About a year ago, I was an average outstation girl brimming with energy who was absolutely new to Delhi and all of its busyness and hustle and bustle.
Practically really lost, I gave a f*ck about almost every minute shit happening under the sun. In the hubbub of a number of societies, internships, studies and my personal co-curricular activities, I had no time to take a second and think where I’m at and where I’m going. I am sure this is what happens to every. Unfortunately, hardly anyone is able to get out of this plethora.
Luckily I, only one chapter in this mind-boggling book (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson), left a couple of non-contributory societies and made a few important decisions.
Whoever asked me the reason, I would say “If I gave a f*ck about everything, then I wouldn’t have any f*cks left to give to the things that actually matter to me.”
They all looked up to me because it was something that they couldn’t make up their minds to do since two to three years, and I had done it within a few months.
What was it about the book that made me take such a huge leap? Well, contradictory to other self-help books that make you feel good about yourself and last only till you have your head buried in the book, this one made me accept the harsh reality.
Also, instead of pouring in touchy-feely sugar coated words, it made me consume the beauty along with all the muck and grime that is around me.
There are always going to be problems, we need to be in control and empower ourselves to choose the problems that we want to solve.
It made me question, “Okay, so this is the problem we’ve got at hand, what is the best I can do about it?” rather than just popping in useless optimism, “Everything is going to be great. Give it time. You’re just a fresher. Go easy on yourself.”
As if some miracle would solve the problem overnight!
That is the sole reason that I stand along with author Mark Manson in hating the self-help market, which he suitably calls, “the French fries and soda version of self-growth”, lasting only as long as you lick off the salt from your fingertips.
It distracts you from the real world problems and often creates more of them. We get into the delusion that things are going to work out in our favor by themselves. Wake up, Cinderella!
Some of my absolute favorite quotes from the book, that pretty much summarize the entire book are:
“The desire for a more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience”
When a self-help book motivates you to stand in front of the mirror and say to yourself, “I am beautiful”, it innately has the message that you’re not beautiful enough. When I accepted my beauty along with my flaws, that’s a positive experience that made me feel empowered.
“Everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience. Any attempt to escape the negative, to avoid it or quash it or silence it, only backfires”
In order to be successful, you need to give a f*ck about something which, to you, is way larger than the problem associated with it.
“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”
If I’d have avoided studying for my boards, then I wouldn’t be here. That’s a form of suffering, indeed.
“Life is about not knowing and then doing something anyway. All of life is like this. It never changes. Even when you’re happy. Even when you’re farting fairy dust. Even when you win the lottery and buy a small fleet of Jet Skis, you still won’t know what the hell you’re doing. Don’t ever forget that. And don’t ever be afraid of that.”
When an elder asks me or my colleagues about our future plans, it’s not just a twist of fate that a clear majority hides under the safe facade of an MBA or an MA. Nobody knows where they’re going, and that’s alright.
“Our crisis is no longer material; it’s existential, it’s spiritual. We have so much f*cking stuff and so many opportunities that we don’t even know what to give a f*ck about anymore”
In short, all we really need to do is, figure out our true selves. That is what is f*ck-worthy. Everything else is just background music.
If we’re all going to die one day and life actually converts to nothingness,
“If there really is no reason to do anything; that in the face of inevitability of death, there is no reason to ever give into one’s fear or embarrassment or shame, since it’s all a bunch of nothing anyway and that by spending the majority of my short life avoiding what was painful and uncomfortable, I had essentially been avoiding living at all.”
If you’ve got a startup idea, take the risk! If there’s gain, you win. If there’s loss, you’ve just lost a bunch of nothing, anyway.
Mark Manson doesn’t give a f*ck about alleviating your problems or pain.
As he says, “The book is not a guide to greatness… as greatness is an illusion… our own psychological Atlantis”, but in spite of the truth filled goo served to you throughout the book, there is content and happiness after finishing it.
Maybe it’s the reverse psychology, but there sure is something about the book.
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