Today I want to explore the method in Sarah Knights book The magic of not giving a fuck, and I want to do it from an INFJ perspective. We are going to dive into the method, but the examples that I want to give are custom made for introverts and INFJ/INFP people. I believe that the things that we would like to stop caring about differ from other people’s wishes in many ways.
Introverts and INFJs tend to give way too many fucks about what other people think, with the result that we take on other people’s energy and we end up exhausted and burn ourselves out in the process.
Inspired by Marie Kondos The lifechanging magic of tidying up, Sarah Knight examines what she wants to let go of (=stop giving a fuck about) in her life.
The method is simple, but it takes a while if you want to do it properly. So in my opinion, you have to set aside at least 3-4 hours. Once you do this properly, you will have a list and a “manifesto” which you can live by to remind yourself of what you agreed with yourself to let go of and what gets to stay.
So what is the method of not giving a fuck?
In her book, Sarah Knight envisions all her thoughts like huge piles of garbage in a gigantic barn. Everything is just unorganized and messy, and you don’t even know where to start. You don’t know what’s in those boxes that you’ve saved from when the children were younger. And that old pile of clothes that you thought you were going to be able to wear someday when you lost that weight? No, it’s not going to happen and you secretly know it, but you haven’t given yourself the time to completely let go of it. Now is the time to do it.
Here’s how the magic of not giving a fuck works
The simple version of the method goes like this:
Step 1: Make a list of things you don’t give a fuck about
Step 2: Stop giving a fuck about those things.
Easier said than done, right? That’s why we are going to dig a bit deeper into the technique and what Sarah Knight means when she says this.
Block a significant amount of time in your calendar and grab a notepad and a pen. Also: have 4 markers in different colors ready for later.
Step 1: the inventory process (what’s in your mind’s barn?)
Write down EVERYTHING that you come to think of concerning things that you DO care about and want to continue having in your life, and the things you DON’T give a fuck about and don’t want in your life anymore.
Example of things you might care/ not care about: weddings, to sort the laundry, potato chips, drinks with friends, work, when someone tells me that I’m wrong. Everything works. Follow your intuition on this one. It knows what you want.
When you’ve jotted down everything you come to think of, take a coffee break (or other favorite beverage). After that your brain has had a break and you can continue the search for things that you do and don’t give a fuck about.
I promise you will find more things if you dig deep enough. The idea here is to get it ALL out so that you can begin to organize the things you want to keep later. This is the equivalent of Marie Kondos way of putting ALL your clothes in one big pile and then sort out the clothes that no longer sparks joy for you.
Be honest with yourself and dig into the deepest corners of your being. It can be tough to realize you actually want to let go of things like your job for example. It provides you with safety, right? But then another thing emerges that you also want to jot down: maybe you now realize that you want to let go of the feeling that you can’t be safe without that job etc.
Put the items in one of the following categories:
3. Friends, strangers and acquaintances
Step 2: the cleaning process
Now it’s time to take out the markers. Mark an item with green if you want to keep the item in your life and take out a red marker and cross everything you want to let go of. Things that you can’t decide on just yet can get a yellow or orange color.
You can now see clearly what you do want in your life. Be honest with yourself. If you care about a thing that you can’t do anything about, cross it over with red. For example: climate change. If you care enough to be a climate activist, it should be on your list of things you care about, but if you know that you aren’t going to do so much about it then it goes in red.
Another example: To care if so and so says this and that to you. If you decide that you do care now but want to stop caring about it, then put that in yellow.
You now have a clear list of items that goes in the green, red and yellow.
I for one have no interest whatsoever in world war II. Many men want to give me lectures about it. But I couldn’t care less. So I’ve decided that whenever someone starts to talk about it, I have to tell them, politely, that I don’t care about what they are about to say. More of the “don’t be a douche bag” technique later. You can decide to not care in a polite manner, it just takes a little time.
The time-energy-money budget (a.k.a. The “fuck budget”)
This is my favorite part of the method. This is where you sketch out a budget for the time, energy and money of all the things you listed in part one. Her idea is that you should keep a budget for energy as well as you do for your money.
An example: let’s say that you’ve decided that you don’t want to spend any more time or energy on small talk around the coffee machine. If you are an INFJ especially, this can be very exhausting. So you decide to try and put that in your budget.
It can look like this:
Activity: Small talk with coworkers
Time: 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week: 200 minutes = 3 hours and 20 minutes a week.
Energy: This is more fluid; you get to estimate how much a unit of energy is. Something I’ve done is borrow from the agile scrum method of “planning poker”. I use colors or t-shirt sizes as units. Let’s say that 20 minutes of small talk drains you of energy worth one XL, while you gain the same amount (1 XL) of energy by writing in your journal for 20 minutes. You can now easily see why you should trade one for the other.
Money: Maybe the small talk doesn’t cost you any money, so you put 0 there.
Activity: Checking social media
Time: 10 minutes every morning
Energy: 2 XL
So you can clearly see that quitting this habit will free up lots of time and energy for you to engage in things that you actually like and give a fuck about. That’s why you need a positive budget as well, so that you have ideas of what you want to do instead.
The positive time-energy-money budget
The positive budget can be that you start a healthy habit like exploring your artistic side.
Activity: Draw every day for 30 minutes
Time: 3,5 hours/ week
Money: The cost for your art supplies
Another example of a positive budget:
Activity: Start a journal
Time: 30 minutes a day
Energy: I can promise that you will gain lots of energy from this. At least 4 XL on the plus side.
Money: Whatever you spend on stationery and notebooks. (For me, this is quite an expensive habit since I always buy Moleskine notebooks which are a little pricy, but it can be just a simple notepad and a pen if you want.)
Ok, now that you have your list of things that you do care about, it’s time to start caring about those things and stop giving a fuck about those other things that you don’t want to care about.
Write a manifesto
Now when you have a clear vision of the things you want to let go of, you can jot them down in a bullet list. Now that you’ve decided to let go of the toxic things, situations and people in your life, you will become more conscious when a situation that you decided to let go of rises.
For example: let’s say that you decided that you don’t give a fuck about listening to peoples nagging on about their health issues. It’s hard to just say that you don’t care, and you don’t want to be an a**hole either. Just explain that you don’t care and that you’re not a doctor so you can’t give them any advice. We all know what their complaining is about really, right? You don’t want to spend time and energy from your budget on them. They are energy vampires feeding on your energy. Don’t give them any. Just politely explain that you haven’t subscribed on their complaints about their health.
Related article: How to declutter your life with the Konmari method
See Sarah Knight’s Ted talk