You can never please all the people – Live with it

Sometimes we just can’t help it – we just want to please people. We want to be liked; we want to make friends, and we want to be accepted. We are fundamentally social beings and often it is the female figures in any social unit that we look to for support.

Ladies, admit it – we think about other people and how we can please as many of them as possible before we think of ourselves.

The trouble is, you can never please all of the people all of the time. We know this, we say it to each other by way of reassurance.

The best we can hope for is to please the majority or, in many cases, make a minority very happy.

There’s an 80/20 rule here: 

10% of people you encounter will love you no matter what.

80% of people have a latent goodwill towards others – they want to like you and engage with you.

Then there’s the final 10% – people who, no matter what you say or do, will never want to engage with you, they are simply not interested.

So why, when it comes to business, do we lose sight of this? 

All too often, I work with businesses that are trying to be all things to all people. The net result is that they never really please anyone because they don’t do anything really well, they’re just average at everything. Or worse still, OK at some things and poor at others.

People are more likely to remember, and to tell others, when you do something poorly, even if it was with the best of intentions. It means that the best your business can ever be is average.

Do you want to be average – wishy washy, flaky or just plain ‘meh’?  Of course not.

Businesses get the customers they deserve

It’s better to be an expert at something specific rather than trying to take on too much. Your business needs focus, clarity, direction and energy.

If it’s clear what you do, the 10% who will love you no matter what will keep coming back and will be able to spread your message because it’s a simple one.

The 80% on the fence can make an informed decision and also spread your message because it’s easy to understand.

The final 10%, forget them. It’s OK, it doesn’t matter. You’ve pleased the majority and that’s what counts.

6 thoughts on “You can never please all the people – Live with it”

  1. I really like the idea of using statistics as a model – it definitely helps to put things into perspective and help someone to see through a wider lens and think forward.

    Although it is also true what I have heard Erika discuss in her workshops – surrounding yourself with the right people really can make all the difference. Once you have solid love and support, your attitude will be in the right place. I am grateful that I have some of my 10%.

    I often wonder about how this fits in with creatives who resiliently choose to go against the greater fabric of society to be unliked, even if they feel it is for society’s benefit. That’s always intrigued me a little bit – as an artist is this something you have any perceptions about?

    Thanks for the article – very straightforward, and a good boost!

  2. Hi Lucy
    Thanks for the comment, glad it gave you a boost. I think of that idea of being ‘unliked’ is one of those kind of reverse psychology things. Even when you are controversial someone will still like it or like the fact that you were brave enough to do it. There’s no such thing as bad publicity I suppose.
    Great blog by the way, I especially like the review of Children of Men

  3. Hi Amy,

    That is true – some artists really don’t want to be loved, and we can’t get enough of them for it! Although I suppose it’s more a rejection of the system than people in themselves.

    Thank you so much for checking out my blog. I’m really thrilled you enjoyed the review – I’m looking forward to checking out some of your work myself!



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