The Only Person You Need to Impress is Yourself

I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody - Bill Cosby

Impressing people feels great. Knowing that another human thinks highly of us is a huge confidence boost. Conversely, when someone is not impressed by us, it can be very hurtful. In actual fact, impressing someone has little to do with us at all. Furthermore, we need not allow our own sense of self worth be determined by such sources of validation.

Your dignity is not determined by the opinions of others.

It’s been helpful for me to realize that failure to impress someone does not equal full blown failure. You will always be a failure in someone’s opinion, and you always be successful in another’s. The great thing about opinions is that they only have as much significance as you give them. For each person you impress, you’ll disappoint someone else. This isn’t something you can control. Strive to impress yourself - that’s something you can control. Be honest, consider your values, act with good intention and anything beyond that isn’t for you to worry about. We can strive and have aspirations, but the outcomes aren’t always up to us; and that’s okay.

You can’t please everyone, and if you don’t impress someone it doesn’t mean you’re “bad” at whatever it is you do.

Something/someone might impress one person while another person might be disinterested in the very same thing/person. So, whether you impress someone or not has little to do with the thing/person, but more so to do with the person who’s perceiving it. If someone doesn’t like the colour blue, the blue sweater you gifted them probably isn’t going to make much of an impression. Does that mean you’re a bad person, or does it means they don’t like the colour blue? Similarly, a blue fanatic would be ecstatic to receive a blue sweater - whether they found it on street or it was handed to them by their idol.

Now, let’s say that you’re a painter and you’ve just painted the most beautiful canvas you’ve ever seen. You show it to a couple of your friends… but they don’t like it. They say that the colours are oversaturated and you’re lacking detail here and there. Now that you’ve failed to impress with the painting, self doubt pops up.  Maybe you’re not a talented painter after all. “Have I been wasting time all these years on something I’m doomed to fail at?”, you ask yourself. So, you modify the painting in accordance with what would impress the couple of friends you showed it to in hopes to redeem yourself. They love the modified version - success!… but then you find that another group of friends preferred the original painting. You can do your best to impress everybody, but I can confidently say that it’s impossible. 

It’s best not to act with the sole intention of impressing other people.

I don’t think that the pursuit to impress others is a plausible venture. I think that identifying your passion, values and intention is. In doing so you create an opportunity to live a more nourishing lifestyle for yourself. If you do this, you’ll consequently find that your efforts have a bigger, more positive influence and impact on people. If you are only intending to satisfy other people’s needs, and completely neglecting your own in the process, the fulfillment you are seeking probably isn’t going to arrive. It might seem like it is in the short term, but long term the build up of tension within yourself is a cost that you’ll suffer. 

Trying to impress people is exhausting and distracts from your true nature.

When seeking validation from others, you’ll find that you continuously change direction based on people’s opinions. You completely neglect your own heart in the process! You might quit what truly brings you joy for lack of outward support in the endeavour. Realize that we are all on our own journey. What you like, I may not like… and that doesn’t mean anything is better or worse.  It’s simply different. Variety is a gift. It allows for all the different paths we walk in life. The intended destination is always going to be the same - a place where we can feel at home and at ease. The route that takes you there is for you to decide.

Impress yourself.

I invite you to try and impress yourself. If you approach life in accordance with your values, it isn’t going to matter whether or not you are impressing those around you. If you begin with yourself, a sense of nourishment will have no choice but to present itself, whether you impress others or not. That’s not to say this an easy solution - for you might find that impressing yourself is more difficult than impressing the whole world. After all, it’s where the true reward comes in to play!

David Boland