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How to Not Give a F*ck What People Think

I don’t care what you think about me.

Period.

I don’t care if you think:

  • I curse too much,
  • Shouldn’t talk about drinking, drugs, and sex,
  • I’m too open with my life,
  • I talk too fast or too much, or,
  • The workout videos I post on social media are self-serving nonsense.

I don’t care if you disagree with:

  • My political positions,
  • The fact that I’m willing to discuss politics in public in the first place,
  • My Machiavellian take on business,
  • The influencers I follow and quote in my content, or,
  • My willingness to call out legacy ideology.

I don’t care…

I know:

  • My propensity to lean in can overwhelm people.
  • My intensity can be exhausting.
  • My desire to go deep can be “A bit much.”

I don’t care…

How was I supposed to know that I’d be:

  • Ridiculed for sharing ideas and experiences that run contrary to legacy ideology,
  • Blackballed from speaking events for not giving a shit about political posturing, and
  • Fired for trying to push past bureaucratic red tape to get things done.

What is wrong with me?

Why can’t I…

…get long?

…fit in?

…play nice?

…be quiet?

…step aside?

I didn’t ask for this.

Do you know how much easier my life would be

  • If I conformed to the norm?
  • If I did as I was told?
  • If I was content with what they gave me?
  • If my brain didn’t work this way?
  • If I just shut up and did my job?

I don’t care…

I don’t want my life to be easy.

What fun would that be?

God made me this way (just as He made you whatever way you are).

“The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it is conformity.”

~ Rollo May

This doesn’t mean I’m trying to be an asshole or antagonist.

I want you to like me.

I want you to find value in my work.

I want you to grow off my beats.

I do all this: writing, podcasting, speaking, social media, etc. I do it for you.

I do it so that you don’t feel alone.

I create so that you know in those crazy moments, be they dark or inspired, you’re not the only one. You’re not crazy. You’re human.

…and that the solution isn’t to hide but to run towards the crazy, the pain, and all that scary shit that makes life so amazing.

Life is messy (a good friend taught me that).

That’s a good thing. It’s a blessing from God.

How to Not Give a Fuck What People Think

I learned long ago that trying to be something you’re not doesn’t work. The Universe fucking hates posers.

Ryan, you don’t understand; CEOs, speakers, or <insert whatever cultural norm associated with a certain position of power you want to press upon me>, don’t act that way.

I don’t care…

Conformity is the soul killer…the first step towards hating yourself.

Every time you trade who God made you for what society expects, you diminish your soul.

That’s heavy. I know.

…it’s also true.

This doesn’t mean we get to be rampaging lunatics offending everyone we meet because that’s “Who God made us.”

Not giving a fuck about what people think doesn’t:

  • Give you a license to be an asshole,
  • Remove your obligation to improve continually, or,
  • Mean other people’s opinions don’t matter.

I’m sorry to say it’s the exact opposite.

The dirty little secret of “Not giving a fuck about what people think” is you’re always going to care what people think.

You don’t get off that easy. You’re always going to care…

The secret?

Trust your personal agency instead of letting every negative comment, pointed question, or biased feedback affect your mood, emotions, and mental health.

Personal agency – defined as an individual’s ability to control their own behaviors and reactions to circumstances beyond their control, even if their actions are limited by someone or something else.

Take responsibility for your emotions.

Assume people aren’t going to agree with you. Even people who love you will disagree; people who respect and care deeply about their opinions will disagree.

Prepare yourself for this certain event.

You cannot control what someone says, their thoughts about you, or their actions against you.

You can control how you frame it.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

~ Romans 12:2

The Rub

As we discussed in Champagne and M&Ms, we are not our thoughts, emotions, or feelings.

Not giving a fuck about what other people think isn’t about not caring or not listening. It’s about having enough control and self-awareness not to let other people’s thoughts impact our personal agency.

This is hard as shit.

It takes practice.

Lots of practice…and discipline.

It takes wanting to be a better version of yourself and giving yourself grace when you inevitably allow someone to rent space in your mind.

Because it’s going to happen.

If a guidebook would help, Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life is a good place to start.

“The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own” 

— Epictetus

I don’t care what you think about me.

Not because you’re unimportant, but because I can’t control what you think of me, and therefore, all energy spent on “caring” is wasted.

My great hope is that you do not waste any energy on giving a fuck what other people think; that you do not care what I think of you or what anyone thinks of you.

But rather, you embrace your wacky, dark, crazy, creative, inspired self.

Do not conform.

Do not abide.

Conformity is the path to hating yourself, and that is a fate you do not deserve.

This is the way.

Hanley

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