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Do you care about what other people think and say about you?  In this episode, I invite you to explore the paradox of caring and ride the waves of the nuance to decide how you approach caring in your life.

When it comes to caring about other people’s opinions, there’s pretty mixed advice. However, you don’t actually have to pick a side. The beauty of paradoxes is that more than one thing can be true

I started thinking about the paradox of caring during the summer of 2018. I was reading  Gary Vee’s book Crushing It as I dreamed about leaving my full-time job. One insight stuck with me. 

Basically, Gary Vee says that in order to be successful, you need to not care what anyone else thinks, and you need to care what everyone else thinks. 

Both perspectives can be true. So I tried to break it down in my own way. 

When not to care

Not caring about what other people think is incredibly freeing. How do you know which opinions to let go of? 

You don’t have to care when they’re operating on a different definition of success

Success is a relative concept. Society tries to tell us that it’s about having the most money or the fanciest car. Ideally, we should all be crafting our own definitions of success. There are no value judgments when it comes to defining success, unless you’re hurting yourself or others.  

As Amy Poehler says, “Good for her, not for me”. If someone is chasing a different version of success than you are, you don’t have to care what they think.

You don’t have to care when they don’t really know you 

If someone doesn’t know your heart, your intentions, and your story, they’re strangers to you. You are allowed not to care what strangers think, despite what social media would have you believe. You don’t have to take the praise or the criticism. Find the balancing of noticing without taking things personally.

When to care

Choose to care when it’s your customer or stakeholder

You should care when in situations where there’s a value exchange. This includes relationships with people like you:

  • Boss
  • Clients
  • Colleagues
  • Partners

The nuance is that you need to understand where these relationships fit in the larger picture of where you are headed.  There is a difference between your ideal customer and someone that happened across your work. Think about the value of their investment and care accordingly. 

Choose to care when it’s someone you’re in close relationship with 


This probably sounds obvious, but you should care about the opinions of the people who you have a close relationship with like:

  • Your partner
  • Your close friend
  • Your family
  • Someone who you work really closely with 
  • Someone you are chasing the same goals with

Whether it’s a friendship or partnership, long term relationships merit your caring and consideration. 

In general, try to have a look at what is the level of exchange and investment in a relationship and then let that decide how you approach caring. 

I invite you to navigate the paradox of caring and look at the different nuances that are relevant to your own life. As with most paradoxes, these categorizations leave so much room for exploration. 

Call to reflection

Notice where you are caring too much about someone’s opinion and explore how you might release it. See if you can identify a place where maybe you are not caring enough about someone’s opinion and explore what it would look like to approach that relationship with more care.