A vulgar yet authentic book on a different approach to finding acceptance and contentment in life. The best-selling author, Mark Manson, shuns the positivity forced upon us from mass media. He provides some mindset changing and honest advice to stop giving a f*** so much. So here are the 10 takeaways:
- Feedback Loop From Hell.
We’re stuck in a vicious cycle known as the “Feedback Loop From Hell.” This is when you feel a certain way about something and it is often negative. But then you feel bad about feeling that way which repeats this cycle.
Emotions itself are overrated. They are simply a biological process that serves as a cue towards something. Negative emotions are simply a call to action. Positive emotions reward you for a behavior.
The key is to just accept and stop caring so much about those negative feelings such as guilt, anxiety and fear. We need to just accept these negative feelings rather than constantly ignore it.
I recently came across this loop when I was doing research for blogging and YouTube. I found countless of perfect blog posts and YouTube videos. I couldn’t help but compare myself in a negative manner. I had thoughts such as “Their content is perfect. I can never reach that level.” Then I noticed I was having these negative thoughts and I felt even worse for thinking that way. To sum it up, I felt bad about feeling bad. The loop just continued on. After noticing this terrible loop, I’m glad to say I’m slowly becoming more objective and accepting of my negative thoughts. I’ll simply acknowledge the thoughts, accept that it is normal and just move on.
“The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.”
2. Life is suffering.
As Buddha had once stated, “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” It is in our biology to suffer. However, pain can also help prevent us from repeating the same past mistakes. It is in adversity where we become stronger.
Life is filled with a series of problems. That is why it is impossible to hope for a life without problems. Instead, you should hope for a life filled with good problems. You get to choose the type of problems you have. Unfortunately, most people respond to their problems by:
- 1) Denial.
- 2) Victim mentality – blame game.
When you stop being in denial and blaming others for your problems, you will begin to find acceptance and closer to solving those problems. Happiness comes from solving those problems.
“The avoidance of suffering is a form of suffering. The avoidance of struggle is a struggle. The denial of failure is a failure. Hiding what is shameful is itself a form of shame.”
3. Choose the right values.
You need to redefine your own values and metric. Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on living up to your own values. Start by asking yourself: why do I choose to have this? Why is this success to me? Why are these my values? How am I choosing to measure success and failure? However, you need to make sure that your values are good.
- Good Values are:
- 1) Reality-Based
- 2) Socially constructive
- 3) Immediate and controllable
- Examples: honesty, creativity, innovation, vulnerability, standing up for yourself, curiosity, and humility.
- Bad Values are:
- 1) Superstitious
- 2) Socially destructive
- 3) Not immediate or controllable
- Based on externals
- Examples: popularity, dominance, center of attention, being rich, and sacrificing animals.
As I reflect on my past, I used to have crappy values. I remember telling my parents that my plan was to become wealthy so I could buy the nicest house. I even drew a sketch of how grand and luxurious that house would be. So naturally, my values were: wealth and comfort. Then I realized this is a crappy and materialistic value that is considered an extrinsic motivation. I’m no longer this type of person and I’ve altered my values to: contribution and self improvement. I want to keep giving to others and improving myself. These are values that are endless and within my control.
4. You are not special.
The problem with most people is that they have a high sense of entitlement. This causes people to have a false sense of success. People start to believe that they can be rewarded for anything without even doing the work to earn it. But the truth is that most people are mediocre at most things and only successful at a few things.
Technology itself enables entitlement. It make us believe that we need to be exceptional and polarizing. It shuns us for being average, promoting shame and insecurity. Learn to accept that it is okay to be mundane and normal.
“My recommendation: don’t be special; don’t be unique. Redefine your metrics in mundane and broad ways. Choose to measure yourself not as a rising star or an undiscovered genius. Choose to measure yourself not as some horrible victim or dismal failure. Instead, measure yourself by more mundane identities: a student, a partner, a friend, a creator.”
5. Just do something.
We have the false belief that we need to feel a certain way before we can take action. We need to feel motivated or inspired in order to do something. However, it is actually the other way around. It is by taking action first, then inspiration and motivation will come.
- We believe the order is:
- Inspiration –> Motivation –> Action
- But it is actually:
- Action –> Inspiration –> Motivation
The “Do Something Principle” is exactly what the name suggests. Just do something and the answers will follow.
“I quickly learned, though, that forcing myself to do something, even the most menial of tasks, quickly made the larger tasks seem much easier.”
6. Certainty is the enemy of growth.
We hate to be proven wrong. We also refuse to admit that sometimes we could be wrong. We always have a particular interpretation of an experience. Our mind will keep generating meaning and being biased towards certain meanings. Our brain is also flawed and can misinterpret things. According to Manson’s Law, we avoid things that threaten or question our identity. Finding your “true self” can make you become rigid and not open to changing. Instead, maybe never find yourself. Just embrace uncertainty.
- To embrace uncertainty, ask yourself:
- 1) What if I’m wrong?
- 2) What would it mean if I were wrong?
- 3) Would being wrong create a better or worse problem for both myself and others?
Uncertainty can relieve us from judgment. It is the root of all progress and growth. We need to “kill” our past self in order to grow. This starts by acknowledging that you can be wrong and then learning from it.
“Being wrong opens us up to the possibility of change. Being wrong brings the opportunity for growth.”
7. Embrace the struggle.
Instead of hoping for an outcome, ask yourself what are you willing to struggle through. What pain are you willing to take to achieve the outcome you want? Are you in love with the process or outcome? This is because our struggles determine our success.
I aspire to become a physical therapist and I’ve already heard the horror stories about the endless hours of studying and stress that will occur. Even though I’m afraid about this upcoming struggle, I’ve come to accept that it is a pain I’m willing to take in pursuit of something fulfilling.
“Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for.”
8. Failure is the way forward.
We’re often afraid of failure because of the way we were taught from school, parents and the media. We’re punished and scolded for making mistakes. We also see countless of success stories on the media without seeing the actual work being put in. But it is in failure where we gain resilience and strength.
“It turns out that adversity and failure are actually useful and even necessary for developing strong-minded and successful adults.”
9. Stop glorifying toxic relationships.
An example of a glorified toxic relationship is the story of Romeo and Juliet. The two characters were absolutely crazy and even killed themselves for their “love.” Unfortunately, the culture we have today seems to have a similar romantic ideal. A lot of relationships are about having a victim and saver. We see this in countless of other movies too.
Most relationships today involve both sides blaming each other rather than taking full responsibility for their own problems. The key is to take full responsibility for yourself, supporting each other’s problems and to make sure the relationship is not conditional.
“Unhealthy love is based on two people trying to escape their problems through their emotions for each other—in other words, they’re using each other as an escape. Healthy love is based on two people acknowledging and addressing their own problems with each other’s support.”
10. Thinking of death will liberate you.
We are the only species to be able to think of the past, present and future. We also have a conceptual and physical sense of self. Our conceptual self wants to leave a lasting mark on this world before we die. Keeping death in mind will encourage us to appreciate life more. We need to ask ourselves: What mark will you make? How will the world be different and better? We need to care about something bigger than ourselves.
I’m reminded of the time when I had just come home after a long day of work so I was stressed, hungry, and exhausted. I later received a phone call from one of the seniors who I call every week as a volunteer position. He told me that he simply wanted someone to talk to. I was initially annoyed and wanted to quickly end the conversation. But I suddenly had a vision of my own deathbed and thought about this very moment with regret. Instead of quickly dismissing him, I conversed with him and patiently listened as he poured out all his sadness, loneliness and pains to me. After the phone call, I envisioned my deathbed scene again with a smile that I made a small difference in someone’s life.
“You and everyone you know are going to be dead soon. And in the short amount of time between here and there, you have a limited amount of fucks to give.”
- 1. Feedback Loop From Hell: A cycle where you feel a certain way about something which repeats in a loop. It is often negative feelings such as guilt, anxiety, and fear. We need to accept those feelings rather than ignore it.
- 2. Life is suffering: It is in our biology to suffer but adversity makes us stronger. Sadly, most people respond with denial or victim mentality. We need to find acceptance and solve problems we encounter. And then happiness will come.
- 3. Choose the right values: Measure yourself based on your own metric rather than comparing yourself to someone else. Refer back to the difference between good values versus bad values.
- 4. You are not special: Most people are entitled. Technology makes us think we need to be exceptional. Accept that it is okay to be mundane and normal.
- 5. Just do something: Inspiration and motivation comes from taking action. So just do something no matter how small it is.
- 6. Certainty is the enemy of growth: Question if you’re wrong and admit it when you are wrong. Let go of your past self in order to learn and grow.
- 7. Embrace the struggle: Figure out what pain you are willing to take to achieve the outcome you want. Fall in love with the process, not outcome.
- 8. Failure is the way forward: Our upbringing makes us afraid of failure. But it is in failure where we gain resilience and strength.
- 9. Stop glorifying toxic relationships: The culture we have today idealizes romance of a victim and saver. We need to take full responsibility, support each other and make sure the relationship is not conditional.
- 10. Thinking of death will liberate you: Figure out what mark you want to make on this world. We need to care abut something bigger than ourselves.
Leave a comment: What are your thoughts on these takeaways or this book?
Check out this video I made on these takeaways. Please like and subscribe!