Hey Readers, Welcome back to my blog. Very excited to share another interesting review with you! Few years back, I had read this amazing book and with recent series of events in my life, I had to pick this book again, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson. For those who judge the book from its cover, let me just tell you there is more to the book than its millennial title!
And this pick specifically is very unique, neither it is a fable like the Alchemist nor it is a workbook that preaches various do’s and don’ts to live a happy life! Rather it is a book that enlightens about human psychology, explains us how one can improve in life and touch about things that people usually don’t talk about. It is an international bestseller, not just Amazon or New-York times bestseller. I had read this book before and now when I pen it down for you guys, I had to re-read it again because the concepts explained in the chapters is so deep that I wanted to do justice with it.
I have huge respect for author Mark Manson for having the fortitude to say the things as it is instead of sugar-coating them. The way he has studied the human behaviour and explained in these chapters is commendable. Mark Manson, really has a gift to make the abstract look so relatable!
I feel it is a kind of book one needs to read, if one really wants to improve. Personally, when I was reading this book, it felt like I was looking in the mirror. It tells us everything that we need to know in order to improve ourselves and provide us with the metrices to react to an external stimuli. Furthermore, books speaks about type of values one should hold, way we should perceive our failures and most importantly, how should we treat our pain! Being an avid reader, I have read many books and have always seen them aligned with positivity and success. But not this one! This book talks about pain, insecurities, failure, heart-break and all the things that other people are not touching. This book will bring you terms with your uncomfortable truth that you don’t want to realise it!
Let’s Dive Into 5 Big Ideas from this book
Idea 1 – Success does not Equal Happiness
This is one my favourite concepts in the book, since most of us believe that if we become successful then we will be happy. Don’t we? I mean many of times we equate success with happiness. However, both are different and one doesn’t guarantee the other.
Let’s talk about musicians, how musicians define their success? Being a music freak this hit me hard. If you are metal fan, you must be knowing who Dave Mustaine is, right! Back in 1980’s he was kicked out of his band and all his motivation was to prove his band wrong. So, he started his own band called MegaDeth and it was really successful. I mean, if you ask me what is success in music industry, I would say it is like selling platinum records, or millions of copies of their albums, having international fan-base etc. Well, you can check for yourself, MegaDeth had it all. They even had many people who had tattooed band name and brand logo on their body. So why was Dave Mustaine still unhappy? In the book, author Mark mentions that reporters who used to interview Dave always expressed that he used to consider himself a failure. No matter what he did, he couldn’t get over his previous band. If you are thinking why, let me just tell you Dave’s old band was Metallica. The biggest rock band of all times all across the world. Dave was comparing his MegaDeth to Metallica!
MegaDeth was successful and so was Dave yet he wasn’t happy! It gives me chills talking about this that we take happiness for granted. A lot of time we consider successful being a synonym for happiness. We try to chase success in order to be happy without really paying any heed to what will really make us happy. We all are concentrating on achieving one goal after the other but in reality is that really making us happy? Just think about it and let me how would you rate your Happiness Quotient!
Idea 2 – We have the power To find meaning
Another commendable example here is Pete Best, well known music artist who had similar story as that of Dave Mustang. Pete also got kicked out of the band, which went on to becomes super successful. However, Pete was still happy. Do you know which band Pete got kicked off from, The Beatles.
Yes, one of the most adored and favourite rock band all across the world. Yet, Pete was happy because he re-aligned his values. When people asked him how did he do it, he said,
It all goes back to values! From both the above example we can see that what importance values holds in our life. What Dave Mustang valued was becoming bigger and better which are more ego-based, which we find in most of the people all the time. Versus Pete Best was more centred to what he wants to become, how he chooses to feel and allowing himself to feel happier.
Idea 3- Self Development is Overrated
Author Mark Manson says that Self-Development is fucked because what a lot of these self-development books and videos concentrates on what we lack. This is totally normal but over-indulgence in these self-development books can incline us to profess negativity and concentrate on where we lack. For instance, if one lacks motivation, so we get into books and videos of how to be motivated, if we lack confidence, so we get ourselves to watch videos on confidence etc. This all good but actually here what happens once you get the initial spike it can turn us into a self-development junkie where we feel never fulfilled, or satisfied and we keep beating ourselves of never being good-enough. That is the point you need to ask, are you anymore happier or evolved because of it. Essentially, true self-development comes from how one feels at the core. Let’s talk about how this work, when we initially start we are like sponge and we are absorbing everything however after some time we eventually reach to a state where we become an expert. Now, when we are at expert level it is very dangerous because it is a point where we start to become cynical. For instance, like we spoke about confidence and motivation above, so at expert level one might feel irrespective how much motivational books or videos I learn, nothing works for me. This is a point where we you should shift your mindset why you started in the first place. Ask yourself, what was your purpose or why did you want to indulge into this gambit at first place and then bridge the gap between being in Beginner level and Expert level
Idea 4 – Power of Values
Another absolute favourite section in this book is how it talks about values and how those value actually dictate our success and failure in life.
For me, how you make money is more important than how much money you make. So, it starts with your value, it starts from your core and if you don’t know what they are you are bound to take shortcut and take some steps that aren’t aligned with your values. Let’s talk about an eternal question, how would one find its passion. Mark here tells his own story how he wanted to be a musician and the way he loved practising it. However, when played in the school he saw another boy who was far better than him. The way Mark explains it, the boy was really gifted. When he asked him how do you play so well he says I don’t know, it comes naturally! Mark explains how he find his passion for writing while he was playing music. Few years later, when Mark was attending the seminar there were people who came to him asking how much time he dedicates to write his articles and blogs. Since those people used to invest same amount of time and energy yet their article wasn’t as persuasive as that of Mark. Therefore, somethings that we are good at comes naturally which is a good indicator of what we should pursue on life.
Idea 5 – Death
This one of the most powerful message that Mark conveys in the book is about Death. If you think about it, we are the only species that is aware of their own mortality. We are always so anxious about everything that we overlook the fact that we have finite number of days till we die. Therefore, instead of spending time on things that are not in one’s control or destructive would only lead to unhappiness. Instead, focus needs to be on things that we can control and being more in the moment. Stop caring about everything that happens in your life instead give your time and energy to things that really matters. This also reminds me of Steve Job and speech he gave in Stanford University. He spoke about death and how coming to terms with this fact changed his prospective. He went on to build some of world best companies in the world. So, stop caring about so much that you sacrifice today’s happiness for tomorrow’s joy.
Manson, M. (2016). The subtle art of not giving a fuck: A counterintuitive approach to living a good life (First edition.). New York, NY: HarperOne, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers.