It’s a phrase that can irritate people. I love using it. Not because it irritates people. I think it irritates people because they don’t understand it.
People want you to care about things they care about. It’s human nature. Because I have strong feelings about something, be it politics, people, work, sports (GO PACKERS!), etc…, I expect others to have feelings about those same things. The truth is, that just isn’t true. However, I’m not even talking about that kind of caring. I’m talking about a non-emotional kind of caring. Let me tell you a story…
One of the things I do is to design and build websites, and I care a great deal about what they look like, how they work and the other mechanics of the site. So, while building a website for someone, they invariably want to discuss colors and image placement and fonts which is great. Love those discussions. Then…the bad thing happens. They bring up content. You know, the actual stuff on the site (the exact stuff you are currently reading). Guess what? We have hit the “I don’t care” phase of the build. It honestly doesn’t matter if you are going to write the next “Politics for the Ages” blog or the next “How to throw your kitten a birthday party” blog. As a CONSUMER of your site, I will care, as the builder? Not so much.
I’m here to tell you that it’s OK to not care about some things. Not everything in the world needs your attention, nor should it! Others will try to draw you into caring, but it is your responsibility to decide if you caring is meaningful. In this context, saying “I don’t care” should be liberating for BOTH parties involved. Sadly, it is usually taken as a very negative response. I would like to change that perception. If I am working on a project and say “I don’t care,” it really means that the decision will have no material impact on the end product that I am being asked to deliver. Maybe the other person doesn’t want the responsibility of that decision to rest solely on them, but it is also not on you to do their job for them.
Lastly, I really want to push the point that this is a liberating mindset. It focuses you on the things that are YOUR responsibility and clears out the things that are not. Of course, if you use the phrase wrongly (NOTE: You always care about that pair of shoes your wife asks you about!) then you can cause more problems, but used correctly and in context, it can be freeing!
So, do you care? Leave me a comment and let me know, I do care about that!