The biggest single force holding back people’s involvement in social media is fear of disapproval. Fear of what customers’ reactions might be. Fear of what the boss might think. Fear of what friends might say. Even fear of the tacit disapproval of being ignored.

Where did we learn to be so afraid? Why do allow our lives to be so limited by what others think? All of the famous figures who changed the world got over this fear. They invariably faced disapproval, disagreement and disdain. Many of them faced imprisonment and many lost their lives. They didn’t let that stop them.

But we let ourselves go numb at the prospect of someone laughing at our first blog post. We don’t state the obvious. We keep so much of ourselves to ourselves and don’t rock the boat.

What a shame …

12 thoughts on “Disapproval

  1. "Where did we learn to be so afraid?" Our mothers, the news, the education system. The list is long. It's all about control. Being controlled and controlling others through the shame-based mechanisms, I suppose. After all, there are some very large systems to be maintained. I think ultimately folks are afraid of freedom. In its broadest least political sense. Afraid of 'letting go'. Afraid of the truth. All those things. But I do find it funny that so many people (that I meet) are so intimidated by something as benign as blogging, say. Or social media in general. It's a fear of public speaking writ small. A very large vein tapped there, Euan. Is this in the book? As for those that brought about change, I'm wondering, did they get over their fear(s)? Or were those fears absent in the first place? Failure is always an option. Fear of failure seems almost mandatory.


  2. < I think ultimately folks are afraid of freedom. In its broadest least political sense. Afraid of 'letting go'. Afraid of the truth. All those things. >Brian, I'm wondering if you've ended up reading E. Fromm's "Escape From Freedom" since we last discussed it the next-to-last time I visited you ?


  3. < something as benign as blogging> Maybe the point is that it isn't necessarily quite as benign as we might think, if you start finding your voice, connect to other people, and start the process of becoming less and less fear-full. Maybe people "get" that, semi-consciously .. and are worried about letting go of what they know and have convinced themselves they are comfortable with.


  4. weird, i found this on G+, quite random. “When we play, we sense no limitations. In fact, when we are playing, we are usually unaware of ourselves. Self-observation goes out the window. We forget all those past lessons of life, forget our potential foolishness, forget ourselves. We immerse ourselves in the act of play. And we become free.”- Lenore Terr in Beyond Love and Work


  5. We are all indoctrinated. We are taught that there are right and wrong ways to think, and that experts know much more than us. We learn to reject our own thinking as insignificant, and we hide our real opinions from others. We live in a cave. Some of my best ideas existed in my imagination for 10 years before I had the courage to express them. What a shame. Further more, after you've developed the courage to make your thinking visible in the world, the idea can grow and develop in new ways. Even if nobody else ever comments, and they seldom do, you think about it more, because you know other people can read what you have said. Someone might comment. You want the best reaction. The idea is now in the front of your mind, where you can develop it. You've communicated with yourself. You have discovered what you know. This is the hidden value of blogging.


  6. I know you ain't my grandmother, and sucking eggs isn't much fun at the best of times but…Speech is Social.Giving somebody a voice that can be heard is a very scary thing. It's like putting a microphone on them. Do you remember that statistic that says public speaking is more frightening to a lot of people than the prospect of dying? A lot of us are used to not being heard, and it takes a big adjustment to get a person comfortable with having an audience.


  7. Brian and Gordon have it dead right. In some large measure we are actually afraid of being heard. And when we hear ourselves recorded for the first time, we all can't hear ourselves, "that's not me ……. is it?Worse, a blog is not like public speaking, where at least the escaping words usually get away and can only be inadequately recalled and are contestable, blogs, op eds etc, are written down, permanently recorded, able to be searched and held up to us in the future and asked to account for it.Blogging takes away plausible deniability.There are so many fears that it triggers, the wonder is that so many of us commit to it.


  8. There's a clear parallel with many businesses processes here, that we often find when we're attempting to implement systems or improve existing situations. Managers often promote (mostly subconsciously) a lack of record, poor minutes of meetings etc, because they want the comfort of being able to shift position with the benefit of hindsight. They never want to be proven wrong. It's also the reason many organisations are so poor at thinking strategically, as this definition of a stated objective seems frightening and prescriptive, when of course it doesn't need to be if you manage your strategy properly.In blogging, we put our opinions down on record. We're laying ourselves open to be *proven* wrong in the future. This can be scary. I think that those of us that do blog in one way or another are generally of the opinion that the one thing we know for sure is that we are going to be wrong, again and again, but only by sticking your neck out, making the best effort you can, will you genuinely succeed.


  9. I never underestimate the challenges of blogging. I was careful in my choice of words. I said it was a shame that we end up the way we do – not that it was surprising.


  10. < the one thing we know for sure is that we are going to be wrong, again and again, but only by sticking your neck out, making the best effort you can, will you genuinely succeed. > Lovely .. and one of the best ways I know for continuing to learn long after it's assumed that most of us want to or decide to stop.


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