Author – Mark Manson
We live in an interesting time. Materially, everything is the best it’s ever been—we are freer, healthier and wealthier than any people in human history. Yet, somehow everything seems to be irreparably and horribly f*cked—the planet is warming, governments are failing, economies are collapsing, and everyone is perpetually offended on Twitter. At this moment in history, when we have access to technology, education and communication our ancestors couldn’t even dream of, so many of us come back to an overriding feeling of hopelessness. – Goodreads Synopsis
Well it’s been over a year since I last posted about the prelude to this book “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck“. In that post I dove into some personal takeaways that I had with reading that book, and some of my own struggles that I have been going through. So what else has changed in the past 16 months? Well to be honest, not much. A lot of the things that I talked about in that previous post still hold true today.
I’ve moved halfway across the US, got a better position at my job, got the best puppy in the world, and I am in a strong and happy relationship. It’s been a very busy year to say the least. So if some things are going really well, why are some going really poorly?
Thinking Brain Vs. Feeling Brain
Manson introduced the idea of the Thinking Brain Vs. the Feeling Brain. The concept is pretty easy to understand, basically it is that you are making bad decisions that ultimately leave you feeling hopeless because you are listening to that “Feeling Brain” of yours. He makes a lot of good points with it that had me look at the way that I have been doing things lately.
There are a lot of examples that he goes into, like: If you know that overeating and drinking a ton of liquor is bad for you, then why are you doing it? It’s just another form of instant gratification that is feeding into your emotions now, but will also wreak havoc on your emotions later too.
Newton’s Three Laws of Emotion
Manson introduces some emotional laws that are cleverly based off of Newtons Three Laws of Motion.
- For Every Action, There Is an Equal and Opposite Emotional Reaction
- Our Self-Worth Equals the Sum of Our Emotions Over Time
- Your Identity Will stay Your Identity Until a New Experience Acts Against It
Now I hate to rip off my last post, but these are the Chaz simple definitions of each point above:
- Bad decisions make you feel bad, good decisions make you feel good. Fix your values.
- Narcissism is the corner stone to Self-Worth, both low and high. If bad things happen you think you deserve them, if good things happen you think you deserve them.
- Our Identity is the emotional impact of the stories that have happened to us, and the values we create after the emotional impacts.
Seeing it written out makes everything seem totally obvious. You say to your self “Well DUH – that all makes sense. Of course that’s what we are. I don’t need a book to tell me that.” I find that the best application of these things is to read what the author is saying, and use it to diagnose your own life. Are there things that you are holding onto that you really don’t need to be holding onto anymore? Who really cares anyways?
It’s all stuff that we have heard before, but told with more modern language that makes it a bit easier to digest for a wider audience.
The Trick of Sevens
Manson speaks of a research study where people were asked to rate themselves on a scale of 1-10 on how happy they were, and what was going on in their life. The results were that most people were always around a 7 no matter what event. Sometimes it went up and sometimes it went down, but it always went back to 7.
It is summed up beautifully as “We could always be happier.” It really makes you think for a bit about what happiness really is, and if it complete happiness would ever be obtainable. This leads to a big part of how Manson basis his own personal views. If true happiness is never obtainable, and pain will always be a constant in life, then why try to torture yourself by hoping that you will achieve is not actually possible?
The Modern Day Rant
In the beginning of the post I mentioned that I was still holding onto a lot of negative thoughts and emotions. You know why? Because I am a human. That is just what it is. I remember back in highschool we were studying some American literature, and while I don’t remember what the exact story was, it was about how Americans were now becoming more open to talking about the darker values of life. The husbands beating the housewives. The major depression and cabin fever. It was taboo to talk about any of that out and the open. It still is to some degree, but not at the levels it once used to be.
Those were thoughts and feelings that you kept to yourself. Now we live in a time where it feels like the exact opposite is true. The millennial generation was taught and raised to voice these emotions and feelings. To command these emotions and feelings. What happened from that? Now we get hundreds of facebook posts everyday on our feed with everyone talking about the plights of life that we are all facing.
We all feel that way though. We are all human. The poor man wishes he had more money so he could be happy. The rich man has the money but is still unhappy. The older generation finds nothing but fault in the younger generation. The younger generation finds nothing but fault in the older generation. And guess what – THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS.
Each year faces new technological advancements that push us further and further into uncharted territory, but the emotions that come with those struggles and challenges are age-old. So what is the answer to it then? We might be on the right path with the facebook posts and the emotion sharing. Imagine if we removed the social media technology aspect. What do we have then? Small tight-knit communities that support each other emotionally in person. Does that mean the answer is going back to our roots? A lot of people blame technology for the cause of emotional stress, but the same has happened with each rise of technology over the long course of human history. Should we just give up, or should we start looking at ways to make it better with the technology that we have, and the technology that is still to come? I vote for the later. I vote for more mental health support during the epidemic that is developing.
Should I Read It?
It is definitely worth checking out. While I mention that some of the emotional problems are age-old, what we need now more than ever is help to deal with the same age-old problems, but now backed behind the behemoth social technology boom that we are living through. This book takes a modern day look at modern day problems, and will hopefully leave you with a bit a hope and perspective by the end.