We have often been told that we don’t need to be liked by everyone.
And we already know that there’s nobody who is truly loved by everyone, and that it is simply impossible to live a life without any troubles, fights, conflicts with people we meet in our entire lives.
No one can live a life with zero problems. It’s pretty obvious and we know that.
However, we still tend to care about “everyone“. A lot of people often say, or at least think “I’m scared what people’re gonna say about me if I do this.” “I don’t want to be judged.” Basically, we don’t want to look stupid. lame. lonely. arrogant. selfish. failure – and all other things – to others.
Even before we know who exactly the “other people” we are worried about are, or even if they exist, it is always so hard to ignore them.
“There must be someone who really gets you.” “You only need to care about people who truly care about you, that’s only who matters to you.”
These words are really nice, and I do believe these are true for all of us, but no matter who tells you such things, and no matter how many times they tell you, sometimes it’s never enough. It can still be so hard to forget about people who don’t support or understand what you do, or basically – who don’t like you.
For those of you who think if anyone could give you a little more logical, practical, understandable reasons why you don’t need to be liked by everyone, you might finally be able to believe it, there is something I would love to share with you.
It is based on what Seth Godin says about marketing.
For those who don’t know him, Seth Godin is an American entrepreneur, author, and teacher. Books he wrote about marketing are all best sellers, and he is also famous about his blog, which he writes every single day.
In a presentation he gave at a marketing seminar, he talked about very interesting and also highly inspiring things.
So before we jump into the reasons why you don’ t need to be liked by everyone, let me introduce you to his marketing theory.
Targeting More People is A Huge Mistake.
In life we often hear this 4 letter words – “MORE”. Especially at workplace we often be told to aim “more sales!” “more revenue!” “more advertising!” “more customers!”
However he says that the harder you try to make your product or service be liked by more people, the less successful it will become. Targeting more people is a huge mistake.
Why is it a huge mistake?
It is because targeting more people leads your business to less people. If you try to create what everyone like, you are doing mass marketing, which means you are creating what average people like. What do average people like? – Average things. So if you try to make your product what everyone likes, you are actually making it more average, more normal, and less special.
Then, what’s gonna happen to your product?
It becomes very similar to other products in the market – and eventually, it becomes almost the same. Basically the same things with different names and packages, produced by different business owners.
If there are so many of very similar products, what will everybody do?
People sort by price. Just like we always do when we are online shopping. Because, what should we care about when there are hundreds of thousands of very similar products? – Price will be the only answer. Then, people choose the cheapest one.
As a result of being less special, average, and normal, the product will be compared with other similar products only by price. Seth says, “Sort by price is a game you are never gonna win.”
In order to avoid that, we have to make our products so special that nobody do not even be bothered to sort by price.
I can hear people saying “But, what can we do to make it that special?” – Seth says,
“What you can do instead is going to the edges to find people wanna be found, to make stuff for weird people. “
You must be like, “What the heck does it mean?”
Let me explain on behalf of him.
Target People on the Edges, Not in the Middle.
According to him, about a huge number of topics, if we divide people into some groups, count the number of people in each group and make a graph based on the data, the curve of each graph will be almost the same.
For example, he interviewed the audience about how interested they are about getting the latest version of smart phones. There were basically three groups of people.
- Highly interested people, who has the latest version of smart phones.
- Average people, who bought their smart phones within 2 to 8 years.
- Not interested people, who used to use flip phones until very recent.
He put each number of people of these groups into a graph, putting the most interested group of people on the left side, and the least interested group of people on the right side, and other average people in between.
Two thirds of the audience was in the group 2, average people. The interview was very casual and rough, so we cannot tell when between 2 years ago and 8 years ago was the peak, but wherever it is, people in this group are in the middle of the curve.
Then people in the group 1, the most interested people – for instance someone who bought the phone within 6 months after Apple announced it – there are only a few of them in the audience. This means the graph goes lower as it goes to the left from the middle.
How about the right side of the graph? There are people in the group 3, the least interested people, for instance someone who bought a smart phone for the first time in their lives within 18 months. Among the audience, there were only one or two people like this. So, the graph goes lower as it goes go the right from the middle.
The shape of the curve does not really matter. The important thing is, there is a very small group of people who are really interested, there is a large group of people who are average, and there is also a small group of people who are not interested.
And in order to make your product something special, you should forget about the large group of average people, but should target the people on the left edge of the curve. The edge is where you can find people who are truly interested. Here’s what he says.
“By finding people on the edges, not in the middle, you’re finding people who have chosen to care.
People in the middle, don’t care. that’s why they’re in the middle.
The way you’re gonna win is targeting the smallest audience.
Not the biggest possible audience, the small possible audience.
You’ll be delighting people with your special thing that they can get only from you.”
Love, Passion, and Interest Only Weird People Have
There are not so many people on the edges. However, they are interested. They are on the edges, because they love it so much, and they are so passionate about it.
Seth call them “weird people.” And he himself can also be one of the weird people sometimes.
For instance, he does not really care about what kind of belt he wears. As long as it is functioning as a belt, how it looks is not really important for him, he says.
However when it comes to technological gimmicks, he is one of the weird people on the edges. He is always trying to get the newest, coolest one. He is so interested and passionate about it that he does not really need advertisements to tell him about it, since he is always looking for it by himself.
He says that in order to sell your special product to weird people on the edges, you don’t even need to shout – all you have to do is whisper. Because they are interested and even want to be found by you.
Still not sure if it is really going to work?
Here are some products that are now so popular that even average people or not interested people use or at least know, but they are originally made by targeting people on the edges.
Be Loved, by Smallest Possible Group of People.
If you try to make a product for everyone, it will be normal, average, and less special. Less special things can be easily sorted by price, because nobody really care.
Forget about everyone, and make it very special, so that some people – not many – LOVE it.
And I think the same thing can be applied to our personalities.
This may sound wrong. Some of you might think, “marketing strategies to sell products shouldn’t be applied to people’s values!”
I am not saying that we have to be special so that people see that we are valuable. We all are valuable, meaningful, and loved just the way we are. I truly believe it.
However, when we are struggling, being trapped with our thoughts like “I want to be liked by everyone.” “But why can’t I be someone like that?” – I think this theory can give us some hints.
Sometimes, we try too hard to be accepted by this person, but try not to be judged by that person, or not to make the other person feel bad, and the list goes on and on…
and as a result, suddenly realize “I am not who I used to be… ” in a way like, “I feel less like me.” or “Is this who I really wanted to be? I don’t think so…”
When I think about this tendency, I cannot help remembering what Seth was telling the audience; The stories about people tried too hard to make their product be liked by everyone, by making it more normal and more average, and as a result it became less special and nobody really wants it unless it is the cheapest choice.
Also about the concept of “wired people on the edges”, Seth says that they are on the edges by choice, because they are truly interested and they really love it.
That reminded me of people’s relationships.
Nobody wants to be said “I can’t think of any particular reason, but you’re just always there and the most convenient choice, so we are spending some time together.”
but we all want someone who says “I want to be with you because I love you!” … right?
There’s no reason you should force yourself to be more normal and more average so that you can be liked by everyone. That “everyone” who you don’t know who they are may be a large group of people. However, they don’t necessarily care about you in the way you wish they do.
It’s not about the number. You just need smallest possible number of people who really care about you, and who really love you.
You may have something you think weird about yourself.
You may have something different from other people.
You may have some goals, which you are afraid if anyone is gonna judge you if you actually start working towards it.
These can be your enemies if you try to be accepted by everyone. But these can be the keys to find right people for you – keys to find people who is happy to understand you and care about you.
I will be lying if I said I don’t wish if everybody likes me just being who I am. If there exists someone liked by everyone just the way they are, I simply respect them.
Also, as an adult, we have to try to get along with people around us as much as we can in our daily lives, and I am not going to say that it will be unnecessary when we try to embrace our uniqueness.
Even so, we do not have to make us less like us and more like other people’s ideals.
We don’t need to feel bad when you meet someone who doesn’t like you.
You are unique, so there might be someone who don’t like you.
But because you are unique, there is some people who really love you.
Who should we focus on? I think the answer is obvious.
My Favorite Quote from My (Weird) Friend I Love
For the ending of this article, let me quote one of my favorite friends.
“You’re not for everyone, and that’s okay.”
From the moment I saw this on his Facebook post, I decided to forget about “everyone” but value who I am and who I want to be.
Let’s just forget about being normal so that we can be more acceptable for many people, because that can make us less interesting. That can be a thief of our precious, unique, and beautiful weirdness.
I’m going to stay weird, just as I am. Maybe there are some people who are not going to like me.
But there will also be someone who really love me – and these weird (and the loveliest) people and my weird self are going to be who I will always focus on, appreciate, and care for the most.
- Check out Seth Godin’s amazing talk inspired me to write this article.
“Your Job is to Make Art – Seth Godin at Craft & Commerce 2017”
- Check out his blog, which he updates every single day!