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Why being ‘outcome dependent’ could be the one thing blocking you from what you want

Alex Mathers
4 min readNov 25, 2023

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I once lived in Tokyo for a few months, and I’d arranged to meet an English-speaking local via the Couchsurfing community online. Let’s call him Akira.

It helped me meet new people while allowing locals to improve their English. We met for a tour of some of the temples on the outskirts of Tokyo in a place called Kamakura.

The guy was nice, but I couldn’t shake off this icky feeling that accompanied our union.

He seemed clingy for my approval, and for days after we met, he would blow up my phone with messages about new things to do.

It felt weird and pushed me away. You’ve probably had similar experiences. When people act like they need you more than you need them, it can be unpleasant.

You’ve heard of the phrase: ‘needy is creepy.’

Neediness is to be dependent on outcomes being a certain way. In the case of Akira, him wanting to spend more time with me and pushing for it even after my subtle hints of ‘no’ came off as needy.

He was highly outcome-dependent.

He wanted things to be a certain way.

You’ve probably felt needy, whether you showed it or not, perhaps when on a date, and you really really wanted to succeed because you were highly attracted.

Here’s the game-changer shift in mindset here: You can want certain outcomes, and this is a good thing. But you don’t rely on them for you to be happy right now.

Our behaviour and mindset are both part of the same continual loop. When we act in a relaxed, not overly-needy way, we will develop a non-needy identity.

How we think will literally be moulded by how we act, and this will perpetuate itself positively.

For example, if you’re in a seemingly high-pressure, ‘high-stakes’ job interview, every internal instinct might be screaming at you to take it super seriously.

‘I NEED this job!’ You think to yourself.

But when we take things seriously, and we’re heavily dependent on the outcome being a success, we will be anxious. We tighten up, act needy, and ultimately perform less effectively.

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