We all do many things in life that take heavy concentration, be that a myriad of difficult jobs, coaching, teaching, or just playing games. I am a study of the human machine, I often times sit back and just watch people do what they do and note how they do it. This may seem totally boring to you, others will jump up and declare themselves a people watcher as well.
I am not your usual people watcher.
People watchers love to sit and marvel at other people. If two people watchers are sitting together they will normally discuss those walking by, typically leaning towards how the person is dressed, how they look, or some random air they may give off. The watchers may even supply a short story to amuse themselves about said walker by. “I bet he is screwing some 19 year old on the side and his wife knows about it and just doesn’t care because she is diddling the gardener, Pablo!” Then they both laugh and sip their calorie heavy drinks and chomp down on their pastries.
I don’t do that.
What I do is different, I study a person, I read them, and I don’t do it in passerby fashion – I opt to do it with people I know, in a borderline stalker sort of way. Sure, it is creepy. Having done this for years I also learned self reflection by way of proxy. If said person does something, do I do it that way? Maybe I do it differently? Reflect. Reflect. Reflect. Reflect. After a while one really gets to know who they truly are, and in my instance I started to notice some things about me that I then started to look for in others, and sure enough, we all seem to carry this common trait: The Fuck It Factor.
What is The Fuck It Factor? (FIF for short). FIF is this moment where a person runs into a wall of analysis, decision making and pressure. It is the moment when we aren’t really sure about what to do, but make some leap of faith – but its more. It is the moment where this edge to you comes to the foreground, you can’t explain it, but you sure as hell feel it, and it totally effects your decision making process. In short, you say to yourself “Fuck It!” and you leap, or in most instances you decide more haphazardly than you usually would.
I discovered the FIF while playing poker. I would be in a game for a while, some overly aggressive jerk at the table would be smashing people, pressuring, being a bully and slowly, to me, would manifest into some vile creature that needed to be dealt with – a dragon of sorts, and I was now the White Knight. The FIF would spring into motion, after all, this dragon had to be vanquished. The next hand that was remotely playable for me, even if a huge stretch, or in poker a great draw in my favor, was needed that FIF would make me do things that I wouldn’t normally do. “All in, you son of bitch!” Sure it is online poker, and you don’t really talk to your opponents, but in my mind I would totally say that, as well as the thing I said right before those words. again to myself. “Fuck it!”
This phenomenon, as it turns out, is not unique to me at all. In fact, we all do it every day, all day, in random little spurts. Pouring yourself a black coffee, because black coffee has less calories than any other manifestation? FIF comes out of nowhere. “Pour some sugar in there… ” And the next thing you know you are ripping open two packs of natural sugar and pouring them in. Standing in line at the grocery store and notice the wall of candy bars sitting there, FIF to the rescue. Two show up on the belt before you even realized you were grabbing them.
FIF isn’t always bad, FIF can lead to some very interesting things, good things even. Standing in the elevator and that woman you have been drooling over for months gets on. FIF steps in. “SAY SOMETHING YOU COWARDLY TWAT!” and low and behold you are suddenly knee deep in a conversation with the potential love of your life. You are in your job review and being told that you are getting the standard 3.5% raise. FIF says “SCREW THAT SHIT. GET SEVEN!” So you say “I am worth more than the league minimum, Bob. I want 7.” Suddenly Bob has a change of heart.
What really grabbed me here is that there are some professions that live in the FIF. Some people who have to constantly throw caution into the wind and can only do so by riding the FIF razor’s edge. To name a few of these people, the ones we often accuse of being adrenaline junkies:
- Mail room clerks
I swear we all have it, just stand back for a moment and consider yourself. It is there. FIF lives in us all. Knowing this bit, moving forward, you may notice the next time FIF shows up, shouting into your ear, giving you that tiny jolt of adrenaline to get the job done. No need to thank me, you had it there with you all along.