Anyone that knows me personally can attest to the fact that, while I am generous with my willingness to help, I am selfish with my time and energy.
In essence, I choose very carefully what to spend my emotional and mental energy on because I understand that these are finite resources that we don’t have unlimited reserves from which to draw. Once these resources are depleted we have to rest and recoup in order to recharge them fully.
The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck by Mark Manson is a great read for anyone looking for practical advice on how to determine what is worth your precious time, mental, and emotional energy and what you should just stop giving a fuck about. There are a ton of great lessons throughout the book related to self-confidence, life optimization, efficient decision making, and the power of choice (which is a topic that I’ve written about and take extreme interest in), as well as straightforward tips on how to apply the Stop Giving A Fuck mentality to your everyday life without becoming a total asshole that no one wants to be around. The following is a list of my top 5 lessons learned.
#5 Giving a Fuck is bad for your health, but good for business.
Manson is quick to point out that “there is nothing wrong with good business, the problem is that giving too many fucks is bad for your mental health and causes you to become overly addicted to the superficial and fake.”
In this chapter Manson describes what he calls the feedback loop from hell in which we get anxious about our lives because we see others on social media doing such amazing things 🙄 so we think about all of the ways we’re inadequate and then we begin to get anxious about our lack of self-worth which leads us into a panic and then we’re having a full on anxiety attack and the whole thing is amplified and thus the feedback loop from hell continues.
Solution: stop giving a fuck that you feel bad. Some of you might be saying “oh right, as if it is just that easy” but have you ever actually tried it? Before you assume it won’t work, just try it the next time you start getting fomo.
It works for me all of the time. Whenever I start thinking I should be out enjoying the weekend instead of in working and I begin thinking of all the fun people are having I simply shrug my shoulders and decide not to feel bad about it. I go back to working and the anxiety is avoided. Maybe it isn't that easy for everyone but maybe it’s easier than you think.
#4 Happiness comes from solving problems.
Misery comes from having problems without solutions and from not having any problems to solve. The second half of that statement sounds ironic but contradictory to common beleifs about life satisfaction, happiness is not a destination it’s an engagement in action. The key to achieving lasting happiness and success in life is to focus on solving problems today that will lay the ground work for gratification tomorrow. It’s important to understand, though, that the goal is not to eliminate all problems from life- it’s to solve problems as they arise and to keep moving forward.
“Problems never stop; they merely get exchanged or upgraded.”
#3 You’ll be satisfied with whichever decision you make.
More realy isnt better. There is a a consequence to decision overload called The Paradox of Choice. Manson describes this dillema perfectly,
“Basically, the more options we’re given, the less satisfied we become with whatever we choose, because were aware of all the other options we’re potentially forfeiting.”
Study after study proves that people like what they possess and own better than what others have or are offering (this called The Endowment Effect). Don’t avoid commitment, just make a choice, and you’ll be happy with it.
#2 Do something principle.
This advice is deceptively simple. It pertains to those trying times where you have the idea for something or you have an objective that is coming up and you need to get some particular thing done but you have no idea where to start. Most people start researching and (if you’re anything like me) all this research is overwhelming and ends in analysis paralysis. I can honestly attest to the fact that more than one good idea has been desecrated because I had no idea where to start and standing at the bottom of the mountain looking up seemed just incredibly daunting.
Solution: “do something- anything really- and then harness the reaction to that action as a way to begin motivating yourself.”
Clear & to the point. Just start. Get a pencil and a notebook and just start.
“When I was in high school my math teacher, Mr. Packwood used to say, “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.”
#1 Poor values make you a shitty person.
Manson details a few values that, if held, generally make people shitty. If you find yourself holding these ideals close to your heart you should take a look in the mirror and evaluate why these character traits resonate so well with you.
Pleasure: Short term comfort or amusement is usually detrimental to long term success. It almost always works on a tradeoff continuum of that sort. “Pleasure is great, but it’s a horrible value to prioritize your life around. Ask any drug addict how his pursuit of pleasure turned out.”
Material Success: If you measure your self-worth in dollars or in social media metrics (likes/ followers/ views) you are literally allowing other human beings to dictate how you feel about yourself. Why would you ever give that power away to anyone- nevermind a group of strangers? “Overvaluing material success is the danger of prioritizing it over other values, such as honestly nonviolence, and compassion.”
Always Being Right: If you don’t know about the serious implications of our subconscious cognitive biases, I suggest you get informed because the human mind is hardwired to want to paint a story that it understands and so when there is missing information or a detail that doesn't make sense our brilliant brains tend to fill in in that element with something plausible but in reality it’s likely something we invented ourselves to fit the narrative. Always wanting to be right is very dangerous because often times we are wrong and we don’t know it because we aren’t lying, we are just misinformed or misunderstanding. People who “lack the ability to take on new perspectives and empathize with others” are not in a position to learn and grow- which is a shame because other people have so much to teach us. Don’t miss out because your ego is in the way.
It seems to me that there is nothing inherently wrong with these values, it is just that humans tend to take everything to an unhealthy extreme.
These lessons are just a few of the many that can be found in this book. It’s a quick read and great for inspiring a weekend of motivation or reading on a Sunday to set your week ahead up for success.