There are, at the root, two types of fucks that we all give.
- We give fucks about the things that are decidedly important to us. About making our spouses happy. About spending time outdoors. About sinking that match-winning putt on hole 18.
- We give fucks about things that we don’t want to give fucks about. We don’t sing in the car because we give a fuck what the person in the car next to us thinks. We don’t go swimming because we give a fuck what people will think of our bodies. We wished we didn’t give these fucks. But we do.
The approach contained herein deals with these second kinds of fucks. The ones we don’t want to give but do anyway. The bad fucks.
A Daily Action Plan
- Pick one thing every day that giving a fuck is holding you back from doing. (example below)
- Say "fuck it" and do that thing anyway.
- Embrace the discomfort, knowing that this is as bad as it will get. It will only get better from here.
- Repeat, finding yourself giving less and less of a fuck each time.
And that’s it. You can stop reading now if you’d like.
All Kinds of Fucks
Different people give different kinds of fucks. Making more money, for example, will be decidedly important to some people. So they will give good fucks about it. Others will desperately want to not give a fuck about making more money, but will anyway.
This article does not dare to suggest what you should and shouldn’t want to give a fuck about. It only suggests how to start to stop giving the fucks that you don’t want to give.
Avoid setting goals. Stick with actions.
Dumb: "My goal for 2016 is stop giving a fuck."
Smart: "Every day in 2016 I’m going to strive to do one thing that makes me a little bit uncomfortable."
And most importantly, do these things for yourself. There’s a fine line between saying "fuck it" versus trying to prove that you don’t give a fuck. Be wary of that line. Don’t fall into the trap that is the latter.
Fewer Fucks. Not Zero Fucks.
In working towards giving less fucks, don’t attempt to give none. Unless you want to give none. Then whatever. Fuck it.
Saying "fuck it" is not the same as not giving a fuck. You can’t actively not give a fuck about something. By trying to not give a fuck, you are inherently giving a fuck. Realized fucklessness is not attainable.
There’s a short distance between actually not caring and trying to prove that you don’t care. A general rule of thumb: anybody who tries to prove he doesn’t care? He cares.
Ever hear someone vigorously claim "I don’t give a fuck"? That person gives a fuck. At least one. Possibly many fucks. The amount of fucks given is directly proportional to how boldly the person claims to not give any fucks.
This guy gives so many fucks.
I’d be more inclined to believe somebody who says "I don’t give that many fucks." It’s less of a punchline. But it’s believable.
Going out of your way to not give a fuck is counterproductive. "Fuck it" and "I don’t give a fuck" are separate things.
Secondary Benefits of Saying "Fuck It"
You might learn to love yourself more.
You might better yourself.
You’ll free up resources to give more of the good kind of fucks. Over time, if you stick with the daily action plan, you’ll find yourself caring less about what people think of you.
This article would be incomplete without an example. So I’ll share something that I give a fuck about even though I wished I didn’t. Because that’s the point.
I have acne. On my back. Not so much anymore, thanks to age and/or diet, but over the course of my life it’s been prominent. And it’s had more impact on my life than I care to share. But I’ll share anyway.
I was on the cross country team in high school. During practices most of the top runners ran shirtless. Sometimes I matched them. Other times I was the only one with a shirt on. It didn’t depend on how hot it was. It depended on whether my backne was flared up or not.
During my freshman year of college I lived in a dorm that had shared bathrooms. During flare-ups I would purposely wait until off times to shower so that nobody saw me walking back to my room in my towel. If I couldn’t wait for an off time, then I would bring a change of clothes with me and get dressed in the bathroom.
This is a problem that plagued me for so long that I had gotten used to living with it. But why? Why should I have to hide? One day I decided you know what, fuck it. And I went for a run shirtless despite a bad flare up. I knew that subjecting myself to this embarrassment was the only way for me to move past this issue.
For the first several minutes of my run I couldn’t help but thinking that everyone was looking at me and laughing. It was emotionally excruciating. The next few minutes were still terrifying, but slightly less so. And each few minutes after that were slightly better.
I’d like to finish the story by saying that I was cured of this worry by the time I got back from my run. Heck, I’d like to finish this story by saying that even now I don’t care at all about it. But both of those endings would be false.
I still do, unfortunately, give a fuck about my backne when it’s flared up. But the size of the fuck I give is .08% of the size it used to be.
I’ve continued to make an effort to say “fuck it” whenever I get the chance. It takes a continuous effort.
edit: When Sarah (my wife) read this post she said “It’s funny, because I’ve never even really noticed your backne.” That’s a perfect example of why we need to step outside of our comfort zones. How many fucks do we spend worrying about things that other people don’t even notice?
Want to Win a Fucking Book?
I started writing this post a few months ago. I had planned on preordering several copies of Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck to give away to random readers of this post. But then I put this post aside for so long that I missed the preorder date.
Oh well. Buy your own fucking book.