Not caring what other people think of you is certainly a state of confidence that’s preferable to worrying about other people’s opinions all the time.
After more than a decade of difficult confidence building work, I now enjoy being in this position of genuinely not caring what others think of me, and have been looking forward to this my whole life.
But there are downsides.
One of the downsides is I tend to be resistant to feedback, even when it’s helpful. It’s part of my overall defence strategy to prevent myself going back to being the guy who took all feedback personally and seriously.
I recently got feedback that I’m “too grumpy”, from a number of reliable sources. This made me realise that after 3 years of no sleep I’m starting to take out my depleted state on my loved ones, which doesn’t align with my values. So I do need to listen to this feedback and act on it.
So if you're in a position where you no longer really care what other people think of you, but you also want to get helpful feedback for your own development, there's a little system you can follow.
Firstly look for clusters, i.e. you're getting this feedback from lots of different sources and not just one person. So it's not just an opinion, it's actually more objective. This is especially true if these sources are people who have your best interests at heart and/or are people who’s opinions you generally respect.
Secondly, see if the feedback aligns with your own goals and values. Are you getting feedback that says that you're breaching your own integrity as opposed to feedback that just says you're inconvenient for others?
And thirdly, you can just ask yourself, If I went with this feedback and changed myself, would I benefit from that change?
If the answer is Yes to all of these then go ahead and listen to it. If not, carry on not caring.