Thinking Through 3 Life Stages
“When you’re 20 you care what everyone thinks, when you’re 40 you stop caring what everyone thinks, when you’re 60 you realize no one was ever thinking about you in the first place.” To touch on these 3 stages independently...
When you’re 20, you do care what others think. A lot of your identity is wrapped up in being cool, your popularity, how much other people want to be around you and involved in what you’re doing. It’s congruent with that phase of life as you explore who you are.
Then when you’re 40, you stop caring what everyone thinks. You’ve matured into the life you wanted to have, and you have additional responsibilities, like having a family, where it’s no longer all about you. You have enough experience behind you to have confidence in who you are as a person and you don’t require the approval of others to validate your self-worth.
And at 60 you realize that no one was ever thinking about you in the first place. Everyone else has enough to worry about on their own, and if you were so focused on living your life, you realize that everyone else was doing the same living theirs.
That final point provides an interesting tie back into the very beginning, when you care what others think, and the case of the zit. Gary Vaynerchuk has this idea that when you’re in high school and you have a zit, you feel like everyone is constantly looking at it, and you’re really self-conscious of it. But the reality is, everyone has their own zit, everyone is already so preoccupied in their own world. It’s not worth your energy to care what someone might be thinking about you, because they likely aren’t.
I share this idea in the hopes that you can be inspired to live in a way that is more authentic to you, and not in a way that appeases others, because eventually you’ll reach that place and wish you got there sooner. So if you’re 20, 40, or 60, know the long game you’re playing and pursue it fully.