Have you heard of Mindvalley? It’s a $100+ Million dollar business around meditation and spiritual education.
The founder of the company, Vishen Lakhiani, wrote a book on success.
Having been in the self-help space for a while, it’s tough for me to learn something new in a book. Many things are re-hashed. However, I found some interesting things I had never heard before based on the way they were presented.
I want to share with you what I learned in a chapter of the book on not caring what other’s think about you and sprinkle in other useful information I’ve found online:
This is a book summary but much more than that. Along with the top insights I will share with you from this book, I will occasionally add my own insights and knowledge to cross-reference the material.
Question The Rules We Believe
“When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world.
Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money.
That’s a very limited life.
Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.
Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”-Steve Jobs (1955 – 2011)
Much of what we believe about the world is passed down from culture, society, or others. Humans are not as smart and logical as you think. They’re emotion-based decisions, and they have illogical biases.
The author of this book, Vishen Lakhiani, CEO of a $100 Million company, defines a term to describe these limiting beliefs: a Brule.
What is a Brule? A Brule is a bullshit rule that we adopt to simplify our understanding of the world.
Based on how he references a Brule throughout the book, that a Brule is more than that. A Brule is not something that an individual consciously adopts to simply the understanding of the world. It’s adopted simply because it was passed down or naturally assumed without ever considering to question it.
While many Brules may have been constructed by society to simplify how they govern the masses, the individual doesn’t adopt it to simplify anything. He or she does it because one doesn’t know any better.
The Happy Meal Story
Vishen illustrates this wish a childhood story. He always wanted to eat a beef burger from a Happy Meal. A Happy Meal is the standard kids meal available at McDonald’s. He was bombarded with ads throughout his youth about how amazing this meal was but was unable to try it because his religion wouldn’t let him eat beef.
His mother always encouraged him to question his beliefs so he did just that: “Why can’t I eat beef?” His mother responded with, “Why don’t you find out?” Upon his research, he decided that Hindus didn’t eat cows because they honored them as pets. But now, dogs are standard pets so it should be OK. His mother surprisingly allowed him to eat a burger after that.
Common False Beliefs
Common Brules about the world include:
- You need to go to college
- You must be loyal to your culture
- You must obey religion
- You can only have 1 religion
- You have to marry within your culture or religion
- You can only be successful by working yourself to death
- These things make a “good child”
- You’re not spiritual without a religion
- These things make a good parent
- I don’t have the right circumstances to succeed
Where Do These Limiting Beliefs Come From?
They can come from many places but here are the most common:
- Childhood upbringing
- Authority figures or “experts”
- The need to belong
- Social pressures
- Internal insecurities
- Natural biological gravitation to pleasant feelings or “happiness”
Here are some of the top questions you can ask yourself to unearth and root out Brules:
- Is it based on assumptions that the world is naturally bad or good? Many people let guilt and shame consume them to the point of debilitation. This is based on fundamental assumptions or beliefs about religion.
- Is it based on cultural norms about sex?
- Does it take from culture or religion that has been passed down?
- Is it based on trust and hope in humanity?
- Is it based on what others think or do and therefore imitation? Don’t just do things because everyone else is doing it.
- Does it serve your happiness?
The Hidden Art of Not Giving A Fuck
The natural human act of caring is crucial to social and emotional intelligence, which is vital to survival, good human relationships, and caretaking. The issue is that some people are over-calibrated and care too much when they shouldn’t. That may be you.
This is actually a huge issue that many people struggle with. I see a lot of videos being made on the topic that people resonate with online. Here are the top videos on the topic I have come across that are the most helpful:
5 Reasons Not To Give a Shit by Pewdipie (the most subscribed Youtuber of all time. 45 million followers and growing. He’s naturally never had a problem with this so he’s giving advice from a natural’s perspective.)
According to an interview by Joe Polish, he asked President Bill Clinton how he deals with constant criticism. Bill replied that the book the Four Agreements really helped with that. He said there is a chapter devoted to that.
Other than that, try out the book The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck by Mark Manson.
How To Be Unfuckwithable
Let’s begin with the term “unfuckwithable.”
Vishen uses it throughout the book to address the ability to not be affected by your environment. Here’s the definition:
Unfuckwithable: when you’re at peace and in touch with yourself to the point where nothing anyone says or does can bother you. Nothing done to you can bother you. Negativity can’t touch you.
While I don’t struggle with this as much as others, I definitely have been in situations where it can be tough.
I remember always wincing before I could control myself when I sneeze and no one says, “Bless you.” I caught myself seeking validation because I observed everyone else who sneeze get the “Bless you” response and I wanted to belong.
I have had difficulty controlling road rage when people cut me off or did stupid things on the highway. They were clearly late and should have just woken up earlier.
One thing I found that helped was this saying:
“People have the unique ability to decide how to response after stimuli.”
No other animals can really do that. If someone pisses off an animal, they react in a rage. As humans, we can control ourselves.
The best example of this is the photo of the burning monk. It’s a real photo of a monk who is calmly sitting as he burns alive. It’s really graphic so I warn you to be cautious before you look at it.
It was done in protest to the oppression of monks in that era.
This monk could have responded to the natural scream of his body to run around in pain. Instead, he sat there calmly in peace.
1. Make Your Love and Fulfillment Come From Within
The first thing Vishen suggests is to let your love and fulfillment come from yourself rather than others or goals.
When you bind your happiness to something you can’t control, like people, you are at the whim of others.
In the epic sci-fi film series Star Wars, Anakin Skywalker lets his fear of losing his wife and mother consume him.
His master Yoda warned that this fear would lead to destruction. But he resistaned and let it control his actions until he became increasingly more sinister.
Have Goals You Can Control
The book clearly explains why you need goals you can control.
By setting goals outside of your influence, you are depending on things outside of yourself for fulfillment.
For example, goals like these are based on the whims of others:
- To be in love with Beckie.
- To always be around my girlfriend.
- To be happy because my boyfriend is always around.
- To be in a loving relationship with my spouse.
- To always be close with my children.
If the person your goal is linked to decides to do something differently, you fail in your goal because you can’t control it. With that, you can feel unfulfilled or unhappy.
Your child could choose to distance himself from you. Your spouse can choose to hate you.
Instead of the goals I just mentioned, set a goal that you can fully control like:
- To surround myself with loving, smart people.
- To be the best parent I can.
- To be the best partner possible.
By doing this, you free yourself from the neediness and dependence of others. You are attached to them to fulfill their side of the goal to reach fulfillment. This allows you to do better at achieving your goals.
Don’t Follow Trends. Set Direct Goals.
Don’t do things just because others are doing them.
It may be trendy or “cool” to do things, but is it truly what you want? For instance, you may not truly want to travel the world or go sky-diving. You could be pursuing it only because others find it fun. Maybe your real goal is to have incredible, new, scenic experiences.
By identifying what your direct goal is, you get there a lot more efficiently.
Make sure your goals are your own rather than what your parents or friends expect of you. I see this a lot when kids want to become a doctor only because their parents want them to.
2. Realize you’re enough
Most people carry insecurities or psychological issues from childhood. You don’t have to go through something extremely traumatic for this to happen to you.
In rare cases, these childhood issues can be somewhat of a good thing. They can push you to succeed in business or making money. Vishen admitted that he was in this camp.
However, the bad parts of these issues are always worse. And must be removed. They cripple you.
Here are just a couple of the main ways this can manifest:
- Even with financial or outward success, you can still feed hollow inside.
- You are constantly seeking an external validation. Your fulfillment is dependent on others. If someone doesn’t validate you, you’re left feeling horrible.
- Your emotions and life are servants to others.
Because of this dependence, it can cause you to react violently or negatively when you don’t get what you’re looking for.
You could lash out in anger (“What a jerk! How dare they!”) or feel an uncomfortable, undying need to keep seeking it out.
Signs and symptoms of validation-seeking
Here are some common signs that you are seeking validation. It happens when you are looking for:
- More interaction
- Being remembered
causes of validation-seeking
The most common cause has to do with parents. Perhaps, a parent member never recognized or appreciated you enough no matter how much you achieved. Maybe you kept that with you throughout your entire life.
Note: I am not a psychologist. Seek professional advice from books or people on this.
Here’s the author’s solution to developing a self-esteem to know that you are enough no matter what the world has to say about you:
- Lose your validation-seeking ways.
- Don’t judge others.
- Make yourself immune to praise and criticism by not reacting to either. Giving someone the power to build you up with praise also allows them to tear you down with criticism.
I recommend the hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons’s book Success Through Stillness. He practices this whether he’s at a million-dollar party with celebrities or experienced a horrible setback in life.
Acknowledge praise and criticism simply as someone’s behavior. It is neither good nor bad. It has nothing to do with who you are.
Here’s a great video on the topic from Elliot Hulse:
You were born good enough. You are enough the moment you were born.
You are a blessing and beauty to this world.
3. Use These Exercises To Cultivate Self-Esteem
A huge issue in the self-help space is confidence. People lack confidence. Well, confidence is nothing more than the belief that you can firmly trust and rely on someone or something. This implies that there must be a firm foundation.
You don’t want to learn how to be as confident as Michael Jordan at basketball if you’ve barely played the sport. What I mean is that you should only be slightly more confident than you deserve to be or you become arrogant and a fool.
Only a fool is confident at something he completely sucks at. That’s called overconfidence. A woman who can’t sing shouldn’t brag about how she can. For many people seeking confidence, they rightfully deserve to. These are the people I want to serve. The model example would be a man who is kind, honest, ethical, has a great job, dresses well, but is much less confident than he should be around women.
He’s a great guy in many ways but he can’t rightfully show that with women. This is where you deserve to be confident but you have to push up your confidence to where it should be. This is one of my favorite parts of the book because it lists actionable exercises you can use to get natural confidence and self-esteem.
Exercise 1: “I love you” mirror exercise
This exercise is as simple as it sounds. It is used to improve self-love. The full effects only come after you have turned this into a daily habit for a while.
Look at yourself directly in the eyes in a mirror. Say out loud, “I love you.”
It’s more difficult than it seems because it’s difficult to look someone in the eyes deeply and emotionally. It’s tough to say it out loud.
Start believing it slowly. Introduce this idea that it might be true if you’re unsure. Say it louder and prouder over time.
Focus on one eye instead of two. It’s much easier to appear focused when you focus on one eye.
Exercise 2: “What I love About Myself” Journal
Write a daily list in your journal of all the things you love about yourself. They must be about you, not nature or the environment.
Even if you’re broke, there are plenty of things you can be proud of like your sense of humor, ambition, work ethic, or happiness.
Cultivate a sense of feeling proud and happy with your accomplishments and yourself.
An example list might be:
Here’s what I love about myself:
- I love that I seek to be better in every way everyday. Most people don’t.
- I love that I have gone through tougher times than most people ever have and made it through.
- I love that I care about others more than the average person.
- I love that I truly care about being successful and have the fire to prove it. That’s a rarity.
- I love that I seek to constantly do everything I can to better my dating and financial life. Even in dark times when the results aren’t showing, I do it anyways.
- I love that I have a sense of humor in tough times.
- I love that I treat people well whether they’re poor or rich.
- I love how ambitious and hard working I can be.
- I love that I strive to work harder for a better future when I could be wasting time and partying like others.
Exercise 3: Be Present
Most worries or anxieties come from the future or the past.
Vishen had a great story to illustrate this in the book. He had gone on a 2-week vacation and felt overwhelmed with stress on his final day. He looked to the future and saw all the emails, deadlines, and tasks on his plate. It made him incredibly anxious.
He chose to focus on the present and only the present. He observed the leaves on the trees. He appreciated the sunlight beating down. Things got easier. Fear, anxiety, or anger usually comes from the past or future. When you look a the present and you feel that everything is alright, you know that things will be fine.
I have spent some time studying some of the world’s longest living people. One characteristic many of them have is their easy-going, resilient attitude to life.
They lived in tough, economic times, yet always had chill attitudes even during these times. They knew that things were going to be fine no matter what. I have a theory that this lack of anxiety and stress helped them prolong their life.
I also suggest understanding the logic behind why we shouldn’t stress. We’re all going to die. What does it matter? Why stress over the minutiae? Do small things like a date not texting back, rising gas prices, politics at work, rivalries, bullying, finger-pointing, or drama really matter that much?
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.
Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” – Steve Jobs, founder of Apple
A great way of getting better at being present is to practice daily mindfulness meditation. For more advanced people, I suggest reading books by Eckhart Tole.
Exercise 4: Self-Acceptance Meditation
I got this exercise from a lecture by on the science of happiness by Tal Ben-Shahar. Meditate and while you are meditating, imagine as if others are accepting you as you are unconditionally.
If you are new to meditation, the basic idea is that you focus on your breathe, acknowledge thoughts if they come in but re-focus on your breathe, and repeat. Tacking that on with the loving self-acceptance really helps boost your esteem over time.
It can take over a year to see the full effects but there is a lot of scientific research proving the benefits of meditation to your brain and body.
Give To Others
The billionaire John Paul DeJoria didn’t have a high school degree and lived homeless with a child at one point.
He gave some great advice on removing insecurity at the Joe Polish 2015 Genius Network event. He said that if you give to others less fortunate, you will feel better about your situation.
When John was a kid, his teacher singled him and his crush out. His teacher caught him writing a note to her. She made them both stand up and humiliated them.
She told them that they would never amount to anything or be successful. John decided to not believe that. Years later, he’s a billionaire and his crush, Michelle, became part of a very famous band, The Mamas and Papas.
Traveling to 3rd world countries really can help you. It might shock your system too. You’ll meet people who have the most horrible life situations, like birth deformities, no money, and horrible living conditions.
Don’t Give The Remote Control of Your Esteem to These People…
John never believed the discouragement from others. His philosophy was, “What do they know?”
Don’t let people get you down.
He was told that he would never succeed in the hair industry because there was too much competition and he had no money.
He didn’t believe them. He was told that no one would buy premium tequila for $37 or more when they could get normal tequila for $4. He didn’t believe them and he was right. Go with your gut.
How (and Why) to Keep Striving Once You’re Enough
The disease of “I’m not enough” causes all of us unhappiness and constant striving. But then, that begs the question of if we’d do anything productive at all if we’re all enough and happy.
One answer offered by successful people is that if you’re not enough, you’ll sit on the couch and do nothing. It is the people who believe they are enough that do big things like ask for a raise or ask for their dream job. If they fail, they’re okay too because they’re already enough.
I can see how this is, but I offer a different perspective:
Some people who believe they are not enough do big things as well. They do it to prove that they’re enough because of unfulfilled validation. Some people who believe they are enough do not do anything. The Dalai Lama or any other monk is an example. They sit there and meditate. They aren’t doing the “big things” the question implies.
The question implies that people only do things because they are enough or they aren’t enough. That’s not true.
There’s a ton of reasons why people are motivated to do things. Here are some top examples:
- We help others out of empathy
- We do crazy, fun things like Richard Branson out of adventure (and sometimes masculine genetics)
- We enjoy life through big projects for the fun of it
- We make a difference or right an injustice for fulfillment or justice
- Some people do things for personal achievement that isn’t external. Michael Jordan pushed himself because he wanted to see how far he could go.
Not everyone does things because they’re seeking validation.
I wanted to teach you some main things from reading this:
- Exercises for improving your confidence and self-esteem (if you deserve it). These can be done immediately.
- Mindsets, logical arguments, and stories to help you know that you are enough.
- Why you should consider yourself enough no matter the highs and low’s of life.
- How to set better goals that will increase your well-being, independence, happiness, confidence, and self-esteem.
- Mindset shifts that will remove neediness, validation, anxiety, fear, anger, or any unwanted feelings. They will also allow you to achieve goals better.
- How to not give a shit or care what other people think. How to maintain a steady foundation no matter what life has to throw at you.
Please come back and reference this article whenever you want to realign yourself. I want to thank Vishen’s book The Code of the Extraordinary Mind for these great ideas.
If you want further reading on this, I recommend reading Dale Carnegie’s book How To Stop Worrying And Start Living.