The Bucket

Live like you’re already dead, man. Have a good time. Do your best. Let it all come ripping right through you. — Jeff Bridges

bucket

Disclaimer: I’m feeling saucy today …

Something that I have spent a lot of time this year has been enforcing simple boundaries. Learning how to say ‘no’ (and not in any type of jerky way) — has become an important superpower for my own sanity. I’d recommend if you are a manager of a team or group, you may want to consider helping them enforce boundaries whenever you can for them as well — trust me, they need them. Be their shield.

Now here’s a simple idea: we all have buckets.

The nature of a bucket is that it can be filled to a certain point then it starts to overflow. Once it spills, there’s a mess all over the floor; no one likes cleaning up messes. Let’s look at the different buckets you have in your life every day/week/month — time, patience, workload, stress, fucks.

Yes, fucks.

A few years back, Mark Manson posted his legendary article on The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, which was followed by a book with the same title.

As Mark says:

Think about the amount of time and energy that you have given a fuck about. […]

The point is, most of us struggle throughout our lives by giving too many fucks in situations where fucks do not deserve to be given.

[…]

Because when we give too many fucks, when we choose to give a fuck about everything, then we feel as though we are perpetually entitled to feel comfortable and happy at all times, that’s when life fucks us.

[…]

Developing the ability to control and manage the fucks you give is the essence of strength and integrity.

I’d like to think of ‘fucks given’ as a form of currency. I’m not saying don’t give a fuck about anything — that would be irresponsible — use inverted thinking.

By choosing how to spend your fuck currency you now control the ultimate power you and you alone have: the ability to let go of the things that are are not bucket worthy. Throw them away, it’s that easy.

You’ll begin to observe that there’s a high degree of noise all around you; and there’s increased value to those few items that you choose to put in the bucket.

Oddly — another thing you’ll start noticing is that there are plenty of folks who equate noise to value; those are the ones you want to steer clear from — they will want to throw everything they can in your bucket and cause a mess on the floor. They don’t give a fuck about your bucket, and these folks will drain you until there’s nothing left.

If this year has taught me anything, it is that if you’re not careful, you can fill your bucket with low value things every day. You need to choose wisely how you want to fill the bucket of fucks, and you’ll start building the muscle around focusing on the high value things that matter.

The rest — throw it away, and don’t give a fuck.