Someone shared with me the other day the 18, 40, 65 Principle. This truism holds that at 18 years old we care about what other people think about us, at forty years of age we stop caring what others think of us and then at sixty five we discover people really are never thinking about us. In 2 Timothy it is written,
"For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,"
2 Timothy 3:2-4
Timothy is pointing out how people are self-centered and not thinking about others. Athletes, at all levels, spend too much emotional energy and time on what others think about them while not realizing people are self focused. When an athlete achieves on the field do they draw attention to themselves or to their teammates? When things are not going well do they take responsibility or do they point to the team effort? Furthermore, platforms like Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and others create mediums which exploit the fallacy that others are thinking about them. How much wasted energy is spent on these platforms. The sooner we realize others are more self-centered than outwardly focused the sooner we can concentrate on who really does care about us.
The truth is that we are all selfish spending the majority of our lives thinking about ourselves and very little time thinking about the needs of others. The problem arises when we let this fallacy (that others are thinking of us) govern and dictate our lives. As Christians, our focus should be on God and knowing that through the blood of Jesus Christ we have salvation and forgiveness for our transgressions and thereby know what He thinks about us. Only God knows our hearts and cares enough to care daily for us.
It is very liberating realizing we are not the focus of others attention. It allows us to take that wasted energy and focus it on more productive endeavors. We can focus on the relationships which matter. We can do what God calls us to to do without having to worry about the worldly ramifications. When we can realize most people are not caring about us, then we rise above self and can focus on God's plan for our life. This is a path where we put others first, where we focus on our relationship with Him and working to further his Kingdom his way.
The sooner we can get to 65 mentally the sooner we can expedite our personal and spiritual growth. If you are caring about what others think, STOP. If you are not caring about what others think, STOP. Start realizing others are not thinking about you and let this fact liberate you and turn your focus heavenward. Experience how God honors those who honor Him and reap the benefits of knowing God's love and a relationship with him is eternal.