Recently, I read a book: The subtle art of not giving a f*ck by Mark Manson. I strongly recommend it.
Manson openly admits that there is no such thing as not giving a f*ck in life. However, in order to truly not give a f*ck about something, we need to give extreme f*ck for something else. And those “f*ck-worthy” things are those that are coherent with our values. In other words, to value something, we have to give a f*ck about it. But to value X, we have to decline things that are not X. For example, choosing to become a psychologist obviously means I don’t give a f*ck about being rich and secure. Otherwise, I would become a lawyer.
Alternatives that we reject ultimately define our values. Especially alternatives that are alluring. This made me think about how often I’ve heard people say that today it is more difficult to choose than in former times. Having so many options available leads us to overthink and to struggle to make a choice. The difficulty of these times, as Manson pointed out, might not be in choosing the “right” thing, rather, it is about everything else we need to reject for it. Before, people did not have to make so many rejections in order to stay true to their values. They would find a partner, it doesn’t work – they try harder to make it work. Today, well, we can stay and try, or just switch on our phones and there are hundreds available alternatives one app away. It’s up to our values, to commit or to feel wanted.
In some cases, though, today’s alternative-based culture isn’t necessarily a bad thing for people’s values. Just take vegans for example. I’m sure they existed before, but they were probably quiet because they were hungry. But look at them now, with all the soya, almond, and whatever else milk alternatives, they too can have a full shopping bag and enjoy life to the fullest with their f*cks intact.
So, in order to see what our “f*ck-worthy” values are, we should look at what we reject, and as we change, things we reject will change too. Only once we reject something, we are choosing something else. Otherwise, we are just settling.
Irena Boskovic, Ph.D.Candidate at the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience