It’s funny how life can take entirely different directions based on who you listen to.

I have been thinking a lot lately about a variety of different things in life that may be impacted by a person’s opinion of me. These thoughts have ranged everywhere from work to personal life. Things like how my professional career is advancing, but also the personal relationships I have with others and what kind of opportunities those relationships offer. While I am the biggest proponent of not spending too much time worrying about what others think and think of me, we are social creatures and (to varying degrees) depend upon others for a healthy existence.

And that opinion of me could be based solely off of someone else’s opinion of me. Because we are such social animals, word of mouth carries a lot of weight. As hard as we may try, many of us (myself included) form opinions about others based on who they spend time with, and what is said about them. This often comes with a heavy bias, though, and what I have spent a lot of time thinking about is the personal relationships that we don’t have or the relationships that fail entirely due to the bias of others.

You may be thinking, why does any of that matter. At the end of the day, it might not matter at all to you, but to me I am at least intrigued by the possibility of missed “opportunities” that arise because of these situations. I wonder how many opportunities I have missed out on because I am unwilling to talk to a certain person or, conversely, a certain person is unwilling to talk to me. And while I certainly don’t condone spending a lot of time thinking about “what if,” it is certainly something that we all think about.

All of this said, I will be challenging myself to “branch out” and talk to more people, solely based on my own opinion of them and not because of the opinions of others. This will be a challenge for me, for multiple reasons, but I think this will help me to avoid some of those “what if” situations that I find myself thinking about. And I think at the end of the day, it will help me become a better, and stronger, person.