Every day is a new beginning. But in life, sometimes you have to stop before you can truly begin. So starting today…
Stop caring about everyone’s opinion of you.
For the most part, what other people think and say about you doesn’t matter. When I was younger I let the opinions of my high school and early college peers influence my decisions. And at times they steered me away from ideas and goals I strongly believed in. I realize now, many years later, that this was a foolish way to live, especially when I consider that nearly all of these people whose opinions I cared so much about are no longer a part of my life.
Unless you’re trying to make a great first impression (job interview, first date, etc.), don’t let the opinions of others stand in your way. What they think and say about you isn’t important. What is important is how you feel about yourself. Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Stop caring about being politically correct.
I had a discussion with a friend yesterday about censorship and how speaking a certain way simply to please others contributes to the loss of one’s true inner voice. During the discussion I watched him closely, and I could actually pinpoint the heated moment when he was about to give me a piece of his mind, but stopped himself. It was so obvious! So I called him out on it. “You just censored yourself, didn’t you?” He laughed and nodded.
Everyone has this little watchdog inside their head. It’s always there watching you. It was born and raised by your family, friends, coworkers, bosses and society at large, and its sole purpose is to watch you and make sure you stay in line. And once you become accustomed to the watchdog’s presence, you begin to think his opinion of what’s acceptable and unacceptable are absolute truths. But the watchdog’s views are not truths, they’re just opinions – forceful opinions that have the potential to completely brainwash you of your own opinions if you aren’t careful.
Remember, the watchdog is just a watchdog, he just watches. He can’t actually control you. He can’t do anything about it if you decide to rise up and go against the grain.
No, you should not start randomly cussing and acting like a fool. But you must say what you need to say when you need to say it. If it isn’t politically correct, so what.
Don’t censor yourself. Speak the truth. Your truth.
Stop caring about looking a certain way.
There is no right way to dress or right way to wear your hair. No, I’m not saying to you should dress like a clown simply to rebel either. Everyone who purposely tries to look different ends up looking the same.
Be you, just the way you are, in the unique way only you know how. Wear clothes and styles you feel comfortable wearing. Dress the way YOU dress.
You’re a one of a kind. Trying to look like someone else is a waste of your own beauty. In this crazy world that’s trying to make you like everyone else, find the courage to keep being your awesome self.
Stop caring about what everyone else wants for you.
Unfortunately, just before you take your first step on the righteous journey to pursue your dreams, people around you, even the ones who deeply care for you, will usually give you awful advice. It’s not because they have evil intentions. It’s because they don’t understand the big picture – what your dreams, passions and life goals mean to you. They don’t understand that, to you, the reward is worth the risk.
So they try to protect you by shielding you from the possibility of failure, which, in effect, also shields you from the possibility of making your dreams a reality.
As our friend Steve Jobs says:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Stop caring about the boundaries others set up.
No matter how much progress you make there will always be the people who insist that whatever you’re trying to do is impossible. Or they may incessantly suggest that the idea or dream as a whole is utterly ridiculous because nobody really cares. When you come across these people, don’t try to reason with them. Instead, forget that they exist. They will only waste your time and energy.
Try what you want to try. Go where you want to go. Follow your own intuition. Don’t accept false choices. Don’t let others put a cage around you. Definitely don’t listen to the watchdog.
Whenever somebody discredits you and tells you that you can’t do something, keep in mind that they are speaking from within the boundaries of their own limitations. Ignore them and press on. Read The Success Principles.
Stop caring about what everyone else has.
When you catch yourself comparing yourself to a colleague, neighbor, friend, or someone famous, stop! Realize that you are different, with different strengths – strengths these other people don’t possess. Take a moment to reflect on all the awesome abilities you have and to be grateful for all the good things in your life.
The problem with many of us is that we think we’ll be happy when we reach a certain level in life — a level we see others operating at – your boss with her corner office, that friend of a friend who owns a mansion on the beach, etc. Unfortunately, it takes awhile before you get there, and when you get there you might have a new destination in mind.
Instead, appreciate where you are and what you have right now. Try comparing yourself to those who have less, those who are dealing with tragedy, and those who are struggling to survive. Hopefully it opens your eyes to all the things you should be grateful for.
Stop caring about the imaginary state of perfect.
Perfect is the enemy of good.
Many of us are perfectionists in our own right. I know I am at times. We set high bars for ourselves and put our best foot forward. We dedicate copious amounts of time and attention to our work to maintain our high personal standards. Our passion for excellence drives us to run the extra mile, never stopping, never relenting. And this dedication towards perfection undoubtedly helps us to achieve results… So long as we don’t get carried away.
But what happens when we do get carried away with perfectionism?
We become disgruntled and discouraged when we fail to meet the (impossibly high) standards we set for ourselves, making us reluctant to take on new challenges or even finish tasks we’ve already started. Our insistence on dotting every ‘I’ and crossing every ‘T’ breeds inefficiency, causing major delays, stress overload and subpar results.
True perfectionists have a hard time starting things and an even harder time finishing them… always. I have a friend who has wanted to start a graphic design business for several years. But she hasn’t yet. Why? When you sift through her extensive list of excuses it comes down to one simple problem: She is a perfectionist. Which means she doesn’t, and never will, think she’s good enough at graphic design to own and operate her own graphic design business.
Remember, the real world doesn’t reward perfectionists. It rewards people who get things done. And the only way to get things done is to be imperfect 99% of the time. Only by wading through years of practice and imperfection can we begin to achieve momentary glimpses of the perfection.
So make a decision. Take action. Learn from the outcome. And repeat this method over and over and over again in all walks of life. Also, check out Too Perfect. It’s an excellent read on conquering perfectionism.
Stop caring about being right all the time.
We all dance to the beat of a different drum. There are few absolute ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’ in the world. What’s right for you may be wrong for me, and vise versa. People need to live their lives their way – the way that’s right for them.
When it comes to life choices and opinions, not much is worth fighting about. Step back from arguments with your spouse, family members or neighbors. When you feel anger surging up and you want to yell that vulgar remark on tip of your tongue, just close your mouth and walk away. Let your mind calm down. You don’t have to be right or win an argument.
Instead, open your mind to new ideas and opinions. Don’t just concentrate on what others are doing, spend time figuring out why they are doing what they’re doing.
Stop caring about mistakes.
Mistakes teach you important lessons. The biggest mistake you can make is doing nothing because you’re too scared to make a mistake. So don’t hesitate – don’t doubt yourself. In life, it’s rarely about getting a chance; it’s about taking a chance. You’ll never be 100% sure it will work, but you can always be 100% sure doing nothing won’t work. Most of the time you just have to go for it!
And no matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should be. Either you succeed or you learn something. Win-Win. Remember, if you never act, you will never know for sure, and you will be left standing in the same spot forever.
Stop caring about things you can’t control.
Some forces are out of your control. Accept this fact of life. Wasting your time, talent and emotional energy on things that are beyond your control is a recipe for frustration, misery and stagnation.
The smartest thing you can do to compensate for the things you can’t control is adjusting your attitude. Your attitude has a profound effect on your overall potential. Consuming yourself with the negative aspects of a circumstance gets nothing productive accomplished. But if you instead look at the circumstance productively and positively, coming from the standpoint of “What’s my next best move?” you put yourself back in the driver’s seat.
Bottom line: As Maria Robinson once said, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” You can’t change what happened, but you can change how you react to it. If you awake every morning with the thought that something wonderful will happen in your life today, and you pay close attention, you’ll often find that you’re right. The opposite is also true. The choice is yours to make.
Photo by: Iko
Sharon Koch says
As always, such an inspiring and insightful post to read!!
Man, I need to try and make these stick!!! Such good advice, but only useful if you put it to action though. I intend to. Thank you.
I just love your website. I go on it whenever I’m super bummed out and need some inspiration. And whenever I see a new post, it makes me ridiculously happy. Your posts are amazing, keep writing 🙂
I’m always inspired by each and every article you write, the kind of words that are really missing these days… and deserve to be appreciated.
Thank You for sharing with us.
marc van der linden says
Great List, Marc!
‘Stop caring about what everyone else wants for you’ is still a challenge for me. In many cases I like to please people, because I like to see people happy, sometimes I forget that I need to happy too.
But I know this is problem, so also this will pass.
Thanks for sharing!
I’ve recently tried being oblivious to my surroundings, and was quite happy. Unfortunately, I was clueless to the boundaries of my obliviousness and came back to my old self. But this article is spot on! Now, I’ll know what not to care about.
Thanks for the bits of wisdom that you share to the world, Marc and Angel.
John Sherry says
Remarkably spot on at every level Marc – another masterpiece, how do you do this?
It’s quite correct to observe how much we care about what others, society, friends, workmates and bosses, family, and the world thinks of us and who we are. Perhaps the real caring we should do is for what we feel, need, want, and dream of. That’s special caring designed to be productive every time don’t you think?
These words are the type of words we need to keep going. More grease to the elbow of the writer.
IJCRIMPH Journal says
Truely amazing. Thanks for your inspirational and insightful posts. Appreciate it. 🙂
I totally love your posts! So inspiring and uplifting, thank you for dedicating a part of your life to inspiring others, it is very appreciated and needed.
Thank you for the wonderful reminders.
I especially liked your observation that “In life, it’s rarely about getting a chance; it’s about taking a chance.”
As a society, we’re obsessed with success events rather than the success process. Sometimes we think of people like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Michael Jordan as lucky or fortunate. We think that, because of the law of statistics, there are bound to be people who accomplish amazing things.
But we forget about the success process that led to the success event– the countless hours spent perfecting their craft. It’s the process that placed them in a position for the event.
If you focus on the success process, the success event will occur in due time. If you keep swinging, you’ll eventually get one hit– and one hit is often all it takes. There’s nothing wrong with being a one-hit wonder if it’s a really big hit!
When I wrote my first book, I was rejected countless times by agents and publishers. It was so discouraging that I almost gave up! When a publisher finally decided to pick up my manuscript, I finally realized that one hit makes up for a thousand misses. If you keep that in mind, there’s always hope, and there’s always a dream to pursue.
Thanks again for sharing!
Truly inspiring and insightful post to read!!
Kathy Morelli, LPC (@KathyAMorelli) says
Great post, real profound words!
A Diva State of Mind says
Great advice! As Patrice stated above, they are only useful if put to action. I plan on putting these to action immediately! I’m new to your site, so I look forward to reading more inspirational posts like this 🙂
Grady Pruitt says
I saw this earlier this morning and took the time to bookmark it so I could come back to it later. I’m glad I came back to read it!
As I read through the posts I noticed I could relate to several of them. Some, I am doing a good job of doing already, while others is doing work on.
I tried long time ago not to care about what others think of the way I look. Though I do tend to care a little too much about what people think of me. These are only a couple of examples.
Thanks for sharing this great post!
awesome….completely agree…i am already trying to live that way, i just lack the art of eloquently explaining it! thanks for sharing…reposted on facebook!
Anna Bachinsky says
Wow. Great article! It definitely reminded me to stop caring about a few things that shouldn’t matter to me as much as they do. Thank you!
How do you write these awesome posts? You Rock!
Your words are what get me started every week. Thank You for being so generous with your thoughts. You are wise way beyond your years.
I sighed in agreement… at every sentence 🙂 It’s like cleansing my soul and innards
If I only managed to apply this one: Stop caring about things you can’t control, I would certainly be 10 times happier.
Thank you, Marc.
Insightful post. Thanks for taking the time to share.
Excellent post guys… loads of wisdom to soak up here !! Thanks…
Thanks. This was perfect timing for this article, as I am going through a rough time. Thank you again!
Donna Brown says
About three years ago I stopped letting my family and friends tell me what I should and should not be doing for a career. I got away from the health care profession and began doing what I really love which is writing. I don’t make near the money I did as a nurse but I’m having so much fun doing what I love. I recommend it for everyone.
Rodney Wood says
This is exactly what I needed to hear at this particular moment. Funny how that happens.
Ann alka WorkingBoomer says
This is one of the best articles that I have read. We are who we are. We need to stop worrying about what others think of us and enjoy life.
I really needed to read this, thanks 🙂
Ann alka WorkingBoomer says
This was one of the first things that I read this morning. It set a wonderful positive tone for my day. Thank you so much for sharing. It was a great read and something to continue practicing.
beautiful! made my day x
Robert Fowler says
Stop caring about things you can’t control.
I like this one the best. It is a complete waste of time.
Great Steve Jobs quote. Very apt.
There is such wisdom in your article. Your message is very clear, compelling and easy to understand. Thanks for sharing your views with the world. 🙂
i heard your quote from Steve Jobs today on the radio here in the uk and i thought, i’d love to have that in writing. Then, read your website tonite by chance and there it is! That is the most important quote i will ever read in my life! If I had lived my life by that wisdom in my 20s i’d have got to where i am quicker! But never too late! Thanks for your great list!
[email protected] says
This is good, Marc.
I’m a teacher by trade and teach a couple classes of advanced kids. They are seniors and on the cusp of adulthood. But I can’t tell you how many of them are stressed out of their gourds because they are pursuing their parents passion for them, not their own. So many are on track to become doctors and pharmacists, but don’t like biology or chemistry. They want to be artists and fashion designers, architects and teachers. And yet their parents push them harder and harder to go out and make as much money as possible. Many of them come back to visit me over the years to update me on their lives. I’ve found those who continued on the track their parents put them are not usually happy. Those who risked parental disapproval and took their own lives in their own hands and moved to the rhythm of their own hearts were so much happier.
Important post, Marc!
Nabil Gulamani says
Thanks for the great points…
Many people have a hard time being themselves because they have a memory attached to their past therefore they live in a state of fear constantly..
Your comment about how to stop being perfect reminds me of the movie “Fight Club” when Brad Pitt has a dinner conversation with Edward Norton about how we need to stop being perfect in…That movie had a great message about how to live your life purpose and stop caring..
Thanks for sharing:))
This was absolutely amazing! I completely agree with all of it!
Great post! These are all principles that I’ve been working to integrate into my life for some time now, but your post has served me well in stirring up the embers of my fire. Thanks for the boost!
This is great advice. I tend to care too much about what other people think and I hate making mistakes! Thanks for the reminder that obsessing about these things isn’t helping me and is actually counterproductive.
Connor Maake says
Excellent post- The section about opinions of others stood out to me as the the most important. I’ve always felt that people are much too focused on the opinions of others. Living your life based on the influences and opinions of others is a horrible way to live life, a way that will only lead to decreased happiness in life.
Miss Britt says
I’m so impressed by how much info/advice you guys get into EVERY post.
your posts never fail to amaze me. your words just speak to me in times when i feel like throwing in the towel.
keep on writing please. you just don’t know how many lives out there you have touched!
Robin Nixon says
A marvellous post, and spot on!
“Perfect is the enemy of good”
Like the rabbit we can never catch. . .
Remember your own brain can become your enemy…
To the one who wrote this: Thank you very much. You have no idea how much this helps me.
This is basically exactly how I feel about life! I think, honestly, if everyone did this the world would be a MUCH better, happier place. So thank you for verbalizing exactly how I feel about life (well, this aspect of it)- as much as I believe in this it’s sometimes difficult to remember/follow. I think having this to come back to and read will help me remember I’m not the only one trying to be my own self in the world.
Thanks thanks thanks!!!
Justin Latona says
You seem to have a good outlook on life, and have given me something to think about in life’s journey. I appreciate the books that you linked through amazon in the article as well. They seem to look very professionally sound, and hopefully could make things a little more clearer for myself. I appreciate your opinion very much.
I really want to thank you for this very wise and well written advice. I couldn’t agree more and I am usually good at giving this advise, but fallowing through on it is and has been a major challenge for me these days. My biggest problems are I cant help but care about people, what they feel/think. Its one of my biggest passions in life and a huge driving force. And although I agree with everything you said, I dont think that is my problem or obstacle right now. Its the giant stubborn as a bull mountain that never wants to move, grow…or change and all its negativity, that echoes VERY LOUDLY through the entire valley. There is no escape! This article and everybody’s uplifting comments…THAT feeds me the fuel I need to get over the mountain and still be strong enough to continue once I have.
Thank You EVERYONE…can you feel the love?
OH…YES…I sure can, this is the positive and the influence I need to keep breathing…and pushing ahead…for the better.
matthew c says
What a great article here. So many people worry about what others think about them. They are always concerned with how others are going to judge them. If you are only concerned with what makes you happy that is all that matters.