Navigate / search

How to Not Care What People Think of You – and Release Your People-Magnetic Self Into the Conversation

You arrive for a party at a friend’s house and open the front door. It seems all eyes are on you as you walk into the room. Nervous thoughts rush through your mind: “What are they thinking about me?” “Does he think I’m weird?” and “Is that person laughing at my looks?”

When you think others always judge you, you become socially awkward, talk less, and shut-down. This is essentially a social anxiety disorder. It becomes difficult to socialize, have fun, and make friends.

I often get asked how someone can overcome these thoughts where they worry what others think because I had the same problem years ago. I fretted over people’s judgments of me in conversations and general social situations. I stand at 6’9” (206cm) and attract attention where I go (at least that’s what my inner-voice told me). Some people go about their day as I walk by while others gawk. I’m tall, not deaf! I had thoughts like, “Why are they looking at me like that?” destroyed my ability to socially enjoy myself until I discovered a few secrets I will share with you in this article that transformed me into a confident, happy, powerful person.

Surviving the Brutality of People’s Thoughts

Why are you concerned what people think of you? Take time as you explore your concerns. Analyze your unexplored fears and anxieties. Read on once you have thought deeply about this question.

As you explore your worries and anxieties about people’s thoughts towards you, you will see the problem boils down to worrying if people accept or approve you. Your worries center on accurate mind-reading in hope of adjusting yourself to be accepted or approved by people.

Social acceptance is important for everyone. If our ancestors were rejected and ostracized from their tribe, it was a death sentence because they had to confront other tribes and animals while hunting and gathering food by themselves. It was near impossible to survive alone.

Your fears are a survival mechanism so it is okay to want acceptance, but because interactions and group structures have changed after thousands of years, you have outdated ways of thinking and behaving. What thoughts and beliefs helped humans thousands of years ago – even you last year – are unlikely to serve you well now. When you worry what people think of you, does it help you survive? Does it improve your conversation skills?

…chokes your social skills as you become unable to release your real, powerful self into the conversation.

If you think about thinking about people’s thoughts, you see the anxious process does more harm than good. It chokes your social skills as you struggle to release your real, powerful self into the conversation. When you try to determine people’s judgments towards you, your perception of their social judgments creates inhibition and blinds your natural, magnetic personality.

We worry what people think of us more than we know:

  • You keep quiet in a meeting as you withhold your ideas in fear of saying the wrong thing and being rejected. From a survival perspective, the fear makes sense because you could be ostracized from the workplace and lose your job, money, and lifestyle. In reality, suggesting an idea will never cause such a drastic outcome (unless you say something absurd like, “Let’s steal from the poor”, but even then your coworkers will probably laugh-off your remarks).
  • When you talk to your spouse, you know something needs to be said, but you keep quiet because you fear his or her reaction. From a survival perspective, this could ultimately result in a break up where your genes cease to pass onto the next generation. If you say what is on your mind, however, your relationship strengthens because you discuss what really matters. (Difficult Conversations is a great book for these tough conversations.)
  • You avoid doing something silly or unusual in public because you fear other people will label you as “weird”. Some couples do not kiss in public because they worry what the viewing public will think. The same survival principles hold true again: the fear originates from being ostracized from society. No one is going to reject you – yet alone remember you – because you did something you consider an embarrassment.

If you do something people label daring, they may put you down, but most admire your courage. (Tweet this quote.) More often than not, something that is “out there” may not even be “out there” because we fathom what constitutes safety. Giving your opinion in a conversation is not going to determine if you live or die even if it appears daring to you.

Although it is uncomfortable to take action on something you are inhibited over, the return is greater than the initial expense. When you decide to not mind-read people in your conversations, your discomfort increases the same time your power increases. This is as certain as water grows a plant. Facing the uncomfortable makes you powerful.

Your Innate Gift of Mind-Reading

Our ability to infer a person’s mental state is referred by psychologists as having a “theory of mind”. The survival mechanism of mind-reading adapts you to diverse people. It is powerful if you know how to use it.

Researchers agree our theory of mind develops around two years of age. Toddlers can calculate people’s desires, intents, and thoughts. If a toddler sees a crying baby, she infers the distressed baby’s mental state. The toddler may tug her mother’s sleeve, pulling her to comfort the distressed baby. Up until then, you will not see empathetic children with mind-reading skills.

If you were like a baby absent of a theory of mind, you would continuously get in social and emotional trouble. A theory of mind helps you to do the closest thing to mind-reading as you dig into a person’s mind. You are able to see the intangible like: a young boy picked on at school feels hurt and alone; your partner comes home from work smiling, leading you to believe he or she had a good day at work; a depressed friend who recently broke up with her boyfriend leads you to think she needs space for recovery. Your inference into mental states helps adjust your behavior to better accommodate people.

Your inference into mental states helps adjust your behavior to better accommodate people.

What if, however, your friend who broke up with her boyfriend, wants to be comforted by you. Because you guessed she needed space, she would feel neglected, ignored, and more rejected. Inaccurate mind-reading causes relationship destruction.

Tell someone their destructive mental state or intent behind an action, such as, “You’re jealous because you think…”, and you will cause immediate trouble. This is what I refer to as “diagnosing” where we figure out people’s intents behind their actions, which gets us into arguments and detracts from our power with people. (I recommend you read the third chapter on diagnosing of my Communication Secrets of Powerful People for more information about this bad communication habit.)

Your Superpowers

You are no Magneto, Cyclops, Spiderman, Batman, or Superman, but you have superpowers. You can read people’s minds. Be careful with being consumed by this power, however. Over-reliance on your superpower can make citizens hate you.

Mind-reading also frustrates the beholder. We jeopardize our well-being from judgments because we have limited ability to infer someone’s mental state. A person laughing at a distance who makes eye contact with you may be giggling at a joke, not you. You think people judge you – a useful process when used correctly – but it too often sends you to mental imprisonment. You become anxious and constrain your real self from entering the conversation. Your theory of mind is too often an unreliable tool to calculate what people think.

You were given the ability to read someone’s mind so you could better adapt to the environment. Someone aggressively staring you down triggers thoughts of potential danger, allowing you to change to survive the threat. You can be over-reliant on this skill by worrying about people’s thoughts when there is no concrete evidence (such as nonverbal communication) that signal you need to adjust your behavior. What is used to survive and better connect you with people, separates you.

Approval Versus Acceptance – And Why It Matters to You

Let’s look at a paradoxical outcome seen in the following example of someone concerned about social acceptance and meeting a person’s expectations – and be sure to learn from this example. A guy is meeting his girlfriend’s parents for the first time. He worries about being “good enough” and living up to the high expectations of her parents. He does not want to break up with his girlfriend.

He has two extremes to choose from:

  1. He gains their approval.
  2. He gains no approval.

Let’s say the guy chooses the first option. In this situation the guy is determined to get the parents’ approval. He analyzes the situation, thinks, worries, and focuses on what the parents could think. He tries to mind-read the parents, which makes him anxious.

When the guy tries to calculate what the parents expect of him, he gets stressed and anxious. His continual analysis of the parents’ thoughts causes awkward behavior. He becomes fidgety, apologetic, and strangled from his natural self. He gets along great with friends, but when it comes to talking with strangers he feels awful.

In this first situation, the guy forward-thinks and screws his chances of gaining the parents’ approval because he is seen as needy and lacking confidence. The guy needs people to validate his identity, which ironically causes them to disapprove him.

When you need approval, people sense it as neediness then reject you. A weak self causes you to be rejected and makes you feel less worthy. The cycle continues as you develop an inferiority complex where you feel less than others.

People with low self-esteem who worry what others think, get their self-esteem from external sources. They feel good when others think good of them and feel bad when others think bad of them. This is why praise and compliments can be a dangerous communication barrier.

When you derive your powerful self from competence, capability, and self-responsibility – instead of external validation that moderates your behavior – you release your powerful self into the conversation.

In the second situation, the guy does not require the parents’ approval. If he finds something funny, he laughs. If he wants something, he asks for it. If he likes something, he says so. These behaviors are different to the first situation where the guy is fidgety, apologetic, and strangled from his natural self.

You may think “he can’t just ignore the parents’ approval of him because he’ll screw up!” The same thought drives destructive mind-reading: you think mind-reading people’s judgments helps your ability to adapt, but more destruction than construction occurs. Your confidence and self-esteem gets knocked down from the destruction of so-called “adapting”.

It is okay to want people to like you without their approval, but not needing approval is different from reckless behavior and not caring what people think of you. Having no need for approval does not mean you run down the street screaming and waving your hands above your head. Reckless behavior will have you cut from society by getting in prison or a mental institution. A healthy balance is possible. You can moderate behavior without needing people’s approval.

Beyond What People Think of You: How to Become More Powerful in Conversations

An elimination of harmful mind-reading is only the first step to not care what people think about you. Because you infer people’s thoughts to get along with people, the second step is to replace the anxious behavior with something to help you with people. Behavioral adjustment to get people to like you is what mind-reading poorly achieves.

In our example, once the guy does not require his girlfriend’s parents to validate if he is good enough for his girlfriend, the battle is half won. He still needs to adapt. He needs to do things like be polite, friendly, joke around, and other things to gain the parents’ acceptance.

Acceptance differs from approval. Seeking approval passes a test to grant yourself permission to be who you are. It is about being “good enough” to meet someone’s standards. On the other hand, acceptance for our purpose builds a positive response to something that is offered. When you seek acceptance, you have a strong sense of self that you present to people, and whether they accept it is up to them. Should people not accept you, it does not diminish your self-esteem because your powerful self comes from inner worth, not external validation. Approval and acceptance are valuable terms you need to reread, understand, and burn into memory.

If you are to be powerful with people, you must build acceptance by doing things people favor, such as starting interesting conversations, making a good first impression, and using other effective communication techniques. Grow yourself and adapt to situations, but do not feel people must validate your reality. Work towards acceptance, but do not worry for approval. Powerfully confident individuals do not require people’s approval at all. They are concerned about people in their life, but they do not limit or inhibit themselves. They seek acceptance without approval.

Once you know the difference between acceptance and approval, and how to build acceptance, release your spontaneous self that attracts people in conversations. Dr. Maxwell Maltz in The New Psycho-cybernetics writes about self-consciousness and releasing your powerful self into the conversation:

The reason some people are self-conscious and awkward in social situations is simply that they are too consciously concerned, too anxious to do the right thing, and too fearful of saying or doing the wrong thing… If these people could let go, stop trying, not care, and give no thought to the matter of their behavior, they could act creatively, spontaneously, and ‘be themselves’… Your creative mechanism cannot function or work tomorrow – or even a minute from now. Only right now.

The paradoxical effect of releasing yourself in the conversation discussed by Dr. Maltz is that people accept you when you stop trying and start being. We fear revealing our true self into conversation, but when we unleash it, people feel it and become attracted to our authenticity.

The guy in the second situation who does not require the parent’s approval, feels confident and others see it. The parents are more likely to accept him. When you rise above the need for people’s approval, your confidence soars, worrying vanishes, and fear of how others see you stops. You are happy with who you are and what you can do.

It surprises me that the purpose of worrying what people think of you is to get them liking you. It is Zen-like that when you trash such thinking, you achieve its goal.

How to Be Free in the Present Moment

The Power of Now

Follow these tips to pull your mind from the past or future into the present:

  1. Accept your present feelings. It is okay to feel what you feel.
  2. Avoid self-criticism.
  3. Notice bodily sensations. An awareness of your body draws your mind to the present.
  4. Focus fully on your partner’s words and body language. You cannot predict the future when your mind is occupied with present information.

A great pianist never anticipates, when performing, every detail needed to play a great song. The pianist allows himself to be enthralled in the moment as his natural playing abilities shine through his music. His focus in the moment makes people accept and like his music.

In a conversation, do not anticipate people’s thoughts towards you, then your natural, powerful personality will be seen. You will behave freely as you do with friends. Act as if no one thinks about you because few probably are. Turn-off the imaginary spotlight you see on yourself and you will be amazed at your high self-confidence. Your new-found confidence will radiate into your conversations as you free yourself from inhibition and release your real self.

Be in the now as you surrender yourself to the moment.

I want you to live in the present moment instead of anticipating the future. Be in the now as you surrender yourself to the moment. People’s reactions do not matter because all that matters is how you respond right now.

Your thoughts about people’s thoughts towards you is an outdated way of thinking that destroys your ability to make conversation. Make the shift to act boldly, build internal sources of validation, gain acceptance (instead of approval), and live in the present moment by not anticipating people’s judgments. You will be unconcerned what people think of you as your powerful self releases into the conversation.

Tweet this article here so your friends and followers benefit too!

(Learn to become authentic, confident, and people-magnetic with the Big Talk Training Course, which will help you confidently socialize. Learn more about this breakthrough course available for download here.)

Want more tools and tactics to improve your life?
Never miss a tip
Instantly get new articles and bonus tips for free (about once a month) by signing up to the TowerOfPower.com.au newsletter:

Joshua Uebergang aka "Tower of Power"

Joshua Uebergang, aka "Tower of Power", teaches social skills to help shy guys build friends and influence people. Visit his blog and sign-up free to get communication techniques, relationship-boosting strategies, and life-building tips by email, along with blog updates, and more! Go now to https://www.towerofpower.com.au/free/

Comments

Rita
Reply

Thank you for letting me know that I don’t need to be approved by others, so that my confidence will soar.

valentine
Reply

The article is just fantastic and written with a lot of insight and experience. However, there some areas in human life where this approach may not work; these areas are not touched upon. Thus, the article is not whole in itself. I am 58 years old and I have struggled throughout my life to be acepted by people. I do believe in your style of communication, butit has some danger points. You may not get immediate acceptance of people and that leaves you frustrated and penetrant. People realise your real being very late. Till such time you have to struggle and many times pass sleepless nights. Some well-thinking friends and relatives may come to your succour with suggested and handy tips on how to please and get accepted by a particular group but then again that would amount to being not your own self. ASll this is very complicated and inspite of yourself you feel helpless. I have this kind of feeling always. It is extremely unbearable when people turn away their faces because you don,t talk what they want to hear. More research is required on this.

Valentine

Joshua Uebergang aka "Tower of Power"
Reply

You seem to have a specific situation you vaguely refer to in your comment. I want to point that it isn’t about being your true self in the sense you don’t change. You don’t remain stubborn and fail to adapt because “people can stuff themselves if they don’t like me for who I am” (though I’ll admit I do this sometimes because I really don’t care what people think of me because it’s often their own problem). You need to adapt but your adaption comes from a powerful source rather than seeking approval. This is KEY.

Nothing can make you immediately accepted so, like many things, you just have to deal with it and work with what you can change.

Everlyne
Reply

I agree with you Joshua on Valentines sentiments. Everybody has every right to their opinions. People will always opine about us and every other thing around us. What the article is all about is having that ability and persuation to remove our focus on peoples opinions about us and concentrate on who or what we really are. You are not an opinion, you are the real you. People don’t have to agree with everything about us to make us feel better about ourselves.

valentine
Reply

Dear Josh as a matter of fact you are corroborating what I have already written that you have to be amicable to live in the society and you can not change the world; you have to change yourself. Otherwise people will throw you out of the society. As I pointed out in a passing remark that a lot depends upon the group, country and ethnic group you belong to and their level of understanding and education. When I said that the article still needs supplements, I meant that self-confidence cannot be appreciated in isolation from the elements I just mentioned. We come across difficult people in our walk of life and it is only experience that teaches us how to deal with them and not only by “not caring for people’s opinion about us.”

Man is gregarious by nature and when you have to mix with the groups/society sometimes you have leave your principles and hypothesis aside to get accommodated. This is a skill learned the hard way through years of experience. The gist of Dale Carnegie’s all books is not to displease anyone but to deal tactfully. That’s what you want to convey. But that cannot be done by not caring for people. I have been a very strong minded person and have that kind of reputation but when I see people being hurt by my stand (although I adapt my behaviour to some extent)it is heart-breaking. I am a caring and loving person at the same time and it grieves me when someone is hurt by my correct ideaology but cannot understand the same in the right spirit. That’s why I say that it also depends upon the inhibitions that people have and the education level.

My reply to your remark on my ‘specific situation vague referred’ is that I always stick to my point of view not caring for people’s opinion when I am 100% sure that my stand is absolutely correct. It is people who may not appreciate it and that becomes the point of worry and anxiety. Please explain in detail your phrase, “people can stuff themselves if they don’t like me for who I am.”

Joshua Uebergang aka "Tower of Power"

Interesting comments by everyone! It’s nice to have comments that build on the article.

I’m in the same boat as you. If I am 100% correct (and we have to be REALLY careful about knowing the truth because we often think we do, but we don’t), I won’t compromise myself. Having said that, I don’t remain ignorant to people’s input, ideas, stories, etc., so I remain open to being persuaded. Doing this solves so many arguments it’s crazy.

With that sentence you quoted Valentine, I’m mostly that way with people’s disempowering thoughts or attitudes towards me i.e. what the article was mostly referring to. I don’t derive my self from external validation.

yakubu
Reply

Thank you for your motivational article. In fact, this message has built up my confidence and i always love to hear your message.

Everlyne
Reply

Would have done some long narrative on how i was feeling and what this article has done to help but surfice to say its quite a piece, am a better person than i was before i read it. Am a very confident person now. Keep up the good work!

maame
Reply

i was just going through this just this morning and this has brightened and boosted my level of confidence. Josh most grateful God bless you

Julius Musimenta
Reply

Thank you Joshua,
The message is good for learning the other side of the coin. In fact, looking into other peoples minds deprives you of your own side of the idea.

Many times people are egoistic, jealousy and always wanting to see the negative side of you. They are not concerned about your positive and any attempt to impose yourself may yield negative approval. So taking control of your own ideas and self should be the guiding factor.

But sometimes, there are situations which deserve you to postpone your actions, words and resentment until some tempos have cooled down. Here, I think reading some peoples minds may be relevant. In a situation of high tempo, some actions have to pass until certain aspects have changed.

Joshua, I think you may need a mixture of the two ways in certain conditions. But of course with varying degrees.
Good topic, and thanks.

vincent
Reply

thank you for your well aticulated article i must admit i ve been worring to much of what people are sying about me. your article will help me to overcome this life drawback

Julius Musimenta
Reply

I admit that life is not about what other people make of you, but virtually what you make of yourself.The most important thing is for you to do the right thing at the right time never mind what other people may be thinking about your actions.

I am one person convinced that other people should not control your ideas and thinking or else you are duped into the wrong path.

Millicent
Reply

Thanks Josh,for your encouraging article. You know it’s not easy to overcome some of these things in life when people having perceptions about you. I think we should be confident in whatever we are doing and forget about gossipers, you know we can’t go without them but rather we should use their taughts to build our self esteem.

osei-kusi frank
Reply

hi tower of power you have really done well by educating me in particular.In life we need to be confident in everything we do so that gossipers will not get into us so much.we are but what we repeatedly do hence if we continue to allow gosips take a better part of us then we would not be able to realise our potential.

Monica
Reply

Joshua, very interesting to read this blog as well as the replies. I am a Life Coach and a Corporate trainer, and one of the reasons I have found people are unable to conduct a decent conversation is because they have lost the art! Society being what it is – if one makes no sense – dont you think people should take some time to become a bit more interesting???

yemisi olonoh
Reply

thanks alot for this.i am someone that cares a great deal about what people say about me,that i let it determine my every move.but lately i av bin letting myself be free with my own judgements

Erika
Reply

This article was like a warm blanket for the mind. It made me realize that I was wasting valuable time in thinking what other people thoughts were about me. What a beautiful example of the pianist, it is so true, he just flows when he plays. He´s just focused on his piano. I will apply that when I go to the gym, I will focus on doing my exercises right. Period. Not if that person or whoever thinks if I look slimmer. And as the pianist, we will be able to free ourselves of that weight of what other people think about us by constantly practicing. Thank-you for such a great article!

P.S. To Valentine: You can do it, pray for it everyday. Immerse yourself in a hobby or an art that you will become passionate with.

Rachid
Reply

this is a brilliant idea 💡 , thank you dear friend Joshua for your helpful tips , Keep it up , re-thanking you

Charles Kairu
Reply

This is the most inspirational articles among the amany of your articles I have read. Thanks, and I look forward to the upcoming one.

Charles

Ameru Jean
Reply

Am so excited about what i have just learnt on approval.It makes aclear cut between APPROVAL and ACCEPTANCE.surely, i have been undergoing the pain of being approved by my friends,in-laws, associates name them.but as you have writen that i do not need any approval form people,am confident that am now a couragious lady.

Kanan Jaswal
Reply

What we think of ourselves is far more important and potent than what we think the others think of us. If we respect ourselves because we have deserved that respect, we can be sure that the others would also respect us.

Julius Musimenta
Reply

Dear Joshua,
I applaud all who have made comments to your article. It is good that is quite a good piece of thinking stimulating impulsive ideas.

I need to recognize Valentine’s comments on the side of accommodating other peoples thoughts and or perceptions. I dont mean this is the same issue as what people may be thinking about you but it is important to be conscious of the people around you.

You have to learn to deal with negative perceptions people might create around you. Sometimes they can lay a trap to harm your integrity, rather you better be careful and read the minds of those driving you into a 6ft pit.

In my last comment, I said that sometimes, you have to stand between the two approaches. The final decision on how you will act depends on the weight of the perception you carry after all considerations have been taken into account.

Joshua, I have a thinking that some actions are simple and virtually need not to involve what other people are thinking about you. However, other actions are complex and of public nature so much so that, what other people think matters.

[…] A failure to express their point of view occurs outside of conflict – it is frequent in conversations and social interactions. When they are asked what they’d like, where they want to go, or what they want to do, they passively respond: “I’m happy with whatever you want”. Rarely are they truly happy with what the other person wants. While they say “I’m happy with whatever you want”, the truth of the matter is they are indecisive and do not want to say something in fear of being disapproved. […]

Odong Mike Lo'Asio
Reply

Hello Joshua,In my local language when something has been done well we say Eyalama noi noi (Thanks alot).This is apiece of work & your presentation style is fantastic.God Bless everyone hooked to this wonderful site.

Odong Mike Lo’Asio.

Rocky
Reply

You know what I really like about the article is the boyfriend-girlfriend analogy – fits just right for me. You know what? I had sent a proposal for marriage at my girlfriend’s place, but her parents turned it into a breakup instead and it’s really heartbreaking for me. Just trying to get over it and prove myself.

Sulabha
Reply

Dear Joshua,
I love to recieve mail from you. By the way I am a trainer and know what? I use a lot of your material during my training to motivate my students, I make PPTs adding pictures to make a difference in their lives as you make in mine. Take care! Thank you

5 Truths About Fear
Reply

[…] fear because they were threatened from dangerous animals or similar life-threatening environments. Fear has its purpose to protect. Whatever it is you fear, the fear tricks you into thinking it is danger. It tells you the thing […]

[…] prevents both men and women from dating success. A lot of people develop their fears from thinking too much. The action exercises act like little steps to get guys where they want to be in the dating world. […]

Stella
Reply

This article is great! it teaches a lot of people a really good message. I had agoraphobia for two years in social situations, but have managed to overcome it by just being.. All the stuff written here is absolutely true. Although i took some time absorbing other peoples behaviour and making them my own, so that i can see how other people handle themselves so well. it taught me that people spoke their minds. Since i’ve been just myself, peoples reactions to the new outspoken me haven’t been so positive, but i made more friends than i’ve ever had in two years, i stopped caring about what people think, and i don’t need their approval or acceptance, because i am me, myself and I, and if im going to have to be in this body for another couple of years, then i should just accept it and move on. since then ive been much more confident and more people have accepted me. 😛 Even my mother that never talked to me, have started liking me again. But i don’t care if she stops again, it just feels great not to care about other peoples thoughts. 😆

Vinod
Reply

Thanks a lot Joshua for sharing your thoughts through this excellent article. It was really helpful to take some steps to regain my confidence. This article should be preached as “lessons” in schools so that we don’t waste our valuable years struggling to find solutions to such problems.

LovedArticle
Reply

There’s one way to really change.

Whenever you don’t do something, ask yourself – am I NOT doing this because of other people and what they think? If that’s why you’re NOT doing it. Then DO it.

Apply this to:
– What you wear
– How you smile
– Dancing/singing in public
– Taking up ‘middle’ train seats
– everything.

Keep up the behaviour that results from using that test.

6 Steps to Gain Self-Confidence and Destroy Limitations : Motivate 2 Elevate
Reply

[…] how to not care what people think from the “Tower of Power”. You can also get extra tips to build […]

todd
Reply

As far as the whole “you feel anxious because it was good for your ancestors” thing, i think I’m going to go ahead and say citation needed. Even though there is a significant amount of evidence showing that genes have some influence on human psychology, that doesn’t mean every person who wants to support an argument is justified in creating their own evolutionary scenarios where all the traits that seem universal to the speaker conveniently have a simple direct do-this-or-die relationship. For example, one might argue that people are hard wired to crave salt, fat, and sugar, since these are essential to staying alive, and even more so in a tribal setting, where food is scarce. this makes sense, it appeals to our logical side, and lets us feel good, because we were able to reason that out all on our own, and it gives us a simple scapegoat on why Americans are fat. However, if you were to find a random sampling of americans, overweight or not, i would bet that a fair number are deficient in some important vitamins, which may limit life span or the ability to function optimally. If evolution worked in the way armchair evolutionary psychologists proposed, we would all be craving animal liver and spinach as much as fat and sugar. the problem is that nature is much more complicated then we’d like it to be, and since no one has the data on the complete unabridged history of every organism that ever made a significant impact on human biology, we may never know the reasons for universal human traits, or if they are universal at all; but I’m rambling.

Also, I’m going to be honest and say that i totally lost interest in this article after it said that everyone had a natural, innate ability to be a world class communicator and socialite, and that being so is the natural way to be, since this is clearly an over-generalization. Sure, if you coach someone hard enough and long enough, they’ll learn to say the right thing at the right time, but that’s not necessarily everyone’s natural state, and i might wager that its not the natural state of most people. Not everyone wants to be the center of attention/life of the party/ man in charge. Also, that segues into my next point:

the name and implied intent of your blog totally creeps me out, since what you seem to be saying is “I’ve learned how to mold my social interactions in such a way that people feel compelled to give me what i want, and so can you!” Its just creepy because i hate being manipulated, especially when i don’t know it.

Finally, i’m going to assume that this post will not see the light of day, or at least will be promptly deleted as soon as you realize that i’m criticizing you, since all the other comments to this article are surprisingly swear free compared to normal internet fare, and all seem to imply something along the lines of: “this article has solved every problem in my life and the man who wrote it is magic,” along with the fact that this website seems to exist only to drum up business for one of those motivational speaker sermons. i came here via stumble, and i assure you that this will be down voted due to the fact that the author seems crazy, greedy, or dumb, or some combination of the three.

Anyway, good luck swindling people and businesses out of their money by giving a pointless lecture and making people hug for a half hour.

Joshua Uebergang aka "Tower of Power"
Reply

I liked your first comments about evolutionary psychology Todd. Comparing anxiety to food is similar because we train ourselves to behave a certain way or consume certain food. And it’s helpful to not give up responsibility because “it’s all in my genes.”

I used anxiety and fear interchangeably in this article and could of clarified that. Fear as a protection mechanism is the most fundamental to evolutionary psychology.

Where did I say everyone wants to be a world class communicator and socialite? That statement certainly isn’t the case like you said.

Your comment is up and untouched like everyone. People have found the article helpful. So yes, there are people who comment on the internet that don’t swear. People who read this website are friendlier than most and aren’t like the trolls spamming hate and swearing seen on YouTube. Don’t like it? That’s okay.

kim
Reply

This article changed my life. Seriously. Thank you! 🙂

Indra
Reply

Hi Joshua,

I’ve just discovered your website, I have also just discovered that I have a low self esteem and inferiority complex.

I must say that i am changing, I have found a mentor who has been helping me realise all this.

in addition to that, stumbling upon your website is also helping me greatly.

Am really enjoying and appreciating the contents of your website.

Thanks a lot.

alicia
Reply

Good article and it hit some points I’ve been focusing on lately. However this part I don’t agree with:

–If you are to be powerful with people, you must build acceptance by doing things people favor, such as starting interesting conversations, being friendly, and using other effective communication techniques. Grow yourself and adapt to situations, but do not feel people must validate your reality–

So a person basically has to seek acceptance accordingly to what people GENERALLY favor? Is it not the reason why most self-conscious/ social anxious people become unhappy in the first place, trying to be what other people FAVOR because they are not as talkative? How about being comfortable with yourself and let the rest fall into place? Many socially anxious people who want to get rid of their anxiousness often do their best plenty of times to initiate conversations and be friendly yet, failed at the end by nosediving into social situation without being comfortable within. Once one becomes comfortable without apology, what other people “favor” will become natural to the anxious person. And if it does not happen at least they lost the self-doubt. Not everyone is able to adapt quickly or feel the NEED to talk a lot in a social setting, no matter how much practice they do. This is equivalent to your example of a musician, he or she must be confident in their musical ability FIRST in order for their performance to go naturally smooth. Sorry but i think the part I copy/paste from your article isn’t a grand cure to become relaxed in conversations. Honestly, I’m not trying to be a people magnet right now as I’m working on stop being so self-conscious. Now if I do become gregarious GREAT, if not, I will be content continuing being my reserved self.

Anonymous
Reply

Hm. As a person with social anxiety, I don’t see the benefit of being told that my anxiety will instinctively make people reject me. I know for a fact that there are many people that do not reject me based on that anxiety and it’s actually quite intimidating to suggest something like that. I admit that it’s probably better to let go of my anxiety in a social situation, but that’s not something I’m capable of doing, so telling me that people hate me for having the anxiety isn’t as all helpful.

kthxbai.

Setting SMART Achievable Personal Goals
Reply

[…] overcome the fear of criticism, put bluntly, screw what people think. Do not allow people to destroy your life with their beliefs. You would not tie a one tonne boulder […]

virgeodle
Reply

wow!
i just got some mental freedom after reading this.God bless you Josh.

Diego
Reply

I apologize but this is going to be long comment. This is an amazing article, I’ve been reading more material by minds like Eckhart Tolle and David Deida on being present, this is spot on. I use to mind-read a lot, but I’ve been improving at being in the moment. Still though in certain situations like starting a conversation with a beautiful woman, I begin to tremble with fear due to 3 main reasons.
– Other people will think it’s weird I’m approaching a stranger. Plus if I get rejected I feel they’ll secretly laugh at me, which will cause me to feel humiliated.
– If the girl has a boyfriend, I’m afraid he might notice the conversation and will want to start a fight with me. I just want to have a good time talking to people.
– My buddies use to pressure me into flirting with girls. This made me feel uncomfortable, now when we hang out, I still feel this dynamic exists and it stresses me more when I try to talk.

How do you build connections, being your true self, without letting these fears get in the way?

Thank You

Dwayne
Reply

Impressive stuff man, this is precisely what I needed to know.
There’s a couple of other issues I got concerning this, but I suppose I cannot be greedy. 1 answer at a time.

Brad
Reply

Even though I don’t find this much of a problem for myself, I know everyone struggles with it to some extent. I enjoy researching it because I’m always looking for ways I can better myself and have always been fascinated with psychology in general.
I noticed that you’ve already received much support after reading several of your other comments, however I feel compelled to tell you, and wish you only knew how big of a compliment it is, when i say that out of the ridiculous amount of material I have read on this topic, your article has really stood out by how well its broken down and explained so that readers can understand and ACTUALLY RELATE TO IT in some way. With so many different POV’S offering advice on how to stop caring what people think that’s on the internet, it can be a lot to take in for someone trying to find anything useful…….However this is useful, and has obviously helped many people.

Leave a comment. Please read this page before commenting.

name*

email* (not published)

website

:mrgreen: :neutral: :twisted: :shock: :smile: :???: :cool: :evil: :grin: :oops: :razz: :roll: :wink: :cry: :eek: :lol: :mad: :sad:

Close