We all have been told about the importance of positive thinking and with his New York Times bestseller “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” blogging demigod Mark Manson tells us “f*ck positivity.” Much in the spirit of Palahniuk’s Fight Club, Manson has his own painfully honest and direct way of telling us that sh*t is f*cked and we need to start dealing with it.
It’s time to open our eyes and accept the fact that in modern-day market society there are always winners and losers. Inevitably, some of us will end up in the second category. The sooner we find the courage to face reality though, the sooner we’ll be able to redefine our concept of personal happiness and embrace true wealth.
It’s pointless to deny the importance of money, but meaningful experiences and the way we perceive our existence is what actually defines our reality. Similar to Tyler Durden’s famous quote from the movie: “We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t,” Manson is giving us the wake-up call to cut the bullsh*t and start living a down-to-earth life aligned with what truly matters to us.
Contrary to the common belief, this nihilistic journey is not necessarily about learning to turn lemons into lemonade but more about digesting them accordingly. And Manson teaches us how to do that by laying down some ground rules.
Hold onto true values only
According to classic Stoicism (a philosophy Manson shares to a great extend), there are only two things in life – such we can control and such we cannot. Focusing on the things we can control is what Manson believes to be the only way of achieving profound and meaningful changes in our lives. Honesty is given as an example here – we can choose whether to lie or not. Financial wealth on the other hand – not so much. We can work 12 hours a day and still never get rich. So, what’s the point in restlessly dumping precious energy in a bottomless pit that never gives us anything in return?
Yes, we need a resilient system of beliefs to successfully move through life, but what if our limited knowledge keeps us blindfolded to other aspects of reality? Doubting what we think we know, Manson believes may help us not only obtain and embrace new and valuable knowledge but also to dispose of self-restricting concepts that are holding us back.
What if you were repeatedly told as by your parents as a child that you’re a terrible singer. This idea would be hard-wired into your mind. But what if you are not that bad of a singer after all? Just because we’ve been considering something to be true for a big portion of our lives doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an objective reality or any good for us for that manner.
We are not necessarily here to leave a legacy
Deep within, we are all afraid of dying and the closer we get to the end – the harder it gets to cope with it. That’s why secretly we all seek to achieve immortally by leaving a legacy behind. This, however, can lock our minds onto the future, whereas we can exist only here and now.
It’s important to realize that our real legacy may not be as glamorous as we wish it to be, but still, it could be just as meaningful. Simply by dedicating our brief existence here on Earth to those who we love and care for, we may achieve a much bigger splash than we ever thought we are capable of. And more importantly, we’d be doing it with a true sense of purpose.
Finding “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” on the self-help shelf doesn’t really do it justice. We have to give it credit for being a very courageous nihilistic outcry in a society of “wanting more” that openly raises the question: “What the f*ck do you really want from life?”
“Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for.”
“You and everyone you know are going to be dead soon. And in the short amount of time between here and there, you have a limited amount of fucks to give. Very few, in fact. And if you go around giving a fuck about everything and everyone without conscious thought or choice—well, then you’re going to get fucked.”
“The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.”