After all, you may think that I am an interesting, kind, and fun person. If they took the time to get to know me, they would see it. Yes, I went there and I thought about it.
Or maybe you’ve fought for someone’s approval – and approval you can’t get, no matter how hard you work.
Fortunately, the research I have done in psychology and the science of success has helped me see this dilemma in a different way. I realized a long time ago that there are billions of people on earth and that each person sees this immense world through his own lens, his own prejudices, his own baggage (I use “her” to be brief ). Why should I assume she is qualified to approve of me without knowing what someone else’s baggage or prejudice is or what inner struggle she is waging (we have them all)? How do you know if your idea of beauty matches mine? Or his idea of good writing or success? Or his work ethic, his level of integrity, or something else? (The list continues). I have come to the conclusion that no one is authorized to approve me except me.
Yet we intrinsically seek the approval of others. From time to time, I feel worthless for a while when I think someone is not a fan (in life or in business). It’s normal. Others I know are paralyzed by the fear of making unpopular choices or being unloved, so they stay in the middle of the road. They do not let themselves shine and do not share their inherent gifts. Or they stop the kind of uncomfortable risks you have to take to move forward. Being addicted to the approval of others is overwhelming. It robs you of precious energy and prevents you from realizing your potential.
The best inner circle shape
The solution lies in a marketing principle – a principle used in the best brands in the world (especially Apple): stop trying to be everything for everyone. It’s very liberating. Think about it: who do you want in your circle – your biggest supporters or people who don’t care who you are or what you do?
Nature’s weed control system is simple and perfect. The people who synchronize with you synchronize with you and those who do not. Ask the last group to get off the bus. Because the seven billion of us really need perfect chemistry? We all face different things. Personally, I prefer to surround myself with interesting people who think I’m pretty cool. Or smart. Or something positive. And it won’t be everyone.
Think of the people you have met your whole life: at school, at work, at social events, in places where you have lived. There is a small group of people – maybe 15% – that you don’t like, no matter what your level. They just don’t do it. I call them Les Misérables. If you notice, they are almost always critical. They are generally unhappy with their lives and do not want to see others happy. The best thing to do is to secretly wish them real happiness. This turns a negative into a positive.
How it ends with not everyone you love
“If everyone likes you, you’re doing something wrong,” wrote psychologist Ben Michaelis in the Huffington Post. He suggests that if about 85% of the people you meet like to do things right. If it’s more, try to hear yourself too hard. Which means that you may lose part of yourself during the process.
Instead, think of everyone you meet in one of three categories (freely inspired by a conceptual life coach, Amy Pearson, called the 1/3 tribe rule):
1. The miserable. The one I described above. (Pearson calls them the Haters).
2. The ambivalent. They are neither here nor there when it comes to you. They may think you are doing well, but they have their own “more important” things.
3. Rallies. These are the people with whom to fill your inner circle. Those who think you are first class in life and/or the biz and who love and support you, either 25% or 100%. They value you the most if you are yourself and do what you are good at. I appreciate them and give them lots of love. Among them, you will feel this feeling of warm and vague connection.
I heard a saying (and unfortunately I don’t remember where or who said it): “You may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you do become the champagne head of many people.” Be you and the right people will find you.