How to Mind Your Own Business

Ever come across people who would tell you about their salaries before they wave a hello and smile, or ever met an unmarried girl advising you, when to have babies? I have, and trust me, there is nothing more annoying than being polite and smiling back to these people, while suppressing a growl and holding your hands away from their cheek. Ask me at such a moment ‘how to mind your own business’ and I may not reply with words and may use some other means.

All my growing years, I have come across various people who lack the quality of humbleness. And I have noted that these people are somehow obsessed with boasting and also hint low self-esteem. Otherwise, why do you need to be so loud when making a point so that the whole of the room notices you and not just the person you are talking to. Or why do you need to say sentences like, ‘why are you wearing this dress’ or ‘I got a job, pays big bucks, blah blah’, when all the other person is doing is playing friends with you.

As I said, minding your own business needs a lot of humbleness, politeness and respect for the other human being. It needs an understanding on your part, that the other person is an individual with his particular set of choices, and he/she is free to follow his/her choices. You need to understand that you are not always right and playing Miss Know-It-All or Mr. Know-It-All will take you nowhere and will in fact, take the other people away from you. So, the mantra is “Live and Let Live”. If you think you are the goddess of fashion or a finance guru, keep it to yourself, because you know what, the world doesn’t care and nobody has the time to listen to you bragging and boasting. Also, you may not always find a humble listener. So, beware of witty comebacks before you open your mouth. Don’t you remember the best ever mind your own business saying ‘do not do to others what you would not like to be done to you’.

Personal Advice and Agony Aunts
Personal advice
Advice always sounds good from people who have been there and done that. Like our parents and teachers whom we sadly (and most often) choose to ignore. But taking advice from someone who assumes he knows it all, is so irritating. Take for example the agony aunts (and uncles), you will find many of them who have taken it upon themselves to solve others’ problems. Mind you, helping when asked to is good, but being nosy and advising when not asked to is bad. I have personally come across people who were repelled to know that I am married, and by repelled I mean, they practically flew back a few feet from where they were standing and their eyes popped out. And they were louder than a train’s horn when they said ‘What! You are married!’. And they just kept moving their head sideways, even when I explained I am not that young and I married by my wish. To add to it, they will request you to not have babies as of now. Wow, is that reasonable? And I think I need not explain how repelled I am from such people. So, it is important that people understand where to draw a line when it comes to personal lives. And secondly, bring down that volume man!
Professional and Career Advice
Career advice
Some people are obsessed with being on top. Their obsession is of the type, if you can’t defeat everyone else, just kill them all, so there’s no one left for the first position other than you. These people are again clear indicators of low self-esteem and materialistic love. There are many people one comes across, who will tell how the profession they chose, or the course they did is the best thing to do. And to top it all, they will insist on how you are wasting your time in whatever you are doing and do what they did. These are the people who will tell you their salary and ask yours first thing they see you (may even roll eyes after listening to yours and say ‘Man! what happened to you, you were such a star in college…blah blah blah’). A person’s profession is his personal choice and no one is allowed to comment on it and when it comes to salaries, ‘Humbleness’ with a little ‘Politeness’ and ‘Decency’ is what’s needed. It is good to not have such people in your life and it is even better not to become such a person in your life. Trust me nobody wants to know that if you wear only branded clothes or visit a particular posh restaurant or how everybody you know is a big-shot and owns a bank. Bring it down, whatever that is you are doing, wherever you are standing, because when this life is over, again you will have nothing.
Minding Business at Work
Business advice
Most people tend to forget the meaning of mind your own business at workplace when it is the golden rule to be followed. How other people work or what they are doing in their personal lives should not be your concern. People who forget to mind their own business at workplace, turn out to be average or bad performers. Because how are they supposed to work when they are busy criticizing someone else’s work or gossiping about their personal life? Minding business at work is in interest of everyone, even the organization. So, professionalism is the key here. Be professional, talk less or at least talk sensible and give your best to the organization that pays you.
Rights and Wrongs
Rights and wrongs
Every person has his individual set of rights and wrongs. What may be right to someone may be totally wrong for someone else. It is all about personal choices and views. One has to understand that you can’t just thrust your opinion upon someone or criticize someone because he believes in something else. If you have an opinion, it is good, it shows that you have an independent personality, but it is totally what you think and nobody else’s concern. If the difference of opinion comes with someone you love, a little adjustment and some compromises can easily solve this problem. Moreover, respecting the other person’s opinion will always take a relationship a little further. But if it is with someone you don’t care about much, why bother? Who cares about what other people think when you are happy with yourself. Everybody’s philosophy of life is different and to live in harmony and not make enemies, one has to be modest and respect others. Knowing to mind one’s own business will always earn you respect and your own personal space in exchange. This ‘mind your own business’ quote says it the best – ‘ Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.’ ~ Thomas à Kempis, Imitation of Christ, c.1420
Tips for Minding Your Own Business
It is extremely bothersome and gets to you, if some unconcerned person wants to get your personal information, know the happenings in your life, just to satisfy his/her curiosity. Obviously the person questioned will be furious. But what if you may be a person doing the same to other people? And thankfully, if you have realized that, then here are some tips for people like you who want to give it a try to mind your own business:
✔ When you have the urge to poke your nose in someone else’s affair, ask yourself certain questions like, “Why should I know the development?” or “How does it concern me?”. If it is something related to you, then you can give it a thought, but if it is plain gossip, then the answer you should get from within is – “it shouldn’t concern you at all”.
✔ Another way to stop yourself from butting in is, move away from that place or those people. It’s a good distraction to walk away or else you’ll simply end up annoying someone. But yes, if it does relate to you, then you might have to break in and ask a question or two.
✔ Show disinterest in gossip and less interest in people around. Rather, focus on the work you have come for. How in the world is gossip or being curious and inquiring about others’ matters, or giving your advice when not asked for, going to be of any help to you? Instead, focus your positive energies on yourself, and not wasting your energy on unconcerned stuff.
✔ Before asking personal questions to an affected person (who must be wanting to be left alone), turn the tables and see how it feels. What if some day you are going through a turmoil in life and someone comes up to you with curious queries? Now, how would that feel? Won’t it get on your nerves? Won’t you want to lunge at the person and punch him/her hard? So, the point here is, think before you act.
✔ If you accidentally overhear some stuff that doesn’t concern you, don’t spread it around. It might be fun news for others, but you might be hurting someone. Act oblivious to some incidents or as if nothing was overheard and get back to your work.
‘Mind Your Own Business’ Sayings and Quotes
The following famous sayings, justify whatever has been said above:

  • “Sometimes it’s more important to be human, than to have good taste.” ~ Brecht
  • “God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it’s me.” ~ Author unknown, variation of an excerpt from “The Serenity Prayer” by Reinhold Neibuhr
  • “What a strange narrowness of mind now is that, to think the things we have not known are better than the things we have known.” ~ Samuel Johnson
  • “Just remember, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do everything and the wrong way is to keep trying to make everybody else do it the right way.” ~ M*A*S*H, Colonel Potter
  • “When you start treating people like people, they become people.”~ Paul Vitale
  • “Do not condemn the judgment of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong.” ~ Dandemis
So, can I sum up by saying that the answer to ‘minding your own business’ is “humility”. When a person is humble enough to accept that other people are eligible to have their own viewpoint, that person is minding his own business. In the modern world, every human is born free and is free to choose how he wants to live his life and that should be nobody else’s business unless that person is morally or socially wrong. After all, the world’s a democracy and that way, everyone is allowed to slap a person who has forgotten to mind your own business (our governments do not mind that). So, next time you comment on someone’s dressing sense or anything personal, look out for that hand.