The Subtle Art of Not giving a Fuck is a masterpiece and bestseller by Author and Blogger Mark Manson.
In this book, Manson asserts that life’s struggles give it meaning and the positivity that self-help books try to boost is neither practical nor helpful.
“The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck ” premiered on September 13, 2016, and was released by HarperOne a division of HarperCollins Publishers.
The publication is a response to the self-help sector and what Manson viewed as a culture of dumb positivity that is not helpful or practical for many people.
Manson utilizes many of his personal experiences to illustrate how life’s struggles frequently give it more significance, which, he asserts, is a much better approach than always striving to become pleased.
Manson’s strategy and writing style have been categorized by some as contrarian to the overall self-help business, with all blunt honesty and profanity to illustrate his thoughts.
SECRETS OF A HAPPY LIFE
In the world we live in today, we are bombarded by messages that tell us that the secret to having a good life is having nice things a more superior job, better car, a prettier girlfriend.
But when does this all end? Because there’s always going to be something better isn’t there.
We set goals for ourselves and believe that, once we reach these goals, we will be set for life, or we will continue to reach for higher goals. This book tells us the opposite. It tells us that we actually don’t need anything to be happy.
In this post, we will talk more about “the subtle art of not giving a fuck” in detail. It will hopefully give us a deeper understanding of what really matters in our lives.
MORE ISN’T ALWAYS BETTER
My first key takeaway from this book is that more isn’t always better. Imagine you’re starving and you eat that first slice of pizza. It is delicious, so you decide to eat another one.
You keep eating more and more until you’re full, and then you reach a point where you don’t want to eat another slice anymore.
In other words, you gain more pleasure from not eating another slice. In economics, this is called the law of diminishing returns which says that the more we have of something, the less we enjoy it.
Just like that slice of pizza, everything in life works the same way. You might be thinking who wouldn’t want money, a better car, a larger house? I would!
They seem like great goals to aim towards, True! But one thing we tend to forget is that those things aren’t free. They come at a price, and that price is time.
At a certain point, we’ll get so much of it; we’re spending more time as a waste because you could be using it on other things that would result in more happiness.
Everything we do in life is to gain pleasure. If anyone disagrees, I’d be happy to have a debate session down in the comments. In some cases, by stopping what we’re doing, we’re able even to enhance the enjoyment of that very thing.
Let me explain it better. I guess if I were to try to use the pizza example by deciding to eat only six slices instead of twelve, we could use the money we were going to use to buy twelve slices, to buy six slices of a better pizza.
We spend our entire lives looking for that perfect spouse; we lose out in the depth of connection that builds up over time in one relationship.
When we make it our life goal to travel to every city in the world, we miss out on the day-to-day activities that are built on community and a place we call home.
When we spend all our time for the sole purpose of making money, when we already make more than 100k a year, we miss out on doing everything else that gives our life meaning.
This example is a bit tricky because the better we get at something, we tend to make more and more money, so if money is a byproduct, it’s fine as long as it’s not the main priority.
I’m not saying you should have a shitty job, drive a broken car, and marry an ugly spouse.
In fact, in the beginning, try as many things as you can.
Go on a ton of dates, and travel to a lot of countries as long as you understand that at some point, the enjoyment you’ll get from pursuing more experiences will be overpowered by the depth of experiencing a few things to the fullest.
STOP DOING THINGS OTHERS TELL YOU TO DO
The second key takeaway – Stop doing things other people say will make you happier and do something you enjoy.
This contradicts the beliefs of famous philosophers like Aristotle, who said a human’s ability to reason and contemplate about life is what ultimately makes us happy.
In any case, I think Mark, the author of this book, is right; we should stop giving a f*ck about what we’re supposed to do to be happy and instead do what we enjoy.
When it comes to choosing a career, the right way of thinking about it is; that the worst thing about a specific job is that it is something that you have to deal with daily.
When you’re the CEO of a company, you’re going to have to deal with a ton of responsibilities, and your phone will be on 24/7.
When you’re on a customer complaint team, you’re going to have to deal with unsatisfied customers yelling at you all day.
Uber driver- people are puking in your car. You get the point.
In other words, and I quote, “it doesn’t matter where you go, there will always be a massive pile of shit waiting for you. Therefore it’s not about finding a way to avoid the sh*t, but to find the type of sh*t you’re willing to deal with.
DON’T GIVE A FUCK TO THE THINGS THAT DON’T MATTER
Third key takeaway- when we learn to give fewer f*cks to the things that don’t matter, we’re able to give better f*cks for things that matter more. I come across a lot of people who are leaders in their industry, people who are very good at what they do.
I noticed that compared to the average person, these people think more significant or more critical on things that matter, and they give fewer f*cks for things that don’t.
The other day, I tried to position the logo on the top left of this website page. I spent a bit over an hour trying to do it and would have spent another two to three hours in order to figure it out, but then I remembered what I learned from this book to give fewer f*cks for things that aren’t important.
I asked myself, is the logo important right now? Well, of course, a logo is essential, but at that moment, my goal was to create a functional site as soon as possible and when it comes to that objective having a logo at the top of each page isn’t as important. So I worked on something else.
I saw a video the other day, where Arnold Schwarzenegger was giving an inspirational talk on stage.
One of the bits of advice he gave was always having a clear goal on what we want. The same goes for little tasks you do every day. Ask yourself, what do you hope to accomplish?
If you find that what you’re doing isn’t important when it comes to reaching that goal, then don’t do it.
Not giving a fck and having a proactive attitude have a lot in common. When you’re proactive, you think about the end goal. You work towards it, and you don’t give a fck about anything else.
So today, I said f* k about 28 times. We also learned at least three things. The first is that more isn’t always better. In fact, it’s only better until we reach a certain point. We also learned that sometimes we should ask ourselves what we like to do instead of overthinking.
I guess a real lesson is that sometimes we take things too seriously, especially when it comes to personal growth. Just take a breather, loosen up and let go of all the expectations you have of yourself.
Just relax because after you’ve achieved your goals, you’re going to have more goals, and finally, you realize that all you really want in life is to gain the satisfaction of knowing that you accomplished something.
What that will do is, make you happy, but the reality is you don’t have to wait until that point to be satisfied.
Start being happy now, and remember, we’ll face challenges everywhere we go.
Sometimes it’s not so much about trying to get to a point where there are no more challenges, but it’s to pick the type of challenge we’re willing to take on.
Lastly, we learned that if we start to give fewer f*cks for things that don’t matter as much, we’ll begin to notice what’s really important, like our relationships and our health. We will start giving bigger f*cks for the things that matter.
Do you agree with everything said in this book? Even though it seems to contradict the lessons taught in other personal development books, I think that all the principles make sense.
It’s one of my favorite books that I’ve read this year. Over time, I learned that the goal of learning isn’t to find a clear answer to all your life’s problems.
When we learn new things, we’re going to come across a lot of contradictory advice. Instead of treating it as black and white rules that dictate how we should behave, our job is to understand where the author is coming from and then incorporating that piece of knowledge into our understanding.
Whenever we encounter problems in the future, we look at each new problem unbiasedly and make our decisions on a case-by-case basis.