Monday, November 16, 2009

What they think about you

High School is really all about what other people think about you. It's true. It really is. You can either accept the system as it is, or drop out. Everyone is subject to it.

Generally people criticize this aspect of high school, saying this is superficial, that you shouldn't care what others think, that everything's different once you get out. Is it really though? And is it actually beneficial to stop caring what others think about you? Will this make you happier?

Whats other think of you is what defines you (if you're happy with whatever definition you get, well then you're above me). It's what makes you who you are and for most people, outside pleasure is what keeps them alive. It's pretty hard to just make yourself happy. Only caring about yourself can be a lonely place.

An example that comes to mind is a restaurant. If I own and make my living off of restaurant, I have to consider the customer first. "Cooking the food you wanna cook" is often more an ideal than a reality. The restaurant is likewise defined by critics and the gain or loss of a star can equate to thousands of dollars. If I'm the owner I better start caring what other people think if I want to be able to continue the lifestyle I'm living.

Thomas Keller is somewhat perplexing example. Throughout his early years he made sure that he was cooking the food he wanted. When he worked at Rakel, and the executive chef made the decision to make the restaurant more casual, Keller left because it wasn't the food he wanted to cook. Somewhat to the contrary, last year Keller changed Per Se to allow walk-ins and created an a la carte menu-- undoubtedly because of the struggling economy.

I think this moderate stance is best. It's unrealistic to completely not care what others think about you, yet it's detrimental and controlling to see yourself through others' eyes. The task becomes finding a happy medium.

9 comments:

flummoxy said...

I had been influenced by caring too much about what others think to the extent that it reduced my own identity. But recently, I attempted to accept everything as it is and try not to please everyone. I find this "Finding the medium" approach as you have mentioned makes my life and my thinking more positive and enjoyable. Little changes in thinking can really make quite an unforeseen impact. Liked your post by the way!

James said...

"Whats other think of you is what defines you"

I would say it's what you think about what others think of you is what defines you.

Cooking what your customers want, rather than what you think they should want is a very useful business principle. Someone else put it - cooking for your customers rather than your peers.

gammypie.wordpress.com said...

The work world is very much like high school. Just something to think about...

Arm70 said...

I think it is important to care what others think of you because in general, most people DO want to be liked. However, if you CHANGE yourself to please others then it isn't such a good thing. You must always be true to yourself and who you are. If you aren't sure who you are, just look around. They probably don't know either. This is one question that takes many people years to figure out.

Jumper said...

I like it when you wade in deep water.

The trick is finding out who around you is worth impressing.

Anonymous said...

"The task becomes finding a happy medium."
As a sophomore in high school, I'd say that's a mighty hard task.

Tanja from Slovenia (yes, Slovenia, Europe) said...

Most succesful people are those, who were not affraid to follow their hearts. When you invent something new and share it with the world, they will love it - if it is new and if it is not a rip off of something that is already there. When you open your restaurant, you can put safe stuff on the menu, but be sure to put those that your heart wants there. They will definitely be a success!

Kicki Norman said...

Apples and pears, apples and pears, my friend... There's a huge difference between what opinion people have of you (what you ARE) and what they think of your restaurant (what you DO). If you manage to stop caring what others think of you as a person, without being inconsiderate or arrogant, you'll probably end up the happiest. And if you manage to care (in moderation, without compromising your soul)) what others think of your work, you'll probably end up the most successful. And I am sure you'll manage both! Love your blog.

Anonymous said...

i like nick. i like food. i like high school. and i like people. therefore, be yourself, stay in school, make friends, and nick... KEEP DOING WHAT YOU'RE DOING, YOU DA BOMB