Stop Worrying What Others Think – A Lesson From The Life Of Bernie Mac

What do you do when your big break finally comes, and the person who went on stage just before you got booed off stage, and the host can’t get the audience back under control.  If you’re Bernie Mac, then you walk on stage, take a stance, and proudly proclaim “I ain’t scared of you Mutha F’s!”  Bernie actually used some other choice words as well.Stop worrying what others think

It sounds edgy and raw but a little Bernie-tude is actually good self talk if you’re trying to stop worrying what others think of you.

You’ll always find what you’re looking for if you’re always looking for the guy who doesn’t get your joke, the person who doesn’t like what you’re wearing, or whose got an issue with your sexual orientation, your skin color, hair color, or one of a million other possibilities.

You can avoid criticism by choosing to say nothing, do nothing, or being nothing.  In other words you can choose to be invisible.

Invisible sounds safe but it’s actually a risky strategy.  You may find the courage to speak up to someone, in a meeting, post your thoughts online, make a video, or start a movement once you’re willing to say simply say “I ain’t scared of you Mother Fuckers!” (Not my words…Bernies…but I agree in spirit)

Pick Yourself


pick yourself

When I think of being picked my mind goes back to adolescent days of being chosen last to play schoolyard football.  I hadn’t started lifting weights yet, so I was among the most scrawny kids in the neighborhood.  That didn’t last long though.  By age 14 I was lifting weights, running track, and playing league football.   Soon everybody wanted me on their team.  But the damage had already been done; I’d developed the mindset of wanting to be picked.

For a long time now societal success has been based on the idea of waiting for someone else to notice you.  Submit your resume and wait for HR to pick you for an interview.  Send your manuscript to 200 publishers and hope one picks you.  Pray, pray, pray that Oprah picks you to appear on her show (even her new less popular show).

But those days are gone.  Today you can pick yourself.

Pick Yourself Examples

Yesterday, I saw on the news that Justin Bieber earned $55 million dollars last year.  If you don’t know Justin picked himself (actually his mother picked him) by skipping record industry gatekeepers and producing videos of him singing on YouTube.  Turns out some guy named Usher liked the kids voice.

Twenty something Amanda Hocking is a top selling author.  She’s making a million dollars, without a publisher, selling her books directly via Amazon. She lets her friends and fans know about her projects via her blog and social media outlets.

Why You Must Pick Yourself Now

Because picking yourself has become easier to do than ever, therefore more people are.  That means spaces where you can get your message out are filling up fast.  As more blogs pop up, more videos go on YouTube, etc, you’ll have a more difficult time getting your message to spread.  The time to pick yourself is now – literally right now.

What You Need To Pick Yourself

All you need to skip gatekeepers is access to a computer, an Internet connection, and the courage to pick yourself.  YouTube wants to help you do a video, Amazon wants to help you publish a book, WordPress wants to give you a platform to spread your ideas, and Google wants to tell the world about you  – all for free.

Bam! You’re now empowered to pick yourself.  So what’s holding you back?

Big thanks to Seth Godin for providing the language to all us to frame and articulate this idea.  

Adversity and Success

Adversity and Success: People with lots of resources don’t often achieve genuine success.  Success at anything is difficult and rare.  In fact success is rare because it’s difficult.  And it valuable because it’s rare. 


  • marketing speaker philadelphia rodney goldstonMost entrepreneurs don’t revolutionize an industry.  
  • Most sales people don’t land really big clients.
  • Most athletes don’t set world records.  
  • Most entertainers don’t achieve world wide notoriety   

Genuine success is simply to difficult. It always requires tremendous fortitude, and willingness to suffer through trials and tribulations.  People with lot’s of options see the barriers, think what’s the point, and walk away.  

On the flip side people living in tremendous adversity, the worlds underdogs, view the same barriers to success differently.  At some point they realize – ‘no one is coming to my rescue but me’.

Working hard and seeing it trough is their only option for a better tomorrow.  Fortitude, work ethic, and eventually success are birthed from their adversity.

Talent vs Skill

I don’t think that most people really get the whole talent vs skill argument.

Talent you have naturally.

Skill is developed by relentlessly laboring at your art.

Naturally talented people who lack good work ethic fade quickly…think Allen Inverson.  Contrast Iverson with Talent vs SkillMichael Jordan, who though naturally talented, lacked the skill to make his high school basketball team on the first go round.  So he practiced to augment his natural talent with the required skills.  As they say the rest is history.

Talent vs Skill: Example from a different Michael

Last week I watched a documentary called Michael Jackson: The Real Michael Jackson.  In it Michael discusses the day in day out consistent practice required of him and his brothers to make their act absolutely perfect.  All of the brothers were naturally talented, but they all acknowledge that without being driven by Joe Jackson to practice until perfect they would not have attained the level of success they did.

Here is an absolutely amazing video of Michael Jackson practicing his craft.

It’s possible to develop talent through skillful practice

You most likely look to your gene pool for an explanation of your talent or perceived lack there of.  The idea that talent is passed down from parents or grandparents whether it is musical or artistic skill, ability with numbers or being great at juggling is dominant thinking.

Talent vs Skill: The nature vs nurture argument

Doubtless there are significant genetic factors involved, but there are almost certainly environmental factors in the mix too. I believe the two work together, one boosting the other. Remarkable genes only spawn remarkable talent if the skills are suitably nurtured.

What I’m saying here is that where a person has no ability at all they can learn and earn their way to becoming talented, through practice, practice, practice.

Something to make you go…hmm! Hard work outworks talent when talent won’t work.

talent vs skill

Talent vs Skill: Interesting Reads

Seth Godin’s opinion

Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers

Photo Credit: YellowGirl900508


The following from Jeff Bezos, founder of graduation speech at Princeton.

You have the following choices:

  • Let inertia be your guide, or follow your passions.
  • Follow dogma, or be original.
  • Choose a life of ease, or of service and adventure.
  • Wilt under criticism, or follow your convictions.  
  • Bluff when you’re wrong, or apologize.
  • Guard your heart against rejection, or act when you fall in love.
  • Play it safe, or be a little swashbuckling.
  • Be a cynic, or be a builder.
  • Be clever at the expense of others, or be kind.

Choose wisely for you are the decisions that you make.