The One Time It Matters What Someone Else Thinks of You

Fellow Riskologist,

I was just out to happy hour with a friend who’s feeling a bit down.

She’s finishing school soon and moving away. Her life is going through a lot of changes, she’s taking some big risks, and not all of them are working out the way she hoped they would. Big things are happening, but her future isn’t certain.

As a Riskologist, I’m sure you can identify with the feeling. I know I can.

The truth is, my friend is incredible. She’s graduating at the top of her class, has a great job lined up, and she’s even adopting a child. There is no one on the planet who would look at her life and say, “Hey, you really need to step it up, you loser.” But something is still eating her.

When you play a big game in your life, you open yourself up to more failure than the average person does.

So many people are happy to get through life making as few waves as possible. When you don’t step out of your comfort zone, there’s little to worry about when things go wrong.

But you and me? We’re not like that. We can’t be like that. We can’t find happiness in the mediocre or the mundane. So we go bigger. We succeed bigger and,¬†sometimes,¬†we fail bigger.

If you live like this, it’s easy to become your own harshest critic when you look back and see a string of recent failures in one part of your life. You start to doubt yourself. You wonder if you’ve ever done anything valuable at all or if you ever will.

This is the moment when someone else’s opinion matters.

I remember feeling just like my friend only a month ago. So many big things were going well in my life, but a few small things weren’t great. I let myself focus on the imperfections, and I was having a rough time as a result.

I wrote an embarrassing “woe is me” email to a few friends lamenting my terrible situation.

They were kind enough to write back, but they were rather confused. “Tyler,” they said. “I get that a few things aren’t going perfectly for you, but those are easily fixed, and you have so many other things that are amazing! Have you forgotten about all of those?”

I had forgotten about them.

And you know what? Being reminded helped. My friends gave me the kick in the pants I needed to stop complaining and do something about it.

Maybe you’ve forgotten about your own massive string of successes that ought to be drowning out any minor wounds you’re licking now, but for some strange reason, doesn’t offer much comfort at the moment.

Or maybe you’re reading and thinking to yourself, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. Everything is amazing!”

If that’s you, good. I hope it stays that way! But if you’re a dedicated Riskologist, someday you will likely face this scenario. And when you do, remember that there are a few moments in life when it’s quite helpful to care what others think about you.

This moment is one of them. Just make sure you have the right people in your corner.

Yours in risk-taking,