Truth Bomb Tuesday: You just don’t need to worry so much about what people think
You probably care way too much about what people think about you.
I can say that with confidence because 95% of people care way too much about what people think of them.
(The remaining 5% are psychopaths.)
And the reason we all care way too much is just simple biology.
Let me give you an example. We had to tow our boat up our way on the Sunshine Coast. It’s a big bugger and we don’t have to do it often, but on this occasion, we were going as fast as we felt safe, and ended up with half a dozen cars backed up behind us.
No big drama in the scheme of things, but I could feel my anxiety rising.
All those people (six of them) are going to be angry with us. They’re going to hate us. I can’t stand it.
“Let’s pull over into this structurally unsound storm water ditch and let them pass.”
Now, since I’ve trained myself to watch my thoughts and to be a bit selective with the kind of thoughts I allow to take up space in my head (I’ll need two reference checks and a current pay slip thanks), I had a little giggle at these thoughts.
Why was I feeling so anxious?
Those people probably weren’t angry. At worst they were mildly inconvenienced.
But even if they were white hot with rage at being stuck behind a boat for 15 minutes, what did I care?
Did I know them? Nope. Did their opinions matter to me? Nope. Will they have even the slightest bearing on my life at any point in the future? Probably not.
Even if I had somehow created 6 car loads of people who were all massively angry with me, the chances that it would end up having any impact on my life were vanishingly small.
So why did I care?
Why do we all care? Why do we care what random strangers think about us?
Why do we let this anxiety stop us from doing what we need to do? Why do we let it hold us back?
Because we’re hard wired to care.
We’re biologically programmed to.
We are social animals, and we evolved in social contexts where we knew pretty much every other human in our field pretty intimately. Like a small pack of monkeys, with tools.
It mattered what people thought about you. It mattered what EVERYONE thought about you.
If everyone thought you were a really annoying monkey, that might mean you’d end up with less access to food, resources and potential mates.
It was a problem.
But that’s just not our context anymore. It simply doesn’t matter what EVERYONE thinks. It only matters what the people in your immediate social circle think, and even then, probably not as much as we imagine.
Our minds are still running an app that tells us to be very afraid of annoying other humans, even though the logic of that has totally gone out the window.
And so this is worth remembering. Your natural tendency is to spend too much time and energy worrying about what people think about you.
And as much as we complain about how selfish the world has become, we all worry way too much.
And that doesn’t mean you’re broken. It’s just one of those things where the human mind is running apps that no longer serve us properly.
So remember this tendency. You worry too much.
And you certainly shouldn’t be letting it hold you back.