When was the last time you said this to someone?
I vividly remember coming in from playing ball in the yard with my friends and my mom asked me if my four year-old younger brother was also coming inside.
(Dang, my brother was such a little nuisance.)
I remember how “I don’t know and I don’t care” sounded mature and edgy when I used them in my reply.
My mom heard them differently, unfortunately, and she immediately initiated a personalized incentive plan that forever ensured I wouldn’t use this phrase again.
It’s funny how words like this can pop up and turn into a big deal at times.
Consider the phrase, “I don’t know.”
It used to be one you’d try to avoid using.
After all, you didn’t want people to think you were a clueless knucklehead.
Now there are leadership coaches who encourage you to say “I don’t know.”
They say that when you do, you will be perceived as accessible, open to the help of others, and more human.
And who doesn’t want to be more human?
Obviously, many of us would never want to admit to even the slightest sign of memory loss, but “I can’t recall” is actually one of the most strategically used phrases of all time.
It’s coveted by nearly everyone ever called upon to testify under oath before a congressional sub-committee.
And it’s probably the first phrase we’d haul out ourselves if getting thrown in jail was a real possibility or a judge was considering hitting us with a hefty fine.
When I think back to that late afternoon in 1967, I think it was the simple utterance of “I don’t care” that flipped my mom’s switch.
I can’t imagine “I don’t know” or “I can’t recall” igniting anything close to the same reaction from my mom.
For sure, “I don’t care” seems like the worst phrase of the lot for a whole host of reasons.
“I don’t care” probably couldn’t be connected to anything positive in any possible way.
But what do I know.
The amazing entrepreneur and writer James Altucher posits that “not caring” might actually come along with some surprising benefits.
I found his essay on this theme to be one of the best reads in recent weeks.
There are many gems packed inside of it.
Here’s a favorite:
“Not caring doesn’t mean you stop pursuing things. You pursue the things that whisper to you. Things whisper all the time.”
Good writing, don’tcha think?
So, here’s wishing that you’ll be able to catch your breath for a moment or two with a little James Altucher today.
These are crazy-busy days.
I don’t know if you’ll be able to.
But believe me, I’ll never say “I don’t care.”