The closer you want to get to me the better your values have to be — Takeaways from The Subtle art of not giving a f*ck by Mark Manson

I’ll be honest when “preparing” to read this book, I was worried. The author is some junkie alcoholic who is not even successful so “what advice could I get from him”. Well little did I know, i was wrong about 2 things, firstly, he may be a junkie and alcoholic but the books not called “how to land a successful job” and secondly I wasn’t getting any advice on how to change my life but a start, as there are so many things to give a f*ck about, this book helps you figure out what to give f*cks about because 99.9% of the time our f*cks are given on things that shouldn’t be getting f*cks.

From the first page i was drawn in by his brutal writing style. I mean he wrote like he didn’t give a f*ck about what anyone thought. Which is a good thing obviously because the book is about how to not give a f*ck.

Here are the learnings that were most impactful to me, some other points I found intriguing, and my biggest key takeaways.

  1. You chose all of your problems. Accept responsibility and change them for better problems.

It may not be your fault, but it’s your responsibility.

You run a red light and hit someone (your fault), you have to compensate them in one way or the other (your responsibility).

Or someone loses their wallet on the street (not your fault), you happen to find it and have to decide what to do with it (your responsibility).

The next thing is you have to choose. Even if you decide to do nothing you still made a decision!!

This being said you really have control over your problems. Maybe not all of them but it’s still your responsibility at the end of the day. Stop denying it. I know it can be difficult. But start accepting. Once you do that, you can choose your problems. Mark Manson mentions in the book that many people think to themselves, what good things do they want for them, when you should really focus on what things are you willing to struggle for.

2. You are average

In this society we think being different is the norm. Often times this is because of social media. Someone bought the new I phone, “wow they are so cool”, they’re something I’m not so they’re obviously better, because I am a lame 14 year old with an I pod. See we live in a world where so much is going on so only “the extremes” can get through, whether that be a model, a billionaire or even just a girl with a better phone. Other than that we are all pretty much average! Now thats the problem, right there. We all HATE that we’re average (well not everyone), because being different is whats cool and gets the most attention. Really we are all seeking for attention.

The problems we face are similar problems to a ton of people, which makes us average. Simply average. Now accepting that we’re average is where the hard part comes. I mean it took me a month to process that.

Believe it or not but the most successful people are the ones who believe that they’re average. Why? Because if they believe that they are so cool and successful, that means they have nothing else to do, no room for improvement. That’s why thinking that they are average allows to push them self more to do better things and IMPROVE! Moral of the story, you are average!

3. For gods sake, just do it.

There is two options, either you fail and learn from that experience or you succeed. So instead of thinking how do I prepare for this test, how do I say no to this guy or even how do I cut an apple. Just DO it. Now what does that exactly mean, if you need to prepare for a test but don’t know how open your past work and just start looking at it. The answers will come, just start by doing it.

This all really depends on your values and how you look at it. If you value learning more than success. Then you’ll never fail. Most times people think you need some sort of motivation to result action. But, what if it was the other way around. Doing what you need to do will result in motivation to do more. So my advice; do what you gotta do and motivation will follow, trust me. It’s like if you force yourself to get up and exercise for 5 minutes everyday. You start with the 5 minutes, but after 5 minutes you feel so pumped and confident so you do an extra 20 minutes. See, the action is what caused the person to do more therefore resulting in motivation.

4. Choose better values to give better f*cks

Your values define you. You may not realize it but they do. Where do your problems come from? Yup your poor choice of values and metrics. If you value being rich, and the success of that is from if you buy a mansion you will be dissatisfied even if you buy the house. This is because there is very little growth of the value or metric. You either have the house or you don’t. If you don’t have the house, you feel like a failure, since it was your metric and that means you don’t have a lot of money. If you do have the house, you’ve reached your goal , but there’s no real personal happiness because you haven’t made improvements to yourself. The worst part is your happiness comes from external forces. You having a lot of money relies on money coming to you, and you can’t always control the flow of money. Reliance on external circumstances and metrics of material success make values unrewarding.

So what? Change your values. Good values are things like respect, honesty, and commitment. These are things we HAVE control over and therefore if we do something that doesn’t align with our values we can control it and can work towards growing. The best thing is you will always gain, never lose. If you fail, struggle or succeed you are only growing.

5. Chip away from the way you are wrong today so that you can be a little less wrong tomorrow

You are wrong and will always be wrong. Now don’t make a big deal I am also wrong and will also always be wrong and you know what so will everyone around you. So stop searching for right, stop needing to get validation that you are right and most importantly stop seeking for the right answers. It may be right today but 2 months down the road another cocky guy like you will come up and justify his opinion in the smartest way you can ever hear it and boom now he’s right.

When I was in grade 5 I had 2 best friends, that I thought would be my best friends forever. All of a sudden I go to a different middle school and i haven’t talked to them since. When I was in the second grade, I thought a pierogi was a vegetable because it tasted bad, well little did I know 2 years down the road that I would be stuffing 5 pierogis in my mouth at once, oh and also that its not a vegetable. So you can tell I have always been wrong, and still am. However being wrong is what makes us who we are, it’s how we grow. Mark Manson mentions that we will always be wrong however we can try to be a little less wrong for tomorrow.

6. It’s ok to die

One of my favourite quotes from the book is by Haley Comet, “The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives is fully prepared to die at anytime. This quote really stuck with me, because it makes complete sense. Dying would be a scary thing to those who haven’t left their mark on the world.

However, it is difficult to process something like this. Being a student in high school I haven’t experienced much life, I mean only 14 years. So its hard for me to think that I have lived to my full potential. Mark Manson mentions that when something means more to us than ourselves thats when we have a good glimpse of life. I am not too sure if I have found that yet therefore I am going to use this quote not as something to be motivated to die but to be motivated to live. Being only 14 I think I am fortunate to know this at an early age so that I can make the most out of my life and do what I love. As for others it takes many years to come to this realization.

Thanks for reading! Let me know what you thought by sending an email to alishaarora0526@gmail.com. Be sure to connect with me on LinkedIn.

14 yo futurist, change maker and innovator at The Knowledge Society.

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