The art of not giving a fuck
Please keep in mind that this is not about being arrogant but quite the opposite. It’s about being more compassionate by subtraction. If we remove the salt and junk from seawater what remains is perfectly drinkable water. If we get rid of the things that are blocking us, we will automatically move forward. Think of it as a helium balloon attached to some weight. In order for the balloon to go up it needs to untie itself from the weight and let go of it.
Follow the white rabbit, not!
I couldn’t have described more eloquently what the art of not giving a fuck is about than Brian Tracy did in his book Maximum Achievement
I’m teaching you to be selfish
I want you just to be simply selfish. And you will be surprised that if you are selfish you discover so many treasures within yourself that soon you start sharing them – because finding a treasure is a lesser joy than sharing it.
But if you want to grow your treasures, share them, share to all and sundry – don’t bother whether this is a friend or a foe. When you are sharing, the question is of sharing, it is not with whom. Whomsoever it may concern, you simply give. Don’t be concerned about the address, you simply go on sending love letters. Somebody will receive them somewhere.
Why is selfishness good?
If you were the owner of a company wouldn’t you love your employees to be selfish: Wouldn’t you want them to be the best they can be:
- to take their personal development seriously;
- to work hard on being smart;
- to be more in control of themselves;
- to know what they want and how to get it;
- to want to be the best in their area;
- to be proud of themselves and their achievements;
- to not give a fuck about what others think of them;
- to laugh away the competition;
- to be so good at what they do that they wouldn’t mind sharing it and enjoy doing so;
The above sounds like a description of a person who I wouldn’t want to stay around, 5 years ago because I’d feel extremely insecure. Neither would I want to compete for a job with him/her. Yet those are the people that I’d hire if I was to hire people for a company. The opposite of that would be an employee who:
- doesn’t care about his/her personal development;
- is trying to just get by;
- doesn’t know what he/she wants or how to get it;
- is desperately trying to not be perceived as selfish because: “it’s bad”;
- is afraid to take action in any direction because of the above reason;
- would rather be loved as a loser than hated as a winner.
Shadow: The nasty aspects of ourselves.
One of the main obstacles on the way to truly loving ourselves is an aspect of our psyche called shadow. Shadow elements are qualities about ourselves that we don’t want anything to do with, therefore we don’t see them as parts of ourselves (but they are anyways). Shadow are all these qualities that we label as ugly, unholy, embarrassing and disgusting in our own behavior or in the behavior of others (inside or outside). We can disown them but we can never dismember them. The only thing we can do is to befriend them. These shadow elements are in everything we point our finger at. All of our friends can see our shadow elements but we can’t see our own shadow, and usually they won’t tell us because the one time they did try to help us, we laughed and completely denied it (in an attempt to remain strong and protect ourselves).
- Disowned Anger: “I’m not angry! But my boss is really angry!” (in this case everybody knows that I’m really angry but I, myself don’t see it)
- Disowned Ignorance: “Haha! My friends are really dumb. I’m so smart.” (not a very smart thing to say on the first place)
- Disowned Pride: “Unlike my friends, I don’t seem to be proud of or good at anything. There must be something wrong with me.” (this is an example of a positive quality disowned as a shadow element that results in low self-esteem)
- Disowned Victim: “I never complain… but I just hate people who complain all the time. Yap Yap Yap” (admitting to being vulnerable can release a lot of trapped energy and free you up. I used to disown this all the time presuming that it’s a weakness to “complain”. You really don’t have to complain to anyone – just recognize that sometimes you ARE a vulnerable victim and relate to other people who are victims too)
Shadow: Junk Closet
And you might be be thinking: “Why the hell would I want to own my ignorance or anger or resentment? I want to stay away from it. That’s what I’ve been doing all my life.” Think of it as dirty and embarrassing belongings in a closet, that you locked up right before a guest came over. You hope that they will never find out that your room was messed up 5 minutes earlier and you want to give them the impression that you are a very tidy person. Although you may successfully deceive your guest, (provided that they never open the closet door) you still remain with a closet full of junk. Additionally, you may find out that you like your house “clean”, so instead of taking all the junk out of the closet, you left it all in there. Until the next time a guest came over and it was messy again and you had to put all your junk in the closet again. Until one day the closet was so packed that the door burst out while you were having a sweet conversation with your buddy.
Identify the Shadow
The work of tiding up your house the right way, instead of putting all the junk in the closet is equivalent to befriending your shadow instead of disowning it. The fastest way to identify our own shadow is to look at who are we pointing at and judging and then suddenly turn that finger back to ourselves. So instead of blaming someone else out there for being so and so we take our own blames and judgments – “She is really controlling” becomes “I’m really controlling”; “He is so angry” becomes “I’m so angry”.
I looked and looked and this I came to see — that what I thought was you and you was really me and me.
Befriend your shadow
This isn’t the easiest thing to do. The challenge to resist the temptation to act upon your shadow is constantly there. Yet don’t underestimate the power of your choice. If you choose to act from a more sober state of mind you’ll be able to catch yourself before the tipping point (the point of no return). The more you catch yourself the better you’ll become at it. There are certainly times when we won’t be able to. Especially when we are tired, didn’t get enough sleep and it’s someone that we just can’t stand who knows how to trigger us. But this person is also the key to our greatest shadow. This is what true emotional samurais know. They know that there is no difference between inside and outside. If we push something on the “outside” (into the “it” domain) it becomes our shadow. It take the form of fear, anger, resentment etc. This can drain our energy completely and bring our personal progress to a complete stall or even cause depression in more severe cases. If something on the outside is upsetting us or disturbs our emotional state, all it means is that there is more work to be done. More shadow to be identified, embraced and befriended (take responsibility for “it” and welcome it back into the “I” domain). Honestly, I personally don’t like working with my shadow. It’s definitely not fun. But I know better than that: it’s not about what we like to do. It’s about what’s required. (Real women/men know why ;))
“Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die”
- You win because you have no hatred in you (therefore you are not poisoned and you are free from limitations)
- They win because they have an excellent chance to work with their shadow: they must forgive you and learn to love. That’s the key to their true happiness (and you’ve become their poison and remedy depending how they use you :))
- The entire cosmos wins because the more people learn to unfold their love to it’s most profound stage the better for all concerned