It’s None of My Business
Have you heard of that thought-provoking question people often ask in a “get-to-know” group setting? “What would you do with your life if money wasn’t an issue?” It’s a fair question. It will definitely help you look deep within and even examine your current life status and purpose. This can often lead to asking yourself another question… “Why am I doing what I am doing?”
But, I have a better thought-provoking question for you. But first, a story.
I immigrated to the US when I was 10 years old with my mom, my dad, and my older sister. We were a happy family of 4. My dad is a dreamer and wanted something better for himself and for us. I remember vividly the excitement of this new life. I am also a dreamer, and I’ve always dreamt of experiencing America to the fullest—the richness, the endless opportunities, the gigantic malls, the beautifully developed communities… oh, and Disneyland. I couldn’t wait to go there.
Turns out, the transition to the whole new, unknown world isn’t as easy as it seems. And the dreams that were so visible weren’t as reachable as shown in the movies. In fact, looking back, that very transition became one of the toughest and most painful journeys I’ve experienced in my life. Not only as a kid experiencing rejection and being bullied for the first time at school, but lots were happening at home. There’s an unbearable amount of pressure and burden from my parents. Whether spoken or unspoken… or even sometimes screamed in my face, I soon realized that I carried the hope and the fulfillment of their “dreams” which rested on my tiny little shoulders. Was that even fair?
Looking back, these traumatic years re-shaped my core as a person. I learned to live my life on other people’s terms. They determined my identity. They determined my purpose. They determined my happiness. They determined how I should live my life. I didn’t want that to happen… it just did. What “they” thought of me mattered. It mattered so much.
I heard this quote about 10 years ago that made me think, and it goes like this…
“At 20, you care what everyone is thinking about you. At 40, you don’t give a damn what people are thinking about you. At 60, you realize no one is thinking about you.”
It’s kinda funny, isn’t it? I think there’s some truth to it. In fact, I think I am in the 2nd stage of life where I am learning to care less about what others think about me, and let me tell you, it’s been very freeing. Along the same thought, I heard this quote which I think is so profound and even more freeing in a way.
“What others think about you is none of your business.”
Don’t get me wrong. This is not a license to be a complete jerk because you don’t care what others think about you anymore, but it’s a way to look deep within and be true to yourself and to rediscover yourself and to be confident in who you are.
So, here’s my second thought-provoking question that you’ve been waiting for. “What would you do with your life if you didn’t care what others thought about you?” If that’s hard to answer, let’s phrase it like this. “What would you do with your life if no matter what you did, others will think the best of you.”
We have work to do. We have our dreams to dream, goals to reach, people to love, purpose to fulfill, lives to live. We don’t have time to waste any of our precious energy being bullied by the naysayers or those critics of you. Because, you know what? What they think of me is none of my business. Carry on.