I’ll admit it…I like to please people.
I don’t like it if someone is upset because of something I said or did. And to be honest it’s something that drives me crazy. It is one of the biggest sources of procrastination and non-action for me.
I can spend more time speculating and worrying about how something I am doing is going to be percieved than working on the thing itself. And when it eats into my time and thoughts, it influences the very essense of what I produce. I make changes, and adapt the work in the hope that I can make it hate-proof (as far as I can tell).
But as the potential hate-proofing increases so too does a ‘lameness factor’, and it leads to a limp, floppy, dripping soppy piece of crap that no one will take any notice of anyway.
The People-Pleasing Paradox
This is the paradox of ‘people pleasing’. The more we do it, the less anyone notices what we’re doing.
But I realise that ‘people-pleasing’ is not the problem. We’re not actually talking about pleasing people because that’s not what we’re trying to do. Rather our motivation is to not DISPLEASE people. And that’s impossible if we are do anything that has an impact on the world.
The only way to not displease people is to do stuff that no one notices in the first place. If people can see what you’re doing it is in their nature to be divided in opinion about it.
So with that in mind here are five reasons, for the sake of your own well-being that you should stop trying to not displease everyone right now:
1. You Can’t
Stop believing that everyone will like you. They wont. Stop believing that everyone will like what you do, your methods, and your reasons behind it. They wont. That’s life, and that’s people.
And remember: YOU are the other person for everyone else in the world. Do you like everyone, everything that everyone does, and the motives behind everyone’s actions? Well, most people want to be accepted, liked, and encouraged. There are very few people who enjoy being hated, but those who push through are the ones that accept that their work is not for everyone.
2. Displeasing One Person Pleases Someone Else
Bearing in mind that you can’t please everyone, and you can only make an impact if you’re not motivated by the desire to avoid displeasing them, the thing to remember is that on the whole if someone is actively opposed to what you do then you’re doing something right.
For every person who hates your work there will probably be someone who loves it.
3. If You Try Doing it for Everyone Then You End up Doing it for No One
As I said, the more we are driven by the desire not to displease people, the higher the potential dampness of our work. If we are desperate not to upset people then we create blandly unfocussed work that makes no impact on anyone. By focussing and accepting the fact that we will upset at least somebody with what we do, we find an audience. People like belonging to, and identifying with a tribe, and that means liking something that others don’t.
4. You Lose Your Integrity and Your Voice
When people-pleasing affects the content of our work we are in real danger of compromising our integrity and overlooking the voice of our inner artist. We create out of fear rather than from our uniquely positioned passion. No one who ever made a significant impact on the world did so because they put other peoples’ opinions of them ahead of their belief in what they were doing.
5. It Wasn’t Why You Started Doing What You Do
What are your goals, dreams, and ambitions? Why did you start doing what you do? What motivates your work? The desire not to displease hasn’t always been with you. It seeps in over time. And it’s never too late to re-find your original passion and drive.