I got set off the other day.
My phone was stolen.
My crappy iPhone 5s phone – like 3 years old. Stolen.
Some idiot at the basketball courts thought it was the new iPhone 6SE (because Apple thought it was a great idea to make phones big, then even bigger, before making them small again after realizing no one wants a phone that’s the size of their quad), so they dug around in my bag, grabbed it and peaced out.
So they stole my phone – I don’t care – it’s a stupid phone. I don’t care about stuff, but it was a headache to replace it, and something about it set me off.
I started going through all the stupid little things I was gonna have to deal with.
Either I get a refurbished phone and deal with the probably already dead battery, or I wait 2-4 weeks for the new phone to come in from insurance, or I just get a new one that I don’t really care about.
And that’s when I realized the stress wasn’t about the stress – it was about the bullsh*t overload I was dealing with in general. The phone set me off, but it was just the final straw. There was all this bullsh*t floating around me that when my phone got jacked, the density got thick enough that I finally noticed it.
There was lots of other bullsh*t floating around that I wasn’t doing anything about. So I decided to go on a bullsh*t purge.
A short list
- My shoulder is jacked up and I’m not doing anything about it. Bullsh*t. Get it fixed. You built an app about it after all.
- My office doesn’t have WiFi – I wasn’t happy about it and I’m was just…waiting…for the landlord to do something about it. Bullsh*t. End the lease.
- My apartment isn’t how I want it to be, so I’m just putting up with it even though I’m traveling all summer. Again. Bullsh*t. End the lease. Move out.
- I haven’t traveled anywhere interesting in 6 months. Bullsh*t. Buy a ticket. Hello, Barcelona in June.
- An employee was lying about their workload and you knew it. Bullsh*t. Confront them on it.
Something about the stupid phone set me off. The inside of my head started screaming bullsh*t!
So I started the bullsh*t purge – getting rid of all bullsh*t from my life.
It’s pretty simple – all you ask is, “Is this bullsh*t?”
If the answer is yes – then you get rid of it.
- Office w/ no WiFi? Bullsh*t. Get rid of it. Easy.
- Papers? Bullsh*t. Scan them. Shred them. Throw them in the trash. Done.
- Car is low on gas. Bullsh*t. Fill it up.
- You feel tired? Bullsh*t. Go for a run. You can handle it.
- Your place looks like crap. Bullsh*t. Clean it – it takes 30 minutes.
- Hate filing taxes? Bullsh*t. Figure it out. Write the check.
- Clothes you don’t wear but take up space? Bullsh*t. Donate them. You don’t need that much stuff anyways.
- Excuses in your head? Bullsh*t. Just do the damn thing anyways. That does the trick.
- Too tired to lift? Bullsh*t – it takes 30 minutes. Do it.
Here’s a simple test for you the next time you’re frustrated.
Whatever it is – excuses, stuff, situations, limitations, etc – take a good look at it and ask yourself:
Is this bullsh*t?
If yes, get rid of it.
It feels really good. Trust me.
Joel’s note: This post‘s “bullsh*t” count is 24. In case you were wondering.
THIS is exactly what I needed to read RIGHT this minute! Thank you!
Ankita Maity says
Wow. This post just gave me a lot of motivation. The bullsh*t rule is really practical and will be useful in getting things I don’t want to do done. Thanks a ton. You have a weird sense of humour. 🙂
Now that I think about it, I have a lot of bullsh*ts around me. Didn’t even notice. Gotta get rid of them. Thanks.
Wow, powerful post! Sometimes things get so maddening and you need to say “enough!”. I’m glad I read this. One really has to take charge and make things happen, especially when there are forces, maliciously or possibly just carelessly, which are causing unnecessary chaos in your life.
On a different note – hey, I miss hearing your podcasts. I don’t know if you have hanged your hat on that area of your business, but I really enjoyed the past episodes. Thanks for the inspiration!
Jonas Salzgeber says
Sometimes you need something “big” to see all else that’s going wrong.
It sounds like a fun game, look around and try to smell bullshit. This just helps me to get back on track and don’t give a fuck about small things.
I smell my bullshit excuses, shake them off, and get back to work!
I just spent this whole article nodding my head. No bullsh*t.
Joe Walker says
Great post Joel.
It’s time we put a stop to letting our situations control us, and start controlling out situations. If you don’t like something, change it. If you see a problem, fix it. Don’t wait, don’t take it, just handle it. You do a fantastic job of reminding us that WE are in charge of the change we see in our lives, no one else.
So glad I saw this TODAY! I’ve been compromising on too many things for too long. Thanks for the kick…it was just what I needed. Make just one change today. Then another. And another.
Michelle @ These Two Things says
I really needed to read this! I kept saying, “YES!”. The people around me must have thought I was nuts. Worth it 🙂
Latoya @ Life and Budget says
I never quite thought about it like this, but you’re right. Just chalk it up as it really is and do something about it. Great reminder and you reminded us quite eloquently, I might add:)
ZJ Thorne says
Addressing the bullshit in your life that is in your control (your reactions to things) is powerful. It is especially powerful for the bullshit you are unwilling to do anything about. You have to confront that you are happy to put up with this bullshit. You’ve accepted it. Hopefully that changes your reaction to it.
Linda @ Brooklyn Bread says
You need someone to say this to you once in a while.
Mrs. Paradise says
Sometimes you really just need a kick in the pants to get the motivation you need. I will definitely be using your “is this bullsh*t?” rule in the future. In fact, I think it is time to go clean the kitchen…
Haha, love it. It’s easy to let the flies swarm around you, but it feels so much better to swat them down!
Love this! Thanks for posting it.
“Relentlessly eliminate the billsh*t from your life” is a motto I adopted earlier this year when I read another post with the same idea: http://paulgraham.com/vb.html
Esra Nelson says
Do you know what, it is so true. I had my laptop fixed the other day and they had been through my computer looking for things. I was fuming and I started to realise is it worth the stress. Going in saying my piece and then him saying his and I am always right even when I am wrong. So I thought, “that’s cool, I don’t need the bullsh*t” I left him to it. A week later i saw his shop was shut and he had gone out of business. That one choice.
Any way nice one.
Brian Robben says
You’re so right about the last annoying thing being the one that frustrates you the most, when really it’s all the other stuff leading up to that. Way to address the bullsh*t and take action to fix it.