Have you known of someone seems to not ‘give a fuck about anything’ and still seems to be able to achieve what he or she desires? For someone that used the term ‘I don’t give a fuck’ in a multitude of circumstances and instances, I feel I’ve gotten closer to the meaning of ‘not giving a fuck’ through the years.
My Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck
There are many that go around saying they don’t give a fuck. However, underneath it all, they give too much of a fuck. To not give a fuck about something, you must first give a fuck about that something. I know, it’s ironic. However, let me a give an example.
For example, for me to not giving a fuck in starting a business or approaching a girl, I must first give a fuck about girls first. If there are no fucks to give in the first place. Then there’s no fucks to not give.
There is a difference between courage and indifference.
Not giving a fuck is about giving a fuck about your your personal values inspite of rejection or negative social feedback even if they might be rub some nerves in the short run.
I quit my accounting degree because I had close to zero interest in accounting. However, beneath all bravado, I was shit scared of taking a different path from the conventional Singapore route, 99.5% of the people around me persuaded me to do otherwise. From the outside, you may think that ‘I don’t give a fuck’.
However, on the contrary, I do actually give a fuck. I give a fuck about my far future: I wasn’t interested in something I hated 10-20 years down the road. The thought of hours of sitting in lectures pouring attempting to balance financial statements scared the hell out of me.
Now, don’t get me wrong, some people are good at what they hate to do. They are able to bite down and perform. Unfortunately for me, I’m wired in a way to suck at anything that doesn’t interest me. It took me years to finally accept that I wasn’t going to get a ‘practical’ degree in accounting alongside every other Singaporean kid growing up.
The Difference Between Courage and Indifference
I used to be quite confrontational in some of my relationships. Somebody once said to me: Why do you always kick up a fuss? Why do you always piss them off? Why can you just ignore it?
I simply told him that there’s a difference between courage and indifference.
I kicked up a fuss because I cared about something more important than the temporary discomforts. Imagine a bigger brother holding you by the throat when you’re about to overdose from alcohol. I some things I did it for the ‘greater good’. However, he, on the other hand, was probably afraid of any form of confrontation. He doesn’t assert any form of boundaries in relationships. He’s afraid of dealing with the emotions he buried for years. He’s afraid of standing up for himself.
He’s indifferent to the issues around him. Hence, he hides behind a shield of ‘serenity’, secretly afraid to upset anyone. He probably imagines an ideal life that is all peaceful and calm. Just like some fuck calm zen scene out of some fucking movie.
That’s not indifference. That’s not courage.
Not giving a fuck is NOT about not caring about anything around you. That’s apathy. Not giving a fuck is about caring about something that’s more important than you current fears. It’s about measuring success through your own metrics.
Not Giving a Fuck is about actually Giving a Fuck about Something
I used to get sent to the principal’s office a lot for missing classes. So one day, my Chinese teacher got frustrated at my usual antics and told me to go see the Vice Principal. Usually, I’ll pick up my bag and walk straight to the principal’s office. That day, I decided I just wasn’t going to. I made up a theory: I was getting punished. Just like how the police would arrest their criminals, the police goes to the criminal right? So, with the same reasoning, I told my Chinese teacher this: The Vice Principal should come and see me.
I didn’t need to go to the principal’s office that day.
Now, you might think I was a rebel without a cause. On the contrary, I didn’t kicked up a fuss because I wanted to antagonize my teachers. I did it because I stood for ideals that you shouldn’t play by the rules just because someone told you to. I was being expressive of my own values. Whilst those actions may not have paid off in the short run, it has helped me with certain my life choices for the next half of decade:
- Whether or not to jump on an airplane solo… fuck it, let’s do it
- Start my own dating and life coaching business… fuck it, let’s do it
Or… refusing to walk into the Vice Principal’s office.
There are many aspects of life that giving a fuck about something more important. If you’re constantly upset about minor things like someone bumping you on the street, you’re giving too much of a fuck. You probably do not have anything more important to give a fuck about. In your dating life, if your day is ruined by some random stranger rejected after approaching her, you’re probably giving too much of a fuck.
These minor life events and details do not matter in the bigger picture. There are more important things in life: your career, your life purpose, friends, lovers and family that truly you give a fuck about and give a fuck about you.
Over the years, I learned not to give a fuck if I’m working on Starbucks or some fancy coffeeshop. If I’m inspired to bang out a certain article. I can simple take out my laptop and punch it out. I no longer give a fuck if my shirt isn’t perfect, or if my hair is of the best angle. I no longer give a fuck if someone more successful, richer or more popular than me likes me or not. These are things I used to give way too much of a fuck about. They are time sinks and superficial.
Since you and I are cognitive misers, there’s a limited things you can give a fuck about. It’s up to you to filter out the unimportant activities, people and events to not give a fuck about. Lastly, as I mentioned, you got to give a fuck about something before being able to not give a fuck about something else. The fucks to give are equally if not more important. They determine everything from your life choices, your values, who, where, what and why you spend your time on.