“Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.” – Lao Tzu
People who succeed in life generally have one thing in common. They have the uncanny ability to tune out the noise of the Could’s, Would’s and Should’s of external opinion; focusing instead on steering the wheel of their own lives. Listening to other people tell you how to live your life might feel reassuring at the time, but rest assured it is a road to nowhere. They don’t know what it really feels like to be you. They don’t know your emotional make-up, what makes you tick, your hopes or your fears. So why place any type of life decision into the hands of anyone else but you?
Here are 10 reasons why people who march to the beat of their own drum are more likely to court success:
1. They understand that advice is good, but not everything.
One important thing that successful people seem to intuitively understand is that any advice proffered should be taken with a pinch of salt. A sound piece of astute business advice can be a wonderful thing, especially when received in the midst of launching a newly burgeoning business. The power of someone else’s experience should never be underestimated and might just save you from making an expensive mistake.
But those that climb to the pinnacles of their career also understand that it’s important to put any advice received into context. They listen to their gut, if the advice resonates with them they tend to go for it. If not, they say thanks but no thanks.
2. They know the importance of tuning out the noise
Those that succeed have learnt to turn down the volume of other people’s opinions and tune into their inner dialogue instead. Whilst friends or family might be coming from a good place with their concern for the risks you are choosing to take, listening to any echoes of doubt is just not helpful. The importance of tuning into your own inner voice should never be underestimated.
Perhaps Steve Jobs said it best when he said; “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”
3. They also know the importance of turning within
At the end of the day, only you know what really works for you. Everyone else might have an opinion, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to it. Listen to yourself instead. You are the only one that possesses an intimate knowledge of what works for you, how much risk you feel comfortable with, how far you like to push yourself. Tuning within ensures you climb the rungs of your own ladder of success, not someone else’s.
4. They understand the difference between being respected and being liked
People who succeed in life pointedly distinguish between approval and respect. They understand that being liked by each and every one is not only impossible but completely futile; therefore their resolve to be treated with dignity and respect is uncompromising. As they navigate their career path, they are simply not interested in winning any popularity contests. Their goal is to be emphatic and self-assured, but not aggressive, and the byproduct of this type of behavior is that people respect them for it.
5. They know that chasing approval is a waste of energy
Here’s the thing about being liked by everyone; much like a dog chasing its own tail, it’s a complete waste of time and energy. There are some people in life who, no matter what you do, will simply not like you. It’s a sad reality but in accepting that chasing approval leads you nowhere, it can also set you free. At the end of the day, the only acceptance we should be chasing is self-acceptance.
6. They appreciate the fact that you can’t control someone else’s opinion
Let’s face it, everyone has an opinion. But those that succeed know that they have a choice as to whether they choose to listen or not. They understand that people hold steadfastly onto their opinions and sometimes there is nothing you can do to change their mind. As a result they don’t waste their time trying and instead focus on the one opinion that matters the most, their own.
7. They are aware that the need for approval kills freedom
People who succeed in life have a deep understanding that in seeking someone else’s approval, they are effectively becoming their prisoner. In choosing not to mold themselves into a shape of someone else’s making, they are effectively removing any barriers to accomplishing their goals. When the motivation behind any decision or action doesn’t come from a need to please but from an individual desire, the need for constant reassurance falls away.
8. They have a sound sense of self-acceptance
Choosing not to listen to other people is no easy endeavor yet successful people appreciate that in order to bypass the court of public opinion one attribute is required. Self-acceptance. Carving out an individualistic path in the world is not easy, but if there is a foundation of self-acceptance, it can make the journey more meaningful. In accepting themselves for who they are, warts and all, the self-destructive patterns fall away.
9. They trust their ability to make decisions
With self-acceptance comes self-trust and this leads successful people to be able to firm in their decisive capacity and trust in the outcome. One of the main attributes to running a successful business or successful life is the ability to comprehend any risks involved in a certain matter and then make a calculated decision. Those that succeed appreciate that self-doubt can be incredibly destructive and lead to second-guessing. In reaching a place where they feel comfortable listening to their gut reaction and acting accordingly, this removes one of the main barriers to success, indecisiveness.
10. They don’t let small minds convince them their dreams are too big
Here’s the thing about small minds, they all come from the same place: fear. And so in choosing not to listen to a small minded person verbally dismantle your dreams you are choosing not to associate yourself with fear based thoughts. Whilst friends and family might have your best interests at heart, if they are coming from a place of fear, whatever they say will leave a residual seed of doubt. People who achieve success in life understand this and surround themselves with people that inspire them to be the best they can be.
Featured photo credit: pretty sad hipster girl. black and white photo via shutterstock.com