Mark Manson’s book “The Subtle Art of Don’t Care” is one of the top self-help bestsellers of 2016 and 2017. The book has received over 450 positive reviews on Amazon and over 6,500 positive reviews on GoodReads. This book is about how to properly deal with life’s difficulties and separate the important from the secondary.
Here are 5 main ideas from the book that will help you achieve balance in life:
Pain is a signal that teaches you to avoid mistakes in the future.
The body makes almost no difference between physical pain and mental pain. The difference is that we understand the meaning of mental pain much worse, blaming the people who caused it to us. Sometimes we were really wronged, sometimes we ourselves are to blame. But whoever is to blame, says Manson, the responsibility still lies with us. Not guilt, but responsibility. It is up to us and we alone to decide what to do with this pain – to learn some lesson or to revel in our suffering. Don’t be afraid of pain, Manson advises. Let the pain turn into a tool and the trauma into strength.
Happiness requires struggle and effort, it cannot be received as a gift from the wrong hands
Most people, Manson believes, want love, joy, a job they love, wealth, a carefree and easy life somewhere on the seaside. But almost no one at the same time asks the question of what price he is willing to pay for this, what pain to endure and how long to fight for his dream. Those who dream of financial independence and their own business do not ask themselves whether they are ready to do it 24 hours a day at first. Everyone wants to look great, but is everyone able to sweat for hours in the gym and diet for years? Who would refuse true love – deep trusting relationships? But love is also a showdown, friction, quarrels, common worries, resentment and everyday life. Without going through all this, you will not come to true love that lasts a lifetime, says Manson. And it is the struggle itself that is happiness, not its result.
Most of us are ordinary people, and there is nothing to worry about
Manson calls the belief in his own exclusivity ordinary narcissism. His advice is not to see yourself as a genius or a rising star, or, in the opposite case, as a victim of irresistible circumstances. It is better to apply to yourself the criteria of a good friend, partner, student, relative. When we don’t see ourselves as incredibly talented or unjustly hurt victims, we stop thinking that the world owes us something.
Focus on the things that really matter. Check all that do not apply
How to separate the important from the secondary? Manson here advises honest introspection, which he calls an onion. Layer by layer, we have to peel off this onion before we get to the point. What is our goal? Why is it so important to us? Are we good enough to achieve it? What makes us angry, and why? Questions can be awkward and difficult to answer truthfully. And the very important question “What if I was wrong?” Is extremely painful and unpleasant for anyone. But one must gradually learn to answer it honestly.
We are responsible for everything in our life, regardless of external circumstances
Responsibility and guilt are not the same thing, says Manson. There are problems for which we are not to blame, but nevertheless we are responsible for them. We are able to change our attitude towards them, look at them from the other side – and who knows if they seem to be the same insoluble? It all depends on the measure with which to approach them, and we are able to choose this measure ourselves.
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