Why we should NEVER do what’s expected of us but instead…

Here are the two realities we live in now.

  1. We’re constantly surrounded with people with opinions.

2. We’re brought up learning that reputation or what people think of us is important.

As a result of these two things, we are often told of the things we should or should not do. Not because you believe it personally is the right thing to do, but because it is EXPECTED of you. It’s hard to deal with this pressure of expectations

But before we decide to succumb to these expectations, we need to remember these few things:

  1. Reputation is a fickle thing

The saying goes that reputation takes a lifetime to build but only a moment to destroy. What does that tell us?

It tells us that reputation or what people think of you is fickle. It’s even more fickle when you consider that it doesn’t take lifetimes to build a reputation anymore. Think Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos. Five years ago few have ever heard of her. Then a year later she was very quickly built up as the poster girl of entrepreneurship. People put millions into her company and she attracted the praise of people like Sheryl Sandberg. Her rise didn’t take a lifetime. It took a few years.

Her downfall of course was quick which validates the truth in the second part of the saying. So reputation doesn’t take a lifetime to build but it does takes a short time to destroy.

Steve Jobs would know. One day he was viewed as the erratic Apple CEO that was killing the company and some decades later he was the champion bringing back Apple to its glory days.

This realisation brings us then to the following point.

2. Should we base our life decisions on a fickle thing?

Good or bad things that happen to us in life aren’t often the result of one good decision or one bad decision. They’re the result of a series of good or bad decisions. That’s hard because that means we have to consistently make good decisions to make it rich, or be happy, or whatever good outcome we want.

In making these decisions we need to be really squared on what good decisions are. We need to be sure we’re making the right calls and we need to be cutting out all the unimportant factors in weighing these calls.

3. Only you know what’s best for you.

Nobody else does. We owe it to ourselves to get as many perspectives as we can, gather all the facts we need but beyond that nobody else can make a better decision about our own lives than ourselves. Why? Because nobody else cares about you more than yourself.

Everyone else potentially has some other agenda. Others might have something to gain from your failure or some might be envious of you and want to see you go down.

So you gotta make your own call and in making your own call, considering what everyone else expects of you or thinks of you is a distraction. It is not just a distraction but it’s outright unhealthy. Why? Because as I said before what people think of you is a fickle thing, and the last thing you need is to be making a decision based on is a fickle thing.

This applies to our every day struggles. Say you have a poor reputation at work because of some past failures that you may or may not be responsible for. Everyone expects you to quit. Well don’t quit just because of that. Quit if you think it’ll be best for you and understand the fickleness of what people think of you.

Today they may think poorly of you but just one success of work and you could all of a sudden be the rising star all over again.

So don’t do what’s expected of you. Do instead what’s best for you. In doing so you’ll achieve your own success in life, and your reputation will follow.

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