Highlights from The subtle art of not giving a F*ck

Lately I read this book: “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life” by Mark Manson and before are the post reading thoughts and notes/highlights.

The subtle art of not giving a F*ck is all about giving a F*ck where it matters the most!


Mark seems to be influenced by Simon Sinek, Buddhism, Karma Yoga.

Below are the highlights I made while I was reading, it might make a lot of sense or might not mean anything at all, I don’t give a F*ck!

The Feedback Loop from Hell

Calm down, amigo.

Back in Grandpa’s day, he would feel like shit and think to himself, “Gee whiz, I sure do feel like a cow turd today. But hey, I guess that’s just life. Back to shoveling hay.”But now? Now if you feel like shit for even five minutes, you’re bombarded with 350 images of people totally happy and having amazing fucking lives, and it’s impossible to not feel like there’s something wrong with you

Don’t try.

Ever notice that sometimes when you care less about something, you do better at it?

Everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience.

The avoidance of suffering is a form of suffering.

While not giving a fuck may seem simple on the surface, it’s a whole new bag of burritos under the hood. I don’t even know what that sentence means, but I don’t give a fuck.

We all are going to die one day.

Comfortable with being different

You must give a fuck about something

He doesn’t care about pissing some people off to do what he feels is right or important or noble.

You can’t be an important and life-changing presence for some people without also being a joke and an embarrassment to others.

If you don’t find that meaningful something, your fucks will be given to meaningless and frivolous causes.

We become more selective about the fucks we’re willing to give.

So Mark, What the Fuck Is the Point of This Book Anyway?

“practical enlightenment.”

Happiness Comes from Solving Problems

Pain and misery aren’t a bug of human evolution; they’re a feature

Life is essentially an endless series of problems

Emotions Are Overrated

Happiness is therefore a form of action; it’s an activity, not something that is passively bestowed upon you,


Victim Mentality

Choose Your Struggle

Hedonic treadmill

What is the pain that you want to sustain?

CHAPTER 3: You Are Not Special

Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for.

Things Fall Apart

But a true and accurate measurement of one’s self-worth is how people feel about the negative aspects of themselves.

The true measurement of self-worth is not how a person feels about her positive experiences, but rather how she feels about her negative experiences.

Put simply: we become entitled.

The Tyranny of Exceptionalism

The truth is that there’s no such thing as a personal problem.

It just means that you’re not special.

B-b-b-but, If I’m Not Going to Be Special or Extraordinary, What’s the Point?

Most of us are pretty average at most things we do. Even if you’re exceptional at one thing, chances are you’re average or below average at most other things. That’s just the nature of life

The vast majority of life is unextraordinary, indeed quite average.

The inundation of the exceptional makes people feel worse about themselves

CHAPTER 4: The Value of Suffering

Being “average” has become the new standard of failure

A lot of people are afraid to accept mediocrity because they believe that if they accept it, they’ll never achieve anything, never improve, and that their life won’t matter.

People who become great at something become great because they understand that they’re not already great — they are mediocre, they are average — and that they could be so much better

“Your actions actually don’t matter that much in the grand scheme of things”

“The vast majority of your life will be boring and not noteworthy, and that’s okay.”

The stress and anxiety of always feeling inadequate and constantly needing to prove yourself will dissipate

The Self-Awareness Onion

“Lieutenant Onoda, a panda bear, and the Abominable Snowman, in that order.”

If suffering is inevitable, if our problems in life are unavoidable, then the question we should be asking is not “How do I stop suffering?” but “Why am I suffering — for what purpose?”

Self-awareness is like an onion.

Rock Star Problems

Why do I consider this to be success/failure?

Why do they feel such a need to be rich in the first place?

Shitty Values

Problems may be inevitable, but the meaning of each problem is not.

but we’re just a bunch of finely ornamented apes

Our values determine the metrics by which we measure ourselves and everyone else.

If you want to change how you see your problems, you have to change what you value and/or how you measure failure/success.

Defining Good and Bad Values


Material Success

Always Being Right.

Staying Positive.

Some of the greatest moments of one’s life are not pleasant, not successful, not known, and not positive.

CHAPTER 5: You Are Always Choosing

Some examples of good, healthy values: honesty, innovation, vulnerability, standing up for oneself, standing up for others, self-respect, curiosity, charity, humility, creativity.

unhealthy values: dominance through manipulation or violence, indiscriminate fucking, feeling good all the time, always being the center of attention, not being alone, being liked by everybody, being rich for the sake of being rich, sacrificing small animals to the pagan gods.

Values are about prioritization

The Responsibility/Fault Fallacy

That we, individually, are responsible for everything in our lives, no matter the external circumstances.

The point is, we are always choosing, whether we recognize it or not.

What are we choosing to give a fuck about?

Responding to Tragedy

“With great responsibility comes great power.”

Fault is past tense. Responsibility is present tense.

Nobody else is ever responsible for your situation but you

There Is No “How”

And it’s true, it’s not their fault.But it’s still their responsibility.

The Dangers of Pure Certainty

The human mind is a jumble of inaccuracy.

Our brain is designed to be efficient, not accurate.

Manson’s Law of Avoidance

Our beliefs are malleable, and our memories are horribly unreliable.

Answer is to trust yourself less.

How to Be a Little Less Certain of Yourself.

Uncertainty removes our judgments of others

Uncertainty is the root of all progress and all growth

Parkinson’s law: “Work expands so as to fill up the time available for its completion.”

The belief always takes precedence. Until we change how we view ourselves, what we believe we are and are not, we cannot overcome our avoidance and anxiety. We cannot change.

I say don’t find yourself. I say never know who you are. Because that’s what keeps you striving and discovering.

CHAPTER 7: Failure Is the Way Forward

don’t be special; don’t be unique.

Questioning ourselves and doubting our own thoughts and beliefs is one of the hardest skills to develop.

The Failure/Success Paradox

It’s worth remembering that for any change to happen in your life, you must be wrong about something.

The “Do Something” Principle

A lot of this fear of failure comes from having chosen shitty values

The pursuit of these goals causes great anxiety. And even if we manage to achieve them, they leave us feeling empty and lifeless, because once they’re achieved there are no more problems to solve.

, “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.”

Our pain often makes us stronger, more resilient, more grounded.

Action → Inspiration → Motivation

CHAPTER 8: The Importance of Saying No

absolute freedom, by itself, means nothing.

unadulterated expression.

Rejection Makes Your Life Better

We need to reject something. Otherwise, we stand for nothing

we all must give a fuck aboutsomething, in order to value something. And to value something, we must reject what is not that something. To value X, we must reject non-X.


People can’t solve your problems for you. And they shouldn’t try, because that won’t make you happy.

The mark of an unhealthy relationship is two people who try to solve each other’s problems in order to feel good about themselves.

It’s not about giving a fuck about everything your partner gives a fuck about; it’s about giving a fuck about your partner regardless of the fucks he or she gives. That’s unconditional love, baby

Freedom Through Commitment

That there is a freedom and liberation in commitment.

CHAPTER 9: . . . And Then You Die

Seek the truth for yourself, and I will meet you there.”

Something Beyond Our Selves

Becker calls “death terror,” a deep existential anxiety that underlies everything we think or do.

Immortality projects,

Giving a fuck about something is the only thing that distracts us from the reality and inevitability of our own death

The Sunny Side of Death

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”

Without acknowledging the ever-present gaze of death, the superficial will appear important, and the important will appear superficial.

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.”

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