There are two types of unsuccessful people in the world: those who don’t care about anything, and those who care about the wrong things.
Let’s examine the former, first off, and do so bluntly: there is a goddamn plague of apathy currently infecting Western culture.
Perhaps we are too full, too fat, too satiated: but the amount of people who just don’t care about anything is way too high. No, I don’t mean that “I don’t really care about global warming, police shootings, saving the orcas” kind of apathetic individual. That kind of apathy is natural, hell it is necessary for survival and happiness. Humans only have the capacity to care about things that are meaningful to them, as this is nature’s way of helping you to focus and keep your head in the game when it comes to your own success and survival as a creature.
While there are some people who genuinely care about far away causes that don’t immediately affect their lives, the clear majority of people who claim to care about these things are simply virtue signaling. So, refusing to recycle for the rainforest or run for breast cancer isn’t what I mean by the “apathetic type”. I’m referring, instead, to the type of guy who goes through life simply shrugging his shoulders at everything that happens around him. The kind of person who finds it easier to just not think about things.
You probably know a lot of these people: people that are “cool” and “laid back” and “easy going” to the point where they might as well just check out on life. These are people who avoid conflict, who take nothing personally, people who walk around saying “well if it is meant to be, it will happen”, or “things have a way of working out”, instead of attacking life, going after what they want, and pushing for control over the outcome of the things that directly concern them. At the risk of sounding like an old, grouchy bastard: these are the people who show up 15 minutes late to appointments every time, who play loud music and rev their fag rice burner engines at 2 AM in the suburbs, people who promise to do things and then just don’t, people who are “good friends” with their ex girlfriends. They have few strong opinions, and even fewer strong character traits. They don’t care about their word, about the suburbanites who have to wake up at 6 AM for work, about the people waiting an extra 15 minutes for them to show up day after day. They have little self-reflection – life is easy when you just don’t give a fuck.
Perhaps there is some appeal or adventure in the oblivion of being with an apathetic, non-committal, shoulder shrugging fuck. Who knows? But the idea that this type of person is “cool” and “hip” has long since hit the mainstream. Because our society works men to death, all while we culturally promote the narrative that life is all about “relaxing”, “forgetting our worries”, “letting go of concerns”, and taking “deep breaths.” We hear again and again that being laid back is the way to be.
But this whole mentality is wrong. Life requires passion. Life requires care. Life requires worry and stress and sweating some of the details. It requires that you use your blinker, make sure your roof doesn’t leak, that you show up on time, that you consider and respect strangers if you live in a society. That you cut people off who disrespect you. That you occasionally draw a line in the sand.
Now, that is not to say that giving a fuck is always an absolute good. On the contrary, the second unsuccessful type I mentioned involves a person who wastes themselves, their concerns, and their passions on things that are meaningless, unbending, or simply beyond their control. These people spend their lives bashing their heads against brick walls, concerning themselves with petty things, with what other people think of them, with being too short, too ugly, born too poor or the wrong color, with what they can’t do or how the world is stacked against them. These are the bitter people, the constantly angry, the resentful and the full of spite. Unless you are planning on being a revolutionary, there is very little point in dashing your few precious fucks against large, unassailable institutions, traditions, and ways of living. You aren’t going to change capitalism, feminism, the education system, etc. – so at some point, you must stop railing against these things and just climb to the top of the pile in any way you can. You do so by caring about the right things, strategically, leaving the tilting against windmills to the gender studies department, and instead getting your head in the game and thinking and caring about what is important.
Because that is the third type of person, the balanced individual who uses his precious few fucks sparingly, poignantly, with clear purpose and direction. These are the masters, the artists, the Van Goghs, the Da Vincis, the men who allow themselves to be consumed so wholly with the details of one great burning and profound passion, and through that channel are able to influence the world, to be remembered, to accomplish great and sweeping things.
To quote Emerson – “A man is what he thinks about all day long.”
So what is it that you are thinking about? Are you thinking about nothing? About only yourself? About pleasure? Are you angry? At what? At yourself? At invisible enemies? About the ways the world has let you down? About all the insurmountable obstacles that are barring you from success?
The question you should always be asking yourself is: “What are you thinking about”
What owns the most of your mental real estate?
What do you give a fuck about?