The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – Mark Manson {Book in 5 Mins}

One thing you have to accept when you start reading Mark Manson’s manifesto on life, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, is he swears. A lot. In a nutshell, Manson is not subtle about anything. But sometimes, that’s a good thing. Too much subtlety and reservation can lead to dissatisfaction in life, spreading yourself too thin and caring about things that, when you think about them, you realise you don’t give two flying f*cks about and never will. Simultaneously, Manson encourages limited exposure to mindless distractions such as social media, advanced technology, television and meaningless apps and suggests limited concern over things that have little to no meaning or value in your life. If it doesn’t matter in 5 years, don’t spend more than 5 minutes (one of my favourite mantras).

Manson himself has said, “If seeing things online or hearing things your co-workers say is really affecting you that much then you need to look at the values in your life. If your emotions are constantly being pushed this way or that way, and you feel like you’re never in control, it’s probably because you’re valuing a lot of the wrong things.”

A few more Mark Manson gold nuggets:

On positivity: “F*ck positivity,” Manson says. “Let’s be honest; sometimes things are fucked up and we have to live with it.”
On being or trying to be extraordinary: “Not everyone can be extraordinary – there are winners and losers in society, and some if it is not fair or your fault.”
On seeking happiness: “The path to happiness is a path full of shit heaps and shame,” he states.

Manson realises that life’s  got nothing to do with the problems you have or don’t have. And it’s also got nothing to with finding a life that is problem-free. In fact, what you should be doing is finding the problem you want to have.

{How I chose to read it – Pine-Lime Splice greatly increases your chances of enjoying this fascinating read.}

The Book in 5 Minutes

So, in a nutshell for this inaugural book in 5 minutes, here’s a rundown of what you can expect in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck:

  • Don’t try to want and search for positive experiences, this will only bring negative let downs. Only focus on the truly important things in life. It’s not about being indifferent, it’s about being okay to be different. You also need to find something to give a f*ck about and you’re always choosing what to give a f*ck about.
  • Happiness is a bit of a problem as life inherently is full of suffering, pain and failure and you need to accept this. Problems never really go away and sometimes the solution of one creates another. Considering the almost unimaginable amounts of painful problems in the world you need to choose which pain and/or problem you want to deal with. Joy is not found at the summit but in the climb itself.
  • You are not a special snowflake. Unless you are legitimately Stephen Hawking, you are just an average snowflake. Forget feelings of entitlement and realise that when you’re not a special snowflake then your problems aren’t all that great – but they’re not all that horrible either.
  • Learn the value of suffering and become more self-aware of your values. Your problems will always and forever be determined by your values in life. Good values are reality based and controllable (“I value health therefore I go running, eat well, etc”), bad values are completely out of your control (“I value being promoted at work” you can work 15 hour days but if your boss still doesn’t like you then you’re going to have some major problems here). This is where Manson talks about his 5 major values: responsibility, uncertainty, failure, rejection and contemplation of one’s own mortality.

5 Major Values

  • Value No. 1. Responsibility. You are responsible for the problem and for how you choose to respond to events. Don’t confuse fault with responsibility – fault if past tense, responsibility is present tense. It’s not about the cards you’re dealt but the choices you make with those cards.
  • Value No. 2. UncertaintyYou are always growing and learning, therefore if you’re learning prior to that learning you were wrong and then you learnt how to do it less wrong (until you learn some more and so on). Focus on just trying to be less wrong each day than you were the previous day. Certainty is the enemy of growth – you can’t grow and learn if you think you’re right about everything. Be less certain of yourself, think ‘What if I’m wrong? What would it mean if I’m wrong? Would it really be the end of the world?’ (Short answer = no).
  • Value No. 3. Failure. Failure is the way forward. You shouldn’t be worried about doing something wrong – you should just go ahead and do it! It’s hard to be motivated when you’re not doing anything but action can be the catalyst and stimulus for motivation.
  • Value No. 4. Rejection. Accept the importance of saying no and realise that rejection will make your life better. If you are choosing good, controllable values in life then that means you are therefore rejecting all other alternatives. Take into account that this is not the easiest task however and it will be harder if you have poor personal boundaries. So for those who might boundaries = taking responsibility for your own actions and emotions, while not taking responsibility for the actions of emotions of others.
  • Value No. 5. Contemplation of Your Own Death. A bit of a heavy one sure, but think about what will you leave after you’re gone. We constantly feel the need to leave something behind of ourselves whether it is a company or building or product named after us or created by us. There really is nothing to be afraid of though about death however, keeping it in your mind makes it incredibly easy to keep valuing the good things and ignoring the bad.

The Big Takeaway

The book in one sentence: At it’s core, it’s not about what you don’t give a f*ck about, it’s all about what you do give a f*ck about.

Get Your Hands On It

Want to dive right into The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck? This article only briefly touches on the amazing wisdom you’ll find in the pages of Mark Manson’s guide to a better life. Purchase it now at The Book Depository, Booktopia, Amazon, Barnes&Noble or listen to it on Audible.

{No affiliate or third party links are present in this post, all opinions are the author’s. Any sponsorships will always be made clear on Millennial Falcons.}

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