I came up with this slogan when I was sick of worrying if things would work out (I later learned that other people had also come up with it first, but ignore them). There have been points in my life where it feels like the walls are going to come down at any second. No money, pressure at school, cheating on my girlfriend, lying to family and friends and being physically ill. Often, it felt like my life was a tornado and as everything swirled around me, I had no idea where to even start. I was terrified that if I took a step in any direction it would be the wrong one. When I finally made it out the other side, as I always do (as everyone always does). I realized that by panicking and entering “fuck it mode” I just made everything that much worse. Now to clarify, caring less and saying fuck it might sound like the same concept but there are critical differences that cause them to have very disparate outcomes in your life.
Care Less, Live More:
At the centre of this ethos is to care less. It is key that I don’t say, “don’t care at all”. This means you still need to care about the important things in life, family, relationships and (real) responsibilities. You just need to care about them less. And the unimportant things? Thats where you care even less. Compared with saying fuck it, which is when you enter the nihilistic/hedonistic state where you do whatever simple thing pops into your head, and ignore any consequence (eat cookies/masturbate).
This difference is further exemplified by the second half of the statement “live more”. When you care less, it frees up space in your head and heart. It is then your responsibility to fill that recently created room with things that are important in life, primarily connection. Connection with other people, with other beings, with the world, and most importantly with yourself. That is what defines living more, doing things that not only make you feel alive, but make you aware of your connection to all living things. I know that cocaine also makes you feel quite alive, but in doing so it numbs you. Numbs your gums, numbs your nose, and most importantly numbs your awareness.
Caring less and living more has become the guiding philosophy for a number of my decisions.
“Its not the number of years in your life that matters. It is the amount of life in your years.”
This practice is all about increasing the amount of life in your years.
Whenever I get in a stupid fight with someone over them stealing my food:
‘Care Less, Live more’, I go outside and play around.
Whenever I get a shitty grade and I wanna punch a hole through my mac:
‘Care Less, Live more’, I call my mom, she says I am real smart
Whenever a girl tells me I’m not her type:
‘Care Less, Live More’, I find a friend who will whisper assurances to me while rubbing my back
Reminder that caring less, is not about feeling less. This means that when bad things happen, we don’t avoid or ignore them, we simply become less involved in the outcome. Think of sport fans. There is the maniac who lives and dies by their team’s fate. Even though it is totally out of their control, they tie their happiness to it. Whereas the casual fan still feels the joy of winning and the loss of defeat, but realizes its just a team, and moves on. He is influenced by the outcome, but he retains control over his overall outlook.
Here is my simple approach to help you Care Less and Live More.
- Any time something happens and you can feel yourself reacting negatively, ask yourself; will I care about this in an hour? A week? A month? I can say without a doubt that 99% of the shit you think will matter for a year, will only matter for about a week.
- Once you have identified that you are caring about something too much, take a deep breath and ask yourself firmly “Do I REALLY care?” Then answer no, laugh quietly to yourself, and let go, move on.
- Whenever you complete step two, depending on how intense of a thing you have let go of, you may be left with a bit of an emptiness, a strange sort of unsettling feeling. You have created space, a vacuum and nature abhors a vacuum. This is where the second half of this motto becomes key. Live More
- How Can I Live More!? Like I said before living more is about creating and pursuing situations where you become aware of your connectivity. There are endless way to pursue and strengthen your awareness of this connection. Most of the ways are quite simple, its what you enjoy or need to do but probably never do.
Here are a few suggestions
- Cartwheel in the grass,
- Come clean about that thing you stole from a friend,
- Hug a family member,
- Forgive your nemesis for sleeping with your ex,
- Play with a dog or small child (same/same),
- Touch tongue with a stranger’s (or a familiar person’s) tongue,
- Sit down, be very quiet and stay still for 30 minutes.
- Dance around your apartment to Britney Spears “Hit me Baby One More Time”
The possibilities are only limited by your willingness.
Beware false positives. These are activities that are false idols. They make you think you are becoming more connected but in actuality are isolating you further. They include but are not limited to;
- Watching (nude/clothed) people connect on a small glowing screen
- Using chemicals (cocaine/high fructose corn syrup) created in a laboratory to manipulate the chemical connections in your brain.
- Pretending to be powerful, interesting and in control, by mashing a controller.
- Overwhelming your senses with lights and sounds while sucking down depressants.
These are activities to avoid, it does not mean you should never do them(I could probably have a PhD in 3/4 of the above). Just be aware of what they are, and what they do to you. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that watching people fall in love is even remotely related to you falling in love.
If you are confused about whether something actually is a positive or negative situation, think about it and how it makes you feel. If you don’t know within five seconds, it is probably negative. Or use the Dalai Lama’s method. A thing that is truly good, will not only be good while you are doing it, but will continue to be good and will increase in positivity with time. Years later when you look back you will go, ‘man that hike was fun’. Negative things usually start good, but then the further you move away from the action, the worse it seems. ‘At the time taking two caps of ecstasy seemed smart, now I am in a strange room and my mouth hurts. I probably wouldn’t do that again.’
Good luck, caring less and living more.
(If you didn’t like this article that’s ok, I don’t really care…)