This is a chapter-by-chapter summary of a book by Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life (2016) series. One chapter, one article. Read this summary, buy the book. Enjoy!
“It turn out that merely feeling good about yourself doesn’t really mean anything unless you have a good reason to feel good about yourself.”
In the 1960s, a trend began in psychology focused on helping people develop higher self-esteem. The theory was that people who felt good about themselves would perform better and cause fewer problems. School, churches and companies began employing this theory. People were bombarded with messages telling them that they were all exceptional and capable of achieving greatness.
The huge problem is that many people take this message and believe it – but never actually do anything to make themselves exceptional or successful. They talk a big talk, but do no walking to back it up. These people are entitled and delusional in their confidence in themselves to the point of self-destructive – and often other-destructive – narcissism. And sometimes it happens the other way round. People who suffer traumatic experiences or huge failures or disappointments start believing that they are special because of their pain. They brand themselves as victim. These people are also entitled, in that they feel entitled to bad behaviour because they have been victimized. Both of these forms of entitlement lead people to hugely selfish behaviour and demands that the world revolve around them and their feelings (social media is the best examples).
And it doesn’t help that we are constantly bombarded with examples of extraordinary and exceptional on TV and the internet. When we compare ourselves and our accomplishments to what we see, we feel average – an average has become the new standard of failure. But the idea that everyone can be extraordinary is simply impossible – if everyone is something, than that thing by definition is ordinary.
Constantly striving to be extraordinary and exceptional is very bad for mental health, and the cure is to accept that much of what you do and who you are is ordinary and average. Manson compares this to eating your veggies – embracing the bland truths of life in order to grow healthier and stronger. Bottom line? By accepting that not everything you do has to be extraordinary, you regain your appreciation for the simple joys and beauties found throughout your life.
F*ck, Stop Thinking that You Are Special