Have you ever played something over and over again in your mind. It can feel like a feedback loop of pure insanity. Perhaps you’ve been beating yourself up over a mistake you made, or feeling guilty about something you did or didn’t do.
This is one of the most common and frustrating things that we do to ourselves. Everyone has been there at some time or another and many of us go there frequently. (Can you see me raising my hand?)
I remember once, at a very important business meeting, stuttering and stammering over my words. One of the Chief Officers of the company I worked for was there and I was presenting to him and a small group of senior executives.
I consider myself to be a charismatic speaker, one of my gifts is communicating in a way that is easy to understand, entertaining and clear. Speaking in public is something I actually enjoy.
So you can imagine, to my dismay, I was blown away when I opened my mouth on this particular day and the words did not come. On the contrary, they came, but in spits and creaks, with an audible shakiness, that could only be perceived as nervousness.
The thing is, I wasn’t nervous, and to this day that was the one and only time that something like that has happened to me. Before that day, and many times after, I have presented ideas to senior leaders and decision makers, I have spoken on stages and I have put myself out there to the online world over and over again. Which made this incident even more perplexing and upsetting for me.
I should have been able to move past that one mishap and forget about it, right? Well, that’s not what I did… I played that brief instance, where my voice failed me and I felt like an idiot, over in my mind again and again (and again and again), like a torturous feedback loop of horor.
I cringed every time I thought of the incident. I beat myself up over it. I thought my career was over. I literally could feel my cheeks get red, my stomach churn, and the embarrassment come flooding back everytime I allowed my mind to go there, which was every single day for quite some time.
Mark Manson, the author of, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, says that, the key to living a better life isn’t caring about more, but focusing on less.
I can relate to that concept. I think this idea, focusing on fewer things, is at the heart of what it takes for us to stop caring about the crap that doesn’t matter. So how do you do it?
Figure out what matters to YOU.
You’re the secret ingredient to your own happiness. It’s true! Whether that’s in your career, your relationships or your own personal development or life journey. Figuring out what matters to YOU and only caring about those things is the only way to let the things that don’t matter slip away into the abyss of, who gives a sh*t.
That’s what I finally was able to do after my corporate meeting mishap. Eventually, I asked myself if I really cared what this guy or anyone else in that room thought of me? I had to get honest with myself and realize that they probably had forgotten about me moments after walking out of that room. I realized that no one cared, and that I didn’t want to care anymore either. So I moved on, I let it go and I started to focus my time and energy on the things that I did cared about. The things that mattered to me. And it worked.
As January has come and gone, many new year's resolutions and good intentions may be waning. We may be falling of the wagon of healthy eating, regular working out, or efforts to advance in our businesses or careers. We may even be beating ourselves up about it!
My wish for you is to consider the wise words of Mark Manson, and let all the meaningless stuff go. Refocus your mental energy on the things that actually matter to YOU and stop giving a f*ck about the rest.
Thanks for reading!