To Stop Worrying on Other’s Opinion

We sometimes feel the need for other’s validation on everything that we do. Moreover, we often fear that other people will judge us negatively in what we do for them. These need for validation and fear of other’s judgement possibly could hinder us in giving our best shots in all things that we do. Imagine speaking in one presentation while fearing what the audiences think about us, the feelings are probably comparable.

Asking for constant feedback from others is the first thing that we could do in that condition. Rather than guessing or fearing the worst-case scenario, sometimes it is better to just ask them for a direct comment. A helpful person will gladly provide us with constructive feedback to help us grow to be better.

Yet in other cases, it is hard if not nearly impossible, to ask for direct feedback from the other parties. In this type of condition, it is then better to ask ourselves whether we already give our best shots and the best intention. Finding fulfilment in realizing the fact that we already offer our best effort and not setting our goal for other’s judgement is often enough.

Wishing Things to Happen as They Actually Will

“Don’t seek for everything to happen as you wish it would, but rather wish that everything happens as it actually will—then your life will flow well.” 

Epictetus – The Enchiridion

As I grew older, and hopefully wiser, I’ve come to a realization that it is not the part of praying for too much a thing that disappoints us most when the prayer is not granted. It is actually praying for matters to change outside of our control when we could actually reframe the prayer to affect us instead.

Now, instead of praying to God, the holder of the power to change one’s heart, for other’s changes, I’m praying for a change of mine instead. Acceptance of what life currently have in store, strength to go through the day, and for guidance for what actually destined for me.

On Why to be Actively Grateful

I used to pray for a lot of stuff, and all got fulfilled until it doesn’t.

The funny thing is that we as a human tends to remember the negativity of events rather than the positive side. Try to recall events that occurred in the latest year or two of your life. You are more likely to remember how certain things went wrong rather than how other things made you happy. That is just how our brain works [1].

I am no different. It is hard to forget how things went wrong and saddening throughout my life. It seems so easy for those unwanted events to just pop-up in the thought throughout the days. To recall pleasant memories, however, needs more active work.

Probably that’s why God keeps reminding us in The Book about His favors [2], detailing some of many things around us that we could be grateful of so that we as a human being keep trying our best to have active work in recalling our pleasant memories.

[2] QS 55

On a Wandering Mind

“No retreat offers someone more quiet and relaxation than that into his own mind…..So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself”

Marcus Aurelius in Meditations

I used to believe that getting out of my daily routines and visiting new places will help my mind find its peace.

It does indeed open up my eyes to differences that this world has to offer, new people with each of their mindsets, utterly different weather conditions, unpleasant yet exciting foods and drinks. But what it does not provide is an escape.

I used to think that by physically getting away from your current condition and location everything would always turn out better than what you already have, get out of your comfort zone they said. But what if you don’t feel comfortable or peaceful in the first place? Does challenging yourself into a new condition to find the aforementioned “comfort zone” might work? It does not, I argue.

What I didn’t realize is that we cannot escape from what resides inside our heads. Wherever we go, no matter how far, our fear, boredom, anxiety may still haunt us.

To find peace, I discovered, is to let ourselves retreat to our own minds. Let our mind think and answer questions that we ask it. Let it wander into its own world without keeping too much attention to what’s happening in the outside world. Let it rest. Let it find its shelter.

an empty bench, a shelter

A 20:80 Rule

Vilfredo Pareto was an Italian economist. He published a paper showing that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. His principle, called “Pareto principle” turns out can be applied and used to explain a lot of events that happens in this world. In the field of economics, it can be used to show that roughly 20% of the world’s riches control 80% of world’s income. In the field of business, it can also be used to show that roughly 80% of company’s income come from 20% of its customer, as well as 80% of its complaints comes from 20% of its customer. In the field of linguistic, it can be used to show that 20% most used words in every languages will show 80% of the time in that specific language. The list goes on and on. Heck! It can be used to show that you will use 20% of clothes in your drawer 80% of the time!

As a human however, sometimes it is hard for us to care if one only shows us a statistical number. If I tell you that 80% of people who live in your neighborhood only share 20% of the wealth that your neighborhood have, will you take a glimpse and think about them? I don’t think so. Only when you interact with one of them, meet them face to face in person, you will at least have a feeling that you want to help those in need.

This principle will also tell you that there are exist a number of people, roughly 20% of the people you have met throughout your life, that have a great influence in your life. 80% of your success, what you achieve in your life, will be because of them. They may be people who are in the same class at you when you were in high school, they may be the one that you meet in your office and give you a recommendation letter for your new job, they may be your best friend who sticks with your weirdness, they may be anyone you don’t notice at first. What I know that, you owe these people a thank you.

Unknown Unknowns

There are different level of knowledge and your view about the world:

  • Things you know that you know them
  • Things you know that you don’t know them
  • Things you don’t know that you don’t know them

This fruit of thought is the highlight of a discussion in one moment in my office.

Since we don’t know whose quote was this, i put an extra effort to look it up, it turns out it was a quote from Donald Rumsfeld, here is the full quote:

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.

The idea of unknown unknowns is interesting, isn’t it? it what fuels human’s advancement so far, the hunger of knowledge. That sensation of walking in a direction of unknowns, not knowing what you will get in the end, even not knowing what to expect other than the expectation to expand our know knowns, or known unknowns at least.

So, how much you know that you don’t know?