Have you ever made a decision based on what other people would think of you and your decision, instead of what you really wanted to do or have?
It’s not uncommon for us to be influenced by other people’s opinions especially if we’ve been conditioned to worry about “what the neighbours will say” or “what will they think.”
While there are times when taking advice from others who may have more knowledge or experience than us can be useful, most times, we should choose what will be best for us or move us closer to a goal we want to achieve without violating the rights of others.
Motivational speaker Les Brown often says, “Don’t let someone else’s opinion of you become your reality.”
The dangers of being concerned about other people’s opinions include:
- We’ll be easily influenced by others.
- We won’t develop our decision-making abilities.
- We’ll always be looking for approval or validation for things we want to do or have in life.
- We won’t be as self-confident as we want to be.
- We wont challenge ourselves to set lofty goals.
While everyone is entitled to their thoughts or opinions, ultimately, we’re responsible for doing what we think is best for us.
There is a quote that says, “What others think of you is none of your business.”
7 Reasons Why What Others Think Does Not Matter
- They have not lived your life. No one will ever be able to live or have the exact experiences we have in life. We’re all unique and are doing our best to have the life we want. As a result, we’ll make good and bad choices, which gives us our life experiences.
- They may not have the knowledge, experience or qualifications to give an informed opinion. People are readily willing to give their opinion about something but they may not be in the best position to do so based on what they’ve learned or what they know or have done. Every opinion should be evaluated on its merit.
- They don’t always know what’s best for you. Most times, people will give advice or share their opinion about something based on what they think will be best for us. In reality, what they’re doing is sharing their perspective and their model of the world, which may not necessarily match our perspective or our model of the world.
- They may not have any consequence attached to outcomes of your decisions. People have lots of opinions about things and are willing to share them with anyone who will listen. If we accept someone’s opinion and make a decision for ourselves based of that opinion, we have to live with the consequence of that decision, not them. Therefore, we have to choose wisely who we listen to and what we act on.
- They could have a different opinion next time. People’s opinion change as quickly as the weather or the season they’re in. Something they agree with one week may change the next week so we take to adhere to people’s opinions objectively and make intelligent choices.
- They don’t have the dreams or goals you have. We all have dreams and goals and they’re rarely the same dreams or goals as others. No one will place more emphasis or value on our dreams and goals than we will, so it makes sense to do things that are in the best interest of our dreams and goals.
- They won’t always be pleased. It has been said that no matter what we do, we’ll never please everyone. If we listen to someone else’s opinion and things don’t work out, chances are they won’t be pleased. Likewise, if we don’t listen to their opinion, they won’t be pleased anyway, therefore it’s better to follow what we think is in our best interest.
It’s challenging to accept we shouldn’t care about other people’s opinions, especially if we’re in environments where listening to the opinions of others is common practice. While we should never be rude and allow people to have their say, where appropriate, in the end, we should always do what we think will be best for us and for those who are important to us in life. Caring less about what others think can be extremely freeing.
Action Step: Reflect on times where you may have allowed others to influence or decide something important for you in life. What were your reasons for allowing it? What were the consequences of that experience? What will you do differently next time or what have you done differently as a result of that experience?
Question: What is another reason why what others think should not matter to us?