It’s None Of Your Business What Other People Think Of You

Almost two decades ago, while I was traveling around Vietnam,   I came across this phrase in a book I was reading,  “It’s none of your business what anybody thinks of you”. After contemplating the phrase for quite some time, I ended up adopted it into my life, and through it I have made quite a few very positive changes. On occasion I have advised others of its wisdom, and  usually have been met with arguments rather than acceptance. I am told with great certainty that I must care about what others think of me, but how can I explain to the majority that this is untrue? This is just the way most people think, but definitely not the best way to live your life.

Now don’t go and read this wrong or something and think that I don’t care about others, this is not true at all, I care deeply about many people,  and even mankind in general, I just don’t care what their opinions of me are.  In the immortal words of Popeye, “I am what I am”

Popeye, He Is What He Is

He Is What He Is, And That’s All That He Is

When I was younger I was always looking to others for the definition of cool, I wanted to wear the same types of jeans, shoes, and sunglasses as them, I only wore the clothing with the “cool” brand names, used to get my hair cut by the  same people who cut all the other cool kids hair, exaggerated a story now and then, smoked a couple of cigarettes, and even used to do incredibly stupid things such as carry my brand name backpack only on my right shoulder and not two shoulders every day, just because that was the “cool” way to do it.

The most damaging part of this “quest for cool” comes when we turn into adults however, and start using credit cards. So many people seem to go into debt these days, just to try and seem like a winner, many of these people buy nothing but overpriced clothing, the latest phones, and often buy a very expensive car or house they can not afford. Some people end up going so deep into debt, that they become stressed out wrecks, which is felt by all those around them, they often become bitter individuals people try and avoid. In fact, they eventualy become the very definition of “not cool”.

Some people try to use lies to try and impress others, the history they give you is a sham, they are nothing but regular people pretending to be better than they are, and striving to appear better than you. The fiction these competitors of life tell the world, if they are believed, raises the apparent bar of success for everyone around them, assuming those people also subscribe to the belief that they need to impress others.

Some of the real jerks will try and pull other people a step or two down on their imagined competitive ladder, to place themselves on top, where they feel they need to be. In their minds they are the winner, but no so much in the minds of those around, who usually choose not to speak up, afraid they themselves might end up on the verbal chopping block.

The most insecure of all may use all of these methods to try and “Win”.

I know this may be surprising to some, but how cool you are is actually about how relaxed and in control you are of the various situations in your life, not the logo on your shirt, or the lies you weave.

The easiest way to be cool is just to save your money, don’t tell stories you think people want to hear, don’t be bad to others, and express your opinions. Even if your opinions are not popular ones, people tend to prefer being with interesting people that have actual beliefs rather the common, stressed out walking billboard type of competitive “Yes Men” that are trying so hard to fit in.

Bling Boys

We Cool, Cuz We Got The Logos and the Bling

I do agree there actually are some pretty good reasons to occasionally care about what some others think about you, for instance, forgetting your manners might cause some people to try and punch you in the nose. Also its very hard to get a promotion at work, or a new life partner if you are not willing to put on a nice outfit and comb your hair, but most of the time, why would  you care about what others think?

Some people even care about the opinions of strangers, you must admit its a little nuts to care about people who don’t even know your name, right? I mean you probably will never see them again anyhow, so what is the point in impressing them?

Although your true friends will always be your friends regardless of your apparent stature, you should not become too strange, your friends will likely still care what others think, and if you start wearing shirts made from newspapers, and pants made from garbage bags, they might be a bit shy to be seen with you in public. This is not an idea to take to the extreme, but thinking this way to a large degree can be very beneficial to your life.

It’s None Of Your Business What Other People Think Of You

  1. nothingprofound
    Dec 2nd, 2010 at 11:28
    Reply | Quote | #1

    So true. Artists and public entertainers are especially susceptible to this, since their entire self-worth often depends on how others view their work. It’s a damnable position to be in. I’d add an even more drastic observation: It’s none of your business what you think of yourself. This is actually an aphorism of mine, I have several on the same theme. After all, do we really know enough about ourselves to judge ourselves? Most of the time we’re just being being critical, belittling, and a pain in the ass to ourselves.

  2. hoba
    Feb 8th, 2011 at 15:49
    Reply | Quote | #2

    very nice article.
    it made me think 🙂

  3. PBScott
    Feb 20th, 2011 at 08:26
    Reply | Quote | #3

    @hoba @NP
    Thank you very much for your kind comments. It is nice to know this is causing some thought on the subject.

  4. Judy
    May 5th, 2011 at 16:39
    Reply | Quote | #4

    I like this article very much. Very thought provoking and inspirational. Thanks!

  5. PBScott
    May 5th, 2011 at 20:29
    Reply | Quote | #5

    @Judy
    Thanks Judy, it is nice to know it has inspired you.

  6. edgar
    Jun 24th, 2011 at 00:36
    Reply | Quote | #6

    I agree with this article, Real it hold water.

  7. PBScott
    Sep 7th, 2011 at 10:25
    Reply | Quote | #7

    @edgar
    Thanks you so much for your comment edgar.

  8. Peter
    Oct 24th, 2011 at 10:45
    Reply | Quote | #8

    As long as you can be yourself while having respect for others, there is no reason to change your ways according to their views. They themselves have likely been altered by other sources, so why should you be indirectly altered by a third-party source?

  9. PBScott
    Oct 25th, 2011 at 20:58
    Reply | Quote | #9

    @Peter

    Interesting comment. The world is defiantly a big social melting pot, each person modified by the next person. No reason to go and be a strange one, but no reason to care what anyone thinks of the things you do either.

    I find some people who actually try and be different because of insecurity, they actually want to tell others, and show others how different they are. I believe if you really don’t care what they think, you don’t need them to know you are different either. Thankfully we are all different.

    Thanks for your visit Peter.

  10. emily
    Nov 9th, 2012 at 09:49

    This is great advice…sometimes it is difficult not to want to conform to societal norms, however being yourself is key!

  11. PBScott
    Nov 9th, 2012 at 09:50

    @emily
    Thanks for the visit and the comments Emily,

    It is a lot easier to conform to society than resist it, and if it makes you happier to conform then you should defiantly do it. Just whatever you end up doing, make sure it is the best thing for you.

    The idea might not be so much to change what you are doing, just not to worry about the things that you did. I conform most all of the time, but I don’t care if anyone thinks I am a conformist, that is their problem that they think that way in my books, bad people like to think bad things and there isn’t much you can ever do about it.

  12. June O’Hara
    Nov 9th, 2012 at 12:15

    I believe to that expression wholeheartedly. It’s just a challenge to live by. But it does get easier with practice.

    Good post!

  13. PBScott
    Nov 9th, 2012 at 12:23

    @June O’Hara
    Thanks June,

    It is a tough one to live by, and it does get easier with practice.

    Thank you very much for your comment.

  14. Helena Fortissima
    Nov 9th, 2012 at 12:40

    Great post, PBS! Have you ever spent a day interacting with people, only to later look into a mirror and see that you’ve got something green stuck between your teeth or a booglet dangling from your nose? That’s always upset me (embarrassing), but it’s pretty good evidence that people don’t spend much time noticing, much less thinking, about anyone but themselves. I don’t worry too much about what others think of me, but the one place this becomes a problem is the work environment, especially with the people running the show who basically want you to be their bitch. Still working on how to resolve that particular dilemma. Honestly, I need to just be my own boss.

  15. PBScott
    Nov 9th, 2012 at 12:41

    @Helena Fortissima
    Hi Helena,

    I spent four years with a bald spot on my head that nobody told me about, I saw it one day in a photo of me and was shocked. Does that count ?

    It is very difficult at work, I refuse to be anyone’s bitch, and have missed out on a lot of good work because of it, I also have a very long resume of far too many places that I have worked. If anyone is looking for advice how to get ahead at work, this is defiantly the wrong Blog for them.

    I really was forced to start my own business to stay employed, the root URL of this website is my business. I have been at it now for four years, and have not yet got my start up money back, but it is feeding me. I desperately wish to never be an employee ever again.

    http://supershirtguy.com/

  16. Janene
    Nov 9th, 2012 at 12:47

    Excellent post. How did I miss it the first time? I love the message. LOVE IT!!

  17. PBScott
    Nov 9th, 2012 at 12:48

    @Janene
    Thanks Janene,

    I think I wrote this just a couple of months before you started reading, always nice to see you here, glad you liked the post.

    🙂

  18. Dan Bonser
    Nov 10th, 2012 at 08:47

    Definitely a wonderful article. You interweave it all masterfully, touching base on self image, public image, and how they relate to each other. Wonderfully done.

  19. PBScott
    Nov 10th, 2012 at 09:35

    @Dan Bonser
    Thank you very much!

    I don’t know what else to say you have left me speechless with your wonderful compliments.

  20. SchemaByte
    Nov 10th, 2012 at 12:00

    Yup, I’m a fan. I wrote something a bit like this – although I think you were more linear and therefore probably better, and my conclusion was that it only matters what people think in terms of business – because you need customers and clients to like ya, of course.

    Well, let me amend it a bit – it’s also important my wife like me. Life can be hell when she doesn’t. =)

    Good job, thanks for the post!

  21. PBScott
    Nov 11th, 2012 at 07:44

    @SchemaByte
    Hi SchemaByte,

    I never bought into the whole business self and home self thing, to me there is only myself, and it does not change.

    I feel the best way to keep a clean image of yourself is just to strive very hard not to do anything wrong in the first place, it gives you very stable ground to defend yourself from.

  22. Oana
    Feb 8th, 2013 at 17:09

    I believe that each one of us cares, to a different degree, about what others think about us. 🙂 This is one thing which makes us human – the desire to be liked and accepted by others.

    For some of us, caring too much about how others perceive us is a stage in our development as a person. Unfortunately, others waste their energy on what others think about themselves despite that they know that in the end, it does not matter. The only thing that matters is how we feel in our own skin.

    The topic of this post is an issue close to everyone’s heart. It is great that you chose to write about it and provide your insight.

  23. PBScott
    Feb 9th, 2013 at 23:23

    I am glad you enjoyed the post Oana,

    I do still care sometimes what others think, but not very much these days. This is a wonderful and freeing philosophy but a difficult one to practice, my plan is to just keep practicing and hope that one day practice makes perfect.

  24. Michelle (Nimsy)
    Apr 14th, 2013 at 20:30

    Well I’m glad you put this link back up, I loved loved loved it!! I need to be reminded of this as I still put much too much stock in what others think. I’m working on it, but reminders are so helpful. Thanks! Looking forward to reading your blog.

  25. PBScott
    Apr 16th, 2013 at 15:49

    @Michelle (Nimsy)
    Welcome to the blog Michelle, glad you enjoyed the post 🙂

  26. Angie Alaniz
    Sep 28th, 2014 at 23:52

    That is the best advice!
    I also took that advice to heart and it works wonders. 🙂

  27. PBScott
    Sep 29th, 2014 at 00:45

    Hey Angie,

    I am very happy that this article has helped you.

  28. Journey McGuire
    Sep 29th, 2014 at 17:24

    I’ve been thinking a lot on this subject recently. You inspired a blog out of me. Don’t worry, I’ll give you credit. I care what you think about me stealing your idea 🙂

  29. PBScott
    Oct 4th, 2014 at 22:51

    Hi JM,

    Awesome, I am glad I inspired you with this.

    Did this inspire a Blog, or a Blog post? I would love to see it when you have it up.