“In my life, I have given a fuck about many things. I have also not given a fuck about many things. And like the road not taken, it was the fucks not given that made all the difference.
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In order to get people to read nowadays, author’s need to come up with gripping book titles. It is unreasonable for people to judge books by their covers, I know that. However, this does not deny the fact that humans have preconceived notions and reject anything that does not seem attractive. I am one of those people. When I was a kid I would ditch the mushrooms portion of my dinner because they looked brown and earthy. Eventually my parents insisted I give them a chance so I obeyed. Now I eat mushrooms frequently. I have realized that authors need to treat their writing like they are trying to convince children to eat vegetables. They must find a way to sell you the nutritional value of their work without their work looking disgusting. They have to make their ideas appealing, tasty, and relatable. This is precisely what my new favorite author, Mark Manson, accomplished with many readers around the world. With his book “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck”, he helped me learn that many of the things we stress about in our life are really not that big of a deal. Also, in his refreshingly blunt style, he encourages readers to surrender this “how can I make myself feel good about stuff” mentality and accept that life is difficult and there’s nothing we can do to change that. The only thing we can do is decide what we should truly care about.
This book is a collection of remarkably presented insights on struggles we face on a daily basis, but we are too afraid to discuss. Manson sustains the idea that human beings are very attached to their quest of finding happiness, of eliminating hardship, and of living a constantly over the top life. The bottom line is that he understands we have been looking at these situations completely wrong, and I agree with him. Some of the most resonating arguments he made where against our idea that being average is unacceptable, that happiness should be a constant feeling, and that we should never feel bad about anything. Of course, the icing on the cake of this brilliant read is the meaning he gives to the concept of not giving a fuck and how not giving a fuck can change our lives.
We are all Average, and that’s Extraordinary!
Mark Manson states that most of our life depicts average moments, yet we are always looking to do extraordinary things. I believe that the extraordinary factor in our lives is not seen in the magnitude of the things we do. With social media for instance, we are always scrolling through who ate the best food, who attended the biggest party, who has the best job, who took the most viewed selfie, who went on the most epic vacation… Everything we see is the pretty side of people’s everyday experiences, and we are constantly expected to follow these examples. In other words, we are being influenced by a lie, because social media only records the fragments that we want people to see and the rest of our average life remains hidden. It’s almost like being average is embarrassing for a lot of people and this is when we want to ask google how to become a billionaire quick, when we should already be appreciative of the things we have. Being average does not mean we are dull, mediocre, or unfulfilled. It means that we are not the best at everything every second of the day, and that’s perfectly acceptable. We don’t need to be obsessed with having and being the best all the time. It’s better that we focus on individual growth and improvement because that in itself is fucking extraordinary!
Happiness is a Work in Progress
Manson explains in his book that most people have a false idea of what it means to be happy. We are somehow convinced that happiness is only felt when we don’t have any problems to solve, and not when we find ways to solve problems. I know there is also a huge misconception of how often we should feel happy. The truth of the matter is that being happy takes a lot of effort. It’s like when we were young and our parents told us that if we work hard enough at something, even though it’s difficult, eventually we will achieve it and we will feel incredibly satisfied. The same things happens with happiness. As human beings, we are expected to struggle and suffer regularly, and that is not a bad thing. We have to push ourselves in order to manage this hardship, and as a consequence, we become stronger and more resilient. Ultimately happiness is measured in moments, moments when we can identify our pains and recognize that we have the power to solve them. I probably highlighted this part of the book with a massive Red Sharpie, because let’s face it, it’s pretty fucking accurate!
It’s Ok not to be Ok!
I especially loved a part of the book where Manson describes how feeling bad sometimes is necessary. There are moments when I catch myself being ashamed for feeling like crap when things don’t go my way. Whenever I am having a lousy day, I tend to reprimand myself for not focusing on the good, but I have realized that can be damaging. Human beings are constantly looking for ways to dismiss their feelings, but we need to address them instead in the way they demand to be felt. I now refuse to force myself to look happy when I am disappointed. It’s like when people urge you to live in the now, they mean that you need to concentrate on everything that is happening in a specific moment. If that’s the case, why should we change any part of an experience? Feeling bad sometimes is normal. Eventually we get over whatever was bothering us and we move on. Not being ok is not a crime, so kindly tell anyone who makes you feel guilty about your feelings to fuck off!
Now, what does not giving a fuck really mean? How can it change your life?
When people say “I don’t give a fuck”, they tend to use these words with a negative connotation. They mean to suggest that they don’t care. It’s an expression of indifference and nonchalance. For this book, this is not the case at all! I believe Manson uses this statement as a mantra, a movement that compels us to take control of our life. He is adamant about the fact that we can decide what we care about and we don’t need to waste our time concentrating on meaningless things. Somehow, he has managed to break the stigma of this powerful word, and uses it in a constructive way that does not create offense. Not giving a fuck means that we restore the authority in our life, and consequently, we gain freedom.
Would I recommend this book to anyone?
Right now, if you do not own this book, feel free to climb out of that cave you are living under and purchase it on your local book store or preferred ebook platform. It is a fantastically offensive and amazingly enlightening piece of work that needs to sit on your night stand. I seriously believe Mark Manson is the new and improved Sigmund Freud, and if you don’t believe me, go out and read this book for yourself!