What Other People Think IS Your Business

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In a recent Facebook update, author Paulo Coehlo, shared the following:

And, more than 37,000 people promptly “liked” the idea. Which is a powerful indication of how badly people want it to be true and a stunning indictment of how judged so many feel in the world.

I loved Coehlo’s book, The Alchemist, it resonated on so many levels.

But as an entrepreneur, I’ve always had trouble with both the above idea and the sea of similar quotes.

In the world of ascetics, philosophers, moguls, monastics and patrons, where the source of enough money to allow you to live well in the world isn’t so much an issue, the quote rings true.

And, a precious few may someday reach a point where after years or more likely decades, they’ve so mastered their craft, mined life on a level that has cultivated a wellspring of experience and wisdom to draw upon and so well-aligned their output with who they are that they begin to literally radiate light and nearly everything they put out becomes magnetized.

I’ll own up to the mad desire to someday be there. Indeed, with the Alchemist, Coehlo very likely moved into that place.

But, that’s not the world 99.99999999% of us live in.

At least not yet.

We’re still building into it. We still live in the real world, with responsibilities we’re not compelled to abandon. A world where the energy you put out into it, whether it be in the form of art, service, business, or otherwise, must be perceived by others as desirable enough for them to exchange value for it. For them to pay you.

In that world, what other people think IS your business.

Because you can’t expect to receive enough value from others to live well in the world unless what you’re putting out into the world resonates not only with what makes YOU come alive, but with what THEY want and need.

I get that people are in pain I get the need to build a living and a lifestyle around the people and activities that allow you to come alive. But, if you want to do that and also live better than hand-to-mouth, you’d better care deeply about what other people think and feel about what you create.

Then work like crazy to build solutions and sources of delight that live in the sweet spot between what makes you smile and what they can’t live without…even if they had no idea it existed until you created it.

Because if you don’t, the quest to indulge the need to build around what’s in your heart can be a very lonely and often near-destitute one. Or one that finds you relegating your “thing” to the level of hobby and giving the far greater part of your life to a paycheck devoid of passion.

Curious, what do YOU think…or feel?

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54 responses

54 responses to “What Other People Think IS Your Business”

  1. Rick Wolff says:

    Jonathan, there’s an interesting place in the middle of two attractive poles: dependence and independence. We in America still have an individualist streak, that helps us keep responsibility for not just surviving but thriving, and values resourcefulness, and recognizes the point when neediness becomes a moral hazard. But even John Wayne had to be wrestled to the ground by friends who cared about him and taken to the hospital for his “just a flesh wound.” To borrow a cup of Ecclesiastes, there’s a time for one, and a time for the other. And there’s an art to know when to do which. So I agree with both you and Sr. Cuelho.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jonathan Fields and Alex Rinehart DC CCN, Eduard Ezeanu. Eduard Ezeanu said: Brilliant! RT @jonathanfields: What Other People Think IS Your Business – http://ow.ly/3lOoF […]

  3. Raven says:

    Different strokes for different folks. What you intrinsically say may easily and effortlessly resonate with others, who then want your “product”/wisdom.

    It all depends on what you’re willing to live with and for. Or just throwing out the word “work”.

  4. wendy says:

    I think what people like Coehlo, who say they don’t care what others think, really mean is that they don’t internalize what other people think. Obviously people like Coehlo care about people or they wouldn’t want to share their truth. The difference is that they are complete in and of themselves and no longer require external opinions. That doesn’t mean that as a mentor, guide, or businessperson, they don’t shift gears, based on feedback, if they feel their message isn’t being heard in the way it’s intended.

    • cara says:

      I think Wendy is right. The quotation is more about not being overly concerned with others’ opinions of you, not a judgement as to whether they matter, per se. Also, there is a distinction between what others think of “you” and what they think of “what you create” or “your work”. Just because someone dislikes an aspect of your work does not mean that you personally are a problem to them.

      • Jude Spacks says:

        I agree. To me the value of “what others think is none of my business” is to remind me to keep attention on my own thoughts, so as to not to attempt to oppose or legislate others’ thinking.

        That makes it much easier to not take it personally when they don’t think what I wish they would. Then I can benefit from Jonathan’s approach, and take in the valuable feedback that the world so generously provides. 😉

  5. steve reid says:

    This is the very reason why we don’t stand still; we have to continue to re-evaluate and adjust. Taking the input from the ‘poles’, but then making our own individual decisions.
    Rick W.’s comments are good and valid.

  6. Hmm, interesting. I’m wondering if there is a difference between caring what other people think and offering value from a place of service?

    If we focus too much on what other people think then doesn’t this undermine our own confidence in what we are doing? Surely we need some of our ‘personality’ in business to be able to connect with potential clients (and reject those who are not ideal)? I agree that we need to offer services and value that people want but that doesn’t mean we have to obsess about what they think ;). I think there’s a difference here.
    Is it too boring to suggest that there is a happy medium here??


  7. Jackie says:

    It depends on what you’re applying the quote to. In business and on the job (or the job hunt) of course it matters what other people think of you, your work, your product, etc. You want to find out what they think and adjust your strategy, and possibly product or service, accordingly. That’s critical.

    But in your personal life, it’s another matter. Unless you’re getting constant feedback from everyone around you that you literally stink, what other people think of you is their business in the sense that their opinions may really be all about them. (We all see the world from our own point of view, so that’s often natural.) If you spend your life anxiously trying to adjust based on the opinions of others, you’re both fighting an impossible battle and wasting your life energy when it could be put to better use.

    • LCTan says:

      Jackie has a very good point both in business and in a personal capacity.

      We cannot be obssessed with what other people think of us otherwise, we will not be true to ourselves. We will be constantly trying to please others and damage our own self esteem/belief/confidence in the process. A bit of a stubbornness is necessary to hold our own and not succumb to the opinion of others. Have faith in yourself.

  8. Sarah Y says:

    Well, yeah.

    But if I live really authentically, I am also looking for ways I can truly help others. To live authentically and in my sweet spot does not mean I live in a bubble to serve only myself.

    As a leader, I pay a lot of attention to what people yearn for, notice how they seem to respond to me and my message. I make that my business. If they’re offended or don’t hear me or don’t get what I’m saying, I notice and tweak. Their responses guide my inner work and the communication of my message.

    But I will not get caught up in whether they like me. One of my most influential mentors I don’t actually like. Her personality is annoying. I’m not sure I want to be friends with her. But I soak up her message because it is right-the-hell-on.

    Paying attention without attachment to needing them to like me or approve of me means that I’m able to really serve them and it is from that core of deep peace that I find that sweet spot that delights and serves my people.

    • Jennifer says:

      What Sarah said really resonates with me.

      When I first read what Jonathan wrote, the little self-conscious anxiety written version of me was like “Hell yeah! that’s exactly why it IS important to be so damn anxious!” Which the same part of me quickly turned around to realize was quite an ironic show of confidence in itself and just as quickly left me wondering why I so strongly cling to my anxieties.

      What Sarah wrote gave me the words to write down something I’ve been thinking for awhile. My anxieties are useful sometimes, they aren’t evolutionarily maladaptive, they serve the purpose of keeping the opinions of others important in my mind. My “problem,” or rather, the reason my anxieties overwhelm me is that they are self-centered.

      I do worry what others think of me.

      I should worry what others think of me so that I can improve the way I connect to others and provide value in their lives.

      I am still trying to accomplish what Sarah described:
      “Paying attention without attachment to needing them to like me or approve of me means that I’m able to really serve them and it is from that core of deep peace that I find that sweet spot that delights and serves my people.”

  9. Hi Jonathan – great, thought-provoking post. My two cents – when I trained as a therapist, I was taught that what people believe about me is much more about them than about me. I know that’s true. What people think about others is a projection of their own views and beliefs. I consider Coehlo’s comment in that vein – not as a “business” strategy but as a life philosophy – that our job is to be all we wish to be, as authentically and powerfully as possible, with service as our focus. If folks don’t respond well to my messages, my work, my philosophies, etc., it’s not my job to modify myself so I’m likable. It’s my job to be all that I care to be, and find authentic ways to connect with people who resonate with that. Of course, we live in a world where we need to engage and interrelate with others – but the key is to find your center and operate from that place, not as a chameleon shifting constantly to please others. Make sense? Thanks for your awesome ideas and sharing.

  10. Statements like that drive me a little batty.

    Even aside from business, do we really want to live like no one else’s opinion matters?

    Personally, I want to be a part of a community, a family. I want to trust others to help me grow & think beyond my narrow scope. That requires me to accept & evaluate their feelings & opinions about me.

    Thanks so much for this post!

  11. Allison says:

    The key for me is to be aware of what other people think, but to make sure my own insight and intuition don’t get lost in the process.

  12. Linda says:

    I think that the spirit of “What other people think of us is none of our business” really is about being truly authentic, in your business, in your personal life, and in the world. And, then just letting the chips fall where they may. If we operate from the place of truth and honestly reflecting our true nature there will be those who are attracted to us and those who aren’t. I, for one, would like to work with those who are attracted naturally. That way, I’m never trying to be someone that I’m not.

  13. Eric says:

    Hey Jonathan- thanks for having the balls to post this, however I don’t really agree.

    Our society is jam packed with people who care TOO MUCH about what others think. They care so much that it affects their daily function that they have no idea who they are as a person. I know this because I’m still recovering from this outlook.

    Each day I focus purely on what I can control. I can’t control people liking my product. I CAN, however, control my work and keep putting out great content with the goal of building a community of like minded individuals.

    Thanks for making a great discussion point!


    • Chris,

      Great points! And from your photo it indeed appears you are jumping into “who gives a flying f#@! what people think about me” attitude. I love it!

  14. Carla says:

    What people think of me is their business, and really out of my control. What they think of my product is MY business. What I produce does reflect some of me, but it is not ME.

  15. Hi Jonathan,
    Thanks for the great post!

    We aren’t all afforded the luxury of minding the business of what other people think of us. It looks as-if at-least 37,000 people are doing well-enough to just take good care of themselves.

    There are large groups of people, Jonathan, who must just make it, without harm, without endangering or being endangered. They have been, and are judged … and are sometimes the master of judges. Minding what other people think, whether they’re marketable, or shippable, or desirable means treading dangerous waters.

    They are showing up and doing their best to be present each day. They are not building empires in the sense that we know, but working diligently to build a garden of tranquility, where they can tend to their own serenity.

    Finding their voice, finding their sanity and a peaceful existence is enough. What others think of them is none of their business, because it opens the floodgates of fear, resentment, and rejection that they hope are forever sealed shut.

    You and I, Jonathan, and the other people of opportunity, have a responsibility. To share love, forgiveness, and to teach the world to stop judging. We can all do our part.

    Perhaps if Paulo, and those who agree with his words, can use a thought from us (even one that isn’t their business) that thought could be “You’re okay wherever you are. Do the best you can do today, with what you’ve got. I’ll just be over here trying to make the world a better place for you, okay?”

    Thanks for listening, Jonathan! Keep doing great work, and making this world a better place!
    Take good care,

  16. Greg says:

    I think these are great points. But if I spent most of my time focused on what other people thought, I’d still be miserable and working 90-hour weeks in a corporate job because I “should.”

    Many creators — especially writers — have to shut out the voices and opinions of others in order to bring out the creative spirit. For a lot of people who create for a living, concern about what people think can be more harmful than positive.

    I agree with the notion that anyone who sells a product or service — whatever that might be — is in some way philosophically bound to another person’s perception. That’s the basic premise of bringing to market something your audience wants. But not everyone is your audience. For every person who thinks a painting is beautiful, there’s another who thinks it’s crap. And we all can’t be fans of cupcake trucks or wheat grass shots. Does that mean the people who brought those things to market failed to listen to others?

    I think the trick is not caring what others think in the larger sense (being true to yourself and your niche), but listening to your tribe once you’ve found it.

  17. This is a classic paradox where both are equally true: I do care what other people think (after all, I want them to be drawn to me and the service I provide) AND I can’t be attached to what others think of me, because certainly there will be many who just plain aren’t interested in what I do. What others think matters, and yet must not define me–that must come from my own center, my own heart, without being defined by other people’s opinions. If I am constantly blown about by other people’s opinion of me, I have no solid ground left to stand on because I’m always trying to fit their varied expectations, which is impossible.

    Thank you for an engaging post!

  18. Mark Kelly says:

    When evaluating the reason that people liked the saying I would wager a lot of people did this on an emotional level vs. on a logical level. On an emotional level this resonates with people who feel judged, need to conform and they seek to separate themselves from that reality.

    To me it feels like an unfinished quote because clearly it is your business based on reasons Jonathan mentioned. What people think about us drives down to how we are perceived and it does have significant repercussions on our opportunity for advancement and success in many areas of life. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to how we are perceived since awareness is power and with it comes the choice to change or not change. Either way it is better to be aware and make a strategic choice vs. making a simplistic statement about it being none of your business what people think about you.

  19. That sentiment raises some question marks for me as well. Maybe part of what you’re bumping into there is a bit of black and white thinking. “Either I have no regard for what other people think of me, or I place a high level of importance on it.”

    Perhaps it would be better to look at it on a situational basis. If it’s a situation where you can make a case that someone’s opinion of you has a direct impact on a goal you’re trying to achieve or a situation you’re trying to create, then you’re absolutely right. What others think of you IS your business.

    But the vast majority of things in life AREN’T directly tied to that. And so we waste energy worrying about perceptions of us that have no relevance or impact on who we are or the life we live. And when we do that, it feeds the too-prevalent feeling that we somehow aren’t “enough.”

    So maybe a better quote would be, “What other people think of you is none of your business (unless it is).”

  20. I’m definitely a red-blooded, indie-type who likes to strut to the beat of my own drum and encourages her daughter to grow up with the same sense of personal conviction and confidence.

    … BUT, I am also a writer and marketer who understands the value of giving your audience what they want, how they want it, when they want it.

    For me – and this is a journey I’m living right now – it’s less about worrying about general opinions and more about listening openly and intelligently to the opinions that matter to you. There is a lot of noise out there, and a lot of people who are willing and able to knock you down for no reason. But, those people have nothing to do with your success. They are riff-raff, peripheral, irrelevant. They were never going to help you succeed in the first place, so they definitely don’t matter. At all.

    On the other hand, the people who might become part of your success story – partners, mentors, and – of course – customers – the opinions of these people matter. If you don’t listen to them, you are not being independent, you’re being ignorant and conceited.

    No man is an island … and, certainly, no business is an island either. You can be true to your passions and your personality, but once you find your Right People, your Tribe … you’d better listen and listen well. You may evolve your ideas and your business and move on to a new Tribe, but at each iteration of your work, you are speaking to a particular person. What kind of human being would you be if it was only a one-way conversation? Put your work out there and listen to the feedback from the people who matter. Then reiterate, adapt, evolve. Play and have fun, but keep the dialog open. That’s the way to grow – your business and yourself.

  21. Ceil says:

    Some people are always going to be distrustful and bad mouth anyway, but yes in business it does matter what people think of me. In my personal life it hurts like crazy but the important thing is that I’m happy with myself. If I am honest and doing the best I can that is all I can do.

  22. Business is the art of giving your customers what they want. Customers will judge you, as well as the products or services you provide. You can take it personally, or not. Which stance serves you and your customer best?

  23. Lorraine says:

    This issue is really about the difference between artists and craftsmen. Both are honorable callings, but they’re not the same.

    Coelho speaks for artists. Artists don’t create to please others, nor can they predict their art’s finished product. Their act of creation has nothing to do with commerce. They are compelled to produce by a relentless force even they don’t understand. They can’t not create, even if they never receive remuneration.

    By contrast, craftsmen create objects to sell. The objects may be fine, beautiful and useful, but unlike art, they are produced with commercial objectives. And unlike an artist, a craftsman controls his finished product–his meticulous control defines him as a master.

    I think Coelho’s sentiment resonates so strongly because it speaks to the artist in each of us. The part of us untouched by market imperatives.

  24. John Sherry says:

    I think IN business it should be your business what people say or perceive about you. In life that opinion is only up to others. The former can make or break you, the latter most certainly should not!

  25. When we’re selling, caring is important. When we’re just being, not so much. Then some will say “you’re always selling.” To which I would say, “sometimes I have to just be.”

    Being is the wellspring of our true nature. Sometimes we choose to fashion or tweak that raw material when we want something from our external world. When I’m being, what you think isn’t really important to me. Luckily there’s enough people who appreciate my “being.”

    So to say it another way, this quote doesn’t apply equally to who we are and what we do (desire).

  26. This is such a thought provoking question.

    I agree with Paulo’s statement. What other people think about you IS non of your business…and you really have no control over it. What they think is all about them and their perceptions. If you get caught up in worrying about it, you get no where fast.

    When it comes to my biz,I want people to want what I offer…but if I solely focus on giving people what I think they want..it is easy to loose myself in that and I end up doing a bunch of stuff that doesn’t really feel good to me.

    What I really want to do in my business is resonate deeply with my ideal people. I want to be very clear on what I have to offer and who I can best serve. I want to clearly communicate with them so that they know that I understand their needs and am able to serve them well. In doing this I am also paying attention to my own resonance with what I am offering.I want to be in perfect harmony and to feel that.

    I find that the only thing that I get caught up in is finding the right words to communicate what I do and who I work with. That is where the ‘what the what people think’ comes in for me…or maybe it is more about what their perception of what I am offer is. I used to use the word “Freak” in my copy right up front…but that ended up causing a bunch of confusion because people were thinking too much about what exactly I was offering and who I was offering it to. It wasn’t working out so well and my right people were having a hard time seeing me clearly because they had to think about it too much.

    Thanks for the thought provoking post!

  27. I hear you Jonathan and yet I’m not totally with you on this one.

    I’ve lived my life from both perspectives. Being all wrapped up in caring about what others thought of me kept me doing the two step to anothers tune most of my life. During this time I felt supressed and non creative. I adopted this perspective so as to fit in and be accepted – needless to say it didn’t work for me.

    When I finally gave up the ghost, the world opened up to me in a big way. When I started living my passion, I started getting everything I needed to fulfill my dreams.

    After publishing some highly contraversial experiential information pertaining to human potential development, I was invited to travel abroad and speak on expanding multidimensional awareness. This didn’t happen as a result of caring about waht anyone tought of me – or weather I’d get high ratings. It came about because I was unwilling to hold myself back from doing what I knew was mine to do.

    I believe most people want to abandon ‘herd consciousness’, they jsut don’t know how to take the first step – being the example of what it looks like to ‘break through’ is not for everyone but it is my work.

    And with that said I have to also say I don’t believe that anyone can win all of the people all of the time. I believe you have to do what you feel guided and directed to do and ‘know’ that ‘if you build it they will come’ – when the time is right.

    The notion that the creative impulse vibrates to the frequency of consensus reality just doesn’t hold water for me.

  28. Contrarian says:

    Jonathan – I believe the key distinction here, is Coehlo does not write on the topic of growing subscribers, selling product, or success in business. He writes about happiness and self-realization. So in this regard, Coehlo has it right, if you want to live a self-actualized life and be happy then you must live your life independent of the good opinions of others.

  29. Koby Ackie says:

    I think the key here is balance. Not every business can cater to every individual on the planent. While it is a possibility it is highly unlikely.

    With that said, when running a business we must find relationships that fit into the business model and resonate with our beliefs about the way business should be run.

    Some businesses are willing to make a deal with anyone who is willing to pay. This isn’t necessarily healthy, especially if the relationship is ignored.

    So on the scale between completely independent and completely dependent, our jobs are to find the “sweet” center point in which we can behave in a non-judgemental environment while still connecting with people that we respect, and trust. In a sense, you choose the peolpe whose opinion matters to you.

  30. Bonnie says:

    I’m single and on the dating scene, sort of. I meet men who don’t like me, for whatever reason. If I let that get to me, which I sometimes have, I would be an emotional wreck and would travel down a very unappealing road to depression and self-hate. So that’s where not caring what others think comes in handy. The last guy I went out with hated that I didn’t love junior hockey. Oh well. I don’t, what can I say? I can’t and won’t take up an interest that isn’t really true to me.

    In my job, however, it’s essential that people like me. I’m not an entrepreneur, I work in a huge organization, providing communication services. If my clients don’t like me, it’s a tragedy for my career. So I bend over backwards to be liked. And it works, because knock on wood, I still have a job and people are pleased to have me assigned to their projects.

    So it’s 50/50. Nothing is ever as black and white as famous quotes would have you believe!!

  31. Jonathan Fields says:

    Hey gang,

    Love the conversation, as always. I probably should have made the distinction between business, as in “way you live” and Business, as in way you earn your living. What I’m talking about here is the latter.

    Turns out, I’ve got a lot more thoughts on this, especially in the context of another word that’s been used quite a bit in the comments – authenticity.

    But, it’s all too big for a comment, so I’m going to take the conversation to the next level in a follow-up post, probably on Friday. Should be interesting, lol.

    Sneak preview – “If you build it, they will come” is right for some of the people some of the time, but if you’re the wrong person or the right person who hasn’t done the work and it’s the wrong time…you’re not gonna be happy. 😉

    More on Friday…

    • Okie doke, then … I can revise my previous comment to say that in business, it absolutely matters what people think of you, what you do, how you carry yourself and conduct your affairs.

      It doesn’t mean that you have to always change to meet their expectations, but it matters.

      Looking forward to your follow-up on Friday-ish. (and still…keep doing great work and making this world a better place, okay?)

      Take good care,

    • Oh, another thought. This is Paulo Coelho we’re talking about here. He could post just about anything (e.g. “Dorks rule”) and get thousands of peeps to jump on the “like” train.;-)so I also think there is something of a grain of salt factor at work.

  32. Elana says:

    Jonathan, I interpret that statement to mean the following:

    Do not allow the opinions and judgements of others to impede your personal path, crush your spirit, or otherwise piss in your proverbial bowl of Kashi.

    I do not take this very unoriginal statement to suggest throwing away good sense, the advice of a trusted council, feedback from investors/business partners and customers. It is meant to inspire, not inform.

  33. I think it’s exactly as you say in your follow-up comment, Jonathan. It depends on what we are doing, creating, or producing if it’s a product of some substance.

    I tend to think that we all have those “I don’t give a damn what other people think” moments, some of us more than others. And, you’re right, there are a few “luminaries” out there that may follow this as an all-out lifestyle. For some it works, for others…

    I don’t think, however, that a one-size-fits-all approach to this idea works very well, as in you gotta know when to wear that hat and when to take it off. In life, we want to blossom into beautiful and “authentic” (can’t wait for your follow-up post!) creatures with the truth of our soul practically radiating visibly into the air, but in business we are out there to serve others make them happy in a way that allows us to “return home” spiritually, as well, so, yeah, we naturally become concerned, not worried, about how people respond to what we create.

    Awesome questions, keep ’em coming!

    Thank you,


  34. Parker Lee says:

    Interesting post, there’s a fine line between doing what you love, and saying screw you to anyone who doesn’t like us for us. Versus, trying to attract a following.

    It’s that fine line of being ourselves and trying to attract like minded people that will have people wondering… ” can i really be myself?”

    This is something I struggle with even today, “i wanna be myself, I wanna write and do things because it’s who iam and what I love, but will it scare away most people?”

    interesting post, Jonathan

  35. Hi Jonathan,

    Making a decision based on what other people think about you – rather than doing something that comes from your heart, saying “Damn the torpedoes”, and moving forward – creates a dangerous “What will people think?” precedent. Yikes!

    If your motivation is coming from a place of concern (what will people think of me, of my brand) instead of coming from the heart, your work will never be God’s work, or what the universe placed you hear to do. There will always be a “self-conscious/fear of criticism” filter that siphons out your most heartfelt ideas, stuff that could change the world like nothing else.

    Do I adopt the “don’t care about what others think” mindset all of the time? Heck no. I haven’t reached that level of confidence or self-assuredness yet. Few human beings have because we have an inherent fear of criticism which is stronger than the fear of death in most.

    The moment you become more concerned with what people think about you, and you stop acting from your heart, you are doomed. When I speak from the heart I attract people similar to me and piss off people who think very differently from me. There’s no filter there, so I receive the full brunt of positive and negative responses. When I become concerned with what other people think and measure my response I am more popular across the board, but that’s not my job during my short stay on earth. I make more friends but have less influence. Again, yuk!

    Thanks for sharing the interesting question Jonathan. Have a powerful day!


    • Jonathan Fields says:

      “Making a decision based on what other people think about you – rather than doing something that comes from your heart…”

      Challenge is – the above sentence sets up the decision as an either/or proposition, doesn’t have to be that way.

      Thing is, it’s not about doing what’s in your heart OR doing what other people want and will pay for, it’s about figuring out where the sweet spot it.

      It is very possible to come alive while also creating value for others. It’s not an either or proposition. Anyway, more on Friday’s post.

      Thanks for sharing.

  36. Amy says:

    I definitely agree with those who commented that it is a matter of context. I completely agree with Jonathan yet to a certain degree, Coehlo. The quote is a lot more paradoxical than appears. In order to really be big enough to care what other people think and adjust accordingly in business, one has to be strong minded, stubborn and confident enough of oneself personally that nothing others say will crack that inner core. Only then, can you extend yourself wholeheartedly to others in business matters.

  37. susan says:

    Excellent insight on everyone’s part! I love what you all have to say 🙂
    Here’s how it seems to work for me. I cannot create from a place of concern about what others might think of me or my work. EVER! Still, I fall into that trap regularly. Specifically when I’m working on a piece that I’m sure one of my clients will “love.” Attempting to create from that place hinders my natural abilities and my authenticity is diminished. My best work has always come from the gut. I personally think when I’m being true to myself I am more able to be of service to others. I’m not convinced that looking for the approval of others is essential to business. Do the work and let go of the results. No expectations.

  38. Wanting to be liked is a liability we all have to a certain extent, but it is not the same as caring what people think about you, which is a human aspect whose needle needs to be somewhere in the middle of the gauge. If we did not care AT ALL, we would never write anything or create anything, and walk out naked and unwashed. If we cared too much, we would tailor every instance of life and every inch of our appearance, and every aspect of anything we made or wrote… which would make us all look more or less alike with no original writings.

  39. I am going to state it very simply and say, “LIVE in YOUR TRUTH”….if you are living with passion and love then you must be doing something right and your heart must be in the right place so simply live without wondering what others think of you……
    In gratitude,

  40. …just an afterthought.

    Whether what people think of you is your business or not, it’s just a thought. How do we know what they think of us? Perhaps through follows, purchases, comments, surveys, conversations, protests, kind actions, shared friendships … in the business world (which I honestly know little about) how are the thoughts about you conveyed? Do you make it your business to know their thoughts?

  41. caitlyn says:

    What IF your passion isn’t marketable? What IF your offering won’t be appreciated for another 20 years – but when it is… hello, Van Gogh?

    You may be invisible to the market that will love you. I think the don’t worry about what others think isn’t a rallying call to ignore the marketplace but one that allows the genius to keep plodding. Most of us are not geniuses, we don’t always recognize genius either because we worry that others will consider us bizarre for enjoying Tom Waits – until we realize that thousands and thousands of other people, including Johnny Carson think Tom Waits is the boss.

    A tricky tightrope, indeed.

  42. […] buzzword of all buzzwords in social media for at least a year.And, in response to my recent post, What People Think IS Your Business, many folks shared how important they believe it is “be authentic,” then let the chips […]

  43. […] and jeans, there is a strong possibility that they wil lnot be viewed as a true professional.   As Jonathan Fields says, In that world, what other people think IS your […]

  44. Lori says:

    Jonathan, I see your point very clearly – great post. I’m glad you clarified your position to put a distinction on biz vs. personal. Too many people try to please others, defining themselves by external standards. When you know what you stand for, your intent comes from your inner light, and you are comfortable you are doing the best you can with the resources you have, nothing else matters. However, if you find yourself in relationships who can’t accept “who you are” instead of changing, try to reflect on if their opinion is focused on an area YOU want to do better in, or if being in that relationship requires effort you aren’t willing to make. This goes with business too. If you are a personal development “guru” trying to change the world, but your vision for the world doesn’t match up with the target audience, this is when you simply do 2 things: 1. Re-evaluate your message. 2. Re-target your audience. Too many people launch businesses on ideas and not facts. Find out what they want, then figure out if you can give it to them authentically and consistently. Thanks for the valuable thought provoking post, as always.

  45. Mary says:

    I just deleted the comment section of my blog, Capturing Happiness. Last Friday, a man posted three very rude comments on my blog …comments that attacked me directly. Luckily, I have a very good sense of humor and was able to laugh his comments off. But it got me to thinking – how often to I worry about what others think about me, and how energy have I wasted trying to control others?