“The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck” is not a traditional self-help book that motivates you to do something big or tell “You are born to be special” type of clichéd quotes. In fact, it prohibits you to do so. The author proves through real-life examples that you do not need to be famous or rich to be great. You actually achieve greatness when you lean into yourself.
Admit your weaknesses, say ‘NO’ to entitlements (that you deserve special treatment) and take responsibility for your actions. That’s what makes a real difference. In life, you encounter certain events which inflict the great amount of pain on you and you can do nothing about it for example loss of parents, health, money, job or loved one but how you react to that pain is the real game.
Mark Manson stated that significant period of our lives is spent chasing “shitty values” e.g. To earn some extra money that we do not need, build a splendid house to impress others, achieve popularity for general acceptance etc. Unfortunately, when we fail to achieve these superficial values we dwell in anxiety and depression. We feel worthless. Actually, these values deserve total ignorance.
Actual values to pursue are reality-based, socially constructive, and immediate and controllable e.g. honesty, creativity, self-respect, standing up for oneself, standing up for others, curiosity, charity, humility, etc. These are the values that bring you inner satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment.
Author clarified that by avoiding these high terminologies like “you were born to be successful” etc, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t work hard for what you want. It’s only like you have to opt a different road for the destination. Mark stated that people who do not stress about the outcome of a certain task are likely to achieve better results than those who continuously stress about their success. Moreover, real happiness is not achieved by avoiding problems but by solving them.
And then finally the most inspiring part of the book comes; “Death”. A reality that we all are afraid of and choose to avoid. As Bukowski once wrote:
“We’re all going to die, all of us. What a circus! That alone should make us love each other, but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by life’s trivialities; we are eaten up by nothing.”
Mark Manson wanted to know that when you are about to die what would matter to you at that time. For this purpose, he underwent near-death experience at South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope (a cliff). He wanted to taste the reality of his own mortality. He tried to answer the questions that at your last breath would it matter what others thought of you? Would you like to have some extra money or that house?
The answer: Certainly “NO”. Death asks you the only question “what is your legacy?” Your whole life should be spent to answer this very question. What you are currently doing, how it will impact others? After your death, will your actions that u did in life give light to others or not? These questions can help you set realistic and meaningful values and finally help achieve greatness, peace, and happiness in a splendid way.
I highly recommend this book to my readers. Although full of advice and lessons yet this book is not boring at all and occupies its reader most of the time. Life is short and we are continuously choosing our struggles. There is no such life without any problem or hardship. This book helps us find the struggles that are actually meaningful and can save us from frivolous tensions. Moreover, this handy book forces you to rethink your values. Maybe the goals around which the modern media has told us to build our lives are all false. Maybe we need to rethink our values to be happier and content.