“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.” – Lao Tzu
It is human nature to want to be liked and accepted. However, this often leads to people worrying too much about what others are thinking about them.
This kind of excessive worrying can have a negative effect on your life. It can be so debilitating that it interferes with your ability to feel at ease with yourself and around others. Do not let it prevent you from living your life to the fullest potential.
Here are ten reasons why you should not care about what others think:Advertising
1. It’s Not Their Life, So It’s None Of Their Business
People are entitled to think whatever they want, just as you are entitled to think what you want. What people think of you cannot change who you are or what you are worth, unless you allow them to.
This is your life to live. At the end of the day you are the only person who needs to approve of your own choices.
2. They Don’t Know What’s Best For You
Nobody will ever be as invested in your life as you. Only you know what is best for you, and that entails learning from your own choices. The only way you will ever truly learn is through making your own decisions, taking full responsibility for them, and that way if you do fail, at least you can learn from it wholeheartedly, as opposed to blaming somebody else.
3. What’s Right For Someone Else May Be Completely Wrong For You
It’s important to recognize that someone’s opinion is often based on what they would do. This alone is the problem. What is best for somebody else, can be the worst thing for you. What one person considers garbage can be another person’s treasure. We are all so unique. Only you know what is right for you.Advertising
4. It Will Keep You From Your Dreams
If you are constantly worried about what other people think, you will never get to where you need to go in life. You are going to have to do things that don’t always meet people’s standards. You will come into situations where you have to put your pride, and your reputation on the line to get what you want. If you are constantly worried about what people are thinking, you will never have the will to do what’s right.
5. You’re The One Stuck With The End Result
In life, you are the one stuck with the consequences of your decisions. For example, if someone suggests you buy some stocks, but you just don’t feel like it’s the right choice, you are the only one who will live the consequences. If the stock falls and you lose a lot of money, you are the one that will have to live with the fact that you didn’t follow your inner call. When people give you their suggestions or even orders, there is no risk for them. They don’t have to live with your choices—but you do.
6. People’s Thoughts Change On A Regular Basis
We are constantly changing. Some philosophers and theorists suggest that we are in a constant state of flux, so much that we cannot even say we have one, specific ‘self’ (or a fixed personality). People’s thoughts, ideas and views change on a regular basis.
That means even if somebody does think badly of you at the moment, there is a good chance they will think differently in the near future. So basically, people’s thoughts don’t really matter.Advertising
7. Life Is Simply Too Short
You only have one life to live, so why would you spend it worrying about other people’s opinions? Do whatever you want, be whoever you want. You’re not going to see these people after you’re dead. You probably won’t even see them in a year from now. Live your life without worrying about other people’s thoughts and opinion, and you will live your life to the maximum.
8. You Reap What You Sow
Worrying too much about what other people think of you can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Frequently, people indulge their need to be liked so much so that it actually dictates to the way they behave. Some become people-pleasers or so submissive that many people are turned off. The behavior you use as an attempt to ensure you are liked may actually cause you to be disliked.
9. Others Don’t Care As Much As You Think
People generally don’t think outside themselves a great deal of time. It is a sad but simple truth that the average person filters their world through their ego, meaning that they think about most things in terms of “me” or “my”.
This means that, unless who you are or what you have done directly affects another person or their life, they are unlikely to spend much time thinking about you at all.Advertising
10. The Hard Truth: It’s Impossible To Please Everybody
You can’t please all of the people all of the time. It is impossible to live up to everyone’s expectations so there is no point in burning yourself out trying to do so. Just make sure that one of the people you please is yourself!
The weight of other’s thought can become a burden for you. It can inhibit you from living your life, because your entire being (your personality, your thoughts, your actions) are controlled by an idealized standard of what people want to see. When you become so obsessed with other people’s opinion of you, you forget your own.
You can make a conscious effort to stop giving a damn; to let yourself free. It’s a skill that needs to be practiced, like meditating. But once you truly understand how to let go, you will see the world as entirely different.
Once you give up catering to other people’s opinion and thoughts, you will find out who you truly are, and that freedom will be like taking a breath for the first time.
How to Fight Information Overload
Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.
This has to stop somewhere. And it can.
As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.
What you need to do is focus on these 4 steps:
- Set your goals.
- Decide whether you really need the information.
- Consume only the minimal effective dose.
- Don’t procrastinate by consuming too much information.
But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.
The Nature of the Problem
The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem. This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.
When we see some half-baked blog post we don’t even consider reading it, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it. We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.
No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on. The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.
That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”
Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control. Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it. But first…
Why information overload is bad
It stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here. When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.
Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.
The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.
You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work, or enjoy your passion.
So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with your goals.
1. Set your goals
If you don’t have your goals put in place you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”
Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.
Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.
Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.
2. What to do when facing new information
Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.
First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans then skip it. You don’t need it.
If it does then it’s time for another question. Will you be able to put this information into action immediately? Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks? Or is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away? If the information is not actionable in a day or two (!) then skip it. (You’ll forget about it anyway.)
And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.
You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant. Self-control comes handy too … it’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future then SKIP IT.
3. Minimal Effective Dose
There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour Body,Tim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs. Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.
Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life. Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.
4. Don’t procrastinate by consuming more information
Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.
This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.
Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.
As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance. I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over. I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.
Feel free to shoot me a comment below and share your own story of fighting information overload. What are you doing to keep it from sabotaging your life?
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