It seems as if no matter where you live in the world there are plenty of things to worry about. I suppose many of those things are worth worrying about. Many of the things we worry about however are not worth the worry and stress we put into them.
One of the things that many people worry about that they shouldn’t is other people’s opinion of them. Don’t get me wrong, there are people who’s opinion matters to me… a lot. There’s just not very many of them. Not very many at all.
Popeye said “I am what I am and that’s all that I am.” I’m like Popeye, (except for the spinach part) I am what I am. I’m pretty comfortable with that. I’m also comfortable with the fact that there are people who won’t like that. That’s their concern not mine.
If you’re like me there are lots of areas of your life you could improve. You could be a better spouse, a better parent, a better friend, a better leader. Those are areas where change is required in order for improvement to take place. But I won’t change my beliefs or sacrifice my principles to try and be something or someone that more people might like. I’d gladly accept the respect of a handful of people over the “likes” of a roomful.
You can’t control other people’s opinions of you without giving up at least part of what makes you the person you are. So don’t waste time trying. Simply be the very best version of you that you can be.
I do not believe it’s possible to experience true success when you’re trying to be what other people want you to be. Get used to the fact that there will be people who do not like the genuine version of you. It is far far far more important that YOU like the genuine version of you. If you’re okay with you then the people who are supposed to matter in your life will be okay with you too.
Stress and worry will creep into your life, there is just too much happening today to block worry completely out of your life. But do not fuel your worry fire by adding the opinions of people who don’t know you, don’t really care about you and don’t respect you to the gas can.
I’ve always liked the Bobby McFerrin song “Don’t Worry be Happy” but if you really want to be happy just be you!
I was in Boston earlier this year to give a Leadership Presentation. At some point during the talk I said that “every person on earth knows something that you don’t.” My point was that if we keep an open mind we can learn something from everyone we meet.
The next day I hopped in a cab for the short ride from Back Bay to Logan Airport. We were just a couple of blocks from my hotel when a car cut in front of us and my cab driver was forced to hit the brakes a little hard.
He laughed a bit as he apologized and said that in his city there were many important people who were always in a hurry. He didn’t seem the least bit angry or frustrated by an occurrence that must happen frequently.
I couldn’t place his accent but I could tell for sure that he wasn’t a native Bostonian; he probably wasn’t born in the U.S. either. But he had a wonderful sense about him; you could just tell he loved driving a cab and he loved the City of Boston.
I asked him how long he had been driving a cab and he said “a very long time.” He had “completed” school and held several jobs before this one but he really loved this one because he learned more driving a cab than “in all his years of school.”
He said his cab was like a classroom where he could study people. Over the years he had seen wealthy people who were never happy, happy people who would never be wealthy and poor people who were just happy to be alive.
He said “when you put them all in a pot together you learn that real happiness ain’t nothing more than a choice.” He says a prayer each day before he gets in his cab; he asks for wisdom to remember “his lessons” and for patience when the people around him don’t remember theirs.
He was an absolutely fascinating person to talk with. I had no idea when I got into that cab that a life lesson was waiting for me. It really is true, when you keep an open mind you can learn something from virtually anyone.
That also means you can learn something new almost every single day. With that in mind, what have you learned today?
On Thursday, November 28, the United States celebrates the National Holiday of Thanksgiving. It’s the one day during the year where we officially stop to reflect and give thanks for all that we have.
One day. That unfortunately is a stretch for some folks. Those are the people who struggle to see the good in anything. If they won the lottery they may very well complain about the taxes they are expected to pay. They just don’t appear to be very happy people.
On the other hand, there are people for whom one day a year isn’t nearly enough. They are incredibly thankful people. They see the good in almost any situation. They are the same people who look at a tremendous challenge and see only opportunity. They just appear to be happy people.
Think about that for a moment.
People who struggle to be thankful also seem to struggle to be happy. Thankful people are happy people. I don’t know if you must be happy to be thankful or you must be thankful to be happy but it really doesn’t matter. It appears that happiness and thankfulness go hand in hand.
As you come to the end of 2013 and look forward towards 2014 take or make the time to seriously reflect on what you’ve accomplished. Think about the challenges you’ve overcome and the rewards you’ve received. Focus on what you have NOW, and not on what you wish you had. Reflect on the mere fact that you have the tools required to read this likely makes you one of the wealthiest people in the world. You’re blessed, if you haven’t taken the time to realize that then realize it now.
You’ll never be happier than YOU allow yourself to be. In this, the most wonderful time of the year decide to be incredibly happy, every minute of the day.