There is a funny cartoon of a group of people mingling at a party. Above each of their heads is a thought bubble that reads, “I wonder what they are thinking of me?”
This silly cartoon sheds light on the fact that, for the most part, people aren’t thinking about you. They are thinking about themselves.
This is frustrating.
But it should also be liberating. We all know humans can be quite narcissistic and self-serving. But the narcissism of others gives you license to take great risk and then fail miserably.Because when you fail, there is a high likelihood that most people aren’t even paying attention.
Most of us spend tremendous effort trying to avoid even the possibility of failure. I know I do. We are worried about missing the mark because we fear what people will think of us. This forces us to play it safe, limiting ourselves to the things we already do well.
But the truth is:
People aren’t really thinking about you.
At least not in the way you think they are. Most likely, people trust you a lot more than you trust yourself. They think you are far more resilient than you actually may be.
This is a license to be bold. Once you free yourself from constantly trying to impress others and embrace the possibility of failure—the suffocating walls of self-doubt will erode around you.
While it’s hard to accept, no one will ever care about your interests and projects in the way that you do.
Use this to your advantage.
Take risks, fail big, rinse and repeat.
And remember: “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” — Robert F. Kennedy