We are all the star of our own show and where we falter is thinking other people care as much about our show as we do. Here is the breaking news for the day: No one cares. You think people do, but they don’t. This is not intended to be pessimistic, but a relief. Read on and let’s not care together.

Can you remember a time when you truly embarrassed yourself? Is that memory alive in your brain, just hanging out, and bothering you from time to time? Well, the memory might stay, but only with you. Most of us imagine every misstep we take is amplified, recorded, and registered. The reality is we are not as important as we think we are.

Where am I going with this?

I am heading down the path of New Year’s resolutions, gyms, and misconceptions.

I have touched on New Year’s resolutions already due to the time of year and relevance. Maybe you are a few weeks into your resolution, and you are wondering why no one has noticed.  The fact is, everyone has too much on their own plate to worry about what you do or how you do it.  This means stop worrying about what other people think because they are not thinking about you, your problems, or anything you believe they are thinking about.

Messy hair, food on the face, and not a care in the world.

Now, let’s circle this back to the gym.

A common theme is people feel like they are being judged when they show up to the gym. They feel like they are being watched, assessed, and dejected in the minds of the other gym goers. Frankly, this is a fallacy which needs to be stricken from the list of “Why I can’t go to the gym.” I have been working out for a very long time and I have been a member of quite a few gyms. If I take the time and try to think back on the most ridiculous things I have witnessed, nothing stands out. Why? Because when I was working out at a gym, I was too concerned with my workout, my own shortcomings, what people were thinking about me, and I didn’t have the mental space to care what other people were doing. Therefore, you need to step back and re-evaluate how you look at gyms and life experiences in general.

What I am trying to say is not new information.  In 2000, Thomas Gilovich PhD, did a study on this and called the concept “The Spotlight Effect.” This is a human fault and can be debilitating for some individuals. This concept is a result of our egocentrism, not in an arrogant form, but we are products of our own understandings and perceptions. 

I hope, if you didn’t know about “The Spotlight Effect,” you can take this newfound knowledge and try something you have been avoiding like starting at a new gym, singing karaoke, or writing a blog post. If you were already in the know, hopefully it is a reminder, and you can rest assured everyone else is too worried about what other people think of them to care about what you are doing. Wear the shirt with the stain, unmatching socks, and let your hair down. Life is already too complex to try and care what other people are thinking. While it is easier said than done, it doesn’t hurt to try. Maybe you will find a new hobby or something you’re actually really good at which you avoided due to worrying what others were thinking.