Others either don’t notice, don’t care, or it does not matter
When it comes to other people’s expectations (real or imagined), and how they compare with what we actually do (or wish to do), emotions (especially of the stressful and unhelpful kind) tend to fly high. We easily obsess about what other people might think about us.
But while we make up “castles” in our mind, frequently the truth is unimaginatively plain.
More often than not:
1- Others either don’t notice…
Because they are too distracted and they have their own obsessions to worry about already. Or they do not focus that much on the particulars, because they are not as invested as you in the first place in the details of what you are doing.
Mostly it is only the (hopefully good) overall impression that lasts, if anything at all.
Think of the audience looking at a ballet dancer, or any professional performer on stage. Nobody will ever be in the artist’s ever-critical mind and notice all (real or imagined) “flaws” as the performance unfolds.
2- Don’t care…
Because, as those who simply do not notice, they have their own things to worry and, in their turn, “obsess” about, and you simply do not fall in their first order of “priorities”.
People are usually happier to have anything faster over “perfect”- And not having to spend too much time on something too elaborate is usually welcomed as an added bonus for them.
Honestly? Just take any time a lawyer delivers a memo to a business client: Anything too far away from the opening or closing line, and dug too deeply in the amorphous or (heaven forbid!) unbulleted text will be hopelessly “lost.”
3- Or it does not matter…
Because whatever you had planned went a different way altogether. There are so many variables that can “sidetrack” whatever was “supposed” to happen.
Here is a painfully recurrent example: Worrying about being late for a meeting, only to find out that it had been postponed at the last minute – Or usually, five minutes _after_ it was supposed to start.
Honestly, the list could be endless here. Because:
We _unfailingly_ tend to exaggerate the “dire consequences” of our own acts or omissions – And when absolutely nothing happens, (instead of taking duly note and cheering up!), we usually just go ahead and start obsessing all over again on the following “drama” about to unfold…
Beware though: The effects of “sidetracking” – which is when reality “gets in the way” of whatever was planned – can go both ways: Preparing for the team call with the “perfect” pitch, just to see it “ditched” as your meeting run out of time (again!) as your overly chatty, sometimes unbearably obsequious colleagues, “stole” most of your floor can be equally unnerving for the same reason. Just consider the (huge waste of) time you spent obsessing about all the details, only to finally see your whole plan dissolve in front of your eyes as smoke. With no second thought, or “sorry” given!
Disclaimer: The Outliner…
OK, admittedly there is always the (fortunate or, depending on the deed, misfortunate!) case where people actually do notice and care, with no “sidetracking” coming to the rescue – or to ruin everything, always depending on the perspective.
But arguably this accounts only for a tiny fraction of all situations you painfully build up in your mind, so it is not “wise” to build your general “business case” on it!
And, in any event, to “appease the too easily wrecked nerves” here, as I touched upon in Rule 12:
Pleasing everyone is impossible, but pissing everyone off is a piece of cake!