The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, by Mark Manson
I have to be honest, at first I thought I wouldn’t get anything out of this book because I already have a don’t give a fuck mindset (when necessary). I’ve read so many books that I thought were similar, and my outlook was already to not care what people thought about me.
I think I’ve sort of always been like that. Growing up I switched schools every three years. I had to make new friends every few years, and young girls are mean. Usually the first year at a school, the girls didn’t like me. So I had to be OK in my head and just deal with it. I think that is where it started.
My husband can take credit for the rest. He definitely has a don’t give a fuck attitude (and always has). He doesn’t waste time worrying about what people think of him. He just is who he is, and does what he does. That has rubbed off on me. Over the years it’s been easier for me to say no to things, and just focus on what is best for me and not care what other people think of me.
I do think you can be that way and still be a nice person who cares about people.
I realized the difference between me and lot of my friends and colleagues was this outlook — I realized how free I feel. I really think my stress level in the past 6-7 years has gone way down. And stress has such a huge effect on your health. My husband is so calm in situations that I see as stressful, that I’m able to almost channel him.
The first few years I was an entrepreneur (with no real plan and just a ton of stress and emotions) were rough. Really rough. After a while, I figured it out and have been working hard ever since, and each year it gets better.
If you feel like maybe you need a little help in this area — a lot of things stress you out, you feel like you can’t focus on one thing, feel like you are always going in a lot of different directions, maybe you constantly have 20 tabs open on your computer and you bounce from thing to thing and can never remember what you were actually doing, maybe you do things for others and not for yourself, maybe you check Instagram every 10 minutes, maybe you constantly obsess over Instagram followers and like numbers, maybe you just aren’t really that happy — then this book will be great for you.
It’s a quick read. I got a TON out of it. A lot of it I already knew or felt, and Mark just puts it so bluntly, it’s good to remind myself of these things. I also think he really is able to articulate how social media is affecting us. If you agree or connect with of the following excerpts, you need to go get this book!
A few excerpts that I connected with (excerpts in italics, bold added by me for emphasis, my thoughts are not in italics):
And while there’s nothing wrong with good business, the problem is that giving too many fucks is bad for your mental health. It causes you to become overly attached to the superficial and fake, to dedicate your life to chasing a mirage of happiness and satisfaction. 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.
The Feedback Loop from Hell has become a borderline epidemic, making many of us overly stressed, overly neurotic, and overly self-loathing.
I can totally relate to this. Since Instagram is part of my job, brands look at my engagement, and my likes to decide if they want to work with me or not. I try to do my best, with good content, and a good strategy, but I also have to separate myself and also not let it drive me insane, stress me out, and make me feel bad about myself.
Also, I just want to put out good content, what I think is good, I don’t do it for the likes. And sometimes my content doesn’t perform great — but I don’t care, I just want to be true to myself and feel good about what I post.
We have so much fucking stuff and so many opportunities that we don’t even know what to give a fuck about anymore. Because there’s an infinite amount of things we can now see or know, there are also an infinite number of ways we can discover that we don’t measure up, that we’re not good enough, that things aren’t as great as they could be. And this rips us apart inside.
Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for.
This seems true not only in work but also in relationships.
This flood of extreme information has conditioned us to believe that exceptionalism is the new normal.
The problem is that the pervasiveness of technology and mass marketing is screwing up a lot of people’s expectations for themselves.
Being “average” has become the new standard of failure.
I do think that the access to being able to see other successful people and hear their stories (or people we think are successful) even though they are probably such a small percentage of the population, while it can help us strive to do better, it can also make us crazy and feel like we are never good enough.
I definitely struggle with this. I try to celebrate my wins, but I’d have to say that I’m constantly thinking of doing better, bigger, more, etc. I haven’t reached a point where I feel like I’ve done enough or where I’m happy with where I’m at.
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 your fears and anxieties is what allows you to build courage and perseverance.
I think people are getting better at this actually. A lot of people put on a facade on social and only show the beautiful happy things in life, but the younger generations are used to sharing everything now, and it seems to me that the trend is swinging toward more openness, and sharing your feelings and insecurities. This helps people connect with you. It think for older generations who didn’t grow up with a cell phone or iPad at the age of 10, this is harder for. Even me. I definitely think really long and hard about writing and talking about certain things publicly and I like to maintain some sense of privacy.
If you want to change how you see your problems, you have to change what you value and/or how you measure failure/success.
This is why people are often so afraid of success—for the exact same reason they’re afraid of failure: it threatens who they believe themselves to be.
Improvement at anything is based on thousands of tiny failures, and the magnitude of your success is based on how many times you’ve failed at something. If someone is better than you at something, then it’s likely because she has failed at it more than you have. If someone is worse than you, it’s likely because he hasn’t been through all of the painful learning experiences you have.
People don’t see the years of failures when they see people they consider successful. But in most cases, the time and failures are there. We need to celebrate our successes, and also evaluate what happiness is to us. I think it’s actually harder to be happy now. It’s a grass is greener situation all the time. All we have is the now, not yesterday, tomorrow is not guaranteed, so we really have think about what makes us happy now, focus on that, and not give a fuck about anything else.