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Don't Care

Caring – to care – in all of its forms has always occurred to you – as it did me for most of my life – as something worthy of your consideration, your time, your efforts & most, if not all, of your resources.

For you, caring has value and is at the source of good will, warm fuzzy feelings and cute little Teddy Bears with their own line of merchandise and Saturday morning cartoon show.

To care is demonstrated in heart-shaped candy boxes and sweet, chalky treats with catchy little slogans emblazoned upon their faces, not to mention all those Shoebox Greetings and Hallmark cards you've used to spread good cheer throughout the years because…you care.

Ever since you first became aware of yourself, the world you know has taught you that caring about all people, things & circumstances is not only something that you should do, it is also something that is always good to do for you and everyone else. And, the absence of it…is bad.

Not caring causes people to relate to you as caddy, cold, heartless and consider you to be a bad person for not doing so. For not caring in certain circumstances, some might even relate to you as a sociopath.

Well... try this...

I'm about to rob you; neither with gun nor threat of harm – unless you regard as “harm” being delivered from your incessant inclination toward debilitating levels of worry and concern. Stay with me for a few moments. Give up your addictions to “the way things are” and walk an unusual path for a while that might just leave you with a whole new perspective on something that’s been coloring your world in a way you would not have allowed had you ever been given a choice. The fact is…you weren’t ever given a choice at all.

You, I, they and them have all inherited a way of thinking, acting, believing and being that’s more than just a few thousand years old. And…it’s killing you. The nastiest part of this evil little scenario as it has unfolded in your life is that you invited the perpetrator into the living room of your world, sat it comfortably down and have been catering to it hand and foot ever since. The time has come to evict this malevolent tenant… this wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing.

What follows here is Merriam-Webster's definition of "care" as it was originally designed for its intended purpose. Notice then, how our global culture has had the true meaning of the word deteriorate and collapse into what you relate to as the expression of this particular human experience every day of your life. And then, take a moment, survey the history of your life and observe how often you have subjected yourself and others to what could perhaps be one of the worst crimes in human history perpetrated upon the experience of mankind. And, the weapon? The spoken word known as "care." The perpetrator? You.

Main Entry: 1care  Pronunciation: \ˈker\

Function: noun

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English caru; akin to Old High German kara lament, Old Irish gairm call, cry, Latin garrire to chatter Date: before 12th century

1: suffering of mind : grief
2 a: a disquieted state of mixed uncertainty, apprehension, and responsibility
: a cause for such anxiety
3 a
: painstaking or watchful attention

   b: maintenance <floor-care products>
: regard coming from desire or esteem
: charge , supervision <under a doctor's care>
: a person or thing that is an object of attention, anxiety, or solicitude

synonyms care , concern , solicitude , anxiety , worry mean a troubled or engrossed state of mind or the thing that causes this. care implies oppression of the mind weighed down by responsibility or disquieted by apprehension <a face worn by years of care>. concern implies a troubled state of mind because of personal interest, relation, or affection <crimes caused concern in the neighborhood>. solicitude implies great concern and connotes either thoughtful or hovering attentiveness toward another <acted with typical maternal solicitude>. anxiety stresses anguished uncertainty or fear of misfortune or failure <plagued by anxiety and self-doubt>. worry suggests fretting over matters that may or may not be real cause for anxiety <financial worries>.

All that said, let's have a look at a typical scenario that we can all relate to in one way or another. Listen now from your own life experience and see what shows up for you...

You have a job. It's a job you really wanted and invested a lot of yourself in acquiring. Perhaps it's even a company you really believe in. It's principles are your principles. Or maybe you don't particularly believe in the company at all. It doesn't really matter. The fact is though, this job is not just a job to you. On some level it's so much more than just a job. It's a career, a dream come true or a stepping stone on the path to realizing your dreams. It satisfies many of your needs and desires. Finally, you get to do the kind of work you want to do, with the conditions under which you want to work and the kinds of people with whom you want to spend your time. After all this time, you finally have a job you really care about. In your mind, you have arrived. You've never cared about a job this much in your entire life.

So, you move into your new office and personalize the space with pictures of your family, various trinkets and the requisite potted plant. Every facet of your job begins to creep into the very fiber of your existence. You find yourself thinking about the job mornings, afternoons, nights and  weekends. You think about doing your job well, submitting reports, tracking your statistics, forging alliances, making a good showing at staff meetings, securing promotions and pay raises in timely fashion. You allow this job to become one of the central preoccupations of your life. And, you're all too pleased to do so. There's a warmth and comfort that comes over you whenever the mere thought of your new position crosses your mind. Everything goes along according to your plan, all is well and is moving forward and upward. And then, it happens...

You have an off day. Your productivity does not meet the needs of that particular day nor does it meet the standards of your position. This new development causes a single brow to be raised in the creased forehead of the woman who has her bony finger on the pulse of your career. During your 5-week planning meeting the morning following the "off" day , it is determined that there is no particular or distinct explanation for this dip in your effectiveness. It just is. The meeting concludes with your promise to retake today the ground lost yesterday and the boss's words of encouragement to do so. You head back to your office on a mission to attack the day like a barbarian warrior hell-bent-for-leather on ruling the day. And the one off day, becomes two. Two off days give rise to a week. And comes over you like a thief in the night...

And so it comes... the inevitable and unavoidable doubt. Overnight, it seems, your experience of elation, victory and fearlessness has evolved now into one of discouragement, fear, worry & concern. You become all-consumed by the compulsion to figure out just what in hell took over last week. You cancel plans with family and friends for a weekend outing. You instead pour over your reports and charts and graphs all in the fight to uncover the evil lurking in the shadows and shrouded in darkness still waiting patiently for your return on Monday only to foul your game again. You are certain now that unless you discover the root of this evil you will undoubtedly have a week not at all unlike the last. You don't even notice that your life experience has altered so dramatically. Like water to the fish, you are immersed now neck-deep in a fight to enjoy your life again. And worse... in your mind you are now in a fight to save your job. In essence and palpable experience you are fighting to save your new life. 

And all this in the name of... caring. You really care about this job. You truly care about your performance and delivering on the promise of your resume and interviews. You SO care about what your colleagues think of you personally based solely on your job performance, not to mention what you think of yourself. You really do care. And, you begin to notice a feeling in your body somewhere - your stomach? Your solar plexus perhaps? Your neck? This feeling tells you one thing... that this sucks. And, all this... in the name of caring so much about your job. So, how's that working out for you? No? Not working out so well? Hmmm. Well, you tried everything to figure this one out, didn't you? Or...did you.

Perhaps you did try everything obviously available to you in order to sort out this manner of breakdown in your life. For a moment though - purely for the purpose of this conversation - I ask you only to consider that perhaps it's the not-so-obvious that might be just the thing that tips the scales for you. What I am about to ask you to consider may occur for you not only as absurd, you may even consider me quite mad for even suggesting it. I ask you to briefly consider only that perhaps... just perhaps... you care too much. I'll go even further to suggest that caring at all is what got you into this mess in the first place.

Consider then, that perhaps abandoning these particular cares and casting them to the wind is EXACTLY what is called for to regain your piece of mind. Wrap your head around the notion that "I don't care" is your saving grace, your hero and your champion. No? Too much to fathom? Too bitter and jagged a pill to swallow? Well, okay. I'll ask you again though. How's your plan working out for you? Hmmm? Is it at all worth your time, your health, your success, your future and perhaps that of your loved ones to momentarily consider that the world and reality you relate to may not be supporting your productivity and effectiveness in life as much as you have imagined? No? Not worth your time? Well, ok. Thanks then for stopping by. Yes? Very well. Read on........

What you need to know at this point is that the scenario I just laid out for you is a true story from the life of one of my closest friends and associates.  This was his introduction into the world of 18Mind. 

Nathaniel's life was going along as it does for most of us... lots and lots of breakdowns laced with a few sprinkles and shakes of success and effectiveness. Day in and day out he had much to share about what wasn't working in his new career - the job he considered to be his new life's pursuit, the insertion platform for the rest of his life and the legacy he would leave for his children. When the ceaseless onslaught of self-doubt set in, I had this conversation with him and shared that perhaps he cared too much. Sudden silence setting in at the other end of the phone, I grabbed the dictionary and read to him Webster's relationship to "caring."

When my good friend and colleague heard the definition of "care" his undivided attention was mine. I pointed out to him that over the last week I'd heard him utter at least a dozen times some version or another of "I just don't care about these damned statistics and targets and measures!!" I further pointed out to him that every time I did hear him say this during the last week it seemed that his performance on that and the following day reflected a dramatic boost in results and productivity. Dead silence came from the other end of the phone... and then a chuckle... and then laughter. He got the point. Together we looked at what was occurring over there with him and what he was beginning to see. Finally, my friend was able to see that he truly did not care about the statistics and measures of his job. He just didn't. He further saw that by pretending to care when he really didn't he was very effectively driving himself into a frenzy of worry and concern which translated directly into poor performance. 

A few days later, my friend came to me as excited as a high school kid at the final toll of the last bell of his senior year. He was really seeing the bigger picture now. For days, by then, he had been engaging in conversation after conversation with other associates and friends sharing with them what he'd learned and had put into practice. His own personal productivity and performance was now soaring. And, each person with whom he shared this revelation (almost a dozen by this time) had become just as excited as he and started seeing immediate, new, dramatic and amazing trends in their own results!

The biggest result of all for my friend came when he saw that, while he was indeed committed to his industry as a life's pursuit (he is a life & career coach), he was not in any way committed to the company he was working with, nor their principles, practices or procedures. He submitted his resignation. Nathaniel had finally set himself free... released from the prison of his own making. A prison built - and now dismantled - with his own mind.

He now works with me. Nathaniel is one of my partners and an integral member of the development team here at 18Mind. He's our ad copy and product writer and one of our most amazing coaches. As well, at some point soon, he'll join us on stage at our live workshops and teleseminars. And, I'll now fess up too that, at my request, he wrote this article that you're reading right now (except for this part). We needed some copy on my blog page due to overwhelming interest. So, I asked Nathaniel to quickly put something together that we could share with our readers on his own personal breakthrough experience with the true nature of "caring." Yeah, I know. Nathaniel wrote it and... it's got my name on it. Get over it.

Incidentally... Nathaniel doesn't care. These days, he just doesn't seem to care about a damn thing.
Thank God. You would do well to learn from my friend.




Don't Care?

This is so very true.  For 10 years I led the way.....committed..........excited.......very well paid.   But it means nothing to me now.  It is not where I need to be or even want to be.  Congratulations to your friend Nathaniel. He is smarter than all of us!


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