One of the truest things about human nature is that we’re social creatures. We’re usually born with a strong desire to be liked by those around us and what other people think is a big part of how we defined ourselves. It’s a part of our biology. In the early days of the species, being alone was as good as being dead. Acceptance from a social group helped to assure our safety and survival.
Fortunately, things have changed. It’s easier to survive on our own and find different social groups to connect with. We don’t face the same harsh conditions our ancestors did and that gives us a chance to grow past our basic programming.
Our goals are focused beyond just surviving. We now have the resources and capabilities to thrive in this world. Even though the game has changed, it’s difficult to stop seeking the approval of other people. But there are several compelling reasons to free yourself from the mental bondage of what other people think.
It Represses Your Own Voice
Trying to fit in is tough because we have our own desires that don’t always go along with the group. The little voice you have inside is the creative spirit that’s going to define your success. When you’re looking for approval, it’s too easy to silence that piece of you. If you’re too preoccupied with that, it almost starts to feel like a kind of mental slavery—you’re trapped in the pressure of living up to what other people think. As goal-getting millennials, we can’t afford to get stuck here. If you want to feel free in pursuing your success, you have to let this go.
It Clouds Your Judgment
How many times have you ignored a gut feeling because of other people? You can’t rely on other people to make the key decisions. Sometimes only you know what’s right for the moment and you have to pursue it to achieve your dreams. You don’t need the approval of other people to make the choice that works for you.
It Holds You Back
When you’re worrying what other people think, you can’t act fast enough to seize those rare chances. The fear of backlash from friends or family can keep us from pulling the trigger on a critical opportunity. In order to create success, you must keep moving forward. You can’t second guess important decisions because of outside opinions.
Conventional Wisdom Isn’t Always Wise
We’ve relied on the wisdom of those around us our whole lives. Some of that advice is timeless. But a lot of it is based on outdated ideas. For a long time, conventional wisdom said that all the celestial bodies revolved around Earth. Generations believed getting to the moon was impossible but now we’re studying rocks from it in labs every day. Most people think it’s acceptable to accumulate debt. People all agreeing on something doesn’t necessarily make it true. The ability to make your own opinions on things is key—even when it defies traditional understanding.
While what other people think was likely a huge part of how you were raised, we know that life isn’t a popularity contest. There’s no way to please everyone. Success often comes when you decide to achieve your own goals and not from trying to make everyone happy. Your dreams are yours; you are free to achieve them.