When I was in 5th grade, I had a teacher, Mrs. Fair – who knew and used the value of her name to the max.
Whenever a student would utter the words, “THAT’S NOT FAIR,” she had the ultimate answer.
“Yes it is fair. How do I know? Because I’m Mrs. Fair.”
Well, Mrs. Fair and Mr. Furey didn’t see eye-to-eye on a number of matters but she had a way of coming around to my point of view on occasion.
For example, one day when it was below zero and snowing outdoors, I didn’t understand why recess was cancelled. I wanted to play and I expressed my displeasure.
In response, Mrs. Fair told me to get my hat, gloves and coat on and go play. I did so.
I was the ONLY student in the school on the playground that day. I ran through the drifts, threw snowballs at imaginary beings, went down the slide, made a snowman and had a blast, all by myself.
After the cold became noticeable on my face, I went back to the classroom. The other students looked surprised I’d made it back.
“I can’t believe you actually went out into the snow,” one student said.
“Why not?” I replied. “It was fun.”
Mrs. Fair drew a line in the sand with me on a number of issues – and one of them was when I uttered the words, “I DON’T CARE.”
Whenever I said this she smiled and said, “That means you care.”
Man, I hated that. Being told I care when I said I didn’t. And I still, to this day, do NOT completely agree with her.
Be that as it was – one thing I can tell you that I do agree with is this: A lot of the troubles so many people have are a result of “caring too much.”
If you care too much about the words you speak or others reaction to them – you’ll be afraid to open your mouth and say what’s on your mind.
If you care too much about the words you write, you’ll stifle yourself before you even start.
If you care too much about closing sales, making a good first impression and increasing your income – people will run and hide.
If you care too much about letter grades, athletic statistics, pleasing others and so on – you literally choke the flow of life force running through you.
And today, in this politically correct society, if you care too much about not offending a single person on the face of this earth, you’ll never be able to help anyone.
Think of it this way, if you offend someone unintentionally, no big deal. Just apologize. It’s not the end of the whirld.
Now the flip side: And this is where Mrs. Fair was right.
There is a yin and a yang to caring. If you don’t care at all – that might not be good. If you care too much – that’s probably not good either.
But if you have the predominant mindset of “I don’t care” – and mixed within this emotional concoction is a tiny bit of “I do care” – then this may be a winning attitude for you.
A little bit of care mixed with a lot of “don’t care” – can give you a sense of power that has somehow eluded you.
If Mrs. Fair were still alive today, I’d present her with a saying from the Chuang Tzu, written a long, long time ago in ancient China.
This saying is so important to me that I had a poster made of it – and it hangs upon one of the walls in my home.
you shoot with skill.
you worry about your aim.
you’re a nervous wreck.Your skill is the same in all three cases –
but because one prize means more to
you than another, you let outside
concerns weigh on your mind.
He who looks too hard at the outside
gets clumsy on the inside.
The archer cares enough about what he’s doing to practice and get good.
But if he cares too much – he’s a nervous wreck and cannot showcase his skill.
I’ve been there. I’ve lost “important” bouts because I cared too much.
Ironically, the biggest match I ever won, the world kung fu title in Beijing, is when I didn’t care if I won or lost.
As a writer, speaker and entrepreneur – I can say the same thing.
Yes, you need desire. Yes, you need a burning desire.
But the flame is burning of it’s own accord. It burns with effortless ease.
The flame is your love and passion. It’s your deep appreciation for this moment – a sense of awe for having the talent, ability and opportunity to be able to do what you love to do.
And as you do what you love to do – you could not care less what anyone else thinks.
This feeling gives you the power and insight to leave the candle flame alone. It’ll burn on its own.
Focus on the doing and the being – and the outcomes, the results, will take care of themselves.