Opinions are like egos, everybody’s got one. The question is, are the opinions of others more important than your own?
Everyone wants to be liked
People want other people to like them. People want the approval of their family and friends and neighbors and random people on the street. So much of our self-esteem is predicated on what other people think of us. Our self-concept is based on where we located ourselves on the social, economic, educational continuum relative to how close we feel we are to the people we admire. Seeking the approval of others is in our genes; it’s ‘Survival 101’, while this trait was necessary for our survival on the savanna, not so much in 2010.
Keeping up appearances
The financial downturn (aka recession) has cost middle and working class families their jobs, their homes, their cars. For a lot of people, the material goods by which we define ourselves (unfortunately) seem to be slipping out of our hands. For those who haven’t lost their job, they may have to deal with a reduction in salary either through direct wage cut or curtailed work week. Facing the loss of a job or reduction in income, you would think the reasonable response would be to reduce personal expenditures. If you have lost your job, is it practical for you to attempt to live they way you did when you were gainfully employed? Why are you trying to maintain that lifestyle? Are worried others will think less of you because you have been laid-off, down-sized, or have suffered a salary reduction?
What I know for sure is no-one is living your life but you. What you chose to do or choose not do is your decision! Even when you refuse to decide, you make a choice. If you make or fail to make decisions because you are afraid of what other people will think…..well, “Houston, we have a problem”!
This isn’t to say the wise counsel of someone with experience isn’t welcome, but if you are hesitating or not acting because you are afraid someone will think you are being ‘uppity’ or being ‘stuck up’ or the ever-popular ‘acting white’; then see the above ‘Houston’ reference.
Not worrying about what others think, is hard work but essential; even, no especially, when the people whose opinions you are worried about are people you hold in high esteem. Perhaps they have achieved something you would like to achieve; it is easy to be influenced by their experience. Your fears about what they will think of your plan can end up being a roadblock. Understand this! the roadblock is a substitute for your self-generated fear. Overcome it! Put one foot (or word) in front of the other and keep moving. So what if you plan doesn’t look like their plan! So what if you are pursuing a course of action they wouldn’t pursue!
What Would Fleetwood Mac Do?*
“…you can go your own waaaaaay, go your own waaay…”**
We stop ourselves and kill our own ideas and inspirations because we try to match them to what someone else has done. Maybe your book/blog/movie script isn’t the first book/blog/movie script written on a particular topic, it does not mean it isn’t worth the effort to create. And if you make money from your endeavor, so much the better!
*I have so outed myself as a Fleetwood Mac fan!!!!!!
**Word of caution and common sense: I am not talking about doing something rash, reckless, or just plain stupid.