Deciding you don’t give a fuck about something is extremely liberating. Not giving a fuck— and doing so without hurting other people’s feelings and being an asshole — is even better.
But first, you have to look inward. Know thyself.
Step 1 begins with taking inventory of your mental space so you can sort all the fucks being demanded of you into those that annoy and those that bring joy. Then you can decide to give or not give them accordingly.
As I said, your fucks can’t go in the middle of the floor . . . but you can.
Later, when you’re ready, you’ll sit down on the floor (hardwood is preferable— being uncomfortable motivates you to get this over with) and visualise your mind as a cluttered room. Actually, no, let’s call it a gigantic barn full of crap.
That barn contains all the stuff you’re being asked to give a fuck about right now, whether you want to or have to, or not.
That barn is a big fucking mess.
(Have you seen Hoarders? I think I’m getting a rash.)
Next, you’ll wade through your mental barn, noting all the good stuff (fucks you want to give) and all the useless clutter (the ones you don’t). You might even discover some stuff you forgot you had but that deserves a place of honor in your mind/barn once you make some room. You will identify every fuck being demanded of you; you will acknowledge it and size it up and think good and hard about whether you really want and need to give it.
When you confront all of the things you’re expected to give a fuck about all at once, your gut may clench, your bowels may roil, and your head and heart may begin to pound. THIS IS THE WHOLE POINT.
We are aiming for Fuck Overload here, people.
Watch Mia Freedman, Monique Bowley and Kate de Brito discuss 'Is clutter a first world problem?' (Post continues...)
Most of us just poke our heads into the barn every once in a while and never get past the mountain of shit piled up just inside the door, much less do anything about the rest of it. You have to get all the way inside and really fucking own up to it before you have any hope of clearing it out.
Yes, you must experience Fuck Overload in order to fully recognise the time, energy, and/or money you’re spending on your fucks — and to get excited about pruning them once and for all.
After you’ve taken a mental inventory of the barn (as I said, this happens a little later in part II), you’ll make a list of all the fucks you found lurking in its depths.
Do this once and thoroughly, and you’ll have a method to free yourself for life, even as the fucks demanded of you change over time. With the onset of holiday season, for example. You won’t let that mental clutter pile up again, because you’ll have the tools and perspective to keep the things you don’t give a fuck about from winding up in there in the first place!
Again: You must list every single fuck you find, regardless of whether you want to give it or not. Currently, the fucks you want to and should be giving might be stacked under and behind the things you don’t— like giving a fuck about your sister’s general happiness but not about the details of her new boyfriend’s genital piercings.
I told you, it’s messy in there. Right now, you’ve just got to get the lay of the land.
As Albert Einstein once said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” Smart guy; no wonder he won a Nobel Prize.
Take the time to explore your mental barn, unearth all the fucks within, and list them one by one. I promise it will reveal the solutions for future fuck-giving and best-life-living.
Trust me on this. Or at least trust Einstein.
Sort your fucks into categories
In service to the NotSorry Method, I have devised Four Categories of Potential Fuck-Giving:
- Friends, Acquaintances, and Strangers
Taken together, these categories constitute the vast miasma of people and things that you could potentially stop giving a fuck about. But we’ll work through them one at a time, which will make this whole process a little easier on you.
I strongly recommend that you follow my prescribed order. Things come first in your pursuit of not giving a fuck because they are inanimate and can’t talk back. Then Work, because it provokes some feeling of bitterness and resentment in nearly every person I know, which is a good motivator. Then Friends, Acquaintances, and Strangers once you’ve got your sea legs. Family comes last in your study of not giving a fuck, for what should be obvious reasons.
Look, I know you’re very excited about the NotSorry Method and you’re itching to tell your brother-in-law to fuck off and stop including you in his group texts about our national immigration policy, but don’t give in to temptation. I can tell you that starting with Family spells doom.
I mean, Family is a fucking minefield.
It is, no question, the hardest thing to stop giving a fuck about. For one, there is a sense of obligation when it comes to family, which supersedes even feelings and opinions. This is why I recommend adding Obligations to the list of Things to potentially not give a fuck about, thereby determining your feelings about obligation before you get to a particular relative, family-related event, or memento.
Once you’ve tackled the early categories, it will be much easier to separate your sense of obligation toward, say, holding on to Great-Aunt Josephine’s ratty fur stole from your feelings toward Great-Aunt Josephine herself (and from the feelings and opinions of your other mutual family members, who should mind their own fucking business).
Hear me now, believe me later: you’ll be waving good-bye to that beady-eyed beaver in the blink of an eye!
Ready? Great, let’s get this fucking show on the road.
This is an extract from Sarah Knight's wildly popular book, 'The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k'. You can purchase the full book for $16.99 here.