Are You Concerned About What People Think of You?

A very common limiting belief is being concerned about what other people think of us.   And, it’s completely understandable if one considers the work of Mr. Michael Solomon. His PHD work at the Business School of New York University suggested that when we meet someone else we make 11 decisions about a person in 7 seconds.


Here is what we guesstimate:


  • How rich or poor we are
  • How intelligent we are
  • How honest and/or credible we are
  • How much we can be trusted
  • Level of sophistication
  • Gender, sexual orientation, desirability and availability
  • Level of success
  • Political background
  • Value orientation
  • Ethnic origin
  • Social desirability


As soon as we meet a person, we rush to judgement based on what we see. And that is why we so often get it wrong. I have found this to be true because I know I’ve initially met people in the past that I didn’t think I liked and later we became fast friends.


So, why do we get it wrong?  For one thing, it comes down to how we take in information.  We take in information through our five senses: Seeing, Hearing, Feeling, Smelling and Tasting.


When I was working in the international trust world in Vancouver, I had a client who smelled less than desirable because he would ride his bicycle into the city for appointments and he was also a smoker. Due his lack of personal hygiene, the guards in the lobby didn’t want to let him up the elevator to our offices as they assumed he couldn’t be a rich, private banking client.   In fact, he was.


Consider how the brain works.  The brain receives approximately 2 million bits of information.  The conscious mind can only process 150 bits of information at time so it proceeds to break the information down to manageable chunks.  In NLP speak; we do this using our filters of deletion, distortion and generalization.


Our brain filters information based on our conditioning.  And it all starts in the spot where we are born and the family we are born into.  The country and family we are born into will determine the culture we grow up with and the language we speak for example.   Like little ducklings we will follow mama and papa duck absorbing their behaviours, values and beliefs.  We will continue to filter information from all of our experiences turning it into bite size pieces.


Nobody views the world in the same way because nobody thinks in the same way.  We are all unique.  Interestingly we tend to judge other people based on our perception – of how we would do things – thinking that we do things the ‘right’ way when in reality we do things ‘our’ way.  Our way may be the right way for us (often it’s not when guided by limiting beliefs and negative self-talk) but who are we to say it’s the right way for others?


Let me give this some context, shall I?  I grew up in Vancouver, Canada.  In my social sphere, we appreciated sarcasm.  I learned how to be sarcastic.  I think that sarcasm used in the right instance, can be very funny.  As Canada is part of the British Commonwealth, no doubt the British culture had a lot to do with bringing sarcasm to Canada. I adore and grew up laughing at the sarcastic wit of watching shows like Monty Python and Faulty Towers.


Sarcasm is delivered with a subtle tonality of voice.  If we are not familiar with sarcastic tone, then we don’t recognize it.  I witnessed this when I first began to travel to California for work.  During my business meetings, I would naturally and unconsciously say a sarcastic remark only to be met with silence and often a pained looked on the face of whom I had been conversing with.  I soon realized and would say to myself, “Gosh they are taking my comment to heart; they think I’m serious!  Amazing, as if I’d every say such a thing and really mean it. Hmm, I guess they don’t ‘know’ sarcasm.”  I would then have to explain that I was making a joke.  They never laughed. :>)


This of course wasn’t true for everyone in California. After all it’s a melting pot replete with people from different cultures.  Yet, by and large, from my experience, more often than not, I offended people without intending too.


What’s true for ‘the one’ is not true ‘for the other’.  Can you imagine the peace we would experience in the world if we took the time to understand each other’s point of view instead of cramming our views down others’ throats?


Given that all 7 billion+ of us on this planet think differently, I know I’m being ‘viewed’ by others in a certain light based on their perception.   Therefore, I can relax into confidence because if someone is judging me negatively based upon what ‘they think they see’, it doesn’t concern me because they are judging someone who they think I am, and not really the real me.


From my perspective, I think it is far wiser to judge people by what they do than by what we see.


Tip:  If someone is criticizing you. Ask yourself if you respect that person. If it’s a work colleague, are they someone you admire for their expertise or worth ethic?  If the answer is no, reject their criticism.  If it’s in your personal life, ask yourself what is going on in their life?  Do they have it ‘together’ or is there personal life a bit of a mess?  If it’s the latter then reject their criticism. 


When we change and evolve some people will criticize because OUR evolvement is making THEM uncomfortable.   It’s their stuff, not yours so no giving your power away. Stay on course.


Your perception of me is a reflection of you.  My reaction to you is an awareness of me. “ – Unknown

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