This is not something that you do for others. This is not about how others perceive you. This is how you live life and motivate yourself to do something. You are not here to sit around watching who-knows-what on TV all day. You can, and should, do something.
This, is how to give a damn.
- Wake up. Hit snooze a maximum of once. Getting out of bed is key to giving a damn, because if you don't make it out of bed, well, you're never going to get anywhere.
- Don't just consider taking a shower. Do it. People respond better when you present yourself as well-put-together. Smelling nice is part of that.
- Pick out some clothes that are more than just sweat pants and a t-shirt from the last college function you attended. Looking like a sloppy college kid doesn't tell the world that you want to be taken seriously. But hey, maybe you don't.
- Check the mirror before you head out the door, you did brush your teeth, right? Maybe tell yourself that you're the best or you're going to have a good day or some cheesy shit like that. Say it out loud. You don't even really need to believe it, something about saying it out loud might make it stick after a while.
- As you stand waiting for the next whatever you have to do to start, resist the urge to pull out your phone and check FaceTwitStagram for the 87th time today. You're not missing anything vital in the digital world. Instead, look at the people around you. Ask someone how their day is going. This time, really listen to the answer instead of thinking about what you're going to say next, or worse, what you're going to have for lunch.
- Pay attention in class, in a meeting, or with a customer. Or, uh, don't. If you don't care, try making it look like you do. Maybe it will make you start caring about what you do and the people you're around. That's never a bad thing.
- It's probably time for lunch now. Resist the urge to sit alone and stare into that little chunk of glass and metal and light for your entire meal. Catch up with someone you haven't seen in a while or, whoa, meet someone new. Assuming you're a remotely interesting person, you'll probably have something to talk about. Make sure not to check your phone as people talk to you, it shows people that their time and what they have to say isn't interesting enough for you. That makes you an asshole. Most people don't want to be assholes.
- Act like you do care about the quality of the work that you put out. If you're folding t-shirts, make those the best damn folded t-shirts the world has ever seen. If you're behind a register, talk to the people that you're helping, show interest in them beyond, "Your total is $8.76 sir," and they're likely to show an interest in you. If you're answering email at the office, make your responses clear and make every effort to help the people you work with. This stuff matters. It makes you feel better and people are far less likely to think that you're just a lazy millennial with no direction.
- Look at your social media persona. Do you really need to get into those stupid little arguments with people on Facebook? Do you really like that photo of someone's dog? Is there really a point to all that noise? Maybe it's time to put that aside for a bit. Not completely, but maybe you should spend more time engaging with the world in front of you than worrying about the digital world.
- Unless you're an absolute hermit, you're probably involved in something outside of school or work; a club, committee, some odd sport like pickleball. Look at your involvement in that. Did you follow through in creating a budget for the next meeting? Did pull your weight helping put on an event? Are you the best damn pickleballer you can be? If not, you should try more. Prove that you want to be there. Not for others, for yourself.
- Assuming you've done the work that you were supposed to do (riiiiight) it is probably time for some "you time." You could fire up the Xbox and pwn some noobs in Call of Duty and of course you have to catch up on the last season of Downton Abbey, but there are some many other ways to spend that time. Read that book you've been meaning to finish. Learn something that you would never learn in a classroom. Do something!
- At the end of the day, look back in the mirror. Was your day any better? It isn't nearly as hard as it all may sound. Be present in your own life and be a presence in other's lives.
All of this is not to say you cannot like playing video games, watching sports, reading blogs, or even checking Facebook. This is about focusing your attention on your every day actions and the way you present yourself. You should give a damn about something. Be interested. Be passionate. Be well put together. You don't need a sixty dollar haircut; handmade Italian loafers; a thousand dollar suit; just utilize what you have and make it work.
Look like you give a damn. Act like you give a damn. Live like you give a damn.