3 Steps to Achieving More by Caring Less
Whether it’s the way others think of you and our work or the way you view yourself, the key to productivity is to care less. The fine line between caring less and being careless is essential in focusing on what is truly important and forsaking what is not -- or perhaps not focusing at all. I, for one, have only recently been accepting the fact that not every word, situation, or experience is worth 99+ hours of “brain time” with hopes of finding what when wrong and how it can be avoided. Overthinking hinders creativity, work efficiency, and, quite frankly, peace of mind.
Here are 3 ways I’ve learned to let go without letting it all fall apart.
1. Care less.
The less you care, the more time you’ll spare. Work to reduce the degree and duration by which trivial circumstances consume you. Instead of taking everything to heart, enjoy the sensation of allowing things to only reach your sternum, or better yet, to bounce off your clavicle. Shrug more often. No, I’m not promoting that simply ‘brushing things off’ will bring productivity. I simply believe that receiving correction or critique doesn’t always require a blow to the chest in order to be effective. Of the few things you can actually control, choose to care more about what you do and less about the response it yields. Have a seat and allow the criticism to only live in the environment it’s useful in.
2. Compete with no one (and no one will compete with you).
Pressure to outperform or outdo others (or even yourself) is exactly that – pressure. While setting goals creates paths on which to embark, it’s best not to overcomplicate the journey. All throughout documented history, everyone gets where they’re going in the end. It’s impossible to lose a race you’re not running. If you must compete, compete with yourself but never against yourself.
3. Accept that mistakes are inevitable – and then accept it again.
Mistakes – the cringe-worthy, costly, embarrassing banes of our existences. Not only can mistakes be a good thing, but your ability to make them is a truest sign that you’re alive. Congratulations! Mistakes aren’t always completely avoidable lapses in judgement only to be cured by long sessions of self-loathing. By thinking of mistakes the way we think of the thumbnail sketches or preliminary concepts we propose that get shot down, we can learn to care less about making mistakes and more about enjoying the experiences that come out of them.
“Just do what needs to be done, and then stop.
Attain your purpose, but don’t press your advantage.
Be resolute, but don’t boast. Succeed, but don’t crow.
Accomplish, but don’t overpower.
Overdoing things invites decay…”
- Excerpt from The Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu