You can’t please everyone so please yourself

Some people live for themselves, others live selflessly but most of us find our worth in the value others place in them.

If you depend on the value others see in you for your sel-worth, your life will be an emotional roller-coaster where every imagined slight can tip you into depression and supposed praise becomes the fuel to coast you back to the top of the roller.

The solace of religion is that it allows you to live neither for yourself or for others but for a being not of this world.This third way , especially when spiced with a heaven laden with virgins, is appealing to those for at the bottom of the pile who can imagine themselves equal in the eyes of the Lord, to those on top. It is also convenient for those on top as religion that preaches deferred gratification declares injustice as temporary and inconsequential compared with future gains.

Was it Bob Marley who wrote these lines?

You preacher man don’t tell me, heaven’s not on this earth

You aren’t happy and you don’t know – what life is really worth

Cos if you knew what life was worth- you’d look for it right here on earth

And now we’ve seen the light- we’re going to stand up for our rights.


I find myself spending a lot of my working life trying to please a disparate group of colleagues who have different measures by which they judge me. Even if I was to succeed with the majority, I would fall our with the rest so my pragmatic solution is to run a dashboard where I target 50% of my partners are happy  and less than a quarter are pissed off. The toxic 25% need to turnover and my second target is to make sure no partner is in the toxic quadrant for more than a couple of months. This is known as pragmatism.

I think this dashboard idea is jolly good. There are all kinds of measures that we can use to check how others see us, I think of obvious ones like google searches and Klout but there are other tangible statements open to me as I lead such an open life with so much of my thinking in the public domain. The numbers that read my blog, follow me on twitter, are linked in to me or join my pension play pen me valuable data on what I am doing that works or does not. They are not howevr a measure of my self-worth. My integrity is what I am not what I am doing.

What I am finding, and this may be connected to my having given up drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes, is that I am less bothered at the moment by how others see me, than I have been for a long-time. This detachment from other’s opinion has, I believe, its foundation in a sense of personal self-worth which in turn is derived for a sense of purpose and achievement.

It is as close a definition as I can find to happiness.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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2 Responses to You can’t please everyone so please yourself

  1. Glad to hear it! Do you think these changes you describe in yourself are age related? The psychology of ageing is not very well understood, and, compared with say, child psychology, under-researched. I am wondering if these kinds of experiences and transformations are more common than you might think? (Speaking only for myself of course….)

  2. henry tapper says:

    “I grow old , I grow old- I shall wear the bottom of my trousers rolled.”

    Your obervation that we don’t write about people getting old much- I immediately thinking of Lear and Prufrock but I can’t think of too much autobiographical writing.

    Why do old people not write about their experiences of being old more – it’s not like they haven’t got the time on their hands.

    The waning of mind and body is frustrating but it has its good side, you get a kind of resignation.

    Ton Mycoy spoke of this yesterday when he remarked that he was getting too old to race with certain injuries. It was one of the first times I’d seen him take some pride in himself and his achievements…goodness knows Mcoy’s earned the right to put his feet up for a few days.

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