Do You Care Too Much About What Others Are Thinking?

Last week-end I went to a very nice place called WuXie, a marvelous natural environment with 5 waterfalls.

And because I am currently thinking about running barefoot, I wanted to seize that opportunity to walk barefoot and get used to it.

Sounds easy, right? I just have to stop walking, take off my shoes and socks, and then start walking barefoot. The ground wasn’t particularly dangerous, so there was no problem there.

And yet, something was stopping me from doing it. There was a voice in my head, telling me “Hey, don’t do it! What are the other people going to think? They’re going to make fun of you. You are already the only foreigner within 5 miles, no need to attract more attention…”

I’m sure you know what I mean. Have you ever been stopped in doing something because you were afraid of other people’s reactions and comments?

It is often a good thing to be able to restrain ourselves, and it is necessary to live in society, but really, aren’t we overdoing it?

Here are two questions I asked myself when trying to decide whether I would take-off my shoes or not:

  1. Is it really inappropriate?
  2. Do I really care about what other people may think about me walking barefoot?

As the answer to both questions was ‘no’, I decided that my fears were unfounded, and I proceeded in going bare-feet.

It was awesome! I had a great time, climbing for several hours, stepping in the water when possible, letting my feet dry as I was climbing more steps, feeling the cold or warm stones under my feet, I totally loved it. It was even better than hiking in my Vibram Fivefingers.

And yes, many people looked at me with strange looks. Some were surprised, many were amused. I guess I was flagged as a “weird foreigner”. I didn’t matter. Wrong, in fact I think I enjoyed it. It was making me stand out, and I like this feeling.

The lesson? Don’t limit yourself because of what other people may think.

  • It is your life, not theirs
  • It is their limits, not yours
  • Most people won’t remember you in 2 hours anyway
  • If they remember you, it is even better!
  • You may even inspire some to push their own boundaries

You cannot live an amazing life if you care too much about what other people will think. You cannot pursue your dreams, you cannot be an entrepreneur, you cannot stand out, and you cannot inspire others.

Be yourself, be bold. It is your life, make it count!

-Laurent “What You Think Of Me Is None Of My Business” Vigneron.

Image from Barefootrunning.com