One of the biggest fears that paralyzes people, and holds them back from living life at their true potential is the fear of what other people may think of them.
People often tend to value someone else’s opinion and advice more than their own.
Why do we care so much about what other people think?
Because we are tribal beings.
Our need to belong to a group is inborn and instinctual.
It comes from our DNA and our evolutionary history.
Nature can be a hostile environment, and being with other humans improves our ability to survive.
Human beings are social creatures and we have always relied on our relationship with others to survive, reproduce, and thrive.
Throughout human evolution, belonging to a group and being accepted by it has been a matter of life or death.
We are hardwired to long for acceptance and social recognition, it’s in our DNA after all.
That’s why people care so much about how many likes and comments they get on social media, and that’s why rejection, judgment, and disapproval hurt so much.
The idea of belonging to a “tribe” is an appealing concept.
Research shows that when people are accepted into a trusted group, their brains release oxytocin, which is a feel-good hormone.
But are the concepts stated above sufficient reason for carrying on overestimating other people’s opinions and advice?
I believe we MUST stop doing it straight away and start focusing on living according to our values.
But how can we succeed in doing it if we are held back by the fear of judgment and rejection?
AWARENESS is always the FIRST STEP!
YOU MUST realize that anytime YOU try to do anything out of the ordinary, anytime YOU think out of the box, anytime YOU try to pursue your dreams YOU will bump into haters.
This is hard to accept because people fear the lack of acceptance because they need to belong to someone or something as stated above.
Why will YOU come across people that don’t like YOU and that will criticize YOU?
Because YOU are living life on your terms!
Because YOU know what matters to YOU most.
Because YOU know what YOU want to do and what YOU want to become.
YOU are showing them that YOU are driven by a strong desire to succeed in whatever YOU are up to.
And at the same time, YOU are reminding them that they are not doing anything with their life.
They are not driven by anything, they are sleep-walking, they don’t have any purpose.
Remember it’s not important to please people and to be loved by anyone; what matters is knowing whose opinions YOU value and whose YOU don’t.
There are over 7.8 billion people on this planet, anyone has their thoughts, beliefs, conditioning, and opinions.
Of course, YOU can’t please everyone!
And anyway, the more YOU try to please everyone, the less respect and acceptance YOU receive.
What I suggest YOU do is: write down a “trustworthy people list”, i.e. a list of people whose opinions truly matter to YOU.
YOU MUST choose people who love YOU unconditionally, the ones who want the best for YOU.
YOU don’t need everyone else’s approval!
All YOU need is the approval of the people who care about YOU.
Those people are the ones that, no matter what may happen, are going to steer YOU in the right direction.
Those people are the ones that have your back and the ones that YOU can truly trust.
How many are the people on your list?
I would advise YOU to keep it as short as possible.
This will ease your life an awful lot because, except for the people on the list, nobody else’s opinion will impact negatively on your life choices.
Bear in mind that worrying about how anyone else sees YOU is a complete waste of time.
It only adds to your negative thought cycle, and it keeps you far away from becoming the best version of yourself.
“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner”. - Lao Tzu
If YOU worry about other people’s criticism YOU will play small, YOU will hedge and YOU will end up living someone else’s version of your life.
How can YOU stop giving a damn about what people think of YOU?
Apart from having your “trustworthy people list”, the solution is acquiring self-confidence through practice!
Every time YOU catch yourself playing small because of someone else’s opinion of YOU and YOU force yourself to carry out what you want to do, YOU release a little bit of fear, subdue it and build more self-confidence.
Have YOU ever been singing a song out loud and suddenly stopped singing it only because a group of people got close to YOU?
This has happened to me more than once.
Because I was afraid of being judged.
But this is crazy, isn’t it?
Now, anytime I catch myself playing small because of other people’s criticism, I force myself to follow through despite the criticism.
In so doing I forge myself and I can boost my self-esteem.
Unfortunately, we often play small and most of the time we are NOT AWARE of it.
We play small by default.
It’s built into our human nature.
We MUST learn to spot this attitude and act accordingly.
YOU MUST tell yourself:
“I’m not going to play small, I’m going to stand the judgments of those people, I’m going to feel their eyes on me and I’m going to follow through anyway”
This way YOU build self-respect and self-confidence and YOU enable yourself to handle the next stage of criticism!
But if YOU catch yourself playing small and YOU don’t follow through, then YOU build negative self-respect.
Let’s get back to the example of singing in a crowded street.
If YOU cannot carry on singing out loud and have fun because YOU are damn worried about being judged there’s no way you are going to achieve some big accomplishment in life.
Every major goal will come with people who will judge YOU, hate YOU, tell YOU that YOU cannot possibly succeed.
People will tell YOU that YOU are not good enough and YOU will play small because YOU are so worried about their feelings.
That’s because YOU haven’t trained your self-esteem in the first place when YOU had the chance to face the judgment and YOU preferred to run away.
As I said earlier, we play small by default, and changing this behavior is difficult.
That is why YOU MUST rely on the people that are closest to you.
It's high time you used the “trustworthy people list” mentioned above.
Tell them what YOU want to get better at.
Tell them what YOU feel like when YOU are playing small.
Tell them that you need their help and that anytime they catch YOU doing it they MUST speak out and say:
“YOU are doing it, YOU are playing small again”.
There’s power in accountability because it will force YOU to push forward to avoid letting not only yourself down but also the people YOU care most about.
How often do YOU have to practise exposing yourself to other people’s opinions before winning the fear of judgment once and forever?
As I mentioned in one of my articles it takes up to 254 days to establish a new habit.
This is the official period to break the pattern in your brain that says to YOU:
“Don’t go for it, because someone is ready to judge YOU”!
I know 254 days is a f*cking long time...
but just picture,
what your life will be like if YOU become confident enough to do whatever YOU want to?
What's more, without ever worrying about what other people think of YOU?
Even if it took 365 days to be freed of your fear of being judged, it would be worth the effort.
Only by stopping giving a f*ck about what other people think, can YOU put yourself on the track to achieve your goals and desires.
Will YOU commit to freeing yourself from a situation that prevents YOU from living a fulfilling life?
If YOU are anything like me, the next time YOU find yourself worrying about how other people perceive YOU MUST ask yourself:
- Are those people on my “trustworthy people list”?
- What matters to me most in life?
- What do I want to accomplish?
- How will I feel once I have achieved my goals?
- How will I feel if I quit pursuing my dreams in life because of the fear of judgment?
These simple questions will allow YOU to get clarity, and to stop getting obsessed with what other people think.
YOU will realize that your life is yours to live, and yours alone.
YOU will no longer allow other people’s judgments to stop YOU from living life on your own terms.
By embracing your zero “f*cks-given philosophy”, YOU will become the best version of yourself.
And who knows?
YOU may even become an inspiration for others to do the same.
I want to give YOU two more tips to ease your journey towards your FREEDOM from the fear of judgment.
Here they are:
1) Surround yourself with people who don’t care what others think.
YOU don’t have to know them necessarily in real life, YOU can simply follow them on social media.
Just seeing that they are self-confident and don’t give a f*ck what other people think will reinforce your belief in stopping to care about people’s opinions.
YOU will start to adopt the principle, “If they CAN do it, I CAN do it too!”
It’s your responsibility to choose the kind of people that can help YOU to succeed.
2) practise the GRAVEYARD RITUAL.
It will remind YOU that life is too short to waste it worrying about what passers-by think of YOU when you are singing out loud in the street.
So far we have seen how the fear of judgment is debilitating.
However, there is something else that people can be vulnerable to when it comes to pushing forward and following one’s dreams.
That is PEOPLE’S ADVICE!
People love giving advice, don’t they?
A lot of people don’t start businesses because their parents or friends say:
“That business is a bad idea”!
But how many businesses have your loved ones or friends run?
If your parents and friends have never run a business before and they give YOU business advice why should you take it?
Why should YOU listen to them?
YOU listen to them because they are on your “trustworthy people list”.
YOU care so much about other people’s opinions and when they give YOU advice YOU don’t want to let them down.
What will YOU probably do?
YOU are likely to give up your goals and live your parents’ or friends' life instead of yours.
I am the guy who never started his own business because of his parents’ advice.
I am the guy that had always dreamed to be his own boss and have the FREEDOM to choose his working hours.
Eventually, I became AWARE that I was being held back by someone else’s advice and opinions and at that very moment I took the decision to start my own business and follow my dreams.
It’s not about ignoring other people’s advice, it’s about picking and choosing whose advice you take.
YOU MUST pay attention to who is giving YOU advice.
Let’s have a look at some examples:
If your parents are incredible in their parental role and they give you parenting advice definitely take it.
If your mum is a loving person and she tells YOU how to be more loving definitely go for it.
If your parents are great communicators and they provide YOU with communication advice definitely take it.
But, if your parents, like mine, tell YOU:
“you shouldn’t start a business”!
But, they have never run one; why should you take advice from them?
Would you ever take financial advice either from a homeless person or from a broke friend?
If somebody has never done something great in their life, in any of the specific fields YOU are interested in (e.g. physical training, meditation, communication, business, diet, etc…) and YOU want to step out of your comfort zone and do it and they are ready to tell YOU,
Why should YOU listen to them?
I want to stress once more, YOU MUST be really picky about whose advice YOU take and whose advice YOU don’t.
If YOU want to start a business, as I wanted, and one of the people at the top of your trustworthy people list (let’s say your dear mum) comes up with their advice, it’s fine if YOU listen to their opinion.
But YOU MUST be very SMART to assess it.
If YOU know that your mother has done amazing things in life, that she is really good at cooking, at communicating, etc…
But, she has never run a successful business and she is not good at dealing with money, then YOU should follow her advice about everything except for what is related to money.
Don’t take anybody’s opinions and advice to heart or YOU will end up living someone else’s life.
At the end of the day what really matters is what you think about yourself and what you truly want to do.
Now let me ask YOU:
What do you think of yourself and about what YOU are doing?
What do YOU want to do with your life?
Let’s imagine YOU answered:
“I really would like to get out of the corporate rat race, achieve time flexibility, and achieve geographical FREEDOM by starting my online business”.
Well done, go for it because if it is what YOU truly want to YOU deserve it.
It’s your life, not your parents’ or friends’ one.
Do what makes YOU feel happy and alive.
Live your best life without caring so much about what others think and by taking into account who gives YOU advice.
Now that we have got to the end...
I would like to hear from YOU what criticism YOU are most afraid of?
And whose advice matters most to YOU?
Remember that if YOU are really thinking about starting your online business around something YOU are passionate about I am here to walk YOU through all the steps that I've taken so far.