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Maybe You Should Give a Fu*K

Mark Manson’s rise to fame paints the flip side of success

Photo by Indrajeet Choudhary on Unsplash

Mark Manson is nothing less than a God in the self-help religion. He wrote a book named The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck counterintuitively stating to replace neediness with aloofness.

The book became a holy bible among pious readers including me. It was first published on September 13, 2016, and went on to sell over 8 million copies by May 2019. The book became the number one bestseller in several different countries.

The market is flooded with the cheap imitations of the book having a similar bright orange book cover and the word Fu*k in their titles. Every budding writer could only dream of the feats achieved by Mark.

Except there was a minor problem which everyone was oblivious to.

While watching Rich Rolls’s podcast titled Stop Caring What Others Think: Mark Manson, Mark tells his side of the story.

Like every other aspiring blogger, Mark dreamt of having a book deal, writing a best seller, going on tours — basically becoming a successful author.

According to the blueprint, these were big goals, to which he will dedicate his entire life. In the podcast, he says he expected to achieve them when he was around 60.

However destiny had something else in mind, Mark shattered all his goals within months.

Along with all the success, fame, recognition, money came an undesired phenomenon named existential crisis.

Here are Mark’s quotes from the podcast highlighting the dark side of success.

It’s Like Getting Slammed Into a Mid-Life Crisis at 60 Miles an Hour

Funnily enough, Mark ended up achieving all his career goals by 32. He became a famous author. His book dominated the entire self-help market (It still does).

Initially, there was a feeling of love and gratitude, but with time he was engulfed with oblivion.

He checked all the items in his checklist leaving him unprepared for such a scenario.

Moreover, there was a subtle problem regarding the nature of his success. You see, an actor or a sportsperson needs to consistently churn out performances to keep their careers alive.

However, Mark’s actions didn’t have any impact on his success. He could go on vacations, promote his book, work on a new one or keep playing video games (which he did). None of them had a significant impact on the sales of his book which kept minting him a fortune. It was a solid source of passive income.

The inevitable question kept haunting him — What Next, which eventually left him struggling with depression.

So many of us fantasize about creating a masterpiece after which we never need to work again. That’s the dream, isn’t it?

But the truth is, only work provides real meaning to life, Mark’s experience epitomizes this.

It Felt Exactly the Same as It Did When I Had Nothing

Mark states that in his early 20’s he went through depression because of not knowing what to do. He was broke, didn’t know where his life was heading and wasn’t sure about his purpose.

After the success of his book, he had everything 20-year old Mark could have wished for: money, fame, opportunities, and yet he felt low for some reason.

He goes on to admit it was a weird kind of depression and eerily similar to what he experienced when he was young.

This was a very intriguing confession for me because till now I imagined success lead to depression because stars over-engaged in alcohol, drugs, adultery, and stuff.

And for me, it was a rational repercussion for their debauchery.

I also assumed celebrities always over-exaggerated the depression tantrums probably to seek attention or for PR stunts.

But the honest assessment by Mark had added a new perspective to my thinking.

Success is disorienting. The magnitude of luxury makes it harder, even for people with noble intentions to deal with the aftermaths.

I feel celebs seeking help with depression may actually require our genuine support to deal with it.

It Introduces All Sorts of New Pressure

Mark narrates the irony of every content creator. When he was unknown everyone was supporting him, giving him the time and resources to complete his book.

But after his success, there was an imperceptible pressure to get the next one out of the blocks as soon as possible.

The publishers wanted to do an edition of Subtle Art for teens which Mark disapproved of.

He says the intentions of the writer and the publishing house eventually change.

The writer tries to conserve his brand of writing while the media wants to bank on his success, make the maximum profit before the time runs out.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck went through four or five revisions. For his new book, the publishers scheduled only one revision. Mark had to fight them to conduct more reviews.

Additionally, after the triumph of Subtle Art, Mark had to create a new piece that should match it or improve on it.

It’s a daunting task for any creator to match their showpiece work.

Final Words

I watched the first thirty minutes of the podcast and stopped because I had to write this.

I believe Mark paints the ominous side of success which often gets unnoticed.

Fame, success, money, publicity can be overwhelming. It’s common to hear celebrities blowing up everything unable to deal with the pressure, attention, and everything that comes along with the package.

Mark had to remind himself why he started writing to get back his mojo.

That’s it from me, I will continue with the podcast now. Maybe I may end up with another article. Who knows?

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