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I was not asked to give a review on this book. All thoughts are my own.
I know what you imagine when you first hear the title of this book, "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck." At least, I know what I was thinking; this book is going to be about not having a care in the world. If you don't care so much, you won't feel negative emotions. You just walk around oblivious to the world around you in your state of bliss, ditching your responsibilities and heading to the beach. After all, if you don't care about anything you won't experience disappointment or other similar emotions. Right? Wrong. This book is not about becoming a beach bum, unless that truly is your goal in life. It is not about indifference. Mark Manson doesn't say not to give ANY f*cks, but that "giving too many f*cks is bad for your mental health."
The key to a good life is...giving a f*ck about only what is true and immediate and important.
We have to stop caring about EVERYTHING. The problem is wanting it all, all the time, and being unhappy when we don't achieve that impossible standard. We have to stop giving a f*ck about those things that get in the way of living a good life. It's the things in life like caring about what other people think that stops us from doing what we really want. Manson explains, "To not give a f*ck is to stare down life's most terrifying and difficult challenges and still take action."
Seems simple enough right? Care about the most important things. Why do I need to read the book? Well first, this book is about "learning how to focus and prioritize your thoughts effectively - how to pick and choose what matters to you and what does not matter to you based on finely honed personal values." But, its MORE than that. What is most important to you might be something like becoming a nurse. (My example, not his.) Any nurse will tell you, the road to their career was not an easy one. There were many late nights, disappointing grades, disgusting tasks and physical pain. This book helps you get through those challenges by accepting the the negative, so it doesn't paralyze you and stop you from doing what you want. As he explains, "The avoidance of suffering is a form of suffering." If you always wanted to be a nurse, but never did it because you were afraid of this, that and the other thing; you were giving too many f*cks about the wrong things! And, never did what you do give a f*ck about. Manson does not claim the "book will not teach you how to gain or achieve, but rather how to lose and let go."
Manson puts things in simple and blunt terms we may inherently know but need to hear. For example, he states, "Happiness requires struggle." When you are doing what you are willing to struggle for, you will better handle the obstacles to get there, but also let go of the things we are not willing to struggle for. Instead of wanting to look like a fitness model, AND have a wall of degrees posted behind your desk AND have the cleanest house in town AND have the healthiest marital relationship AND are regularly called "supermom," choose what is most important. Are you willing to work out the amount needed to have abs of steel. If not, don't berate yourself about not being that. Stop giving a f*ck about that. What IS something you want bad enough to do what it takes? Maybe you just want to lose 5 pounds for your health. Or, maybe it is really important to you to be in top shape, and you are willing to put in the blood, sweat and tears, and your health is more important than cleaning your house. When you really sit down an take inventory on what to give a f*ck about, "The stress and anxiety of always feeling inadequate and constantly needing to improve yourself [in every way] will dissipate. And the knowledge and acceptance of your...own existence will actually free you to accomplish what you truly wish to accomplish, without judgement and lofty expectations."
Britney Spears Work b*tch is playing in my head right now as I type this BTW. If I want my husband and I both want new luxury car, am I willing to work the amount to take to get it. Simple. But wait, its more than that. Are we willing to use hard earned money on fancy cars? If we didn't choose to send all three of our children to private school, my husband and I could each drive a new luxury car. But is that what is truly important at this stage of our life. Not really. Is our children's education, comfort and safety essential? Yes. (Disclaimer: I am not making a blanket statement that all private schools are better than all public schools.) Is the car? No. So, should I feel a negative emotion when someone else has a new luxury car. No. I know, easier said than done, but that is where this book comes in! It helps you to realize what you need to let go of and not give a f*ck about.
Does any of this sound like something you would benefit from? I know I have, and it actually helped to inspire me to start a blog. (Thanks also to my brother who bought me this book a couple of Christmases back.) Why had I dismissed the idea of writing a blog previously when it came into my brain. After all, I enjoy writing and sharing things I care about. Maybe no one would read it and then people would see I failed. Well, one thing Manson says in his book is "failure is a relative concept." Would I have lost any money I needed for something else important. No. Would I have lost time I needed to devote to a superior need. Not really. The only thing that would be a negative to me is that someone else might think I'm a failure due to lack of readership. AH! Something not to give a f*ck about because its going to stop me from doing something I might enjoy doing and is literally not important. Further, someone else's measure of success isn't the same as mine. I've gained new friendships and gotten messages from people who really needed to hear some of what I had to say which make the amount of time I've allotted to blogging worth it.
If you decide to read this book, or already have, let me know what you think!