How To Stop Caring About What Other People Think Of You

I talk about the core principles and lessons inside Mark Manon's "The Subtle Art Of Not Giving a F*ck" and translate them into how you can apply them as an osteopath.

Podcast Episode Transcript

Are you constantly thinking of what others think about you? Do you find yourself worrying about every little decision or stressing about the sheer volume of things you have to get on with but there’s something blocking you and you can’t figure out what it is? Well, I can tell you that I have good news. Just stop giving a fuck.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck is the perfect example of cherry-picking what you like, and choosing to laugh instead of allowing the things the author writes about to bother you. I reckon that everyone will find some kind of problem when they read this book because Mark Manson, the way he writes and the stories he shares are abrasive, rude, cringy and potentially misogynistic.

Yeah..he’s a bit “I’m an Alpha, bro due” kind of energy. But if you look beyond all that, and in itself, choose to not give a toss about this guy’s personality or writing style, there are some really refreshing perspectives in here. I find this is one of those books that allows you to discover other concepts and books. He speaks about Buddhist and Stoic concepts, so it gives you a chance to explore further and at it’s core, there are some great lessons and reminders inside this book. For example: The feedback loop from hell. Which I’ll talk about later on.

So, as you know, this podcast is centred around the idea that you should never open a clinic without fully understanding what it takes. To give you context, I graduated back in 2017, I read this book in early 2018, so I was about 6 or so months into being a clinic owner, and I reread it for this podcast. It’s taken me 5 hours to make each of these episodes happen, so if you could please do me a favour, leave a 5 star review, it tells me you’re enjoying and finding value from these episodes. Thanks!

Alright, put simply, this book challenges our cultural obsession with constant happiness and explores how this pursuit for constant happiness leads to increased anxiety and, ironically, unhappiness.

As osteopaths, we carry a lot of responsibility. From our patients’ well-being and probably caring too much for their struggles, to our own professional success and financial stability.

And in my experience working with and speaking to all kinds of osteopaths, all at vastly different stages of their career, we’re all looking for more meaning and purpose in our work.

Where I find Mark’s insights helpful is being able to find more meaning and purpose in our work while enjoying journey, including its inevitable ups and downs.

So, here are a few of those insights and I hope you find them helpful in the same way that I and the osteopaths I work with have too. As always, my email will be in the description – I’d love to hear from you.

Oh, and as always, please read the book for yourself as I don’t cover every point he makes.

First up for lesson one we have embrace the negative.

Okay, so, Manson argues that in our culture, we’re often encouraged to avoid negativity and discomfort at all costs. However, this constant pursuit of happiness can lead to unrealistic expectations and, paradoxically, more unhappiness.

Going back to the feedback loop from hell, this concept happens when something bad happens to you. You feel really upset about it. Instead of calming down, you make yourself even more upset by thinking about it a lot. This makes you do things that are not good for you, like losing sleep or getting angry at others. These actions make your life worse, which makes you think you were right to be upset in the first place. This keeps happening again and again, making you feel even worse over time. To stop it, you need to notice the pattern, change your thoughts, and make better choices.

As osteopaths, we have our fair share of challenges. Whether it be with the realities of running a small business, being self-employed, tricky patients or online debates about what osteopathy is or isn’t. You have the choice to decide what matters and what doesn’t.

As always, I try to be as practical as possible, so I’ll give you an example embracing the negative with marketing.

So when you’re looking to embrace the negative with marketing and trying to get new patients through the door, we all understand the feeling when we try some form of marketing and it doesn’t work out. But here’s the twist: Manson suggests that instead of seeing these setbacks, we should embrace them as opportunities to learn and grow. This concept is nothing new if you’re in any way familiar with Stoicism, but just as we always aim to refine our hands-on osteopathic skills for example by tackling challenging forms of pain and difficult patients, we can apply the same approach with how we go about with marketing.

Take leaflet drops for example. One question I ask osteopaths when it comes to marketing is, what marketing efforts have you tried in the past? Please explain what went well and what didn’t go so well. One that always comes up are leaflet drops. They say “I tried it and nothing came of it, so I haven’t done it since.”

The first point is to first know that the average leaflet drop success rate is around 0.5% to 1.5% or something like that, and they’re incredible at gaining the attention of the person flicking through their mail, which if you knew that going into it, you’d change your expectation to match.

The second point is, in the same way when it comes to always refining your osteopathic skills, you must have the same mentality of considering what went “wrong” and then thinking about what could be improved. By doing so, we’re able to test and retest, comparing results, refining and ultimately becoming way more effective in attracting the types of patients you want in your practice by embracing the negative when things don’t go as expected.

With embracing the negative, Mark explains that the only people living problem free lives are people who are dead. Again, another example of Mark’s attitude in the book, but he makes a good point that everyone has problems and that problems never go away because they’re replaced by other problems. The key is to become a better problem solver which allows those problems to be replaced by better problems, ones you actually care about. Which leads me onto my next lesson very well which is to choose your values wisely.

So, another pivotal lesson from Manson’s book is the importance of choosing our values carefully and living in accordance with them. As osteopaths, I believe that it’s crucial to identify the values that drive us.

A great way to help discover your values is to think about a great quote from Mark which is “Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for.”

Once we’ve discovered our values, we should strive to centre our career around them. When you know your values, you know what actions you need to take. When we live in alignment with our values, our work becomes more meaningful and purpose-driven. This echoes ideas we’ve explored in episode 4, when I spoke about Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why” and “Find Your Why.” So go and listen to that.

But here’s the summary: your values act as your compass, guiding your decisions and actions. So, as osteopaths, if you want a fulfilling career, you need to know your values and what you’re willing to struggle for so you can let those values and the struggles you want to take on to be the cornerstone of your actions, practice and career.

I promise you that once you understand your values making your dream career possible will look hell of a lot more real and possible than what it does for you right now.

So, on to lesson 3 which is to take responsibility for your life.

When I read this, I immediately think of Jocko Willink’s Extreme Ownership, which I’ll cover in a future episode, spoiler alert, he’s not in the top 10, but his book is great, and his TED talk is very inspiring too – I’ll link that in the description. And I believe he’s more qualified to talk about this than Mark, but it’s still a great point: To always take full responsibility for our lives and actions. It may sound simple, but it relates to ever corner of your life, including your career as an osteopath.

I mean you could take this all over the place from always starting and finishing your appointments and patient notes on time, never taking your work home with you, setting up multiple marketing methods, developing and nurturing business to business relationships, developing your treatment room skillset, whether that be hands-on skills communication skills etc, asking for what you need from your principal, being a better principal for your associates, never squeezing patients if it’s at your detriment, saying no to things that don’t move your business forward, we’ll be here all day if I continue, but you get the point.

We must take ownership of our career. Only you can change it. Only you can choose how you respond to every problem. If you’re not where you want to be, how can you change it? As osteopaths, our success hangs on our ability to navigate the complexities of our profession with intention and decisive action. If you’re looking for a way to help you get started, distance yourself from the problem you’re facing by asking yourself: How will I feel about this problem 10 years from now?

I feel there’s a whole podcast episode in that one lesson!

The forth lesson revolves around a mindset shift in how we approach problems and challenges in our life and career. The core idea is not to completely disregard or deny our problems but rather to change our perspective and attitude toward them.

First, he suggests that we should be hyper-selective about where we invest our emotional energy. Or as he puts it “you only have a certain number of fucks to give”. We all have a finite amount of time and emotional capacity in our lives. And so, it’s important to prioritise what genuinely aligns with our values and goals, like I said before, and instead of getting bogged down by every little issue or inconvenience, we should focus on what truly matters to us.

Going back to that great quote: “Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for”, Mark says that the things we’re willing to struggle for show what really matters to us, making our lives more honest and meaningful. He suggests focusing on important goals that might be tough but are worth the effort, rather than going for easy and shallow pleasures. When we face these tough times, we become stronger, our character grows and we discover our true selves. It’s about taking responsibility by facing difficulties and coming out stronger, shaping our identity through the struggles we choose to take on.

Moving on to lesson 5: embracing uncertainty.

Probably my favourite lessons from Manson’s book, probably because I’m a stoicism fan, revolves around embracing uncertainty. As osteopaths, we often grapple with the unknown. And the perfect example of this, for me, came when I was, in the same way as most final year students, I was scared, anxious and nervous of the FCC, which is called many things around the world, so, it’s the exam you take in your final year where you treat a real member of the public, they could walk in with anything and you’re being examined on it. And that’s it right there. Anyone can walk in with anything. And one of my amazing lecturers, and I hope she still works at the Swansea student clinic because she is the embodiment of embracing uncertainty and being calm. Denise Humphreys reminded everyone on my year who was worried about not knowing who’s going to walk in through that door that we do an FCC multiple times a day when we’re in clinic and that we pass the vast majority of the time. And that we will continue to not know for the rest of our career.

So, uncertainty is part and parcel of our profession, so you’d think we’re pretty good at handling it as a profession, but all of us stress about getting new patients.

Of course, there is a logical answer that addresses this 100%, but when it comes to this book, Mark’s point is to embrace uncertainty, and to take action, because as we know from the last lesson, it’s ultimately our responsibility to make sure that we have multiple ways to attract the types of patients we want to treat.

So, we must accept that we can’t control everything, but focus on how we respond to uncertainty.

I’m making another promise to you, and that’s because I’ve seen it time and time again. If you take responsibility and embrace what isn’t in your control, you will become a better problem solver which is a fundamental skill for all osteopaths to have as practitioners, and I’m telling you it’s a fundamental skill to have as a small business owner.

Being an osteopath, and we don’t come together to speak about this enough as a profession, and we should be talking about it, especially to students, being an osteopath requires you to experience a lot of uncertainty- so it’s something I believe we need to get better at and be more transparent about.

Before you go, I have something I’d like to share with you, so thank you if you’ve gotten this far. Rereading these books and getting your feedback has been just amazing – so thank you if you have emailed me or left a 5-star review and if you can, it would be great if you could leave a 5 star review. It tells me that you’re enjoying what I’m trying to do – so yeah – please email me with your insights, I’d love to hear from you.

I hope you found these insights as valuable as I did. Remember to focus on what truly matters, refine your values, take responsibility for your actions and embrace the uncertainties. Your career will thank you for it. See you next week. Cheers.

Written by Alan Zaia M.Ost

Founder & CEO of Osteohustle. You’ll find Alan coaching osteopaths, travelling in a van or writing our weekly newsletter, The Hustle.

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