The Office Space Guide to Giving a ****

Please tell me you’ve seen Office Space.

I used to watch this incredibly under-appreciated movie on a WEEKLY basis with my high school friends. To this day, we could probably still have an entire conversation only using quotes from Peter Gibbons, Samir Nagheenanajar, Michael Bolton, Milton Waddams, and their soul-sucking boss Bill Lumbergh.  I loved this movie so much, I quoted it in my high school graduation speech – that’s how big of an impact it’s had on my life.

If you haven’t seen this comedy before, here’s a quick plot summary:

Peter Gibbons works at a desk job that he truly hates for a company he despises but doesn’t have the guts to do anything about. He’s so depressed, that “every day is worse than the day before, which means that every day you see [him], that is the worst day of [his] life.” Yikes.

His girlfriend convinces him to see a hypnotist, who suddenly dies after putting Peter under, leaving him in a permanent state of “I don’t give a ****.”  He takes this new attitude to work and immediately improves virtually every single aspect of his life.

Considering you’re probably reading this while at a desk job, I have a hunch that you can relate to Peter’s life and the challenges that he faces.  Today, Peter is going to teach you the importance of giving a ****, and how doing so can vastly level up your work, health, and life.

Feel free to listen to “Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta” from the Office Space soundtrack while reading today’s post.

It’s not that I’m lazy…

In one of the greatest scenes in cubical-based comedic cinema history (yes that’s a category), Peter is brought before two outside consultants at work who decide who to fire and who not to fire. When they ask Peter about his typical work day, with brutal honesty he explains how he shows up late every morning, uses the side door so his boss doesn’t notice, and then spaces out for hours at a time. In a given week, he does “about fifteen minutes of real, actual work.”

Absolutely dumbfounded, these consultants question Peter’s work ethic, clearly confused as to why this man would spend all day spacing out and not working harder. Fortunately, our boy Peter here continues to explain his side of the story:

He explains that it’s a lack of motivation. If he ships a few extra units, he doesn’t see another dime.  In fact, his real only motivation is to do just enough not to get fired.

He delivers the best line of the movie:

“It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care.”

“It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care” Video

Do you care?

Why do you do the things that you do? Why do you exercise?  Why do you make a decision to eat better? What drives you to work harder?

Every day, I get emails from people saying “Steve I want to get in shape but I don’t have any motivation to do so, can you help?” And my response is always the same: “I can provide you with plenty of inspiration and education, but the motivation to succeed has to come from within you.”

The folks that haven’t found their reasons yet are the people that half-ass it in the gym, stop their runs early, and justify unhealthy meal after unhealthy meal with excuses like “I had a rough day” or “eh, I’ll start tomorrow.”

I don’t think they’re lazy, I just think they don’t care.

There’s no motivation to succeed, there’s no motivation or inner drive to work harder, to eat healthier.

My buddy Saint spent two years in “I don’t give a **** mode.” I never thought he was lazy, I just think he didn’t have a reason to succeed. Back in January – he finally found his reason: his wedding, a honeymoon, and a $500 bet to prove everybody wrong. Since then, Saint has become one of the most driven people I know when it comes to his health and fitness. He found a reason to give a **** and his life was radically transformed.

How to give a ****

If you are early in your journey for weight loss or a healthier lifestyle, everything is working against you: bad habits, inertia, and probably a busy lifestyle where you don’t think you have time to exercise.

“I want to get in shape” is not enough for you to make positive lasting changes. It’s time to give yourself a specific reason for why you’re improving your life:

Your children: Do you have kids? Do you want them to grow up with the same health problems that you currently have? Do you want to be around for their high school graduation? Do you want to live long enough to hold your grandkids?

Your family: Don’t you want to be the best possible husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/son/daughter that you can be? That involves being strong of mind and body, healthy and active, loyal and supportive.  Become a shining example for those around you.

Your friends: Maybe you’re not married and you don’t have kids. Why not challenge your friends to a weight loss competition or a push up contest? We run contests all the time on the Nerd Fitness message boards, where people challenge each other to be better.

Yourself: Let’s say you live in your parents’ basement, you’re single, overweight, and working a crappy job.  It’s okay to demand a better life for yourself, but nobody’s going to hand one to you.  Every super hero has an origin story and epic destiny – why not start yours today?

Applying the ****

Once you’ve found your reason for giving a ****, it’s time to apply it. Get incredibly specific with your goals so that you have something to work towards – and then it’s time to put on your hard hat and go to work:

  • A race: Want to be a better runner? Sign up and prepay for a race 10 weeks from now. Sign up with a friend and have a competition to see who can run it faster. Make a public declaration and raise money for charity.  All of a sudden skipping workouts seems like a horrible idea.
  • A contest: “I will be able to do 10 pull ups by May 2012 or I will pay you $500″ – sounds kind of crazy, right? However, you’re crazy if you think it won’t motivate you to start training towards those pull ups.
  • An event: “I want to fit into a smaller dress for my wedding next summer” or “I will have 15% body fat by the time I show up to my 10-year high school reunion.”  Great – you now have a date and time: better get started.
  • A job: “I want to become a personal trainer,” or “I want to get hired as a ___________ which requires a healthier version of me.”

As soon as things become specific, life suddenly becomes easier: every single decision you make takes you one step closer or one step further away from your goal. If you have a legitimate reason, and you have a specific goal to work towards, emotion and excuses get removed from the equation.  Think about it:

  • Do you REALLY need seven slices of pizza?
  • Does getting obliterated at the bar on Tuesday help you out in any way?
  • Is sleeping in and avoiding your workout going to take you closer to a life worth living?

Let’s make it simple: people who don’t give a **** make excuses.  People who give a **** will do anything and everything possible to achieve their goal – They will do whatever it takes, because “they want to succeed as bad as they want to breathe.”

My goal with Nerd Fitness is to get as many people out of the “don’t give a ****” group and into the “I do give a ****!” group.

How can I help you get there?

Why are you trying to live a better life?

What is your reason for giving a ****?




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