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Important Pieces from The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck


Every morning before work, I like to spend an hour reading, journaling, and drawing. It’s my time to free associate and collect new insights.

Recently I’ve been working through The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F * ck by Mark Manson.

It’s one of those books that makes you vigorously nod in agreement at every paragraph.

This morning was no different.

I highlighted passage after passage. And now I can’t help but share.

Settle in…

Here’s another sneaky little truth about life. You can’t be an important and life-changing presence for some people without also being a joke and an embarrassment to others.

You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.

Problems never stop; they merely get exchanged and/or upgraded.

This is why our problems are recursive and unavoidable. The person you marry is the person you fight with. The house you buy is the house you repair. The dream job you take is the job you stress over. Everything comes with an inherent sacrifice—whatever makes us feel good will also inevitably make us feel bad. What we gain is also what we lose. What creates our positive experiences will define our negative experiences. This is a difficult pill to swallow. We like the idea that there’s some form of ultimate happiness that can be attained. We like the idea that we can alleviate all of our suffering permanently. We like the idea that we can feel fulfilled and satisfied with our lives forever. But we cannot.

A more interesting question, a question that most people never consider, is, “What pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for?” Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives turn out.

See: it’s a never-ending upward spiral. And if you think at any point you’re allowed to stop climbing, I’m afraid you’re missing the point. Because the joy is in the climb itself.

It has become an accepted part of our culture today to believe that we are all destined to do something truly extraordinary…The fact that this statement is inherently contradictory—after all, if everyone were extraordinary, then by definition no one would be extraordinary—is missed by most people.

Being “average” has become the new standard of failure. The worst thing you can be is in the middle of the pack, the middle of the bell curve.

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 with improvement stems from an unerring belief that they are, in fact, not that great at all. It’s anti-entitlement. People who become great at something become great because they understand that they’re not already great—they are mediocre, they are average—and that they could be so much better.

I can’t stand it when older generations pick fights with Millennials (me). I know their critiques are mostly wrong, but also a little right.

I don’t speak for Millennials. This is only my perspective. But here is what I see in us:

We’re (mostly) smart, ambitious, flexible, innovative, and most importantly: hungry to live quality lives.

But, we also tend to lack perseverance when our exciting ideas hit a wall. We have trouble relating to traditional authority figures and aging gatekeepers.

And honestly, I think we struggle with overthinking life way too much. We seem to be our own roadblock.

Even just a tiny shift in our mindsets can help recalibrate and drive us forward.

I'm responding so positively to this book because I believe is offers that tiny shift.