My quick notes about the key takeaways from The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson.
Happiness is a thought process (you have more control than you might think).
- Happiness comes from a person’s thought process – not exactly external circumstances or achievements
- Happy people aren’t constantly striving for more – they don’t focus on the superficial
Stop fighting so hard for a more positive experience.
- Accepting your feelings is key – not caring about feeling bad – not fighting back against negative feelings can be the key to a positive experience.
- “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.”
Stop avoiding pain.
- When a person avoids pain, they suffer – you can’t avoid pain; having resolve and going into a painful/challenging situation can bring about important and even wonderful moments in a person’s life.
- Happiness as an end goal will lead to suffering – you must accept that uneasiness and pain are part of life.
Pure Happiness (likely) isn’t achievable – life is a struggle.
- Further, any point you reach “happiness” will bring its own set of problems – i.e., there’s no summit you can reach on happiness – life adjusts and uneasiness is unavoidable.
- The upward struggle of life never really stops – be aware of the joy in that struggle.
You (likely) aren’t special, and that can be a wonderful thing (if you accept that).
- Accepting that you’re mediocre or that the majority of your experiences are simply mediocre can be freeing – you can accept that your life is standard and that isn’t bad.
Know the metric by which you measure yourself, be fair, and take pride in your accomplishments.
Pleasure is a worthless pursuit in and of itself – pursue your values instead, and pleasure might come.
Chasing material success can also be an empty pursuit.
Accept responsibility for what happens in your life – you are in your control of your perception and response to what happens in your life.
Every person has a scar that affects their ability to be truly happy – it’s up to you how you perceive and deal with your scar(s).
People will avoid anything that can change how they view themselves – if you can give less f*cks, and stop resisting, you might grow.
The pain of psychological growth through bad situations and experiences (whether internal or external) can ultimately lead to greater compassion and happiness.
Say no to things that don’t align with your values.
Accept that you too will die one day – fighting against this fact can lead to the conceited pursuit of “leaving your mark” on the world via “immortality projects” that are ultimately frivolous and self-centered. Accepting this can lead to deeper, more worthwhile experiences and an appreciation for what matters in life.