Book Summary — #1g: The Subtle Art of not Giving a Fuck

Chapter 7: Failure is the Way Forward

First, read these to give you some context
Chapter 1: Don’t Try,
Chapter 2: Happiness is a Problem
Chapter 3: You are not Special,
Chapter 4: The Value of Suffering,
Chapter 5: You Are Always Choosing, and
Chapter 6: You’re Wrong about Everything (But so am I)


Chapter 7, the second chapter with the antimainstream advice how to be better in life.

Failure is relative. Maybe, you’ve been looking at your failures using the wrong metrics all this time. But, maybe you’re not. Maybe they really are just plain failures :p


The Failure/Success Paradox

Improvement at anything is based on thousands of tiny failures, and the magnitude of your success is based on how many times you’ve failed at something.

If you’re better than someone, maybe they didn’t face as many failures as you did. And the same thing also works around. If you meet people, better than you are, they maybe have face thousands of failure to be what they are now. Or maybe they are just one of those legendary geniuses.

Don’t be afraid to fail. But I have to admit, failure is scary. You feel like shit and couldn’t do anything. But, I’m here to tell you that it’s our society’s metrics and value that are weird. Teaching us to be shameful of our failures. Failures should not be hidden. You should ask for a healthy dose of critiques how to be better. Society only teach us that what matters is the final result, they don’t care about the process we’ve been through.

Social media, together with society only flaunt the results. They don’t do the hours when we are ugly, when we fail, when we are trying sweating our ass wondering how to make things work. We are trained to judge a book based on its cover. Well, that sucks actually.

We can be truly successful only at something we’re willing to fail at. If we’re unwilling to fail, then we’re unwilling to succeed.

While you’re at it, I’m asking you once again. What’s your metrics and values in life? As you read in Chapter 4, a good value should be process-oriented. And it should be in your total control. Maybe it’s true that you have to keep readjusting your value/metrics, but that’s okay.

If you want to have a good metrics, try to make a metrics with continuity. Don’t make a metrics such as, living a good life in a nice villa near a beach with a super cool car. It’s a good life that maybe I could never achieve. But, when you achieve it, you should be prepared with the emptiness you feel inside, like, “Now, what?”. Welcome midlife crisis :)


Pain is Part of the Process

Our pain often makes us stronger, more resilient, more grounded. Our most radical changes in perspective often happen at the tail end of our worst moments. We need some sort of existential crisis to take an objective look at how we’ve been deriving meaning in our life, and then consider changing course.

While I’m writing this, suddenly this old song by Kelly Clarkson hits me. Let me rest for a while to listen to this song.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
What doesn’t kill you makes a fighter
Footsteps even lighter
Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) — Kelly Clarkson, 2011

Okay, enough with the rest. Let’s go back to writing. Pain comes in multiple way. Even you could call fear and laziness as part of pain. Pain point to be exact :)

Have you met your parents? Are they technophobia? Yup, that’s a kind of pain. They are afraid they will do wrong things and ask you how to do it instead. We don’t understand why they won’t try and learn things on their own, when for us it’s such a simple thing to do.

Our parents are amazed by us, thinking that we are some sort of technology genius or something. When they ask me, how could I do it, well, I just give them a smile. While, actually I’m thinking “Well, I just tried things from Google. Luckily it didn’t break :)”. No? Just me?

As Yoda said in Chapter 5, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.
Many things are quite simple when you try to do it step by step. It’s going to feel impossibly hard at first, sure. But, who nobody knows what they’re doing anyway. So, basically, there is nothing to lose. Just try it and see the magic.

A little bit of tip from me, try do divide things you want to do into smaller doable chunks, and in no time, it will be done. Stop worrying about the small things. It will just waste your times and will scare you to start doing things.


The “Do Something” Principle

A nice quote here from Mark’s math teacher.

“If you’re 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.”

^ It’s kinda like “Where there is a will, there is a way.” quote. But, this one is easier to digest and it motivates you to start to work. Not just thinking and hoping that God will show you the best possible path.

Endless loop of motivation

Had hit the rock bottom, Mark here made an amazing discovery. Action isn’t just the effect of motivation; it’s also the cause of it. In fact, it also has something to do with inspiration. Your actions create further emotional reactions and inspirations and move on to motivate your future actions.

So if you ever feel like you lack the motivation to do something. Just start with some small actions. Anything works fine. And try to observe the fruits of your actions. You could then try to harvest the the reaction of that actions you did to motivate yourself.

If you wonder, how can I keep doing Captcharians series and this series, well. I also don’t know how to answer to that question. I just start writing things, random at first. Then it keeps motivating me to continue. I force myself to write something, and before I knew it (actually I always know it, because it takes a long time for me to write), I can publish it so you guys can read it.

The magic of “do something” principle is like this. When you start doing things, with no further things on your mind, you kinda accept failure. You are not afraid of failure. Because you don’t set any target. You just have to do something, you don’t care about the result.

When the standard of your success is just acting, any result is a progress and important. When things are going like this, we see inspiration as a reward, not as a prerequisite. We feel free to fail and it’s what keeping us moves forward.

You can become your own source of inspiration. You can become your own source of motivation. Action is always within reach. And with simply doing something as your only metics for success — well, then even failure pushes you forward.

That’s it folks. Chapter 7. See ya at Chapter 8.

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