Stop worrying about what others think.. or you’ll miss the bus!

Just keep moving forward and don’t give a shit about what anybody thinks. Do what you have to do. For you. – Johnny Depp.

(This is a post by An Bourmanne).

A while ago, I was meeting up with a friend of mine to go to a photography exhibition on Stanley Kubrick. We both love photography and were really looking forward to this.

I decided to take the bus and was happily walking towards the bus stop when I saw that my bus was already at the bus stop!

“Oh my,” I thought, “there’s my bus! If I run now, I can still catch it.”

And I kept walking. 

Didn’t run.

Because the you-can-still-catch-the-bus voice, got drowned out by “you’re never gonna catch that bus. I’ll tell what’s gonna happen – you start running, and at the exact moment when you reach the bus, the bus will just start moving again. You’ll just make a fool of yourself. Everybody in the bus will have seen you running and will have seen how you just missed it. And you don’t wanna make a fool of yourself, do you?”

I continued walking.  

And getting closer and closer to the bus. 

But still not running.

“The bus can leave anytime now, so if you start running now, you’re definitely not gonna make it. And you’re definitely gonna make a fool of yourself.”

I kept walking on.

And the bus left.

Leaving me waiting there for the next one – a 20 minute wait.

And truth be told – I definitely would have made it if I had started running as soon as I had noticed the bus at the bus stop. 

But I prefered not to make a fool of myself – and miss the bus that I could easily have caught.

Yet I felt like a fool. I felt horrible.

Not going for it and giving up before I even started – that was silly. That was foolish. 

I was standing there – waiting for the next bus. I had to text my friend to say I just missed the bus. I made my friend wait. Just because I didn’t wanna run the risk of maybe, potentially, looking stupid. In the eyes of strangers that I probably would never ever meet again. 

So there I was, making someone I know and someone I care about, wait. Just because I didn’t wanna look stupid in the eyes of a handful of people I didn’t even know.

Yes, maybe they would have thought “Ah, look at her! She just missed the bus. She’s looking so silly. She’s making such a fool of herself.”

Or maybe, they wouldn’t even have thought anything at all!

But I didn’t need to let their views determine how to lead my life.

As I was pondering all this (you can do a lot of thinking in 20 minutes!), I got all fired up about never ever have the same thing happen to me again. I made a vow to myself to go for it next time. Regardless of what other people might think.

But I never would have thought that life would throw me an opportunity to practice what I preached so soon!

 I was happily sipping from my Starbucks Vanilla Latte as I rounded the corner on my way back home after the exhibition (which was great by the way) and – this is really truly a true story! – saw my bus at the bus stop!

“No,” I thought, “this can not be true! There’s my bus! I’m so gonna go for it this time.”

And so I started running and just reached the bus as… the bus drove away. Right in front of me. I could almost touch the bus.

So there I was. Just missed the bus. In plain sight of dozens of other people.

But the fascinating thing is, that I didn’t feel small or ashamed. I didn’t feel like I just made a fool of myself. I felt rather powerful. Grounded. Confident. Proud.

Because I went for it.

I gave it my all. I did all I could. And just knowing that made me feel really empowered.

And what other people might think, didn’t even bother me. I couldn’t care less. I missed the bus and yet I was still living and breathing and sipping from my Vanilla Latte. I was at ease with myself. I was at ease with what I did. 

Once I knew I gave it my all, what others thought became surprisingly irrelevant.

And here’s what I took with me from that adventurous bus hopping day:

  • Holding back because you’re afraid of making a fool of yourself, guarantees that you’ll not only miss the bus and feel miserable, but miss out on so much in life.
  • Giving it your all and going for it, doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get what you want,
  • BUT it gives you that sense of empowerment and makes what others think about you not matter.
  • And that keeps you going to get so much more out of life.

Where are you holding back because you’re worried about what other people might think about you? What ideas are you shelving because you’re afraid of making a fool of yourself? How different would your life be if you just go for it and give it your all? Let me know in the comments, I would love to hear from you!!

An Bourmanne is a certified life coach, indulging herself in her love for helping high-achieving perfectionists and “what will other people think about me” worriers live their life instead of someone else’s and share their hidden brilliance with the world.

She rediscovered her long lost love for teaching and writing, which she does weekly at ownyourlifecoaching.com. She lives in Belgium, fell in love with Iceland and adores the smell of cinnamon. 

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    • says

      Just doing your thing instead of hiding and “fixing” yourself because you worry it’s not who you think you’re supposed to be, is so powerful and liberating. A perk to cherish, Linda! :) (And I’m sure there’s many more strengths, skills and “plusses” you’ve gained from growing up they way you did!)
      xo
      An

  1. says

    Hi An,
    Great way to illustrate the power of believing in yourself so much that what others think is relegated to the shadows. “Once I knew I gave it my all, what others thought became surprisingly irrelevant.” Giving it your all has power, doesn’t it!
    :-)
    Lori

  2. says

    I love your perspective on this post, An! Well said! So many women allow other people’s expectations and beliefs about what they ought to do determine the direction and flow of their life. Many of us feel like it’s an ongoing battle, swimming upstream. One of my first podcasts on The Goddess Show was about this very thing. At some point in time we all have to become congruent with who and what we truly are and step into our own personal flow for our lives. Otherwise, we just end up battling with ourselves. Thank you for this perspective!

    • says

      Thanks, Isis! Love the image of swimming upstream, which is what we do when we are working hard to be someone we are not. And ironically, we do that because we think that being the person we are not, will guarantee us an easy-breezy-always-happy-struggle-free life. How wrong can we be! :) I so agree with you that allowing ourselves to be who we are is like swimming downstream, not struggle-free and without obstacles, but much more effortless than swimming upstream, and much more peaceful and fulfilling.

  3. says

    I really enjoyed this . I just posted something on my blog and was not sure if I should because it happened to me I think it needed to be said to move on. I was on fence because I was afraid of how I would be perceived.
    thanks!

  4. Stacey says

    Hi An! This is so me! The bus thing has happened to me many times – but I’ve always talked myself into believing ‘I’m allowing myself a few extra minutes before charging on into work’ , instead of realising once again I’ve let my ‘fear’ of what others think take over….
    This has been a key theme for me the last 12 months, thank you for shining a light on it from a different angle – I still have work to do!
    XXX Stacey

    • says

      Hi Stacey! So glad you liked it! And rest assured, the fear of what others might think is a fear that’s coming up for lots of us! Would be cool to experiment with the bus thing and start from there. Go for it!
      Big hug,
      An

  5. says

    Hi Stacey! So glad you liked it! And rest assured, the fear of what others might think is a fear that’s coming up for lots of us! Would be cool to experiment with the bus thing and start from there. Go for it! :)
    Big hug,
    An

  6. says

    Lovely post with a fabulous analogy. Just a pleasure to read, and a beautiful reminder to give it socks and not care about what others think along the way.

  7. says

    i love this…But I didn’t need to let their views determine how to lead my life.
    i think this would be useful on a slogan board somewhere in my home so that i could remind myself of this every day. thank you so much for your inspiration

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