Amazon – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
GoodReads – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
Author – Mark Manson
In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people. – Goodreads Synopsis
This one has been at the top of the charts for a while, and after it has been recommended to me multiple times, I thought what the hell. I’m not one much for “self-help” books, (Maybe that’s why I have so many problems…) but this one promises to be different from all the rest. I secretly thought that most books like this were just a scam trying to make a quick buck by telling you to just be happy. This one is a bit different (You can tell by the title alone), and that is because it knows the target audience – Millennials. (Scary OoOoOoOo)
Millennial has been tossed around in the media and from everyone else that is not a “Millennial” and usually it is associated with a negative connotation. The word “entitled” is always used in conjunction with Millennial as well. Mark Manson also knows this, and speaks in depth about this feeling of entitlement. What really stuck out to me was how Mark explains that there are actually two ways to channel that entitlement. There is the first way that everyone knows: that you deserve something more because of who you are/what you’ve done, and the second way: that because when you make yourself a victim out of a negative experience in your past, you are also expecting different treatment. Now that seems obvious to understand, I just never thought about how victimizing yourself is also a form of entitlement. There in lies the true power of the “self-help” books – changing your perspective.
Ok… So I am entitled. What now?
Now the main body of the book starts to come into play. Sure we feel that this hard work we have done deserves something special – I work harder than everyone else in the office, I accomplish more, and I need that promotion now! Where the fuck is it?! Maybe the problem is that you are channeling all of your “fucks” into something that is not going to end up paying dividends later on. Mark tells us that we need to take a step back from caring 110% (and getting 110% emotional) about everything and pick what is really going to matter to us in the long run. Ask yourself: Why I am giving a fuck about this so much. Why is this so important to me. Why are my emotions going totally fucking berserk over this. As it turns out, if you ask yourself why enough times, you might end up getting to the root of the problem and fixing your self-entitlement on the way. So stop fucking crying and figure out what really matters to you.
I am focusing on being happy! Where is my progress?
Nope. Mark wants you to actively seek out the negative experiences instead of the positive ones. (But this goes against all of the other self-help books!) Why would we want to be OK with negative experiences? Because that is how we grow. We learn the most, and grow the most, from all of the negative experiences in our lives. Mark understands this and makes an attempt to reach us through his own personal journey. Maybe we should have just listened to Alfred all those years ago:
Bruce Wayne: What have I done, Alfred? Everything my family… my father built…
Alfred Pennyworth: The Wayne legacy is more than bricks and mortar, sir.
Bruce Wayne: I wanted to save Gotham. I failed.
Alfred Pennyworth: Why do we fall sir? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.
Bruce Wayne: You still haven’t given up on me?
Alfred Pennyworth: Never.
It starts to get a little Buddhist, but we need to learn to accept the negative experiences that have come before, and that will come in the future. It is what will make us a better, and stronger, person. Stop giving a fuck about trying to be happy all of the time.
I’ve been going through some “Millennial” shit recently and I didn’t even know it. The main thing that has been irking me is my work life. I work too hard, I care too much, and I am too ambitious. All of that boils up to one great big pot of entitlement. Aside from the entitlement, I also feel empty. I feel that I am kicking ass all day, giving the world all it’s worth, using the most energetic years of my life, but for what? So some other entitled prick can benefit (or baby-boomer who crashed the houseing market and destroyed the environment)? Take a look at the chart below (shout-out to Kyle for showing me this) –
Ikigai: The Japanese concept that means “a reason for being.” Hmm ok then. So where do we see ourselves here? I am smack in the middle Good/Paid For/Need, AKA – “Comfortable, but feeling of emptiness”. Yes I am good at what I do, Yes I get paid a decent amount for it, and OK I guess someone has to do it – but I feel dead inside. I’m not helping anyone really, I’m not making a difference for the better in the world (which is common among Millennials I guess), so why am I trying so hard? That’s where Mark Manson has helped me. I need to sort out in my life what I should give a fuck about, and I need to bring back balance to the force. (Well maybe not that)
It’s time to stop rejecting the negative, time to stop feeling entitled, and time to sort out the fucks.
Want more Millennial context?
Check out this video. Simon Sinek really explains it better than anyone else I’ve ever heard talk about it. The guy is fucking sharp.
Thanks to Gioia @ My Crazy World of Books Blog for sharing this with me. Check out her blog!!
Check me out on my new social media platforms! I am trying to expand, grow, and meet more people! (If you are reading this after watching the video above – yes – I understand the hypocrisy/irony.)
Nice job with this reflection, Chas! Ikigai concept works well here. Pick up any of Simon Sinek’s books–they are great. Be sure to watch his TED talk, too. I have a hard time getting the Millennial mindset of entitlement–rewards build with time, a track record of performance, providing what is needed, not just what feels good to the giver. True empathy is hard to come by among them. I really enjoyed this post!
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I love such inspiring articles … and this article is not for millennials only. Ikigai, never heard about. On the way to find out more. Thanks!
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Big fan of this book – but it took me a couple times to get the point I needed from it. You have to know yourself, then be yourself. Everyone else is just the critic. Nice review. Well researched and pulled from more than just the book. I guess we all have a little millennial in us that acts out from time to time.
This book has been on my list for a while now but I wasn’t convinced the perspective would be ‘different enough’ from the (many) other self-help books I’ve read. I appreciate your great summary and will check it out.
Hi and thanks for the like!
I saw this post today when I visited your blog. It’s a huge synchronicity for me because I’ve seen this book yesterday in a book shop when I was subtly efforting to change things in my life, but I only became aware of that today. Your review really resonates with me because it highlights what I’ve already found out to be true for my current journey, plus it also gives me a few new insights. So thanks!
Can you please review my blog and share your suggestions?
Like!! I blog frequently and I really thank you for your content. The article has truly peaked my interest.
Reblogged this on Life of Chaz and commented:
There is more depth than the title might suggest…
I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this website. I really hope to see the same high-grade content from you later on as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own website now 😉
Hi Chaz, I know you’ve written this post years ago, but I just read it (I’m a terrible follower) and it made me think a lot. I hate the notion of millennials being the only generation with a “me me me” complex because I think it stems from a basic question of existentialism which most people regardless of generation face. I think it could possibly be from wanting to feel self worth. I read somewhere a theory that people generally have passions in life that reflex things they are good at. And that says a lot. Is my passion in life playing the guitar because I’m really good at it and people constantly tell that I am? (Sadly, I’m no Jimi Hendrix… what am I saying I don’t even play guitar)
I’m not sure I completely agree, but it’s an interesting way of looking at why we do the jobs/passions that we do. Getting paid well (sadly) can also be seen as a way to gage self worth. The Ikigai model made me think of that.
I also read somewhere another theory about how people take on large projects and long term goals and try to build legacies so that they don’t have to face their own immortality. Sorry didn’t mean to get so deep. Just thought that was interesting. Anyway, this book has been on my to read list for a long time. I wonder what you think about it now that it’s been a while since you’ve read it?
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Sorry, I meant “face their mortality”. Not immortality… in case you thought I was Thor or something. I’m very much a mortal.
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You had me intrigued for a minute! Too bad we all aren’t immortal (Thor).
The book is still relevant today, especially with all the changes we are undergoing. Social media has definitely helped spur a cultural revolution, which has brought with it a lot of adverse mental-health effects that this book touches on. Sure, most of it is a shared human experience that every generation or human thinks of at some point.
Most people want to have something to live for, and building a legacy might be the only way that your “shout” into the abyss is ever heard/echoes. Why would someone want that though? Ego? Probably.