Over the last few years I have started to care so much less than I used to and it has made me happier and more successful.
I’m not talking about becoming sociopathic and callous or deliberately setting out to hurt people, but it seems that so many people live in a state of anxiety due to at least mild forms of pathological altruism or codependency. It’s incredible how many people live their lives not for themselves and aligned with their own values and desires, but for others.
If you care less you:
- Are able to take risks and innovate without fear of failure.
- Can stand in front of people and lead them without crippling fear of failure or criticism (and in that situation I’ve learned that you will always receive some criticism).
- Can give constructive feedback without fear of upsetting someone.
- Can take feedback constructively.
- Can be yourself and follow your passions which ultimately makes you happier.
- Can simply say “no” to things, keeping your time free of pointless activities so you are more productive and maybe rested too.
- Can delegate more easily, again freeing time and allowing you to lead and innovate.
I know from looking around me that caring less about the opinions of others isn’t something that naturally comes with age as might be suspected and to me, although it could be called bravery, bravery is a vague concept which has cognitive processes behind it. Although there might be a correlation between getting older and caring less, it seems that people achieve this state at different ages and some not at all, suggesting that it can be learned. So what are the realisations that have allowed me to care less?
I’ve tried to analyse this and I am only speculating what changes in my beliefs have affected this change but I hope they can at least give you something to ponder.
- I realised that many peoples’ negative comments are born out of jealousy and subconsciously designed to prevent me achieving my goals; that is their problem, not mine.
- I realised that a lot of the time, the majority are wrong. Doing things that defy social norms are often not immoral or incorrect, they are the intelligent thing to do.
- I realised that when a person has made a negative comment about something that I have done or said, it simply hasn’t mattered. It is almost never worth worrying about.
- I have learned that having this attitude makes you stand out. For the reasons I have listed above, people who care less makes positive impacts and suddenly you are elevated from the crowd.
Once you realise these things and start caring less, it becomes a self reinforcing cycle as you realise that you are happier, achieving more and your fears were unfounded.
Have a think, is worrying about what people think about you paralysing your success and happiness? If the answer is yes, try to be mindful of this one thing for the next few days, think about the real risk/benefit of your actions in terms of what you want to do and how your fears of what others think are holding you back; maybe you can start that positive cycle.