What I learned from “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck” by Mark Manson

I am trying to read as much as I can, now that I am in almost lockdown with no school and barely any work. I have a list of books that I want to get through so I am really pushing myself to fall in love reading again, like I was when I was 12 years old.

I thought I would share my thoughts on each book I read with all of you. So that you can either, not read it because I will summarize my favourite take-aways or see if this is the next book for you to try based off of my thoughts. Either way, I am hoping to make learning something new easy for you! Let’s get into my take-aways from The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson.

First Take-away: The Importance of Choices

I thought this matched to some of the topics I discussed in older blog posts, so chapter two stuck out to me. Specifically, the part about choosing your struggle. When planning how we want our lives to turn out, we should be asking ourselves two main questions:

  1. What pain do you want in your life?
  2. What are you willing to struggle for?

These are important because Manson mentions that pure happiness comes from struggling and choosing what we WANT to struggle with. If it comes easy to you and doesn’t provide lasting growth for you, it’s not really worth the time and struggle. We get to choose what we want to focus on and give a fuck about. He gave an example of someone who wants to be fit, but you can’t achieve that goal of being fit without really hard work, time and pain that you have chosen to live with. We can never grow if we don’t struggle and have problems. Having good problems to solve means we are choosing the correct things to struggle with because there is opportunity for growth and self-improvement.

We make the choice to have certain goals and people hold importance in our lives, we have a choice of how to react to events and emotions, we all have choices on what to give a fuck about.

Second Take-away: Don’t Pick Shitty Values

This was a HUGE take-away because Mark discussed the importance of having healthy, realistic and good values a lot in this book. I feel like it was one of the main ideas he wanted people to remember.

He mentioned that having values like being positive, material success and always being right are awful values to have because things go wrong and shit happens that is out of our control. He believes that good values are:

  1. Reality-based
  2. Socially Constructive
  3. Immediate and controllable

Honesty is a good value because it is based on reality, it will help yourself and others and you can control it, while money and fame are bad values! After reading this chapter, I realized I want my most important values to be Self-Respect, Honesty and Creativity. These are real values I will choose to struggle and work with. They are constructive, help others/myself, I can control them and they are immediate values. As a blogger, I want to be creative with everything I do and work on. But, I also want to stay true to me by respecting who I am and not letting others disrespect me, and I want to be honest with myself and others in a positive way.

Most of the “problems” in our lives are from shitty values we have. Like in relationships, if you have shitty values, like fame and always being happy, then you are going to have shitty standards. You are choosing to let in people who give you temporary happiness because fame and happiness doesn’t last. My favourite line from this part of the book is:

“This, in a nut-shell, is what “self-improvement” is really about: prioritizing better values, choosing better things to give a fuck about. Because when you give better fucks, you get better problems. And when you get better problems, you get a better life.”

Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

Third Take-away: Entitlement Will Ruin You

Entitlement was also mentioned a lot in this book. Mark Manson does NOT like entitled people, I don’t think anyone really does. But he mentioned how dangerous entitlement is. When we don’t have good values and don’t make good choices, we are left with difficult problems that are usually caused by us. As humans, many of us want special treatment because we feel like we’re above everyone else or we want special treatment because we feel like less than everyone else. This is entitlement.

Manson related entitlement to drug and alcohol abuse because it is just as addicting. We use entitlement to make ourselves feel better when we have hard problems we can’t solve. Instead of telling ourselves that we are special in some way (which no one is), we should be taking part in anti-entitlement. We all suck at things and struggle with things, but the only way to get great at something is to work hard and improve at it.

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.

Mark Manson

Entitlement doesn’t allow us to grow and learn knew things. It’s a trap that keeps us from getting rid of shitty values, finding the good things to struggle with and improving ourselves. Mark also mentioned that “ordinary things matter” and I love that, because today we are so caught up with being famous and super busy. But the most rewarding things tend to be simple and help us grow as a person. Say goodbye to entitlement because you’re not that special!

If you made it this far and actually read everything, congrats! There are a lot of really, really good lessons and tips in this book. I will admit that it took me a very long time to get through this book because of how long the chapters were. I felt as though a lot of topics dragged on and I got lost a lot in the middle of each chapter. But once I focused on what he was actually saying, it was really helpful information. This is not a book for people who worry a lot because that is not really the purpose; however, this is a book for someone who needs a new path in life and guidance on how to control their life better.