The Subtle Art of Giving a F**K!

It was with sadness that I saw yet another book extolling the virtues of not giving a F**k as a way of selling copy, I cannot possibly believe that I am alone in being just a little tired of this sudden trend to get the F word in as many places as possible to sell books, get readers for blogs or simply as a way of covering up a persons disappointment at how their life has turned out, I mean after all I have even included it in this title to entice more readers!

the sad fact is that it does sell books and make people look twice at a blog that they would normally just pass over, the F word is still very much a taboo in polite society ( and probably should stay that way ) and so the sudden appearance of this on book titles or even as the headline for this post spark interest in the same way as we all slow down at the site of a crash on the motorway, we are not inherently bad people or wish any ill on the unfortunate people involved we are just captured by the shock of the situation, and so we gaze on and then have forgotten the event once we are a couple of miles down the road.

I have in the book section written a short opinion of the first book I became aware of that uses this strategy (in my opinion) to sell a basic collection of simple facts and re-tell them with the authors own style used expertly to disguise the fact that you (and I) have read and listened to this same message a million times.

My main source of despair is that the message is incorrect in every literal sense, we cannot and indeed should not go through life not giving a F**k, there is literally a medical term for people that live like this, and we usually get introduced to them under the glitz and glamour of the front page headline when they have committed some heinous crime, sociopaths are generally devoid of emotion and lack empathy as a result, there is no sense of right and wrong and they generally do not function well within society, or do they?

You see it is my theory that the reason we are so obsessed with not giving a F**k is because we see people that live that way and they seem to be successful and happy, in fact it often a positive comment about somebody and said with awe and respect “Dave is awesome, he literally doesn’t give a F**k!” problem is that we have missed the point for the same reason we blindly follow people on Instagram and YouTube believing that their lives are as glamorous as they would have us believe, as a general rule we don’t tend to dig below the surface, we simply take things on face value and move on, the problem is not entirely with the varying publications or the authors of these publications, it is what happens when people read and then try to implement the lessons contained within, the “motivational” industry is vast, it has the ability to package and sell the opinion of a person as fact without requiring a shred of evidence that they used the same techniques to get success or that they are qualified in any shape or form to offer counselling and life advice to the general public, in fact with the growth of the internet it has quickly become “he who shouts louder makes more money”, we have all but forgotten the flip side to that which is “the empty can rattles the most”.

I am not saying that there is no place in society for ambivalence, quite the contrary I am positive, 100 percent convinced, that the ability to not care about something is valuable, healthy and some cases outright necessary to our well being, but this is seldom the message, and the popularised message is the dominant one.

You see there is two main issues with living your life “not giving a f**k” the first is possibly the most destructive and will certainly make you less happy than you were before, this is the uncomfortable fact that we are, on the whole, caring empathetic beings, we process information and then by default we consider the outcome and how we would feel in that event, so to try and force ourselves suddenly to not care, and to not give any consideration to the future is to go against every instinct in our bodies, as an example just think of something you are scared of, spiders, heights that type of thing and remember back to the last time you were in a confrontational situation with that fear I am sure you will be able to remember very clearly the feeling through your entire body that what was happening was wrong and the urgency to move away from it will have ultimately become to much to bear until you removed yourself from the situation, well, same thing here, if you are a generally caring person of very analytical and you try to change that to become hard faced and reactionary as opposed to pr-active you will feel wrong because it will be going against your grain, and this will make yo unhappy as you struggle with the situation that sparked the change in approach in the first place and now, on top the feeling of discomfort and conflict this new way of life is causing, secondly, if we adopt this attitude of not caring and not being emotionally attached to anything, simply dealing with life as it comes without thought just rational thought and action, the people around us are likely to notice a marked difference in our attitude and relationships with them, this will alter many dynamics most likely at the heart of the family and showing signs of hurting the people that you started down this path for, we have to realise that there is nothing wrong with us, it is all too easy to blame ourselves for every ill that befalls us without reasoning it out first, if we start to alienate the people closest to us then we are unhappy and lonely, this can be a very dark place unless you are a sociopath !

And that is why we need to practice the subtle art of giving a f**k, it is the ability to choose what we care about that gives us power, the focus on the here and now instead of juggling a million future events and losing focus on any of them, and most importantly it is the ability to know when to ignore a situation not because you don’t give a f**k but simply because it is out of your control, it will be what it will be because it is the will of others, it is legislation or rules drawn up by people external to us that we have no influence on, or it is the opinion of a person or persons that have no say in our lives and ultimately have no control over how our lives are to be run, that is the real power, and once mastered will set you free to accomplish the things that you put your mind to.

Levelling the Land

We are faced today with a plethora of problems that society is facing for the first time, as well as rising debt causing misery for millions, more and more people are becoming depressed and ill as a result of piling pressure, money as always is at the heart of this, companies buy up bad debt for pennies in the pound and then use bullying tactics to force people to borrow more money to pay them back at a huge profit, others, while trying to climb corporate ladders stand on the shoulders of others to elevate themselves to the next rung of the credit score ladder, our children ask for toys continuously after watching YouTube videos of children whose parents sold out their childhood for the mighty dollar and we try and keep up with the Instagram lifestyles we scroll through every day looking to escape the reality of life in our front rooms.

The first and possibly most important lesson is this, we are equals, I will just say that again we are all equal that means that the arsehole on the phone when you are behind with a credit card payment may very well be trying to sound superior but they have the same fears and worries as you, the interviewer at the job you want so desperately is probably as nervous about meeting you as you are at meeting them, and the entrepreneur selling you the program to make you rich was (if not still is) as skint as you are, this isn’t to say that you should approach any situation with a sense of superiority as this will lead to animosity and scupper any chance of negotiation or rapport, simply know that are equal and act accordingly, meet aggression with measured confident response, adjust to awkwardness with kindness and open consideration for the other person and do not hold anybody aloft simply because they appear to have money.

Know who you are and stand on that knowledge

Who are you ? what do you want out of life ? some people spend years trying to answer those questions when the answer is simple, look in the mirror and asses what you see, think about how you treat people and thoughts that pre-occupy your mind, then stand on that, whatever it is because that is where you will be strongest, that is the position that no matter how much people try they will not be able to move you inside, as an example think of a band that you like, the odds are that even if you know several people that are into the same music as you, you will also know people that are not, and they will inevitably express their opinion whether you ask for it or not, but they will never be able to change your opinion because music is something we connect to on a personal level, it is a reflection of our personality and so we stand on our tastes because they are who we are.

the same can be said of all other aspects of your life, if you are a vegan or a staunch meat eater, then regardless of company stand on that, do not try and bend to the will of others just to make an impression, nobody will than you for it and you will be disappointed in yourself, this will lead to a lack of confidence and that will show to all like a big neon sign above your head, and don’t worry about offending people because that is the art of giving a f**k, the people that pass through your life offended will quickly move on and be replaced by people of a like mind so worrying about offending people is futile and simply a waste of effort.

Put simply stand your ground !

Conclusion

I hope I have illustrated why giving a F**k as as much of an art as people would have you believe not doing so is, we need to make sure we are true to ourselves and allow this truth to form our bonds with others, stand on your principals and you cannot be knocked down because they are your strength, the world would be an even worse place than it is now if nobody cared so give a damn and succeed!

Determination – Your Power, Your Journey

All to often we allow the power of self fulfilling prophecy to work against us, for a job interview we will continually think we are going to be late and end actually making ourselves late, or we convince ourselves that the guy or girl that we like would never like us so we don’t make an effort for fear of failure and guess what ? they never notice us!

Internal dialogues and self talk happen all day, every day, if we are aware of it or not, decisions are made on a subconscious level that determine the directions our lives take, with the exception of the very urgent “fight or flight” decisions these are all made with Reason and after an internal dialogue where we weigh up the chances of success versus failure and then act accordingly.

The problem with these conversations is that for most us they are biased against us this is most likely due to self preservation, and is not something that we all feel to equal measure.

Believe in Yourself!

How many times have you heard this, just believe in yourself and all will be well, it is more difficult however than it sounds as this requires the changing of your whole inner dialogue, you must reverse a subconscious level of thinking (not easily done) and you must find a way to remove the limits that you have set without knowing it, I personally am a firm believer in the power of the human spirit, years of observation have seen me notice that on some level my inner dialogue, my narrative that exists only in the deepest parts of my mind, influence and shape the world around me, and very rarely for the better I can tell you.

Break the cycle

Human behaviour is learned through pattern and repetition, for both motor skills and thought process, we ultimately become a product of our upbringing because this is the behaviour we see everyday, and so it becomes ingrained into our thought processes and our personalities, but we can change it, we can make a shift from one cycle to another, there is no shortage of research on making and breaking habits and one in particular found that it took nearly 12 weeks to form a habit and some people took nearly 254 days so don’t be too concerned if you have been telling yourself in the mirror that you are great for three days and you don’t feel any different.

Make Your Gestures Big

I used to be a nightclub doorman (bear with me) and I feel that tackling this situation is a lot like that, by the end of the night people were largely inebriated and their thought processes were impaired, conscious thought was cloudy and they were mostly running on sub-conscious activity to find their way home, my job, among others was to clear out the bar / club at the end of the night and I found after working this job for some twenty years that there was a very effective and distinct way to deal with this situation, you see shouting and hollering was not the answer, because hostility is just returned and talking quietly and not really making your presence felt was also pointless because you weren’t enough of an annoyance to cause an effect,

The most effective way to deal with this was to stand just that bit closer than you would normally, so you are not threatening but you are completely unavoidable and speak loudly and calmly repeatedly requesting that they leave as the night is over, and if you kept your cool and were patient the message got through within about 5 minutes for the lest drunk and the ones that could hardly stand got the idea within about 20 minutes.

My point is that I was dealing with people in the same mindset as we are when addressing our sub-conscious and trying to change what it wants to do, we are comfortable where we are and we feel safe because we are familiar with our surroundings, conscious thought that can reason that change is a positive is not in play and so we do not want to move, getting angry with ourselves is futile because we just become angry back and break all communication and trying to change a habit by gently whispering to ourselves each day just won’t cut it, we won’t hear the whispers,

The only way is speak clearly and unmistakably every time you get the chance, challenging all the things that you are convinced you are no good at, and don’t stop, don’t give up on yourself.

Determination is measured by the progress you make through adversity.

Me

Technique

Effectiveness is often mirrored by simplicity, I wouldn’t go downt he route of tying string round your finger or setting alarms to sit and concentrate on bigging yourself up, rather you need to start to listen, listen to your inner dialogues and start to recognise where they are working against you, and simply change the dialogue, as I have said previously change “I can’t” to “I can’t at the minute”, change “I am not good enough” to “I am not ready yet”, leave everything open ended, without the ability for your inner dialogue to close the door on a discussion you can modify the direction and message until you naturally follow the more positive path, take time to meditate, even if it sounds a little hokey and you feel silly doing it, by removing the outside noise of everyday life, even for 5 minutes, you can concentrate on what you are thinking and feeling and challenge all these beliefs you have about yourself,

Spirituality is not just banging gongs and Joss sticks (sorry if I offended anybody, seriously if you want to bang a gong then crack on!) it is about harnessing your own spirit and gaining from it, the foundation of success is much deeper than a bank account, but that account is much more achievable from a basis of inner strength.

Photo by Mike from Pexels