The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson is a best-selling book that serves as Manson’s reaction to the self-help industry. With so many books forcing mindless positivity with little to no practicality, Manson believes this does the opposite of helping people. As a response, he offers some personal experiences to showcase how struggles can help give your life meaning.
Here are some essential tips we can learn from the book:
1. Give a f*ck only to the things that matter.
It might sound simple, but you’d be surprised how many people care about things that don’t add value to their lives. From online validation to a random comment from a person they don’t like, people who tend to care or “give a f*ck” about such things are less likely to understand what matters most.
In short, Manson isn’t telling everyone to “not care” or be indifferent but to care about the things that only matter. If you care about your family, self-improvement, and dreams, focus your energy on that, regardless of what others say.
2. You become unstoppable when you stop caring about the pain that your goals require.
You become more likely to succeed when you stop giving a f*ck about the pain that comes with your goals. The reason is that we become more focused on achieving something than on the side effects of the work it takes to achieve the goal.
Often, it is our fear of failure that is holding us back. Instead of trying to suppress that fear, admit that you are afraid, then aim for your goals anyway. Of course, you’re scared! That’s okay! Embrace that fear but go for it anyway. It’s normal.
3. When a person has zero problems, the mind immediately finds a way to invent some.
People are becoming more offended each day because they are lost. They have nothing to strive for. They become complacent, emotional, and weak with no mountains to climb, no obstacles to leap over, and no problems to solve. A person with everything handed to them on a silver platter is like a bird who never left the nest because they’re too comfortable. When raised in such an environment, people never need to spread their wings and fly, and why should they?
However, that can be different. Suppose you’re in a similar situation because you feel smothered by your parents or lifestyle. In that case, it is possible to get out of the rut.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to create problems but find something challenging and good for your health and growth. Once you find that one thing, test yourself and see how much you can push yourself. See? You’re already allowing yourself to be uncomfortable; in this scenario, being uncomfortable can be a positive experience.
4. Not every problem is a negative experience.
Setbacks, obstacles, and a “fork in the road” don’t always mean that it’s a sign of a problem. Even problems like constant failures or negative feedback can be positive because it teaches you to view things from different perspectives. These problems also sharpen your mind, challenging you to step up and test how much you want to achieve something.
One should never avoid failure. After all, failure is a part of life, and so is success.
Takeaway: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck remains a best-seller because of its succinct nature. However, it’s important to note that we shouldn’t immediately stop caring but that we should put all our care and energy into something worthwhile. When you learn to manage your emotions, you know which goals to prioritize. Eventually, you’ll find yourself doing more and hesitating less.