August 5, 2014

This isn’t a Bucket List, it’s a F*ck It List.

crumpled paper writer's block

Warning: f-bombs ahead!

Life can end in an unpredictable instant.

The degree of separation between people is estimated to be around 4.74.

This is why we’ve all heard about the friend of a friend who was murdered, the car accident that killed more than one member of a family or the fire which ended the lives of several we knew in our community.

Most of us have also had something unexpectedly terrible happen to a loved one which resulted in their death. Then there are of course terminal illnesses which spontaneously occur at many different ages and not just once a person has lived a full life.

It also feels all too common that we hear about a father who drowned whilst saving his son from drowning or an adult member of the public who died whilst rescuing another from some life or death situation. These are both tragic and triumphant stories of human affairs.

They remind us of how precious life is as well as the innate nobility of humanity which manifests during such emergencies.

They reenergize our appreciation of human life and spirit.

This article isn’t about fear or tragedy, but self-empowerment. All these examples of an early departure make us think, “If we were to die tomorrow, have we actually maximized our growth in the time that we had? Did we look after ourselves and our loved ones in the right way?”

If we wrote down not a bucket list—which is a list of things to do and places to see—but a fuck it list—which is a list of ways to grow in how we think, feel and act—would what it look like?

The following fuck it list is ultimately about letting go of the things that hold us back from reaching our true potential. Some are about overcoming our ego attachments which have no real power, especially if we don’t feed them any and others are an illustration of internal achievements that we’ll be more than stoked with when we’re lying on our death bed and deliberating our achievements in life.

After all, real success comes from within, not from without.

Fuck it #1: I don’t worry about how others perceive me.

Some of us spend half—or all—of our lives worrying about how others perceive us.

It is of course important to mindfully represent ourselves to our loved ones, but if anybody negatively judges us on our passions and our endeavors, then we just have to learn to say, “Fuck it, I don’t care what they think.”

Once we remove the wasted time negotiating in our own minds as to what they may think or say, we open ourselves to actually being fully engaged in our goals and maintaining our own inner peace.

At the end of the day, it really is their business what others think of us. Let’s keep it that way so that we invest our time and energy in the things that really matter so that when it’s time to kick the bucket, we’ll be more than impressed with ourselves.

Fuck it # 2: I’m going to give back to my community as much as I can, even if it is at my own expense.

The simple philosophy of “giving is receiving” rings true on our death bed. If we spent our lives only taking from others—that is, prioritizing our own selfish desires—then all of the positive thoughts and feelings that we could be having would be replaced with regret, guilt and shame.

Humans are naturally communal animals. We wouldn’t have survived and thrived the way we did if it wasn’t for people grouping together in a community and supporting each other. If we haven’t operated according to this principle, then we haven’t operated in parallel with our own innate nature.

There are many ways to do it. It could be via our job, through volunteering, by being a compassionate and empathetic person, or all of the above. At a fundamental level, it’s simply a mindset and a behavioral template.

In addition, we would have simply missed out on the many pure connections and experiences which come along with surrounding ourselves by noble and selfless people. This is why we say, “Fuck it, I’ve got everything I need, so I’m going to do the right thing for others.”

Fuck it # 3: Nothing or nobody else is in control of my feelings except me.

Life is tough at times, especially when we are treated in inhumane and traumatizing ways. People do terrible things to one another but ultimately, we have the final say in how we feel.

Some experiences also challenge us beyond the capabilities we have at the time, so of course we will be significantly impacted by it in a negative way. Yet the sooner we start taking responsibility for how we feel, the sooner we find our peace. There is just no other way.

The reality is if we continue to rely on what’s happening in our life to make us feel good, then we’re destined to live a life of suffering, because we all know that as soon as one issue is resolved, another one arises.

That’s when we say, “Fuck it, it is what it is, and I can’t change it, so instead I’m going to accept it and take responsibility for how I feel.” The result of this is, no matter what difficulty we have in our life—such as a broken relationship, the loss of a job or a sick loved one—we will always have the responsibility for establishing and maintaining our inner peace.

Fuck it # 4: I’m brave enough to ask the big questions in life before having a mid-life existential crisis.

Right from an early age we’re socialized to think, feel and behave in a certain way. It’s the minority which break out of this on their own terms, as the idea of not being well liked or understood doesn’t appeal to any of us. This is why many people in their 20s and 30s don’t open the Pandora box and start to think beyond the general image-driven and ego-based focus of their peers.

They wait until they’ve settled down a bit, had a family and progressed in their career to decide to have a good long hard look at themselves, their beliefs and the big picture of life. That’s when the mid life crisis occurs because the development of their mind, which is a true form of success, is well behind the development of their body, so they freak the fuck out.

If we want to avoid the suffering of a mid-life crisis, we need to start asking the big questions of self-worth, contentment, morality, community, suffering, selflessness, spirituality etc. at an earlier age. We have to say, “Fuck it, I’m going to make the necessary sacrifices of my ego so that I can grow in spirit.”

Fuck it # 5: Laughter is going to be my default response to both the good and bad things that happen in life.

Is it really possible to find the humor in everything? Of course it is. Well, why would we do that anyway? Because as they say; laughter is the best medicine.

New research has shown that the act of laughter is a form of meditation. In the past, scientists have measured the brain wave frequencies of people who meditate, and now they have done the same with those experiencing humor. They’ve found that the two acts resemble each other in frequency.

We know that meditation is not only empowering and enlightening, but that it’s also super healthy for dealing with states of anxiety, stress, depression and insomnia.

Therefore, laughing at the funny, the mundane, the taboo, and even the serious are excellent ways to find peace and well-being in even the toughest situations. We therefore say, “Fuck it, I’m not going to cry over spilled milk, I’m going to laugh whilst I clean it up instead.”

Fuck it # 6: I’m going to have compassion for all people, regardless if they’re behaving poorly or not.

We are all pass judgement—be it positive or negative, realistic or unrealistic, selfless or selfish. Put another way, we continually critique or assess the people and situations in our life, including ourselves.

The key is to judge in a healthy way, such as incorporating compassion and empathy. We should see the positive in others, even when they’re behaving negatively. For example: yes, that person is being abusive but for all we know they may have had something tragic happen to them today, or maybe they’re just at an underdeveloped stage of their growth, but one day hopefully they will have learned to overcome this behavior which not only makes others suffer, but also themselves.

Therefore, we think to ourselves, “Fuck it, just because I’ve gone through my own development, it’s hypercritical to think that everyone should be at a similar stage of growth, so I’m going to have compassion for where they are and how they are suffering.”

Fuck it # 7: Nothing is going to get in my way of building quality relationships with my family and friends.

Why do some of us spend all our time attempting to achieve some form of success at the expense of our relationships? What is so important that we make this sacrifice? Power. The more powerful we become, the more people will respect us and the more we will respect ourselves.

Yet if we’re not balancing our external forms of success with the kind that ensures genuine and truly beautiful human relationships, then what worth do our achievements truly have?

Not much if we’re on our death bed, devastated over the time that we could have had with our children and our other loved ones. If we’ve sacrificed the most important parts of being human to enter the rat race and achieve career success, then we’ve simply lost our way. If this is happening, then we face it by saying, “Fuck it, real power is self-empowerment, not sacrificing my relationships for power over others.”

Now please be assured that I’m not saying that it’s not a good thing to achieve greatness in our field of choice. The ideal is to achieve both forms of success without one at the expense of the other. There are many of us who have achieved amazing success in their career whilst also achieved amazing success in their personal growth and relationships, and that’s what we should be aiming toward.

Fuck it # 8: Becoming my more genuine self is always my first priority.

Surely we know what our current status is, right? We know what we should face-off? What are our strengths and weaknesses? What are we striving for? What is our next stage of growth? Are we actually content?

Blindly living in denial of our much needed growth and not doing anything about it is one way of living unsuccessfully and ensuring that we’re plagued with regret on our death bed. After all, the only person who will ever understand whether you’re truly successful or not, is yourself.

So do we actually want to continually learn and grow and become our new more empowered selves so that when we kick the bucket we can give ourselves a high five for having a really good crack at life?

Of course we do. But sometimes it’s hard. And scary. Sometimes we don’t have the knowledge, skills or willpower to overcome our problematic, disempowering and inhibiting behaviors. That’s where we should consult a professional to guide us.

If we have lessons to learn but don’t aim to overcome them, then we’re not becoming our more genuine selves. No matter what, our lessons don’t go away; they’ll keep remanifesting in different ways until we face them. And even when we do overcome them they’ll return to just make sure we’ve properly learned them. They’re quite cheeky like that.

Therefore, we state clearly to ourselves, “Fuck it, I will not be stubborn about who I am and my shortcomings, I will open myself to the more self-empowered person that I will inevitably be.”


I wish I knew these tips growing up:

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Abhi/Flickr

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