The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

Alright. So if you know me, AT ALL, you know that I do, in fact, give a fuck.

Basically, about everything.

A friend, though, recommended the book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck (a counterintuitive approach to living a good life) by Mark Manson. I read it. It challenged my view on some ways that I currently view the world. I don’t think that it changed my personal views, but it at least gave me some key topics to really mull over as I approach planning my happy life.

Let’s dissect some of the highlights here:

  • Don’t try
  • Happiness is a problem
  • You are not special
  • You are always choosing
  • You’re wrong about everything

Just reading these titles, I immediately though, Oh here we go! If I were to have written a book, none of these chapter titles would be in it.

Either way, let’s go through it:

  • Don’t try
    • My first reaction: Go fuck yourself Mark Manson. You literally have a very successful blogging career and have a book that is an international best seller. You definitely tried to make that happen.
    • But then, he mind-fucks everyone by saying: The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.
    • And he is ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. As we go about life, we are constantly trying to do things that bring us happiness or get rid of unhappiness. So when we are sitting around, watching an advertisement for something fun and or something that will help us lose weight or become fitter, we are now desiring our life to be better than it is- chasing a positive experience- which makes us less content with our life NOW.
    • So if you read my blog about how to be happy because you’re wanting to be happy-this is SO INSIGHTFUL. Just because you want your life to be different in some ways (who doesn’t?) doesn’t mean we shouldn’t appreciate the good in our life now- or accept some of the aspects as truths that we are working to change.
  • Happiness is a problem
    • My first reaction: What a dingus. Happiness is the point of being alive. Definitely not a problem, broski.
    • Then, after his metaphorical story, he drops a bomb: suffering is nature’s preferred agent for inspiring change. AND Problems never stop; they merely get exchanged and/or upgraded.
    • His premise is that happiness comes from solving problems. Not AVOIDING, but actively working to resolve a problem.
    • I like what he’s getting at-number one- we should work to RESOLVE issues in our life by coming up with a solution and executing it. But in the other hand, I think it’s equally as important to understand what issues cannot be solved, and require acceptance.
    • My dad gave me some advice that really stuck with me. He had grown up poor-so he was on a mission when entering adulthood. He didn’t want his bloodline to suffer from poverty like he did. He worked VERY HARD to ensure we climbed the economic ladder. My dad now is not even 50 and owns his house with no mortgage, owns a Corvette Stingray with no car payment, and has a job making great money-but has no bills. In the meantime, over the last thirty years, he has told himself, “I’ll be happy when…” always hanging his hat upon being happy when X was completed (like getting their first house paid off, getting that first promotion, etc.) You can’t hang your happiness hat up on the end goal and always be working towards that. You’ve got to be happy along the way, as well.
  • You are not special
    • I could relate to this very well. I know I went through the pain of realizing that I’m not special. I’m not actually different or better or more important than anyone else in any way. I do think that I’m special to the people whose life I’m apart of. But, coming to the realization as an adult that you are one of billions of people… and you’re probably going to do things with your life that are great-but you’re probably not going to be the next president of the United States, or the next Beyonce, or the next Gandhi, is for some reason, a hard thing to accept when you first realize it.
    • BUT! That should not allow you to discount your achievements and things that you accomplish with your life. Even when what you accomplish isn’t 1-in-7 billion awesome, it is still great and important!
  • You are always choosing
    • I love this point-because I live my life by this whole-heartedly; this chapter was mostly about taking responsibility for your life and your feelings and what you give a fuck about
    • You should ALWAYS be assuming control of your own life. Most of your life is built upon choices that YOU have made. You controlled who your friends would be; you controlled what job you would take; you control how much you want to interact with your family; you control what you’re going to spend your money on, etc. So your life is set up how YOU WANT IT TO BE. So if you are unhappy with something in your life-it’s your responsibility to fix it.
  • You are wrong about everything
    • Unfortunately, life is not black and white like we want it to be.
    • This paragraph might change your life (or maybe you’ll accept it as false because you so firmly believe what you believe that you will dig your heels in even deeper):
      • Growth is an endlessly iterative process. When we learn something new, we go from wrong to slightly less wrong. And when we learn something additional, we go from slightly less wrong to slightly less wrong than that, and then to even less wrong than that, and so on. We are always in the process of approaching truth and perfection without actually ever reaching truth or perfection.

So, although I didn’t like the titles of these chapters-this was actually a great read.

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