I stride into the gym, gym bag swaying on one shoulder and my protein shake bottle in one hand. I’m ready to get this workout on. I head to the locker room and then I realise my gym clothes are missing in my bag. Damn it! I’m still in my work shirt and tie right now. What to do? I have two options, make the excuse not to work out because I don’t have my gym attire then go home. Or, I take my tie off, pick up some weights and train. I went for the latter. Best decision of my life. Ok, I lie. I’ve made better decisions than deciding to get sweat all over my work shirt and church shoes. Just as a side note, had I forgotten my headphones then I definitely wouldn’t have been working out that day. High five if you can relate.
So I got on with my workout. I did get some odd looks from people but I couldn’t give a cookie what people think. Of course I’m sure some people thought I’m silly and perhaps embarrassing myself.
I must say, this was one of the most exhilarating and intense gym sessions I’d had. I was in my “forget what you think” mode. If I wore a t-shirt that day it would probably read “In loving memory of when I gave a toss” (stolen polite version). The less I thought about what other people thought, the more energised I felt.
Looking back at this I could’ve decided to go home and skip training that day. But apart from looking like I’m the most disciplined human on earth who has no excuse for anything (trust me I make up excuses all the time), I learnt a very important lesson that day. No one actually gave a biscuit about me working out in a formal shirt. I was making up all these anxieties in my head!
The truth is nobody cares about you and what you do. Apart from the important people in your life of course. And that’s great! Half the time we worry about how other people will perceive us especially if you do something out of the ‘ordinary’. This is what causes fear amongst a lot of us. You cripple yourself with unrealistic fears and end up not even trying.
Now that you know people don’t care about you it’s time you stop caring about them as well. Or caring about a lot more other things. I’ve just finished reading the book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. It’s a great read, go get it. Message to the author: Hey Mark, now that I’m promoting your book email me on… Sod it! Why do I care?
Anyway, in this book Mark talks about why you should stop giving a cookie about certain things in your life but instead focus on more important things that actually matter. Here’s a quote from his book. Where I’ve put “beep” you can substitute with whatever word you want.
“Giving too many F’s is bad for your mental health. It causes you to become overly attached to the superficial and fake, to dedicate your life to chasing a mirage of happiness and satisfaction. The key to a good life is not giving a *beep* about more; it’s giving a *beep* about less, giving a *beep* about only what is true and immediate and important.”
Did I mention that there’s some profanity in the book? Well, now you know. You get the message in that quote. Basically we care too much to a point we end up being anxious.
Over the years I’ve lived with several, different housemates. Some clean individuals and some not so clean and/or tidy. They may have been a bit messy. I’ll stick with “a bit”. Don’t get me wrong, I could manage living with them but they seemed to believe there’s no rightful placement for any object in the house. Their reasoning was a bit like “who made the decision that a toothbrush should be kept in the bathroom?”. Or “my dirty clothes don’t need to be in a washing basket. It’s ok to have one shoe in the corridor and the other in the car”. I on the other hand I’m the total opposite. So as you can imagine this actually did my head in a little bit (that’s British for annoy).
Till I stopped caring. After screaming endlessly, tidying up after them and closing kitchen cupboards that had been left wide open I made the decision to myself to stop caring. When I started walking over mismatched socks on the floor and not caring I felt so much relief. I learnt that there’s more important things to care about like my studies than obsessing over creased up boxers on the bottom of the stairs.
“Most of us struggle throughout our lives by giving too many F’s in situations where F’s do not deserve to be given.”
Your mind can be your worst enemy all because you give a toss about things that don’t matter and you become anxious for no reason at all. Mark puts it well in his book: “Most of us struggle throughout our lives by giving too many F’s in situations where F’s do not deserve to be given.”. He also goes on to talk about the Feedback Loop from Hell, as he calls it. This is a situation where you are anxious about confronting someone, for example. “That anxiety cripples you and you start wondering why you’re so anxious. Now you’re becoming anxious about being anxious. Oh no! Doubly anxious! Now you’re anxious about your anxiety, which is causing more anxiety.” Crap!