Carefully Allocating the Fucks You Give


Carefully Allocating the Fucks You Give

How many people do you think just vowed to never visit my website again because I put a “bad” word in the headline?

Actually, scratch that. I don’t care.

Something as inconsequential as an internet stranger being offended by “fuck” doesn’t deserve more than a couple seconds of acknowledgement in my head.

See that? That’s me being selective with the amount of fucks I decide to give to any particular situation (or rhetorical person in this case).

Typically, though, I worry too much.

I’m an anxious dude.

I’ll overthink and overanalyze everything if you give me enough time to do so.

Last night I was having a great time with my friends, dancing, laughing, and just enjoying myself. I wore a v-neck sweater over a long-sleeve shirt, dark jeans, and some awesome shoes. I thought I looked sharp as hell and was even told so by a couple of people.

Then somehow as the night progressed, for no reason, I began wondering if I should have worn the sweater at all. Then I second-guessed myself on my choice of jeans over dark grey chino pants.

There I was dancing while my brain was thinking about something irrelevant to my having a good time.

Just the thought of what I should have wore took me out of the present and I became self-conscious, even though just a few minutes prior I was having a wonderful time without a worry in the world.

I didn’t properly allocate the fucks I gave and it brought my mood down a notch. What I should’ve been concerned with was whether everyone was having a good time, because that’s the only thing that should’ve mattered at that moment.

More examples? Of course, I’ve got plenty.

I put a tiny bit of hair product on when I’m just heading to the grocery store for a few minutes because I’m concerned with how I’ll look. Don’t want that bedhead while shopping for peanut butter.

I replay conversations in my head where I made a joke that nobody laughed at and wonder to myself what everyone thought of me in that moment, even though I know that the odds of anyone else actually caring about a joke falling flat is astronomically low.

While singing in the shower, I lower my voice a bit when I suddenly remember that someone in the hallway might be able to hear me as I rock out to Frozen’s Let It Go. Then I immediately switch to singing “cooler” songs like Hotline Bling just in case someone’s listening in.

Getting the picture?

We all have these ridiculous insecurities about what others think of us and we all dwell on things that don’t really matter. But once you become aware of this habit, you can start fighting back. You can start snapping out of it quicker.

You can start allocating your fucks to the things that matter.

Ask yourself two questions:

Is this something that can impact my life negatively in the future?

Is this an issue I’ll think about two weeks from now?

If the answer’s no to both then what’re you doing wasting all your fucks? Save it for the important stuff.

So going back to last night, I asked myself both questions and realized I was in my head for no reason. That helped me snap back out of it and get back into enjoying what was happening around me.

I’ll still think about what I look like with my bedhead, I’ll still be a bit upset when I tell a joke that falls flat, and I’ll still lower my singing voice a bit when I suddenly remember my shower isn’t soundproof. Yup, I’ll still occasionally be using up my fucks when I don’t have to.

But at least I can catch myself in the act, snap out of it, and start allocating my fucks to the things that matter.

What do you find yourself overthinking most often?

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Vincent Nguyen is the author of Self Stairway and founder of Growth Ninja, a digital marketing agency that specializes in Facebook Ads. Voted "Most Guapo" five years in a row (lost during 6th year to a hand model.)

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30 responses to Carefully Allocating the Fucks You Give

  1. Awesome post – we’re all way too careless when it comes to giving away those precious fucks of ours!

    My personal trick to keeping down the amount of fucks given is to ask myself; If someone else did this, would I give a fuck? If someone else wore the clothes I wore, would I judge him? If someone else walked to the store with a slight bedhead, would I even care?

    If the answer is no, then I can only assume that the rest of the world won’t give a fuck about me doing it either.

    • I was just talking about what you said a couple nights ago with my buddy. Think of all the times you can remember strangers or even your friends saying something silly that you judged them for. I bet you’d be hard-pressed to think of even one example.

      We’re all concerned with what others think of us most the time. Ain’t no one nitpicking the small minute details of everyone else!

  2. Great article, awareness is a key, if you’re able to catch yourself in your head, that’s really great, because it will help to understand yourself more and become more conscious of your own thoughts and even emotions and behaviors.

    One last thing, from my own experience, and other people’s experiences, people really don’t care that much, especially strangers, wear a funny shirt and walk into a crowded room, less than 25% of them will give a flying fuck about that shirt (actually this was done in a real study), and even those who notice you, they have more important things to do and to worry about.

    Just realizing this fact can actually help you to “not give a fuck”, because you realize that those people you’re worried about their reaction or judgement don’t really care that much.

    Seriously, sometimes it takes a lot of time for me to realize that my friend is wearing a new shoes today, and I don’t even remember that after a hour!!

  3. Hi Vincent,

    I used to overthink things a lot too. Then I realized that caring so much about things or people that don’t matter was too much of a burden. Like should someone else’s opinion dictate how I live.

    You just have to let go.


  4. Hey Vincent, You have touched a nerve of mine. I am disgusted at how much emphasis our society puts on “bad words” instead of”bad actions.” For example, last night on the Iowa Caucus discussions, one young lady was complaining about how the Veterans Affairs provides little coverage for her. She used the word “fuck” when describing how the VA treats her. The announcer apologized that fuck got carried on the air live (completely missing her point).

    And many of the people in our society would be aghast to hear a returning soldier say that he “just killed a fucking enemy.” But the insane part of their agastness is that they would be shocked at his language instead of the fact that he had just killed someone.

    And… yes… I know that I am not addressing the main point of your post today, but I am amused at myself for, initially, thinking “Man, Vincent has some serious courage today.”

    I hope all is well with you.

  5. That was hilarious and so true! Loved it. Thank you for reminding me to focus on the things that are really important and not so much on what isn’t, especially what other people may or may not be thinking! Most of the time, it’s all in my head anyways and probably not true! And if it is, so what! Thanks!!

  6. YES, it can be ” much ado about nothing” when it comes to worrying.
    I try to always avoid worrying ( AND THIS TOO SHALL PASS) helps

    However, when someone says ” I really don’t care” I begin to wonder
    what else does he not care about. I much prefer to connect and work
    with people WHO DO CARE.. Our world today is so fucked up
    because people don’t care.

    • I don’t think there are very many people out there who don’t care about anything. It’s about choosing carefully what you decide to worry about. Some may say it’s about properly allocating the fucks you give. 😉

      • Starla Kreie-Perciado June 2, 2016 at 10:02 am

        One of MY favorite sayings is “I don’t give 2 fucks!” I have had my “TOILET” mouth (that was my nickname my brother gave me because my language was out this world nasty and vulgar) since I could talk. I was taught to cuss. “How cute, the baby is saying Fuck You Bitch again!” I don’t care what people think about the way I talk! It’s their goodie, goodie opinion and we all know that opinions are like what? Assholes, everyone has one! However, I do have manners, values, and respect. I know how to turn it on and off. I have worked in Customer Service all my life and it amazes people to find out that I am Customer Service Rep after hearing me have a conversation outside of work! So to all those goodie goods out there, stop being hypocrites and going behind closed doors or mumbling under your breath the words you are too scared to say openly, don’t think about how people will perceive you because more than likely they already have that preconception drawn before you open your mouth. I’ll leave you with this, my grandma (RIP) once said to mother (speaking in regards to my toilet mouth), good Lord Sue (my mother) where did she learn such language and my mother said FUCK IF I KNOW!! It was hilarious! More than anything, just be who you are and be happy. Fuck em’ if they can’t take a joke!

  7. Oh I so relate to you over this, I thought only women had this problem. I over think over analyse and drive myself up the wall wondering if I look awful. Sometimes I think I’m just plain conseated but I don’t think it’s that as I make up and do my hair even when I know I won’t see anyone all day, just because I can’t stand to see myself without.
    I suffered a lot of ridicule at school when I was a kid and that dreadful feeling of embarrassment and hurt has never left me so I gard against any chance that people will be hurtful, pathetic isn’t it. However, I’m trying and your email has really made me think and I will take your advice and win in the end and enjoy my life more.
    Take care and love who you are. X

    • We all have this for sure. None of our worries, struggles, and insecurities are unique. You’d be surprised with just how together we all are in this world.

      Okay, that was a bit cheesy wording, but you know what I mean. 🙂

  8. Thanks Vincent, I really liked it. I still have these fuck moments keeping my mind busy for few hours! Even when I am on my way walking I think that everybody now is looking at me!! which is really fuck! then I ask myself: who really cares about you?!! Now I have started thinking right way.
    good luck and keep writing

    • Hey Borna, I have that issue too! When I’m walking around or hanging about with my friends, I keep feeling as if all eyes are on me.

      Well, you know what…? How DARE I even think that way? I realized one day how self-indulgent and absolutely conceited of a thought that is. Really? Out of everyone in this general vicinity, I’m just so interesting that everyone is watching my every move?

      No way. We’re not that important. And that’s a great thing!

  9. On a side-note: HILARIOUS how many people unsubscribed from the email list after I sent out this article. Even funnier is that there were some people who marked the email as spam because I used a “bad” word in the headline.

    Good riddance. Not a good fit for this site if you can’t handle the oh-so-vulgar “fuck”.

    Mark Manson says it best in “Why I Have a Potty Mouth:”

  10. It’s fuckin’ amazing how uptight I can get. And over fuckin’ what? Not a damn thing. I’m really not even here. So what the fuck? Must be sumpn’ like a pheromoan [sic] all dem Jax an’ Jills are zoodin’. Gits under the skin. Makes me feel like scapin’. Far away. In the land of plenty. Beyond the blue moon. Somebodies. Been sleepin’ in my bed.

  11. This article is both “disgusting and awesome” :p seriously u shouldn’t have used this F word…
    Happens almost every day with me Vincent…
    But obviously you’re right… I’ve never thought ’bout that before:)
    From now I’m never gonna think what are others saying ’bout me…
    Seriously why should I care huh???

  12. I can not get out of the habit of analyzing my night out and voicing all the things I did wrong.

    • Does asking the two questions I mentioned in the article help? It certainly does for me.

      “Is this something that can impact my life negatively in the future?

      Is this an issue I’ll think about two weeks from now?”

      I have the same habit but I end the overthinking a lot quicker when I realize the answer to the questions are no.

  13. Awesome post…… I worry so much that I worry about worry…… still finding ways to reduce that. I will appreciate your advise.


  14. Yeah, I’m an over thinker myself and over analyzing things that sometimes I really get so frustrated with life. But, hey, I can catch up with life too, just say ” This is enough, to hell with it” , then I’m back. Thanks for sharing a very interesting post. Really great!

  15. The easiest way to stop caring what others think of you is understanding, that an opinion is just a thought, a figment of somebodys imagination. Now understand that everyone is diffrent, we all had different experiences that created who we are today, and it’s normal that some people might have diffrent opinion about something then we do, but it doesn’t mean we are wrong!

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