Probably the biggest prey in the world, “what will people think?” I can’t even imagine the thousands of dreams it eviscerated, the millions of hopes shattered, and the billions of lives it took. Yeah, no kidding. This single question obliterated more lives than all the wars put together. I mean, what’s left of your life if you are not doing what you were meant to do, just because you cared too much about ‘what will people say’. It gotta end, you *need* to stop caring about people if you wanna live your dream life.
The way the whole play is carried out is that when you are all pumped up and excited about doing something new and hip, you suddenly get bolstered down by a thunderbolt the second you ingrain this thought, “what will people think” in your poor mind.
Your positivity streak comes to a halt, the negativity starts to dawn upon you, the stress starts engulfing you, and before you know it, your soul has already been sucked out by the dementors.
What kind of a world it’d be if we could become totally unstoppable, not giving two shits about what the people will think or say, not getting affected by the external situations and circumstances, and just keep on dancing in our own rhythm? I can already feel the positive sensations running across my body.
The Predicament is Deeper than you Imagined
This seemingly not so threatening thought is actually so deeply rooted in our minds that at times we are totally oblivious of the fact we are actually a victim of it. And that’s threatening.
If you think that just because you read a couple of books and watched a few videos on the internet, you’d stop caring about what people think, then you are mistaken. If you are doing something just to make your family and relatives happy, then again, you already are under that category itself.
So, don’t jump the gun and say it just yet that you are over it, chances are that you are not. You may think you don’t care, but this disease is so deadly and cunning that it may still be rotting you away from the inside without letting you know from the outside.
Only deep and meaningful questioning can uproot this weed once and for all, otherwise, it will always be there deep inside you and you wouldn’t even know it. Observe your actions and sincerely question their intentions and you will know that you still care about people’s opinions more than you thought you did.
Whether it’s doing something just to prove a point to someone or to satisfy society’s whims or to show off to your relatives and friends or to be someone you were ‘supposed to be’ just because your neighbors thought it is a ‘noble pursuit’, they all mean the same thing. Having to do something you don’t have an iota of interest, passion, and love for just because you are scared to death of what the people will think will make your life shallow and meaningless.
Your Dream World is a Lie
When you go see a doctor, you just want him to give you a ‘quick pill’ to relieve you of your pain. You don’t want him to explain to you about the history of the pain, or why the pain arose in the first place, you just want the instant solution and be done with it.
Similarly, you don’t actually want to do anything about what I am talking about, you just want the instant solution to get what you want. But what if I tell you that your entire foundation on which you erected your so-called mansion of dreams is a lie?
Most people will simply lay out the ‘grand plan’ for you to get things instantly in life, the ‘quick tips to success’. They are giving you what you want to hear, not what’s actually right for you. The dream world you are living in has been implanted in you by the people around you, the same people you can’t stop thinking about. That’s the breeding ground for the majority of people on the basis of which they act because they think they are ‘pursuing their dreams’.
You think going to a college and getting the dream job will sort everything out, you think having your own business one day will make you a millionaire. While I am not saying they are a bad choice, I am simply asking you whether you are aware of how your dream became your dream in the first place?
Are you blindly following it because everyone’s doing that and you are afraid to do what you want to do because you care about what people think or are you trying to prove a point or are you just of the opinion that all your problems will be solved if you achieved that ‘one’ thing?
SO, are you ready to put a question mark on the dream world you have made for yourself? I must warn you, it takes balls to actually question it. If you do question and understand the reality, then maybe your dream world goes belly up and your entire thought process changes, for the better.
People Will Never Stop Thinking
Well, that kinda goes without saying, doesn’t it? Ok, so going back to the dream world I was talking about, let’s dig deeper. Whatever it is people sought to become, be it a doctor, engineer, or lawyer, what actually made them take that route?
Is it possible that we just heard people talk about it or saw our friends doing the same and intentionally or unintentionally, it just got fed into our brains? And now we have bound ourselves to follow the set path because we are paranoid of what people will think if we don’t meet their ‘so-called’ standards.
No matter what you do, or where you are, people will keep on saying something or the other and will keep on thinking all kinds of rubbish. Doing something just to appease them not only makes you a wuss, it also undermines your own respect, potential, and preciousness in your own eyes.
Expecting that people will stop saying anything is stupid and impractical. Even if you cure cancer or prevent world war III, they will surely come up with something or the other to pull you down and show you your place. You can walk on water for all I care, the people will say “Oh look at that lazy fellow, can’t he simply swim his way through? Why does he have to levitate on water?!”
If you get rich they will say ‘he must be doing something shady’, if you are poor they will say ‘what an incompetent nincompoop’, if you are skinny they will pull your leg, if you are fit and healthy they will still pull your leg; you will be judged if you are a workaholic and you will most certainly be judged if you are an alcoholic; whether you are single or in a relationship, married or a divorcee, you will be ridiculed time and time again; introverted or extroverted, beautiful or ugly, intelligent or idiot, well mannered or ill-mannered, sporty or a couch potato, flirty or a straight arrow, mama’s boy or daddy’s girl, high status or low status, big dreamer or small dreamer, a night owl or an early bird, you will be gauged no matter what.
Don’t Blindly Follow the Masses
I know it feels really tempting to simply follow the masses, to blend in, to mix up. It’s probably the least resistant path to save face, avoid being judged and scorned and mocked, and an easy way out of the whole circus. But it’s not worth it. The cost to avoid being teased is far too more than being teased and doing what you want; the risk-reward ratio simply doesn’t favor it.
You can either live life on your terms and not care about what people think, or you can keep thinking about what people will think and choose the coward’s way out. Just because everyone is doing something a particular way, doesn’t and shouldn’t mean that you also have to do the very same thing in the same manner. The intelligent way will be to come out of the whole dream world you have framed for yourself and perceive reality as it is without any filter and then act according to what fits best.
It may sound bitter but most of us have been functioning like robots, based on the information fed by an external entity(education system, families, society) without questioning the validity of it. There’s no harm in acting as a dead soul, it’s just that you will be missing out on what you could have done otherwise which may be a hell of a lot better than what you are doing now.
The information may differ from robot to robot based on the kind of environment and circumstances it grew in, but still, it doesn’t change the fact that it is a robot at the end of the day.
Stop Caring About What People Think Before it Gets Ugly
Here is the best indicator to see if your life is getting better or worse by this whole notion of ‘caring what people think’. Whatever goals and dreams that were injected into you by society and your family, that you are so blindly running after, take a pause for a second and look at the people who have already achieved those dreams.
Are they completely happy and satisfied with the lives they are living? Or are they sad and miserable and keep on reminiscing about the ‘good ol’ days’?
If it’s the latter, then that essentially means that your current situation is immensely better than what your supposed ‘dream life’ is meant to be. I am not trying to discourage or demotivate you, I am simply showing you the mirror after wiping it clean, which for apparent reasons wasn’t showing you the real picture.
And I have a feeling, in the majority of cases, it will generally be the latter. Because even the majority of those people did what they did as they too cared too much about what people think and never really questioned their dreams and aspirations.
Come out of the Dream World
Nobody questions the reality like this, maybe because they are not rational enough to see it through or are stupid enough to ignore the pain for today’s gain. Both of which are pretty depressing scenarios. It may also be due to the fact that they are all a part of that dream world itself and are so deeply engrossed in it that they are completely blindsided by what’s actually happening with their life.
One can’t look at this reality until he is immersed in the dream world. And more than that, one needs to have the courage to question his very own dreams. One should even be ready to see his dreams go up in flames after sincere questioning and deep understanding.
It might hurt in the short run but you are gonna be better off in the long run. Just imagine, you are following the dreams that aren’t even set by you. How insane is that!? Seriously, we should be ashamed for caring too much about what the people will think. If you can’t even pick and follow your own dreams, then what the hell are you doing with your life? You may get a normal life like everybody else, but you shouldn’t be expecting anything more than that.
To Be Absolutely Free Should Be the Goal
All this chatter regarding what the people will say are like mental chains and leashes pulling you down and keeping you from flying high in the sky. The thing that’s more concerning here is that nobody’s actually pulling anyone down, the people might not even be saying anything to your face. It’s sometimes our own squeamish minds that get a little extra creative to scare us and obstruct our paths.
The least we can do for ourselves is to strive to be absolutely free from anything and everything at the level of the mind. If you are acting in a restricted space, doing the same things, repeating the same mistakes, and thinking in the same old mental patterns, then that simply implies that you have stopped growing and are living a stagnant life.
Don’t let the “People’s Opinion” Decide Your Future
Let’s say you understand all this and decided enough is enough and came to the conclusion that you are not gonna get bullied into doing anything that the worlds want you to do and don’t wanna be a cog in this giant structure built by the ‘people’, and wanna come out of the whole system like a larva comes out of the cocoon.
The thing to keep in mind is that it’s not gonna be a walk in the park. You are gonna have to take in a ton of shit right from your family to your relatives and not to mention the society. Because nobody actually wants you to emerge out of this cage as they are all your cellmates, so they would hate to see you getting out early.
Be mentally prepared for the path you are about to choose as it is filled with booby traps at every step you take. You are gonna face resistance, criticism(a ton of it), a lot of self-doubts(kinda important I feel), ridicule, second-guessing, and all of that is actually gonna help you become the tree from the seed you are today.
Even the larva has to struggle and go through pain, discomfort, and brawl to finally transform into the butterfly. And so do you. And listening to what other people will think or say, and not letting it tear up your inspiration is part of the process.
Your Center Point will Shift Once you See the Reality
The second you actually realize this gospel truth that appeasing society endlessly and keeping up with what people will think is a fool’s errand and utter waste of time and energy, your center point in life will change.
You will start thinking differently, your actions will be different, your beliefs and ideologies will be different, your core values will be different, your perceptions will be different, your dreams and plans and goals, will all change.
You will be far less or not concerned at all to prove to the world at the level of your mind because that’s a bottomless trap in itself and there’s no limit to how far down the hell can you go. Just how far down the rabbit hole you wanna be buried in is up to you. The longer you stay, the darker and more vicious it is gonna get. And it’s never too late to start making your way out of the pothole.
Questioning is the ladder that helps one crawl out of this hole.
People Actually don’t care as much as you think they do
Whether it’s trying to don a new fashion style, or making a bold and unorthodox change to your career, or remarrying with your childhood friend or staying with your parents after moving out twice already or doing any one of the hundred and twelve other things that the society doesn’t see ‘fit’, you always have this apprehension at the back of your mind that ‘What will people think? They are gonna make fun of me and are never gonna respect me enough ever again’ and yada yada.
Well, here’s the thing, nobody actually cares that much about you anyway. They have their own lives to look after, their spouses to take care of, their children who seek entertainment, bills which demand to be paid in full, distractions that keep them busy, bosses that keep them super busy, and a hundred and twelve other things.
Not everything revolves around you, and I think it’s not only a bit pretentious but also deteriorating to assume otherwise. I mean, you are fighting with a problem that may not even exist in the first place. No one is actually gonna physically restrain you or beat you up, the maximum they can do is chew out a couple of not-so-encouraging and loving phrases.
Seriously that’s it. All the tussle happens within us.
Turn the Tables Around
If you still think it’s too big of a problem, I want you to turn the tables and see for yourself.
Let’s say you have a cousin of yours who doesn’t like to operate the way 7 billion people operate and wants to live life on his own terms. He doesn’t care much about what other people will think and say, he just does what he wants and never looks back.
Now, you can’t stand him at all as he goes against more or less everything you stand for. So, what can you do about him? Beat him up? Berate him? Discourage him? Look down upon him? Shame his parents?
Well, only if you are too purposeless and directionless and don’t have a goddamn clue as to what you wanna do with your life, would you even think about doing anything to him. You will and should simply be occupied enough to even give a shit about him in the first place.
That’s another piece of a gem here, if people are coming at you giving you all kinds of unsolicited advice, look where they are coming from. Are they doing anything significant or inspiring with their lives? Chances are they are not. So, why even bother caring about people who haven’t even figured out their lives properly?
At the End of The Day, It’s Your Life
I know it’s tempting to blame the other person for your own debacle, but trust me, you will always know who the real perpetrator was, and that’s you.
At the end of the day, it’s your life you are gonna make or break. You can count all the reasons you want to, at last, you will be the one who will have to bear the consequences. Keep that in mind, always. So, it doesn’t matter whether you listen to the people around you or your own inner voice, in the journey of life, you are the sole rider.
And besides, nobody knows about you better than you yourself. People might outshine in plenty of topics, they may be a thousand times sounder than you in a variety of things, but no one can tell you what’s in your heart and soul better than you yourself. Doesn’t really take a genius to figure out when to take advice from others and when to tell them to shove their advice up their asses. (not out loud of course.)
The real swag is in being able to do successfully what the whole world thought to be unrealistic, impractical, and impossible. The more they go against you, the more charged up you will actually get. So, use their booing to fuel yourself with energy and then see the magic.
If you let yourself get bullied by the whole notion of ‘caring about other people’s thoughts’, pretty soon, you are gonna become the reason why someone else too will give up on life just because she cared too much. You don’t wanna bear that weight.
Essentially, you can either spend the rest of your life thinking about what other people will think or you can do what you want to do in life. A fairly simple choice if you ask me.
So, do you wanna be the driver of your own life, or do you wanna hand over the keys to a couple of strangers?
Failing in something that you are passionate about is a whole lot better than succeeding in something that only the people around you are passionate about.