One of my greatest teachers was Dr. Abraham Maslow who wrote about highly functioning people—what he called self-actualizers. The number one quality of these people is that they are independent of the opinions of other people, particularly the good opinions of other people. I wrote a lot about approval seeking in my very first book, Your Erroneous Zones, 1976. But I didn’t always follow my own advice in those days. When I’d do an interview or appear on a talk show, I’d read the stories about me the next day. I’d look for reviews of my books and so on. Today, especially in the last four or five years, I feel like I’ve really and truly gotten into a place in my life where it just doesn’t make any difference. The reviews are something that I now have very little concern for.
I gave a speech in Las Vegas recently and I talked about the whole idea of living your life free of concern about outcome. If you can stop worrying about whether people are going to like it or not, what a freeing place to be in your life. You can learn to treat other people’s opinions, whether good or bad, exactly the same way. If someone tells you how wonderful you are, you can treat that exactly the same as if they tell you how awful you are. One of the places I practice this is on Amazon. They have book reviews and almost every day there’s a new review or two. One will have five stars and then another will have half a star and say—“he’s writing books because he’s just there to try and make money.” I know that’s coming from someone who has no idea why I write.
I write because writing is something that I have to do. And it doesn’t matter whether people like it or not. When I write, I feel the pressure Continue Reading