I was driving home the other day when a speeding car cut me off.
“FUCK!” — I yelled out.
In case you’re not a driver, cutting someone off is when a car from another lane violently moves in front of you, so you are forced to break and slow down to avoiding hitting them.
It’s the most common dick move in driving and the cause of a lot of road rage. Many people get pissed at this, yell out, honk their horns, and waste precious energy.
I used to be one of those people. Only this time, I made one small change to my reaction which made all the difference.
You see, I instinctively yelled out “FUCK” because I was surprised and had to make a sudden break. As the driver sped off into the distance, I calmed down and simply finished with “…it. Fuck it.”
Small distinction, but the outcome is vastly different.
“Fuck” is an angry exclamation, one that furthers emotions of anger and a negative outlook. “Fuck it” is a statement which recognizes that you want to have a strong emotional reaction, but that you shouldn’t.
With it, you are given tremendous power.
It allows you momentarily realize that something isn’t worth your time. Okay, so someone cut me off. He’s a dick, but can I change this? Can I do something about it? Can I provide a solution to a problem?
No. He cut me off and that’s that. I can spend more energy being frustrated and vengeful, but it’s just going to eat up more of my own energy and my own time.
Instead, I realized that: fuck it, it’s not worth stressing over.
WHY THIS WORKS
In my example, this phrase can be used for controlling your anger in the moment.
Instinctively, you will yell out something angry — it doesn’t have to be an actual F-bomb, but it works best for this example — and you can momentarily become aware of this and simply add “it” to the phrase, then watch your mood levels change instantly.
Oftentimes, we act under the assumptions that the attitudes we hold will dictate our behavior. Makes sense, right? We hold certain values and then act according to those values.
Like it often is with psychology, turns out we don’t really know shit.
A lot of research has been done about the correlation of attitudes and behavior, and most often it turns out that they are a) Not related much at all; or that b) Our behavior will dictate our attitudes, not the other way around.
Here’s a quote from Allan Wicker, a psychologist who conducted 46 studies on this subject:
It is considerably more likely that attitudes will be unrelated or only slightly related to overt behaviors than that attitudes will be closely related to actions.
In other words, it’s more likely that the way we act will control the way we think. Since our body expressions and the words we use have a large impact on our behavior, we should focus on using them to our advantage.
If simply saying “fuck it” will calm down your behavior, your thoughts will be calmed down as a result.
OTHER POWERFUL USES
In Develop a Mind of Steel, my guide on mental strength, I talked about another way you can use this method. It’s demonstrated in this short video by the rapper Ice-T:
He talks about how this simple, to some offensive, phrase can be the greatest tool in your arsenal. It can help you find love, climb mountains, and take risks.
There are certain people who are always going to push the limit, and “fuck it” gets you across that line, that ability to push past the rules. A lot of people like it safe, but you don’t get any credit for being safe in life.
Read that last sentence again: YOU DON’T GET CREDIT FOR BEING SAFE IN LIFE!
Staying safe and making all of the “right” choices is what everybody tells you you’re supposed to do. Follow the same path, get a “decent” job, never take unnecessary risk and never go against the grain.
All people who tell you this advice were told this advice by other.
Those who are admired, who build companies, who make money doing what they love, who have less stress, who achieve groundbreaking things — these people are the ones who didn’t take this advice.
Taking chances and doing something you’ve never done before takes guts. It takes confidence, courage, and a lot of willpower. So much, in fact, that all of it seems very complicated.
But… is it really? I mean, all you really have to do is start.
To take risks, you have to go — fuck it. Most men who met their wives, it was a “fuck it” before they walked up to her, it was that moment where “she won’t talk to me”, but fuck it, I got to just take the risk, put myself past what I normally would do.
Now, this method can be used for negative extremes as well.
- You can say “fuck it” and do stupid shit (kinda like saying YOLO).
- You can say “fuck it” as an excuse to hurt others or hurt yourself.
- You can say “fuck it” and ignore the things you want, assuming they don’t matter.
The point is that “fuck it” gets you over the edge. It pushes you past that limit of fear of the unknown. It’s a kick in the ass at the moment you need it. However, it’s up to you to make sure that it’s a kick in the right direction.
I know, that was a lot of F-bombs. But so what?
Sure, you can use another, more pleasant sounding phrase that means something similar. After all, that would be a much safer choice. But you don’t get credit for being safe in life.
Sometimes, you just need to say — “fuck it” — and then see what happens.