“I can't give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time.”
Herbert Bayard Swope
Some people seem to be in-built with a strong not-giving-a-shit muscle. But I think many of us have to work on it.
And I think it is worth working on because it can enable us to make decisions based on our values, not on what we believe will be the most popular choice.
I'm a sociable person. I value friendships highly. As a result, it has often affected me deeply if I think someone doesn't like me, or if they don't agree with some action I've taken.
But if I think about it for just a few moments, the idea that my actions and decisions could be well received by absolutely everyone is completely ridiculous. It's just not going to happen.
A great deal of mental peace can come from surrendering control. By trying to make sure that everyone likes us, we are attempting something that is beyond our capabilities.
It is likely that at some stage, however much we believe in what we do, and believe that it is good and right, someone's going to get pissed off about it. I think accepting and surrendering to this truth can be incredibly liberating.
I myself have a lot of work to do to develop this muscle. But something that helps me is remembering that I have friends who I deeply respect who seem to respect me in return, and who believe that I am a good man. This gives me the strength to be less concerned with the opinions of the rest of the world.
That is not to say that as long as I feel love from my own little bubble then everyone else can get stuffed.
But what it does mean is that my decisions can be driven by what I think is right, not what I think is going to make me the most friends.
What I think is right may of course actually be wrong. But as long as I am being honest with myself, it's the best I've got.