I recently finished reading the excellent book, “The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life” by Mark Manson. I wanted to share some of my favorite quotes from the book with y’all. Hopefully, after you read these quotes and see my explanations for why they impacted me, you would want to read this book too. I think it needs to be on your reading list this year if it’s not already.
10 Awesome Quotes From The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck
1. “You can’t be an important and life-changing presence for some people without also being a joke and an embarrassment to others.”-p. 17
This was the first of many quotes that hit me while I was reading this book. I think that when you are first starting off as a creative, you want your work to be liked by everyone because that feels like the only way to make a living doing what you are doing. You sacrifice being yourself and creating a crowd of people who love you because you are stuck wanting to be liked by as many people as possible. Instead of focusing on everyone, focus on finding your people. Focus on finding the people who love what you have to say, everything you have to say!
2. “We suffer for the simple reason that suffering is biologically useful. It’s nature’s preferred agent for inspiring change.”-p. 27
We always want to avoid suffering. We want to live a life of rainbows and butterflies where we always get our way. While some people think that would be an awesome world to live in, I don’t think it is always the best world to live in. You need to have a balance. Life needs to take you down a few pegs every once and a while. Most people who get everything they want all the time just end up being entitled a**holes who are the absolute worst to be around. It’s okay to suffer, to not get everything you desire, to have to work for things a bit. It keeps you humble!
3. “The truth is I thought I wanted something but it turns out I didn’t. End of story.”-p. 40
I just love the way he phrases this part of the book. In this section, he is talking about how for a significant portion of his early life he thought he wanted to be a rockstar, but at the end of the day, he just wanted to be up on a stage seeing people chant his name. He didn’t want to put in the work necessary to be a rockstar; he just wanted the end result. He realized that to be a rockstar, though, you have to love the things that make you a rockstar. You have to love the practice, the shows, the late night recording sessions, finding a label, etc. You can’t just show up at the end of it all like a cheat code on a video game. So Mark Manson found something that he liked suffering for–writing.
When you realize that you don’t want something anymore, it doesn’t have to be this huge ordeal. You don’t have to go into a million explanations for why you don’t want something. Just say “I thought I wanted something, but it turns out I didn’t.”
4. “The true measurement of self-worth is not how a person feels about her positive experiences, but rather how she feels about her negative experiences.”-p. 46
Let’s face it: positive experiences are easy.
It’s easy to be delighted with yourself when everything is going swimmingly. When you have all the cash your heart desires. When you are working hard and excelling at your dream. When you wake up feeling oh so happy with your life. Self-love and self-worth are easy then.
It’s not so easy when you are down. When you are struggling to put food on the table. When you don’t have the money you need to pay your bills. When you are just flat out failing.
That’s when you need self-worth and love the most though. If you can love yourself despite all the craziness going on around you, that’s the best thing in the world!
5. “If suffering is inevitable, if our problems in life are unavoidable, then the question we should be asking is not ‘How do I stop suffering?’ but ‘Why am I suffering–for what purpose?'”-p. 69
I love this idea that Mark Manson posits here. We are always going to suffer some in the world, but why are we suffering? Are we suffering for something that is important, that matters to us? That suffering is unavoidable, so we may as well be suffering for something that’s great.
6. “A lot of people hesitate to take responsibility for their problems because they believe to be responsible for your problems is to also be at fault for your problems.”-p. 97
I loved this way of thinking about responsibility. I had never thought about the power of taking responsibility for something, even if it wasn’t my fault. It was an interesting concept to think about, and one that I plan to implement throughout the year. I do associate responsibility with fault, but it is so intriguing to think of those concepts as two separate things. It’s also rather liberating!
7. “Certainty is the enemy of growth. Nothing is for certain until it has already happened–and even then, it’s still debatable.”-p. 119
This is another concept that I never pondered in this way. Before I read this book, I used to value certainty more. I used to think that you wanted to have things locked in place in your brain, but then I began to see how certainty was holding me back in various avenues of my life. When you are certain that a situation won’t happen, you sabotage yourself before it even has a chance to happen. You don’t try as hard to get a job; you don’t work as hard on the writing you are working on; you stop working out, etc. Certainty is the enemy of growth, and I encourage you to take a look at the things you seem certain about.
8. “Action isn’t just the effect of motivation, it’s the cause of it.”-p. 160
This year I decided to leave behind the thought of needing motivation to get things done. Motivation is awesome, but it doesn’t always just come to you. Inspiration isn’t always easy to get so just do something, anything, to get the ball rolling. I think that we can all recall Newton’s First Law which is:
An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.
Once you start the ball rolling by moving, your motivation will come. Start acting, instead of waiting for motivation to strike you.
9. “It’s not about giving a f*ck about everything your partner gives a f*ck about; it’s about giving a f*ck about your partner regardless of the f*cks he or she gives. That’s unconditional love, baby.”-p. 181
Set boundaries in your relationships. You don’t have to like everything that your partner likes or do everything that your partner does. Instead, love them and give a f*ck about them, but don’t chase them around and be their twin. The old saying is that “opposites attract” and you don’t have to be your partner’s twin to love and care about them.
10. “Confronting the reality of our own mortality is important because it obliterates all the crappy, fragile, superficial values in life.”-p. 205
I was kind of afraid to read the last chapter of this book. A chapter titled, “…And Then You Die” just didn’t seem like a chapter that I wanted to finish this book. I ended up being very glad that I read the chapter though. I am still coming to grips with the mortality of this earth; I am not certain how I feel about the fact that eventually I will die or the people I love will die. It’s so so so scary to me, so much so that if I think about it enough, I will start crying. This chapter was a step, though, to thinking about mortality in a new way. I am still scared sh*tless of death, and I am not sure I will ever be fully prepared for it, but it is an interesting concept to think about.
You need to pick up this book by Mark Manson! The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck is such an excellent self-development read. It stands out from so many of the other self-help books I have read, and I felt so encouraged after reading this book. Pick this up from Amazon or a local bookstore if you have the chance!
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