This week I am reading a book by Mark Manson called The Subtle Art of Not giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life. I thought I would share an excerpt from the book and pondered whether to go through and put little asterisks in all of the swear words, but then figured I would be pretty annoyed if someone went through and censored my work. As, this review on the Huffington Post states: “There’s nothing subtle about Mark Manson. He’s crude, vulgar and doesn’t give a f*ck. But like anything of true value in life, dig a little deeper and you’ll find treasure worthy of any explorer willing to look below the surface.”
On the way to work this morning, I turned the news down in the car. Sometimes I find that starting my day with the news puts my mood on the back foot. There is just so much negativity. Yet, as I lay in bed last night reading Mark’s book, even though, like the news, he was telling me how crap humanity can be, I found myself laughing out loud at what he said. It appears that all the profanity serves as the sugar that makes the medicine go down. And adding to that, I love anyone who writes with their authentic voice – unafraid of what the world will think. If you also like this, you should buy the book!
“Now here’s the problem: Our society today, through the wonders of consumer culture and hey-look-my-life-is-cooler-than-yours social media, has bred a whole generation of people who believe that having these negative experiences—anxiety, fear, guilt, etc.—is totally not okay. I mean, if you look at your Facebook feed, everybody there is having a fucking grand old time. Look, eight people got married this week! And some sixteen-year-old on TV got a Ferrari for her birthday. And another kid just made two billion dollars inventing an app that automatically delivers you more toilet paper when you run out.
Meanwhile, you’re stuck at home flossing your cat. And you can’t help but think your life sucks even more than you thought.
The Feedback Loop from Hell has become a borderline epidemic, making many of us overly stressed, overly neurotic, and overly self-loathing.
Back in Grandpa’s day, he would feel like shit and think to himself, “Gee whiz, I sure do feel like a cow turd today. But hey, I guess that’s just life. Back to shoveling hay.”
But now? Now if you feel like shit for even five minutes, you’re bombarded with 350 images of people totally happy and having amazing fucking lives, and it’s impossible to not feel like there’s something wrong with you.
It’s this last part that gets us into trouble. We feel bad about feeling bad. We feel guilty for feeling guilty. We get angry about getting angry. We get anxious about feeling anxious. What is wrong with me?
This is why not giving a fuck is so key. This is why it’s going to save the world. And it’s going to save it by accepting that the world is totally fucked and that’s all right, because it’s always been that way, and always will be.
By not giving a fuck that you feel bad, you short-circuit the Feedback Loop from Hell; you say to yourself, “I feel like shit, but who gives a fuck?” And then, as if sprinkled by magic fuck-giving fairy dust, you stop hating yourself for feeling so bad.
George Orwell said that to see what’s in front of one’s nose requires a constant struggle. Well, the solution to our stress and anxiety is right there in front of our noses, and we’re too busy watching porn and advertisements for ab machines that don’t work, wondering why we’re not banging a hot blonde with a rocking six-pack, to notice.
We joke online about “first-world problems,” but we really have become victims of our own success. Stress-related health issues, anxiety disorders, and cases of depression have skyrocketed over the past thirty years, despite the fact that everyone has a flat-screen TV and can have their groceries delivered. Our crisis is no longer material; it’s existential, it’s spiritual. We have so much fucking stuff and so many opportunities that we don’t even know what to give a fuck about anymore.” – Mark Manson
Much love xx
Ps – on Wednesday I will mix things up a bit and put up some photos and a short video of my surprise trip to Waiheke.