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​Being wrong opens us up to the possibility of change. Being wrong brings the opportunity for growth. I was so scared of being wrong. I was so scared of change.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

by Mark Manson


  • “You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.”

  • Being open with your insecurities paradoxically makes you more confident and charismatic around others. The pain of honest confrontation is what generates the greatest trust and respect in your relationships.

  • Suffering through your fears and anxieties is what allows you to build courage and perseverance 

  • How to pick and choose what matters to you and what does not matter to you based on finely honed personal values.

  • “You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.”

  • Subtlety #1: Not giving a fuck does not mean being indifferent; it means being comfortable with being different. The point isn’t to get away from the shit. The point is to find the shit you enjoy dealing with.

  • Subtlety #2: To not give a fuck about adversity, you must first give a fuck about something more important than adversity.

  • I once heard an artist say that when a person has no problems, the mind automatically finds a way to invent some. I think what most people especially educated, pampered middle-class white people consider “life problems” are really just side effects of not having anything more important to worry about.

  • Subtlety #3: Whether you realize it or not, you are always choosing what to give a fuck about.

  • To be happy we need something to solve.

  • Happiness is a constant work-in-progress, because solving problems is a constant work-in-progress the solutions to today’s problems will lay the foundation for tomorrow’s problems, and so on.

  • True happiness occurs only when you find the problems you enjoy having and enjoy solving.

  • Much as the pain of touching a hot stove teaches you not to touch it again, the sadness of being alone teaches you not to do the things that made you feel so alone again.

  • Emotions are simply biological signals designed to nudge you in the direction of beneficial change. In other words, negative emotions are a call to action. When you feel them, it’s because you’re supposed to do something.

  • Positive emotions, on the other hand, are rewards for taking the proper action. When you feel them, life seems simple and there is nothing else to do but enjoy it.

  • Therefore, we shouldn’t always trust our own emotions. In fact, I believe we should make a habit of questioning them.

  • Decision-making based on emotional intuition, without the aid of reason to keep it in line, pretty much always sucks.

  • “Hedonic treadmill”: the idea that we’re always working hard to change our life situation, but we actually never feel very different. This is why our problems are recursive and unavoidable. The person you marry is the person you fight with. The house you buy is the house you repair. The dream job you take is the job you stress over. Everything comes with an inherent sacrifice whatever I was in love with the result the image of me on stage, people cheering, me rocking out, pouring my heart into what I was playing but I wasn’t in love with the process. And because of that, I failed at it. Repeatedly. Hell, I didn’t even try hard enough to fail at it. I hardly tried at all.

  • The common cultural narratives would tell me that I somehow failed myself, that I’m a quitter or a loser, that I just didn’t “have it,” that I gave up on my dream and that maybe I let myself succumb to the pressures of society. But the truth is far less interesting than any of these explanations. The truth is, I thought I wanted something, but it turns out I didn’t. End of story.

  • I wanted the reward and not the struggle. I wanted the result and not the process. I was in love with not the fight but only the victory.

  • People who enjoy the stresses and uncertainties of the starving artist lifestyle are ultimately the ones who live it and make it.

  • This flood of extreme information has conditioned us to believe that exceptionalism is the new normal. And because we’re all quite average most of the time, the deluge of exceptional information drives us to feel pretty damn insecure and desperate, because clearly we are somehow not good enough.

  • The inundation of the exceptional makes people feel worse about themselves, makes them feel that they need to be more extreme, more radical, and more self-assured to get noticed or even matter.

  • Technology has solved old economic problems by giving us new psychological problems. The Internet has not just open-sourced information; it has also open-sourced insecurity, self-doubt, and shame.

  • Being “average” has become the new standard of failure. The worst thing you can be is in the middle of the pack, the middle of the bell curve.

  • The rare people who do become truly exceptional at something do so not because they believe they’re exceptional. On the contrary, they become amazing because they’re obsessed with improvement. And that obsession with improvement stems from an unerring belief that they are, in fact, not that great at all. It’s antientitlement.

  • 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.

  • Self-awareness is like an onion. There are multiple layers to it, and the more you peel them back, the more likely you’re going to start crying at inappropriate times.

  • Let’s say the first layer of the self-awareness onion is a simple understanding of one’s emotions.

  • The second layer of the self-awareness onion is an ability to ask why we feel certain emotions.

  • The third level is our personal values: Why do I consider this to be success/failure? How am I choosing to measure myself? By what standard am I judging myself and everyone around me?

  • 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.

  • Pleasure is not the cause of happiness; rather, it is the effect.

  • As humans, we’re wrong pretty much constantly, so if your metric for life success is to be righ  well, you’re going to have a difficult time rationalizing all of the bullshit to yourself.

  • The fact is, people who base their self-worth on being right about everything prevent themselves from learning from their mistakes.

  • Good values are 1) reality-based, 2) socially constructive, and 3) immediate and controllable. Bad values are 1) superstitious, 2) socially destructive, and 3) not immediate or controllable.

  • When we feel that we’re choosing our problems, we feel empowered. When we feel that our problems are being forced upon us against our will, we feel victimized and miserable.

  • We don’t always control what happens to us. But we always control how we interpret what happens to us, as well as how we respond.

  • People who consistently make the best choices in the situations they’re given are the ones who eventually come out ahead in poker, just as in life. And it’s not necessarily the people with the best cards.

  • Being wrong opens us up to the possibility of change. Being wrong brings the opportunity for growth.

  • The more you embrace being uncertain and not knowing, the more comfortable you will feel in knowing what you don’t know.

  • Uncertainty is the root of all progress and all growth.

  • As the old adage goes, the man who believes he knows everything learns nothing.

  • The more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid it.

  • That means the more something threatens to change how you view yourself, how successful/unsuccessful you believe yourself to be, how well you see yourself living up to your values, the more you will avoid ever getting around to doing it.

  • Buddhism argues that your idea of who “you” are is an arbitrary mental construction and that you should let go of the idea that “you” exist at all.

  • Aristotle wrote, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Being able to look at and evaluate different values without necessarily adopting them is perhaps the central skill required in changing one’s own life in a meaningful way.

  • Improvement at anything is based on thousands of tiny failures, and the magnitude of your success is based on how many times you’ve failed at something.

  • If someone is better than you at something, then it’s likely because she has failed at it more than you have. If someone is worse than you, it’s likely because he hasn’t been through all of the painful learning experiences you have.

  • If we’re unwilling to fail, then we’re unwilling to succeed.

  • My self-worth is based on my own behaviors and happiness.

  • Life is about not knowing and then doing something anyway.

  • Action isn’t just the effect of motivation; it’s also the cause of it.

  • The act of choosing a value for yourself requires rejecting alternative values.

  • That rejection is an inherent and necessary part of maintaining our values, and therefore our identity. We are defined by what we choose to reject. And if we reject nothing (perhaps in fear of being rejected by something ourselves), we essentially have no identity at all.

  • Rejection is an important and crucial life skill. Nobody wants to be stuck in a relationship that isn’t making them happy. Nobody wants to be stuck in a business doing work they hate and don’t believe in. Nobody wants to feel that they can’t say what they really mean.

  • By “boundaries” I mean the delineation between two people’s responsibilities for their own problems.

  • People can’t solve your problems for you. And they shouldn’t try, because that won’t make you happy. You can’t solve other people’s problems for them either, because that likewise won’t make them happy.

  • A healthy relationship is when two people solve their own problems in order to feel good about each other.

  • Entitled people who blame others for their own emotions and actions do so because they believe that if they constantly paint themselves as victims, eventually someone will come along and save them, and they will receive the love they’ve always wanted.

  • If you make a sacrifice for someone you care about, it needs to be because you want to, not because you feel obligated or because you fear the consequences of not doing so.

  • Unfortunately, building a track record for trust takes time certainly a lot more time than it takes to break trust.

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

  • People declare themselves experts, entrepreneurs, inventors, innovators, mavericks, and coaches without any real-life experience. And they do this not because they actually think they are greater than everybody else; they do it because they feel that they need to be great to be accepted in a world that broadcasts only the extraordinary.

  • If we don’t believe there’s any hope that the future will be better than the present, that our lives will improve in some way, then we spiritually die.

  • Hopelessness is the root of anxiety, mental illness, and depression. It is the source of all misery and the cause of all addiction. This is not an overstatement. Chronic anxiety is a crisis of hope. It is the fear of a failed future.

  • When people prattle on about needing to find their “life’s purpose,” what they really mean is that it’s no longer clear to them what matters, what is a worthy use of their limited time here on earth in short, what to hope for.

  • This flood of extreme information has conditioned us to believe that exceptionalism is the new normal. And because we’re all quite average most of the time, the deluge of exceptional information drives us to feel pretty damn insecure and desperate, because clearly we are somehow not good enough.

  • The inundation of the exceptional makes people feel worse about themselves, makes them feel that they need to be more extreme, more radical, and more self-assured to get noticed or even matter.

  • Being “average” has become the new standard of failure. The worst thing you can be is in the middle of the pack, the middle of the bell curve.

  • The rare people who do become truly exceptional at something do so not because they believe they’re exceptional. On the contrary, they become amazing because they’re obsessed with improvement. And that obsession with improvement stems from an unerring belief that they are, in fact, not that great at all. It’s antientitlement.

  • 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.

  • Self-awareness is like an onion. There are multiple layers to it, and the more you peel them back, the more likely you’re going to start crying at inappropriate times.

  • Let’s say the first layer of the self-awareness onion is a simple understanding of one’s emotions.

  • The second layer of the self-awareness onion is an ability to ask why we feel certain emotions.

  • The third level is our personal values: Why do I consider this to be success/failure? How am I choosing to measure myself? By what standard am I judging myself and everyone around me?

  • 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.

  • Pleasure is not the cause of happiness; rather, it is the effect.

  • As humans, we’re wrong pretty much constantly, so if your metric for life success is to be right well, you’re going to have a difficult time rationalizing all of the bullshit to yourself.

  • The fact is, people who base their self-worth on being right about everything prevent themselves from learning from their mistakes.

  • Good values are 1) reality-based, 2) socially constructive, and 3) immediate and controllable. Bad values are 1)superstitious, 2) socially destructive, and 3) not immediate or controllable.

  • When we feel that we’re choosing our problems, we feel empowered. When we feel that our problems are being forced upon us against our will, we feel victimized and miserable.

  • We don’t always control what happens to us. But we always control how we interpret what happens to us, as well as how we respond.

  • People who consistently make the best choices in the situations they’re given are the ones who eventually come out ahead in poker, just as in life. And it’s not necessarily the people with the best cards.

  • Being wrong opens us up to the possibility of change. Being wrong brings the opportunity for growth.

  • The more you embrace being uncertain and not knowing, the more comfortable you will feel in knowing what you don’t know.

  • Uncertainty is the root of all progress and all growth.

  • As the old adage goes, the man who believes he knows everything learns nothing.

  • The more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid it.

  • That means the more something threatens to change how you view yourself, how successful/unsuccessful you believe yourself to be, how well you see yourself living up to your values, the more you will avoid ever getting around to doing it.

  • Buddhism argues that your idea of who “you” are is an arbitrary mental construction and that you should let go of the idea that “you” exist at all; Aristotle wrote, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Being able to look at and evaluate different values without necessarily adopting them is perhaps the central skill required in changing one’s own life in a meaningful way.

  • Improvement at anything is based on thousands of tiny failures, and the magnitude of your success is based on how many times you’ve failed at something.

  • If someone is better than you at something, then it’s likely because she has failed at it more than you have. If someone is worse than you, it’s likely because he hasn’t been through all of the painful learning experiences you have.

  • If we’re unwilling to fail, then we’re unwilling to succeed.

  • My self-worth is based on my own behaviors and happiness.

  • Life is about not knowing and then doing something anyway.

  • Action isn’t just the effect of motivation; it’s also the cause of it.

  • The act of choosing a value for yourself requires rejecting alternative values.

  • That rejection is an inherent and necessary part of maintaining our values, and therefore our identity. We are defined by what we choose to reject. And if we reject nothing (perhaps in fear of being rejected by something ourselves), we essentially have no identity at all.

  • Rejection is an important and crucial life skill. Nobody wants to be stuck in a relationship that isn’t making them happy. Nobody wants to be stuck in a business doing work they hate and don’t believe in. Nobody wants to feel that they can’t say what they really mean.

  • By “boundaries” I mean the delineation between two people’s responsibilities for their own problems.

  • People can’t solve your problems for you. And they shouldn’t try, because that won’t make you happy. You can’t solve other people’s problems for them either, because that likewise won’t make them happy.

  • A healthy relationship is when two people solve their own problems in order to feel good about each other.

  • Entitled people who blame others for their own emotions and actions do so because they believe that if they constantly paint themselves as victims, eventually someone will come along and save them, and they will receive the love they’ve always wanted.

  • If you make a sacrifice for someone you care about, it needs to be because you want to, not because you feel obligated or because you fear the consequences of not doing so.

  • Unfortunately, building a track record for trust takes time certainly a lot more time than it takes to break trust.

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

  • People declare themselves experts, entrepreneurs, inventors, innovators, mavericks, and coaches without any real-life experience. And they do this not because they actually think they are greater than everybody else; they do it because they feel that they need to be great to be accepted in a world that broadcasts only the extraordinary.

  • If we don’t believe there’s any hope that the future will be better than the present, that our lives will improve in some way, then we spiritually die.

  • Hopelessness is the root of anxiety, mental illness, and depression. It is the source of all misery and the cause of all addiction. This is not an overstatement. Chronic anxiety is a crisis of hope. It is the fear of a failed future.

  • When people prattle on about needing to find their “life’s purpose,” what they really mean is that it’s no longer

  • Clear to them what matters, what is a worthy use of their limited time here on earth—in short, what to hope for.

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