Hey, friends! Have you ever read a book that strikes you so deeply you feel compelled to tell everyone about it? It’s like if your loved ones DON’T read this particular book then they’re absolutely, completely missing out on one of life’s greatest instruction manuals. And since you care so much about them that would really suck, right? Right.
(This post probs contains affiliate links. Full disclosure at the bottom.)
And, that’s basically my intro into reading Mark Manson’s “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck”.
Spoiler alert this witty, laugh-out-loud, philosophical gem has rightfully earned its way of permanence on my bookshelf (which is hard, btw, if you remember how little I like to keep from this post).
If you were able to take a peak at that coveted bookshelf, it would be fairly obvious that besides solving crimes, and studying physiology, I’m big into the “Personal Development” genre. Call it what ya want — “Self-Care”… “Self-Improvement”…”Personal Development”… “Just Make Me Happy and a Good Person”. Different title, same concept of how to be a better human and live a more fulfilling life.
Clichéd, perhaps. But I must admit that the older I get, the more aware I become that we are responsible for creating the happiness in our lives. And that takes an effort. So if someone wants to give me their Cliff Notes version of doing life proper, then I’m usually here for it.
And if you’re Mark Manson, your version of these Cliff Notes-to-life involves not giving a f*ck.
I’m not going to give you a summary of “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” because I really want you to read it. In fact, a full summary written in book form actually already exists and is available for sale. But you’d really be doing yourself a disservice by not digesting the whole thing in entirety. So instead of a summary, I’m going to share with you a few of my favorite take-aways and quotes in the hopes that you buy, borrow, but don’t steal this profound read.
Also, this book references one of the most ingenious and provocative shows ever produced, “The Wire”, twice in the first couple chapters. So itsa yes for me, dawg (Randy Jackson voice).
F.Y.I. if you haven’t figured out already, this post contains mucho adult language and references, so please take this into consideration before further reading.
When I first saw the title of this book, I was a bit cynical. How can we thrive as humans without giving lots of f*cks? We need to care about ourselves, each other, and the world. But within the first few pages, it’s evident that Manson whole heartedly agrees that yes– we needs to give a f*ck about a lot of things. In fact, he quickly points out those that attempt to approach life with constant state of indifference will never be happy, as this is simply living scared. Our biology requires us to care or else we could never survive on this Earth.
The problem is — time is a continuum that unless you’re Marty McFly, can’t be altered. So there’s really only so many f*cks you have to give in your lifetime and unfortunately, most of us give too many to the wrong things.
In other words, we need to better prioritize our f*cks, i.e. the stuff we invest our energy in.
So what should we give a f*ck about?
Good values. Good values can be defined as internally constructed ideals. For example, creativity or humility. Bad values are likewise, externally achieved. Manson, in his typical shockingly candid form, suggests “bad values” would be like “flying on a private jet, being told you’re right all the time, owning a house in the Bahamas, eating a cannoli while getting blown by three strippers”.
Jokes aside, his point is that while it’s absolutely fine to have some bad values, the longevity of happiness is found in the internal “good” ones. Short term pleasures, derived from the external world are rather fleeting, so prioritize your values accordingly.
This prioritization takes practice. In fact, it requires a lot of practice, commitment and dedication, despite all the while knowing you are going to continuously fail in the process.
Manson suggests that happiness is not a simple equation you can solve, but happiness does result from solving problems. There is a big caveat to this statement, however.
You must relatively love the process of problem solving, while simultaneously enjoy the process of failure.
And because this is such a hard task for so many of us to commit to, we take the short cuts. We chase the cheap highs.
The wellness industry has failed us big time here, y’all. We’re constantly being pushed to be positive about anything and everything. But growth rarely happens without contrast. And contrast usually means we’ve failed in some regard. Success, and even learning how to be happy, comes from thousands of attempts to solve a problem, failing, and trying again.
“Learn to sustain the pain you’ve chosen. When you choose a new value, you are choosing to introduce a new form of pain into your life. Relish it. Savor it. Welcome it with open arms. Then act despite it.” page 158
It’s a labor of love. But if you give enough f*cks to the right things, the process will be worthwhile. For those of you that are new to this site, the concept of creating a life in color and contrast is really the foundation of this blog! You can catch up to speed here ; )
We all like to be right, don’t we? But similar to living without contrast, believing we hold power to all the truths in this world also leads us down a lonely road. Conviction is important. Allowing yourself to consider you’re wrong is equally important.
Here’s what happens when we’re willing to be wrong:
Side note on that 2nd point: Manson stresses where most people fail in allowing yourself to be wrong is admitting you’re wrong. He says–
“Many people are able to ask themselves if they’re wrong, but few are able to go the extra step and admit what it would mean if they were wrong. That’s because the potential meaning behind our wrongness is often painful. Not only does it question our values, but it forces us to consider what a different, contradictory value could potentially look and feel like.” page 143
While I won’t say I agree with 100% of Mark Manson’s ideas in “The Subtle Art of Giving a F*ck”, this book resonated with me in a way many books of this genre miss the mark in my opinion. It’s real. There’s no bullshit or pretty filters. And in today’s overly edited society, I’m really down with that type of honesty.
I also know this book made a significant impact on my current life because I did not give the bird to a single driver on the road last week.
Just weren’t my f*cks to give….
To creating a life in color,
p.s. If you don’t have time to read, I highly rec using Amazon’s Audible service for listening! You even get 2 free audiobooks!
This website contains affiliate links, which means Tina may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. You will pay the same price for all products and services, and your purchase helps support this online space. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult with your physician first before trying any new physical activity, supplement, or dietary changes.