Don’t Take it Personally: The Importance of Having Thick Skin

The young professional world can be a fickle, cutthroat place. We are all doing everything we can to succeed and reach our goals, which can obviously create some serious, emotionally-driven competition. Whether at the office or out on the dating scene, it’s survival of the fittest, and having a thick skin is a must if we are to survive the cruel critics and callous competitors.

Here are some notable points to keep in mind as you navigate through your own challenging YP world: 

Not everyone is going to like you.    
It seems that most people are accepting of the fact that we can’t please everyone. Less accepted, however, is the idea that not everyone is going to like us. While most of us don’t expect our work or our ideas to be applauded by everyone all the time, many of us still desire the acceptance of others on a personal level. As great as it may sound to be loved by everyone, it’s just not realistic. Personalities are unique. Opinions, values, interests, mannerisms, all vary from person to person and it would be unreasonable to imagine that yours will be enjoyed or appreciated by everyone you meet. The trick is to not take it personally. Just because someone doesn’t like the way you think or talk or dress or chew, doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with you, or even that there is anything wrong with them. Some personalities just don’t mesh, and that is OK. Staying professional and polite with those you butt heads with will ensure that your path to success is unimpeded, regardless of any lack of chemistry. 

There will always be opposing opinions. So use them!
When we put ourselves out there, whether through our work, opinions, or our personalities, there is always the risk that someone will disagree. Again, the trick is to stay cool and keep emotions out of it. Debate can be very productive and enlightening if done with a level head, so don’t run and hide from constructive confrontation. Fearing opposing perspectives will only hinder our desire and ability to produce and evolve. Part of growing a thick skin is finding the balance between trusting and sticking to our positions – and accepting and utilizing criticisms. 

Don’t let them get you.
It’s a sad fact, but a fact indeed, that there are some people looking to bring you down out in the YP world. If you feel like a particular someone has it out for you, is always on your case, or always disagreeing with you, don’t let it get to you. All we can do is control our own attitudes and reactions toward such people, so take it as a compliment because they likely just see you as a threat.

For young professionals, having a thick skin is crucial if we are to keep our confidence intact, our emotions in check, and our reputations strong. So stick to your guns, have no fear, and just don’t take it personally.