What would you do if you didn’t care what you thought of them ?…rather the question should be, what would you not do if you didn’t care what you thought of them. Well, mostly everything that you want to do. Failure in all respects is a relative term, measured by other’s opinion of oneself. Conventional wisdom leads us to believe that ‘Man is a social animal’. When stretched too far, we allow that dictum to direct our lives.

“I was stuck for an hour outside the office. K was supposed to pick me up, but can you believe it, she forgot?!! Full one hour.. I waited!” claimed Fancy. Nancy stood listening. Fancy carried on “I had to call her and remind her to pick me up. Everyone had left by then” Fancy waited on with a look of exasperation on her face. Nancy kept her face straight, and remarked, “Why didn’t you take a rickshaw?” Fancy was too surprised to know for sure whether her friend seriously proposed that she should take a rickshaw. Duh uh.

Society has a set of unsaid norms, one must comply with, otherwise you are pronounced as a failure. The norms are prevalent in every socioeconomic strata that you cannot possibly escape them, unless you wish to be a pariah. Everyone seems to have an opinion of how things are done, and if you dare to do things in any other way, you are told self defeating statements, like “That’s not how it is done” or “We have always done it this way”

Maybe you need to ask ‘what if’

What if, I said no to that party I don’t want to go to?

What if I took the project everyone is telling me is too risky?

What if Fancy didn’t care what other people would think of her when she took the rickshaw?

What if I took up photography instead of the clerical job I am doing?

What if I decided not to marry the person my family is forcing me to?

What if…. A powerful proposition.

When the basic premise of executing a decision is conscious or unconscious approval of ‘others’ it is flawed in its foundation. The art of taking a decision comes from carefully weighing its ramifications and the guts to own up the responsibility; certainly not just people’s opinion. Taking a decision is a personal choice and yet we try to cut corners, blunt the edges, just trying to fit in with others. As long as you do fit in, everyone is okay with it. The moment you put one toe out of the line, you are a subject of ridicule, if not anywhere else, then at least in your own mind, where the thought “what will others say ”, holds your spirit a prisoner.

And every once in a while, you weigh the situation and follow your heart, and let everyone’s opinion drown in background noise. That moment you set yourself free.

Yes, it’s a vicious circle. Yes, you do go back to the same pattern of enslaving yourself and yes, when it becomes too suffocating, you swim up to the surface for a breath of fresh air. Every time you breathe that air, you come back for more.. Such is life ! #mindovermatter