Give a Damn
“Whatever!” Have you heard this phrase recently? Have you said it in a conversation, or used it as a quick retort? It can be fun to throw out when joking around with friends. It can also be used to instantly communicate that your interest in the topic of discussion has been exhausted and you’re ready to move on. However it’s used, the message it conveys is clear: “I don’t give a damn.”
It’s become trendy not to care and to be cynical and apathetic as opposed to giving thought to a topic or perspective and actually caring. Perhaps it’s easier to do so because people are busy or are mentally engaged elsewhere.
I was recently listening to another Entrepreneur on Fire podcast and was struck when the guest gave his favorite success quote. It was simply, “Give a Damn”. Something about this quoted really resonated with me. It reminds me to actually care about the things I’m pursuing, the people I’m with, the effort I give, and the person I’m becoming. This phrase reminds me to be engaged and committed to what I devote my efforts to.
There’s another thing I love about that quote. No matter what I’m doing, I can add “Do I…” to the front of it and regularly ask myself, “Do I give a damn?” That’s a powerful question! No matter what I’m doing or what I’m engaged with, I can stop and ask this question of myself. If my response to that question is “Yes” and my effort or engagement is sub-par, then I clearly need to step my game up and engage at a higher level. If I answer, “Yes” and I am fully engaged, that confirms I’m right on track.
What if the answer to this question is, “No”? Then what? It seems like the next logical question might be, “Why don’t I give a damn?” This question warrants an honest answer beyond simply, “because” or “I don’t know”. It may be that a bad attitude is to blame. That’s easy to correct, because we have complete control over that. What if the attitude is good and the answer to the question of whether we give a damn is still, “No”? This could be a strong indicator that we’re pursuing something that doesn’t align with our passions, strength, or values. It could also mean the people we’re with, or activities we’re engaging in are not fulfilling or causing us to grow and be stretched.
Let’s be mindful of what we’re spending our time and effort doing. Yes, there are some things in life that we need to do, which we may not care about. However, the point here is not to voluntarily waste significant portions of our lives on things we don’t give a damn about.
Make sure that you give a damn in your efforts to cause something to happen. Greatness never came from someone who didn’t care.