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The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Damn

2017 Rohit Chaturvedi

You would not be having a place to go when you craved for fried chicken on a Thursday afternoon if Colonel Sanders had listened to people calling him insane for going door to door, selling his million- dollar creation. You would still be searching matchsticks for your candle if Thomas Edison had given up at the numerous times he could have when he met failures and people told him all his efforts were in vain. Ever since the beginning of mankind, we would still be doing pilgrimage on foot if the person gave a tiny rat's ass worth of damn to the people who called him crazy for pitching the idea of a wheel.

People who managed to reach “where magic happens”, at some point in time made decisions, not giving a damn about having a luxurious life, the opinion of parents, relatives or the society, rejection or failure in order to pursue their passion. This is to the world, which wants to chant these day in day out, ends up being caught in. We get so absorbed in these temptations that we completely ignore the things which hold more importance in our lives.

The path to success is not a cake walk. When we set out to accomplish anything in our life it is evident that we will face many problems and hardships. Those can be genuine problems or even “self-created” ones. The self-created problems are those which don’t actually exist in our 3-D world and find a breeding ground in our fantasies! The pressure of fitting into a high-class society, complexities of having a language barrier, the “what people will say”-phobia and the inhibition of setting off in a fresh new attempt after failing once, just to name a few. So what these successful people do, is that they master the art of discretion in deciding what is important and what else are merely trivial. They filter out this unnecessary chaos in their mind by being indifferent towards unimportant problems and by focussing just on the things that really matter.

“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” – Steve Jobs, co-founder, and CEO of Apple. We can only imagine the thousands of ideas that must be thrown into the bin every day when a person comes up with a potential idea to change the way we see the future but ends up backing out, just because the next person told him not to. So small is the difference, that separates a 9-to- 5 regular employee and the CEO of that company that it's too scary to admit.

Imagine a person who is too conscious of his looks, frets a lot about being fat or not fitting into society’s approved convention of beauty, compares his economic status with that of his peers and hesitates to do anything new, fearing the consequences of failure. Do you imagine him to be a confident, successful individual? Doubts persist. Hence, it is rightly said that the key to a confident and successful life is to give fewer damns in life. But the fact is, most of us struggle in our lives giving too many damns about situations and people which don’t deserve any. We become so tensed when our friend gets better grades than us. We fuss a lot about the food we are served in our mess. We keep buying things even if we don’t need them just to own what others have and we don’t. Why do we complain about so many trivialities of life? This is just because we expect to have the best of everything for ourselves and to always get the privilege of leading a comfortable life. However, the reality seldom matches up to our expectations and we end up feeling sad and demoralized. Here we need to take a lesson from the lives of people who have reached places. How they have marched forth sacrificing the comfort of life and by being considerate and patient about any kind of disagreeable situation.

The author of “Four hour work week”, Timothy Ferris simply puts it, “For all of the most important things, the timing always sucks. Waiting for a good time to quit your job? The stars will never align and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn't conspire against you, but it doesn't go out of its way to line up the pins either. Conditions are never perfect. "Someday" is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it's important to you and you want to do it "eventually," just do it and correct course along the way.”

Now it sounds quite easy to just shun away from the mean trivialities of life but think twice. Is it as easy as it sounds? Actually, the habit of giving too many damns to trivial things comes inherently to us. We have to unlearn this practice by learning the fine art of not giving a damn, not to everything, but to the nit-so- important ones. With years of practice, we can get the understanding about which are the things, people or situations worth giving a damn for. Developing this skill will enhance our strength and integrity. And would make us strong enough to face any stumbling block in our path to success with utmost patience and confidence. Moreover, the possession of such quality does not make a person successful overnight. Each day a little by little when he ignores the criticism of people he chooses to step a little further than being stagnant. And a little by little the person stands miles ahead of the crowd's hooting that it does not matter anymore.

Quoting Pablo Picasso "It means nothing to me. I have no opinion about it, and I don't care". One does not really need to waste the precious and limited time we have been given as humans caring about every matter. Living in the society that exists now with various social media platforms to share media and other contents we are growing up shaping ourselves in a way we want to be perceived by the world around us. But if we take a moment and ponder upon this scary reality that we have let grow around us. We would realize when we leave and cease to exist the only thing that will matter is what we have left behind. The only time that will matter is the time we spend making something out of the work we put up to chase and make our dream real. Not how the guy who sat next to your cubicle thought of your new start-up, not the chides of the society for not having the career that they view as normal. To put it as bluntly and forward, in the end, what matters is, what you chose to give a damn about and what you did not. So for once and for all-

“Don’t think, just do.”