Book Summary: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a &%$#

Happiness is emphasized in self-help books and traditional life advice. However, this implies that you aren't already content and must change to live the life you desire.

The yearning for more pleasant experiences, however, makes us even more miserable. Accepting one's unpleasant experiences also makes us happier. This is why Mark Manson claims that the key to living is to not try.

You'll do better if you don't care as much about anything. Accept your shortcomings and insecurities, and you will gain bravery and tenacity. It is a sort of pain in and of itself to strive to escape suffering.

The key is to learn to choose what is important to you and disregard everything else. This does not imply indifference; rather, it means a willingness to overcome misfortune for the sake of one's own values. You must initially care about something more important than the difficulty to have the strength to push through adversity.

You always have a choice in what you care about, whether you realize it or not. So discover something significant; else, you'll be preoccupied with little matters.

The Problem With Happiness

A male running while humming as there are flowers and rainbow smiling.

Happiness isn't an equation that can be solved; unhappiness and dissatisfaction are unavoidable aspects of existence.

Suffering is an inevitable part of life. It's annoying, but it's also useful. It teaches us what is healthy for us and what is not. It instructs us on how to prevent repeating the same error in the future. It directs us on the path of positive transformation.

Pursuing a problem-free existence means preceding the advantages of appropriate doses of suffering and, as a result, improvement. Problems never go away; they only evolve.

Don't want a life free of difficulties; rather, wish for a life full of pleasant ones. Everything necessitates sacrifice; the things that make us happy will ultimately make us unhappy.

We gain and lose in the same way.

Happiness necessitates hardship, but we have the option of selecting the challenges that will offer us the most delight.

If you want a good body, you must choose to work hard in the gym for hours on end. Suppose you're going to be a successful entrepreneur. In that case, you must be willing to take risks, be unsure, and devote yourself to a venture that may or may not succeed.

You can't have a life without suffering, so ask yourself: what kind of suffering do you want in your life? For what are you willing to put up a fight?


A woman looking at the mirror, confident in her body shape and who she is.

In the 1970s, increasing one's self-esteem became fashionable in psychology. However, teaching youngsters that they are extraordinary results in entitled adults.

And being entitled isn't the same as being happy. Because entitled individuals are incapable of accepting responsibility for their issues, they choose to disregard them.

A person with genuine high self-worth may examine undesirable traits, admit them, and take steps to change them.

The first and most crucial step in solving your difficulties is to recognize that you – and your problems – are not unique. We're all relatively ordinary at the majority of things we do. We see the exceptional in the media - the finest of the best and the worst of the worse.

However, the great bulk of life is mundane. It's just ordinary.

We feel that everyone and everything must be extraordinary because we only perceive the extremes.

And because we're all quite ordinary most of the time, we feel uncomfortable and inadequate because we believe we're not living up to the lofty goals we set for ourselves.

We feel entitled to an amazing existence rather than evaluating what we truly deserve or don't deserve. And even if everybody had an extraordinary life, then, by definition, no one would have an extraordinary life.

The pressure will dissipate once you realize it's acceptable to be ordinary. The tension and worry that comes with continuously feeling inadequate and having to prove yourself will go away.

You'll learn to value the "commonplace" aspects of life, such as basic companionship, producing art, and reading a good book—things that make you happy and give you joy.


A rocket falling from the sky as the male engineer cover his head, showing the sign of pain.

If pain is unavoidable, we should consider why we are suffering in the first place. We must be self-aware for us to do this.

Understanding one's emotions is the first step toward self-awareness. Then there's the question of why we have particular feelings. Finally, one must analyze why I consider something a success or failure. How do I choose to assess myself?

The final level of values is the most crucial to comprehend. Most advice focuses on helping individuals feel better in the short term while addressing the underlying issue.

You can use your core values to reframe any situation if you know what they are. We can determine what our problems mean based on how we think about them and how we measure them.

We have a natural need to compare ourselves to others, but we should question what criteria we use.

The measures by which we assess ourselves and others are determined by our ideals. You must modify what you value and/or how you evaluate failure and success if you want to change how you perceive your difficulties.

Pleasure, monetary success, always being right, and always remaining optimistic (when we push ourselves to stay positive all of the time, we ignore the existence of the problem, which doesn't allow us an opportunity to fix it) are all values that should be avoided.

Honesty, inventiveness, sticking up for oneself, self-respect, and curiosity are all excellent values.

Good values are:

  1. grounded in reality
  2. socially beneficial
  3. immediate and manageable.

In contrast, bad values are:

  1. superstitious
  2. socially harmful
  3. uncontrollable.


A female choosing which colour and pattern to choose. Same with our surroundings, we cannot control what occurs to us, but we can choose how we perceive.

The only difference between a painful or strong situation is the notion that we selected it. If you're dissatisfied with your current circumstances, it's probably because you believe certain aspects of it are beyond your control.

We don't always control what occurs to us, but we can always choose how we perceive events and behave. We will have greater control over our lives if we choose to embrace responsibility in our lives.

The terms "fault" and "responsibility" are not interchangeable. A fault is the consequence of previously made decisions.

Every day, you make decisions that lead to responsibility. Some individuals are handed better cards in life than others, but the actual game is what we do with them. It's not always the individuals with the greatest cards that come out on top. Still, it's usually the people who make the best decisions.

It will be tough to choose the correct values, and you will most certainly feel unsure and uneasy. It is, nevertheless, worthwhile.

Being Wrong

We don't change from being "wrong" to "right" when we discover something new. We progress from erroneous to somewhat less erroneous.

There is no such thing as a "correct" response, but we may strive to come as near as possible. Being incorrect creates opportunities for development and transformation.

The human brain has flaws. The majority of what we "know" is muddled by our brain's errors and prejudices. As a result, whether you believe it or not, the majority of our beliefs are incorrect.

The more you accept uncertainty and the unknown, the more at ease you will be in knowing what you don't know. All development and growth are based on uncertainty. We can learn more if we acknowledge we don't understand everything.

It's challenging to mistrust and examine our own views and beliefs. These questions may be useful:

  1. What if I'm completely wrong?
  2. What would it imply if I were proven incorrect?
  3. Would being mistaken produce a better or worse difficulty for myself and others than my existing situation?


A male stressed about his business failing as the business graph collapses.

We can't grow if we don't fail. When a youngster first learns to walk, they will fall hundreds of times, but they will never quit up or say to themselves, "Oh, I'll never be able to walk."

Later in life, we learn how to prevent failure. But if we don't want to fail, we won't want to succeed. Pain is a natural component of the healing process. We become stronger, more resilient, and more grounded as a result of our suffering.

The majority of individuals try to dull their suffering. It is, nevertheless, far preferable to accept the discomfort and act despite it.

Motivation is not simply the result of an action; it is also the source of it. Begin by doing something, anything. If your aim is to merely do something, any outcome is a success, and failure is a failure fee.

Saying No

A male boss saying no as his employee shows a list, showing that he is busy.

Many of us think we should be as tolerant as possible. We can't stand for anything if we don't reject anything.

Only when you've invested in a single item can you discover a sense of joy and significance, and to do so, you must reject the alternatives.

Choosing one value necessitates the rejection of the others. As a result, rejection is an unavoidable element of upholding our beliefs and hence our identity. Rejection is a necessary part of life.

The importance of boundaries in any relationship cannot be overstated. People with good limitations take responsibility for their own values and issues, but not for the values and problems of others.

Both parties in a relationship must be willing and able to hear and say no to be healthy.

More isn't always better. We are often content with less. We are less happy with whatever we pick when offered several alternatives since we are aware of preceding other options.

Commitment provides both freedom and release. Saying no to things helps you focus on the really important things. It assists you in determining whether or not what you already have is adequate.

It's freeing to say no. We must say no to things that do not fit with our values and metrics so that we may say yes to the truly important things.

We all perish in the end. Nothing truly matters in this situation.

As a result, there's no reason for us to waste time worrying about things that don't make us happy. If there's no reason to do anything, there's no reason not to do anything, either. Spending your life avoiding what hurts and makes you uncomfortable is the same as not being alive at all.

The importance of confronting our own death is that it obliterates any flimsy, shallow ideals in life.

Our society teaches us that to be great, we must achieve greatness. However, the truth is that you are already fantastic. Regardless of whether you realize it or not. Whether or not anybody else is aware of it.

You are special because you get to decide what to care about and what not to.

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