading to irritability; problems with relationships, especially for children and teenagers; and depression. Sleep deprivation can also increase anxiety.”

The point is, even as you are identifying ways to improve interpersonal skills, think about what is getting in the way. While sleep deprivation is a trigger for me, your stumbling block may be different.

The Bottom Line

You cannot fix what you do not know is broken. Even as you work to understand and apply interpersonal skills, spend some time in mindful meditation to get clear on what is holding you back from developing solid relationships.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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