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Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck - Mark Manson

What do you give a f*ck about?

I turned 40 a few years back. Around the time I turned 40, things felt like they were beginning to 'fall into place'. I often refer to it as that 'sense of alignment where everything is pointing in the same direction'.

I was finding myself taking more risks from the heart instead of the head and bringing change into my life that felt good and more authentic.

Doing that also took a greater sense of courage and vulnerability. To be able to step into a new and uncertain opportunity meant embracing the hope of a more meaningful day but also realising that there was a risk that I might also fall flat on my face.

To be honest, even acknowledging both sides of that 'risk vs reward', I was ok with that. It didn't mean that I didn't still feel the anxiety of taking that risk however it did mean that I felt I was living far more authentically.

Taking Seriously What Really Matters

I remember being at a bar with a friend of mine named Darren and saying to him that I didn't feel like I took things as seriously anymore.

"No", Darren said to me, "of course you still do. It's just you know what things to be serious about and what no longer matters."

That, in a nutshell, truly sums up some of the key points in Mark Manson's 'The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck'. It's the acknowledgement that some things are still truly worthy of our absolute care while others are inconsequential and should be left by the wayside so that we can invest that energy we have into something more meaningful and full of purpose.

Is it Really a Self-Help Book?

Manson might shy away from the label, but 'The Subtle Art...' is a unique kind of self-help book. If strong language isn't an issue for you, this book may resonate deeply. Manson's wit shines through, particularly in the creation of the "Disappointment Panda."

However, there is a lot more on offer here. Even within the opening chapter, Manson manages to touch on concepts such as shame and vulnerability, the curse of feedback loops, paradoxical mindsets, existentialism, values and value-driven action, and acceptance. This is just chapter one. As someone familiar with these concepts, Manson's take felt refreshing and relatable. I found myself constantly letting out an almost silent 'yes' in agreement and the head was nodding frequently as I continued to move forward with each argument.

His observations on life resonated strongly with me because they observed the everyday struggle people have with the concept of perfectionism and the shame driven desire to have the bigger, latest and best.

Understanding Feedback Loops and Values

What I truly appreciate about Manson's work is that he is capable of taking psychological concepts and making them very accessible to everyone. His explanation of the feedback loop, for example, helps clarify why emotions can feel overwhelming.

Manson also talks strongly about living life from a sense of your values. In ACT terms, living a value-driven life only leads you towards being the kind of person you want to be and having a rich, meaningful existence. Manson distinguishes between good values, which are realistic and beneficial, and bad values, which are often unrealistic and harmful. He goes on to state that honesty is a good value because it is something that you can control, it reflects reality and it benefits others while popularity, on the other hand, is a bad value because it is out of your control and isn't based in reality.

The Anti-Self-Help Yet Actual Self-Help Book

With just around 200 pages, 'The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck' is a swift read. Each chapter offers unique insights, including the importance of choosing the right problems, recognizing our frequent misunderstandings, and embracing the inevitability of death. If you think you'll predict each chapter's message, Manson's fresh perspective might surprise you. There is bound to be a story or metaphor or interesting fact that has you sitting back and truly contemplating something larger than the words on the page. It's moments like that which makes this book such an essential read.

You can get the Kindle version here, the paperback here, or explore Mark Manson's website here.

Release Hypnosis Melbourne Hypnotherapy

Since 2016, Lawrence Akers has been working under the name Release Hypnosis offering Hypnotherapy and ACT based work to the people of Melbourne or an online service. Based on St Kilda Rd, Release Hypnosis is an easy and convenient location to get to and accessible by the ANZAC station train and tram stop. Release Hypnosis can help with a wide range of presenting issues, and I offer a free 30 minute no obligation discovery call for those who are unsure if hypnotherapy is the right way forward for them.

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