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Yes, it Does Matter What Others Think of You

by Vivian Scott
October 2015

From the Vivian Scott's Conflict of Interest blog

Vivian Scott

If you’re on the Internet at all, you’ve probably seen those quotes floating around social media that are supposed to give you strength, inspire you, or simply provide a chuckle here and there.  Some of them can be quite thought provoking; enough so that I often share them myself because I think they’re a quick way to remind us all to be our best, try our hardest, and to generally calm down while we focus on the good things in our lives.

Nevertheless, I’ve noticed that on more than one occasion I’ve had a negative reaction to some of the quips.  There is one in particular that I have seen too many times that always rubs me the wrong way.  There are various versions of the quote but generally it reads, “What others think of you is none of your business.”  Really?!  I’m not buying that one at all.

I wholeheartedly believe that what others think of us is not only our business but it’s also our responsibility to seek out those thoughts and to do something about them if they’re not so good.   Before I go on, let me say that I know there are plenty of people and situations in our lives that we can’t control and sometimes it’s true that no matter how hard we try our first impressions aren’t so good or that we can’t know about every piece of baggage someone is toting around in their childhood red wagon.  So, I can somewhat understand the thought behind the quote if it’s intending to say we can’t walk around taking on everyone else’s issues.

But, can we agree that for the most part what others think of us is based on how we make them feel?  If that’s the case, then this particular quote sounds like a lazy and self-absorbed way to keep one from maturing, growing, and becoming the best person they can be.  It makes me imagine that the author is someone who bulldozes his way through life with little to no regard for others and then wants to blame (if you will) any negative feelings about his actions on the very people he’s damaged.   I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty confident that if I tried to share my negative perspective with him, he would say it’s none of his business.  So, instead, I’ll share it you.


Vivian Scott is a Professional Certified Mediator and the author of Conflict Resolution at Work For Dummies.  She spent many years in the competitive and often stress-filled world of high tech marketing where she realized resolving conflict within the confines of office politics was paramount to success.  Through creative solutions to common conflicts she was able to bring various entities together, both internally and externally, for the betterment of projects and a productive working environment.     

Prior to retiring from Microsoft in 1999 she developed the “America at Work” video series, a six-part program featuring small businesses employing technology in attention-grabbing ways.  “America at Work” aired on the USA Network and received the Silver Screen Award from the International Film and Video Festival for outstanding creativity.   Using discerning negotiation, mediation, and problem-solving skills, she successfully worked with others to co-create “How-to Guides”, “Seminar in a Box”, and even one of the first on-line Guerrilla Marketing books.   

Since her retirement, Ms. Scott has gone on to earn a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences with a concentration in American Studies from the University of Washington.  She completed an extensive practicum with the Dispute Resolution Center of Snohomish & Island Counties where she has mediated numerous cases, helping parties resolve conflict in workplace, family, and other disputes.  Her private mediation practice has handled cases ranging from assisting business partners in ending their relationship to creating a new working environment within a law firm.  Ms. Scott is a member of the Washington Mediation Association and spends a majority of her time advocating embracing peace in a volatile world.   

Her book, Conflict Resolution at Work For Dummies, can be found in bookstores, on,, or any number of on-line bookseller sites.    

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