It appears that “being awesome” is all the rage these days. Social networks are full of “just be awesome” related posts.
Don’t forget to be awesome!
Wake up. Be awesome. Go to sleep.
Keep calm and be awesome!
This is great — except that no one seems to really draw attention to what “being awesome” actually means. As if the simple act of existing is “being awesome”.
The people who leave fast food trash in the parking lot next to their car are not being awesome. People who put others in danger by texting and driving? Not being awesome.
Rudeness? Arrogance? Selfishness? Judging people? Not awesome.
The majority of Youtube comments? Not awesome.
Being “awesome” doesn’t mean simply existing.
Being awesome involves acting in a way that contributes something of value to the people, places, and things that you connect with throughout your day.
Unless your mission is to be so annoying that people will feel relieved when you are not around, if your presence doesn’t add value, your absence won’t make a difference. And if you’re not making some kind of positive difference, that’s not “being awesome”. That’s not putting in any amount of effort. That’s simply existing.
So if you truly want to be awesome, always strive to contribute in such a way that you’re adding something of value wherever you may be and to whoever you come in contact with by doing more of what you’d like to see in the world.
It is in this way of adding value wherever you go that you will not only make a positive difference in the world at large, but also in your relationships, your work affairs, and any systems in which you play a role.
And that is awesome.
As Henry David Thoreau said, “Be not simply good; be good for something.”
The act of saying “F*ck it, I don’t care!” is simply an acceptance that you are no longer going to try to change something that you couldn’t control anyway.
It’s not the caring that’s the problem, it’s a problem with misdirected focus and an emotional attachment to an outcome you had no power over.
It’s like worrying — the mental process of worrying about something accomplishes nothing.
“We have a saying in Tibet: If a problem can be solved there is no use worrying about it. If it can’t be solved, worrying will do no good.” — Dalai Lama
It is the same with trying to have power over things you cannot control. If you have no power over something, there is no use trying to control it.
To encourage people to not care about things is a step in the wrong direction. The world doesn’t need more people who don’t give a f*ck — or people who sit by and do nothing when they have a chance to make a positive difference. We already have those in abundance.
“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.” – Steve Maraboli
The fact is that a lack of caring, a lack of focus, a lack of priorities, and a lack of positive role models are reasons why the world is in the state that it’s in.
The world needs more people who do care — and care passionately about the things that matter. But by focusing only on the things that are within our power to change.
“Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.” — Kahlil Gibran
To glorify an “I don’t give a f*ck” attitude is, in a way, a declaration that you will stand idly by and not give a damn when something happens in your life — or in the life of someone you care about — and when you have the power to make a positive difference, you will choose not to because, “Hey, [you] don’t give a f*ck!”, remember?
“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” — Albert Einstein
“But I don’t mean it that way”, you say. And if you don’t, great.
But I am speaking specifically to these two self-contained statements (being glorified on the Internet) which seem to imply that giving a f*ck or a damn (about anything) is the problem:
“Stress is caused by giving a f*ck.”
“The less you give a damn, the happier you will be.”
We should not be encouraging ourselves or others not to care or give a damn.
We should resist becoming hard or bitter or creating the expectation in our children that the world is a cold and hostile one in which to live.
We should be encouraging people to care — and educating people on how to do so effectively — and teaching our children to be the change they wish to see in the world.
“It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.” — L.R. Knost
“Happiness comes from within. It is not dependent on external things or on other people. You become vulnerable and can be easily hurt when your feelings of security and happiness depend on the behavior and actions of other people. Never give your power to anyone else.” — Brian L. Weiss
Simply not giving a damn about anything is a very blah and mundane way to live life. You can’t live life to the fullest without passion — and passion is caring.
“Happiness comes from within and is found in the present moment by making peace with the past and looking forward to the future.” — Doe Zantamata
“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” — Leonardo da Vinci
Living life to the fullest means continually reaching out for newer, richer, deeper, life-changing experiences. It means using those experiences as a means for personal growth and pushing the boundaries of yourself mentally, spiritually, and intellectually for the betterment of yourself and the world at large.
Living life to the fullest means taking an active role in your own development. It means steering the rudder of your own life and taking advantage of your unique and powerful potential as a person.
“Your story is the greatest legacy that you will leave to your friends. It’s the longest-lasting legacy you will leave to your heirs.” — Steve Saint
To live life to the fullest means to maximize your capacity to experience what life has to offer around you. This, in turn, expands your consciousness resulting in even more opportunities to have an even broader range of life experiences.
The key to living life to the fullest is opening your mind and stretching beyond your comfort zone. Because if you’re not being challenged or intentionally pushing yourself beyond the realm of things that are familiar to you, then the experiences you’re having are no longer changing you.
Anything you do that limits your ability to experience the breadth of life reduces your ability to live life to the fullest. While this can include doing things that have an adverse effect on your health, it can also mean living in such a way that your lifestyle restricts your ability to have new experiences.
While living life to the fullest can, at times, involves living dangerously (in a life-threatening fashion), if you’re living in such a consistent fashion that your life expectancy is greatly reduced as a result, then this is simply thrill seeking. If the point of living life to the fullest is to maximize your capacity for taking advantage of what life has to offer you, then this involves maximizing the length of your life as well.
“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I have just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” — Diane Ackerman
While living life to the fullest often involves travel in order to experience new places, languages, or cultures, it isn’t a requirement. It is quite possible to push your personal boundaries simply by reading, performing a creative activity, or taking charge of one’s education — all of which can be done in the comfort of one’s home.
But simply “being busy”, having a full schedule, and living a life of routine is not living life to the fullest.
Working during the week and partying it up on the weekends is not living life to the fullest.
Going on a tour guided, everything-is-taken-care-of vacation, or a pre-packaged “adventure” every year is not living life to the fullest.
“The comfort zone is the great enemy to creativity; moving beyond it necessitates intuition, which in turn configures new perspectives and conquers fears.” — Dan Stevens
While living life to the fullest is about collecting experiences, it isn’t simply about knocking items off a bucket list. And it isn’t a competition to “do the most things before death.” It is about acquiring strength and wisdom from the challenges one has overcome and having experiences that alter how one perceives the world.
Living inside your comfort zone is one of the surest ways to know you’re not living life to the fullest. And as long as you are comfortable, you are not growing.
“Struggling and suffering are the essence of a life worth living. If you’re not pushing yourself beyond the comfort zone, if you’re not demanding more from yourself – expanding and learning as you go – you’re choosing a numb existence. You’re denying yourself an extraordinary trip.” – Dean Karnazes
If you really want to live life to the fullest, make a habit of always reaching for new experiences that push you to grow. And when you’re growing, and your growth is having a positive influence on others, you’ll know you’re truly maximizing your life.