“Care about what other people think, and you will always be their prisoner.” – Lao Tzu
Last year I went to a conference in NYC where the founder of Duolinguo was speaking. He explained how the US army, spend $50k to teach a soldier Arabic. That’s $50k for each soldier. They noticed that for the same amount of money, some soldier were learning the language while others were still not able to say a word in Arabic. To understand why, the army did a test, and they realized that the biggest predictor about whether you’re good at learning a language or not, is how comfortable you are, sounding stupid. If you’re comfortable and don’t care about how you sound, then you’ll be more likely to learn the language. The people that don’t care have no problem practicing whereas people that are not comfortable speaking the new language will not practice, hence why they don’t learn.
Whether you care about what people think of you or not, is a significant variable in your chance of success.
Trial and error
You have to do whatever needs to be done regardless of what people think of you. It’s through practice and repetition that you’ll improve and reach a level of mastery.
Whether you’re trying to learn a language, copywriting or even design, you have to show up to the world, take the hits and move forward. That’s the only way you’re going to learn and improve your work.
Caring about what people think will only stop you from trying and learning.
The fear of rejection
The reason we do not dare is we’re afraid of being rejected. We’re afraid to sound ridiculous if we try to speak another language.
If you want a chance to succeed, you have to expose yourself.
There is no alternative. You either chose to play it “safe” and not do anything that could lead you to be rejected or you decide to show up and take the risk.
If you’ve read my post on rejection, you should now that the only thing that can help you handle rejection is to experience it many times. It’s only after being repeatedly rejected, that you’ll become indifferent and be able to face anyone.
Doing is the only thing that we control, and that will make us grow.
Nobody knows better than you what you’re trying to achieve. It’s like having an itchy spot; you can’t ask someone else to scratch it.
Don’t let people interfere with your vision, they may not understand what you’re trying to achieve, or they might think you’re crazy.
One of Elon Musk’s friend made him watch a compilation of rocket failures. If he had listened to his friend, he would have quit SpaceX.
If you believe in what you’re trying to achieve, you shouldn’t listen to anyone. Not your friends, not your family, just listen to yourself.
You don’t want to shy away from your idea, only to regret it later.
What could go wrong?
We always worry about what people might think of us. But whatever they think, it shouldn’t affect our work and progress.
Of course, you can listen to people, maybe someone is just trying to help, but always do what you believe is right.
You can’t waste any energy on what they think. Focus on what you want to get done.