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“Intrinsic security doesn’t come from what other people think of us or how they treat us. It doesn’t come from our circumstances or our position. It comes from within —- from living a life of integrity in which our daily habits reflect our deepest values.” Stephen R Covey

Aye, there’s the rub. What other people think about us doesn’t matter – but when what they think isn’t great, it hurts.

They say that when we are 20-40, we care deeply about what people think about us. From 40-60, we don’t care what people think about us. And after 60, we realise they weren’t thinking about us at all.

We are all prone to living in accordance with what we see in the ‘social mirror’, where other people’s opinions matter more than our own. Where we dress in accordance with ‘fashion’ and seek to be ‘trendy’ – a word I cannot STAND, it smacks so much of blind compliance with someone else’s opinions, tastes or values. I always laugh when I see ‘anarchists’ all dressed the same and thinking the same way. When they get what they want – anarchy – they’ll hate each other.

Once you realise that what other people think is less important than your compliance with your own value system, beliefs and needs – in other words, when you now possess a higher sense of personal character – life takes on a new perspective. You start to become a leader, not a follower. Okay, others may not follow, but you’re not on TV wearing a suit but no tie; your hair is not covered in oil and brushed up like a 40’s ventriloquist’s puppet; your shoes aren’t longer than you are tall; and because you aren’t following the crowd, you get noticed.

Which is all we wanted all along, wasn’t it? Only now it’s for the right reasons.

Be yourself. Be a leader.