How you view yourself impacts how you act. How you act, influences how you are perceived.
If you don’t think much of yourself, it’ll show up in your posture the way you speak and the kinds of things that you say.
And in turn you may be perceived as quiet, shy, uninterested, someone who doesn’t care. But maybe you have low self-esteem and maybe nobody taught you to think good of yourself.
Perhaps, even though you haven’t yet learnt how to say it or even show it, you actually care quite a lot.
If you had to leave your home and could only take 10 things with you, what would you take?
Turns out the things we value in our day to day lives aren’t the same things we value in an emergency.
In our day to day life we’re more materialistic, we care more about perception. It’s not that we don’t value the things we need to survive but that they are a given rather than something we need to think about.
In an emergency we place value on safety and survival. There’s not much point valuing your green faux croc handbag when you are without food and water.
And sometimes people choose to live their day to day lives valuing only the essentials even when they don’t have to.
…but it’s worth it.
In a recent post I shared some thoughts about quitting daily blogging and I laid out some plans for what I would do moving forward.
At the time I thought it was a good idea and I thought that it would make things easier.
But in the weeks that followed I really started to enjoy daily blogging again. The writing process had become less difficult than it had been at the weeks prior.
Now, looking back I realise that the changes I planned to make wouldn’t have made things easier, they’d have remained pretty much the same. I’d have gone from posting short blog posts daily to posting slightly longer posts a few times a week. As much as daily blogging doesn’t always feel easy there is something quite special about making a commitment to posting everyday.
There is something special about the way I choose to see the world because I know I have to write something, even if it’s only 167 words.
If you won’t care in a few months time then maybe you shouldn’t care at all.
It’s easy to get swept up what everyone else is doing or whatever the popular thing is at that point in time.
It might even be a great cause, helping people or bringing light to something that matters.
However, I think it’s important to ask yourself why you’re joining in. Is it something you care about or do you just want to be a part of something? Maybe you want to be perceived as someone who cares?
You don’t have to care about everything and you don’t have anything to prove.
You don’t have to jump on the bandwagon.
In periods of uncertainty we often put an excessive amount of pressure on a particular outcome.
You tell yourself you’ll be be happy if things turn out one way and that the other outcome will be a disaster.
And of course, in life often one option is much better than the other. However, too much attachment to something you have no control over can have unhelpful impacts.
What happens when things don’t turn out the way you wanted?
I’ve learnt that it is much more helpful to focus on yourself and your own well being and not be so dictated by external influences. That way even when things don’t turn out the way you’d have liked, you’ll still be totally fine.
I think most people like receiving praise. Not necessarily in front of a large crowd with the spotlight shining down but to simply be told you did something well is more than enough.
Many people go around thinking they’re subpar and for them praise serves as a reminder that they’re doing okay. It can be difficult to tell yourself that you did a good job, perhaps it feels big headed or self indulgent.
Feedback on the other hand can be difficult to take from others but easy to give to yourself.
It feels good to be told that you did something well but it isn’t always easy to hear what you need to work on from other people.
Afterall, how could this person know what you’ve been through and have they considered that you’re doing your best.
This observation of how we take in praise and feedback is simply a reminder not to cling too much to opinions and perceptions, not even even your own.
I first came across Zig Ziglar after hearing Seth Godin mention him. I later listened to one his talks on YouTube, This is your brain and here’s how it works.
It was a few years ago but I jotted down a some quotes that I thought were worth sharing:
- Positive thinking won’t let you do anything but it it will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.
- Motivation isn’t permanent.
- Opportunity is where you are, most people simply overlook it.
- The person you are and the person who people think you are , are many times entirely different people.
- You cannot consistently perform in a manner which is inconsistent with the way you see yourself.
I once wrote that perfection is a falsehood. I stand by that statement. Perfection doesn’t really exist becuase of 2 things: perception and possibility.
What may seem perfect to one person will be viewed differently by another. Perceptions of others might end up changing your own view of your work. But perfection will never be universal because not everything is for everyone.
The end result of anything you do is based on picking one option out of several. But if at certain stages you found yourself caught between perhaps 2 out of the 5 options, when you’re finally done you may wonder about the possibilities of the other options. You might find yourself thinking, maybe it would have been even better if you chose the other option.
So why not let go of the perfectionism, something you’ll never truly achieve. Instead focus on the joy joy of creating your work and getting better and better over time.
A useful exercise.
Something I would consider worth doing is establishing an intention behind your actions. There are many things that we do in our day to day life without putting much thought into it and so when others perceive your actions in a certain way, you may find yourself wanting to change your intention in order to receive the desired response.
I think establishing intention is helpful because it’s a guide to remind you why you started in the first place.
I think for a lot of people, it’s easy to get caught up in focusing on how you are perceived. By establishing an intention, what you’re actually doing is giving yourself a baseline to come back to, or a north star to guide you, something that comes from yourself instead of other people.
The last thing you want to end up doing is putting too much emphasis on what other people think and then being swayed every which way because you’re so focused on trying to please people.
I think that there are two things that often happen, the first is that you are perceived in a way that is different to what you intended. The second is thing is that you find yourself changing to fit a particular perception that is does not align with your original intentions.
This is because when we don’t hold a clear vision for what we want we’re more likely to give into the short-term attention gained from aligning with a trend or popular perception rather than building a solid foundation.
Sometimes we need a reminder to focus more on ourselves instead of the world around us.
People that think they’re outsiders act like outsiders.
The idea of being an outsider is often a self-fulfilling prophecy, something that is brought into existence rather than being totally true in the first place.
When the thought comes into your mind, as soon as you hold onto it and allow it to become a part of how you identify yourself you’ll subconsciously work to make it true.
Being an outsider is associated with being fringe, being different but sometimes even unique or original.
It can have both positive and negative connotations.
As soon as you start to think you’re different and ‘not like them’. You’ll start to separate yourself, exclude yourself even. Often that is what makes a person become an outsider.
The reality is, groups of people come together that are very different all the time.