You Either Care, Or You Don’t

Kubrick is a monolithic figure in our culture.

His unique genius has been examined and dissected, idolized, imitated, derided, revered and sometimes outright dismissed. Whatever you do in this life, if you know the name Stanley Kubrick, you have an opinion about him.

Whether you like him or not, you can’t deny he was a creative powerhouse. Monomaniacal in his obsessive attention to detail, to getting it right. Whatever it takes. The proof is in the results.

So I ask you this: Can you (or anyone) be more like Kubrick? Do you even want to be more like Kubrick?

The answer to both questions, I’d humbly argue, is yes.

Here’s the why and the how, in his own words:

“Either you care, or you don’t. There’s no in-between. And if you care, then go all of the way.”

This is my favorite quote of his. It’s so simple and simultaneously complex, it’s downright… well, Kubrickian.

So how can you be more like Kubrick?

You can be more like Kubrick simply by caring. A lot. Caring so much about your writing, or art, or filmmaking, or crafting, or design, or music, or whatever creative work or play you do, that words like “just” and “whatever” are removed from your vocabulary. Caring so much that every detail matters, no matter how small. You put everything into it. You don’t cut corners. You push beyond your limitations, real or perceived. And you go all of the way. Whatever that means to you.

And we both know that you know what that means. You alone know what it means to go all the way. The things that must be done to make the thing you’re making the most exceptional version of itself possible.

(Now listen, I’m not talking about perfection. Let’s set that aside for now. It’s a whole other ball of wax. All too often the dark side of caring. The devil to caring’s angel. I’ll deal with perfection in another post, at another time.)

But why the hell in a world where mediocrity is celebrated, where so many people seem to skate by on so little effort, where very few think very hard about very much at all, let alone overthink everything… why should you care as much as Kubrick? Why put that much care into anything?

It’s really very simple. Kubrick said it himself:

You either care… or you don’t.

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