Thought Catalog
May 29, 2015

The Lost Art Of Giving A Shit

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What is the issue?
Mark b
Mark b

We are obsessed with not caring about things.

Has anyone else noticed that? Every time I open my computer, it floods out of the screen – tweets, blog posts, statuses, even adorable little cartoons expressing how many fucks everybody doesn’t give. And that’s only the surface of it.

“Giving no fucks” isn’t just an online phenomenon that we partake in to blow off steam. The “I-couldn’t-care-less” attitude is alive in real time and it’s thriving. It seems like 90% of the advice we give each other has nothing to do with what we want and everything to do with what we don’t want. Don’t text that person because they might not text you back. Don’t show passion for your work because employers will think you’ll work for free. Don’t give a shit because it always comes back to bite you. Just don’t embarrass yourself. Don’t care.

‘Giving a shit’ has become the ultimate badge of dishonour – it’s the most disgraceful thing we can do. If we show genuine passion or emotion for anything in our lives, we’re pathetic. What if we don’t succeed? We’ll be looked at as failures. And the best way to make sure we are not viewed as failures is to hide the fact that we’re even trying.

When you’re on a date, act nonchalant. Wait three days to text them back. If they know that you like them, they’ll scorn you. When you’re striving for a promotion or trying to get in shape or otherwise attempting to get your life together, keep it quiet. Make offhanded jokes about how much of a mess you are. It makes you seem cool. You’re implying that you can achieve what everyone else wants to achieve without the cardinal sin of investing your emotion into it. You’re a cold, detached robot, after all. That is the ultimate goal.

The only time it’s acceptable to show that you care about something is once you have something to show for it. Got that relationship status locked down? Post a picture. Succeeded at something professionally? Share an update. Give us your successes, but none of that in-between drivel. We don’t want to know how you got there. We just want to not give a shit about our own lives, and then hate you for being where we’re not.

Personally, I’d like to nip all this bullshit in the bud. I give a shit. About everything. About my whole life. I give a shit about where I’m working, what I’m doing, who I’m dating, where I’m going, where I’ve been. I am on the constant lookout for ways to improve and ameliorate my circumstances. Almost nothing comes naturally to me. I owe every success I’ve ever seen to the fact that I openly and unapologetically give a shit.

And I don’t see why that’s such a bad thing. Life shouldn’t be a passionless experience. If we never feel disappointed or inadequate or embarrassed, we are also robbing ourselves of an infinite number of positive emotions that operate on the flip side of that scale. The feeling of living with integrity. The feeling of connecting with likeminded people because we put our whole selves forward. The concept of achieving exactly what we want from our lives, because we had the drive and the discipline to actually aim for it with no holds barred.

There is no superficial replacement for authenticity. No matter which path you choose for your life, you are always going to meet the most success in the places you go with your whole heart. Giving a shit is the magical key that unlocks the door to the vast potential within you and too many of us are slamming that door shut and swallowing the key because we’re worried about what other people will think if we walk through it.

We walk deliberately into so many of our failures because never trying at all is infinitely easier than admitting that we give a shit. We’d rather be deliberate, self-deprecating failures than accidental, unwilling ones. If we cut ourselves down before the world does, we get to be the masters of our own fate. And we love that. We love it so much that we’re willing to throw away the chance of succeeding at whatever it is we love just to preserve that sense of power.

But here’s what they don’t tell you about giving a shit: It’s the ultimate hack to your life. It’s the energy source that gets you through every blow, every embarrassment, every failure you encounter along the way. What you give a shit about determines who you are, where you’re going, what you get out of life and what you put back into it. It’s the entire essence of who you are and it’s too great a power to let go to waste.

So here’s the alternate perspective that perhaps we all need:

Do the crazy thing. Reject apathy. Live your life deliberately. Give a shit. And watch your entire life transform as a result. TC mark