Almost Fearless

The Ultimate Guide To Not Caring and Being Awesome

Today’s guest post is from Diggy at Upgrade Reality where he talks about self improvement and personal growth. I had to post this guide, because it gave me a chuckle, especially in the context of long-term travel… if you do care what other people think, you’ll suffer immeasurably. There’s nothing more humbling than travel and while from the outside it may seem like we’re all free-wheeling adventurers, there is an inherent process to getting there. Not caring and being awesome is a learned skill. Now on to the awesomeness…

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Guest Post, awesome, travel advice,

Are you one of those people who really cares what other people think of them to such a degree that it influences almost every decision you make?

I have met some people who based every decision they made on trying to get other people to like them. They would buy fashionable brand-name clothes because it was trendy and should impress others. They would live in an expensive apartment because it should impress people. They would drive an expensive car because it should impress people. They would smoke because it was cool.

Caring vs Not Caring

Let’s take an example of two guys:

Guy A does everything with the sole intention to try to impress people. He drives an expensive car to look cool, wears expensive clothes to be classy, buys people drinks to look generous, smokes to look cool, tells stories about all his cool (and fake) adventures.

Guy B doesn’t care much what people think about him. He has his own mission and his own likes and dislikes. If he doesn’t like something he won’t do it or he will simply say no. He is one of those guys who may just show up at a black tie event in shorts and sandals because he was in the area and wanted to see his friends. He will go and dance on an empty dancefloor in a busy club because his favorite song is on and he doesn’t want to wait for others to start dancing before he can have fun. He will be the first one to open his mouth when something isn’t right while other people just wait in line and don’t say anything.

While guy A may initially seem cool, he is fake. Nothing about him is real. Once people discover this about him, they will likely lose respect for him very quickly and all his efforts of trying to impress people actually lead to people disliking him. There is nothing likable about people who are deceptive and unauthentic.

The chances for people to like the guy B are actually pretty high, although he totally doesn’t set out to be liked by people. He is happy with who he is, he has boundaries and he sticks to his principles. Sometimes he may be perceived as a bit of a social idiot with no manners (like showing up at a black tie event in shorts and sandals) and there are people that will not like him for that. However, many people will actually like him and respect him for having such a strong identity and for having his own boundaries because it is something that many other people do not have. He is real and will not sell himself out just to impress other people.

how to be cool

This is a cool little graph that shows the effect of caring what people think about you on how people actually think of you. The more you care what people think of you, the less likely you are perceived to be a cool person. The less you care what people think of you and the more you do your own thing and have a strong sense of your own identity, the more people will think you are totally awesome.

Who do you want to be like? The person who bases every decision on trying to impress others or the person who is on their own mission and happy with who they are?

Not Caring vs Being Stupid

arrestedThere is a big difference between not caring and being stupid. The reason why I am telling you this is because I don’t want you to read this article and think “Hey, Diggy says I shouldn’t care what people think” and then go up to the first police officer you see and start swearing at him and calling him a fat doughnut-eating pig. That is not the idea behind not caring what other people think, that is being plain stupid because it WILL get you arrested.

Not caring about what people think means not basing your decisions on what people will think of you.

You do something because it is what YOU want to do, or it is a part of your goals or mission. If you are in a great mood and feel like doing a cartwheel on the street then just do it. If you think an outfit looks really nice, don’t worry about if others will like it or not. If you have something you want to share with the world, don’t be too scared to stand up and tell people about it just because it is possible that they will laugh at you.

I think that by now you understand what I am trying to say.

self improvement

How To Not Care

Okay, this is what you have been waiting for the entire article: How to not care what other people think of you.

It is one thing so say “Ahh, I don’t really care what people think”, but it is another story to actually not care what other people think. How do you go about adopting the habit of not being affected by how other people will think of you (especially when you have conditioned yourself for years to base your actions on impressing people)?

First, it is going to take time.

You will not be able to change yourself overnight, and probably not within a week either. It is going to to take you conscious effort for a few weeks or even a few months before you can really and truly not care about what others think of you or your actions.

People don’t like you because of what you buy and what you have, they like you for who you are and what you are. (There are unfortunately always people who will pretend to be your friend for their own personal gain. These are not the kind of people who you want to like you anyways). This is something I am telling you from experience, and even though you may take what I say to heart, you will still have to realize it for yourself. I cannot do that for you.

Secondly, you are going to feel awkward.

The only way to really not care about what people think means you have to start doing what you want in the situations where you normally change your behavior to impress other people. Initially this is going to feel awkward to you. You might feel humiliated, stupid or embarrased. It doesn’t matter, it’s part of the process and it won’t kill you.

I used to be the guy who cared a lot about what other people thought. I used to want gadgets, clothes and cars to impress people. I used to think if I just went along with other people I would fit in and they would like me. It took me a good 3 years to get to my current stage where I care little about what other people think of how I live my life.

approach anxiety

Where it started for me is being really shy to approach attractive girls. I would be scared to go over and talk to her because of what she might think of me. And if she didn’t want to talk to me I would be scared to be humiliated in front of other people. Like I said, it took me a long time to change my thought process and not care anymore what people think about me. The only way to change it was lots of experiences, forcing myself to go up to attractive girls and just saying the first thing that came to mind (which was often something ridiculously stupid).

It took me a long time to realize that it doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter what people think of you when you do something. It doesn’t matter if you do something cool or something stupid. Most people don’t even know you and will never see you again. So what if you do something stupid and people around you think that you are a moron for a few hours. They probably won’t even pay attention to you for more than a few minutes.

Do you remember someone who made a complete fool out of themselves last week, or last month, or last year? Maybe you can think of one or two people, but other than that you probably can’t, even though there were hundreds of people around you who felt that they did something stupid or who felt embarrassed about what other people would think about them.

Parting Words

The most clear and simple instruction that I can teach you how not to care about what people think of you is this:

Whenever you do something ask yourself “Am I doing this to impress other people and because I hope to be liked by others, or am I doing this for myself?”

If the HONEST answer to the above question is that you are doing something to impress others and you wouldn’t really do it otherwise, then don’t do it. Do things because they are part of your mission, your goal or because they amuse you.

Remember, it doesn’t matter what the people in the restaurant think of you, or what the group of girls at the club think of you, or what the people who view your Youtube videos think of you.

What matters is that you are true to yourself. Be true to yourself or you ain’t true to nobody!

Diggy writes all about self improvement and personal growth. He wants to inspire and motivate as many people as possible to live their lives to the fullest and to be their best selves. Spread the word or subscribe to his blog via RSS or Email

Christine Gilbert

Iโ€™ve been dragging my husband around the world since 2008 always with the promise that, โ€œYes, Drew there will definitely be hammocks there.โ€

THERE ARE RARELY HAMMOCKS.

http://christinegilbert.com

51 comments

  • Entertaining read and a good message. There’s a bit of human instinct to be liked in us all. I think the mold you’re suggesting we break out of, Guy A, is an extremely common first world/American construct.

    Thanks for the post!
    .-= Keith´s last blog ..State of the Savage: February =-.

  • This is good advice, and especially relevant to those of us who are traveling. There have been countless times that differences in cuture or my attempts to interact in a language I don’t speak well have resulted in my making a fool of myself. Learning to not get hung up on these moments and keep putting yourself out there is difficult but so important. Great article!

  • Diggy makes an important point on what acquaintances think of you vs your closest mates. Big diff. I found the ones who judge are generally people who shouldn’t be in my inner circle, but ended up there. Whoops, back you go. When it comes to travel, I refrain from taking anything personally or worrying about my language/food ordering competence. It’s pretty obvious I ain’t from there! Nice guest post! In truth, we all ooze awesomeness.
    .-= Nomadic Chick´s last blog ..Gypsy Wednesday โ€“ Passion Board =-.

  • great advice – it doesn’t matter what the [insert person here] thinks of you. Do what you want (within reason). Anyone doing something different than what’s generally expected, like extended travel, has dealt with this, or else they wouldn’t continue to do it. Do what you feel is best for you, and to hell with the rest of it. It’s harder to try to fit into a mold than to simply be yourself. This also includes trying so hard not to be the foreigner that you never go out and experience the new culture. How else are you going to learn unless you look like a little bit of a fool?
    .-= Anda´s last blog ..Currency Exchanges =-.

  • I have to say that I lived for the longest time this way and I am just now starting to get better. Living a life worrying all the time about what people think about you keeps you from truly living. If you do it long enough you can loose yourself. It has taken months and I am just now starting to think more about what I want and need. Great Post!

  • Good advice!! I think that part of being able to get to this point is age/maturity. Of course the sooner you can learn to not care what others think the better. I’ve had a lot of moments in the last year and a half that I’ve had to ask myself ‘why’ I’m doing something. My experiences have to do with motherhood and some of the deciisions we’ve made so far…..cloth diapers, delaying some vaccinations, planning on skipping pre-school and homeschooling and now considering a nomadic(ish) lifestyle. This month I had to really examine why I felt like I had to throw my daughter a party for her 2nd birthday when I didn’t want to and she doesn’t know the difference. Turns out I felt like it was something I had to do because “everyone does it” and people might think I’m a horrid mom…..Hmmm….ya. I’m working on not caring more.

  • Thank you for all the kind and awesome comments everyone ๐Ÿ™‚

    @Laura yes when travelling it is very easy to feel stupid and embarrased because you do not understand the foreign language or culture which is strange because you absolutely don’t know anyone so it shouldn’t matter what they think of you.

    @Nomadic Chick I agree, often we are so worried about what complete strangers think of us while we don’t even have feelings for them or don’t care about them. Usually our friends will support our decisions even if they are strange or goofy.

    @Anda I think that is something they should teach at schools, how to be unique, how to be yourself and be proud of who you are. You should not hide yourself to blend in with the expectation.

    @Jeff I agree, it has taken me a long time too but it actually feels so much better when you don’t care about what other people think of you. There is so little pressure to meet expectations so you are free to be more creative.

    @Bethany Thank you!

    @Tina It definitely has to do with age and maturity! I am happy to hear that you are figuring it out too. What is the point in doing things we dont wanna do just because everyone else does it? That is not standing out, that is blending in
    .-= Diggy´s last blog ..A**holes โ€“ The Menace of Society =-.

  • awesome post diggy. this should make up for those lost subscribers for sure! very funny and true at the same point. a lot of times it’s just not worth giving a damn. you’re much more attractive and have a much more magnetic personality if you let 99% of things slide.
    .-= Constantin´s last blog ..Conquer Social Pressure:Build Confidence By Being Alone =-.

  • Funny post! Actually, we were just talking about this phenomena day before yesterday; we met this guy in Australia who was traveling round the world in 100 days and stayed about a week (or less) in each country. We couldn’t understand why he would travel like that until we decided that he was just trying to impress people rather than enjoy his trip.
    .-= Akila´s last blog ..sukhothai in sepia =-.

  • Sorry to be negative, but I live in a popular holiday resort and see a lot of tourists here who “don’t care” and frankly, they are embarrassing. They abuse the hospitality of their friends and the local people and shrug it off with a devil-may-care attitude. I can understand the temptation to say “that’s just who I am” but they take away much less from their time here than they would if they took the time to find out how to fit in. Being accepted has it’s benefits.

    I guess to try to put it into perspective using your article: Not caring about the black tie event sounds quite cool – but someone put the effort into making an excuse for his friends and family to dress up and looking beautiful. You may hate suits, he may hate jeans, but he didn’t plan his extravaganza to put down your jeans, he planned it to make someone feel special. Showing up in shorts says his point of view doesn’t matter, only yours. That’s a pretty strong statement.

    I care about the people around me and that includes caring what they think of my actions. I may not always do what other people would like me to do, but I’ve taken the effect upon them into account.

    I understand your point was not to do things simply to impress people, which is not quite the same thing as not caring. Even so, personally, I’m pleased for those visitors who do take the time to learn the local language before arriving, just to impress the people they come into contact with during their trip. The waiter speaks fluent English but he’s impressed at the people who at least try … is it such a bad thing? Should the visitors just shout louder? “I don’t speak Spanish,” with a shrug, “I’m terrible with languages.” Not trying to impress anyone, but is that better? I’m not convinced.

    Maybe I’m just getting old…
    .-= Sylvia´s last blog ..Austin Pilot Suicide: Joe Stack =-.

  • I have to agree. There’s nothing more than I hate than people being fake to please other people.
    .-= Carolina´s last blog ..The International Spice of Montreal =-.

  • “What matters is that you are true to yourself. Be true to yourself or you ainโ€™t true to nobody!!” An awesome conclusion to an awesome guest post!

  • It would be hard enjoying living in a foreign country if you really cared about what people think. I find ways to accidentally make a fool of myself daily here in Croatia. And I wouldn’t have made any friends if I was too scared to put my neck out there. I still get embarrassed when I do something that gets an odd look from someone, but at least the feeling is short lived.
    .-= Pond Jumpers: Croatia´s last blog ..Olympic World T-shirt โ€“ Only 24 Hours! =-.

  • Awesome post! In my opinion only if you really stop caring what other people think about you, you’ll be able to be 100% yourself. But the really important thing is that “not caring” shouldn’t mean “not respecting other people” as Sylvia wrote.

  • I really enjoyed reading this post.
    You can see straight through someone who fakes it, and it’s just so unattractive.
    Like you said, the one who really doesn’t care will actually be more liked. He will immediately gain respect, even from those who don’t like him.
    .-= Sofia – As We Travel´s last blog ..NZ Road Trip โ€“ Day 7: Wellington โ€“ Kapiti Coast โ€“ Eltham: 320kms =-.

  • If only the whole world lived this way ๐Ÿ™‚ We’d all have so much more fun! Glad to know there are others out there. Great post and great feedback! Good to know that there are still boys out there who aren’t afraid to be themselves. So many guys these days are all about looking cool, and it’s way unattractive. Act a fool boys! Guys who are themselves are 100 times more attractive than guys who act too cool for school. It’s the old comedian with a supermodel trick. Guys with good personalities, get the good chicks!

  • I typically wouldn’t comment on a post like this, although I’d read it. I feel this type of post bridges practical advice and emotional advice that will effect your practical decisions, and for that I really enjoyed it. Approaching life as an individual and paying attention to a “caring level” of what others thing is sadly something most people have to learn. Some uniquely grow up just not noticing or caring, but most have to struggle through it.

    This post rocked, a practical guide to a very internal monologue type of conversation. People need to hear this type of talk, bravo for expanding it’s scope.
    .-= Robert´s last blog ..Helping Alan โ€“ Mac Tools and Tech for Freelancers =-.

  • Great article but it is worth thinking about the fact that it is the subconscious, the part of the brain we cannot control, that is responsible for how we act with regards to what people think about us and not the conscious, the bit we do control, part of the brain. So the real trick is to get the subconscious playing ball.
    .-= Jonny | thelifething.com´s last blog ..Writing The Perfect Blog Post: Heart, Skeleton, Flesh, Skin and Polish Your Elephant =-.

  • I think it takes longer than a few weeks or even a few months for some people, myself included. There is a part of most people that wants to be accepted and liked by the group to be able to fit in. Back to ancient times, being an outcast was dangerous because you needed the protection of a group to survive.

    In this modern world, this does not apply anymore, but the inborn want to ‘fit in’ still exists. Just keep taking steps everyday to get beyond this and it will reap benefits. The biggest way to be unhappy is trying to please everyone. Truer words have never been spoken!
    .-= brian´s last blog ..Best Travel News and Deals – February 23, 2010 – Amazing Race Alternative, Avoiding Travel Scams, Stories From Around the Globe, The Ugly American =-.

  • Quite a lot of interesting responses here. I would like to think that by now I pretty much do what I want to and not just because of what another might expect. Yet, there is still and most likely will always be a little part that appreciates approval. I don’t know anyone who is all one way or all the other.
    .-= Arlene´s last blog ..Fire and Ice =-.

  • I get what you’re saying about being yourself, but balance is extremely important. Too much conformity makes you a drone; too much individualism makes you narcissistic and, frankly, retards your growth.

    When traveling in some very conservative rural areas in Mexico, I dressed more conservatively than I do at home, and made friends with everyone, thus massively expanding my personal boundaries. They accepted me as different but respectful, and we got into wonderful conversations about all sorts of subjects. It was embarrassing to watch Americans walking around in shorts and tank tops, speaking English, and wondering why people got offended. It was more than just rude; it was a way of demanding that the locals conform to them!

    So I hear what you’re saying about avoiding shallowness – boy, is that crucial! – but we have to balance it with other people’s realities as well.

    Interesting blog; keep on writing! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Fantastic blog!
    I’m actually in this ‘process’, and a lot of things you write sound familiar. Have some fall-backs from time to time, but i know i have to keep working on it. Reading this blog really motivated me more!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks!

  • In lyrics from a Baptist Generals song (‘Unimaginative’):
    your heart’s a little pebble / that you could never throw / that you could never know / to see wherever it lands.

    I think about that song sometimes when I’m feeling blue, I interpret the lyrics to have a meaning that deals closely with what i read in this article. it inspires me to go out and do things that overcome my anxieties (ie: conversation with a stranger or just being social) and it helps me get out of my funk.

  • OK, even though I was reading comfortably along about TRAVEL, that was a fine article about being myself. I try. I’m too old to worry about that s**t anyway but even if I did and some people my age still do, it won’t make me more popular. Or less…
    .-= TerryDarc´s last blog ..Namibian Photo Gallery =-.

  • Hi Diggy,
    great post!
    As Tina said, most of the things are part of age/maturity process (like talking to girlz and be less influenced by the others).
    Second, I have a remark about the first part of the post (Caring vs not caring)… looks like not caring is a way to be awesome, which is another way of impress people… I think the goal as you said at the end is to be yourself and not to be awesome ๐Ÿ™‚

    Being awesome will hopefully be a consequence, as well as being weird in some people eyes ๐Ÿ˜€

    Thanks!
    Daniele
    .-= Daniele´s last blog ..Hosting a stranger/Ospitare uno sconosciuto =-.

  • Great article, although anyone who wakes up with the intention of ‘being awesome’ is surely doomed.

    I take it that we should not confuse ourselves and pretend we don’t care when we clearly do. That would be fake – and anyway – ‘being awkward’ can be an endearing quality.

    The key is that caring shouldn’t impede moving forward.

    I totally agree with the authors call for action and the need to embrace ‘the process’ but I have yet to implement it fully.

  • Awesome post and very helpful.One of the best articles I ever came across.I am on my way to be like guy B.

  • people who dont care are trying to impress and be cool. its about a balance. they think.. i will do this cause it seems like i dont care.. which is actually caring about how you look.

  • for example.. someone who buys wacky clothes will do it because “they dont care what people think”.. this is rubbish because they buy the clothes to stand out and for people to see them and form an opinion about them. everyone is trying to get there message across and people who “dont care” generally are the ones who try to stand out the most and be seen as “cool”

  • Awesome post. I enjoyed reading it a lot and it gave me a lot of encouragement. I feel I’ve always or already had this perspective consciously inherent, but subconsciously forget about it and fall into inhibitive decisions and behaviors… so it’s good to actually read someone else expressing the same thing as to strengthen the perspective.

    Anyway thanks again!

  • Welllll … Diggy is right if you live in a bubble. But actually, there are times when you need to care what other people think. Times when you should be considerate, times when you are being judged by those you work with and must lead, times when you must adhere to the norm to accomplish your job. It is OK to make a positive impression as long as you are not sniffing after someone or seeking self agrandisement. Consideration and senitivity towards others includes not offending people by wearing shorts at a black tie event, and consideration is never out of style.

  • totally agree with u , and old saying says that in 20th’s u think people talk about us and u care
    over 40 u don’t care any more
    but when u r 60 u realise that no one has talked about u in the 1th place

  • Awesome is an overly-used word in American society. You are being “awesome”…? Really? You are inspiring awe in other people like Caesar parading through the streets of a city he just conquered with legions of Roman soldiers in glittering armor marching in lockstep behind him and the crest of the golden eagle flying triumphantly above his head? You are being THAT awesome? No. No you are not. You are mis-using the word “awesome”. To quote Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride: “That word you keep using… I do not think it means what you think it means…”

    “Amazing” is another misused word. “That appletini is AMAZING!” Really? It AMAZES you? Like watching an astronaut step on the moon for the first time or seeing a volcano erupt in front of you?

    Misused words make my brain hurt and my heart sad.

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