Why Caring What Other People Think is Killing Your Joy

You’ve spent your whole life caring what other people think. 

Your boss asks you to stay late at the office. You don’t want to. But you do.

You get home that evening and your wife is angry because you missed dinner: “Where the hell were you?”

You lie, “The boss made me stay late.”

You eat re-heated leftovers for dinner and head to bed, wishing your life were more interesting, wishing you were excited (about something), and wondering where it all went wrong.

And look. I get it. You’re trying to do what’s right for you and your family.

But you’re going about it entirely the wrong way.

Let me explain.

The truth about caring what other people think.

Everyone has an opinion.

Your boss thinks you should work longer hours for the same pay.

Your kid thinks you should play with them the moment you get home from work.

Your friends think you should grab beers more often.

Your wife thinks you should be home before dinner.

And your dog wants a good pet.

But… the fact is, you can’t do what everyone wants you to do (much less, care about it). If you listen to your boss and stay late for work, you’ll be facing World War III when you get home.

If you go home on time and have dinner with your family, your boss will cold-shoulder you for the next week (you might even miss out on that promotion!).

And if you grab beer with friends 3 evenings every week, you’ll miss spending valuable time with your kids.

The way I see it, you’re fucked. 

IF, that is, you keep trying to care so much about what other people think.

But… how would not caring help your situation?

And what’s the alternative?

What YOU think is the only damn thing that matters. 

When you stop caring what your boss thinks about your work ethic…

When you stop caring what your wife thinks about your new morning routine…

When you stop caring what your friends think about whether you’re too happy or  too sad…

You finally have room to care about WHAT YOU THINK.

But I know what you’re saying to yourself…

Won’t I be a selfish ass-hole if I only think about myself? 

To answer that question, we need to determine your core values and worldview…

Take a moment to jot down your core values. Here are some of mine for inspiration.

  • Love
  • Kindness
  • Compassion
  • Self-Confidence
  • Adventure
  • Momentum
  • Awesomeness

Done? Okay. Great! Now — is “Being an ass-hole” on your list? What about “Punching random people in the face just for fun”? Or how about “Setting fire to people’s homes when I feel like it”?

Get the point?

You — as you are — are NOT an arrogant ass-hole.

In fact, you’re a remarkable person.

Those core values you wrote down, THAT is what you’ll radiate when you care exclusively about your own opinions and preferences.

You finally become the man you’ve always wanted to become, without apology.

And ironically, caring about what you think is also the most selfless thing you can do.

It’s the difference between… I better smile at this person or I might look like a prick and I’m gonna smile at this person because I want to. 

Or I better help my wife with the dishes or she’ll get angry and I’m going to help my wife with the dishes because I’m generous.

When you only care about what you think, you make better decisions, you radiate your core values, and you become the man that you’ve always wanted to be…

…all because you stopped giving a shit about everyone else and their crippling opinions.

Why YOU are your best critic.

Look. I’m not telling you to be a selfish jerk.

am telling you to prioritize your own desires and core values above everyone else’s… because until you become the man you want to be — the man you’re proud of — you won’t be able to positively impact others.

You must take care of yourself first.

Imagine this…

You wake up tomorrow and you don’t give a rat’s ass what anyone thinks about you. You know they have opinions, but those opinions just don’t matter.

What happens?

Well, your boss asks you to stay late for work and you say… yes?… no?… just because you want to, not because you feel obligated.

You take your wife on a date because it’s a joy for you to do so, not because she’s nagging you about it.

You play with your kid because it brings you happiness, not because your kids tugging at your shirt.

You grab beer with your friends because you enjoy spending time with them, not because you feel guilty.

All in all, you stop depending on other people for emotional stability and you start doing things just because you want to.

And because you want to live the life you’re living, you leave a positive impact on the people around you (your family included).

You’re a better husband, a better father, a better employee, a better boss, and a better man.

You’re wildly satisfied with life…

…because you’re finally chasing what you want, not what other people think you should want.

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Mike Blankenship

Mike is a writer for SUCCESS, AdWeek, and Addicted2Success. He’s been quoted on Forbes and Entrepreneur for his expertise in marketing and personal development. He’s also the owner of Get Your Gusto Back where he helps people reignite their inner fire.

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