Don’t leave your sense of worth and well-being in the hands of others.

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Excerpt from: Likability. Being liked and unliked.

If you want to reach your full potential, then you must learn to accept yourself for who you are & who you want to be and take personal responsibility for your life and how you feel.

And along the way to self-actualization, you must be prepared to be unpopular. Don’t leave your sense of worth and well-being in the hands of others.

Those who achieve greatness in life don’t let others dictate how they feel about themselves — and neither should you.

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Saved by criticism

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“The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” — Norman Vincent Peale

Be confident enough in yourself to listen to criticism and explore views you don’t necessarily agree with — because those who always agree with you will rarely push you to improve as much as those who don’t.

“A wise person knows that there is something to be learned from everyone.” — Unknown

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The struggle to achieve

Anyone who has ever struggled to achieve something great knows that the journey to accomplish worthy goals is often fraught with hardship. They know that great tasks may sometimes appear improbable — or even impossible — before completed.

And, finally, they know that there is far more value in attempting great things — and learning from the experience — than there is in never trying.

“Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.” — H. Jackson Brown, Jr

Listening to sage advice from experienced individuals who wish to help you is one thing, entertaining criticism and fear mongering from people who have little understanding of what you want to do is another.

Not everyone will understand your journey. That’s fine. It’s not their journey to make sense of. It’s yours.”

Refuse to engage with those who try to scare you from going after what you want in life by pointing out all of the things that could go wrong or how weird what you want to do is.

“Freedom lies in being bold.” — Robert Frost

Know that, more often than not, the people who try to deter others from going after their dreams are those who fail to have what it takes to go after their own.

If you truly believe in what you’re trying to accomplish in life, don’t be overly concerned with those who don’t.

Anyone can take the easy path, follow the crowd, or do nothing. Refuse to entertain criticism from those who do.

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When you truly know who you are…

Excerpt from: my book series

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When you truly know who you are — and who you are in the process of becoming — you will no longer live in fear of what people say or think about you.

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Image above inspired by: Pictures in boxes

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Don’t live your life wearing a disguise.

It’s better to be your genuine self and have fewer of the right kinds of people in your life than it is to surround yourself with those who only accept you as long as you conform to their idea of who you should be.

Don’t live your life wearing a disguise.

When you refuse to be anything but your genuine self, you give those who are most compatible with who you are a chance to find you.

Never fear being rejected by those who seek to confine you to their expectations. It’s OK not to be liked or accepted by everyone you cross paths with on your journey.

You have to live your own life, learn from what life experiences provide you and evolve into the person you were meant to be.

Sometimes it’s necessary to take a step back and let go of things that are keeping you from making progress in life in order to make space for more of the things that will help you fulfill your potential.

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Fear of self-expression is a form of self-imposed slavery

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If you do the best you can to be a decent human being, show tolerance and kindness to others — and still live in fear of what people think of you, your possessions, your opinions, or your beliefs, and then alter your behavior to be “approved” by as many people as possible, that isn’t freedom, it’s a form of self-imposed slavery.

You become a slave to the idea that what other people might think is more important that exercising your ability to express your true self.

Have you ever avoided something as simple as clicking a “like” button or commenting on a post on social media because you were afraid of what people would think if they saw it? If so, then you’re doing it.

If your relationships are so fragile that something like a single like, share, or comment could end them (or cause an unfollow or other equivalent), then perhaps those are not the kind of relationships that are really adding any kind of value to your life.

And perhaps it’s time to ask yourself what the point of “collecting people” in your life is, if the sorts of people you’ve collected will judge you “unworthy” of their friendship and leave you the moment you truly express yourself.

This is an issue that goes far beyond how people act on social media, it’s a real-life problem as well.

Changing who you are to be liked by people may result in more people “liking” you, but it also means that those who “like” you are liking someone who is pretending to be someone or something they’re not.

And, ultimately, you’re sacrificing yourself (and your life) to do it. You’re sacrificing your freedom to express your true self in order to gain “friends” who don’t even like you for you.

In the end, this really makes no sense. Life is not a popularity contest. It’s not about collecting as many “friends” as possible. And no matter what you do, not everyone is going to like or agree with you anyway. That’s life.

Do you respect people who water themselves down, live in fear of being disliked, or pretend to be someone they’re not in order to gain favor? If not, then how can you expect to respect yourself if you do the same things?

When you are brave enough to be yourself, you give others permission to do the same.”

Be your genuine self and you will find that those who stick around in your life are those who appreciate and respect you for who you truly are. They may not agree with everything you say, do, or believe, but they are far more likely to forgive you for your mistakes or lapses in judgement and stick by you not only during the high times in your life, but also the lows.

And you can live knowing that you’re not being judged by those who matter to you — and if you are, you still don’t live in fear of it, because it’s not your problem. When people judge you, it says more about them than it says about you.

And, in the off chance you suck as a human being and few people like you, then that’s perhaps a sign you have some things to work on to be a better person in an authentic way — and not someone who simply pretends to be one.

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

As far I’m concerned, if you’re tolerant and open-minded, I like having you in my life, regardless of your beliefs or some opinions you have that I don’t agree with (and vice-versa). Because ultimately, we help each other grow.

I’ve said it before, you don’t have to agree on everything to get along. And some of the best relationships are formed by people who don’t.

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Doing it "wrong" and doing it anyway

Make a donation to a charity? Someone will tell you it’s the wrong charity.
Give to the homeless? Someone will tell you why that’s a bad idea.
Like a certain kind of music? Someone will tell you why it sucks.
Read a good book lately? Someone out there hates it.
Think something is funny? Someone won’t see the humor.
Have something cool you want to attempt? Someone will tell you not to bother because it’s already been done.

George Lucas, JK Rowling, The Beatles, and countless other success stories — all got rejected because someone thought there was something “wrong” with what they had to offer, but they all succeeded because they persisted anyway.

It should go without saying that no matter what you do or what your motivation is for doing it, there will almost always be someone to tell you that you’re doing it wrong.

At some point, you just have to learn to listen to your heart and your intuition and do what you feel is right, regardless of what the critics say. Because sometimes what’s considered wrong or flawed to one person, may be a work of genius to another.

Use feedback to make yourself, your actions, and your offerings more effective, but never give up doing what you want to do just because someone doesn’t “get it”.

Odds are, if you do anything worth doing and it initiates change for the greater good, someone somewhere isn’t going to like it.

Do it anyway.

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Don’t be deterred from the greatness within you.

Don’t be deterred from the greatness within you.

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Don’t let other people or the voice in your head deter you from the greatness within you.

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The courage to be yourself

You can’t be yourself when your personal identity is directly linked to what others think or say about you. Good or bad.

Every single person on the planet is a work-in-progress.

When you truly know who you are — and who you are in the process of becoming — you will no longer live in fear of what people say or think about you.

And that is a powerful place to be.

Those you attract into your life will know the true you, not some distorted or diluted version of yourself that you present to others in order to maintain one’s friendship or approval.

No, not everyone will like you (whether you try to please everyone or not), but those who do will like and respect you for who you truly are.

Be a good person — as you are and in your own way — and you will attract more of those types of people into your life.

Because in a world of media manipulated trends, spin, fake news, and superficial celebrities, authentic, genuine, and confident people are much rarer than they should be.

So step it up, if you haven’t.

And keep it up if you have.

We need you.

When you are brave enough to be yourself, you give others permission to do the same.”

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The Circle of Like

  • “This was stupid.”
  • “Not at all funny.”
  • “I don’t see what the big deal is.”
  • “I found the language offensive.”
  • “Who actually likes this stuff?”
  • “The worst gift I received this year.”

I’m paraphrasing the above quotes from reviews of one of my favorite books last year. Some of the actual reviews are far more brutal — and there are many more just like this.

I mean some people really hate this book.

And that’s a pretty sure sign that something is wrong. Right?

So what should the author do? Should they take the criticism to heart and curl up in a ball on the floor? Should they give up writing? (Some people have suggested as much).

Maybe they should seek ways to ensure that their next book — if they can muster the motivation to write one — appeals to these “haters” in some way so as to not to attract such harsh criticism?

They could do that.

In fact, it’s not that uncommon for people to not only change their creations to please others, some even go as far as to change the unique things about themselves in order to be more like those that get better “feedback”.

But I think that’s a mistake.

It may surprise you to discover that the book I’m referring to currently has a solid 5 star rating on Amazon. It has also been one of the best-selling books in its genre since it was published.

So — depending on how you look at it — it’s not so bad after all.

But what about these 1 star reviews? Are they invalid?

No. Of course not. Because an opinion is just that, an opinion.

Even if you’re only in the 1% of people who either do or don’t like something, it doesn’t make you “wrong”. It just means that, for whatever reason, you are not among the appreciative audience the something was intended or most suited for.

You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be someone who hates peaches.” — Dita Von Tease

And while I’m talking about a product and reviews, this also applies to people and criticism about one’s self or one’s creations.

I’ve said it before, some people will like you, some people won’t. That’s life.

The next time you feel rejected, criticized, or cross paths with someone who sees things differently than you do, I encourage you to remind yourself that it is likely impossible to be universally liked. And in order for nearly anything to truly have mass appeal, it must also situate itself within a very narrow spectrum so as not to offend, or bore, or turn off anyone.

And often, the moment something gains mass appeal, people criticize it for exactly that reason.

Even people who donate millions of dollars to charity receive complaints from folks who don’t think it was the right charity, or the right time, or the best use of that person’s money.

It’s very rare that you can ever do what you consider a good thing that everyone who hears about it will appreciate.

Remember this the next time you run across someone who has a different opinion than you do, or who criticizes you or something you produce. It doesn’t necessarily mean they are wrong, but it more than likely means they are simply not among the people you or what you produce is most suited for.

What really matters is making — and doing — the things you want to do for those they are intended for and not wasting your time trying to please or appease those who will never get you — or what you have to offer — no matter how hard you try.

What is the book in question? It doesn’t really matter.

Because it could be any book. Or any movie, or song, or literally anything anyone has an opinion about one way or the other.

If you’d like to try an exercise, I suggest going and reading the negative reviews for one of your favorite books or movies. Then, go read the positive reviews for a book or movie you really disliked.

Doing this can help provide added perspective because it reminds us of what it feels like to be at both ends of the spectrum — and neither end is “wrong.”

I think Bill Cosby said it best, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.

Sometimes we’re the one’s who are liking or being liked — and sometimes we’re not.

That’s the Circle of Like.

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