Blogmas 2019 Book Review

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – Mark Manson

“Action is the cause of motivation”

I was out for drinks with friends from work and one recommended to me that I read this book, and then they brought it into work for me to read.

I can’t imagine why he would think I need to read a book like this?
… Yes, that was sarcasm. I understand exactly why this book was recommended to me.

I genuinely enjoyed reading this. It had a lot of interesting insights. From ‘Positive affirmations’ essentially reenforcing in your mind what you don’t have, or don’t believe you have. He showed how now we’re supposed to care about everything, which wouldn’t be a bad thing but now we’re bombarded with advertising telling us what we need in order to lead a happy life. Better job, better boyfriend/girlfriend, get a new tv, go on holiday – the list is endless.

“The more you pursue feeling better all the time, the less satisfied you become, as pursuing something only reinforces the fact that you lack it in the first place.”

He notes that the companies who do this are just doing their jobs, but investing too much of yourself into these notions of always needing more or better will have a negative impact on your mental health.

I shouldn’t go into too much detail, otherwise I’ll recount the entire book. He talks about “The Feedback Loop from Hell” where we have a thought, usually not a good one, but we’re conscious of our thoughts and we have the ability to admonish ourselves for them.

”There’s an insidious quirk in your brain that, if you let it, can drive you absolutely batty. Tell me if this sounds familiar to you:
You get anxious about confronting somebody in your life. That anxiety cripples you and you start wondering why you’re so anxious. Now you’re becoming anxious about being anxious. Oh no! Doubly anxious! Now you’re anxious about your anxiety which is causing you more anxiety.”

Seriously, somebody stop me before I re-write this book in a review.

Of course, he talks about the standard things. For example, how it seems like there are more people who deal with anxiety now than ever before. Myself and another colleague discussed this recently and wondered upon that ourselves. Is it on account of people nowadays being more open to talking about mental health? In which case, it isn’t that it’s more common but more talked about as we continue the destigmatisation of mental health problems.

Or is it partly to do with the rise of media and social media telling you how you should be living this vegan, vegetarian, keto, plant-based, diet! diet! diet!, exercise 8 days a week and drink four galleons of water a day while being frugal, stylish, early-rising, young entrepreneur millionaire who just so happens to have the perfect romantic relationship lifestyle.

I may have exaggerated slightly, but you see my point. We’re constantly bombarded with images of this unattainable picture-perfect life, the purpose of which only serves to remind us what we haven’t achieved and all the ways we don’t live up to this societal expectation.

The author also talks about shifting your values, using examples of The Beatles and Megadeath, which I found extremely interesting. The two similar situations of the ex-bandmates. Both kicked out of their bands just as they reached main stream success. The ex-bandmate of The Beatles said that it was probably the best thing that had ever happened to him. However, Megadeath’s lead vocalist and guitarist remained sour at the rejection of his former band, despite the success of Megadeath.

All because for one, their priorities in their life shifted, and suddenly they found that the life they lead now is more important to them than that of fame and mainstream success, making him much happier than the one who’s only goal was to outsell and be better than their former band. (Who, if you’re interested, was Metallica).

He also spoke about ‘Fault and Responsibility’, which I can understand if people didn’t like this, as he touched upon in the book. I however, took something away. Although something might not be my fault, what happens next is my responsibility.
Fault and responsibility are not the same thing and I think learning to separate the two would help my mental health significantly.

There’s so much more, but I’ve probably said too much as it is. All that’s left to say is that I would absolutely recommend this book if you’re interested.

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