For this year, one of my goals is to read at least 24 books. Which basically means reading 2 books per month. The first book I chose to read this year was in line with one of my other goals: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson.
The reason I chose this book is because -get ready for the cliché- I really want to achieve bigger things in life. However, the thoughts of these things I wish to achieve, in combination with social media immediately get me overwhelmed, anxious and depressed. In that order. To the point that I’ll just have a glass of wine and hide in bed instead.
And all because I have too much fucks to give.
In all honesty, I hadn’t read any reviews on this book and actually thought it would be another self-help book that would tell me how capable I am of achieving marvelous things in life as long as I cared less about what people think. Boy, was I wrong. Is it a self-help book? Yes. But was it gonna tell me how capable I am and how special I am? Nope! It did everything but that and I loved the book for it.
It was brutally honest. It was confrontational and at times even painful. But it was necessary. Necessary to actually realize what are the things that really matter in life. What are the things I should give a fuck about? Here are 45 of, what I experienced to be, some of the most eye-opening quotes from the book.
1. Self-improvement and success often occur together. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they are the same thing.
2. Conventional life advice (…) is actually focusing on what you lack. It lasers in on what you perceive your personal shortcomings and failures to already be, and then emphasizes them for you.
3. The world is constantly telling you that path to a better life is more (…) You are constantly bombarded with messages to give a fuck about everything all the time (…) Why? My guess: because giving a fuck about more is good for business.
4. The problem to giving too many fucks is bad for your mental health. It causes you to be overly attached to the superficial and the fake.
5. Because there’s an infinite amount of things we can now see or know, there are also infinite number of ways we can discover that we don’t measure up.
6. Wanting positive experience is a negative experience; accepting negative experience is a positive experience.
7. Everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience.
8. To try to avoid pain is to give too many fucks about pain.
10. If you go around giving a fuck about everything and everyone without conscious thought or choice-well then you’re going to get fucked.
11. Not giving a fuck does not mean being indifferent; it means being comfortable with being different.
12. You can’t be an important and life-changing presence for some people without also being a joke and an embarrassment to others.
13. If you find yourself consistently giving too many fucks about trivial shit that bothers you, chances are you don’t have much going on in your real life to give a legitimate fuck about. And that’s your real problem.
14. There’s no value in suffering when it’s done without purpose.
15. The emotional pain of rejection or failure teaches us how to avoid making the same mistakes in the future. And this is what is so dangerous about a society that coddles itself (…) we lose the benefits of experiencing healthy doses of pain, a loss that disconnects us from the reality of the world around us.
16. The secret sauce is in the solving of the problems, not in not having problems in the first place.
17. True happiness occurs only when you find the problems you enjoy having and enjoy solving.
18. Negative emotions are a call to action. When you feel them, you are supposed to do something.
20. People who feel entitled view every occurrence in their life as either an affirmation of, or a threat to, their own greatness.
21. But our attention is limited. There’s no way we can process the tidal waves of information flowing past us constantly. Therefore, the only zeroes and ones that break through and catch our attention are the truly exceptional pieces of information (…) This flood of extreme information has conditioned us to believe that exceptionalism is the new normal (…) the deluge of exceptional information drives us to feel pretty damn insecure and desperate.
22. The rare people who do become truly exceptional at something do so not because they believe they’re exceptional. On the contrary, they become amazing because they’re obsessed with improvement. And that obsession (…) stems from an unerring belief that they are, in fact, not great at all.
23. Everything we think and feel about a situation ultimately comes back to how valuable we perceive it to be.
24. When we force ourselves to stay positive it all times, we deny the existence of life’s problems. And when we deny our problems, we rob ourselves of the chance to solve them and generate happiness.
25. What are the values that you prioritize above everything else, and that therefore influence your decision-making more than anything else?
26. (…) Self-improvement is really about prioritizing better values, choosing better things to give a fuck about.
27. Often the only difference between a problem being painful or being powerful is a sense that we chose it, and that we are responsible for it.
28. We don’t always control what happens to us. But we always control how we interpret what happens to us, as well as how we respond.
29. Nobody is ever responsible for your unhappiness, but you.
30. Taking responsibilities for our problems is far more important, because that where the real learning comes from.
32. Certainty is the enemy of growth.
33. The man who believes he knows everything learns nothing.
34. There’s a certain comfort that comes with knowing how you fit in the world. Anything that shakes up that comfort – even if it could potentially make your life better- is inherently scary.
35. 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.
36. We can be truly successful only at something we’re willing to fail at.
37. We need some sort of existential crisis to take an objective look at how we’ve been deriving our meaning in our life, and then consider a changing course.
38. Entitled people (…) avoid rejecting anything because doing so make them or someone else feel bad.
39. People with strong boundaries are not afraid of a temper tantrum, an argument, or getting hurt.
40. Conflict is not only normal, then; it’s absolutely necessary for the maintenance of a healthy relationship.
41. Pursuing a breadth of experience denies us the opportunity to experience the rewards of depth of experience.
42. Commitment allows you to focus intently on a few highly important goals and achieve a greater degree of success than you otherwise would.
43. But depth is where the gold is buried. And you have to stay committed to something and go deep to dig it up.
44. Our culture today confuses great attention and great success, assuming them to be the same thing.
Without a lie, I was so fascinated by the book that I bought my friend one as well. And I believe anyone who is ready to make changes in their life should read it. Intrigued? Get your book here.
Living in the Netherlands, but also wanna read the book? I got you! Click here to get yours.