The biggest bullshit line I hear
“I don’t care what people think of me.”
This is the biggest bullshit line I hear.
A lot of people I know say it. I know I do.
When I decided to commit to this little blog project just three days ago I told myself that I wouldn’t care what people thought of what I wrote. That I wouldn’t care how many people read it or who liked it and so on.
Or maybe it’s better put that I failed. It’s been surprising to me that people read my posts at all. And when I see that people like my posts or recommend them on Medium, there’s definitely encouragement for me to write more. Encouragement to write more isn’t bad. But overthinking your content to cater to your readers is.
This is exactly what started happening. I started thinking of topics to write about. When you begin to write content catering directly to your readers, you run the risk of losing your genuine appeal (at least in this case).
This is the exact opposite of the kind of behavior I was trying to create within myself when I started this. The point was to not care. To not plan any topics. Just open up OmmWriter and start writing for about 20–30 minutes and see what happens.
I catch myself with these thoughts and every time I do I immediately stop. I do think of topics to write about all the time, but I haven’t written any of them.
Okay, so what makes this so hard?
This happens everywhere in our own behavior.
When you post an Instagram photo, they’re touched up and look great. Then the likes come in. When this happens you take a mental note of what your most popular photos are. Then when you post again you want to recreate that feeling of getting those likes so you learn to post a photo that’s similar to the last one that got the most likes.
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are (or have already moved) to algorithmic feeds. This means the posts you see are ordered by popular/trending posts, so you’re more likely to see what you like as opposed to chronological order.
This ends up encouraging to this type of behavior of creating specific posts to impress people. It’s a self feeding cycle. The only way to get your photo noticed is to get a lot of likes. The only way to get more likes is to post a photo that your viewers enjoy seeing.
For example, I noticed my most liked photos on my Instagram are selfies. I’m pretty confident that if I post a selfie it’ll likely out do most other photos that don’t include me in it. I’m not sure why this is the case, but it doesn’t matter.
The truth is, I want to post more selfies on my Instagram than I do because I know I’ll get those sweet fucking likes. But I don’t. Only because I know people will get sick of it and I don’t want to come off as a complete narcissist.
Make no mistake, I do care what people think of me. I care a lot about those likes and comments.
They make me feel validated.
Now, I don’t actually think there’s anything wrong with caring what people think about you. Considering other people’s thoughts is one of the best things you can do for yourself. After all, people can see you acting stupid much quicker than you can. And it’s better to resolve these kinds of things sooner rather than later.
Hmm or maybe I’m reading into the line all wrong. Maybe it doesn’t mean “I don’t care what people think about me at all” but rather “I don’t care what people think about me unless it’s good.”
If that is the case, then that’s even worse.
Anyways, so what does this change?
I’m going to keep saying I don’t care what people think about me. Am I a hypocrite?
Even though it’s a total bullshit line, it’s one of the greatest fucking lines we can tell ourselves. It’s a line that totally pushes you to be who you want to be. Even if it’s not entirely true, it’s a lie that we need to tell ourselves because if we really cared about everyone’s thoughts so deeply then we would drive ourselves mad and live only to please others. This line helps us filter out the bullshit.
I think the best way to read into this whole thing is that I do care what strangers think of me. However I will only act on the thoughts and judgments of those who mean something to me. I believe my friend Dr. Seuss put it nicely here.
“Do what you want to do, say what you want to say, because those who matter don’t mind, and those who do mind don’t matter.”
P.S. — What’s funny is that I’m a bit hesitant to post this because I fear that some people might get a bit ruffled or read into it wrong. “Yeah Willie, you really don’t give a shit what people think huh?” Hehe.
P.P.S — You know, I actually kind of don’t feel like publishing this because holy shit my thoughts are SO jumbled and I hard the hardest time following myself when reading this back. But I guess that’s how it rolled out.