Be Comfortable with the Consequences (Lessons from Life in the Spotlight)

Tue, Mar 12, 2024

Be Comfortable with the Consequences (Lessons from Life in the Spotlight)


“Kasim blew me off.” 

That’s what someone told a friend about me after mentioning they had tried to meet me. 

Obviously, my buddy reached out to me privately and let me know who it was and what was said, just in case I wanted the opportunity to rectify the situation. The problem is that I still have no memory or recollection of the person at all. 

I searched for their name in my email history, calendar, text messages, and messenger applications—nothing. I even checked the person’s social profiles to see if they looked familiar. They didn’t.

At first, I hated thinking I made a person feel that way. 

We’ve all been blown off by someone we were trying to connect with; it feels awful. 

I never want to be that guy. That’s probably why it bothered me so much; I hated knowing that was someone’s experience of me. 

Then, I started rationalizing. I switched to defense and began manufacturing stories about how it was probably the other person’s fault. I’m sure they were too aggressive, or I bet they were rude, or [insert excuse here]. 

And why were they running around talking about me anyway? 

I didn’t like the excuse side of me either. What if I did blow them off? What if I was having a bad day? Or they caught me at the wrong time? Maybe this is an opportunity for improvement for me, and I’m missing it because I’m too ashamed to see where my fault lines may be. 

Here’s where I settled: When people meet you in person for the first time, whoever it is that you happen to show up as that day will be who they assume you always are. Hence, the cliché concerns about the importance of making an excellent first impression. 

When you make yourself visible to any degree, you accept the responsibility of that visibility. 

Part of that responsibility is the amplification of those first impressions. You’re not just meeting one person; you’re potentially meeting every person they may choose to talk about you with.

Obviously, that’ll be proportional to how “talk-about-able” you are. If you’re Sir Bradey Pitt, your talk-about-ability score is, on a scale of 1 to 100, 101. If you’re Google Ads Guru Kasim Aslam, you’re a 2 (a solid 4.5 on event days). Either way, your actions are amplified accordingly.

The second thing I realized is this: I need to be comfortable with the fact that not everyone will like me. That doesn’t mean I have an excuse to blow people off or be unkind. 

However, I can’t control how the world defines what “blew me off” means. 

What if I was actively protecting my time? Or setting up what I deem to be a reasonable boundary? I can’t stop doing things like that simply because I’m afraid strangers will say mean things about me to other people. 

Instead, I must commit to acting by my principles and values as often as possible. 

That’s especially true if I’m in a place or with people where my actions may be amplified beyond that moment. Then, I need to accept whatever judgment comes. 

If I’m confident that I’m acting in a way that’s congruent with who I want to be, any judgment shouldn’t hurt me because it simply means we have a values misalignment. 

Obviously, I’m human, and that’s not always going to be true. But it’s a good mindset to work to strengthen. 

I have the sad, mildly pathetic personality trait that craves attention. I shoot videos, speak on stage, and write these fun little essays. That’s what attempting to gain a following is, right? 

So, when seeking attention, I must be comfortable with the consequences. 

What do you think? Have you been in a situation where you don’t like what’s being reflected back to you? How did you handle it?