The Four-Step Solution to All That Ails You
The Four Fs—Fuck Up, Fess Up, Figure Out and Forgive—is an ethical approach that can help you navigate and succeed in all aspects of life. Tweet
Fuck Up: to fuck up is human.
Fess Up: a good “Fess Up” CANNOT have “BUT” in it.
Figure Out: if you make a mess, it is your responsibility to clean it up.
Forgive: it’s worth remembering that to forgive is Divine, which is to say it’s a reach for most.
The Four Fs is an ethical approach that can help you navigate and succeed in all aspects of life. If you apply them to your life—take them seriously and to heart—it will make you a better human, friend, leader, employee, citizen, husband, and son. The Four Fs is a realistic recipe for good character and living.
Here the they are:
- Fuck Up,
- Fess Up,
- Figure Out,
1. Fuck Up: I am sorry for the vulgarity up front, but it’s for a reason. To Fuck Up is to be human.
It gets us quickly to a deep, fundamental, anthropological truth that “To Err is Human” just doesn’t reach. Humans are capable of more than just making mistakes. A mistake is like, “I’m sorry, my math was sloppy.” What Bernie Madoff or Derek Chauvin did stems from a dark source. The human species is a mixed bag of feces. We are capable of some really dark, fallen, selfish, prideful shit.
2. Fess Up: this is the hard one to swallow for the proud who find themselves in “error.”
A good “Fess Up” cannot have but in it. I’m sorry, but but is the opposite of a Fess Up. It’s a self-righteous rationalization that your apology’s recipient ought to see as a trigger. To Fess Up is to take ownership of your bad behavior—the act, the choice and its consequences.
It’s hard to admit we “fucked up,” because we think by doing so, we are admitting to ourself and others we are a fucked-up bad person at core. This is such a stumbling block. Good people are capable of fucking up because said people remain human. Making a habit of Fucking Up and not Fessing Up makes you a total fuck up.
3. Figure Out: taking ownership of a Fuck Up comes with addressing the consequences. If you make a mess, it is your responsibility to clean it up. Out of self-respect and respect for those whose forgiveness you seek, you need to make amends.
4. Forgive: it’s worth remembering that to forgive is divine, which is to say it’s a reach for most. To help the person you wronged find that divine spark within themselves—a moment of righteous indignation—a proper Fess Up and a good Figure Out plan sets the stage.
Forgiving is not easy; but with time hopefully, the person whose heart is presently hardened because of a Fuck Up—one that we have Fessed Up to and Figured Out an amends for—will open up eventually with our compounding, good behavior and give us the forgiveness we seek.
Give it a try. I promise it will make you a better guy!
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