Living Beyond Other Peoples’ Opinions – Day 77 of 365 Days to a Better You

Living beyond other peoples’ opinions.

Today’s Thought

Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance.
~Plato

April and I were listening to Rachel Hollis this morning. She says something repeatedly throughout her work that I really like. It’s something to the effect that other people don’t get to choose the life you live.

As long as you can remember, you had to deal with other peoples’ of you, what you do, and who you are. The mistake you may have made early on is believing their opinions. Maybe they had a position of authority, they were your friend, your spouse, or someone you really admired.

The fact of the matter is there’s only one opinion, ultimately, that matters in your life. There’s only one opinion that propel you or stop you in your tracks. That’s your opinion.

Now, you may have a low opinion of yourself in a given situation or endeavor. That’s content for another blog. Right now, we’re focused on all those other opinions that stream into your life, often without invitation. Who should you listen to and who should you ignore?

Let’s start with this. An opinion that limits you or squashes your potential, no matter how much you love or respect the person offering it, needs to be ejected from your life now. That opinion is not moving you forward.

I’m not talking about ignoring sound advice like don’t, “Don’t drive on the wrong side of the road.” I’m talking about opinions like:

  • “Oh, you don’t want to write a book. No one will ever buy it.”
  • “He’s the best you’ll ever do. You better hang on to him no matter how he treats you.”
  • “You can’t run a successful business. I never could.”
  • “Why do you need a Master’s Degree? I did fine without it.”

Power hack: When someone is audacious enough to tell you that you never can or never should follow your dream, I want you to apply this standard. Does that person have the life you want? Have they achieved what you dream of achieving?

You see, most people who spend their lives shooting down other peoples’ dreams and naysaying are bitter because they never had the courage to go after theirs. Or maybe they did, and it didn’t work out for them. That’s sad, but it’s no reason to squash your enthusiasm and determination for yours.

If your critic lacks the credentials to advise you or obviously is not coming from a supportive place, ignore the opinion. It’s of no value to you. Find those people who do support you and, damn it, support yourself! Every great achievement in human history happened, despite all the opinions about it not because of them.

You will never be free of opinions flowing into your life, but you can free yourself from their negative effect and get on with the business of following your bliss!

You – yeah you – you’re AWESOME!

Ray

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Dreaded WWOPT Disease Paralyzes – The Affirmation Spot for Friday July 18, 2008

 

We hear a lot about diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, and even hypothetical epidemics like bird flu. Because of their impact and ubiquity, these conditions deserve the attention they receive.

However, there is a condition that afflicts more people than all of these diseases combined.  In fact, it’s very likely you will be impacted by this condition, or its side effects, several times today. It can stop your life cold.

Symptoms include sweaty palms, a racing heart, self-consciousness, stress, headaches, and life paralysis. This condition affects poor and rich, famous and obscure, young and old. No one is immune.

It has prevented more great thoughts, limited more potential, destroyed more possibilities than anything on the planet. The condition is “What Will Other People Think (WWOPT)?”

Perhaps because our society is so enamored with popularity and status, many of us are deathly afraid to do anything that might be seen as being “out there”. We prefer to stay safely in the herd. Thinking the herd’s thoughts. Following the herd’s lead. Parroting the herd’s conventional (and usually disempowering) wisdom.

This is one of those instances of a positive attribute being turned against you. Humans are social creatures. Most of us have a strong need to be part of a group. These instincts help us cooperate and collaborate to get things done.

That attribute must be balanced, though, by empowered selfhood that can break from the group and create something unique and special – something all your own. That’s one of the main reasons you are here – to contribute your uniqueness to the universe.

When that process is short-circuited by WWOPT we become paralyzed in our lives.

  • “That dress is a little crazy and I like it, but WWOPT?”
  • “I don’t agree with the politcal mainstream, but I can’t express it because WWOPT?”
  • “I want to wear a bathing suit at the beach, but my body’s not perfect and WWOPT?”
  • “I want to be a romance author, but WWOPT?”
  • “I’m not happy in my spiritual life, but I can’t change because WWOPT?”
  • “My wife and I want to sell our possessions, buy a mobile home, and travel America, but WWOPT?”

The mass media uses this instinct against you to create a kind of subconscious servitude to what’s trendy, acceptable, and popular. It really is a form of not-so-subtle mind control. It establishes boudaries of what is acceptable and what is not (at least in your mind). It’s very powerful and gets more so every time you fail to establish a powerful selfhood as a counterbalance.

It seems OK because almost everyone you know is also stuck in WWOPT. We often provide negative encouragement by using WWOPT to convince our friends to stay where they are (where we are) – comfortable and uninspired.

Here’s what you can do to treat WWOPT. Sometime today – I can almost guarantee it – you’re going to have a thought or an idea that brings you momentary satisfaction at the thought of pursuing it.

If you’re afflicted with WWOPT, your self-talk is going to shoot down your idea. It’s going to tell you all the reasons that would never work and it’s going to employ WWOPT as its closing argument in squashing your dream. Or, maybe the idea survives your self-talk long enough to be shared with a friend who dismisses it as “crazy talk”.

You could feel stupid for even thinking such a thing. You know the drill because you’ve done it a hundred, a thousand times before. You chastise yourself. You feel your happiness drain away as your dream dies…the victim of WWOPT.

Or instead, as soon as this happens, and every time it does from now on, you can choose a different path. You can shout (not literally unless you want to because you’re no longer worried by WWOPT), “I have a right to be me and to think for myself! I am choosing to pursue my dreams!” Say it to yourself two or three times, if that’s what it takes.

Put your internal and external naysayers on notice that you are not going to be stopped by WWOPT anymore. Once you break through that fearful barrier, you will see it was nothing but smoke and mirrors.

You’re going to explore what it means to be you, to think like you, and to act like you. That’s what you’re here to do, my friend. Success comes not to those who wait with the herd, but to those who step out on their own and create something different.

Oddly enough, the herd really loves to follow someone like that. :o)

Stay inspired!

Ray


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