Self-help books are a dime a dozen and most of them have one thing in common, they all tell you how to keep positive no matter the event. It has become an equation that says self-improvement will lead to happiness. It becomes an obsession to be happier, healthier, richer, smarter, sexier, and better than the rest.
Essentially, these self-help books, gurus, videos, and what have you, are telling you to focus on the accumulation of superficial things that will bring about happiness. It becomes a smorgasbord of things to strive for that delude you away from the things that maybe are more important to focus on. It becomes an unhealthy fixation on what we perceive we lack.
That is where The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck comes in. The author, Mark Manson, basically tells you to throw all that crap out the window.
How does he do that, you might ask? Well, I’m glad you did
The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck
“The key to a good life is not giving a fuck about more; it’s giving a fuck about less, giving a fuck about only what is true and immediate and important.”Mark Manson – The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck
Mark basically tells you that all of the self-help plans in the world have reinforced us into believing what they tell us is important, not actually what is important. Instead, he takes the approach that sometimes life just sucks and we have to deal with it. Plain and simple.
We are taught that if life hands us lemons we should make lemonade when in reality what we need is just to be able to stomach the lemons a bit better. Not everyone can be extraordinary and that is perfectly okay. We have to remember that as humans we are flawed and limited in our abilities. Not every one of us can be what we want. While this may not be fair it is most definitely not always our fault.
Our true power comes from learning and accepting what our limitations are and being able to work with them. We should be, actively, embracing our fear, flaws, and uncertainties. Instead of striving for things that simply out of our control, we should focus on what we can. In essence, learn to not give away all of our fucks but use them for the things we care most about. This is the reality we should be having
Do or do not
Mark starts off the book with a story about Charles Bukowski and his rise to becoming an author. Bukowski was an alcoholic who wanted to become a writer. He tried for decades to fulfill his dream, only to have every door shut in his face. He made meager earnings from his day job with the postal service and wasted most of it on alcohol and gambling. He spent thirty years of his life like this, without a single advancement in his dreams.
At the age of fifty, a small publisher took an interest in Bukowski and wanted to publish his works. When he propositioned Bukowski, Bukowski responded with, “I have one of two choices – stay in the post office and go crazy… or stay out here and play as a writer and starve. I have decided to starve.” Bukowski went on to write six novels and hundreds of poems, He would sell over two million copies of his books. That makes him seem like a winner, does it not?
When Bukowski died, he had the words “Don’t try” carved into his tombstone. An odd choice for someone who seemed to follow his dream. What Mark shows us with the telling of Bukowski’s story is this, Bukowski accepted that he had shortcomings in his life. He knew he wasn’t the shining epitome of literary goodness. Quite the opposite, Bukowski wrote about what he knew, his failings. He chose to accept what he was giving in his life and make the most of it. This is the first lesson that Mark teaches us in his book, The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck. Instead of trying to be something you are not, simply be the best at what you are.
Tying it all together
Mark does an excellent job of taking ideas we have been forced to learn, throughout our life and disassembling them to give us a new perspective on how to navigate life for a more healthy interaction. Each chapter is a mirror for us to look at ourselves a little deeper, to question the whys of where we assign our fucks. Ultimately, the goal is for us to learn to re-evaluate what we consider important, to decide where we want to give our fucks and where we do not.
It seems that life is constantly throwing things at us and we have to assess whether we need to find them important to our lives or if they are something we can just let pass us by. It is about deciding what are the most important things we want to keep close to us and what makes us happy.
If you are looking for a no-nonsense book that helps you gain a new perspective on what we should value, then I strongly encourage you to pick up this book and give it a read. I am not paid in any way to give this book a review. I have a few friends who have read it and commented on how it allowed them to change their perceptions and give them a better outlook on life. In a time where I am dealing with health and lifestyle changes, it is nice to have a book that teaches me a different lens to view my life. You can pick up Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck on Amazon.