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This book is certainly a unique and interesting take on the self-help genre. It’s two parts self-help and one part motivation with a side of mental health. In one of his opening lines, author Mark Manson says, “Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it.”. And he is 100% right. It took me longer than expected to get through this book but because I truly wanted to let his messages sink in, whether I agreed with them all or not. Here are 6 Important Lessons from: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck that really resonated with me that I think people should know.
1. You can’t control other people’s behavior, you can only control your attitude toward how it affects you.
Your friend, boss, colleague, or even a stranger online can do something really shitty that can royally piss you off. What they did will not change, but how you let it affect you is something you have complete control over. You can either dwell on it and hold a grudge, or you can deal with it and move on. The choice is up to you.
2. Your outlook on life can change based on which values you prioritize.
Other people prioritize different values, and that’s ok. You either accept it, or move on from them. Loyalty may be a value you prioritize, and your friend might value life enjoyment. This could get in the way of the plans you made with them when they ditch you to go to a concert instead of dinner with you. You either need to set your expectations at a certain level with the friend who has different values to maintain the friendship, or just let them go.
3. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is just that, it’s subtle
Marc Manson says, “In life, we have a limited amount of fucks to give. So you must choose your fucks wisely.”. You can’t give zero f*cks about everything in life because then you become the asshole. It’s more about valuing what’s truly important, handling it in a way that’s good for you mental health, and then letting go of the negativity from a sh*tty situation.
This one sounds a bit familiar. As I was slowly getting through this book, it made me realize how closely aligned some of my viewpoints and values were with Manson. He has a whole section about uncertainty and being comfortable with it, which is what I recently embraced about much of the uncertainties in my life. He says “[the backwards law]: the more you try to be certain about something, the more uncertain and insecure you will feel. But the converse is true as well: the more you embrace being uncertain and not knowing, the more comfortable you will feel in knowing what you don’t know.” So many people out there are always seeking certainty and assurances. Often, people are trying to find themselves. Manson says “don’t find yourself. I say never know who you are. Because that’s what keeps you striving and discovering.” Fascinating.
5. Failure leads to success
We’ve definitely heard this one is many different ways our whole lives. “You have to fall before you can get up.” “We learn from our mistakes.” But sometimes we don’t always listen. As kids, we are pretty much fearless; jumping off the highest ledge of the jungle gym and scraping our knee or asking our 4th grade crush and getting rejected. We used to do this because we didn’t know what failure was. As we get older, we start to fear failure. Well, Manson’s lesson is pretty much not to give an F about failure. Because we need to fail many times to make the success that much greater.
6. Go beyond yourself
To be honest, there was more than one point during this book that I put it down and didn’t read it for a few weeks because I vehemently disagreed with a few points the author made while preaching to others some of the points above. It wasn’t until the very end that I truly felt connected and understood his point of view even though I didn’t always agree. The final chapter discusses accepting /disregarding one’s fear of death, something most people don’t like to think or talk about . But one thing he said truly struck a chord: “The only way to be comfortable with death is to understand and see yourself as something bigger than yourself; to choose values that stretch beyond serving yourself, that are simple and immediate and controllable and tolerant of the chaotic world around you.” He continues, “happiness comes from the same thing: caring about something greater than yourself, believing that you are a contributing component in some much larger entity, that your life is but a mere side process of some great unintelligible production.”
This really validated everything I’m trying to start to do right now. In finding my passion I will also by trying to reduce my waste, be more eco-friendly, be more charitable, shop more ethically… these small changes aren’t going to have a major impact on my life, but prioritizing these values can lead to significant impacts on the world around me for future generations.
Hope you enjoyed my 6 Important Lessons from: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Marc Manson. Eager to learn more and read more! What are you currently reading?