The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson

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My Rating: 3/10
Published or Updated On: 
November 19, 2022

Big Picture Thoughts

This book wasn't for me. I really wanted to love it because of the humorous approach, but found it just too incoherent & ramble-prone. It felt like the book presented a caricature of a person suffering in a way that I wasn't.

The Main Ideas

  1. Every path in life has problems, so the way you overcome is by finding something meaningful to keep driving you.
  2. Care less about things that don't matter (most), care more about the few things that do.
  3. Expecting no problems or negative feelings in life is the root cause of all kinds of trouble.

Summary Notes

Logic with not trying - don’t try with the things that don’t matter. Try with the things that do, but understand that a lot of shit doesn’t matter. And the stuff that does, you’ll get better at by accepting the associated pain (backwards law).

Not all suffering is equal but we all must suffer - pain and loss is inevitable

Suffering is biologically useful - nature’s way of encouraging change. Pain teaches us what to pay attention to.

Like physical pain, psychological pain isn’t always bad, can be healthy or necessary. Emotional pain of rejection or failure teaches us how to avoid that in the future.

By coddling ourselves and living in a society that promotes coddling, we lose the benefit of experiencing doses of pain that teach.

Problems never go away, they just improve. Life is an endless series of problems. “Hope for a life full of good problem”?

Happiness comes from solving problems. True happiness comes from finding the problems you enjoy having and enjoy solving.

People deny problems exist in the first place. Or. Victim mentality.

Emotions evolved only to help us live and reproduce a little bit better. That’s it. Biological signals designed to nudge you in the way of change. Negative emotions are a CTA

Emotions are part of the equation but not whole thing. Just because something feels good doesn’t mean it is and vice versa. Emotions are sign posts from our biology, not commandments, so DONT always trust them - question them!

Hedonic treadmill

Happiness requires struggles - real serious life long fulfillment have to be earned through the choosing and management of our struggles. Solution lies in the acceptance and active engagement of that.

Not a question of what do you want to enjoy, question of what pain do you want to sustain.

People fantasize about the end goal but it never happens if you aren’t in love with the process (rock band example).

Our struggles determine our successes. Our problems birth our happiness along with slightly better problems.

Metallica - megadeath, guy considers himself a failure...we’re apes 🦍 we evaluate ourselves against others - the question is BY WHAT STANDARD (eg success relative to Metallica)

Our values determine the metrics by which we measure ourselves and everyone else. Japanese lt. drove him but also hurt him when we came back.

If you want to change how you see your problems, you have to change what you value and or how you measure failure and success.

Beatles guy - getting kicked out let him meet his wife and have his kids. So he was happier than Metallica guy. What was gained, meant so much more to him.

Shit values: pleasure, material success, always being right, staying positive

One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful - Freud

It’s about good values and good metrics

Good values - reality based, socially constructive and immediately controllable

Bad are vice versa

Marathon - forced? Bad. Chosen? Empowering. Responsibility changes perspective. Choose your problems.

William James psychologist - turned his life around from suicide by for one year believing he was 100% responsible for everything in his life.

Your responsibility to choose the meaning of the event and a response

Responsibility and fault are not the same thing. Disentangle them. Problems we aren’t at fault for but are responsible for: eg baby on your door step. Blame/fault. Girlfriend breaking up example.

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