Everywhere you look, there’s something to care about.
Opportunities swirl. The day’s news frustrates. Social media feeds distract.
And your work is an asteroid field full of challenges to address.
You’re overwhelmed with things to improve, change, update, fix, or act on because you care about them.
But you can only care about so much.
Your time, effort, and resources are limited — they can never scale to address the number of things you care about.
You’re doomed to fail — or die trying.
But there’s another option.
You can consider a difficult, but crucial question:
What are you willing to not care about?
Once you recognize it’s impossible to care about everything you want to care about, you can shift your perspective to focus on what is possible.
Of all the things you care about, what are the ones you MOST care about?
And how much more might you accomplish if you narrowed your focus to only those things?
What if you constrained your caring?
Here are a few ways to do that.
Stop caring about everybody’s opinion.
Don’t let other people’s opinions define the work you do and life you lead.
You can’t care about everybody’s opinion because those opinions will forever be divided about you and your work — no matter how great it may be.
Oprah Winfrey is one of the most successful people of all time and it’s easy to find lots of people who think she’s awful.
Oprah doesn’t care about everybody’s opinion because she’s instead focused her caring on things she views as more important. She may hear the criticism, but she doesn’t care about it — at least not as much as she cares about other things in her life.
If she cared about every random person’s opinion, she would never have accomplished what she has — it would be debilitating.
But this isn’t just about tuning out the haters.
It’s as important to not care about the compliments as it is to not care about the criticisms.
If you care too much about the opinions of people who love you and your work, you’re just as likely to lose your way and become too influenced by them.
Tune them out, listen to your instincts, and save up your caring for something more beneficial than the random opinions of random people.
Stop caring about every potential customer.
All potential consumers are not created equal.
Make things for somebody, not for everybody.
When you care too much about alienating certain consumers, you inevitably water down your creation and wind up appealing to nobody.
Your ideal target audience deserves all the care you can give them— the same can’t be said for people outside that audience.
Stop caring about every little detail.
“Perfect is the enemy of good.”
That’s one of my favorite sayings and it’s a great way to prevent yourself from getting bogged down in caring about things that aren’t ultimately going to decide the fate of your work.
If you agonize over every little detail of your creations, you’ll become paralyzed.
There are too many moving parts and uncertainties to ever get to a point where you feel confident your work is perfect.
Instead of caring about perfection, shift your perspective to care about two things: Launching and improving.
When you care about launching, you focus your energy on what it takes to get your work into the world — it’s the exact opposite of caring about perfection.
And once you launch, shift your emphasis to caring about improvement. You can use what you learn from your launch to iterate on your creation and consistently improve on it.
It’s only when you stop caring about being perfect that you discover how possible it is to be great.
You can’t care about everything.
It’s exhausting, intimidating, and limiting.
This is the most important thing to take away from this post.
You can’t care about everything.
The more things you care about, the less impact you’ll make on any of them.
So the question becomes, what are you willing to not care about?
It’s not an easy question to answer, but it’s one that pays incredible dividends when you do.