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It’s undeniable that we all have problems—marriage problems, problems in our careers, and deeply rooted issues from our past. No one can escape problems. Having problems is a fact of life. It seems like nearly every other day, there’s a new problem to solve in the meantime until the next issue arises.

I don’t know about you, but for me, life seems like a never-ending series of problems. Sure the problems vary in degree, but they never seem to stop coming. It’s just one problem after the another until the next day, week, month, or year.

Up until recently, I spent my entire life thinking we, as people, never really get a break from problems and that I somehow had more problems than the next person, which in some aspects may or may not be true. I’m sure there are people I have more problems than. And I know for a fact some people have fewer problems than I have. I suspect most people could agree with my sentiments.

I assumed I was just more unlucky than the next person, and misfortune was always right around the corner, as I anxiously waited for the other shoe to drop or for the next problematic situation to happen. That is no way to live.

After years and years of anxiety, always thinking two or three steps ahead, attempting to anticipate every possible setback or issue that came my way, whether it be a financial problem or a personal situation, or some scenario I made up in my head, I had an epiphany.

I came to the realization that it’s completely unrealistic to expect to get all caught up on all of life’s problems–because they never stop coming. There will always be setbacks, and there will always be judgmental people around. There’s always going to be someone more successful than you in nearly everything you ever do. It’s human nature to never truly be satisfied with life as it exists, as we are forever fixated on what could be. But there’s a silver lining: Learning to care less about more problems is a much more formidable solution to our problems than trying to solve them all.

Those of us who are the happiest, the most confident, and the least stressed aren’t the way they are because they’re lucky; it’s because they have more control over their focus. In other words, they’ve selectively and successfully chosen to focus only on the issues that matter most. It isn’t that your super confident friend is necessarily better looking and more intelligent than everyone else (although that may very well be the case). It’s that they’ve decided to care less about not being those things than everyone else. Whereas a less confident person has decided to care more about their shortcomings (whatever they may be) than the things that actually matter to them.

As Mark Manson says in the bestseller, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, in life, there’s only so many f*cks you can give. If you want to be less anxious and depressed, you have to start eliminating some of the things you actually don’t give a f*ck about from your list of things you care about.

Most people take on too many problems. They unrealistically believe that they can achieve complete tranquility by solving every problem one by one. I believe the true solution is to determine which problems YOU actually give a f*ck about and wash your hands of the others.

Most of our problems aren’t our problems; they’re the problems society conditioned us to accept as OUR problems or at least things that we should fix. Do you need a new car because you actually want one, or is that a problem you really don’t give a f*ck about?

Do you really care about how many followers you have on Instagram? Or is that another irrelevant f*ck that you decided to give? Caring about too many things is wearing you down.

The more you focus on problems that aren’t really important to you, the less attention you give to the things that you really care about. So do yourself a favor, determine which things you actually give a f*ck about, discard the rest, and let the chips fall where they may.

I’m not suggesting being irresponsible regarding your problems. But what I am saying is that overly stressed people often are juggling too many issues at once. It’s vital to learn how to prioritize your troubles. You can afford to discard a problem or two and let whatever happens happen. Once you let go of that unnecessary baggage, you’ll be surprised how much more you’re equipped to manage the issues that really matter to you.

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