As I mature into my thirties, they’re two things that I’ll always regret.
Do you see the similarities here? So much of life is dictated by what others will think of us. In fact, we spend more time wondering what people will think rather than trying to accomplish things that will get them thinking about us in the first place. And that’s a massive problem. It’s analysis paralysis. Pandoras box. Moore’s law in engineering says (roughly) that the cost of computing will go down as performance goes up (e.g. your iPhone will get smaller/cheaper while speed increases). Well similarly in life, your number of friends will get smaller and your regrets/failures will increase as you think about that circle of people you were so worried about pleasing, many of whom are now just random blips on your newsfeed. You don’t want to try that startup, ask that person out, switch that career, attempt that certification, pursue that hobby or ask for that raise…because you don’t want people to react by your bold new moves. And if you don’t try and take risks and make attempts to accomplish whatever it is you’re looking for – well…they’ll probably never react at all.
There is a quote I tried googling for (please comment if you know the real one and I’ll update it) that went along the lines of:
I often get teased by my friends about the stuff I do online, especially the missteps.
“Dude, what the hell was that last YouTube video about?? It was so lame.” OR “Dude, your snapchats are all of your dogs or donuts. I don’t care.” And you know what, sure, I’m happy to take criticism and I appreciate those comments. It’s a bit sneaky but in entrepreneurship, that’s what friends are for sometimes…A free focus group so you can improve on things. Thanks guys for letting me use you 🙂 Feedback is important, and if you launch a product or service and everybody hates it, sure…you should probably care what people are thinking and saying. That sort of thinking, I’m on board with.
However, on the flip side (you knew I was going to try to prove my own point) they’re a bunch of people who will make comments like these because they’re projecting their own insecurities. They crop/filter/hide every single Facebook or Instagram photo. They monitor every status, every comment, every perception of themselves both online and offline. When you’re in the moment and take a good snap, all they care about is how they looked and then you end up being an Executive Director having to take 5 different takes of the same group photo, until their shot is right. And honestly…why? You’ve seen the uncle at the beach with his paunch hanging out that’s the life of the party, and you’ve seen the self concious guy/gals hiding in the corner acting like they’re enjoying reading their books while checking their 100 likes on Instagram, while not enjoying the moment. Which one, at the end of the day, would you really enjoy being? Ideally – maybe try and be both? It’s ok to care what people think. But don’t get scared at what people might think. See the difference? Real life is #noFilter.