Posted on July 13, 2011 by d e, One of Thousands of ADD ADHD Coaches on Noomii.
So you have apathy? Whatever, who cares if you manage it or don’t.
5 steps to overcoming apathy.
So you have apathy? Whatever, no one cares if you manage it or don’t.
One of the most difficult things I’ve ever experienced as a coach came to me a few years ago by a non-paying client who had reached the point of despair. He told me flatly that he just didn’t care. I mean really flat, like bored to death kinda flat. He asked me “what do I do if nothing matters?” “I mean, like, I understand that getting out there would make me more happy, but just don’t care enough to do anything about it” I confess, I was stumped.
It’s taken me a few years of growth to gain the insight, but I finally have a solid response to his question-turned-psychological inquiry. Apathy is a result of disbelief in ones own abilities, and disbelief begins with undervalued self esteem, and self esteem issues can be overcome by demonstration. Yes, I said that, and am willing to hit the publish key because of this, I am certain. The resolution is based in actions. Not talk or theories or psychology or coaching or anything else that comes to the table, it’s actually doing what we love that has us loving what we do. To get to the doing, we start with a willingness to fail based on a meaningful task worth failing at.
We shall overcome.
There’s nothing like apathy, it’s the worst of the worst issue one can confront in life. Really, nothing causes self sabotage, failure, or even suicides like not caring enough to take actions. Apathy is the reason we allow the great atrocities of the world to begin like starving aids or rape victims in Africa, power conflicts in the middle east, or the homeless guy that works the corner of a suburban exit ramp.
I could ramble for days here, but lets focus on a solution instead. Overcoming apathy is such a simple measure, yet so far reaching if one isn’t aware of how simple it is to do. The measure that adds up is simply to take the first step. Look for an authentic non-sabotage-able place to start and do what needs to be done. For the majority of us, we pretty much know what needs to be done, and we pretty much know that we’re capable. On a deeper level, us humans really do care about something, and it helps if we allow ourselves to believe we can do something about whatever we care about. Whether that’s being a good parent or partner or solving some significant world dilemma we really do care about something.
What do you care about?
The apathy manifesto thingy:
- I understand that I say that I don’t care, but on a deeper level I do. It’s my little secret.
- I understand that I might not always believe in my abilities, but I agree that I’m going to ___ anyway. Others believe in me, it’s time for me to believe in me too.
- I’m willing to move forward in the face of my fears. I’m willing to move forward even if I might fail at doing whatever it is that needs to be done.
- If I’m saying I prefer to do this alone, I’ll keep watch on my performance and if I hesitate, I’ll get the support I need to create accountability.
- I’ll watch for my saboteur along the way, and won’t allow myself to sabotage.
When I’m done with one task, I’ll look back and show myself that I can, I did, and I will.
In time, I’ll demonstrate to myself that I not only care, I have a passion and can do something about it.
5 steps to overcoming apathy:
1. Make the note to self: Apathy is just a temporary feeling we all get sometimes. It works for me when I remind myself that it’s just a paradigm I slip into on occasion and that apathy won’t last so long. Maybe take a moment to reflect on that and smile.
2. Just do it. Acting in the face of our feelings or fears is generally the kick in the seat in the pants that moves us ahead one square. Moving one square begets moving several squares and eventually we’re running ahead full steam. Actions are the keys to the kingdom here. If apathy has brought you here, try this first.
3. Self talk. Center yourself before you begin the first step. Remind yourself you’re doing this in the face of adversity, and that you’re willing to have the courage to try something new. Remind yourself you trust in your ability to do something, that you can and you will right here, right now. Deep breaths, and a commitment that you’re going ahead with this. If you’re not committing go back to step one.
4. Make whatever the task at hand is into a fun rewarding adventure. Even the mundane can be enjoyed if it’s creatively shaped into something new.
5. Celebrate the success of having moved ahead in the face of apathy. When you’ve begun and again when you’ve finished each task take a minute to congratulate yourself. The rest of the world is proud of you, and so can you be.
For everything we do, having the support of others can make all the difference. Sometimes having a few of our friends know what we’re up to can be the difference between apathy and caring more than we ever thought possible.
David Eyman is a Creativity Consultant, and Coach for highly creative people. For more information, visit www.eymancreative.com