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Optimize performance using the Spotlight Effect

The Spotlight Effect is when people tend to overestimate how much others are observing and judging them. A desire to be liked and understood is typical of human nature, but it’s easy to let this instinct affect how we go about our lives. If you are constantly thinking about what others think about you or worrying about their judgment, you are giving up valuable mental space to push yourself forward and accomplish your goals. You may also be less likely to take calculated risks that could make or break your path to success because of how others might perceive you and your choices. This is a super common mind trap, but one that is fairly easy to overcome if you’re open to shifting your mindset in a few different ways.

First, it’s important to put others’ judgment into perspective. Sure, people will have their opinions about certain things you do or say, but most of the time, they are more focused on their own challenges and goals than observing yours. There are only so many hours in a day, and people don’t have time to waste constantly watching your every move.

Second, know that being liked and being respected are different things, and being liked is not a requirement for your success. In fact, I’d much rather someone respect me but not like me than vice versa. Being liked means people enjoy being around you or spending time with you, but that does not always equal respect, which means that people trust your judgment and will often put your needs before their own.

Overcoming the Spotlight Effect requires discipline, perspective, and a radical change in how you interact with people and how you perceive others, too.


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