Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Summarised in one quote

‘True happiness occurs only when you find the problems you enjoy having and enjoy solving.’ (p.32)

Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is a sagacious book (a word that has quickly run up the ladder of my favourite adjectives of all time).

Manson presents an unrelenting array of counterintuitive arguments supported by profound case studies and analogies. His best ideas aren’t hidden amongst pages and pages of high-minded prose or onerous self-indulgence. He says it right to your face and observes your reaction with a raucous laugh followed by a comforting pat on the back.
Recommended if you want to:
Pursue the destruction of all personal suffering and discover why that’s impossible
Build self awareness around the kind of lifestyle that will make you happy in the long term
Reduce the level of stress and anxiety you have around goals, performance and ability
Understand why we tend towards giving too many f*cks about problems that don’t matter and give too few to those that do
Stories to Remember
Most non-fiction books use storytelling to hit home their points. Here is a selection of my favourite anecdotes from this book, and where to find them.

Desire the Pain (p.9)
Do you know what sucks? Obsessing over what you don’t have. Manson makes the compelling observation that the desire for a positive experience is in itself, a negative experience. ‘The more you desperately want to be rich, the more poor and unworthy you feel, regardless of how much money you actually make. The more you desperately want to be sexy and desired, the uglier you come to see yourself, regardless of your actual physical appearance. The more you desperately want to be happy and loved, the lonelier and more afraid you become, regardless of those who surround you.’

So if you shouldn’t pursue positive experiences how can you ever experience happiness? Mark’s answer: pursue the negative. ‘The pain you pursue in the gym results in better all-around health and energy. The failures in business are what lead to a better understanding of what’s necessary to be successful. Being open with your insecurities paradoxically makes you more confident and charismatic around others. The pain of honest confrontation is what generates the greatest trust and respect in your relationships. Suffering through fears and anxiety is what allows you to build courage and perseverance.’

Lawyer up! (p.15)
It’s easy to get confused about the subtlety of the art of not giving a fock. This book doesn’t advocate indifference. It advocates doing what’s right in the face of adversity.

Manson illustrates this with a story of his mum getting scammed out of a large chunk of money. He could have just shrugged his shoulders, accepted that’s the way the world works and continued watching the latest series on Netflix. Instead he thought, ‘No screw that Mom. We’re going to lawyer the fuck up and go after this asshole. Why? Because I don’t give a fuck.’ The art of not giving a fuck isn’t about being apathetic about everything. It’s about not caring for adversity in the face of achieving your goals.

Responsibility and fault (p.98)
It’s time to define the difference between fault and responsibility, and Manson does this wonderfully. Whilst it’s common for responsibility to follow fault (if I crash my car into you, it’s both my fault and my responsibility to compensate you), there are also many problems that we aren’t at fault for, yet we are still responsible.

‘For example, if you woke up one day and there was a newborn baby on your doorstep, it would not be your fault that the baby had been put there, but the baby would be your responsibility. You have to choose what to do. And whatever you end up choosing (keeping it, getting rid of it, ignoring it, feeding it to a pit bull), there would be problems associated with your choice-and you would be responsible for those as well.’ The punchline is that there is no use blaming other people for your situation. Only you are responsible for it. If your boss sucks, your favourite TV show gets cancelled or your girlfriend cheats on you (a personal story from Mark), only you are responsible for your feelings and reactions. What do you choose?

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