Why happiness is cloaked in not giving a shit

47 thoughts on “Why happiness is cloaked in not giving a shit”

  1. I really like this concept, and I started practicing it last year. What I came to realize is that I cared far more than most people about things that only effected me. I still struggled each day with my self-imposed sense of standards. However, I am now able to work through how much energy I put toward them. Pay raises and promotions are high on the list. Now I just don’t give a shit. Thanks for the reminder!

    1. Yup, pay raises and promotions are high on a lot of lists – a popular item for sure. After all, they can kick start retirement savings and can definitely shorten the time it takes to get to early retirement. Ain’t nothing wrong with adding a little extra green to your stash!

  2. Fun post! Reminds me (in a way) of the Janis Joplin lyric “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose”. I have to say that despite resigning my job a week ago and just going in the office to work toward my final day on 4/1, it IS very hard to not give a shit. Even though I have nothing at stake, it is difficult not to get pulled into the political gravity of the workplace.

    1. I definitely agree, MrFireStation – especially if you’ve invested so much of your time in the past to a job, it is tough to not give a shit. Just remember that not giving a shit doesn’t mean you’re completely apathetic. Rather, it just means you’re no longer prepared to accept stressful responsibilities. Well done once again on your resignation notice. Jealous = me. 🙂

    1. Steve – I have a very simple investment philosophy. I don’t do ETFs or dividend stocks. I invest very simply in managed and diversified funds like Vanguard’s LifeStrategy and Targeted Retirement accounts. I have never bought an individual stock in my life and, most likely, never will. My wife has some money in individual stocks that we’re letting grow, but that is about it. The S&P most closely resembles my investments, so when it does well, so do I. 🙂

      Pretty boring, I know – but it has worked very, very well for us.

  3. I’ve consciously tried to be better at this. I used to (and still do to an extent) worry too much about what’s going on around me. I’ve made some decent sized strides in the past two years but there is definitely further to go. Only issue is I guess it can come off as not caring, when in fact I do care about important things and loved ones, but I just don’t sweat the small stuff as much as others may want me to. But that’s all part of learning to not give a shit I guess. It definitely limits my stress levels for sure.

  4. Some really great shit here! I try not to let thing outside of my control affect me. Why waste time and energy on these things. Why let people you don’t care about have control over you. By not giving a shit about these thing you can reduce stress and live a much happier life. It’s worked for me.

  5. Love the post. Not giving a shit (which I don’t anymore since I retired some time ago) doesn’t necessarily bring happiness for me but it practically eliminates all stress. Stress can certainly lead to unhappiness.

    I would like to think everyone should apply this lifestyle of not-giving-a-shit but I have to take exception when it comes to work. Not giving a shit at work (and I’ve seen plenty of it) can work out for the individual but it can negatively affect the people around him/her. Others tend to have to pick up the slack or make up for mistakes/omissions from the person that didn’t give a shit.

    So with that said; if you can separate the not-giving-a-shit from your obligations, then go ahead: find your happiness by not giving a shit (feels good to write down, doesn’t it?).

    1. Stress is a huge part of not giving a shit, Maarten – very, very huge. I think you are right, though, that there is a fine line between not giving a shit and actively shirking your responsibilities, which you certainly want to avoid at all costs. Especially when people are depending on you, like at work.

  6. Haha, well said. I have noticed that I get worked up about things I don’t ultimately care about too often, and thus waste emotional energy. Luckily I also can recognize that I won’t care in a day or two, and that makes it easier to weather. I have found that I save a lot of money by not giving a shit about a lot of things. Being less picky about what I wear, eat, drive, or furnish my home with allows us to save more and spend on the things we do care about, like travel.

    1. Thanks Kalie! Being able to recognize when you’re churning up emotional energy for something that you ultimately won’t care about in a day or two is a huge, huge advantage. Most people definitely don’t have that ability. And pickiness…yeah, that’s a bit of a pet peeve of mine – especially the picky eating thing. I understand there will be foods that we just don’t enjoy, but being picky is more times than not all in the mind. 🙂

  7. Thtat is a true challenge for me… giving less shits… I wish I could do it.

    I do think to much about the possible outcomes and events that can occur and then my mind starts to wander away… Someone gave a good framework. It comes down to this: I you can influence it, take action, if not, let it go…Looks easy on paper, not so easy for me.

    1. It’s true that this is much easier on paper than to implement. I’ve found that things generally work out…if you let them. Too much meddling often winds up diminishing the potential return – at least it has in my case. So, I’ve learned to leave well enough alone and let the natural order of things work out a lot in life. It works great for me.

  8. I fucking love this article. It’s made my day. I give zero shits about most things, except I cannot let my husband win an argument. I need to give less shits about that. I know I’m right inside, so it doesn’t really matter 😉
    Agree also, giving less shits about almost everything means I drive a shitty car, live in a dodgy-ish neighbourhood and dress my kids in hand-me-downs. Giving less shits has enabled me to be a stay at home mum, travel the world with my family for 15 months and now pursue my own business. Not giving a shit what people think about you is empowering, but so hard to do as we are conditioned to please and impress from a young age. Break that cycle and true happiness is within reach.

    1. Haha, appreciate that, Emma. I fucking love that you fucking love this article. It definitely sounds like you’ve mastered the art of giving less shits, especially about what other people think, which is a huge driving factor behind overspending on stupid crap. Well done, Emma!

  9. I definitely have not mastered the art of not giving a shit. I practically shit at the sign of the merest trouble. And no one to give it to!

    I’m working on it. I no longer hide under the blanket when bad things come our way. That’s progress, right?

  10. My grandma always used to say, “Shit happens and it happened to me.” (Pretty great, right?!) She never meant it as a complaint – just like a “meh” and move on kind of thing. I definitely am not programmed to shrug things off, but I am getting better at it. Loved this post, Steve!

    1. Thanks Penny! I like that attitude – shit happens. It always will happen. That’s life…but if we get ourselves stressed out every time it does happen, we might find ourselves a lot more stressed out than we need to be. I’ve found that if you truly believe that most things will work out in the end, then you remove most of the reasons behind stress to begin with. 🙂

  11. Yes and yes. Thank you so much for this post, Steve! I’ve been doing better with this, but it is definitely still something to keep working on. When you say that people master caring too hard – that definitely spoke to me. I started to realize that in the process, I was forgetting to take care of myself too. I am fortunate that my fiance has mastered this & really takes on mindfulness. He’s the one to remind me that I’ve met my quota and to just move on & be happy. 🙂

    1. Perfect, Alyssa. It’s nice to have your partner remind you to just sit back and relax every once in a while. And I’m sure that you remind him every now and then that some things really do need focus! 🙂

  12. Our biggest breakthrough has been not in giving fewer shits (in fact, sometimes we needed to give more), but in learning to know what’s worth giving a shit about, and what’s not. Sometimes this distinction is less obvious than it should be! And of course we aspire to stop giving all the shits about work soon! But taking on that attitude too soon would derail our early retirement plans. (We kinda need those big bonuses to make it all happen!) 😉

    1. Knowing what shits to give is an important element in this equation, no doubt. But even still, sometimes it’s tough knowing which situations are ripe for shit-giving. In my experience, the general rule of “the fewer, the better” has worked marvels! 🙂

  13. Fuckin’ nice post, Steve. When I was young, I thought sports were important. My whole week would be ruined if the Cowboys lost on Sunday. Fast-forward thirty or so years, and I don’t care if the Cowboys (or any NFL team for that matter) ever play again. In fact, this past season, I only watched one game–the Super Bowl. And that was only because my mom is a big Panther fan.

    I didn’t begin flexing my don’t-give-a-shit muscles until Mrs. Groovy and I relocated to Charlotte almost ten years ago. We finally got our financial house in order and had some breathing room. And it was soon after that, perhaps a year or so into my encore career, when my don’t-give-a-shit muscles began to blossom. It started slowly with Fridays. I no longer gave a shit if any particular Friday was a payday. Then I no longer gave a shit whenever utilities and cable nickled and dimed us. In 2010, I didn’t give a shit when dad wanted to celebrate his 70th birthday in Italy. I wasn’t planning on spending $7k on a vacation, but fuck it. Dad wanted to go to Italy, so Mrs. Groovy and I followed.

    Now, since I’m on the cusp of retirement, I can not-give-a-shit with the best of them. News? Don’t give a shit. Haven’t watched the local news or read a local paper in years. Election? Don’t give a shit. Hillary, Bernie, or Donald will save us. Just like Barack did. Stock market about to implode? Don’t give a shit. Bring on the correction.

    Thanks, Steve, for defining and naming a philosophy that truly turbo-charges your pursuit of happiness. I only wish I could have developed this attitude thirty years ago. Cheers.

    1. Haha, thanks Groovy – fucking love your comment! Your attitude is completely refreshing, believe me! I used to be a 24/hour news junky, but suffice it to say, not any more! Cheers to you too, good sir!

    2. Agreed…. I just had the best job Interview ever. I didn’t give a shit wether I got it or not (kinda). I already have full time job (that helps me not give a shit) I just wanted to add a few more hours to my regular pay check. I was applying for an elder care job. So I answered questions really honestly with a comedic flare just being myself. Just one example was when I was asked what kind of elderly activities I liked such as bingo, knitting, board games etc. I said to the interviewer “oh i like Bingo actually and board games …
      and I can fake liking knitting and crocheting and puzzles”. I was happy to be myself and addmit I didn’t give shit about some elder activities. Although i DO give a shit about tbe actual people i work with, its the company that matters not the activity we’re doing. They appreciated that. And it felt great to be able to be myself and laugh about it. Of course I got hired.

  14. I enjoyed this article and well on the flip side why do people care that you don’t give a shit ? Why do they want you to give a shit ? It’s a catch 22 around most people I know . You are damned if you give a shit and damned if you don’t so where is the fucking middle ground ? Ehh oh well hell it is what it is I reckon .

  15. love, love, love it.

    I think the key is found here… “giving too many fucks about stupid things that we cannot control”.

    It’s caring too much and spending too much time on “stupid things that we can’t control” that makes for wasted time and energy.

    Spending time and energy on awesome things that we CAN control is a great way to spend our time and energy.

    Anyway, thanks for the great reminder. I’ve actually got some shit in my life right now that I need to let go of because it’s both stupid and I can’t control it!!!

    1. Ha! Thanks Derek – this was definitely a fun article for me to write. But yeah, the less we worry about things we can’t control, the more stress free we become. Mark it! 🙂

  16. Recently discovered your blog and totally dig it, and I especially LOVED this post! After getting fired from a really really shtty job several weeks ago, I realized that I gave WAY too many shts about this company and my icky boss, and the ending of the job was a true Blessing.
    Life is too damn short NOT to be happy!

    1. Thanks TigerLily! Appreciate the comment, and I love your attitude regarding that J.O.B. of yours. I think you said it best with, “Life is too damn short NOT to be happy!”


  17. I understand that I am quite late to the party.. But, I just LOVE your Marshawn reference & Dolphins slams!! Well done!! I suppose the post was useful, too 😉 In all seriousness, I am guilty of giving too many fucks on multiple occasions. I appreciate this post and I look forward to reading the post referenced right up front! I need to implement some of these “how to give less shits” concepts into my daily routine. Thanks for a great read! #gobills

  18. Hi Steve I absolutely loved your speech. ! As a mother of older adult children all I do is stress from my daughter she’s a controlling freak that uses my grandson as a pawn when she doesn’t get her way ! Also my husband stresses me out beyond imaginable I was always use to running the house while he worked then he got cancer and lost his job.that said he’s on his 12th bladder and kidney cancer and all he does is lay on the couch all day and bitch bitch bitch ughh.he calls me a control freak because I run the house and baby sit for money on the side and work a job at night and feed and cloth the homeless which I love to do 🙂 it gives me great joy to do for others 🙂 he hates everybody and everything ugh.I am sick to I have Chairi malformation everyone who has it can’t move and keys on the couch there is no cure for it and doctors don’t know much about it and people die everyday from it ! But I refuse to let around and I love life haha God is good my brother 🙂 everyday my daughter and husband just want to duck the life right out of me !! I’m gonna stop giving a duck and do just what Ricki wants to do 🙂 thank you for the information I’ll try to do this and live peacfuly stress free .God bless my brother hugs thank you.

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