In “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck”, Mark Manson clears up some common misconceptions on how to live a successful and happy life. Through counterintuitive advice such as “don’t try”, he manages to convince us that we do not have to be famous to be immoral and that we do not have to give a fuck about every little thing in life. This book teaches you how to take back control of your life in order to be truly happy.
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The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson
Who is it for?
Best suited for those sick and tired of worrying, and those seeking to take back control of their lives.
In “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck”, you’’ learn:
Why the way to success is failure.
Why you should seek out negativity in your life to be happy.
Why no one is truly extraordinary.
Mark Manson Biography
Mark Manson is an American self-help author of three books – “Models,” “Everything is Fucked,” and the New York Times bestseller “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck.” He also hosts his blog at markmanson.net, regularly writing about relationships, happiness, life choices, psychology, and modern American culture. Manson graduated from Boston University with a degree in international business.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck Book
The Subtle Art of not giving a fuck by Mark Manson is an easy read for anyone who wants to learn how to be happier.
The Book in Three Sentences
- The Subtle Art of not giving a fuck is a book that challenges conventional wisdom by inviting readers to NOT try, say NO often and embrace negative thinking
- Being comfortable with being different means not giving a fuck about being different.
- You must care about something.
The Five Big Ideas
- Conventional wisdom tells us to focus on what we’re not doing wrong. We should also focus on what we’re doing right. But, conventional wisdom doesn’t tell us how to get there.
- The key to a happy life is not caring about more things; it’s caring about fewer things, caring about only what is true, immediate, and important.
- If you feel angry about feeling anxious, you’re stuck in what Manson calls “the feedback loop from hell.”
- However, if you don’t give a fuck that you feel bad, then you short-circuit your feedback loop from hell. You tell yourself, “I feel like shit, but who cares?”
- We all feel like we’re not good enough at something. We all feel like we’re lacking in some area of our lives. We all feel like there’s something about ourselves that we wish we were different. But what if we could just let go of those feelings? What if we could just let them go? What if we could let go of all of those thoughts and feelings and just be okay with who we are right now?
What Not Giving a Fuck Means
- Subtle truth #1: Not giving a fuck doesn’t mean you’re indifferent. It means you’re comfortable with being different. There’s no such thing as not caring. You must care about something. You can’t be an important and life changing presence for some people without being a joke and an embarrassing presence for others.
- Subtle truth #2: To not give a fuck about adversity, you must start giving a fuck about something more important than that adversity. If you find that you are consistently giving too many fucks about trivial shit that bothers you, chances will be that you don’t really care about anything else.
- Subtle truth #3: Maturity is what happens when we learn to only care about what is truly worthy of our time and energy. We stop caring about everything else. We become selective about what we choose to focus on.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck Summary
The desire to feel better is itself a negative experience, and the acceptance of one‘s negative experience is itself an even greater negative experience. Paradoxically, the acceptance of our negative experiences is itself a positive experience, because we can then choose to change them.
The more we try to feel better all the time, we will never feel better. We will always feel worse because we are chasing an illusion. If we stop chasing our illusory goals, we will start living life instead of trying to live it.
To achieve anything worthwhile, you must overcome the negative experiences associated with it.
Not giving a fuck means staring down life’s toughest challenges and still taking action.
If you give too many fucks—if you give a fuck about everyone and everything—then you will feel that you’re perpetually entitled to be comfortable, happy, and satisfied at all times, that things are supposed to be just exactly how you want them to be.
We should accept pain and loss as part of life.
The greatest truths in our lives are often the most unpleasant to hear, but they’re worth hearing nonetheless.
We suffer because we are biologically designed to feel pain. We need to feel pain in order to motivate us to change our behavior.
There will always be problems. But you can choose what kind of problems you want to face. You can choose to focus on the problems that bring you joy, or the ones that challenge you. And you can choose to let them define your
Problems don’t go away; they just change form.
Happiness comes from enjoying problems you’re facing and solving them.
If someone is actually happy, they don’t need to stand in front of themselves and tell themselves that they’re happy.
Emotions are simply bodily sensations designed to help us navigate our environment.
Negative feelings are a call to action! When you feel them, you’re supposed do something about it.
Just because something feels nice doesn’t mean it’s good for you.
Whatever makes us happy will inevitably make us unhappy.
A more important question, a question that many people never think about, is, “How will I feel if I fail? How will I feel if I succeed?” Because that determines whether we will strive to achieve something or not.
What matters most isn’t “what do you want to enjoy?” The relevant question is “what pain do you want to endure?” The path to happiness is one filled with suffering and shame.
What you’re willing to struggle for defines who you are.
We struggle because we want success.
Our problems give us happiness, but they also create new problems for us.
Self-esteem is not just about feeling positive about yourself. It is also about feeling bad about yourself. Self-esteem is not just a measure of your feelings about yourself, but also a measure of your feelings towards others. If you feel bad about yourself, then you will likely feel bad about other people. You may even start to hate them.
Those who feel entitled see everything in their lives as either affirmations of or threats to their own greatness.
True self-worth isn’t determined by how someone feels about their positive experiences; it’s determined by how they feel about their negative experiences.
A person who actually possesses a high sense of self-worth is able not only to look at their negative traits honestly but also to act to improve upon them.
A lot of people feel that if they accept mediocrity, they’ll always be stuck there and never achieve anything, never get better and that their lives won’t matter at all.
The rare few who become truly exceptional at something are not because they think they’re exceptional. Instead, they become amazing because of their obsession with improvement. That obsession with improvement stems from a deep sense of self-doubt. They know they’re not that great at all, and they’re driven to prove themselves wrong.
If suffering is inevitable and our problems in life are inevitable, then the question we need to ask is not “How can I stop suffering?’ but “Why am i suffering—for what purpose?’
Self-Awareness is like an onion. First layer is a simple understanding that you are feeling a certain emotion. Second layer is an ability to question why you are feeling that emotion. Third layer is your personal values: Why do you think this is a success/failure? What does it mean to you? How are you measuring yourself and others?
Values underly everything we are and do, and if what we value is not helpful, if what we consider successful/unsuccessful is poorly chosen, then our thoughts, our emotions, our day-to-day feeling will all be out of whacks.
Much of the advice available operates at a superficial level of simply making people feel better in the short term, without addressing the underlying issues.
Think about something that bothers you. What is it? Why does it bother you? Is there a reason behind your annoyance? If so, what is it?
What is objectively true doesn’t matter as much as how you come to perceive it, how you choose to evaluate it, and how you value it.
Our values determine the standards by which we judge ourselves and others.
To change how you see your problem, you need to change what you value, and/or how you judge success and failure.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck Happiness
Happiness is not caused by pleasure; rather, it is an effect.
Research shows that once people are able to provide for their basic physical needs (food and shelter, for example), the correlation between happiness with worldly success quickly approaches zero
Constant positivity is an avoidance strategy, not a valid solution for life’s problems. Problems which, by the way should be invigorating and motivating you.
When we focus on what we have instead of what we lack, we create an environment where we can grow and become happier. When we focus on what we don’t have, we create an environment that keeps us stuck and prevents us from moving forward.
Problems add a sense to our lives.
Some of the greatest experiences in our lives are not pleasant, not successful, not known, and/or not positive.
Good values include those that are based on reality, help others, and are easy to change. Bad values include those that are superstitious, harmful to others, and hard to change.
When we have poor standards, we’re basically giving fucks about things that don’t matter, things that actually make our lives worse.
Often the only difference is whether we choose it or not. If we choose it, then we’re responsible for it.
If you’re miserable in your current situation then chances are it’s because you feel like something is out of your control – that there’s a problem you have no power to change.
We don’t always control what happens to our lives. But we always control our interpretation of what happens to us, and how we respond. We can choose to see the glass half empty or half full. We can choose to focus on the negative or the positive. We can choose to dwell on the past or look forward to the future. We can choose to blame others or forgive ourselves. We can choose to give up or keep going. We can choose to let go or
The more we take responsibility for our lives, and the more we practice taking responsibility for our lives, then the more powerful we become.
Taking responsibility for our problems is the first step to solving then.
Many people hesitate to take responsibility because they think that taking responsibility means accepting blame.
The responsibility/faults fallacy allows people to pass the blame for solving their problems onto others.
Our beliefs are maladaptive, and our memories are terribly inaccurate.
The more someone threatens your identity, the less likely you are to trust them. Manson calls this, “The Law of Avoidance”.
When we stop telling ourselves stories about who we think we are, we become free to actually act and grow.
Your problems aren’t unique. You’re not the first person to ever face them. And you won’t be the last.
The more narrow and rare your identity, the more everything will feel like it threatens you. That is why you should define yourself in the simplest, most ordinary ways possible. You should not try to be someone else, because then you will always be someone else.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck Questions
Questions that will help me breed more uncertainty in my life.
- What if I’m wrong?
- If I were wrong, what would it mean?
- Will being wrong create a better problem for me or a worse one for me and others?
Remember that for any change to occur in your life, you need to be wrong about something.
Being able to look objectively at different options without necessarily adopting any of them is perhaps the central ability required for changing one’s life in a meaningful way
If it’s down his own screwing up, or everyone else’s screwing up, it’s far, far, far, more likely that he‘s the one who‘s screwed up.
If it feels like you’re fighting against the world, chances are you’re really just fighting against yourself.
Improvement is always based on failure. You can never get better at something unless you fail at it first. Success is based on how many failures you’ve had. If someone is better at something than you, it‘s likely because they’ve failed at it more than they have. If someone is less successful than you, it”s likely because they haven’t experienced enough failures yet.
We can only be truly successful at something if we’re willing to fail at it. If we’re not willing to fail, then we won’t be willing to succeed.
Life is about not having any idea what to do and then doing something anyway
Action isn’t just the effect of motivation. It’s also the cause of it!
If you don’t feel motivated to make an important change, do something—anything—and then use the reaction to that action to motivate yourself.
When we become successful, we start to lose our sense of purpose. We stop caring about what we’re doing because we’ve achieved everything we wanted to achieve. We stop trying to grow because we think we already have everything we need. We stop pushing ourselves because we think we’re already perfect. We stop striving because we think we’ve already succeeded.
Ultimately, the only ways to achieve meaning and a feeling of importance in one‘s life are by rejecting alternatives, narrowing one’s freedom, choosing one place, one belief or (gulp) committing oneself to one person.
We all need to care about something, in order for us to value something. To value something, we must also reject what is not that thing.
The desire to avoid confrontation and conflict is a deep and subtle manifestation of entitlement.
A healthy relationship has two main components: 1) Accepting responsibility for one’s own actions and 2) Rejecting and being rejected by one’s partner.
A healthy relationship is one where both parties are happy with the relationship. A healthy relationship is not one where you try to fix your partner’s problems because you think you will feel better about yourself if you do. A healthy relationship is one where you solve your own problems and then help your partner solve theirs.
Entitled individuals who blame others for their feelings and actions do so because if they constantly portray themselves as victims, eventually another individual will come along and rescue them, and they will get the love they’ve always wanted. Entitled individuals who take the blame for others’ feelings and actions do so, because if they “fix” their partner and save them, they will receive the appreciation they’ve always wanted.
It can sometimes be hard to tell if someone is doing something because they feel obligated or because they really want to. To help you figure out what someone wants, ask them directly. If they say yes, then they probably want to do it. If they say no, then they might not want to do it.