Mark Manson has written, “A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life” with The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck. Mark doesn’t give a rats ass what you think but hopes you’ll give his book a gander. He taps into life’s every day struggles with a new perspective, that (to me) actually makes a lot of sense. Diving deep into our western culture of values, commitment, boundaries, failures, relationships, positive highs, and much more, Mark talks straight and honest about how you can live a better life if you stop giving two shits about everything.
A “self-help” or “advice on life” book, as you might say, this is unlike any book I’ve read or reviewed. In this review, I get a little personal with you guys. I use my own life experiences as examples to explain some of Mark’s thoughts, not all in case you read the book, but just a few. There are SO many topics he talks about in this book it is hard to discuss all of them in one blog. I hope you enjoy it, ponder it, and maybe consider reading this different perspective of Marks’; if not, well then I guess who gives a f*ck.
So the reason I read this book in the first place is that my boyfriend is a huge fan of “self-help” and “enlightening” books. When he read this book, he was an immediate fan and started to take the advice of Mark Manson to help structure his life. He bought it a little over a year ago and has since read it 3 times! (Like I said, huge fan.)
Well, as I am in my late twenties, a woman with anxiety, barely have my life together and care WAY too much about what other people do and say (which took me a while to admit). So pretty normal right. My loving and thoughtful boyfriend sees my struggles every day and knows what my goals are but never accomplish much. He suggested for the longest time that I should read Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck. He mentioned this for multiple reasons.
- I might be able to find some way to get motivation and understanding to achieve my goals.
- We would have both read the book and could use the same knowledge to continuously better our relationship.
- And lastly, of course, to better myself as an individual and not give a flying fuck about anything or anyone and their opinions or thoughts.
So, about a month or so ago, I had a pretty bad breakdown as anyone in their twenties does nowadays. I decided to finally pick up this book and give it a try. Ha! Before this happened, I stayed up half the night writing down my fears one night and the next morning my boyfriend saw my notes. He left the book on top of my list and said: “I think it’s time you finally read this.” I was torn at the time, but now I laugh because it was kind of like a Mufasa and Simba moment.
When I first started to read the book, I was actually a bit annoyed and pissed. I was like “Who the hell does this guy think he is telling me I’m wrong about everything I’m thinking or have done in my life so far. That everything I hold dear actually means nothing.” Mark Manson DOES NOT HOLD ANYTHING BACK. He throws everything he has at you like it’s some kind of a test to see if you can deal with his type of honesty. I did make my way over this hurdle and I’m grateful now for being able to make it through his assholeness, because looking back at all the advice he’s given, it has helped me.
What Mark brings to the table in this book is to see life from not the constant cultural positive, everything has to be perfect to be right kind of way. Instead, he uses failure, rejection, and pain to explain a more true picture of what life actually looks like. When you think about it, not everything you have done in life has started right and still turned out perfect. There are always times that can be kinda shitty and then get worse before getting better. You dated someone that you thought was great, but then it suddenly ended and you were left with the pain of emptiness, rejection, and loneliness. That pain, however, taught you something about that relationship in the end and you take that lesson to put towards the next relationship. We have all been there, even Mark and he uses this exact example in his book because everyone (well 99.9%) can relate. I know I have, and I know exactly what he is talking about.
Reading this book may be a bit intimidating when you start because he has a very morbid, angry-sounding, making you feel horrible kind of attitude, but don’t let that dictate your choice to stop reading. Everyone has a different opinion on how they want to live their lives. Mark’s perspective is just more harshly, honestly spoken and uses what our society sees as negative and turns it around to impact him in a positive manner. I couldn’t believe half of what I was reading at first but I gave it chance and now I see his point. He definitely mellows out towards the end and brings you down to sit in a green pasture to ponder his words to see if they will work for you.
So the main message of this book is to just stop caring what other people do or think. Do not assume that other people care about you and what you do because most likely they don’t. Our society is so intertwined and we have easy access to everyone’s lives whether we want to know about them or not. Since that is our world now, it is easy to view from outside the window in on someone and judge or think they have it better than me. Then it turns into a pity party. Just stop caring about others and what others’ are doing, have, thinking, just everything. You are you at that moment and you will get to where you are meant to be when the time comes.
The first lesson I’ll explain is simple and I’m sure many of you have heard it before. Don’t care so much about what other people think, or better yet, care less about caring. Over the last year, I decided I was going to wear fewer bras and just wear my clothes as I saw fit to be comfortable. I hated bras; how they made me feel, how they fit, how the shoulder strap fell down so much, how my sizes changed in every store, how I compared myself to every woman I saw with a better-lifted bra than myself. I would judge myself in the mirror way too easily about how my breasts looked. I’ve never been a fan of bras period, even from the moment I began wearing them when I started puberty. I chose sports bras over underwire bras because they felt more natural and comfy. Now that I am a grown woman and can make my own purchasing decisions, I decided I was going to nix the bra entirely. It’s healthier to go braless and I feel way more comfortable in my own clothes. However, when I started this new path of Freeing The Nip, I felt like people were staring at me, specifically girls. I felt I was being judged by the simplest of choices. I didn’t want to be judged or frowned at, secretly being labeled as a “slut” because I decided to Burn The Bra. It was hard to want to go out in public for a while. This is where Mark comes into play. I needed to stop giving a crap about what others thought when in reality, they probably didn’t even notice that I had no bra on. No one’s opinion matters, even if they did think something mean and horrid, I should not care. Those people I think are analyzing me are in and out of my life within seconds. There is no need for me to spend so much energy on what is prancing through their minds, which again probably wasn’t even happening. If I am most comfortable in my clothes without wearing a bra, then by golly that is what I am going to do! Don’t let YOURSELF dictate your choices based off of caring too much. Careless about caring and you’ll do just fine.
The second lesson I relearned or was retold since I’ve been told by my boyfriend so many times before this book, take responsibility for your actions AND emotions. Now I kinda knew what my boyfriend meant by this but only to a certain extent. I knew I shouldn’t let things bother me so much or affect my emotions to the point where I break down every time he and I disagree about something or when my best friend doesn’t text me back when she said she would then I take it personally. The way Mark explained it helped me see it a little differently, so now I feel I have a full 360 view of what that phrase means.
Take responsibility for your actions and emotions. When something hurts your feelings or your ego, as Mark would say, you could immediately react and turn the situation into something bad or salvageable. I’m not using the word “good” here because Mark explains things in a more darker tone, so I want to keep with his theme. When you are about to react to something, you have two choices; respond quick and ruthless or timed and thoughtful. Either way, you choose, take responsibility for the aftermath. If the response came out quick and ruthless, then take time to view what happened and take responsibility for the emotions that follow. I’m guessing they might be sad and angry, well you are choosing to react that way after the initial action. Basically what Mark is saying here is, when you choose to act a certain way after an event, that is your choice. You can choose to look at the circumstance from a negative or salvageable perspective and act upon that.
For my example, I will use a silly fight I had with my boyfriend. We were fighting about something stupid, at this point, I can’t even remember. We were both bad at communicating and it turned into a fussy mess. After the fight, he chose to sit on the couch and take some needed space from me but started to get over the whole thing. I, on the other hand, decided to pout, over-think, blame, got snotty when I was talked to, and grudge for 2 days. I did not do a good job of taking responsibility for my emotions and I let them get the best of me and run my actions for those 2 days. If I would have stopped to think about what I was doing with everything I decided to do instead of just doing them mindlessly, then I would have been able to tackle getting through that mess of shit faster and more effectively. This lesson of Marks’ is hard to explain in words. He actually goes on for a few pages in his book to try and explain in his own words what all this means. You could tell it was hard, even for him. The example he uses is much easier to visualize, but I wasn’t going to give that away. So I hope you get what I’m saying.
(By the way, I still struggle with like ALL of these lessons to this day and practicing them takes time. So I am in no way changed forever within one reading of this book, I still have my issues 🙂 )
After everything I’ve read in this book, I agree with a lot of what Mark states and I see things easily from his point of view. The book title tells you to not give a fuck, but as Mark explains about changing values, giving up entitlement, he isn’t saying “don’t care about nothing”, just change what you care about. Change the things that matter most to you. Care about the things that will have a positive impact on you. When you look at life in the simplest form, we are on this planet for a very short period of Earth time. Our lives are only roughly 100 years worth of the Millions of years Earth has been around already. When you change what you value in life, it changes your view on how you can live a more simple and happy life so when you get to the end of it, you will have hopefully felt you lived a FULL life. Take away the fear of missing out, or being judged. Take a chance at that thing you’ve always wanted to experience, whether it be skydiving, starting a new business, trying that new restaurant, or talking to a person you like.
The last topic Mark discusses is Death. He talks about death as a very natural thing and it is. It’s a natural part of life. It is the opposite of life. Without death, there can be no life. I will not give away too much about this part of the book because it was a very personal experience for me to read and I think everyone should take the time to read it themselves.
In the end, we will be leaving this Earth and Death will be there to catch us when it is our time. So while we are here, make the best of who you can be as an individual and choose good values for you to live by.
Accept the inevitable, dare yourself to do something, challenge your thoughts and emotions, change over time, and feel alive.