This is generally one of the main causes of unhappiness, at least in Western society.…
Self-confidence, arguably, is the foundation of psychological well-being. Everything else is built upon this base. Everything you experience in life is better when you feel really, really good about yourself.
Yet, we see a lack of this self-confidence everywhere;
“what will my family think if I take this job?”
“what will my friends think if I say this?”
“what will this girl think if I say that?”
“what do people in the gym think?”
Essentially, you’re valuing other people’s opinions (which is all they are), more highly than your own. Doing this consistently is BEGGING to live a life full of anxiety – dictated by other people’s opinions, i.e. not a very happy one. Constantly trying to mould yourself to fit into other people’s desires, you stand for nothing.
Social norms are a nightmare for creating this line of thinking, and it’s a difficult trap to get out of. But fear not, you can escape! You have to realise that although social norms are generally required for a functioning society, they often make you very, very unhappy.
Therefore, if you want to be happy, sometimes you’re just going to have to go against the social norms. This may piss a few people off, and they may think you’re weird, so it’s best not to advertise this for obvious reasons, but accepting the status quo with everything will lead you down a path of life-long resentment and boredom.
People will always judge/advise/criticise, there’s no way to stop it, so just accept it. That’s the first step towards not caring – it stops you from being a “pleaser”. The people who criticise the hardest tend to be either:
- Unsuccessful and have low self-esteem
- Intrigued (as you’re not following the typical, read: boring route)
Or a combination of the above. Big life tip:
Low self-esteem people tend to try and drag you down to their level. Don’t let them do it. Try to help them if you can, but they probably don’t want your help, at least in my experience.
Personally, I find criticisms amusing. But why do YOU find yourself affected by them?
How to Stop Caring
So, how do we actually achieve this mindset?
You’ve already done the first step by reading (and internalising, hopefully) the above. Awareness is the key. Next, we need to build self-confidence, to the point whereby your own opinions and values become far more important than anyone other single person’s.
This isn’t to say that nobody else’s opinions matter, that’s not true at all, especially if they are genuinely very knowledgeable and/or experienced on a particular subject. However, you know yourself better than anyone else, and can choose whether or not to apply their advice/opinions/criticisms.
But, when it comes to micro-level, trivial stuff, you really shouldn’t care in the slightest what others think. You will be a FAR happier guy with this approach. Building your self-confidence to very high levels will get you to this place – it’s very nice, trust me.
Self-confidence is basically a function of past achievements.
You’ll get a load of left-wing societal programming and objections against this statement, saying something along the lines of:
“But that’s only fake confidence. You’re not truly confident if you’re relying on achieving stuff.”
All I can say to that is: good luck in life – you’ll need it.
You cannot possibly feel competent, and therefore self-confident, if you never get good at anything that is important to you. It just won’t happen. There is, admittedly, a genetic component to self-confidence, but it’s only half the story – you need to actually get good at achieving your goals to raise your self-confidence to high levels.
Most people aren’t born extremely confident. I wasn’t. Telling someone to just simply “stop caring, dammit” and “believe in yourself” is similar to telling someone who is upset because their dog died to simply “start thinking positively”. It’s a nice thought, but it doesn’t work in the real world.
Confidence is a function of meaningful achievement. End of story.
Preferably, these successes have been across several areas of life, not just one or two. The more diverse your achievements, the more confident you will be in any given scenario. Whereas, if you’ve only been successful in your fitness life for example, you may not be confident in business, or with girls, or socially etc.
You need well-rounded confidence.
“Yeah well that’s great for successful guys, but I’m not successful. I’m skinny-fat and I can’t get girls BOO-HOO!”
Follow the points below, give it some time, and you will get there.
It all starts with goals. Specifically, goals that are congruent to your values, desires, and will make you long-term happy. NOBODY ELSE has a say in these. They have to be in line with YOUR interests.
Once you have your goals, time management will aid you in achieving them over the long-haul. You will also need to break these down into mini-goals, to stimulate action now. Most people procrastinate because they set goals that are too daunting.
Why does this allow you to stop caring what others think?
Because when you start achieving multiple exciting goals, in multiple key areas of life, you start to feel like you’re capable of anything. It’s important to remain realistic, but at the same time, it’s impossible not to feel amazing about yourself and your capabilities.
You start to transform your physique, make money through multiple streams of income, travel, get good with women, and it’s VERY difficult to care too much about other people’s trivial judgements.
Just to emphasise: This mentality will only manifest if these goals are YOUR goals, and not your Dad’s, Brother’s, Mother’s, Friend’s, Teacher’s, general society’s etc.
When you feel amazing about yourself and your capabilities, you’re not overly concerned with other people’s opinions, as yours is more important. Take theirs into account, maybe, but yours has the supreme authority, and always makes the final judgement.
What This Looks Like In Real Life
When you start becoming very successful yourself, you simply don’t care what others think:
- You don’t care what the guy in the gym thinks – you have already had a great deal of success in the past, and couldn’t care less if he doesn’t approve of what you’re doing.
- You don’t care what a particular girl thinks – you have already had tremendous success in the past, and couldn’t care less if this one doesn’t like you.
- You don’t care if a particular marketing strategy fails miserably – you have many others that are currently working, and have worked for you in the past.
- You don’t care if your friends and family don’t want you to take a particular job – you have had enough success in this field to know that this is what you want to do for many, many years, regardless of their biased, selfish preferences.
Basically, you value your own opinions far more highly than others’. This doesn’t mean that I ever force my opinions onto other people – I have no interest in doing that. Often though, people love to do it to you, especially if they have a very boring, unsuccessful life, and can see that you’re not the same. You need to see this as a self-defence/freedom-maintenance mechanism.
With this mindset, which is derived from general success and goal achievement, other people are powerless to prevent you from being happy.
It’s a great place to be 🙂