Worry Less and Live More
“There is nothing noble about being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self” Ernest Hemingway
Worry. It’s the absolute bane of our lives. Worrying about not being fun enough, cool enough, smart enough, happy enough. We worry throughout our lives that are not doing it right. As if there is a right and a wrong way to do and the people judging that is everyone you meet. Some people more than others but we all to some extent, worry about what people think of us. We all worry and depending on the day can depend how much and how much of your day is spent worrying then becomes something to worry about. Maybe our discontent comes from solely other peoples expectations of us. Big house. Nice car. Fancy clothes. The latest phone. If you’ve got all those then you are doing it right but if you don’t look good on Instagram then you are doing it wrong.
Worrying extends to our working lives. Worrying about how outspoken you were in a meeting, if you came across as bossy because you asked someone to do something, worrying about the presentation you’ve got and whether that will go right. Worry is everywhere. We all worry, to different degrees that’s for sure but we all do it. Sometimes we even worry that we aren’t worrying enough. Worrying, quite clearly can become quite a lot to handle if you are not careful.
So how do we not care? Well for that I consulted the biggest brain of them all… the internet.
The first thing that comes us is an article by Raj Raghunathan Ph.D. he’s got a doctorate so he must be smart. He says that embarrassment we feel is when we mistakenly step outside of the lines of the moral code. We feel embarrassed because we’ve gone against the grain and that leads us to feel shameful of our behaviour. He says the best bet to worry less is to flip from a self-centred approach to an ‘other-centred approach’. What he’s essentially saying is that if you focus you intentions on being kind and caring you will worry less. This is because you know that your intentions are from a good place and also other people will know that so they will be less judging of you.
He also says to develop empathy. By being able to say “they were in a bad mood today, so there was no way this was going to go particularly well and that’s okay” is a good thing. According to Raj being able to know that hurt people tend to hurt people is a skill because you can rationalise what’s happening and allow yourself not to worry about it.
Sean Kim says that the best way to not care about what people think is perspective. According to a study done by the National Science Foundation, people have 50,000 thoughts a day. Basic math says that people won’t be thinking about us that much. 50,000 thoughts a day, if they thought about us ten times thats 0.02% of their thoughts. In conclusion? You’re not that special. Contray to what we think, people actually don’t think about us that often. Think about how often you think of other people. I’ll bet it’s not even ten times a day… and why is that? Well, because everyone is too busy thinking about themselves. He also says that you can’t please most people. As people we are all different. One man’s pleasure is another man’s poison. So it’s not a bad thing to have people disagree with you. As social animals, it can be quite daunting to have someone disagree with you. That’s because we are a heard species and fear of getting outcast from the herd makes us conform. But we live in a different world than our ancestors, so Sean thinks you should speak up and have an opinion, chances are, no-one will really care anyway.
Here’s Sean’s recipe for not caring: know your values, put yourself out there, surround yourself with confident people and create a list of things you are scared of — tick them off one by one. Being aligned with your true values is empowering because once you know what you’re ‘stake in the ground is’ and why you have these deep held values, other peoples views become less destructive. As we go through live our values become more concreted and solidified but having a view of yours is important. Similar the point above, once you have your core values, express them. Go out and public speak, write an article, create a video… whatever. By putting yourself out there you are giving people the opportunity to judge and saying “it’s fine because I know my values.” The next bit Sean talks about is surrounding yourself with confident people. It’s no secret that we emulate the attitudes and the habits of the people around us. You feel less inclined to do something if all your mates are of the attitude that it’s better to just chill then do anything productive (which is totally fine by the way, if that’s how you roll). But the point here is that if you surround yourself with people that are hyper conscious of what other people think, a bit of that is likely to rub off on you. So Sean says to surround yourself with people that give less of a shit. And finally, the growth list. A list of things you are scared of. It’s quite funny that we’d be scared of doing anything really when we know we’re going to die one day. I mean it makes total sense of being scared of things that will increase the likelihood of dying but being scared of anything else makes little sense. Being scared of starting a YouTube channel or a business or a project is interesting because there is really nothing to lose. All of those things can be done on the side of whatever you do today until they become your full-time thing but being scared to start is total nonsense.
One way to ensure you start worrying less is Sean’s recipe above. 1. Know your values 2. Put yourself out there 3. Surround yourself with people that don’t give a flip.