You’ve likely heard of the phrase “zero fu*ks given.” While I can understand to a degree what anyone may be saying when they use that term, I can’t help but see the mistake in that line of thinking – especially for men. Your job is the exact opposite of that sentiment. Your job is to care about a lot, and be a man of value in the walls of your home, inside your business, and out in your community.
But if you walk around with a chip on your shoulder and take the stance that everyone else should leave you alone and there’s nothing you should really care about, I’ve got to think you’re missing a big element of what it means to be a man. Not to mention, you’re limiting your potential and the potential of those around you.
Look at our motto (which is so much more than a motto), protect, provide, preside. All three of those factors or responsibilities have an element of service. That’s our job as men – to serve.
Now, look, I get it, there are certain things that you probably shouldn’t care about. There are certain people you shouldn’t listen to. It’s extremely important that we inventory every facet of our lives and ask ourselves what should and shouldn’t be included. But this “zero effs” mentality seems to be different than that. From my perspective, it seems to be little more than tough talk from men who don’t understand the value in caring about certain things.
Take opinions for example. Now, again, I know not everyone’s opinion is relevant but some are. If I recognize that someone has an opinion worth listening to, I’m going to listen. Even if someone disagrees with me, I think there’s value in listening and striving to understand before you completely dismiss the disagreeing party as an idiot or that you don’t really care what he or she has to say.
Even the so-called “haters” of the world can simply be ignored. When you give a response, negative or positive, you attract more of that in your life. I’m not interested in attracting negativity.
So, rather than get mad and offended and resort to childish answers, simply qualify the source of information. Is the person sharing this feedback credible? If the answer is ‘no’, move on. If the answer is ‘yes’, you can probably make a case to listen.
Evaluating critical feedback even has value for me. It does one of two things: it further enhances my belief about my current perspective or opens it up to broader horizons and options. Both scenarios are a win.
Besides, automatically dismissing valuable information that could serve you, weakens your position. And, of course, the way you do one thing is the way you do everything.
In some of the events that we run, we have attendees do a plank challenge. The challenge is designed to see how long any one participant can hold their plank. Among the top reasons for participants dropping out of their plank is that is “stupid” or “irrelevant” or “unimportant” to what they want in life.
That couldn’t be further from the truth. If you can’t do a simple plank challenge without conjuring up the excuse that it’s stupid when it gets a little challenging, what makes you think you’re going to be able to stick with a marriage when it gets tough, or a business when it takes longer to build than you thought it would, or your fitness regimen when you don’t see the results as quickly as you had hoped for?
The truth is it all matters. Again, the way you do one thing is the way you do everything.
Now, look, there may be some activities that you truly don’t care about. I get that. And, you shouldn’t be expected to or participate in every possible task, conversation, project, or event you could ever be part of.
But I believe the better first response is one of consideration. Why not consider the project or opinion before dismissing it?
I like to use sports as an example because it’s such a great metaphor for life. If, when I was playing football, I completely dismissed another team because “I don’t care what they’re going to do, we’re going to destroy them,” I open myself up to the very real likelihood of inadequately training for and preparing for the game. We know how that will turn out.
Ryan Holiday covers this at length in his book, Ego is the Enemy. Our arrogance has a way of becoming our own worst enemy. It opens up all sorts of blind spots and the potential loss that comes with it.
I believe the “zero fu*ks mentality” does not come from a position of growth and expansion. It comes from a place of close-mindedness and arrogance. I don’t need to beat my chest and tell everyone how little I care about life.
I did that as a child when I wanted the approval of my friends. And, I guess more than anything, that’s the point I’m making. This mentality is rooted in insecurity and a position of scarcity. Basically, you’re saying “I want people to think I don’t care so I’m going to yell it as loudly and obnoxiously as I can.” Isn’t that a little ironic? If you feel the need to tell people you don’t care, you actually do.
And, what’s wrong with caring anyway? I care about an infinite number of things in my life. I care about my family. I care about my community. I care about this movement. I care about the state of affairs for men. I care about this country. I care about putting food on the table. I care about people I’ve never met. I even care about those who disagree with me.
That doesn’t make you weak or, my personal favorites, a “cuck” or a “beta.” It makes you a man of value because, if you care about those things, you’re going to invest time, energy, and resources into those things. And, whenever you invest your energy into something worthwhile, it has a way of returning to you.
If there are things that I genuinely do not care about, I simply dismiss them, free up my bandwidth for more important matters, and drive on. No need to tell people how little I care. I just don’t have time for it because I’m more focused on the things that I do.
Now, some people may dismiss this information and tell me I’m blowing this way out of proportion. I disagree. Words matter. They’re powerful. When we were boys, we always heard the adage, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” It’s cute (and there’s a point to be made there, but generally, it’s just not true. Again, words are powerful. They’ve been used to form world-changing partnerships, start and end wars, communicate and express love to the people you care about, build businesses, and just about any other worthwhile endeavor you could possibly think about.
It’s been said that the complexity of our language is one of the very things that make us human in the first place. And, if it really has that much relevance to who we are as a species, I think it’s safe to assume it’s powerful.
I’ll end on this: If language is that powerful (powerful enough to do all those wonderful and, unfortunately, horrific things I talked about), then isn’t it safe to assume that our own brains process the things we say in very much the same way? If you keep telling yourself you don’t care and “zero effs” this and “zero effs” that, what signals are you sending to your brain about the amount of effort you put into the things you say you do care about? Something to consider.