I hate to admit it, but I’ve allowed myself to be more concerned over what others think than to simply go all-in what I want to do with my life on several occasions. I feel like it’s a part of my upbringing – we were taught early on to care about what others think and to try to fit in, to conform to what others are doing and how they do it. While this can be a good thing, there’s also danger in it. Let me explain:

The Impact of Peer Pressure

I felt a ton of peer pressure or societal pressure to grow up, get married, have 2.5 children (so to speak) and buy a big house as I became an adult. This caused a lot of conflict within me, wasting time worrying over what others think and how I might be perceived in society. Now, as I look back at the age of 41, I feel slightly pissed off that society pressures us in both obvious and subtle ways. Worrying over what other people think and trying to fit in is a real waste of time – that time would be much better spent learning about ourselves and our unique abilities.

… and don’t even get me started when it comes to the amount of stress, anxiety and depression that trying to fit in causes people across the world on a daily basis.

It took me a long time to get to know myself well enough that I could actually feel confident in pursuing my own path in life, one that didn’t involve needing acceptance from everyone around me. The irony? Choosing this road has been more satisfying than I could have even imagined, though it took a lot of courage to do it this way.

Advice From Personal Experience

As I look back on what it took to get here, I’d like to share a few thoughts on what helped me along the way:

Take a chance on yourself – every chance we take teaches us something about ourselves.

If it doesn’t work out you’ll learn from it.

The power of regret is a major part of what drives me. If you’re wondering what I mean, visit a local retirement home and see the look of regret on an old person’s face as they talk about regrets they have over not doing more with their lives, for example. The worst part is that they can’t do anything about it in most cases. I think of myself at the age of 90, and I want to be damn sure that I’m not one of those people.

You’re stronger than you think. I learned this personally with mental health challenges and going through the mental health system.

Nobody’s stopping you (except yourself). I used to have a ” me against the world ” mentality, but fortunately, I learned to see the truth – I learned that no one is stopping me except myself (if I allow that to happen).
    
It takes courage to learn to have self confidence, but it also comes from experience over time. Be patient with yourself and keep focusing on what you want to learn, because the more you focus on what you do want for your life, the more you will find ways to make it happen. This may sound easy, but it takes daily, consistent effort. I promise you it’s worth it, since you are investing in your future.

Yours in purpose,

Jeff