The Source Of All Stress In Life: Giving A Giant Crap

Are you finding yourself stressed out more often? Are you feeling burned out after the pandemic? If so, maybe the source of all stress in life is giving a giant crap.

The less you can give a crap about things, the less stressed you will be and vice versa!

Let’s talk about how we can better minimize guilt and reduce stress so we can live happier and longer.

Giving A Crap Causes Resulted In A Ticket

The reason why I got my first speeding ticket going 35 mph in a 25 mph zone was not due to racial profiling, car profiling, or any other type of profiling one likes to conjure up when one gets caught.

I got snagged because I was in a hurry to be on time for my doubles tennis match at 6:30 pm. I absolutely hate making others wait for me.

If I didn’t care about being 10 minutes late, I wouldn’t have gone 10 miles over the speed limit. I would have taken my sweet sugar time. Maybe I would have pulled over to take some pictures of people’s flower gardens as every other car whizzed by me going much faster than 35 mph.

I’m not bitter, no sir, no ma’am. Of course I was speeding even though it’s impossible to move faster than a tortoise during rush-hour traffic in San Francisco.

I’ve accepted the fact that because I gave a crap about people’s time, I broke the law. As a result, I had to pay the $300 fine. Fair is fair.

Giving A Crap Is A Reason For All Your Stress And Misery

Giving A Crap: The Source Of All Stress by grigoria vryttia
Source: Grigoria Vryttia

The people who constantly give a crap also feel the most guilt. They are likely some of the most stressed out people you’ll ever meet.

They might be wonderful human beings, but gosh darnit, they’ll make you stressed out just being with them!

A certain amount of stress is good because it helps motivate you to do good work.

If you absolutely didn’t give a crap, you probably wouldn’t bother studying in school, coming into work on time, and worrying how some totally idiotic co-worker gets paid more than you!

But the problem is, most of do care about doing good work because we have pride. Let’s highlight some common examples in life where giving a crap makes your life worse.

Caring Too Much Is Why You’re Stressed Out At Work

Most people want money, prestige, fancy titles, status, and recognition for their work. As a result, people regularly bust their asses coming in early, leaving late, and sucking up to their bosses.

Working long hours hurts your social life. Sucking up to your boss who ends up not promoting you will crush your ego. But, let’s say you didn’t give a crap at work. Here’s what a scenario might look like.

Boss: Hi Johnny, can you finish your competitive analysis presentation and send me a draft by the end of the week?

You: Hi Jill, nah, I can’t. I’ve got to go to Vegas with the boys for a bachelor party, baby! I’m calling in sick on a Friday so I can get an extra day of fun. Gotta go early to prep, you know what I’m saying?

Boss: OK Johnny, stay safe you ungrateful tool!

Jill is baffled by Johnny’s defiance. He is a quiet quitter who does enough not to get fired, but not more to get ahead.

Johnny is definitely not getting a promotion or a raise come year end. But Johnny doesn’t give a crap! He’s going to have the time of his life that weekend. Besides, he’s got help from his parents. Work to live right?

Why Your Friends Are Stressing You Out

Do you know we change friends on average every seven years? It’s because maintaining good friendships takes effort. Instead of feeling melancholy for losing a good friend, maybe stop caring so much as another one may be just around the corner.

Lucy: Hi Patricia, can you do me a big favor and watch my French Bulldog and five year old son this weekend? Jimmy and I haven’t gone on a vacation in years! If we don’t go, I fear our marriage is going to fall apart. We’re too stressed out!

Patricia: I’d love to Lucy! But, I’ve got yoga classes in the morning and massages in the afternoon. I’m sure you understand.

Lucy is obviously disappointed by Patricia’s lack of wanting to be the pooper scooper for two living beings. Patricia clearly doesn’t give a crap about Lucy and Jimmy’s marriage or friendship.

Patricia is still trying to find a man of her own, so why the hell would she want to give up a valuable man-hunting weekend to take care of Lucy’s joy? Hell no! Everything is rational.

Why Your Family Is Causing You Stress

The larger the family, the more the chaos. Let’s talk about one important duty every child should face: taking care of their parents when they can no longer take care of themselves.

Dad: Dear daughter, I love you very much. When I can no longer walk on my own, can you live closer to me and help me out? I’d love to see you more as well.

Janet: Hi Dad, I love you too! But I just hate living in Florida. It’s too hot and muggy for seven months of the year. I’ve got a career to develop you know? Besides, I’ve got all I can handle with my own family right now. Can you ask Peter (brother) relocate to be closer to you. You guys always got a long better anyway.

Despite the father raising Janet for 18 years and paying for her private undergrad and graduate school tuition, Janet doesn’t feel the need to pay her dad back.

She’s got enough problems of her own, and her father is not a priority concern. By not believing she should help out her parents, Janet lives a less stressful life.

I’ve personally felt more stressed lately because I’m in charge of investing our family’s money. The bear market in 2022 made investing no fun. If only I didn’t care about returns and the well-being of my loved ones! I wouldn’t be as stressed.

Why The Poor Stress You Out

Even in a nation as rich as ours, there are hundreds of thousands of homeless people who do not have enough to eat. How can we ignore the suffering of others?

Homeless person on the sidewalk: Hi Mr! Can you spare some change?

Busy professional walking to Chipotle for lunch: No acknowledgement. Eye contact avoided. Headset rocking to the latest tune. 

We ignore the suffering all around us in order to make ourselves feel better. After all, Americans can save more money if we want to right? Choices have consequences, we rationalize to ourselves.

Now imagine if you were a billionaire. Even though you have more money than you can ever spend, you still aren’t willing to help alleviate homelessness in your neighborhood. To rationalize your lack of help, you rationalize its the government responsibility to help the poor.

One of the reasons why I wrote Buy This, Not That is to help narrow the wealth gap. We all should be able to benefit from a prosperous economy, not just the very rich.

Not Giving A Crap About Your Employees Or Customers

The majority will always win in a legislation fight. So long as you are benefitting, you don’t give a crap about how other people are being affected.

Working class citizen: It would be nice to get at least a 5% raise after years of wage freezes.

CEO of PG&E utility company: No raise for you electrical worker. Do your job and like it.

Despite a San Bruno gas blast killing eight innocent people in 2010, the CEO still earned $7.34 million that year. If the CEO gave a crap, he’d take no bonuses beyond his base salary. Even better, he’d use his $7.34 million and give it all to the victims of the blast.

The CEO actually resigned and got a $35 million retirement package at the age of 58. Do you think he’s using any of those millions to compensate the families of the victims? Doubtful. By not giving a crap, the CEO can live out his retirement guilt-free.

In 2023, senior executives at Silicon Valley Bank sold tens of millions of stock before the bank collapsed. Sure, the selling was mostly based off a predetermined selling schedule. However, you don’t see one senior executive willingly give their stock proceeds back despite mismanaging the bank and causing many employees to lose their jobs.

The secret to not giving a crap about your employees or customers is to convince yourself you are deserving due to your efforts. The outcome of your efforts is of no concern to you.

Giving A Crap About Your Business

The online media business is interesting because you invite an unlimited amount of people to comment and criticize your work. Yet most don’t offer a better solution or don’t bother to try themselves. It’s tiring sometimes. But don’t worry, I will never surrender!

Commenter: Your writing sucks. Your views about XYZ are ridiculous. You scammer!

Online media business owner: If you don’t like it, you can go somewhere else. In fact, I’ll even refund you the amount you spent reading my article (which is $0).

By not caring about critical customers who offer no value, an online media business owner can continue unimpeded. If a writer cares too much about other people’s criticism, they might alter their writing to try and appease everyone. As a result, the writing turns into vanilla and then nobody cares.

Space Things Out To Manage The Workload

As the creator of content on Financial Samurai, I feel it is my duty to respond to any comment and email that requires responding to. Sometimes I miss some, but for the most part I am a consistent responder.

The need to respond is part of the reason why I space posts out every two or three days.

However, I’ve been told some of my responses are weak, curt, and defensive. When you have to respond to sometimes 100+ comments and e-mails a day, it’s very difficult to respond in length sometimes. And most of the time, I don’t get a response back after spending the time.

This damned if you do, damned if you don’t type of feedback is one of the reasons why so many media sites have shut down their comments system. Removing comments not only prevents spammers from flooding a site, it also removes criticism and saves time!

Not Caring About What You Create Can Set You Free

Sometimes, I wonder if it’s best not to give a crap about the quality of content on Financial Samurai. I can hire freelance writers to write affiliate posts for the sole purpose of making money. This way I wouldn’t have to go back to work to try and take care of my family.

Below is a great snapshot of a site that does just that. With no comments section, there won’t be criticism about these posts. Further, Google doesn’t care if the writer has experience or expertise on the subject matter. Therefore, why not write generic posts to make more money and feel less stressed?

The problem is that I care too much to publish these type of posts, even if they will make me more money. I believe in writing from firsthand experience and telling real stories that weaves in personal finance lessons. What a crutch!

Soul-sucking affiliate posts by the savvy couple website

Giving A Crap About Your Physique

It’s so difficult to stay in fighting shape the older you get. I used to work out five days a week vs. only two days a week on average now.

Who am I to blame for being 15 pounds heavier than ideal weight? You of course! If I didn’t give a crap about my writing cadence, I would write less and exercise more.

Guy eating an entire large deep dish pizza: Despite being 50 lbs overweight, he doesn’t give a crap because he has enough confidence and self-esteem to not care what other people think. He’s got a great personality and the ladies find him funny. Besides, the pizza tastes amazing.

Gal eating a salad and working out for the fifth day in a row at the gym: Despite already being in amazing shape, she still feels overweight. She’s always checking herself out in the mirror, along with the beefcake next to her who turns sideways and flexes his guns.

Could it be that the fittest people actually have lower self-esteem? Yes, being fit feels amazing. However, these fit people could also use some of that time working out to produce something of value to society.

The less you care about your physique, the less you will work out or care about what you eat. As a result, you’ll free up valuable time to do other things. Being comfortable just the way you are is attractive!

Caring Too Much About Achieving Success

If you care too much about achieving success, you will put yourself under an enormous amount of pressure. Given it’s so hard to reach the pinnacle of your profession or endeavor, you will likely end up disappointed.

For example, let’s say you set a goal to write a Wall Street Journal bestseller. Despite less than 1% of books ever making a national bestseller list, you’re determined to succeed!

As a result, you spend one year longer than you should writing your book due to all the revisions. Then you spend an enormous amount of effort and money marketing your book. Some authors easily spend $50,000 in marketing, severely depleting their book advance.

After all the stress and anxiety about making the top 1%, chances are high you will not make the list. Then you might fall into a pit of despair. Even if you do make the WSJ bestseller list, you’ll only be thrilled for a little bit. Then an emptiness inside will form, making you wonder things like: Is that it? or What’s next?

Instead of caring too much about success, it may be better for your mental health to shoot for average. Because no matter how high you aim, there is always an even higher level!

Caring Too Much About Where Your Kids Go To College

I wrote articles about how to pay for college and how to game the financial aid system because I was worried about how to afford college for two children fifteen years from now. We unlikely won’t get merit scholarships because of who we are.

But several comments from parents of college graduates made me realize I may need to adjust my expectations. Many commenters shared stories about their kids attending affordable colleges I had never heard of before. But their kids are happy and thriving, which is all that matters in the end.

Here’s a comment from Champ,

Both of us went to community college and earned six figures before we both retired in our 60’s. All our children went to community college and transferred to state universities. The total college costs for 5 children was $180,000, which included no grants, no scholarships nothing. They paid their own way. They all earn over 6 figures and one son and his wife earn 7 figures.

Seven out of seven earning six figures or seven figures is not a fluke! Now I’m really enthusiastic about sending my kids to CC. As a result, I’m no longer stressed about affording college.

Instead of saving $1,500,000 for my kids’ college tuition in 15 years, I’m now going to spend it. In the year 2036, community college could very well be free.

Caring About Your Legacy

Finally, one of the reasons why we save, invest, and work so hard is because we want to leave a good legacy. We might have children we want to provide for. Or, we might want to continue supporting charities long after we are gone.

Instead, if you adopt the YOLO retirement philosophy of spending all your money while living, you may feel less stressed. You won’t have to work as much and you won’t have to plan as much for the future.

As a father and a writer, I care about my legacy. Caring about my legacy is why I continue to write at least three times a week on Financial Samurai. I’m well past my 10-year anniversary where I said I would take things down.

I also record weekly podcasts to ensure my kids have an archive of episodes to get to know us better just in case we pass prematurely.

But if I didn’t care about legacy so much, I’d take things down. I certainly wouldn’t spend any time writing and recording on vacation, as I am doing right now.

The more you can accept the finality of life, the more you can let go. Nobody really cares what you do once you are no longer around.

Think More About Yourself

Instead of always thinking about others, you might want to think more about yourself if you want to feel less stressed.

Go ahead and consume instead of produce. Be late instead of on time. Always ask for a favor before providing any help beforehand. Fulfill your needs before fulfilling the needs of others.

The more selfish you are, the happier you might be!

Sure, there is a downside to being selfish. But always trying to help others can be exhausting. And given you can’t help everyone, should you even try? Maybe not!

Reader Questions And Suggestions

Do you believe the source of all stress is caring too much? Can you provide some examples that would cause you less stress if you cared less? How much does pride get in the way of happiness?

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