The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: The title sounds comical, right? In many ways, it is, but behind the goofiness and provocative language, it is a skill that so many people fail to possess. The truth is, we all care way too much about everything, which is why this self-improvement memoir written by Mark Manson is a must-read.
Let the Little Things Go
Manson argues that caring less can lead to happiness. Contrary to belief, he is not saying to forget everything and have no emotions; he is saying not to give a hoot about the small stuff. The little things to Manson, however, are what seems like the big things to us. Some everyday things that Manson claims society stress too much about is what others think of us, being right all the time and a need for constant positivity. Manson’s response to all of these stresses is that we always have a choice.
Don’t Let Opinions Define You
There is a part of Manson’s book where he tells a story of a guy whom he knew who did not like to go out and meet women because he was insecure about his height. Even if he went out on dates with women who did like him, this guy would find a way to have a bad attitude towards them, convince himself that they did not like him and scare them away because he felt very unattractive. In reality, his friend was a great guy, but he was angry at the world because he thought everyone judged him for his height, which was not valid. His choice here would be for his friend to adopt a value of only wanting to date women who like him for who he is, and if they didn’t, then that is their loss. In this scenario, he chose to be unhappy. He cared too much of what others thought of him. There are people in this world who choose not to look beyond what they see on the outside, but Mark Manson wants his readers to understand that we need to let that be their problem, not ours.
It’s OK to be Wrong
Society also suffers from the need to always be right. Manson discusses in chapter 4: part 3, however, that the mistakes we make are where room for new information comes in. By realizing that we are not always right, we become more empathetic to others and take on new perspectives. When we think about it, it is so much more stressful to argue with others than it is to find common ground or even apologize if you know that you are the one at fault. Saying sorry is not the end of the world. We can choose to be guarded to any new ideas that our society has to offer, or we can choose to have a guarded mindset.
Don’t Fake Your Happiness
In life, we are told that we always need to look at the positive. Manson has a different viewpoint on this. He claims that the healthiest thing that we can do in our hardest situations is to admit that we are struggling. Denying our emotions can lead to more sadness. Constant positivity, as Manson puts it, is a “form of avoidance.” According to him, wanting a positive experience is a negative experience, while accepting a negative experience is a positive experience. If a person has to search for happiness, chances are they will become sadder as they realize that they are trying so hard to gain this feeling that they seem to lack. We need to take on a go-with-the-flow attitude because happiness is guaranteed to come to us.
Unfortunately, in life, we do not always get along with every person we meet. Not every person is going to find us attractive or feel the same about us as we do about them. We are not all born perfect, and no matter how book smart we may be, we’re bound to make mistakes or hurt the feelings of our loved ones. Most importantly, we are never able to avoid the obstacles that life throws our way, so we need to stop trying. We shouldn’t deny our feelings of sadness, because denying our feelings is unhealthy and can make us feel worse than we already do.
All of this is just the beginning of learning how not to give a … hoot … about the insignificant stuff in life.
Read this book. You will not be sorry.