This week I read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*** by Mark Manson. In the author’s own words, this book is:

a guide to suffering and how to do it better, more meaningfully, with more compassion, and more humility.

I genuinely enjoyed this book and wanted to share 3 main takeaways that stuck with me.

Here is a video of me discussing this book!

Good Problems

Problems, we all have them. It may seem like other people’s lives are immune to them, but everybody faces problems. If we can come to terms with this, we can start working towards exchanging or upgrading our problems.This is an approach that Manson shares with the readers, and is one that I believe is truly a great mentality to adopt. Instead of wishing for a problem-free life, work towards having a life full of good problems. By accepting and combatting your problems, you are working towards happiness. If you never face any issues and stay on a constant “high”, you will get used to that state of being and eventually feel unsatisfied. The greatest moments of joy come through overcoming challenges. That’s why it’s so important to accept the reality that problems exist. My proudest and happiest moments have been those that were the result of overcoming challenges. Start measuring the quality of your life on the types instead of the number of problems you are facing, and perhaps you will be able to recognize that actually, life isn’t so bad.

Stop lying to me internet!

On WordPress alone, 73 million blog posts are published a month. But we only have a limited amount of attention we can give to online content. So, naturally we focus on the extremes, the information that is most sensational to us. The information that we are so intrigued by is on the extreme end of the human experience spectrum, it’s not “normal’ or average in any way. However, over time we have forgotten that and compare our personal lives to these false norms. Manson makes clear that it’s important to understand that although we have moments of exceptionalism, for the most part our lives are average, and that is ok. We can’t always be exploring undiscovered beaches in exotic places and starting new life adventures, and that’s ok. Rarely are you watching people do mundane and rudimentary tasks online, because a) they aren’t sharing that content with you and b) we aren’t as interested in it. Therefore we assume that other people’s lives are simply filled with incredibly extraordinary moments, when that is simply not the case. I suggest that we start looking at the content on social media as a highlight reel and remind ourselves that it is not a reflection of people’s daily lives. Through doing this we can re-establish realistic expectations for ourselves and gradually improve our bruised self-esteem.

Internal Metrics

In today’s world, it’s easy to measure success based on social media following and money. These are both external metrics. Deciding you want an A in a class is an external metric, whilst deciding to improve your study habit is an internal metric. By focusing on the grade you are given, you are handing over control of achieving your goal to your teacher. However, you are in full control of improving your study habits. By focusing on something we are in full control of, we allow ourselves to be the deciding factor in the outcome. Your teacher may give you a grade you don’t like, but if you don’t improve your study habits, the only person that is accountable for that is YOU. By using internal metrics you are also holding yourself accountable for your actions, as the outcome you are looking for is no longer dependent on other people. By embracing internal metrics you are being more honest with yourself and allowing yourself to clarify the root of all success and failure, and that is YOU.

Positives

What I really liked about this book was how easily it flowed from idea to idea. There was a variety of personal anecdotes from Manson combined with stories of prominent figures that kept the book interesting. I also really appreciate that there is tangible advice that challenges the reader to be honest with themselves. Finally, I loved the blunt nature of this book. Manson doesn’t hold back and gives you a raw look into his personal experiences, sharing intimate details of his personal life. This makes him relatable.

Negatives

The only negative I could imagine is that the language is not suitable for everyone. I wasn’t offended by the strong language, but I can see how some people may not appreciate Manson’s choice of words. This is something you should definitely be aware of if you’re considering reading this book. Then again, if you aren’t put off by the title, you should be fine with the content.

Who should read this?

This book has a broad target audience as it can help people in different aspects of their lives. There is advice related to business as well as some informative dating advice inspired by his own romantic experiences. If you’re open to considering a new approach towards personal and professional success and happiness I think you will enjoy this book. If you’re sensitive to strong language or don’t want to some vulgar imagery and metaphors, I would stay away from this particular book.

Learn more about the author

Authors website: https://markmanson.net/