Not Caring What People Think is a Superpower

I’ve written briefly before about how I see differently things being on the Autistic spectrum. And today I want to dive in a bit deeper on some specifics. 

Now before I do, I want to make it clear, it’s a spectrum for a reason, and it impacts people in a variety of ways. 

For me there is no grey area, not even a slither of a shade of grey. Everything to me is black and white, right or wrong. 

And I know. I know. You’re thinking… “Jack. WTF man, how does that even work, life has grey in all aspects”. 

You’d be right, life does have grey in it, everywhere around you look. Personally, professionally, day-to-day, short-term decisions, and long-term decisions. 

For me though it doesn’t. Sure. I “learned” to judge grey, just like how I learned to read social cues, things that don’t come naturally to me like other people. 

I think in a critical, logical thought pattern. And that’s where I’d like to come into a couple of specific points. 

Who Cares What People Think?

Let me be 100% clear in case you have any doubt. Caring about what people think is a sure-fire way to fail. A pit of self-doubt, worry, anxiety. And just like I don’t see shades of grey, some people are fixed with the mental model of caring. 

If you don’t know me personally, or you don’t work with me, you’re likely thinking… “You just sound like an arrogant smart-ass”. You know what. You’re entitled to think that, no one is the thought police. 

But here’s the thing. I don’t care if you think that and that’s the superpower of some people like me on the ASD spectrum. We genuinely couldn’t care what you think, we don’t seek validation in approval, friendships or any other aspect of life. 

That doesn’t mean we don’t have friends but it often means that we talk no bullshit.

And on that note. 

Clinically to the Point

I don’t sugar-coat feedback and you shouldn’t either. Now I’m not saying make your colleagues cry and tell them the thing they are excited about is complete crap. 

But also don’t overdo it and say something is perfect when it just isn’t. Direct feedback is critical for leaders to execute.

If you’ve ever had a performance review where the leader tells you “need improvement” or you’ve been put on a performance improvement plan (PIP). Yet never had direct negative feedback then that means your leader cannot deliver critical feedback that’s to the point. 

They sugar-coat it so you think you’re better than you are and they don’t have to have an awkward conversation. 

Yet an awkward conversation is always better than being fired right? Plus it doesn’t have to be an awkward conversation, instead it should be a plan to help you, train you, so that you can learn and grow. 

I’ll write more about this in the future, but I’ll leave you with this. Next time you worry if someone likes you or not, there’s always people out there that share your interests, your views, your own tribe of people waiting to talk with people yourself. 

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