Explosion: The Art of Not Giving a F

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli

Both my kids have fallen in love with “Fight Song” by Rachel Platton, and sing it with the passion of soul singers. And, truth be told, there are worse songs to have ringing through the halls of our house each day, given its message.

My favorite line, without a doubt, is this:

“I might only have one match… but I can make an explosion.”

Watching my Facebook feed yesterday absolutely spill over with tributes to, stories about, and mourning for David Bowie, I know that statement to be an absolute truth. He made an explosion with his match, no doubt, and his art impacted people on a deep, deep level. Post after post talks about how his music/style/art reached someone who felt alone or misunderstood… reached someone who felt like there was no one who really knew them… reached someone who needed inspiration from off the beaten path.

David Bowie was an original, for sure. One of a kind. Seeing so many pictures of him yesterday, and reminding myself of his many different faces and phases, I remembered an article from last January called “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F-” by Mark Manson. Now—if you are offended by the f-word, this article is most definitely NOT for you. Do not read it, and just go ahead and skip on to my closing paragraph.

Otherwise, read on. The brilliance to me in that article was Manson’s assertion that most of us give too many “f-”s in our lives: caring way too much about things that we shouldn’t care about, like a TV show that got cancelled or a co-worker who doesn’t pay enough attention to us, or that it’s raining. But if we spend too much time caring so much about the unimportant, trivial things, we don’t have the energy left to focus on the important things. He says that most highly successful people have mastered the art of not giving a f-. And to clarify, he says: “Not giving a f- does not mean being indifferent; it means being comfortable with being different.”

Comfortable with being different. David Bowie was certainly that. Think of other people you know that are happy/successful/confident/creative. Chances are, one of the things that make them that way is that they have at least partially, if not completely, mastered the art of not giving a f-. They have realized that life is short, and we all have our own unique voice, our own unique style, our own unique talent to offer this world, and if we let ourselves be wrapped up in worrying about what others think than our true light will never shine.

We all have one match. Will you make an explosion?


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"Explosion: The Art of Not Giving a F", The Leadership PRogram, Inc, 2015

Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.