For someone such as yourself

“It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.” – Marcus Aurelius

In Japan I noticed that there are often two reactions to what people do, either: ‘「以外だ」wow, that’s unexpected (for someone such as yourself)’, or ‘ 「さすが」that’s exactly what we expect (for someone such as yourself)’.

The focus is often on whether the person was expected to act in a certain way, rather than what they actually did.

This shows that preconceptions run strong in Japan, which isn’t much of a revelation, but it also strongly reinforced the notion that if the reaction is most likely to be one of the above, whatever I do doesn’t really matter.

Put simply, I now (try to) act without thinking too much about what other people might think, and I now (try to) focus on actually doing whatever it is. I feel free.

I think this may give me an edge on other people who don’t act simply because they are worried about what others think.

People are going to judge you. Even your mother will judge you. Let them judge you, but don’t give them the time of day, otherwise you’ll never get things done on your time.

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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 

tim@timbunting.com

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