Remember Brad Pitt's character Tyler Durden in "Fight Club"? What makes his persona so appealing?
- He doesn't want or need anything or anybody; he has no attachments.
- He scorns norms as arbitrary.
- He laughs at the absurd red herring search for "meaning"
- He's deeply connected to his experience
It's a great movie. And like most sweet ideas, it's old news.
French-Algerian Philosopher, Journalist and Author Albert Camus (most famous for his novel "The Stranger") described the absurd struggle for meaning in his essay The Myth of Sisyphus.
Sisyphus was an ancient Greek king who was condemned by the Gods to roll a boulder uphill only to have it tumble to the bottom again.
This cycle was his fate for all eternity.
Camus speculated that Sisyphus may have even been happy by accepting the absurdity of his fate - an allegory of the human condition.
Way before this cat, there was a Chinese dude named Lao Tzu, one of the fathers of taosim, who advocated non-attachment, non-striving and non-ado.
Kind of the opposite of the Western mantra...
First I'll tell you what indifference isn't. It isn't:
- Lack of Compassion
- Absence of Goals
Instead, it is simply acknowledging, affirming and continually experiencing the fundamental meaninglessness of life.
. . . I just wanted to write that word and say it out loud a couple of times. Sounds cool. Now do it in a black preacher voice.
Anyway - it's so counterintuitive, I know.
In most cultures, "caring" is central to attaining everything deemed to be "important", not least of all - the attainment of "important" stuff (i.e. Success, Wealth, Happiness, etc.)
But notice that these words are inherently meaningless.
They are vague societal approximations for something we're taught to strive for but ultimately - have only the meaning we give them.
I know. I'm going all "woo-woo" on you here . . .
So let's get practical.
How This Applies to Your Business Life
Have you ever wanted a job so bad that you bombed the interview or got ridiculously nervous?
Or you gave all of your power away in a negotiation or business deal by betraying your dependence on getting the result you want.
Or have you wanted a presentation to go well only to hear your own voice come out sounding like you were in the throes of puberty?
But overcoming one's social programming isn't necessarily a straight-ahead task.
And the smarter you are, the harder letting go will probably be for you.
You've gotta figure out how to stop sucking at change.
There are some people, however, who care so little, there's a whole word just for them in Russian:
похуйисты - roughly, "Don't Give A Fuck-ers"
But again, this is about non-attachment to outcomes, NOT not giving a fuck about anything whatsoever.
How This Applies to Your Social Life
Neediness is such an unattractive quality.
What it conveys is:
"I need you so bad because I'm scared of loss and maybe if I cling to everybody around me I can delude myself into thinking I have control over everything".
The result is, of course, the exact opposite - you push everybody away.
And this is roughly how it makes you appear in others' eyes:
When you're satisfied being wherever you're at and don't make your happiness a function of anything outside of you, people gravitate to you like crazy.
This requires upkeep through affirmations and visualizations.
When you give up wanting to get a result like making a new friend or taking girl home or whatever, it begins to happen on its own.
Because you're not focusing on an outcome, but just interacting and giving off a positive, contented vibe, people are drawn to you.
It's rare that a person is just worry-free and has no agenda and since most people aren't like that, they desire to be around people who are.
I'm not some pinnacle in this regard but what I can definitely attest to is its power and truth.
The last 4 jobs I've gotten were when I was at a point where I honestly didn't care.
I was broke (actually some 15k in debt) and living in my car.
It was rough but it was on my own terms and I was actually very happy.
So I came in and interviewed my employer and made him prove TO ME that this was the type of place I'd enjoy working.
And I was serious, because I sure as shit wasn't about to start working a job that was going to bring me down.
Fuck that Faustian bargain shit. I'd rather sleep in my car.
This totally reframed the interaction and he began qualifying the position to me.
I don't think you should use this as a technique, by the way, because it won't work if it's not coming from genuine indifference to the outcome.
Even though we delude ourselves otherwise, human beings have the ability to interpret each others' behavior almost perfectly.
I could've walked out of there jobless and I would still have slept soundly in my Mazda at night.
And my interviewer knew that.
I'm not saying I got the job because I was indifferent, but if I hadn't gotten the job it wouldn't have even made me put my sandwich down.
Back in Florida I used to go out 5-7 nights a week.
When I first started learning about dating, I of course read "The Game" and then started doing all sorts of routines and playing all sorts of social games.
It was fun, very educational and I got laid.
I was going out to collect phone numbers and lost sight of the point of going out: to have fun.
It's no wonder my success rate was so sporadic: I cared about a success rate.
I had an agenda.
And let me tell you another thing mister, it was work.
I was a freaking dancing monkey for women who, though beautiful, I didn't know shit about.
Yet there I was trying to impress them with The Cube and all sorts of other inane crap.
Then I stumbled upon Brent Smith.
He taught me (through his interviews and podcasts) to give up trying to get an outcome.
Man this was a foreign concept.
Let me just tell you that indifference is the most powerful force in the universe.
Fuck it, let HIM tell you.
As soon I started practicing indifference, dropped the agenda, and just went out to have fun, RIDICULOUS things began to happen.
These have been guiding principles in my life ever since.
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