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Dolores G Wix

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Are You Overly Concerned About What Others Think?
by Dolores G Wix   

Last edited: Friday, September 05, 2003
Posted: Friday, September 05, 2003

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Find out how two famous individuals handled criticism and why one had tragic results

“Don’t you care what people think?”


“No, I’m not responsible for what other people think,

only for what I am.”


Those two lines are taken from one of my favorite

movies, “The Big Country” and spoken by the two

characters, Pat Terrill (Carroll Baker) and Jim McKay

(Gregory Peck), respectively.  I think this movie is

not only well-written and well-acted but beautifully

illustrates what happens when someone is not overly

concerned about what others think and has the courage

to live accordingly.  As you may have guessed, it is

not easy to do.


Before I continue, I think I should clarify something.

Notice that the article’s title contains the words

“overly concerned.”  I am not saying that we should

never be concerned about what others think.  We should

all be concerned about what others think of us in some

circumstances, such as how we conduct ourselves in

business.  What this article is discussing is being

so concerned about what others think that it keeps you

from going after your dreams or causes you to make

the wrong choices for yourself.  Being overly concerned

could also paralyze you with fear so that you do what

you think people expect of you instead of what you

really want.  Or, you let what people say totally

demoralize you.


Let me give you two examples of people who handled

this dilemma in totally different ways and the

outcome each of them experienced.


On February 4, 1983, 32-year-old Karen Carpenter died

of heart failure caused by chronic anorexia nervosa.

Perhaps you remember hearing about that and was as

shocked as I was.  But what was even more shocking

to me was learning about the possible reason this

happened.


An article entitled “Karen Carpenter Was Killed By

An Over-The-Counter Drug Some Doctors Say May Be

Killing Many Others” dated May 13, 1985 written by

Gioia Diliberto, said, “Karen had been suffering

from anorexia for eight years—apparently since

reading a passing reference to her chubbiness in a

review.”  It is believed that she ingested ipecac,

“a foul-smelling, amber-colored drug” that “has been

sold in drugstores for years to induce vomiting in

poison victims.”  The article goes on to state that

ipecac in large dose, may cause irreversible damage

to the heart, and if taken repeatedly, is a lethal

poison.  Apparently Karen Carpenter and others

thought ipecac was harmless.


Another web site


dedicated to Karen Carpenter stated, “She’d been

starving herself for seven years, using laxatives,

drinking water with lemon, taking dozens of thyroid

pills daily, and even throwing up.”


Karen Carpenter “possessed a unique, and utterly

beautiful voice.”  It was “completely pure and natural,

without the benefit of formal training.”  I loved her

voice and the songs that she and her brother, Richard,

performed.


It was a tragedy that the world lost such a beautiful,

talented young woman all because she became overly

concerned about something (someone she apparently

didn’t even know) said about her.


Recently on the Biography television show, I watched

a profile about actor Peter Falk.  When he was

3-years-old, his right eye had to be surgically

removed because of cancer.  Years later, well on his

way in his acting career, it was arranged for him to

meet with the head of a Hollywood studio.  But their

meeting did not go well.  The Hollywood executive

could not see past Peter Falk’s glass eye, and told

him, “I’m concerned about your deficiencies.”  Now,

he could have been so demoralized by what that studio

chief said that he might have given up acting.  But

Mr. Falk was only puzzled.  Deficiencies?  He said

during the interview that the only thing he could

think that the exec meant was his vitamin

deficiencies.  “But how would he know about that?”


But as you probably know, eventually Peter Falk got

the role as Lt. Columbo, for which he is best known

all over the world.  I don’t know about you, but I

can’t imagine anybody else more perfect for that role

(a side point:  did you know that the role of Lt.

Columbo was originally offered to singer Bing Crosby

who turned it down?)


Do you have the courage to believe in yourself even

if nobody else does?  I hope so.  Motivational

speaker, Les Brown said, “Some people will just not

see it for you.”  Can you accept the fact that there

are people out there who will find fault with you no

matter what you do?  Some people will never believe

in you just like the studio head did not believe that

Peter Falk would ever to be a big star.


Don’t let what others think prevent you from

fulfilling your dreams.  Just remember that at one

time people thought the earth was flat, but thinking

it didn’t make it so.


Copyright 2002 Dolores G. Wix


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Reviewed by Hiren Shah
To counter this, one must think about the expertise and knowledge level of the person who passes the opinion.
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