‘A Counter-Intuitive Approach to Living a Good Life!’

There are two kinds of people on Earth – the one who will write essays and still never manage to get to the main point. And then there are people who drop single-liner truth bombs that rattle the entire world. Mark Manson’s book – ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’, falls in the second category. He doesn’t sugarcoat his thoughts and calls a spade, a spade. You might hate the way he says it, but once you’re done with the book, you will love him for being honest. The book made me rethink my priorities in life and helped me narrow down the most important aspects of my life, cut away what wasn’t required and pay attention only to what was close to my heart. Here are a few thoughts from the book which I could relate to:

No. You’re not special.

I guess this is a millennial thing. We think we are special for no reason. It takes the right combination of genes, IQ, skills, and luck to become special. It is funny people think that way because if everyone were special, then no one would actually be special! We walk around with a false sense of entitlement thinking that the world owes us something. And when god forbid, something bad happens, it’s always the world against us. The downside to this is, we expect others to roll out the red carpet for us and get offended if they don’t. We are so far away, in a world of our own. Maybe that’s why everything comes crashing down when we finally realize that the bubble we lived in is way different from reality!

Stop Worrying about Everything

“The key to a good life is not giving a fuck about more; it’s about giving a fuck about less, giving a fuck about only what is true and immediate and important.”

Mark Manson

We tend to worry about so unnecessary things and stress ourselves. The more we stress ourselves, we feel stressed and then get stressed about getting stressed. Such a vicious cycle!

There are many things which are beyond our control, yet we place them high up in our list of things to be concerned about. Manson rightly says that we need to know what’s important for us and worry only about those. If there is nothing you can do about it you might as well stop worrying and instead focus your time and energy on things that matter to you the most. Trust me, as I grow older I realize I have no time for drama and it’s nice to not inundate the mind with a million thoughts.

Take Responsibility for your Life

Once you know what exactly to worry about, you should accept responsibility for what happens to you. Many of us find it convenient to play the blame game and garner sympathy. But things get better only when you take responsibility for what happens to you – even if you are a victim of the circumstance. Instead of dwelling over the unfair treatment meted out to us, we can spend that time focussing on how to solve the problem and move on.

“Don’t hope for a life without problems. There’s no such thing. Instead, hope for a life full of good problems.”

Mark Manson

Accept the Negative Aspects of Life

The world romanticizes positivity. Yes, it makes a huge difference if you can stay positive even when things around you are not looking great. However, when we use positivity to hide the negative realities of life, it becomes an issue. Focusing only on the positive side detracts you from tackling the problem at hand. Life isn’t perfect. There are bound to be positive and negative experiences. It is up to us to make the best of the feedback we get. When we fail to achieve something, we can consider that as an opportunity to analyze what went wrong and rectify them. Instead, we refuse to accept the result and convince ourselves that things just didn’t work out (though this is true in certain cases).

‘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

I could relate to every word in the book and I wondered why I hadn’t come across his writing before. His thoughts are direct and might contradict every other book written on this topic. Which is why I liked it. It caused a radical shift in the way I thought about being positive. While it is good to be positive, I realized that accepting the negative aspects of life is what will help us in the long run. We learn more from our mistakes and negative experiences than from our successes and positive experiences, don’t we?

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