You’ve Only Got 12 Fucks to Give Every Day. How Do You Spend Them?

You know how they say there are only so many hours in a day?

And then you know how you immediately proceed to do that really cute thing where you overschedule yourself to the eyeballs, anyway, because apparently you think you are WAY ABOVE SUCH NONSENSE and pish posh I’ll get it done. I’ll get it done, you growl to yourself, in a fit of stubborn, mulish, holier than thou mania.

I’m not sure who we all think we are, but the truth is far less flattering.

We’re all just a bunch of regular ass humans working within one major constraint: time.

But unfortunately we’re absolute shit at measuring time. Time is all around us, it’s fluid, it moves, and we move with it, so we’re notoriously bad at cutting it off at the knees and dividing it up. As a result, we consistently underestimate how long it’s going to take us to do everything. (Ever just “run in for a loaf of bread”?)

I prefer to operate by the spoon theory—it’s the most important thing you will read all month. The theory asks you to imagine that, instead of measuring time, you measure units, or “spoons”—which you’ll understand once you read the piece.

In other words, if you’ve got exactly 12 fucks to give in a day, then every single time you do something, you give up one of those fucks. And when those fucks are gone, you’re done. You don’t have any more fucks to give.

And I wonder, what would happen, if you actually laid out 12 little objects on your desk, one day, and every time you said “yes” to something, you had to take one of them away. Might it be helpful, to actually SEE how much you’ve got left to give—instead of imagining that you’ve got all the time in the world.

Having all the time in the world is poetic, of course.

But having a handle on your sanity is far more beautiful.

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