Originally posted in All Hollow Magazine in Winter 2012 and shared massively as a blogpost. Yes, about 2 years before someone happened to write a NY Times best-selling book with the same title / concept, which I do my best not to care about. Here goes nothing…
The last 9 years of my life were a mix of luck, chaos, advertising, bullshit, new friends and random stuff that transported me from Militari to Manhattan via Monchengladbach and a lot of other places. And if I learned anything from this rollercoaster ride is that caring is potentially the worst thing you can do to yourself after tribal tattoos.
I first started to envision the futile nature of caring when I moved from Romania to Germany and I was trying to find new friends to replace the ones I had left at home. Surprisingly enough, I started to realize that the less effort I put into making people like me, the more they actually did.
I don’t know to explain this from a psychological standpoint, but people don’t seem to want you around as much if you’re too eager to be around them. It makes them feel funny, awkward, responsible and at the same time, superior.
I think people love to meet you when you genuinely don’t give a flying fuck if they exist or not. It’s good to be nice, to nod and to listen, but you shouldn’t really care. It just magically makes everything relaxed and casual. It also instantly flips the table and makes them gravitate toward you. Because, subconsciously or not, it makes them feel like you already have everything they could offer – friends, status, fun, swag, money – plus something extra. Otherwise you’d care more about them, right? Self-sufficiency is potentially the best social lubricant available to man.
Living in New York, I saw a lot of people coming to the city and being choked with inhibition. This is a fucking intimidating city and at first encounter people tend to overestimate everyone who inhabits it. I see a lot of people with real talent and genuine value coming here and being too eager to be accepted. Which, as counterintuitive as it may sound, is exactly the recipe for failure.
Don’t get me wrong, the other extreme – those who take the violent way to adaptation – is pretty scary as well. I witnessed people make the most offending remarks right after meeting someone, in an attempt to look relaxed, arrogant, superior or pretty much anything else but what they really were: awkward. Those guys have their own lessons to learn, but for now let’s get back to (not) caring.
Aside from accessing a group or another, I found the absence of care to be productive in nearly every scenario, from hailing a cab to conducting business presentations. In order to move to New York, I had an interview with a guy who ran a Madison Avenue ad agency that I am not going to name here. I remember telling him that I didn’t like my work nearly as much as what I did after hours and that I was a selfish creative that just wanted to win awards and have a good life in NYC. I wasn’t necessarily trying to be cool, I was just fed up with advertising and deep down I didn’t really care if my career would end right then and there. I was in a very ‘que sera, sera’ type of mood and it was easy to be risky. He signed me the next day and I suspect the thing that compensated for my “meh‘’ portfolio was my lack of care.
Just consider the opposite for a second. Do you really think that going into an interview when you’re desperately unemployed is the best way to land the job? It’s like going to talk to a woman when you’re desperate to get laid. Your neediness will shine through your pores and you will immediately decrease your own value. It’s the same principle everywhere. Me and my art director Raul have a joke, when you go into a business meeting to discuss a potential collaboration, you just have to “act like you have a girlfriend”.
Which brings us to love. Probably the most obvious of them all. Our fascination with people that don’t care about us is probably the biggest cock-blocker known to human happiness. Let’s face it, only less than 0.00001 percent of relationships have the perfect balance of care/neediness between the two parts. The other 99.9999 either end at some point or just carry on in sufferance because one cares too much while the other thinks he/she can do better. Or is simply annoyed as fuck.
And how many times did you see a beautiful, smart, intelligent, funny person scaring all potential partners away for wanting “it” too bad? For being too ready to settle. For needing someone (aka anyone) too bad. For being too nice, too available, too supportive, too smiley, too eager.
As a guy, how many times did you find yourself relaxed and charming with women you didn’t like, but awkward and clumsy with the ones you cared too much about?
I know it’s fucked up, but I’m just an innocent bystander Instagramming the car crash of human happiness. The secret to love is to be like the Earthworm. They have both sets of genitals, so they couldn’t care less about turning 30 or finding someone to spend Christmas with. With that kind of self-sufficiency, Earthworms must have a pretty awesome social life.
And speaking of social life, let’s talk about it’s retarded cousin, social media. The mega machine that gives you the self-consciousness of a celebrity without the benefits of one (banging models at Lake Como with George Clooney). Social media is a digital way of asking everyone you know for acceptance. If you’re on Facebook, you already care more than you should. We all count our likes, let’s not be hypocrites or hippies, but the funniest/saddest people are the ones who again, care too much (you and I obviously excluded). You can see the fear injected in their eyes as they pose for pictures. You can see how much they care in their unnatural smirk. They are so aware that a single picture can boost or destroy their social life that it makes them ugly. Even in Facebook photos, the act of caring defeats its own purpose.
“We share an addiction, we are all approval junkies, we’re all in it for the slap on the back.” Great quote from Revolver, a shitty movie by an awesome director who probably cared too much about this one.
Caring too much makes your hands shake when you’re making a free throw. It makes you get rejected in clubs. It makes the girl not give you the number. It makes destiny not fulfill your dreams. It makes you play it safe and boring at work. It makes you upload selfies, then quickly delete them. It makes you frustrated and awkward, it shrinks your self-esteem and it lowers your value.
My humble advice: FUCK EVERYBODY. Play your part, do your best, build your world, love yourself, love your selfies, be an Earthworm and stop caring so much about everything. Especially about what people think. Your life will blossom. Your relaxed smirk will get you 50 likes on a bad-hair day, people will ask you to go to parties, Clooney will ask you to go to Lake Como. Women, men, dogs and baby llamas will worship you.
And If they don’t, at least you never gave a fuck to begin with.