This is not an article about acting like a jerk

This is not an article about acting like a jerk. Nor is it a condemnation against being a nice person. However, in researching the most successful, it is quickly realized they are not always the most liked. Success is not a popularity contest. The qualities which make one a prom queen do not translate into heading a corporation. Making it to the top means that you will step on a few toes along the way.

Successful people make tough decisions. Any leader knows that it is impossible to keep everyone happy. The larger the number of people that any one person leads, the more individuals that will be upset with a decision. It simply is the nature of leadership. A certain percentage of the people will always be against the choices that are made. Of course, to be effective, their approval is not required.

Developing “thick skin” is a prerequisite for success. Consider the daily ordeal that anyone famous must endure. The pressures in dealing with the press whether one is an actor, entrepreneur, political figure, or athlete are enormous. These are people who are tops in their fields, yet are assaulted daily by critics. Like is always preached, “Nobody ever erected a statue for a critic”. Famous people understand that someone will always be questioning their choices. However, they do no allow their success to be tied to the approval of others.

Let’s be clear: everybody wants to be liked. That is a facet of our humanness. We, by our nature, are social beings. The interaction and approval of others is crucial to our survival. Very few people were ever able to live the “hermit” lifestyle without going literally insane. In fact, isolation is a technique that is often used to extract information out of prisoners during war. The need for other people is biological. However, the need to be liked and approved by all is neurotic. Extreme people pleasing is a disorder that often requires professional treatment. It is a sign of low self worth. Individuals who suffer from this usually do not have the qualities to be successful.

Do you want to be successful? If you answered in the affirmative, then it is time for you to raise your self esteem so that it is not dependent upon other’s approval. The path to success in most any endeavor is already paved. There are people who went before providing a blueprint to follow. The question is whether you have the internal confidence to forge that path in spite of what other’s think. This journey requires some risk, tough decisions, and courage to persevere through the down times. It is not a choice for the weak hearted.

Being true to oneself is one of the toughest principles to live by. It is said that life is not a popularity contest. This is definitely true when it comes to success. Again, consider some of the most successful people. What is their day filled with? They are confronted with difficult decisions that affects a fair amount of people. Periodically, their ideas are met with extreme resistance. This is especially true when dealing with communities or government entities. People begin to protest their dislike for a particular individual or company. Donald Trump and WalMart are prime examples of ones who regularly meet this disapproval. However, they do not back down. They believe in their cause which allows them to remain true to it regardless of what others think.

A healthy place to begin is with the realization that someone is always going to disagree with you. As you progress up the path of success, the number of people who fall into this category only increases. Monitor your self esteem throughout this process. Make your decisions based upon the goals you are trying to attain. Resist the urge to try appeasing everyone. It is a fruitless proposition. However, by doing this, you will gain the respect of those who you are leading in spite of their personal feelings. Successful people are not always the most well liked. Yet, if they act in an ethical manner, they are the most well respected.

When it comes to being like, it is helpful to remember that: some will, some will not, so what.

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