“I’m pretending I don’t give a fuck by saying “I don’t give a fuck”, and by putting that out there, I’m making a conscious decision to not give a fuck, but in doing so, I’m giving a fuck about not giving a fuck. Which means you give a fuck.” – Joe Rogan
Sound vaguely familiar? Rogan is absolutely right: If someone makes a real point of saying they don’t give a fuck, it’s almost certain that they actually do, in fact, give a lot of fucks. It’s impossible not to give a fuck about anything, nor is that desirable behaviour–imagine if you didn’t give a fuck about your job or your family? You probably wouldn’t keep either of them for very long...
What does a person who’s living a “zero fucks given” life look like, exactly?
In my mind, this person lives unapologetically. They aren’t afraid to be themselves or upsetting others with their opinions. They don’t water themselves down or make themselves smaller. Instead, they do the opposite: take up space, live loud and proud, have clear boundaries, and radiate inner confidence. Maybe someone automatically comes to mind when you read this, or perhaps you have a different definition of what this means to you, and that’s cool too. In fact, I invite you to tell me off and give me your own definition of what it means to give zero fucks. This is, after all, zerofoxpeople.
Why we give too much of a fuck
One of the primary reasons people give too many fucks is because they are seeking the approval of others. Fuck them. You are not inferior to (or above) anyone else. You are enough. And it is not your job to please someone else or make them happy. Many of us give too many fucks about the things that aren’t important, the things that don’t matter, or things we simply cannot change. What we should actually be doing is prioritising our fucks, saving them for only the things that matter. But what are those things, exactly?
I’ve created a “priority of fucks” list, which are a few things that I feel are worth giving some fucks about (in no particular order of importance–that’s for you to decide):
Your career and/or business and why you should care
The average person will spend 90,000 hours working, or about one-third of their lives. That’s a fuck ton of time, which is why it’s probably important to enjoy it. I’m not saying that you must love your job–let’s be real. Most people wouldn’t say that or if they have said that, they are likely in the minority. BUT, I strongly believe in the importance of finding some kind of satisfaction in your day-to-day work. My key takeaway? Find something that you enjoy doing and that you can sustainably find new aspects of to enjoy and explore deeper as time goes on. Mine would be photography, illustration, and soon, coaching.
Why your time matters and why you should give a fuck about it
So you spend one-third of your life working, but what about the other 66% of the time? How do you enrich your life? What hobbies do you take on? Who and what do you interact with on a daily basis? What could you be doing more or less of? Pay attention to what you’re doing throughout your days and do a little Marie-Kondoing of your life. Ask yourself, “Does this bring me joy?” If not, fuck it! Just don’t do it! It’s not worth your time–trust me. Once you start spending the time on things you actually want to spend time on, not because you feel obligated to do so, you’ll be well on your way to living with a zero fucks mindset in no time.
Getting to know your finances and giving a fuck about your money
I wish money didn’t matter so much, but let’s be real–it does in our capitalistic societies. Money can be a huge block for some people, myself included. It feels gross to talk about, difficult to deal with, and uncomfortable both when you have too much or too little of it. There is, however, that happy medium where you’re not afraid to look at your current balance at the end of the month, but empowered by it. Getting to know your finances and your hangups with money can be very confronting, but it’s super important. What helps me the most is to think of it more as energy than a commodity. Maybe that sounds woo-woo, but I don’t really give a fuck 😉 Understanding your finances first can help you move past whatever bothers you most about handling money. Once you know where you’re winning or losing funds, you can start to make a game plan for how to control and even grow them.
Why you should definitely start caring about your health and why giving a fuck matters
I know I’m really leaning into this one-third life statistic, but one of the other thirds of your life is spent sleeping. You know when you get a really good night’s sleep and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on whatever life throws at you that day? It’s no coincidence that sleep is good for your health, but that’s only part of the feeling-good equation. Eating well, moving throughout the day, having positive social interactions with others, and other habits all contribute to good physical, mental, and emotional health. All are super important when it comes to feeling good, inside and out.
Why being lazy doesn’t mean not giving a fuck about your goals and goal-setting
I don’t know about you, but I’m lazy as fuck. Seriously. I wouldn’t get anything done if I didn’t set goals for myself. It kind of goes in line with caring about what you do with your time; just by figuring out what it is that I wanted to do in the long term helped make everything else easier. For me, it’s doing what I enjoy the most, which I mentioned before is photography, illustration, and having more time to explore different creative endeavors. I knew I wanted more time to pursue these things, but a few years ago, that wasn’t exactly how my life was playing out (but that’s a story for another time). I worked backward from my goal and started to rearrange my life in a way that would allow me to eventually do exactly what I wanted by saying “no” to working full-time and only taking on part-time and freelance work to make space for my goal. To be clear, I’m not saying drop everything now and pursue your life dream of becoming a botanist (my backup plan), but breaking down what you want into smaller steps and figuring out where to cut the fat is crucial. Also, your goals might shift over time, and that’s totally understandable and normal as well.
Giving a fuck about friends and family and the best advice that I’ve ever received
My family members are the people in my life who I truly give a fuck about. I know that I speak from a place of privilege when I write that because not everyone is as fortunate. That’s why it’s equally important, in my unprofessional opinion, to truly give a fuck about your friendships. The close friends in my life are basically family members, anyway. The older I get, the less I care about keeping people in my life that I just don’t give a fuck about. Honestly, life is way too short to be around people you don’t get the warm fuzzies from. If you feel “meh” about anyone in your life, you don’t need to keep them around just because you’ve known them since those awkward pre-teen years. Your friends are your chosen family! So choose wisely.
How to care for your partner while still caring about yourself
I really lucked out on having a truly amazing partner. After a few years together, we’ve really been able to grow and support one another, and it’s meant the world to me to have such a solid human in my life. That’s not to say that we don’t get tired, bored, or annoyed by one another, ever. Quite the opposite, actually. After going through some shitty relationships, I started to see that I hadn’t prioritised myself as much as I would’ve hoped. Going into my current relationship, I wanted to be sure that my needs as well as theirs were met. It takes practice, compromise, and a lot of open communication and honesty, but at the end of the day, it’s what truly allows us to continue to give a fuck about one another.
Making your home into a place that you love, can thrive in, and truly give a fuck about
So here’s the part where you’ll learn about my obsession with houseplants. I can’t tell you how many plants I accumulated in 2020 to the point where my apartment started looking more like a greenhouse than a home for humans. Plants make me happy, and seeing them every day has made my home and ability to get shit done so much fucking better! Even though some of us will return to commuting to work instead of working from their couches, creating a space that you love with a few tweaks here and there can really do so much for your overall mood. If it’s not plants for you, then maybe it’s photos or drawings of your dog, adding pops of your favourite colour around your space, or using mugs that speak to your unique quirkiness.
Stop giving a fuck about other people’s opinions of you
Imagine your fucks are made up of time, energy, and money–you have a finite supply of each of these, so you need to choose how and when to spend them. Imagine if you then added a load of other things like ‘what they’ll think of me’ or ‘how many likes this Instagram post gets’ pretty soon you’ll have a list as long as your arm and all of a sudden those fucks are stretched out pretty thin.
It’s also not about becoming totally indifferent–think of it more as becoming ‘ok with difference’. Set some clear boundaries and to take a step back to assess a situation before you react. If a situation is not on your ‘priority of fucks list’, then you should take a deep breath and let that fuck go. If a situation is something you actually cannot control (the weather, someone else’s mood), let that fuck go. Accept the things you can’t change and change the things you can.
Something else to remember is that everyone will give a fuck about different things and you may not always agree on what those things should be. Communication is key, especially if the person you are disagreeing with is also someone you happen to give a fuck about–make sure that you can both understand WHY you each give or don’t give a fuck.
And, if you’re still struggling to decide if something is worthy of giving a fuck, ask yourself these questions:
- Will this thing matter one year from now?
- Why do you give a fuck? Because it is genuinely important or because you’ve been conditioned to give a fuck?
- Is there something else more important happening simultaneously that you should prioritise?
- By not giving a fuck, am I hurting someone I do give a fuck about because they give a fuck?
One last fucking quote:
“In life, our fucks must be spent on something. There really is no such thing as not giving a fuck. The question is simply how we each choose to allot our fucks. You only get a limited number of fucks to give over your lifetime, so you must spend them with care. As my father used to say, “Fucks don’t grow on trees, Mark.” OK, he never actually said that. But fuck it, pretend like he did. The point is that fucks have to be earned and then invested wisely.” – Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck
I’d love to know: what’s on your “priority of fucks” list? What have you managed to stop giving a fuck about?