Whether it is becoming plugged into our identity, quitting alcohol or even becoming more confident, our worry of what people think can really affect us. From the jobs we choose, to the people we date and the risks we take, we often limit our actions through fear of criticism or judgment from others.
Apart from the fact that life really is too short to worry about things like this, the other aspect is that people’s feelings change. For example, say one moment people insult you for wearing yellow trainers, therefore you think they shouldn’t be worn and that is the last time you wear them. What if this persons opinions change, and they start wearing yellow shoes themselves; is that the only time you’ll put your trainers back on?
(The Secret to Not Caring What People Think by Glen at
If you buy a car that’s flashy rather than focusing on one that gets the job done as efficiently as you can find, you’re spending money to impress other people. If you go clothes shopping by the store sack full, you’re spending money to impress other people. If you always have the latest gadget, you’re spending money to impress other people. If you always must be seen at the coolest new place, you’re spending money to impress other people.
(Trent at
We become true individuals socially only when our social values and actions are determined by our own distinctive judgment and values. When we look around us and at ourselves, we find that nearly all we say and do is in conformity with the beliefs and behavior of other members of our family, community or nation. The clothes we wear, the food we like, our habits, our choice of education and career, the way we greet friends or strangers, our codes of conduct, our judgments of other people, our sense of superiority or inferiority to others which depends on their relative wealth, class, education or caste – all these indicate that we are not distinct social individuals in the true sense. We compensate, of course, in many ways to convince ourselves and others of our uniqueness by affirming our favorite food, color, dress, author, singer, actor, sportsman, etc. But these are only skin deep appearances. Individuality is not a surface difference.
‘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. Most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.’ – Steve Jobs, Stanford Commencement Speech.
Too many people are slaves to the outer social environment and its mores; doing what is expected; or going through life living out a thoughtless, routine, follow-the leader, somehow animal-like existence.
(Adapted from Individuality, Individualism by Roy Posner and MSS at
We must admit that we spend more of our time concentrating and fretting over the things that can’t be changed than we do giving attention to the one that we can change our choice of attitude. Stop and think about some of the things that suck up our attention and energy, all of them inescapable: the weather, the wind, people’s action and criticisms, which won or lost the game, delays at airports or waiting rooms, x-ray results, gas and food costs.
Quit wasting energy fighting the inescapable and turn your energy to keeping the right attitude. Those things we can’t do anything about shouldn’t even come up in our minds; the alternative is ulcers, cancer, sourness, depression.
(The Importance of Attitude by Charles R. Swindoll at
We do what we think is right, not because we think that it is right, but that others do. It’s like we haven’t grown out of our teenage years of peer pressure. Today, we might not smoke to keep in with the “in-crowd” but we still conform in numerous ways and worse, we worry. We constantly worry about what other people are thinking about us. We find our lives are governed by what we imagine other people believe about us. And so we find ourselves with a huge raft of fears: fear of being rejected, fear of being thought a failure, fear of making a mistake, fear of being inferior to others, fear of being “dumb.” This is just the tip of the iceberg.
We need to recognize that most of the people we know don’t really think about us much at all. Like the old sayings, they really are too busy thinking about themselves and their own lives to be making conclusions about ours. In fact, many of them are doing just what the chronic worrier does: worrying about what others are thinking about them!
(Do you worry about what other people think? by Beth McHugh at
Few people believe that their attitude is their own choice. For most people, their attitude depends upon people and circumstances. If people are nice to them, then they have a good attitude. If circumstances are favorable, they are in a good mood. On the other hand, if someone treats them unfairly, then they have a bad attitude. If the circumstances are not favorable, they are in a bad mood. Most people fail to realize that their attitude and their mood are really their own choice.
Here’s a silly example:
A little old lady went to the mirror one morning and noticed that she had only three hairs on her head. As she looked into the mirror, she said, “I think I’ll braid my hair today.” That’s exactly what she did. And, she had a great day.
The next morning, at the mirror once again, the little old lady noticed that she only had two hairs on her head. Looking herself right in the eye, she said, “Today, I think I’ll part my hair down the middle.” That’s exactly what she did. And, she had a great day.
The next day, as the little old lady looked into the mirror, there was only one hair on her head. She looked at that one lonely hair and said, “Today I think I’ll wear my hair in a pony tail.” That’s exactly what she did. And she had a great day.
The following morning the little old lady looked into the mirror and there wasn’t a single hair on her head. Her eyes lit up, and she said, “Yeah! I don’t have to fix my hair today!”
In this silly illustration about the woman, she could have had one lousy day after another watching her each hair disappear just as easily. She could have spent her days depressed. She could have spent her time being angry. Instead, she looked for something to be positive about, even in the middle of a lousy situation. She chose to deal with her situation in a positive way, and as a result she had a great day. Even though this is a fictional story, the point is well made.
(Your Attitude Is Your Choice by Michael A. Verdicchio at
We do not choose to be born. We do not choose our parents. We do not choose our historical epoch, or the country of our birth, or the immediate circumstances of our upbringing. We do not, most of us, choose to die; nor do we choose the time or conditions of our death. But within all this realm of having no choices, we do choose how we shall live: with purpose or adrift, with joy or with joylessness, with hope or with despair, with humor or with sadness, with a positive outlook or a negative outlook, with pride or with shame, with inspiration or with defeat and with honor or with dishonor. We decide that what makes us significant or insignificant. We decide to be creative or to be indifferent. No matter how indifferent the universe may be to our choices and decisions, these choices and decisions are ours to make. We decide. We choose. In the end, the meaning of our life is decided by what we choose to do or what we refuse to do. And as we decide and choose, so are our destinies formed.
(Michael Michalko at


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