The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck - by Mark Manson #

Date Read: 2023-05-05 #

Notes #

In short this book, is about choosing the right values and focusing on the process and not the outcome, about choosing pain over pleasure.

The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.

Subtlety #1: Not giving a fuck does not mean being indifferent; it means being comfortable with being different.

Subtlety #2: To not give a fuck about adversity, you must first give a fuck about something more important than adversity.

  • The problem with people who hand out fucks like ice cream at a goddamn summer camp is that they don’t have anything more fuck-worthy to dedicate their fucks to.

Subtlety #3: Whether you realize it or not, you are always choosing what to give a fuck about

Life is an endless series of problems. The solution to one problem creates the next one. Happiness comes from solving problems. Avoiding problems will make you miserable.

  • Denial leads to a life of insecurity, neuroticism, and emotional repression
  • Victim Mentality - blame others for their problems, makes them feel better in the short term, but it leads to a life of anger, helplessness, and despair.
  • escape can provide us a quick rush that makes us feel better

Negative emotions are a call to action

You’re not special. Entitlement plays out in 2 ways

  1. I’m awesome and the rest of you all suck, so I deserve special treatment.
  2. I suck and the rest of you are all awesome, so I deserve special treatment.

Exceptional people on social media are just showing their best side.

People who become great at something become great because they understand that they’re not already great

Self awareness onion

  • first layer of the self-awareness onion is a simple understanding of one’s emotions
  • second layer of the self-awareness onion is an ability to ask why we feel certain emotions
  • third level is our personal values. Why do I consider this to be success/failure? How am I choosing to measure myself? By what standard am I judging myself and everyone around me?

Our values determine the nature of our problems, and the nature of our problems determines the quality of our lives.

Shitty Values

  1. Pleasure
  2. Material Success
  3. Always Being Right
  4. Staying Positive

Good values are

  1. reality-based,
  2. socially constructive,
  3. immediate and controllable.

Bad values are

  1. superstitious,
  2. socially destructive,
  3. not immediate or controllable.

Some examples of good, healthy values: honesty, innovation, vulnerability, standing up for oneself, standing up for others, self-respect, curiosity, charity, humility, creativity.

Some examples of bad, unhealthy values: dominance through manipulation or violence, indiscriminate fucking, feeling good all the time, always being the center of attention, not being alone, being liked by everybody, being rich for the sake of being rich, sacrificing small animals to the pagan gods.

Good Value - Taking responsibility for everything in your life, whether its in your control or not

Good Value - Test your beliefs, doubt you beliefs and feelings. Being wrong opens up the possibility of change. Our pattern recognizing brain just does it’s thing and may not be grounded in reality

  • the more you embrace being uncertain and not knowing, the more comfortable you will feel in knowing what you don’t know.
  • The more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid it.
  • don’t be special. don’t be unique. Redefine your metrics in mundane and broad ways

How to Be a Little Less Certain of Yourself

  1. What if I’m wrong?
  2. What would it mean if I were wrong?
  3. Would being wrong create a better or a worse problem than my current problem, for both myself and others?

Good Value - Fail Forward.

  • We can be truly successful only at something we’re willing to fail at. If we’re unwilling to fail, then we’re unwilling to succeed
  • Shitty values, involve tangible external goals outside of our control. The pursuit of these goals causes great anxiety. And even if we manage to achieve them, they leave us feeling empty and lifeless, because once they’re achieved there are no more problems to solve. Then say hello to your midlife crisis.
  • Better values are process-oriented.
  • Having an existential crisis is good because everything you previously thought to be true and normal and good has turned out to be the opposite. It’s important to feel the pain. Because if you just chase after highs to cover up the pain, then you’ll never generate the requisite motivation to actually change.
  • Action → Inspiration → Motivation

Good Value - Commitment - to value something, we must reject what is not that something

  • People in a healthy relationship with strong boundaries will take responsibility for their own values and problems and not take responsibility for their partner’s values and problems
  • People can’t solve your problems for you. And they shouldn’t try, because that won’t make you happy. You can’t solve other people’s problems for them either, because that likewise won’t make them happy
  • For a relationship to be healthy, both people must be willing and able to both say no and hear no. Without that negation, without that occasional rejection, boundaries break down and one person’s problems and values come to dominate the other’s
  • Trust is the most important ingredient in any relationship, for the simple reason that without trust, the relationship doesn’t actually mean anything
  • Commitment gives you freedom because you’re no longer distracted by the unimportant and frivolous. Commitment gives you freedom because it hones your attention and focus, directing them toward what is most efficient at making you healthy and happy. Commitment makes decision-making easier and removes any fear of missing out; knowing that what you already have is good enough, why would you ever stress about chasing more, more, more again? Commitment allows you to focus intently on a few highly important goals and achieve a greater degree of success than you otherwise would.