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The Top Three Lessons in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson: Book Summary

Updated: Nov 23, 2022

Have you ever felt like you should give fewer fucks about what is going on around you? Mark Manson certainly thinks so.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is a refreshing book in the self-help category because it's funny, sassy, helpful, and mindset-focused.

Through humor and personal examples, Mark gives solid life advice. Here I'm going to summarize three main lessons from the book. Don't take my word for it though, this is one you need to pick up yourself.

Lesson #1: Care About Less

Mark shares that one of our main problems is that we care about too much. We care about what strangers think of us. We care about having a better life, a better job, and more money. We care about a lot of TV shows, strangers on the internet, if our clothes are nice enough, etc. Some things we should care about, most things we shouldn't.

Mark describes subtlety #1 of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck as being comfortable being different, rather than being indifferent. Giving less fucks is actually about caring intentionally.

Subtlety #3 covers the fact that we are already choosing what we care about every day through our actions and inaction. Now that you are aware of it, pay attention today to what you are choosing.

Deciding what to care about means you need to understand your values and always choose to be in line with your values. Happiness is tied to action, so take action towards what is most important to you more often than not, by understanding what is actually important to you.

Lesson #2: Choose Your Suffering

Everyone experiences suffering and pain, our goal is to only suffer for the right reasons. For example, in goal setting, there is often a period of pain on your way to the goal.

For myself, I am an author. My goals often align with writing books. The funny thing, many writers (myself included) don't actually like the act of writing - we like the end result. To be an author, I'm intentionally choosing the suffering of writing for my goal.

Choose what you are willing to suffer for. This aids you in choosing your values and what to give a fuck about because if you are willing to suffer for it, you are showing that it matters to you.

Because every life has suffering, there is no point in trying to avoid it. Subtlety #2 talks about how avoiding adversity isn't the goal. You have to decide whether certain things are worth adversity.

Suffer on purpose, for the right things, and you'll be happier.

Lesson #3: You Have to Fail Often

The most important lesson is being willing to be wrong and seeking to try and fail more often.

Why is failure a good thing? You can't succeed until you have failed. Failing often gives you more inputs of information to iterate and get you closer to larger successes.

Three questions Mark encourages you to ask are:

  • What if I'm wrong?

  • What would it mean if I were wrong? (that's an amazing question)

  • Would being wrong create a better or a worse problem them my current problem, for myself and others?

Being able to address your feelings about being wrong helps build stronger confidence, helps you better problem solve, and creates better self-awareness.

Related to lesson #1, being able to address failures and being wrong should help you better define your values and what you give a fuck about. Having better values to reach your ideal life is a process and should be looked at frequently.

Do something. Keep trying. Learn from the failures. Do not sit in indecision over the fear of being wrong. You are going to be wrong, the sooner you embrace it the better.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson is available in multiple formats (I recommend paperback so you can highlight) as well as in a journal. I'm excited to think of the book more practically with the journal companion.

I hope you enjoyed this summary of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck and a look into the lessons of the book. I will definitely read this one multiple times.

➡️ Plug: If you like nonfiction books, check out my books on Amazon. I have several beliefs and practices in common with The Subtle Art that you may enjoy.

What is your favorite self-help read of 2022 so far?

First photo: Cherries on Pexels


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