Trying to control what others think of you, also known by academia as impression management, is in many ways part of being a socially functioning human being. To a large degree, you can’t escape it entirely – and you wouldn’t want to. At a fundamental level, your desire to impress others is what makes you a desirable mate, among other things.
The prevalence of this, particularly in young people, is something well-studied that’s known as imaginary audience.
It’s a phenomenon that convinces you everyone is paying attention to that zit on your cheek, the drop of coffee on your tie or some other insignificant thing that does nothing but stress you out.
This seeps into more pressing areas of life as well – We make so many of our choices based on what those around us might think when, in reality, their reaction to us could very well be the same regardless of what decision we might make.
The ability to control this desire for adoration is something we often admire in people such as famous musicians and successful business owners who had the drive and determination to go ahead and chase their goals despite them often seeming ludicrous to many.
Anthony Gucciardi is an entrepreneur who founded NaturalSociety.com. He is an activist and self-development author whose writings are included in the Wall Street Journal’s list of best-selling books.
His YouTube channel contains many self-help videos, one of which I’d like to break down today. The topic is – yep, you guessed it – how to stop caring what people think of you.
Gucciardi lists the following four steps:
- Stop tricking your brain into thinking people actually view what you do through a microscope.
- Prove the opposite of this is true by going to extremes and observing the (likely unchanging) reactions of those around you.
- Don’t let your fear of what others think run your life.
- Create a purpose for yourself that transcends your desire to impress.