We’ve all had those days, months and even years, when there is so much baggage and pressure on you to do something, to care or to think of that it just feels all too much.
A prime example is Mohamed Salah during the recent FIFA World Cup.
Extreme pressure put him at a disadvantage, other than his own injury, and too much focus shifted from the national team to put it all on his shoulders. It would make sense that after such a heavy-duty burden, Mo Salah would be looking for ways to relax before the next big championship of his career.
Recently, Mo Salah was seen reading the Arabic version of “The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck” by Mark Manson.
— Mark Manson (@IAmMarkManson) July 5, 2018
So, we took a look at the book to see what it really means to not give a —-.
*So that we won’t have to keep leaving you with dashes, we’ll be switching the words with Football*
The struggle is real, and should be real
Manson immediately narrows in on a bullseye. The unrealistic positive expectations and conventional life advice often given to use are a lie. They don’t help, they instead emphasize what you already believe is wrong with you.
“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.”
Manson continues to point out the main issue. A reason that could explain why people are now more often described as depressive and shallow, and even alludes to the internet and social media’s strong influence on the matter.
He goes on to explain that
“Everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience.
The avoidance of suffering is a form of suffering. The avoidance of struggle is a struggle. The denial of failure is a failure. Hiding what is shameful is itself a form of shame.”
He argues that our new cultural norm is obsessed about with unrealistic positive expectations, which has led to us giving footballs about everything. And when you give a football about everything, you feel entitled and believe everyone should give a football about you; that you should be rich, happy, and have everything going for you.
Since all of these emphasize the things you lack or see as a failure, it turns into a cycle in which you continue to feel lacking called the “Feedback Loop of Hell.”
Within 10 pages, Manson has already described what could be the underlying issue in today’s society, offers truth in an offense manner that enables him to hit home to many of the younger generation, and already has you questioning yourself and your own motives.
The Subtle Art
Early on in the book, Manson shuts down people who judged his book’s cover and title in one go.
“When most people envision giving no [footballs] whatsoever, they imagine a kind of serene indifference to everything, a calm that weathers all storms. They imagine and aspire to be a person who is shaken by nothing and caves in to no one.
There’s a name for a person who finds no emotion or meaning in anything: a psychopath. Why you would want to emulate a psychopath[?]”
This book isn’t about simply not caring about everything or nothing, it is about not caring and letting go of things that are not important to you and your values.
Manson isn’t writing a self-help book that holds your hand, he writes a book that will slap you back into your earthly body so you can help yourself.
Manson argues that fear, suffering and struggle are evolutionary traits, inbuilt in us to ensure we have reasons to innovate, change and move forward.
“This is the most simple and basic component of life: our struggles determine our successes. Our problems birth our happiness, along with slightly better, slightly upgraded problems.”
A main point of the book is acceptance. Such as the acceptance of choosing your own suffering.
It is also about accepting that life will always have problems.
Solving problems creates more problems, Manson states, because problems don’t stop, they upgrade.
He gives a great example with the world’s 4th richest man, Warren Buffett. Everyone has money problems, but would you rather have a poor man’s money problems or Buffett’s?
Our favorite two quotes from this portion of the book are “Don’t hope for life without problems… hope for a life full of good ones,” and
“True happiness occurs only when you find the problems you enjoy having and enjoy solving.”
Responsibility and Acceptance
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a —- is an interesting read for the not so easily offended, and really strikes at core issues, within the core of our personalities even.
It asks us to accept that we must go through negative experiences in order to appreciate the positive. It asks us to take responsibility of our problems and our choices on how we react to them. It makes us look at what we consider our main values and encourages us to change them into values that we can control.
Manson explains, through various stories, that your problems both liberate and debilitate you. But, it is your choice, your responsibility, as to how it will affect you.
“For something to go right, something must go wrong. For change to happen, you must be wrong about something.”
This book isn’t about being crude or mean, but about focus, discipline and prioritizing what matters and what shouldn’t.
Marketers with a lot on their plate can emphasize with this book, as it becomes crucial to prioritize what’s important and drown out the rest. But why keep that skill in the office, when your personal life could use it as well?
We highly recommend the book as a weekend read while on holiday, to pick yourself up from a rough few weeks of work.
Have you read it? Let us know what you think in the comments.