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The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck - Reading Notes

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Mark Manson - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck 


Chapter 1: Don’t Try 

The key to a good life is not giving a fuck about more, it is to give a fuck about less, about only what is true and immediate and important. 


Consumer culture has bred lots of negative experiences: anxiety, fear, guilt, making us overly stressed, neurotic and self-loathing. Our crisis is no longer material, it is spiritual. We have lots of stuff and so many opportunities that we don’t know what to give a fuck about anymore. 

The desire for a positive experience is paradoxically, a negative experience. And the acceptance of one’ negative experience becomes a positive experience. 


The more you want to be rich, the poorer you feel. Albert Camus said you will never be happy if you look what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life. 


It is often the person who is the least invested in the success of something that actually ends up achieving it. You need to learn to pursue the negatives, not the positives: the pain at the gym, and the failures in business to have a better understanding of what is it to be successful. 


To not give a fuck is to stare down life’s most terrifying and difficult challenges and still take action: the switch in careers, the choice to drop out of college, etc. Not giving a fuck means learning how to focus and prioritize what matters to you versus what doesn’t. It is not being indifferent to anything, shaken by nothing and caving to no one; it is rather being comfortable with being different, not caring about pissing somebody off when you feel you are doing something you feel is right, important or noble. 


How do you do that? To not give a fuck about adversity, you must first give a fuck about something more important. If you find yourself giving fucks about a TV remote, then the real problem is that there is not much going in your life. 


Whether you realize it or not, you are always choosing what to give a fuck about. Kids first cry about nothing, then as we mature, we start giving fucks only to things we think are fuckworthy. As we get older, our energy level drops, our identity solidifies and we start accepting parts of ourselves we aren’t thrilled about. It is actually liberating to accept life as it is. We reserve our fucks for our families, our best friends, our golf swing. And surprisingly, we realize that this is enough. This makes us happy on a consistent basis. 


People today don’t realize it’s ok to suck sometimes. Practical enlightenment teaches that suffering is inevitable, but you can turn your pain into a tool, our trauma into power and your problems into better problems. Not giving a fuck means learning to suffer better for more meaningful things, with more compassion and humility. It’s about learning to lose and let go. It’s about learning that it’s ok not to try. 


Chapter 2: Happiness is a Problem 

Buddha discovered suffering is inevitable. One of life’s realizations was this that life itself is a form of suffering. The rich suffer because of their riches. The poor suffer because of their poverty. People without a family suffer because they have no family. People with a family suffer because of their family. People who pursue worldly pleasures suffer because of their worldly pleasures. People who abstain from worldly pleasures suffer because of their abstention. Pain and loss are inevitable and we should let go of trying to resist them. 


We suffer for the simple reasons that suffering is biologically useful. It is Nature's preferred agent for inspiring change. You have evolved to always live with a certain degree of dissatisfaction and insecurity because it's the dissatisfied and insecure creature that's going to do the most work to innovate and survive. We are wired to become dissatisfied with whatever we have and satisfied by only what you do not have. 


Therefore, our own pain and misery are not a bug of human evolution, they are feature. Pain is what teaches us what to pay attention to when we were young or careless. It helps show us what's good for us versus what's best for us. It helps us understand and adhere to our own limitations. 


Problems never go away he said they just improve. Warren Buffett has money problems. The hobo also has money problems. Buffet just has better money problems. So, don't hope for a life without problem, as there's no such thing. Instead hope for a life full of good problems.  


Happiness comes from solving problems. If you're avoiding your problems or feel like you don't have any problems then you're going to make yourself miserable. Most people fuck things up in two ways. Denial and victim mentality  


Emotions are overrated 

They are feedback mechanisms telling us that something is either like the right or likely one for us nothing more nothing less. Emotions are simply biological signals designed to nudge you in the direction of beneficial change. In other words, negative emotions are a call to action.  


Positive emotions on the other hand or rewards for taking the proper action. Remember pain serves a purpose. Then there are those people who over identify with their emotions. Oh, I broke your windshield but I was really mad. I couldn't help it. Or I dropped out of school and moved to Alaska just because it felt right 


An obsession and overinvestment in emotion fails us for the simple reason that emotions never last. Whatever makes us happy today will no longer make us happy tomorrow. 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. 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.  

Choose your struggle  

If I ask you what do you want out of life and you say “I want to be happy and have a great family and job I like”, your response doesn't really mean anything. The more interesting question is what pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for?  


Most people want a lot of money but not many people want to work 60 hours a week. Most people want a great relationship but you shoot people want to go through tough conversations awkward silences hurt feelings and emotional drama to get there. Happiness grows from problems real fulfillment and meaning are earned through the choosing and managing of our struggles. 


You have to choose something the more interesting question is the pain. What pain do you want to sustain? That is the hard question. That is the question that will actually get you somewhere. It's the question that can change of perspective alive. It's what makes you you. It's fun to find us and separates us and ultimately brings us together. 


I thought I wanted to be a rockstar but actually I was in love with the results. I was thinking of me on stage of people cheering but I wasn't in love with the process. I realized that I didn't like to climb too much. I just like to imagine the summit. I wanted the reward another struggle. 


Who you are is defined by what you are willing to struggle for 

People who enjoy the struggles of the gym are the ones who have great abs. People who enjoy long work days are the ones who fly to the top of the company.  


Chapter 3: You Are Not Special 

And the 1960s research found that people who thought highly about themselves performed better and cause fewer problems. But you're not exceptional. Having high self-esteem and feeling good about yourself doesn't mean you have a good reason to feel good about yourself. It turns out that adversity on failure or actually useful and even necessary for developing strong-minded and successful adults. 


 A more accurate measurement of one's self worth is how you feel about the negative aspects of yourself.  
Jimmy is entitled. He thinks he deserves good things without actually earning them or working for them. Someone with a high self-worth can look at the negative parts of his character frankly and say yes, sometimes I'm irresponsible with money. Or “Yes sometimes I exaggerate my own successes. Or “Yes I rely too much on others to support me and I should be more self-reliant.  

And then these people act to improve upon them. 


When really bad things happen in our life, we feel that we are incapable of solving them. This makes us feel miserable and helpless. But it also makes us feel that the rules are different for us. It makes us feel entitled. The deeper the pain the more helpless we feel and the more entitled we feel. As a result, we think “I'm awesome and you all suck so I deserve special treatment” or “I suck and all of you were awesome so I deserve special treatment”.  


The truth is that there's no such thing as a personal problem 

If you've got a problem chances are millions of other people have had it in the past or have it now. It means that you are not special. 

Realizing that you and your problems are not privileged or special is the first and most important step toward solving them.  


Accepting a job pretty will grow your appreciation for life's basic experiences the pleasures of simple friendship creating something helping a person in need reading a good book relaxing someone you care about. 


Chapter 4:  the value of suffering 

Onoda fought WW2 until the 1970s. When he went back to Japan, he became more depressed than he had been in the jungle for all those years. In the jungle his life had meant something. Back in Japan he realized his fighting had meant nothing.  


The first step to self-awareness is understanding your emotions, knowing when you feel happy or when you feel sad.  


The second step is the ability to ask yourself why you feel these emotions.  


The 3rd step and the deeper level of awareness is your personal values 

Why do I consider this to be a success or a failure how am I choosing to measure Myself? By what standard am I judging myself and everyone around me? 


Most people are bad at answering these why questions and this is why they do not understand their own values. 


Many people feel lonely. But when you ask them why, they blame others. They do not look at their responsibility for their own problems. They are actually chasing highs instead of generating true happiness.  

Usually the more uncomfortable the answer the more likely it is to be true. 


Think of something that is really bugging you. Now ask yourself why it bugs you. The answer will probably involve a failure of yours. Ask yourself why this failure seems true to you. what did that failure wasn't really a failure? What if you've been looking at it the wrong way? 


Maybe you were choosing a poor metric for yourself under life maybe you don't need to be that close to your brother you have a good relationship that you how are you. Maybe there just needs to be some mutual respect. Or maybe trust is enough. Maybe these metrics would be better assessments of a good relationship with your brother than how many text messages you and him exchange.  


Dave Mustaine sold millions of records but he still considered himself a failure because he sold less than Metallica who kicked him out. His metric was to be more successful than Metallica and so he saw himself as a failure. Onoda’s metric was loyalty to the Japanese empire which is why he was okay for 30 years and miserable when he went back to Japan. If you want to change how you see your problems you have to change what you value and how you make how you measure success. 

After getting kicked out from the Beatles, Best said she was pretty happy his values has changed. He decided what he had was more important: a family of stable marriage and a simple life. So, what was really lost? Just a lot of attention and adulation whereas what he gained meant so much more to him. 


Pleasure is not the cause of Happiness; rather it is the effect. If you get the other stuff right like the other values and metrics then pleasure will naturally occur as a by-product. 

Sometimes life sucks and you have to admit it.  

Constant positivity is a form of avoidance and it is not a valid solution to Life's problems. By the way if you choose the right values in metrics these problems should be motivating you.  


When you have negative emotions Express them in a healthy way and in a way that aligns with your values. as Freud once said one day all the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful. 


Defining good and bad values  

Good values or reality-based socially constructive and controllable. 

Honesty is a good value because you have control over it. Popularity is a bad value because you have no control over it. some examples of good values are honesty Innovation vulnerability standing up for oneself standing up for others self-respect curiosity charity humility and creativity.  

When you prioritize better values, you get better problems and when you get better problems you get a better life.  


There are five values that will change your life 

  1. Taking responsibility:  

  1. Accepting uncertainty: accepting that you don't know everything 

  1. Accepting failure:   

  1. Accepting rejection: being able to say no and hear no  

  1. Accepting death  


Chapter 5:  you are always choosing 


If you are always feeling miserable it's probably because many things are outside of your control. When we choose our problems we feel empowered. We don't always control what happens to us. But we always control how we react and respond. Even if it's not your fault it's your responsibility to choose a response. We are always choosing. The more responsibility we accept in our lives the more power we exercise over our lives. 

 Some guys don't go and meet girls because they are afraid of their height. I assume women are only attracted to height. So they don't try. a better value would have been to say I want to date only women who like me for who I am. this is a metric that assesses the value of honesty and acceptance. Many people don't take responsibility for their problems because they are not at fault for their problems. If there's a baby in front of your doorstep one morning it's not your fault but it is your responsibility what to do. 

Fault is past tense. Responsibility is present tense. 

Accepting responsibility also mean looking at a breakup in the past and seeing the mistakes that you committed. simply blaming others is only hurting yourself. The way you react to your son's this is your own choice.  


Genetics and the Hands we are dealt 

There was this girl who had thought of her family dying. she learned that there are still monsters in the back of her mind and they will always be there but now they're getting quieter. Didn't choose this horrible condition. But she got to choose how to live with it. I have to choose how to live with it. 

The real game lies in the choices we make the cars that we have been dealt. The people who win or not necessarily the people with the best cards. Like poker. 

Today every demographic group feels unfairly victimized at the same time. This is outrage porn the media likes to find something mildly offensive, generate outrage, and opposed to imaginary science side while distracting everyone from the real problems. 


How do I change? 

Choosing everyday to give a f*** about it's really simple. Giving up a value is disorienting. You will meet internal and external resistance. 


Chapter 6: You Are Wrong about Everything 

 As a teenager I told everybody that I didn't care about anything, when the truth was I cared but way too much. I thought happiness was a Destiny and not a choice. I thought that was something that just happened and not something that you worked for. 

A woman is single and lonely and wants a partner but she never gets out of the house and never does anything about it. because she would be forced to confront her beliefs about her own desirability. Thinking you're not attractive enough for your boss is an ass-whole give you moderate Comfort now at the cost of Greater happiness in the future. And we assume we know how the story ends. But the best and most gratifying experiences are also the most distracting and demotivating. the most difficult and stressful moments end up being the most formative and motivating.  

when you make humans believe they have found a combination that turns the lights on they will cling to this belief even if you tell them that the lights would get on at random times. We cling to the meaning that I remind has made. As a result most of our beliefs are wrong.  

be careful what you believe new line we measure every new piece of information against the values and conclusions we already have. As a result we are always biased toward what we feel to be true in that moment. When we have a great relationship with our sister we think of her in a positive light but when we have a  bad relationship with her the sweet gift she gave us is now remembered as patronizing and condescending. False memory syndrome shows us that our beliefs are malleable and our memories are unreliable. if we're wrong all the time then we should be skeptic and challenge our own beliefs.  


Manson’s Law of Avoidance 

The more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid it. The more something threatens to change how you view yourself or how successful you believe yourself to be or how well you see yourself living up to your values the more you will avoid getting around doing it. Making a million dollars for could threaten your identity just as much as losing all your money. Becoming a famous Rockstar could threaten your identity just as much as losing your job. This is why people are afraid of success- for the same reason they are afraid of failure: it threatens who they believe themselves to be. 

I believe I'm a nice guy I will avoid situations that would contradict that believe. If I believe I'm a good cook I would look for opportunities to prove that to me. When you admit to yourself that you were scared you're free to be ambitious again. You have no reason to feel threatened by pursuing your dreams and maybe failing. Uline fear can be very narcissistic. When you assume that you're playing is the one that is going to crash or that's your idea is the stupid one door telling yourself that you are the exception. This is narcissism narcissism. you feel that your problems deserve to be treated differently because they do not obey the laws of the physical universe.  


how to be a little less certain of yourself  

 1 keep in mind that you could be wrong 

2 realize that if you were wrong this would often make you the selfish one or the insecure one or the narcissistic one Uline 3 

3  ask yourself which problem is better. do you want to cause drama within your family or do you want to let your sister choose for herself the guy she wants to be with. Uline keep in mind that you have insecurities and flawed certainties that make you behave like an a******. If it feels like it's you versus the world it's probably just you versus yourself. 


Chpter 7: Failure is the Way Forward 

 if someone is better than you at something they probably have failed at it more than you have. Many parents don't let their kids screw up and even punish them for trying anything new. The media only shows us the people who succeed without showing us the thousands of hours of dull practice.  

So we often seek external goals outside of our controls, which gives us great anxiety. Also these external goals are finite, whereas process-oriented goals or never completely finished and you have to re-engage with them everyday by being honest to people if honesty is your gold.  


Pain is Part of the Process 

World War II survivors some said they had become better more responsible and a happier people. they realize they had been ungrateful and unappreciative their loved ones and consumed by Petty problems. After the war they felt more confident more sure of themselves more grateful. Proudest achievements, in the face of the greatest adversity. Pain off and makes us stronger more resilient and more grounded. Fear and anxiety and sadness are necessary to grow. You must suffer physical pain to build stronger bone and muscle and you must suffer emotional pain to get greater emotional resilience a stronger sense of self increased compassion and a general happier life.  


the do something principle  

 a good math teacher tells you that when you were stuck on a problem don't sit there and think about it. Just start working on it. Even if you don't know what you're doing the simple Act of working on it will eventually cause the right ideas to show up in your head. 

Action isn't just the effect of motivation it is also because of it. if you lack the motivation to make an important change do something and then use that reaction as a way to begin motivating yourself. 

Some novelist rice 200 very bad words everyday that's all. If they follow the do something principle failure feels unimportant. They Propel themselves ahead. They feel free to fail and that failure moves them forward. This principle helps you overcome procrastination and it is also the process by which you adopt new values. And with simply doing something that's your only metric for Success even failure pushes you forward. 


Chapter 8 

The importance of saying no  


 after years and years of travel I realize that absolute freedom by itself means nothing. The only way to achieve meaning and a sense of importance if through a rejection of Alternatives by narrowing the freedom of choice of commitment to one place one or one person. To value X, II must reject non X. If I choose to judge myself based on my friendships that means I'm rejecting trashing my friends behind their backs. Rejection is necessary to maintain your values and your identity. We are defined by what we choose to reject. And if we reject Nothing by the fear of being rejected then we essentially have no identity at all. 

being honest means being comfortable with saying and hearing the word no. rejection actually makes a relationships better and our emotional lives healthier. 



 people in a healthy relationship with strong boundaries will take responsibility for their own values and problems and will not take responsibility for their Partners values and problems. People in toxic relationship with poor or no boundaries with regularly avoid responsibility for their own problems or take responsibility for their Partners problems.  

what do poor boundaries look like? Here are some examples new line 


 you cannot go out with your friends without me. You know how jealous I get it. You have to take him with me. 

 My coworkers are idiots. They always make me late to meetings because I have to tell them how to do their jobs. 

I cannot believe you made me feel so stupid in front of my own sister. Never disagree with me in front of her again. 

I would love to take that job but my mother would never forgive me for moving so far away. 

I would love to date you but can you not tell my friend Cindy? She really gets insecure when I have a boyfriend and she doesn't. 


 each scenario the person is either taking responsibility for problems that are not theirs are demanding that someone else take responsibility for their problems. 

traps and their relationships. Either they expect other people to take responsibility for their problems. “I wanted a nice relaxing weekend at home. You should have known that and canceled your plans.” 

 are they take on too much responsibility for other people's problems. “ she just lost her job again but it's probably my fault because I wasn't a supportive as her as I could have been. I'm going to help her we write a resume tomorrow.” 


 You never developed strong values for yourself when you have blurry areas of responsibility for your emotions and actions. You never developed strong values when it's not clear who is responsible for what and who's fault is what and why you're doing what you're doing. Your only value becomes making your partner happy. Are your only value becomes your partner making you happy. Uline people cannot solve your problems for you new line and they shouldn't try because that won't make you happy. You cannot solve other people's problems with them either because that's likewise want to make them happy. The mark of an unhealthy relationship is two people who try to solve each other's problems in order to feel good about themselves. Rather a healthy relationship is when two people solve their own problems in order to feel good about each other. 

Entitled people who blame others for their own emotions and actions do so because they believe that they backspace if they constantly paint themselves as victims eventually someone will come along and save them and they will receive the love that they have always wanted. Uline these are the yin and the Yang of any toxic relationship. The victim and the saver, the person who starts fires because it makes her feel important and the person who puts out fires because it makes him feel important. 

These two types of people or drawn strongly to one another and they usually end up together. They're the foliage he's match one another perfectly. Often they have grown up with parents who each exhibit one of these traits as well. Though their model for a happy relationship is one based on entitlement and poor boundaries.  

 the victim if you really love the saver would say look this is my problem. You don't have to fix it for me. Just support me while I fix it myself. That would actually be a demonstration of Love. Thinking responsibility for your own problems and not holding your partner responsible for them. Uline If the Savior really wanted to save the victim to savor would say you're blaming others for your own problems. Deal with this yourself. And in a sick way that would actually be a demonstration of love. Helping someone solve their own problems. 

For victims the hardest things to do in the world is to hold themselves accountable for their problems. They have spend their whole life believing that others are responsible for their fate. The first step of taking responsibility for themselves as often terrifying. 

For Savers the hardest thing to do in the world has problems. They have spent their whole life feeling value then blocked only when they are saving someone else. So let them go of this need is terrifying to them as well. 

It can be difficult for people to recognize the difference between out of obligation and doing it voluntarily. So here is a test. Ask yourself if I refuse how would the relationship change? Similarly ask if my partner refuse something I wanted how would the relationship change? 

If the answer is that a refusal would cause a blowout of drama on broken China plate then that is a bad sign for relationship . it suggests that your relationship is conditional. It is based on superficial benefits received from one another rather than an unconditional acceptance of each other along with each other's problems. An argument. People with weak boundaries are terrified of those things and will constantly change their own behavior to fit the highs and the lows of their relational emotional rollercoaster full stop. People with drawing boundaries understand that it's unreasonable to expect two people to accommodate each other 100% And fulfill every need the other has. People will strong boundaries understand that they made hurt someone's feelings sometimes but ultimately they cannot to remind how other people feel. People have strong boundaries understand that healthy relationship is not about controlling one others emotions but rather about H partner supporting the other in their individual growth and insulting their own problems. 

It's not about giving a f*** about everything your partner gives a f*** about. it's about giving a f*** about your partner regardless but f**** he or she gives. This is unconditional love. 


 for a relationship to be healthy both people must be willing and able to both say no and here no. Only normal, it is absolutely necessary for the maintenance of a healthy relationship.  


Freedom Through Commitment 

More it's always better. In fact the opposite of true. We're actually often happier with less. When we are overloaded with opportunities and options we suffer from what psychologists refer to as the Paradox of choice. The more options we were given the less satisfied we become with whatever we choose because we are aware of all the other options we are potentially forfeiting. 

But while investing deeply in one person one place, one job, when activity Mike the Knight us the breadth of experience we would like, pursuing a breadth of experience denies us the opportunity to experience the rewards of death of experience. There are some experiences that you can have only when you have lived in the same place for 5 years, when you have been with the same person for over a decade, when you have been working on the same skill or craft perhaps your lifetime. Uline I have committed to one woman for the Long Haul and to my surprise I have found this more rewarding than any of the thing and one night stands I have had in the past. I have committed to a single geographic location and double Donald a handful of my significant genuine healthy friendships. 

Commitment gives you freedom because you were no longer distracted by the unimportant and frivolous. Amendment gives you freedom because it holds your attention and focus, directing them to Ward what is most efficient at making you healthy and happy. Amendment makes decision making easier and removes any fear of missing out. Knowing that what you have is already good enough, why would you ever stress about chasing more again? Commitment allows you to focus on a few highly important gold and achieve a greater degree of success than you otherwise would. 


Chapter 9: And Then You Die 

we all want to be remembered after we die. cities governments we're all project of men who wanted to leave something behind. All the meaning of our life shaped by this desire to never truly die. This is why we spend so much time teaching children oh, so that our influence will Outlast us. Accepting your death is the basic route to all happiness. caring about something greater than yourself, believing that you were contributing to something larger than you make you more tolerant of the world around you. 

Today people give up all responsibility and demand that Society cater to their feelings. They try to enforce this on others sometimes violently in the name of some righteous cause. This pampering of the modern mind has resulted in the population that feels deserving of something without earning it, it created the population that feels they have a right to do something without sacrificing for it. 

Accepting my death and my own fragility has made everything easier entangling my predictions identifying and confronting my own entitlement, accepting responsibility for my own problems, suffering through my fears of uncertainties, accepting my failures and embracing rejections, it has all been made lighter by the thought of my own death. The more I peer into the darkness, the brighter life gets, the quieter the world becomes, and the less unconscious resistance I feel to anything.  


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