how to stop giving a fuck

How to Not Give a Fuck What People Think


We‘re all guilty.

Everyday from the moment we wake up, we live our lives caring what other people think of us.

We accept the status quo for what it is because everyone around us does.
We tip toe our way through life by doing things in order to please others, not because it’s what we believe in. Eventually our actions, appearances, and lives become moulded by how we think other people perceive us.

How are these pants going to make me look? What will my colleagues think if I spoke out? Are those people talking shit behind my back? If I take this job, what will my friends and family think of me?

Just writing that paragraph alone gave me a headache…
It’s exhausting. It’s dreadful. It has to stop.

Living a life that follows the ideal notions of what other people think is a terrible way to live. It makes you become the spineless spectator who waits for other people to take action first. It makes you become a follower.
Worst of all, it makes you become someone who doesn’t take a stand for anything.

Today is the last day we live a life dictated by others. Today, we’re going to get to the bottom of the truth. Today is the day we stop giving a fuck.

No one really cares

Believe it or not, we’re not that special.

We go through our days thinking about how other people might be judging us. But the truth is — those people are thinking the exact same thing.

No one in today’s “smartphone crazed” society has time in their schedule to think more than a brief second about us. The fact of the matter is, when we do have time get our thoughts straight, we’re too busy thinking about ourselves and our own shortcomings — not others.

study done by the National Science Foundation claims that people have on average 50,000 plus thoughts a day. This means that even if someone thought about us ten times in one day, it’s only 0.02% of their overall daily thoughts.

“You’ll worry less about what people think about you when you realize how seldom they do.” — David Foster Wallace

It is a sad but simple truth that the average person filters their world through their ego, meaning that they think of most things relating to “me” or “my.” This means that unless you have done something that directly affects another person or their life, they are not going to spend much time thinking about you at all.

I’ve always enjoyed watching performers trying to hustle some change at the New York City train stations. These guys simply know how to not give a fuck.

But the more interesting observation I made is how the spectators react. Rather than watching the actual performers, most people are looking around to see how other people are reacting. If people were laughing, they would start laughing too. But if people weren’t paying attention, they would also pay no mind.

how to stop caring

Even when provided the blatantly obvious opportunity to judge someone, people are still thinking about how others may perceive them.

Once you understand that this is how people’s mind works, it’s a big step towards freedom.

You can’t please everyone

It’s impossible to live up to everyone’s expectations.
There will always be people — no matter what we say or how we treat them — that will judge us. Whether you’re at the gym, at work, taking the train, or even online playing Call of Duty. Even now it‘s happening. You will never be able to stop people from judging you, but you can stop it from affecting you.

Think about the worst thing that could possibly happen when someone is judging you or what you’re doing.

I guarantee that chances are — nothing will happen. Absolutely nothing.No one is going to go out of their busy lives to confront us, or even react for that matter. Because as I mentioned before, no one actually cares.What will happen, is that these people will actually respect you for claiming your ground. They may disagree with you, but they’ll respect you.

Start standing up for what you believe in — causes, opinions, anything. You’re going to have people that disagree with you anyways, so why not express how you truly feel?

“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something in life.”— Winston Churchill

I’ve learnt that it’s better to be loved by a few people you care about, than to be liked by everyone. These are family, friends, spouse — the people who love you for who you are, and the people who will be there for you during your worst times. Focus on these people. They’re the only people that matter.

You reap what you sow

Worrying too much about what other people think can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, because the way we think starts to become the way we behave. These individuals become people-pleasers and overly accommodating to others, thinking it will stop them from being judged.
In fact, the opposite is true. Most people don’t like push-overs and are turned off by it. The behaviour we use in an attempt to please others, can actually cause the opposing effect.

If how we think affects our behaviours, then how we behave affects who we attract.

This means that if you’re a push-over, then you’re going to be attracting others in your life who are also push-overs. Vice versa.
This can be quite a dangerous path to go down if you don’t recognize its consequences.

It’s been said that we are the average of the five people we hang out with the most. When we start to attract and associate with the same people that share our weaknesses — we’re stuck. We stop growing, because there’s no one to challenge us to be better. We start thinking that this is the norm and we remain comfortable. This is not a place you want to be.

Now let’s talk about the cure. Here are 5 ways on how to not give a fuck.

How to Not Give a Fuck

1. Know your values

First and foremost. You need to know what’s important to you in life, what you truly value, and what you’re ultimately aiming for. Once you know who you really are and what matters to you, what other people think of you become significantly less important. When you know your values, you’ll have something to stand up for — something you believe in.

You’ll stop saying yes to everything. Instead, you’ll learn to say no when friends pressure you to go bar-hopping, or when a tempting business opportunity that distracts you from your business.

When you have your values straight, you have your shit straight.

2. Put yourself out there

Now that you know what your values are, it’s time to put yourself out there.

This can be done several ways. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Blogging
  • Wearing a polka-dot sweater
  • Public Speaking
  • Flirting/Asking someone out

Keep in mind that when you’re doing any of these activities, you have to speak your mind. Be honest with yourself and what you share, because the world doesn’t need another conflict-avoider who does what everyone else does.

3. Surround yourself with pros

Surround yourself with people who are self-assured, and live life without comprising their core values. These people will rub off on you quickly.

One of my best friends, Cody, has been a big influence on me. Having spent the summer with him, I’ve observed countless times where he strongly voiced his opinion on controversial topics. What I learned was that he was simply voicing opinions that people already had in their heads, but were too afraid to voice. People admired him for being so honest and direct, even when they disagreed with his views.

Thanks for not giving a F@$% Cody.

4. Create a “Growth List”

OK, now we’re getting personal.

I haven’t told anyone this, but I have this list called the “Growth List.”

A Growth List is comprised of all the things in life that makes you uncomfortable. These are fears, insecurities —anything that gives you the jitters.

My Growth List

Here’s how it works.

You start by writing all the things that make you feel uncomfortable.
Then one-by-one, you do them. Once you complete the task, you move on to the next. Repeat.

My first growth task was taking a cold shower (The Flinch). I turned the water as cold as it could get, and I could feel my body shake before I even entered the shower. This was the inner bullshit voice in my head talking.

It was hard at first. But surprisingly, it got easier the second time. Then even easier the third time. Before I knew it, my body stopped shaking — I was no longer uncomfortable, I’ve conquered my fear.

This exercise does wonders. I have yet to find a better way to get out of my comfortable zone. You can read all the books in the world about being confident or getting over your fears, but if you don’t take action, you’re just someone who’s read how to ride a bicycle without ever having ridden one.

5. Travel alone

If you’re looking for an ultimate transformation that combines all of the points above, you should travel alone. Traveling with other people can be fun, but you won’t get the opportunity to truly get out of your comfort zone.

You’ll be exposed to different social cultures, break social norms that you didn’t even know existed, and ultimately be forced to burst out of your small bubble.

Bring as little as possible, and fit everything into one backpack. Plan nothing, except for a one-way flight ticket to your destination — figure everything else out when you’re there. Trust me, you’ll be just fine.


It won’t be easy initially, but don’t get discouraged. Being comfortable with the uncomfortable will grow with time. I continue to struggle with it everyday, as do many others. But you need to get started today.

The world is already full of people who obey the status quo. But the people who don’t give a fuck are the ones that change the world.

Be the latter.

Start living life the way you want, be fearless like you once were as a child, and always, always stand up for the truth.

Someone has to.

  • Ivan Mendez

    This blog post is awesome Sean. I just downloaded Wunderlist on my phone and made my own growth list and a “growth list – mini” for smaller assignments:) Thank you for this post, it made my day!


    • sseankim

      That’s awesome Ivan. It’s a great app, I still use it everyday. I’m thinking of creating a section in the blog where everyone can share their growth list. What do you think?

      • Ivan Mendez

        yes…I think that would be a great idea! I’ll be the first to post mine:)

      • Tom

        Haha this is so funny, you write an article presedenting the importance of not giving a flying fuck about what others think.
        Then someone comments saying they downloaded your app and your asking them if they think creating a blog in which others can share their growth list is a good idea!
        Ofcourse its a fucking good idea! It will inspire people to do the best they can do as it brings an element of competition in to this idea of yours.
        With all due respect it makes you appear weak ( thank god you dont care that i think, or maybe you do)
        You see i share a different opinion, i think people care what significant others think, because these others define them in some way. I think often about what others could be thinking, but i dont care, i dont change my views because of them. I may not say my views but thats because i dont want a debate, i know im right.
        There are a lot of sheep in this world and it is fucking annoying.

  • Magu Zita

    Dear Sean, First of all thank you for writing with your heart. That´s something unusual.

    Secondly, I only would like you to explain me something on your writing that seems like a contradiction to me:

    You wrote “I’ve learnt that it’s better to be loved by a few people you care about, than to be liked by everyone. These are family, friends, spouse — the people who love you for who you are, and the people who will be there for you during your worst times. Focus on these people. They’re the only people that matter”

    This people that are the “only one that matter” ..actually are also the most critical and judgmental (specially when it comes to family). They might not see it or mean it, but they have a huge influence on our daily thoughts and choices. Do this people care? Of course they do ( on a normal “family basis”) Do we care about what they might say? Of course we do..
    Let´s rephrase the whole thing : “how to stop giving a f&%$§ what people think (knowing that your family will always f&%$ you up, no matter what) “.
    How that sounds?

    By the way..”the performers” analysis was just amazing.


    • sseankim

      Hi Magali,

      Thanks for reaching out and for those kind words.

      I’m confused on your point. That section in the article was specifically addressing your point, that we should care about our family, because these are the people that care.

      Care to elaborate?


      • shiva

        Hi Sean, great article. What i think Magali means is when family becomes judgemental and expect for you yo please them. My parents are Persian, and although my parents and family are not this way, I know of many Eastern family have huge expectations on their kids, including things from what their hobbies and extracurriculars should be to what they should major in(study). I also know this is not limited to Eastern families but this is where I’ve noticed it first.
        So maybe Magali meant that, in the case I proposed above, the sentence might be rephrased to “how to stop giving a f$&$ what people think(knowing your family will always f$#@% you up).. Etc

        Again great article :)


    • Anonymous

      Excellent feedback. Thank you

  • Hymesha Williams

    Dear Sean, thank you for your truth and honesty. I saw your post on lifehacker. Which led me to your twitter (in an attempt to speak with you 1:1) which led me (to fulfill the same attempt). I am guilty of this just about everyday and I hate it. I loved reading this and I am definitely going to keep all of it in mind and start acting. I was hoping that maybe I could speak with you via email if at all possible. Thanks in advance

    • sseankim

      Hymesha, feel free to email me if you want to chat. kimswsean at gmail dot com.

      • Chris Martyn

        hey Sean thanks a lot your article is so helpful..
        I have social anxiety even little things are difficult for me. I am always afraid what if things go wrong if I don’t give a fuck and start doing what I want..
        and then things don’t go well all the people will judge me negatively. They will think that if I am stupid. Do you think I should see a psychologist? For me even doing little things is difficult

        • Sean

          hey Chris, thanks for your response.

          I encourage you to embrace the “what’s the worst thing that can happen?” mentality. It’s always been helpful for me.

          For example: if I decided to go up to a stranger and strike up a conversation with them, “what’s the worst thing that can happen?”
          They may ignore me, give me a dirty look, and maybe walk away (keep in mind, as long as you’re polite, 99.99% of the time this won’t happen).
          After this, we’ll part ways, the person will have forgotten about it within an hour, and absolutely nothing happened.

          And that’s the case with almost anything that blocks us psychologically from getting out of our comfort zones. When people judge us, or think something of us — nothing happens. Most of the time, people judge us less than we think, it’s all made up in our minds.

          When you have time, read the book: Unlimited Power by Tony Robbins. It helped me a lot about controlling and filtering my mind to where I wanted it to be.

          I hope that was helpful Chris!

        • therobinlad

          Dude your not alone , i have them same problem think sharing that with you might help you realise your not alone .
          Talking helps , getting in touch might help to make it seem less of a big deal !

          • Sean Kim

            thanks for sharing that with us! Hopefully Chris got to read your message.

        • Michael Mascarenhas

          This is not Sean, but a person who went through something that you have mentioned.. So here it goes No you do not need a Psychologist, you just feel insecure and that is natural, but you can change that, never be afraid to do things, if they call you stupid then so what? Think of it this way they are no Einstein either…Do what your heart tells you, like they say follow your gut, but no do not listen to the negative chatter that comes to your mind, never ever listen to it, for example I had gone to Walmart and I always see this old mean lady, she is supposed to be a greeter, but she never greeted anyone, she would not even smile, so what happened to my mind? Well it said damn this lady is a bitch, and so stuck up and the list went on and on, but one day I had lost my car keys near Walmart or perhaps in the store, I do not know but this lady Chinese lady came straight to me and said if I was okay, which shocked the hell out of me, not only did she say that, she went out of her way to go outside in the night to help me look for my keys, I never found it after all but, see this what happens when you judge someone, and we judge ourselves too like that, so sorry to type so much but no doctors needed in your little problem, all they will do is send you an expensive bill, and believe me it is all about the money… If you have any questions or anything hit me up on Facebook my name is MICHAEL MASCARENHAS… Good luck to you….

          • Chris Martyn

            Hey Michael thanks a lot for your precious time and for replying me. Sorry for replying you late. I just want to let you know that my life has become terrible with SA. I can’t even go outside of my house. In the place when there are people really scares me. I am really intimidated in front of people like in school, outside. I believe that I have a lot of potential but it is really really difficult for me to express my true self.. I am always worried, anxious around others. Some people say that I have to live all of my life like this. I am just wondering if there is really way out because life is really tough like this. I am 23. Never had a stable I have not even finished my school yet. Never had any romantic relationship.. Never had any good friends…and a stable job.. I have been fired so many times because of this anxiety…. Please give me some advice. is there any way out or not….

          • Elvis

            Hey Chris, there is a book called “Diagonally-Parked in a Parallel Universe: Working Through Social Anxiety”. I think that this book will help you.

          • Sean Kim

            Very cool book

          • Sean

            Hey Chris,

            My friend and coworker was in the exact same situation as you. He couldn’t leave the house for any reason. He would order pizzas and tell them to leave them outside his front door. Through therapy, medication, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) he got out and now is able to come to an office to work every weekday.

            One thing that helped him a lot, and is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy, was buying a camera and going outside to take photos. It was a way to get out in the world without having to interact with anyone. He was just there to take photos and he kept the camera in front of his face as a filter between him and the world. Eventually he didn’t need the camera any more.

            A therapist that knows CBT would be a great idea. You don’t have to keep living like this. There definitely is a way out.

  • Melissa

    Sean – this was the article that led me to subscribe to your blog. Great read and great points. Can’t wait to read more of your work.

    • sseankim

      Cheers Melissa. If you’re on our mailing list, you should be getting something new every week! :)

      • Melissa

        Yep, I’m subscribed :)

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  • Jose Aguilar

    nice i have the same problem and is destroying my life . I have to change and not care too much what
    people think .

    • Sean

      Agreed Jose. Make today to stop giving a fuck what people think :)

  • DataBase

    Normally I don’t read post on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very pressured me to try and do so!

    Your writing style has been surprised me.
    Thanks, very great post.

  • Nikita Hotwani

    Dear Sean,
    I enjoyed your article and I am gonna straight away make my growth list. I saw one of your post on and I immediately signed up for Growthlist. I want to become an Entrepreneur and I am trying to go out of my comfort zone to take bold steps. Thanks to your posts, my confidence is building up day by day :)

    • Sean Kim

      Hey Nikita,

      Thanks for commenting! Glad you enjoyed it Nikita and welcome to the #growth family.

      Take small steps each day and I know you’ll get there!

      Let me know how else I can help :)

  • sonam

    dear Sean, This article was very interesting. I want to ask you a question how we can or how would you stop repeating same mistakes over and over again? I tried doing it that I am gonna make my path the way I planned but everytime due to I don’t know for what reason I end up doing the same thing? please recommend something

  • Indra Rachmaditya

    Hi Sean, very nice to read your article. I agree with your opinion. But I have some questions, if I independent what others think of me, I will be more evil to another. I don’t know what I have to do right now actually,

  • Yeye

    Thank you for everything ? It is very comforting to me to read and find this blog before I go to sleep because everytime I went to bed I always I mean always overthinking and just staring into nothing but after reading this, Things will change I WILL TRY everything. So Salamat po ?

    • Sean Kim

      You can do it Yeye! Your name alone says it all :)

  • Vandini

    Hey. Great article. I was writing one of my own on the same topic and in no way have I plagiarized you sir, but I did share one or two of your quotes from Churchill, Hope you won’t mind. Amazing work!

    • Sean Kim

      no worries, the more people talk about it the more impact it can have on others.


  • Ravelle Thomas

    Loved your article! Would like to connect with you via Twitter or Facebook. Let me know if you’ve got a Twitter account. Again, thank you. You’ve made my day better.

    • Sean Kim

      Awesome! My twitter is @heyseankim same thing on instagram :)

  • nicholfunderburk

    i like the why im ok

    • Sean Kim


  • Savannah

    Hey Sean, I just wanted to say thanks so much for this article, you give good advice and you’re also a very good writer. You’re also attractive. Anyway, I’ve been struggling my whole life caring too much about what others think and I know your article will really help me with this! Thanks again! :)

    • Sean Kim

      Haha, you’re too kind Savannah. Thanks for being you :)

  • L.K

    When i dont give a fuck people hate me. Dont know why?????

    • Sean Kim

      The point is that: those who mind don’t matter, those who matter don’t mind.

  • Space Sloth

    This is a great article and I enjoyed reading it. It’s sad social conditioning pushes a lot of us into this mindset but it’s certainly something any of us can overcome with time and persistence. I can’t wait until I’ve rid myself of every single fuck given.

    • Sean Kim

      Can’t wait to hear your progress

  • Larry

    Great post Sean, I really needed to hear this. Thank you.

    • Sean Kim

      I appreciate you Larry! Thanks for checking out the community

  • Danny Wade

    Popover for this page gave two choices: Sign up for free 12-Day Growth Challenge and “not a grower.” So I’ve already learned not to give a fuck what this site thinks.

  • Hannah

    I searched for this because I was very close to a mental breakdown and I cannot believe how much this helped. I need to start reading this every day before I go out to remind myself who I want to be in life.

    • Sean Kim

      so glad to hear that Hannah. be you.

  • Jadirah Spaights

    this was truly amazing and inspirational trying to build confidence in myself everyday.

  • Sherrie Dennis

    I loved this article! I would expand on it a bit to include the idea of perhaps finding new core people, especially when the consistent feedback from family is negative, belittling or infantilizing. When one’s family is engaged in judgmental or directly controlling, manipulative behaviors (even though they may not even realize they’re being damaging), it’s easy to assume that the rest of the world is full of people behaving the same way. Sometimes seeking the company of go-getters isn’t all that’s needed. Sometimes reducing the amount of time spent around negative people (whose opinions are supposed to be the ones that traditionally matter most) is also needed.

  • saha19

    I’ve been struggling a lot on this matter. And I dunno how to get rid of it. this post really gave some Tips, should try them to see they work. Can We go to an extreme with this Not even giving at least 1 thought about this shit.

  • Ivan Schneider

    You lower your standards if you stop caring what orhers think.

  • Kent Ferguson

    A very good article!! I exercised some of the advice that I read the day after reading it. So far it has been very liberating! After doing so, I realize that OTHER PEOPLE DO NOT GIVE A FUCK about other people or me for that matter. Just look at our Society. People are selfish pigs! Say what you say, do what you do, wear what you wear, wear clown make-up – whatever. People do not care, if anything I feel that, in one way or another, as odd as it sounds, some actually envy you in one way or another in. I need to repeat the process again tomorrow and see what it may bring! Try the shit out. Seriously!

  • Shristi

    Hey sean, I stumbled across your blog while trying to google precisely ‘as you have put it quite literally’ how not to give a fuck about what people think. LOL … this blog was the exact thing i was looking for. i was right at that state of mind where people’s opinions or my perception and assumption towards their opinion about me was just increasingly governing my work progress. See i just joined an office where most of the things are quite new to me though it being of my particular field. And since it was a new experience for me, obviously my confidence level was not as par, and i was struggling to fit in and it wouldn’t have bothered me so much if it was not affecting my work but since i am quite adamant on working hard and in the most honest way there could be, i wanted help from some one to soothe my anxieties. despite the fact that i have managed to survive and even thrive from the difficulties at work before as well, i was having difficulty or i was growing impatient by the amount of time it was taking for me to get a grip of the environment. i have always put my self out there for challenges, to get out of my comfort zone knowing that i will learn a great deal from it. i never said i can’t or no to any task that i had never performed before when it came to office work. i have always said yes but still now i feel very vulnerable to these opinions. once i remove all these politics and what not of office environment, i get to concentrate on my work. but since im the only woman at my department, i feel very left out or cant seem to blend it thinking that my colleagues must think i am an idiot or something and that must be the reason they do not share even the office works with me.
    your blog really helped me get a grip of myself and focus on my potential and my abilities and not give one fuck about what others might think. i tend to read ur article over and over again when i feel unsure of myself. and it means alot. thank you for your motivational article.