Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Daily Zen: 6 Reasons to Care Less

Certain aspects of our lives require special care and attention.  For me, these areas are fitness, diet, friends/family, music and academia.  For you, they may be entirely different.  Whatever your core values may be, they are appropriate to care about; we need to have certain attachments in order to make life feel meaningful. 
But, outside of that realm, much of what we care about merely wastes energy.  We devote attention to buying superfluous items, searching for chemical antidotes to our problems, and others judging us.  These are not worth caring about, so, to be blunt: stop caring about them. 

You'll have more energy to think about what matters.
In simple terms, if you walk down the street making eye contact with every stranger you see worrying about what they think of you, you'll miss out on all the enjoyable opportunities walking down the street can provide.  You won't notice the warm sun, a cool dog, or a new shop you want to check out.  Give up on negative caring.

You'll appreciate your surroundings more.
Again, if you're not transfixed on attachments to what you should/shouldn't be doing in a given situation, it'll be a weigh off your mind.  It will certainly free up some of your attention.

You'll be able to focus on necessities. 
Needless caring can grow abstract to a point where it impedes upon our daily functioning.  It's how people end up working at jobs they can't stand, settling for the wrong relationship or going into debt buying expensive designer clothes.  When you care about what really matters to you, and no one else, you'll have more control over how you organize your life.  

You grow more outcome-independent.
Caring less about a select few things could positively carry over into other facets of your life.  Outcome-independence means not being attached to how things turn out.  Many of the situations we worry about are out of our control.

Goodbye anxiety.
If much of our anxiety stems from the uncontrollable, why suffer over it?  Less caring = less anxiety.  

Hello charisma.
There's a reason musicians, artists and writers are often more charismatic than accountants, car salesmen and teachers: many times, they've sacrificed a conventional lifestyle for the sake of doing what they care about rather than what society expects of them.  

This fosters a natural air of relaxation or carelessness.  Obviously there are exceptions, but the point is this:

when you stop worrying about what other people think of you or if you're conforming to institutional standards, you'll become a more interesting person-- not only to others, but also to yourself.