The Secret to Happiness: Stop Caring

Our lives are inundated with practicality and productivity. We think that if there’s no purpose to something, there’s no point in doing it. In reality the best things in life have no purpose.

We sacrifice our time and our sanity doing what we don’t want to do, so at some future point we will create the freedom to do what we love.

We seek happiness in things. We seek happiness in the acceptance of others, in material possessions, in social status. We even search for happiness in some future-promised afterlife. We sabotage ourselves and our entire lives because we fail to understand a very simple but easily overlooked fact.

The Search for Happiness is the Single Greatest Cause of Misery

You can’t find something that’s already there. Happiness exists now. It’s not something you have to find. That’s like trying to find your breath.

It’s the grasping of the mind that causes unhappiness. If you’re not happy, it’s because your mind doesn’t allow you be happy. And the reason your mind doesn’t let you be happy, is because you’re stuck in the vicious cycle of productivity, judgment and purpose. That’s not to say productivity is bad, or that doing things that have a purpose is wrong. It’s basing the reason for your existence on them that causes so much anguish.

When we place our happiness solely in “getting” something, completing a certain number of tasks on our to-do list, or achieving a goal, we’re fooling ourselves. We’re like a rabbit with a carrot stick attached to our heads. We keep chasing the carrot, but we never get there. We never stop to think that it might be the chasing that’s causing the problem. We’re too distracted trying to find a better way to beat the game. As soon as we reach one level of success, we’re hurrying to upgrade our search and move on to the next level of the chase. We never stop to think that it’s not the failure to win the game that causes our grief, but the game itself.

We neglect to realize that sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to stop participating in the problem. Sometimes the best way to to solve a problem is to just stop caring (see: not giving a damn).

Sometimes…

  • The best way to solve the problem of not having a lot of cool friends is to stop caring about having cool friends.
  • The smartest way to be happy with the place you live is to stop caring about living in a two story house with a pool, a fireplace, central air and satellite TV.
  • The simplest way to be content with yourself is not to achieve greatness and praise, but to accept yourself fully for who you are now.
  • The quickest route to happiness is to stop caring about finding happiness and to start being happiness.

By not caring, we immediately release ourselves of the grasping of the mind. But it’s not easy to stay in this mindset (the mind loves to grasp); it’s something we have to constantly cultivate.

It’s especially difficult when our society tends to place more value on things, than on experiences. We value what we do more than how we feel.

This is completely ridiculous when you think about it. Because the way you feel should be more important than anything else. Isn’t the purpose of everything you do to feel good? Isn’t the purpose of that new car, that promotion, or college degree to give you a feeling of accomplishment? Isn’t that supposed to make you happy?

The problem with this is we’re basing our happiness on temporary things. We’re deriving our joy from an achievement, or an attainment. This isn’t true happiness; it’s an addiction. We get a short burst of endorphins to our bloodstream from our new TV/television, or new iPhone, and then what happens? It disappears. It leaves us feeling empty and we begin looking for our next fix.

Our advertising and consumer culture doesn’t help this much. We are constantly bombarded with messages that we need this, or we need that. Incessantly, we hear: “Buy this and it will solve your problem!” If only we could solve that problem we may finally be happy. Wrong. It’s not the problems that are the problem. I mean, buying a more efficient vacuum or sowing on that button you’ve been meaning to for seven years is great. You may feel a sense of achievement for a few moments or days. But you’re still looking for happiness in a thing.

It’s the same with productivity. If only we could finish all of the things on our to-do list, could we be content. If only we could accomplish all of our goals, could we finally be gratified. This thinking is based on the illusion that you’ll reach a certain point where everything is done. You finally made it! There’s nothing left in your inbox, all your projects are complete and your lifelong goals are achieved! Now you can rest easy.

But this point never seems to come, does it? That’s because there will always be things to do. There will always be challenges, because everything in life is constantly changing. If you reached a point in your life where you had no more problems, no more struggles, no more worries, life would stop. The game would end and there would be no point left in playing.

So… what can we do about this?

We Need to Stop Caring

That doesn’t mean we stop trying to achieve our goals or striving for personal growth. It just means that we no longer base our happiness on fleeting, semi-permanent things.

There are obviously some situations where not caring may have serious negative consequences (see paying your rent). Excessive caring, however, is likely to make you miserable.

The reason caring too much can be detrimental to your health, is you’re so focused on the future. Your identity is too attached to outcomes. If something does, or doesn’t go your way, it will likely have an enduring effect on your mood for the rest of the day.

Instead, we should base our happiness on permanent things. Things that don’t change. Desires that don’t shift from moment to moment. We choose to find our happiness in living. In life itself. In fact, we don’t even need to “find” happiness. We can be happiness.

So stop searching. You can’t find something that’s already there.

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Comment & Add Your Voice

Alex September 11, 2008 at 4:39 pm

Nice article…i’m there!

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Nathalie Lussier from Billionaire Woman September 11, 2008 at 4:55 pm

I like how you phrase it: being happiness. It’s all in our minds, isn’t it?

I liked this one a lot! :)

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Ari Koinuma September 11, 2008 at 6:10 pm

Jonathan,

I agree with most of your points, but the main point is not quite sitting with me. I wholeheartedly agree that happiness is not “out there.” But it’s through accepting where you are that you start spending less time worrying about how where you are is wrong. You accept, and you have no need to care — I’m not sure if it works the other way around? It may just be me, of course.

ari

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Julie September 11, 2008 at 6:30 pm

You are so right. Happiness is something we DECIDE.

Each moment of life asks us to make a choice, a choice of action, word, thought, emotion… Billions of choices are being made continually, around the world by billions of people, and every choice influences each of us, either immediately or through a ripple effect, and the art of living life with the least resistance is to understand this and flow with it.

The manner in which we greet every breath of every day determines our level of peace and happiness.

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Michael Shanley September 11, 2008 at 7:10 pm

Whenever I find that my mind has wandered into a rut, I pull myself out with this knowledge. If necessary, I go down a list of anything I can think of and really prove that it’s just that damn monkey brain acting up:

“Would a new car give me any MORE bliss? No.”
“Would a cream soda really make me happier? No.”
“Would a raise stop sadness from returning? No.”

What are your thoughts on art?
What is the function of creating art?
Is art meaningless? Or worse, misdirection?
Does it cause more problems than good?

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Bobby Rio September 11, 2008 at 7:40 pm

This the whole foundation of the Zen mentality… just be. If you’re always chasing happiness you get in the habit of always chasing… Most of us only experience fleeing happiness because we base it on achievements and possessions.

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Glen Allsopp September 12, 2008 at 12:39 am

Great post, i once came to a certain realisation and whilst It isn’t articulated very well, I hope you get the point:

“Nothing can make us as happy as we truly are within. Think of all the things we buy and achieve to feel happy anyway, it’s just an inner feeling we are experiencing. It’s not like a pill that is giving us ‘happiness’. Therefore we have the choice and the ability to be happy more often, if not always”

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wmeyers September 12, 2008 at 6:53 am

When I began reading this article I thought: “yeah, I already know this and I think I disagree”. Somewhere in the middle the truth of your words struck me, it’s absolutely true!

Thanks!

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Andrea Hess|Empowered Soul September 12, 2008 at 7:46 am

I think I would call “not caring” something else … non-attachment! But I completely agree with the essence of this article. Everything we need is right here, right now, in the present moment. Too bad that the mind doesn’t find this thought particularly entertaining, and pushes us back into striving!

Great article.

Blessings,
Andrea

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Jonathan April 7, 2013 at 9:00 am

It is because of our attachment to the negative meaning of the phrase “not caring” that we might want to use the phrase “not caring”. Let it go maybe. Just pondering here.

Ray Valentine September 12, 2008 at 8:17 am

What a wonderful post. The more I simplify my life and concentrate on those things that are really important the happier I am.

I lost my wife to a sudden illness about a year and half ago. This kicked off a period of self examination and a general retooling of my life. Mostly I have found that things don’t satisfy me, the act of doing things with or for other people is where I derive my joy. Doing things is so much more important to me than having things.

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Meghan September 12, 2008 at 8:45 am

Great post, I came a across it via Brazen Careerist.
I’m ending my summer internship today, and am in a weird limbo/freaking out about trying to find the next place to get my achievement fix. At the same time, I’m doing my best to just be. Relax, enjoy where I am. Revel/reflect on my summer, and move forth with diligence, but not urgency. Trust that it will all come full circle the more I stop forcing things to happen. I think it all comes with being 22… :)

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Jonathan September 12, 2008 at 10:53 am

@ Ray: I’m so glad that you were able to re-evaluate your life and what matters. That’s a really hard experience to go through.

@ Andrea: It’s a pain in the ass, isn’t it? Sigh.

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Dereck Coatney September 12, 2008 at 5:33 pm

While on one hand I agree, on the other, if happiness is something we choose to accept in the present, then what is it that drives someone onward?

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PeaceLoveJoyBliss September 12, 2008 at 6:32 pm

The evolutionary impulse will never give us peace.

Ever.

We are forever wired to seek and find.

However …

We can adopt a policy of hootless composure, a policy where we can be at peace with either having or not having a particular outcome.

We can find our flow somewhere between stopping and chasing.

Let us care, but let us also take care not to care too much.

Peace.

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Colin September 12, 2008 at 10:09 pm

Happiness is always perspective. But what really makes you happy? At any moment you are choosing what to think and feel, but also how to act. Sometimes we must choose to think about long-term happiness instead of being happy in the moment. Sometimes we must do activities that aren’t very pleasing in the moment, but in the long-run bring us pleasing results. The trick is to keep those long-term results in the back of our mind while we live in the moment. That’s how goals are achieved and that’s another way we can continually escalate our level of joy as we move through life.

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Effortless Abundance September 13, 2008 at 6:24 am

This is an excellent post! Thanks for sharing. Not taking life so seriously, not caring too much (or even at all) about stuff is a great way to move effortlessly through the world and, in some rather counterintuitive way, you will probably end up being more successful and adding more value.

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painfull back September 13, 2008 at 9:07 am

I don’t care for this article much,
that makes me happy!

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Monica Ricci September 13, 2008 at 8:33 pm

Love this. I have often told my clients, “Working more is not the answer. You could work 24 hours a day and there will always be more work to fill you time.” I believe some of the keys to happiness are just what you said. Stop chasing “IT” and just choose to BE it.

Excellent stuff, as usual! :)
~Monica

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DiscoveredJoys September 14, 2008 at 8:54 am

I’m approaching the end of research for a book I’m writing – a narrative tale of a person’s search for Wisdom/Happiness/Meaning. I’ve stumbled on this blog from a post on Zen Habits and it has crystalised the thoughts I have about happiness. Thank you so much.

Now all I have to do is write the actual words…

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Jonathan September 14, 2008 at 12:38 pm

@ Monica: I completely agree. I mean, we chase these things, material things, lifestyles, etc. But what we’re really trying to find is acceptance of ourselves. We think as soon as we start living based on a certain idea of a lifestyle that others will approve of, or as soon as we get enough stuff, we can finally accept our lives and be happy. That’s just ridiculous.

@ DiscoveredJoys: Sounds really interesting. Let me know when you’ve got a copy, I would love to check it out.

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Chuck001 July 26, 2013 at 6:17 am

Can you believe that achieving things gives you happiness?
Therefore constant achieving equals constant pleasure?

Society does not only need peace loving individuals. Anything around you that gives you the opportunity to have a better standard of living, security, access to information, etc, was accomplished thanks to someone who decided it was good and started working on it (a chaser). You can thank him for that.

This concept is valid as part of a complete whole, not as the only food to your brain and spirit.

Like I said, “not caring” is applicable for many things, but if you have young hungry children at home or a sick mother, you better start caring and chasing to find a solution for your the problem.

Cheers.

Leo September 15, 2008 at 4:51 am

Yup I think you are hitting upon something here. I digg. not sure what I can add other than be happy. :-)

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Laura September 15, 2008 at 6:36 am

Once again, your post has struck a nerve with me. It’s really speaking to my heart and exactly what I need to hear at this moment. I struggle with this daily as my mind insists on sticking in the same rut of the “pursuit of happiness”.

Naturally, no one around me gets it either. They don’t see that I am unhappy because they see that I have all the things that are “supposed” to make a person happy: good job, nice house, nice car, etc. Perhaps I need to realize that I CAN be happy. Right NOW. Nothing needs to change but my mindset. It’s a lot easier said than done.

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Evan September 15, 2008 at 8:59 pm

I think I agree with what you are trying to say.

I think you are not saying it quite clearly – or I am confused or I disagree.

Focusing on more permanent things. I can’t think of a desire that doesn’t vary fairly rapidly: I’m hungry, I eat, no more hunger and so on.

Focusing on the future also happens here and now. There are reasons for our doing it (some good – making sure we get the rent paid, some we may think not so good).

I think we can be with our desires and that in this process we find a sense of equilibrium. This may be what you mean by happiness.

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Miss Attica September 16, 2008 at 2:14 am

I like your approach. I will be reading your site again.

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The Lonely Savage September 17, 2008 at 4:36 am

Wonderful post!

My online nickname – and the title of my blog – is based on this quote by David Hume: “The great end of all human industry, is the attainment of happiness. For this were arts invented, sciences cultivated, laws ordained, and societies modeled, by the most profound wisdom of patriots and legislators. Even the lonely savage, who lies exposed to the inclemency of the elements, and the fury of wild beasts, forgets not, for a moment, this grand object of his being.”

Let me quote that first line again for effect; “The great end of all human industry, is the attainment of happiness”. I agree wholeheartedly with your analysis that many of our troubles and hindrances to happiness is that we set our goals too high and/or do not simply become happy with what we have. The psychologist within me, however, wonders where this behavior comes from, and why we all seem to be given this drive to focus on the future and the outcomes. Already at school we focus on getting high test grades just to be able to “succeed”, and put ourselves through long hours of study.

But I digress. Again; wonderful post, very impressive, and I’ll be adding this blog to my feed aggregator to read more in the future.

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tigerbee September 17, 2008 at 4:48 am

Very good post! It reminded me a lot of a book I just finished called “The Geography of Bliss” by Eric Weiner. If you have yet to read it I would recommend it, it deals with this subject in a very entertaining and eye opening way. I always need a reminder to stop caring. Thanks!

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Jan Uetrecht September 18, 2008 at 7:01 pm

This is beautiful! I hope you don’t mind, but I am printing it out (with credits to you and your blog) to share. If this is bad please let me know. Thank you!!

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Seamus Anthony September 19, 2008 at 7:01 am

word. The easiest way to get rich is not to want anything.

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Gene September 29, 2008 at 10:48 pm

Hey,
I’m new to your blog, though i’ve read some of your contributions to zenhabits. Anyway, i agree to your points. Many of us believe that happiness is attainable with having all those things we’ve dreamed of.We’ve gotten used to listing the thing we should have: The new car, the big house, or the job title. Yet, in truth we can be happy where we are. This post reminded me of a book i read called Dematerializing, how society is teaching its kids to attach who they are to what they have. Unknowingly, we are teaching them to be unhappy about themselves. Kudos to this post. We should stop caring about what the norm is, sometimes we need to take a step back from the should bes and have tos of this world and just be ourselves—love who we are and be happy with that. Pursue what we love, because we love it, not because its going to get us a bigger house.

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Doug Rosbury November 23, 2008 at 12:01 pm

“There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way”——Buddah

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rummy December 26, 2008 at 10:09 am

Great articles. I live a simply life and it’s only when I think about what I don’t have (and feel I should have) that I get down. Most of the time I’m happy for no particular reason. It’s just a choice. It’s always nice to see articles reinforcing what I already do and that provide additional tips. Thanks!

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erin January 1, 2009 at 1:19 am

I totally needed to read this. Thank you. I’m going to buy your book right now…

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Uncle B January 17, 2009 at 7:07 pm

Buddha said “too attached”
Christ said “not of this world”

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Jordan January 19, 2009 at 9:56 am

Great article there mate, you’ve written exactly what I’ve come to realise recently. Very good article.

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Jyamato January 22, 2009 at 8:53 pm

You can be happy if you stop caring but eventually you start to feel as though purpose is missing from life.

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corajudd January 23, 2009 at 7:16 pm

Happiness, per se, is overrated.

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anon February 3, 2009 at 2:09 pm

thanks for the article

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Krista February 4, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Wow…. I really needed to hear that; I’ve been depressed lately and now I’m beginning to understand why.

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Just B. March 4, 2009 at 5:41 pm

Interesting article and topic. Recently I was put in a situation where I pretty much chose to adopt this mindset. It was a very good choice – kinda like the Universe offered me a moment and I embraced it. The powers that be did not much care for it – but that was there ego talking and I have NO tolerance for egos.

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blah March 23, 2009 at 11:42 pm

I don’t care about happiness and so this article is not very useful for me! Just kidding – great post!!

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Storms March 28, 2009 at 6:49 pm

I would concur with everything here except for that rubbish about what we feel being an end to itself.

I’m miserable and downright content with it.

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Lord Mhor April 21, 2009 at 5:20 pm

Your ideas about happiness are enlightened. “Future” and “Past” are both unreal except as experienced within each mind. Every one of us will die. It is sad that this short span of life should be greatly controlled by memes of hyper-productivity mixed with unending fear. The answer to this slavery lies within, as we invent our own purpose between bouts of having it inflicted upon us by outside forces.

Maximize pleasure. Minimize pain.

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david April 30, 2009 at 7:48 am

“the way you feel should be more important than anything else”

I agree with most of what you say here, but you’ve got to agree that there is validity to the idea that the way you feel is often, in fact, much LESS important than a lot of other things, including doing what you know needs to get done in SPITE of how you feel. I guess the distinction is between letting your feelings dictate how you live your life and letting PRINCIPLES dictate how you live your life. I for one have spent much of my life being far too attached to my feelings and “what they mean” and processing them, and I believe that this “addiction” has held me back enormously. Doesn’t Buddhist meditation teach us to view the world, and (especially) our emotional landscape with detachment, so that we can see the fallacies we’re wrapped up in? Doesn’t it show us a path to, if not enlightenment, then at least clarity? And doesn’t that clarity allow us to in fact make BETTER choices for ourselves?

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julia April 30, 2009 at 8:57 am

wow. this explains my misery since my adolescence (when i started asking endless questions of “why…. why…?”.

i was always searching for happiness. i would read articles and self-help books and it wouldnt work.

i would start going into a deeper level such as philosophy and psychology, but the more do, id feel lost as ever.

i guess i just have to ‘stop trying’ to grasp the ‘un-grasp-able’.

stop being too fixated and obsessed with goals and achievements, especially those that are attached to my ego.

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James May 9, 2009 at 1:26 pm

I thought this post was great, but I think Michael Shanley was completely wrong on one point, and I feel compelled to bring it up in this way. A cream soda will almost always make you feel better. I mean, come on, it’s CREAM SODA!.

Warm Regards,

James.

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Tyler May 12, 2009 at 5:22 pm

what are the permanent things we should care about? what’s permanent in life?

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Peter May 26, 2009 at 3:17 pm

God is the only permanent thing in life.

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mardi July 4, 2009 at 7:58 pm

i need enlightening. i want to learn how to not care. i am feeling alone & it sucks. if there is a way to live life & be uneffected by the actions or absence of action of others i would like to find it. i am tired of feeling (for others?). i just want to sleep most of the time…but i can’t sleep all day & all night. i don’t want to feel this way anymore.

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Jacques February 24, 2013 at 11:59 am

For me, the first time I felt a real sense of contentment, peace, and perhaps happiness, was when all the things I cared about fell apart. I lost the love of my life, my thesis collapsed, where I live I have no friends, nor any source of income. I, in other words, lost everything that matters to me. Yet, in all the misery, confusion, pain and anxiety, it dawned on my that actually, I am okay :)

BE HAPPY July 9, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Live,Love,Laugh

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Money Funk July 20, 2009 at 8:03 pm

Thanks for the wise words. I’m gonna try this, cuz I need it right now. I seem to be in a bind and afraid to personal grow. This may be just what I need.

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jjs July 29, 2009 at 6:30 am

Great post. Seriously (y)

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D August 3, 2009 at 6:27 pm

GREAT article. Just the advice I was looking for. Helped tremendously.

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Foxie@CarsxGirl August 4, 2009 at 6:59 am

Found this via another blog, had to say it’s GREAT. I care way too much about what I shouldn’t, and strive for perfection when I should realize that what I do now is fine. It’s been hard for me learning to accept myself, but bit by bit and day by day I think I’m learning to do just that. Someday, maybe I won’t have to worry about it so much. I hope.

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iris August 17, 2009 at 2:52 pm

My motto is…..”Its not that I don’t care, its just not important”. People get themselves all bent out of shape, first of all because they can’t say no, they sign for packages that don’t have their name on them. Most people today do not have any boundaries and they let anything and everything bother them. And they don’t forgive, so they let someone who offended them to contol them. I’ve met a lot of bleeding hearts, and to be honest with you I let them bleed. Of course I’m not the most popular person, but I’ll tell you this much I’m the happiest.

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Jelafountain August 20, 2009 at 1:10 am

I care to much this is my problem! I am always trying to care! I am always thinking that people are mad at me or I say hello to people all the time I am excesive and the3y end up hating me for it! I am horrible at this I am too nice of a person and AI need to stop! I need to stop caring and being so dame nice! Because, of this I have no friends and girls are not atracted to me what do I do?

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G Angela September 12, 2009 at 3:39 am

This is just fantastic – the expressions are very clear and beautiful, worth pondering – a great post.

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Spencer CHano November 1, 2009 at 12:33 pm

This is a really great post but you say to not care anymore so nonchalantly. It’s not possible the way you set it up. It’s kind of like telling an alcoholic to still drink but to not let it bother them. It would be fantastic if there was another article that explained a way to complete the goals established on this website.

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VitalityEmilie November 2, 2009 at 12:17 pm

It is so difficult to not feel the pressure to get the quick fix of endorphins by “keeping up with the jones’s” and feeling to the need for achievement such as a college degree. It is also hard to see where you can achieve happiness without these things. For many happiness=success as you stated. It is important to look at the simple pleasures in life that make you happy and surround yourself with these things. Thanks for your great article!

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Ahmed December 3, 2009 at 5:25 am

It is a top class article! I really like it.

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Roland December 8, 2009 at 12:56 pm

“Happiness is here”- Andrew

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Camus Tzu December 21, 2009 at 10:13 am

awesome post, thanks

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Tim December 27, 2009 at 6:51 pm

I believe that i can now rest easy,thank you, i feel that now that you have opened my eyes. It was the very pursuit of my own happiness and my constant philosophy that if i could control things and plan out things in my future things would get better for me. but now i realize that it was my own anxieties that were my undoing because my care about my own personal happiness was my undoing.

Thank you a lot for your article

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Kalakattan January 4, 2010 at 3:29 am

Wow! Simply great. I don’t know whether you have read Bhagvat Gita or what, but simply what I was trying to understand from that appears here in straight simple English! I landed in your site from another similar site (Enhnace life). I think today I am very lucky.
Thank you all.

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Dare January 10, 2010 at 7:09 am

I have thought about this a lot. We are human “beings,” not human “doings.” Happiness can only come from God (Jesus Christ). We need to “Be still and know that He is God.”

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RT January 10, 2010 at 11:12 am

what is simple is true!

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Nick April 7, 2010 at 6:50 pm

Reading this article made me feel great. I didnt stumble upon this. I was intentionally googling “how to stop caring”. This article told me everything I was wanting to hear. I’m ‘happy’ now.

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Bryan April 21, 2010 at 12:38 am

Wow, I did the same thing… google’d for ‘how to stop caring.’

My current situation represents the comic strip of dilbert.

Since a young boy i’ve had a fascination with technology and strive to become an amazing engineer. Currently I work with a load of morons. Where all my ideas, projects, and aspirations mean nothing. Because the people around me are nothing. Yet they are happy and ignorant. Why? Because they do not care. This has hurt me greatly. The current economic situation forces me to stay. I believe this article has helped me continue on.

Bryan

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Lil Ole Me June 18, 2010 at 6:40 pm

“Why do I give valuable time
to people who don’t care if I
If I cry…

And why do I smile
at people who I’d much rather
kick in the eye?”

Morrisey

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Zeph August 9, 2010 at 6:08 pm

I liked this. I think I tasted some Buddhism, Stoicism and Law of Attraction ideas baked in there. My brain found it pretty delicious.

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Steve August 21, 2010 at 1:09 am

I was going to post a comment but then right at the last second, I “stopped caring….” :)

If I could only put this into practice, I’d be a whole lot happier.

Thanks for the article.

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Kamon September 23, 2010 at 7:04 pm

What a pile of nonsense

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Olawunmi December 30, 2010 at 1:46 am

Are you thinking straight? I dont think so

dale castillo September 25, 2010 at 12:39 pm

lol i didnt read this because i really didnt care am i doing this right?kidding great article

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evan October 28, 2010 at 6:12 pm

wow. this is exactly, and i mean exactly, the philosophy that ive tried to cultivate over the last couple years. but its always nice to hear it from another source

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Daneil December 20, 2010 at 12:08 am

IM so lost why dont I like church anymore I dont care about things anymore also work i do ref a/c and i dont care about that i want to be a butler / driver and be only that I have my money i want to relax ben working all my life

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Nini December 27, 2010 at 5:50 am

you just presented me an option to my current state of unhappiness…

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Olawunmi December 30, 2010 at 1:42 am

This is so fantastic…. i am so short of words but its fantastic. This should go to ALL

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Emma January 3, 2011 at 12:44 pm

I came across this page searching for a way to stop caring. I am divorced three years, but because I have kids, I see my ex every week. His rudeness is what gets to me sometimes. Perhaps it’s the way he deals with his insecurities. Whatever the reason, I want to stop caring about what he says and how he says it. Please help!

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Vl February 26, 2011 at 6:25 am

To continue in same direction I would recommend to read Erich Fromme.
Emma, you need to de-attach this person and the most effective way is to forgive. Doing this sincerely you will be surprised to see it as child’s play.

Ealasaid Haas April 5, 2011 at 11:00 am

Found this post while poking through the archives, and love it. It reminds me of a quote I’ve always liked:

“If that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without. For behold, I have been with you from the beginning, and I am That which is attained at the end of desire.”

That “I” is happiness, or God, or whatever abstract thing we’re seeking. If we refuse to see that it’s already within us, we’ll never find it looking outside. We have to be complete unto ourselves to find happiness — things outside of ourselves are never going to fill the holes we make in our own hearts.

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Jonathan April 5, 2011 at 11:57 am

That is a beautiful quote. Thank you for sharing Ealasaid.

Radek April 6, 2011 at 10:02 am

I have never ever left a comment on any bloggin site but this time I’ve made an exception – your posts are just amazingly insightful and totally resonate with me!
Keep it up, Please :D

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lynn May 14, 2011 at 7:16 pm

my husband of 27 years has struggled with depression for years and after getting a lot of stuff off his chest has told me that he no longer cares about me , the kids or anything, we are all illusion, non permanent beings and he says he no longer cares. He is waiting to die.This is heartbreaking because we share the same planet and though you may see our attachment and desire for this man as folly, we love him and pray that he will step outside his misery and self destructive thoughts and find happiness.

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FullExpression October 5, 2011 at 12:48 pm

I just came across this post and appreciated it. It reminded me of this poem I wrote, with a similar theme of letting go of the striving to join into what’s actually happening, now, in present time, without the mind being locked into the grasping of something else.

Preparing

The ingrained sense of preparing

For what?

The next thing

Always the next thing

Achieving mastery then moving on

Always preparing for the next thing until…

Finally events come that are what we think we’ve been preparing for

We feel the high of arriving

A moment of achievement and recognition

We’ve made it

We’re successful

Until the event is over

Then there is something else

There is always something else

Until there is nothing else

Only now

It is always here

It is always complete

It is always awaiting our recognition of it

As we live into it and join with it, it is more fully revealed to us

We have prepared enough

We are good enough

We have always been good enough

We can live the dynamic, ever evolving experience of now

How?

Just ask the questions

You’ll know when you know

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sofiaflores56 November 2, 2011 at 11:28 am

I have some depreciation issues cause i always want to get something better or go to college cause my mom pushes me so much or get better friends because most of the kids here are professional snowboarders. or bebetter at snowboaring cause the daughter of the lady i live with is sponsor by burton and super friends with everyone but hey im not half bad either sometime you have to realize that there is something different plan to come your way and that you need to stop trying to find what will never come. it might come yes butt sometimes we want something so bad we tend to push it or make our lifes evolvearround this thought and this is what this post made me realize. stop caring about what my mom wants about what society wants because society will always want more and more!!! thanks for this post very powerfull

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ArthurParsons November 17, 2011 at 8:26 am

I really like this article. I have found that life has a way of putting you were it wants to put you regardless of your actions anyway. I do believe that we should put effort into life but I have literally almost driven myself completely insane trying to accomplish this or that. I have also learned to release myself from the misery of always having to know that a project or idea will work out. I used to get really frustrated because I thought things didn’t work out for me because I wasn’t being the positive thinker that everyone says you need to be in order to succeed. Then I looked up and realized that these people are not that much more successful than me and they are assessing the reason for my failure? I have to be honest with myself. I don’t know if anything will work out and at this point I am fine not knowing because all of the so called knowing is put to naught when a so called non educated individual from a poverty stricken background can create a billion dollar company while a PhD grad is out unsuccessfully looking for a job. Just my opinion.

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MarriedWithDebt April 12, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Really great advice, especially on a topic that is pretty saturated. We are taught to care about everything, so much that it distracts us from what truly matters. If someone tells me about some world problem, the first thing I ask is why should I care? It may sound heartless, but unless it is a game changing incident like 9/11, the world will go on without noticing.

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JenniferTillou June 26, 2012 at 10:28 pm

If I knew how to meditate, i’d meditate on this.

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Leah Jay July 18, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Excellent blog post and true. In fact, it is the Dharma. It’s foundational Buddhism: The Four Noble Truths. Suffering exists, and craving is the cause of suffering, are one and two of those Four. Not trying to shoot you down, here, but pointing out to your readers that their experience of your teachings can be enhanced and informed by reading up on a little Buddhism. Personally, I feel that my Buddhist background has really helped me, so I can do nothing but recommend it as a good option :D

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Jake February 18, 2013 at 12:16 pm

I would have finished reading, but I didn’t ca

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Jose March 18, 2013 at 8:07 pm

It’s a good article. But everyone says stop caring, live the moment, but how are you supposed to do that? I mean, it’s easy to say not easy to accomplish. Any tips?

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Crystal April 11, 2013 at 8:09 am

I found this article to be true for me. My husband works so much. He spends more time working than sleeping and spending time with myself and our child. He is in AA and seems to have traded one addiction for another. I am grateful for all that he provides us, but all I really want is to spend my life with him. He is an incredible human being, obviously lives an addicts mindset. I get caught up on a daily basis chasing my own “carrot”, my husbands attention. So I suppose his goals/searching are in conflict with my goals. What a pickle!

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Polina July 9, 2013 at 10:37 am

Agree to most of it,disagreeing to “The simplest way to be content with yourself is accept yourself fully for who you are now”.
Starting by the physical part:
For example, nowadays, if you dislike your nose, why not change it? Or for example, if you wanna be fitness fit why not work for it, why just accept your body the way it is now, feeling uncomfortable with it?
It does not necessarily imply that society influences are what is making you be ashamed of your body, it might be you who want to be different from what you are now. What is wrong with that? What is wrong with wanting to change if it is possible? Of course with today’s pressures in the Western culture (where we live) it is hard to figure out how you want to look and what are you pressured to look… acknowledging that there is a difference between the both and dedicating yourself to stop caring about how others expect you to look like and focus on how YOU want to look like is THE REAL way to accept your body fully.
The main problem that practically nobody is acknowledging: we are trying to teach people to accept themselves they way the look and ignore what they are “expected” to look, but we are also subconsciously teaching people to ignore their own expectations towards their bodies, and this not positive, because we need to know “what we want from ourselves”.
You might ask me right now, what if their choices are unhealthy? This is were we and society should really contribute. Educate people to the possible risks of their decisions, so they can make choices that contribute to improve their inner confidence while also their life quality.

Now in terms of the psychological part:

Apply the same idea.
I am just going to give a brief example resume:
If you have, shall I say, a very violent temperament, just thinking ” screw everybody, i am going to stay the way i am and the ones that love me can handle me” will only make you miserable. And if a person acts violently they are not happy and need to get help.
But if on the other side, and i am going to give the most cliche example ever, you are gay, you need to stand strong and fight for your rights, because it is not affecting negatively anybody else happiness and it is improving yours, it is who you are: not a habit, not a tic, not a reaction,etc (all these being alterable) it is WHO YOU ARE.
I am sorry for practically not dedication attention to the psychological part but i am tired and i think you all understood :).

Personally that is my way for somebody to accept itself fully.

Love and happiness to us all

PS: Yes, it is completely ok to influence somebody else happiness…positively.

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Josh July 28, 2013 at 4:23 pm

i believe that being is the step beyond happiness. Happiness can’t exist without a perspective
that something gives us pleasure. If there is no pleasure at the moment we must make one. To
make one you are chasing that state you seek i think. Being saying to me that we are not
good or bad. We are part of what created us and that has no identification with good or bad it goes beyond that. Our experience in our life is what we identify with and it is conditional.
If it is conditional we are constantly fearing change cause who we are is not the ideal state.
We resist and create problems, we chase conditions that make us happy. I believe when we
are happiest we are not so much happy which to me means a euphoria based on perception
of ideal state, but we are being and forgetting about good or bad and not fearing good or bad. We feel free of condition and bring a lightness to what we do or don’t do. Doing isn’t a problem, nothing is a problem in relation to being. We just resist being cause we fixate on our identity as what is happening.

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Alice August 2, 2013 at 3:31 pm

I really love this article. I loved how you phrased it : “We never stop to think that it’s not the failure to win the game that causes our grief, but the game itself.” That’s totally right.

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Crystal August 8, 2013 at 2:13 pm

I’m 19 and I’ve come to realise that I agree with most the stuff you’ve mentioned in your post. It’s wonderful to be able to appriciate the little things, but I wish it was easier to teach others, or to explain how to be like this. I have friends who think similarly, but all my family are material or have already given up on real happiness. Over these past few years I’ve come to see old school friends begin to change into the ‘dead’ adults I see everyday, with no way to wake them up.
(Please excuse me if this doesn’t make sense; I’m no good at explaining things.)

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rm September 3, 2013 at 8:11 am

What if living is something that makes you miserable? The fact that I have to get up every morning, feed and wash my body and give in to its whims is perpetually annoying. I have to work in order to make money in order to take care of this body that I don’t even want. Living is the reason for my unhappiness. What do you suggest I do about that?

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kristen October 26, 2013 at 1:49 am

Thanks for this, it’s very true and I’m going to work on this.

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Eric November 8, 2013 at 1:29 pm

This is a great article…for lazy, whiney flakes who can’t make it in the real world.

Great attitude to adopt when you know you don’t have what it takes.

Good luck with ‘being happiness’. lol

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Maribel November 15, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Life is what you see it as and while you look inside yourself for happiness it’s all to easy to look outward to find momentary happiness. I’ve learnt that the things which are hard tend to lead to success. I care too much and it comes easy for me, which is why I have a hard time finding happiness. The hard part is not caring. I am not sure if I like the not caring part but I do know that if I stop attaching myself to everything and everyone, which will be hard, eventually I will look inward for true happiness.

Thanks for writing an article that has so much meaning. I am smiling and I feel the happiness inside.

Starting now will I no longer attach myself to others and things, which will be hard but so worth it. Hard work = success and I WILL find my true inner happiness.

Thanks a million!! :)

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Carol June 28, 2014 at 9:17 am

This article is VERY misleading, and while some points are dead-on, is the exact reason that society is in the toilet. People who don’t care, quit dreaming. They quit setting goals and accept themselves for what they are right now, with no ambition for the future. This is the wrong mind-set to be in. Yes, people need to quit “chasing” happiness, but what you describe here, is essentially nothing more than just giving up.

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