I was thinking about what I should write about and then it occurred to me that Google can help with this endeavour.
“what do people think of me”
as you can see from the high resolution screenshot above it is the 4th most important thing according to Google*.
Does it matter?
Should it matter?
Also yes. Unlike what everyone in a magazine would tell you. The answer is yes you should care about what others think about you, but choose your others more carefully and/or be aware of the others who think what they do about you.
Let me explain.
I recently joined a new company and I almost immediately fell out of love for it. Please don’t get me wrong I have always hated the job I was doing (like any other normal human being) but I thought moving jobs to a new company and doing the same thing there for more pay and progressing in my corporate ambitions was the way to get over that dislike. And yes I did enjoy the perks of sleepless mornings and not wandering into the sun when the weather is good, but the reason I fell out of love was not the job but the people.
Within the first month it was clear that by being hired I was effectively a thorn in many peoples’ way of working and that it was now their jobs to show me how my job should be done “better”. While I grappled with the new circumstances and while I worked with the people around me, I was surprisingly patient and very very resilient to attempts at inducing confrontation.
I have since then wondered why I did so? The answer to console/pay homage to that part of me that worried constantly about what others thought about me?
Some of my biggest decisions both good and bad and inactions, both good and bad are a consequence of trying to fight myself about “what others would have thought about me” not what others would have done, but about how others would judge me.
I often think about this as my conscience, or as a camera running on me the whole time. Would an audience who saw my life as a TV show judge me to be a hero, with no greys, a mediocre individual or the antagonist? This camera helps/makes me throw the garbage only in the dustbin and say an extra thank you to the driver in the bus. It also helps me feel good about myself when I give up my seat to someone who is not in “obvious” need for it but might appreciate it nonetheless.
Often when I regret things I have said, done or not said and not done I realize it’s because I am still following the same model. I did so because of what others would think about me. But my set of “others” and the world around me is much much smaller, I often shrink it down to just the people around at that moment and that I realize is the cause of regret.
For example, when you are being pushed over at work, you might often not speak up for the fear of what your colleagues or your boss might think about you. But if you still continue to imagine that bigger audience of the TV show you might be forced into action, because heroes dont quit. A strong assertive individual would be able to deal with the situation without staying silent or having to resort to outbursts. What would the hero in the story that is your life do?
The model to change your behaviour and hence your life is not to abandon things that work for you but to tweak them. So if you care about what others think about you and you know that helps in many cases learn how to make that work for you. What would your family and a TV audience rooting for you think when they saw you being pushed around?
The next time you are wondering about what is the right thing to do just ask yourself who is the hero of the show called your life?
*actually it’s the 4th most obvious search that Google’s algorithm predicts about how someone who has my search history and similar pattern would think but I have obviously opened Google in incognito window for the purposes of that screenshot, the more you know the less you know and other blah blah