One of the most trending philosophies in self-improvement is the idea of not giving a fuck. There’s a whole subreddit dedicated to it, along with tons of personal development products that claim this phrase as its mantra.
Essentially, this idea entails the belief that you should stop worrying about what others think of you, and that you shouldn’t hold back what you really want to say or do because of fear of judgement from others.
However, this statement can create an interesting paradox between caring and not caring. People often get confused over what it means, perhaps interpreting it as giving up on life, or sitting around the house doing nothing, drowning in apathy.
But that’s not the point of this philosophy. When applied properly, it will help you to open up, obliterate your insecurities, and achieve more. Ultimately, it’s a matter of WHAT you’re caring about. When you embody this idea, you’ll start caring more about your values and life goals, and take greater action towards reaching them. During this process, you’ll focus less on the opinions of others, thus leading to less inhibitions and more conviction in your choices.
This mindset can be incredibly powerful and liberating. For example, if you’re using it when approaching a girl to ask out on a date, even though you may get rejected, or even though your friends might make fun of you, this increased freedom can change your life. First off, she might say yes, and second, you’ll feel better that you at least took the chance. If you practice this philosophy on a daily basis, you’ll grow as a person, and new worlds of opportunity will open up to you.
With this said, some people take this idea too far, and use it as justification to break societal norms, disregard laws, or even to hurt other people. If these are your goals, or if your intention is to shock the world and draw attention to yourself, then you’re using this idea for the wrong reasons. Truthfully, if you really didn’t care about what others thought, you wouldn’t be trying so hard to get their attention or reaction.
Not giving a fuck is really about getting comfortable with yourself. But how does a person get to that point? It’s easier said than done, and you won’t get there with the snap of a finger or the wave of a hand, but there are a couple of steps that you can take to facilitate the process:
1) Take risks and purposely draw attention to yourself
You’ll need to be willing to take risks (some small and others big) to systematically desensitize yourself from fears and social influences that are inhibiting you from fully expressing yourself and from living a happy and healthy life.
One way to purposely draw attention to yourself is by dressing louder. While in college, I started doing something called “Formal Fridays.” Each Friday, I would purposely dress up with the intention to stand out. At first, it made me feel uncomfortable, because it put me outside my comfort zone. But over time, I progressively became more comfortable in my own skin. I also noticed that on days when I dressed up, I wound up in more conversation than usual.
Approaching women (whether it’s during the day or at bars and clubs) is another great way to desensitize yourself. More often than not, if a woman reacts poorly to your approach, it’s not a reflection of your character. Rather, her reaction may be due to a number of reasons, either because you did something to make her feel uncomfortable, she’s having a bad day, or some combination of these factors.
If you were worried about what others would think of you when you approached a girl or got rejected, you’ll soon notice that most people are too absorbed in their own worlds to care about what you’re doing. And the few people who would make fun of you tend to be the same guys who don’t have the guts to approach her.
2) Shift your thinking and change your perspective
In addition to taking greater risks, it’s helpful to proactively shift your thinking in more positive and empowering directions. If you find that you keep getting stuck in negative patterns, start journaling on a regular basis. Write out all your fears, worries, and insecurities, disprove them by offering counterarguments, and then write down more empowering versions of those thoughts to ingrain them into your mind.
If you experience crippling anxiety when trying to approach someone that you’re attracted to, change your perspective and look at the bigger picture. Think about what people in high profile positions, such as world leaders, have to put up with on a daily basis. In one of the most difficult jobs imaginable, they constantly face threats coming from all directions, but they don’t let fear stop them from sticking to their values and achieving their goals.
Whatever risk or challenge you decide to take, you’ll soon realize that people don’t care as much as you’d think they might. Since most people are so worried about themselves, they don’t have enough energy to care about what everyone else is doing. Even if some people judge you because you’re trying something new, remember that their opinions say more about themselves than they do about you. People’s opinions are simply a reflection of their perceptions, past experiences, and insecurities.
Lastly, condition yourself to not give a fuck by using incentives, such as “YOLO!” I know it’s cliche, but it’s true; you only live once, and you never know what the next day will bring. Are you really willing to let the opinions of other dictate your life, your decisions, or your emotions? Life is too short and unpredictable to waste on worrying about such petty things. By shifting your focus, you’ll find yourself caring less and less about what others think of you.
Once you let go of worrying about what others think of you, it will be incredibly liberating. You won’t feel hindered, stifled, or repressed anymore. As a result, you’ll be able to express yourself without fear of judgement, and you’ll find yourself becoming happier, more productive, and more fulfilled.