How to Stop Caring About What Other People Think by Simran Takhar
At one time or another, we’ve all been guilty of caring too much about what other people might think. We hesitate to be innovative, creative, or to speak up because no one wants to be told that his ideas suck, or her plan was just a big mistake. Or, we might even play that role for ourselves, turning down a challenge or selling our own ideas short because we worried they wouldn’t work.
Best-selling author Seth Godin argues that it isn’t the “fear of failure” that holds us back and keeps us small, rather it is the “fear of criticism.” So, how can you stop caring what other people think?
The first step is to remember that if many people have felt this way and still achieved great things, that they’ve faced their fear of failure—and judgment—and won. Successful risk takers manage to keep criticism from holding them back.
If you want to go from being that person who’s scared to say anything in meetings to the person who confidentially speaks up, look no further than these four successful individuals who already learned how to do that.
…2. Remember That Your Work Doesn’t Define You
Rohan Gunatillake of Mindfulness Everywhere (the company responsible for the popular app buddhify), says that we have a bad habit of letting our work define us—so a lack of success on the job makes us feel bad about ourselves.
In his 99U talk, Rohan explains that the cure is “decoupling self and work.” He uses mindfulness phrases—statements you choose to read out loud, reflect on, and notice how they make you feel—to achieve this.
He invites you to repeat phrases: “I am not my Twitter bio,” “I am not my resume,” “I am not my company,” and “I am not my work.” Then tune in to yourself to see how these statements make you feel.
He states that practicing this technique helps you to start separating self and work, in turn helping to defuse that pain that comes if you mess up on the job. If you’re “not your work” then even if you dropped the ball in the office—which happens to us all—you don’t have to carry it with you and feel bad aboutyourself. Working backwards means it’s OK to take on that big, scary project, because if it doesn’t work out, that doesn’t mean you personally failed. Remembering that you’re more than your job will help you get out of your own way.
3. Don’t Let Others Get You Down
Silencing your inner critic is only step one. That’s because you have to be prepared for others to judge you, too.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood…who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.
This quote made way for a new approach to feedback: Brown decided that if the person critiquing her isn’t also out in the “arena,” putting himself on the line, but just criticizing her, she wasn’t going to worry about what he said. However, she doesn’t do this by wholly ignoring the other person. Rather she takes an approach of saying “I see you, I hear you, but I’m gonna show up and do this anyway.”
You don’t have to pretend people who disagree with you don’t exist; you just have to decide that you’re going to follow your plan anyhow. (After all, you’ve already decided that action will be better than inaction, and that even if you miss the mark, it won’t define you.)
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How Successful People Stay Calm by Travis Bradberry
Why the Best Success Stories Often Begin With Failure by Amy Crawford