I Just Don’t Care
Caring – to care – in all of its forms and in just about any culture and language one can imagine - has existed as just so much normalcy in the day-to-day of life. It appears to be something worthy of our consideration, our time, our efforts & most, if not all, of our resources.
We are taught that caring has value and is at the source of good will and is symbolized in warm fuzzy feelings and Teddy Bears. We see caring idolized in flower arrangements, heart-shaped candy boxes and sweet, chalky treats with catchy little slogans emblazoned upon their faces. Millions are spent on all those Shoebox Greetings and Hallmark cards that we employ to spread good cheer throughout the years because…we care.
Ever since we first became aware of ourselves, the world we know has been teaching us that caring about people, things & circumstances is not only something that we are biologically predisposed to do, but that it is something that, morally, we should do. Everyone goes further to maintain that caring is something that is always good to do, that everyone should be doing it and the absence of it…is really bad. Not caring commonly causes others to relate to us as mean, caddy, cold, heartless and as bad, bad, bad people. Some go so far as to suggest that without cares we're nothing more than robotic piles of hardware. For not caring in certain circumstances, some might even relate to us as sociopaths. I've lost count of how many people have engaged with me in this conversation and persist in trying to convince me that without cares I'm just not human and to suffer over cares is "just part of being human" and I should just join the team and hold each others' hands on the way down. Really? Are they even qualified to be making that assertion? Hmmmm.
You are about to get robbed; 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. Hang in for a few moments. Let’s give up our addictions to “the way we think things are” and walk an unusual path for a while. Perhaps we might usher in a whole new perspective on something that’s been coloring the world in a way we would not have allowed had we ever been given a choice in the matter.
Now, let's have a look at a typical scenario that we can all relate to in one way or another. Let us listen from our own life experience and just see what shows up around it.
Let’s say we have a new job. It's a job we really wanted and invested a lot into acquiring. Perhaps it's a company in which we deeply believe. It's principles are our principles. Or maybe we don't particularly believe in the company at all. It doesn't really matter. The fact is, to us, this job is not just a job. On some level it's so much more than just a job. For us, it's become a career, a dream come true or a stepping stone on the path to realizing our dreams. It satisfies many of our needs and desires. Finally, we get to do the kind of work we want to do. It has the conditions under which we want to work and the kinds of people with whom we want to spend our time. After all this time, we finally have a job that we really care about. In our mind, we have arrived. We’ve never cared about a job this much in our entire life.
So, we move into our new office and personalize the space with pictures of our family, various trinkets and the requisite potted plant. Every facet of the job begins to creep into the very fiber of our existence. We find ourselves thinking about the job in the morning, afternoon, nights and weekends. We think about doing our job well, submitting reports, tracking statistics, forging alliances, making a good showing at staff meetings, securing promotions and pay raises in timely fashion. We allow this job to become one of the central preoccupations of our life. And, we are only too pleased to do so. There's a warmth and comfort that comes over us whenever the mere thought of our new position fleets through the mind. Everything goes along according to our plan. All is well and is moving forward and upward.
And then, it happens...
We have an off day. Our productivity does not meet the needs of that particular day nor does it meet the standards of our 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 our career. On the morning following the "off" day the staff is called into the 5-week planning meeting. Everyone on the senior staff has a moment with us under the proverbial bare light bulb. And, it is determined that there really is no particular or distinct explanation for yesterday’s dip in our effectiveness. It just is. The meeting concludes with a pat on the back and our promise to retake today the ground lost yesterday and the boss's words of encouragement to do so. We head back to our office on a mission to attack the day like a barbarian warrior hell-bent-for-leather. And the one off day, becomes two. Two off days give rise to a week.
And then...it comes over us like a thief in the night...
And so it comes... the inevitable and unavoidable doubt. Overnight, it seems that our experience of elation, victory and fearlessness from landing the job has evolved now into one of discouragement, fear, worry & concern. We become all-consumed by the compulsion to figure out just what in hell took over last week. We cancel plans with family and friends for a weekend outing. We instead pour over reports and charts and graphs all in the fight to uncover the evil lurking in the shadows and shrouded in darkness and waiting patiently for our return on Monday only to foul our game again. We are certain now that unless we discover the root of this evil we will undoubtedly have a week not at all unlike the last. We don't even notice that our life experience has altered so dramatically. Like water to the fish, in our mind, we become immersed now neck-deep in a fight to save our job and way of life so that we can enjoy life again.
And all this in the name of... caring. We really do care about this job. We truly care about our performance and delivering on the promise of our resume and interviews. We SO care about what our colleagues think of us personally based solely on our job performance, not to mention what we think of ourselves. We really do care. We begin to notice a feeling in our body somewhere – is it in the stomach? The solar plexus perhaps? The neck? Maybe the shoulders? Wherever it is, this feeling tells us one inarguable thing... this sucks. And, all this... in the name of caring so much about our job. So, how's that working out? No? Not working out so well? Hmmm. Well, we tried everything to figure this one out, didn't we? Or...did we.
Perhaps we did try everything obviously available in order to sort out this manner of breakdown in life. For a moment though - purely for the purpose of this conversation – let us consider that perhaps it's noticing the not-so-obvious that might be just the thing that tips the scales back in our favor.
What I am about to ask you to consider may seem a bit on the radical side. It may occur as not only absurd, but possibly quite mad. But perhaps…just perhaps…we care too much. Perhaps caring is the wrong tack entirely. Perhaps, caring at all is what got us into this mess in the first place.
Review Merriam-Webster's definition of "care" as it was originally designed for its intended use.
Main Entry: 1care
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 b : a cause for such anxiety
3 : painstaking or watchful attention
4 : charge, supervision [under a doctor's care].
5 : a person or thing that is an object of attention, anxiety, or solicitude
Synonyms care, concern, solicitude, anxiety and 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].
Notice now how culture has perverted the true meaning of the word and watched it deteriorate and collapse into what we relate to as the “correct” expression of this particular human experience every day. Don't we all believe that caring and often feeling bad about that which we care is the correct way to be a human being?
Now, let's take a moment to reflect and survey our own lives in order to observe how often we have subjected ourselves and others to what could perhaps be one of the most comprehensive crimes ever perpetrated in the history of the mankind. And note too, that not a single shot was fired in the commission of this crime. It was brilliantly and flawlessly executed through none other than the spoken word. And the real kicker is that we have done this to ourselves...with purpose.
Let's look at something now that's just a little on the radical side of life.
Maybe - just maybe, mind you - abandoning our cares and casting them to the wind is EXACTLY what is called for to regain our peace of mind. Let us wrap our heads around the notion that "I don't care" could very well be our saving grace, our hero and our champion. No? Too much to fathom? Too bitter and jagged a pill to swallow? Well, okay. But, how's the original plan working out?? Is it at all worth our time, our health and our well-being to just consider for a moment that what we’ve been relating to as "real" may not be "real" at all and certainly not supporting our productivity and effectiveness in life as much as we imagined it might or believed that it should?
This “story” about the new job is true. It actually happened...to me. And, actually, it’s a story a lot of people can tell with some degree of familiarity.
At this time in my life, life itself was going along for me not unlike the way it does for most of us... lots and lots of breakdowns laced with a few sprinkles and smatterings of success. Day in and day out I had much to share about what wasn't working in my new career at the time – this new job I considered to be my life's new pursuit and the insertion platform for the rest of my life and the legacy I would leave for my children. When the ceaseless onslaught of self-doubt set in, I sought out and engaged in conversation with my friend and colleague, Clint. After listening to me rattle on for several minutes, Clint made the observation that perhaps I just care too much. Sudden silence set in at my end of the phone. The next thing I heard long before I could even process what he'd just said to me - much less formulate a response - was Clint reading to me the definition of the word “care” verbatim from Webster’s dictionary.
When I heard the definition of "care"... he had my attention. Clint pointed out to me that over the last week he’d heard me utter at least a dozen times some angry version or another of "I just don't care about these damned statistics and targets and measures of my performance." Clint further pointed out that every time he’d heard me say such things during that last week it appeared to him that my performance on that day and the next one or two reflected a dramatic boost in results, productivity and my general sense of happiness and overall well-being.
Dead silence again came at my end of the phone. Dead silence at my end of the phone was reaching epic proportions. Then I felt a chuckle escape my throat... and then laughter erupted. I got the point. Together we looked at what was occurring over here with me and what I was beginning to see. Finally, I was able to see that I truly did not care about the statistics and measures and many of the requirements of this job of mine. I just didn't. There was no point in denying it. It was the Truth. I further saw that by pretending to care when I really did not I was very effectively driving myself into a frenzy of worry, fear, anxiety and concern which then translated directly into poor performance, exhaustion, insomnia and an over-all feeling of malaise and declining health to say nothing of the rapidly evaporating sense of happiness.
A few days later, I rang up Clint as excited as a school boy on the last day before summer break. I was really seeing a bigger picture now. For days by then, I had been engaging in conversation after conversation with other associates and friends sharing with them what I’d learned and had begun putting into practice. My own productivity and performance was again beginning to soar. And, each person with whom I shared this revelation (almost a dozen by this time) had started seeing immediate new trends in their own results. It was an interesting week.
The biggest result of all for me came when I saw that, while I was indeed committed to this field of consciousness research as a life's pursuit, I was not actually committed to the company with which I had been working. I saw clearly that I did not share their principles nor did I align with some of their practices or procedures. My resignation was decisive. And, it was immediate.
I had set myself free... released from a prison of my own making. A prison that was built - and now dismantled - with none other than my own mind.
I work with Clint now in further developing the enterprise of 18mind and the techniques and program methods of Mind Syntropy. We’re co-authoring a new book based on these very principles. I am doing what I want to do. I feel that I am doing what I am meant to do. Where before it never even occurred as though caring less could have any influence over a life I truly want, now I just can’t see it any other way.
That was nearly two years ago. Today, I actually am carefree. I truly do not have a single care in the world. Now I can really see where those adages came from – to be carefree; to have not a single care in the world. People think I’ve lost my mind when I tell them I don’t care about anything. You should see the incredulous looks that come across their faces. You should hear the shock and horror in the tone and words chosen for their replies. It's hysterical. My daughter is convinced that my cheese has slid right off the cracker. Maybe it has. Maybe...it's high time it did.
Fact is, these days I just don’t seem to care about a damn thing. And, thank God too. It appears as though the world is in this delusional state that suggests that the only way to be carefree is to have already settled every matter which draws the attention - money, career, family, etc. I watch people all around me day in and day out floundering about while they kick and scream through life regarding the myriad of people, things and circumstances about which they care most of which has little or nothing to do with the results they would have if only they didn't care so much. Now, I don't know. I'm no expert. But to me...they just don't look like they're having much fun.
I am awash in a sea of humans and their cares. I observe their feeble attempts at living happily while encumbered by the titanic weight of their cares. They persist unsuccessfully in these entirely ill-conceived attempts at trying to run free with a ball and chain wrapped around their ankles. It's like watching someone trying to empty the ocean with a teaspoon. Everyday I am wrapped in the disconcerting reality that it is as though the world has a cancer and many of us have access to the cure...and few takers. We just can't seem to give it away.
But...what do you care? This isn't about you..............right?