Yeah, you know me!
You down with O.P.P?
Yeah, you know me!
All of us have come face to face with family & friends who do not agree with, and quite often do not understand, what we are doing and what we are about. They are sure what you are doing is wrong and you will only wind up hurting yourself, others, and (even worse) them! Breaking through your defenses with knowing smiles and furrowed brows, they hide behind their super-friend guise of concern and offer up an unending stream of advice. When this fails to talk sense into you, their “friendly” advice becomes more pronounced… aggressive… sometimes, even threatening.
How can you be so blind?!
Can’t you see what you’re doing—how you’re hurting yourself and everyone around you?
How can you be so selfish?!
Sound familiar? It does to me—even the “bastard” part. (Okay, maybe I’m paraphrasing… taking poetic license and being a tad overdramatic. But, that’s how it sounds in my head.) All the high dramatics aside, I’m here to tell you…
“It’s none of your business what other people think of you.”
(In “quotation marks” because many others have said this before—“I stand on the shoulders of giants.”)
It is human nature to want to keep the status quo. Home & office, friends & family—there is a hierarchy, a pecking order if you will that most people strive to keep. Office politics and corporate hierarchy often dictate that their denizens jockey for position like nobility at court. The same can be said of your friend and family social structures. No matter where you are in life, each group you come in contact with has its Alpha, its Beta, and even its Psi & Omega.
Then you come along….
With your highfalutin ideas about changing your life for the better. It’s not “good.” It’s not “normal.” Others certainly don’t want you altering things… especially if this means they’ll be moving down a few rungs on the social ladder.
Is this true?
Am I telling you this so you can be pissed off at the injustice of it all?
Mostly I’m telling you so you will understand why it happens, recognize it when it happens. It doesn’t affect you. At least, it doesn’t have to. Why? Because you see it coming and you can steel your self-esteem against the onslaught of their crippling barbs & jeers?
No. Well… some, but mostly no.
It doesn’t affect you because…
“It’s none of your business what other people think of you.” Still.
There is a story I’ve heard about crabs in a bucket. It seems you only have to put a lid over the bucket when you have caught only the first one. After that, when you have more crabs in the bucket, they do all the work. Even though safety, freedom, and a much longer lifespan reside on the outside, the remaining crabs pull the would-be escapee back down to their level.
To the bucket.
To their doom.
It is human nature to do the same thing…mostly without the impending doom. Mostly. You see, this behavior has spelled the death of many a dream. Pull them down enough and creative types will finally come to their senses, leaving go of an inspiration that “probably” wouldn’t go anywhere anyway. A crushed spirit can lead to a safe & secure J-O-B.
Remember, others forcing their Perceptions and Opinions on you = Peer Pressure. This was a big pain in the butt during high school & college. It’s time to begin growing past this now.
Are people actually holding you back? Physically? Really?! Or could it be that you value their opinions over yours? You’re worried about what other people might think, so you buckle under the perceived “pressure.” You hold your tongue instead of offering your brilliant suggestion at the board meeting. One week later, you watch Johnston submitting your idea, receiving all the praise.
That idea-stealing, dream-crushing glory thief.
He kept you back. He held you down. When you shared your idea with him he physically… did nothing. Other than physically open his mouth, suggesting your idea “outlandish.” You did the rest. Worried about what your coworkers might think, you kept your mouth shut.
You did it.
Instead of worrying about what anybody else thought, Johnston stuck his neck out and offered up your idea. Sure, he’s not going to win Team Player of the Year, but who cares?! He’s on his way up & out of the bucket and you’re not.
Next time you have another brilliant idea (don’t worry, you will; you have them all the time), speak up. Whether it’s about your job, some creative spark, or a dream you just can’t quit—make your move.
Don’t worry about what others think.
Why should you? They’re not worried about you. Not really.
People are too enmeshed in their own lead role to worry about your bit part in their life. Everybody’s got their own stuff going on. Their world, and opinion of you, is colored by that. It’s not personal. Remember, everyone is hip deep in their own sheep sugar and the smell is why they’re making that funny face—not you.
But, what if they’re right… and you’re not!?
Life is a game, meant to be played—an experiment where you try new things. Often you will fall flat on your face…and that’s okay—great even! This is how we learn how to do this thing called Life. As long as you’re not hurting yourself or others, muck things up a bit. Take chances. Ready, fire, then aim as you go. It’s okay—you’re doing fine!
Only you can decide what your life is about—what’s important, what’s not. At the end of the day, Y-O-U are responsible for your own experiences. That means you can make mistakes and….
You can fix them!
These are your lessons. You have to learn them, to go through “the fire” sometimes in order to Level Up Your Life. When it comes to your life, you are responsible—yours is the opinion that matters. I’m not going to tell you that everything will always work out the way you want. In fact, often, when you get what you want, it winds up not looking anything like you thought it might. Is this some cruel cosmic joke?
No. Maybe. Sure. Who cares!
Whatever happens, isn’t it better to follow your passion? To attempt even a few of your “crazy” ideas? Rather than suffer a life of “quiet desperation”? You might surprise yourself. You will fall flat on your face…a lot. But, that’s okay. That’s why you’re here. To run and fall and skin your knees… and create a great life for yourself.
So, what do you say?
You down with O.P.P.?
No way, not me!
You down with O.P.P.?
No way, not me!
You know what? Me neither.
“I took the road less traveled, and it has made all the difference.”
For more on this topic, check out the podcast >>TOSOL #55 – Down With O.P.P. (Other People’s Perceptions)? <<