It’s Not About You

What people think of you is none of your business.

It’s Not about You

What people think of you is none of your business.

As yet another example of everything for a reason, I am reading “The Last Lecture,” by Randy Pausch roughly 5 years after a friend recommend that I do so. A passage in the book I read last night happened to go perfectly with today’s topic that I had planned to cover. There’s no such thing as chance.

When I say reading I mean listening. I’m an audiobook fiend. Continually listening to books is one trick I’ve learned that both keeps me (mostly) sane and provides what I call ‘writer fuel.’

Part of being a writer is reading as much if not more than you write. It’s this whole thing and I decided that audiobooks count. As the boss of me I had the executive power to make that decision and execute it.

WTF does any of that have to do with anxiety recovery? Why would I tell you that? Well why are you reading this if you it’s making you grumpy and question everything? Exactly none of the answers to these questions matter, because it’s not about you. It’s not about me either.

The same woman who recommended this book, and many others that I bought and read several years after the fact, is the one who dropped this massive shower of truth sprinkles on me.

It’s not about you.

Those coworkers out in the hall going talking about something in a hushed tone right outside your office door — yep, not about you. What your mother and sister are discussing on a phone call right now that you’re not privy to — not about you. What your big boss and immediate supervisor discussed in a confidential meeting — not about you. The big wig who was impressed with your work 2 weeks ago and has been mum ever since — their silence is not about you.

And even if it is about you, it doesn’t matter. That’s because another part of it not being about you is that it’s none of your business what other people think of you. Let’s bring that full circle with a quote from “The Last Lecture” that I came across last night, well after planning today’s topic.

“I’ve found that a substantial fraction of many people’s days is spent worrying about what others think of them. If nobody worried about what was in other people’s heads, we’d all be 33% more effective in our lives and on our jobs.

“How did I come up with 33%? I’m a scientist. I like exact numbers, even if I can always prove them. So let’s just run with 33%.”

This was in chapter 34 titled, “Don’t Obsess Over What People Think.”

Chapter 34 from “The Last Lecture,” by Randy Pausch.

We spend exactly too much time worry about what other people think when we have absolutely no control over it. We let it have control over us and hand over time that we could be improving ourselves, our lives and our bank accounts. When you catch yourself worrying about what other people think of you it’s a red flag for some self-work and a strong call to action to flip the script.

I have found that when I am worry what people think of me and the more I am worried about this, the more I tend to be acting like a self-absorbed hoo. I remind myself that it’s not about me and go to work on switching over to a positive mindset, practicing gratitude and seeing how I can be of service to someone else. The longer the thought patterns and behavior have perpetuated, the more self-work there is to do.

If I have time to worry about what other people are doing, I have time to get caught up on projects, clean the house, run errands and volunteer. That’s the way I look at it and if that sounds crazy to you, that’s cool. I do have mental illness and I give zero Fs what you think about me. What you think of me is none of my business. It’s not about me and it’s not about you. According to the late professor Randy Paush, that means I have 33% more time on my hands.

Recovery, it’s not easy; it’s not about you; but it’s worth it.

This article is #5 out of a 31 part series. If you enjoyed it, you may also enjoy the previous article There Is No Bad Guy and the next one Watch Your F’n Language.

If you want to start from the beginning of the series go to the first article Anything You Put Before Your Recovery You Will Lose.

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