A suprisingly fantastic book I recently read. Here are my unedited notes
The Feedback Loop from Hell
Wanting positive experience is a negative experience; accepting negative experience is a positive experience.
Not giving a fuck works in reverse. If pursuing the positive is a negative, then pursuing the negative generates the positive. The pain you pursue in the gym results in better all-around health and energy
Being open with your insecurities paradoxically makes you more confident and charismatic around others.
avoidance of suffering is a form of suffering. The avoidance of struggle is a struggle. The denial of failure is a failure. Hiding what is shameful is itself a form of shame.
To not give a fuck is to stare down life’s most terrifying and difficult challenges and still take action.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck
Subtlety #1: Not giving a fuck does not mean being indifferent; it means being comfortable with being different.
There’s absolutely nothing admirable or confident about indifference. People who are indifferent are lame and scared. They’re couch potatoes and Internet trolls
Because here’s another sneaky little truth about life. You can’t be an important and life-changing presence for some people without also being a joke and an embarrassment to others.
The Misadventures of Disappointment Panda
We suffer for the simple reason that suffering is biologically useful
Happiness comes from solving problems. The keyword here is “solving.” If you’re avoiding your problems or feel like you don’t have any problems, then you’re going to make yourself miserable
Happiness is therefore a form of action; it’s an activity, not something that is passively bestowed upon you
Emotions Are Overrated
if you feel crappy it’s because your brain is telling you that there’s a problem that’s unaddressed or unresolved. In other words, negative emotions are a call to action.
When you feel them, it’s because you’re supposed to do something.
Positive emotions, on the other hand, are rewards for taking the proper action
Choose Your Struggle
“What pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for?” Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives turn out.
I wanted the reward and not the struggle. I wanted the result and not the process. I was in love with not the fight but only the victory. And life doesn’t work that way. Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for.
But a true and accurate measurement of one’s self-worth is how people feel about the negative aspects of themselves.
Entitled people exude a delusional degree of self-confidence
Things Fall Apart
It just means that you’re not special. Often, it’s this realization—that you and your problems are actually not privileged in their severity or pain—that is the first and most important step toward solving them.
The Tyranny of Exceptionalism entitlement
Is a western world epidemic. Every one thinks he is special, the next bill gates etc. while no one really is.
if everyone were extraordinary, then by definition no one would be extraordinary—is missed by most people
The rare people who do become truly exceptional at something do so not because they believe they’re exceptional. On the contrary, they become amazing because they’re obsessed with improvement. And that obsession with improvement stems from an unerring belief that they are, in fact, not that great at all. It’s anti-entitlement. People who become great at something become great because they understand that they’re not already great—they are mediocre, they are average—and that they could be so much better
The Self-Awareness Onion
the first layer of the self-awareness onion is a simple understanding of one’s emotions. “This is when I feel happy.” “This makes me feel sad.”
The second layer of the self-awareness onion is an ability to ask why we feel certain emotions
The third level is our personal values: Why do I consider this to be success/failure? How am I choosing to measure myself? By what standard am I judging myself and everyone around me? This level, which takes constant questioning and effort, is incredibly difficult to reach
Honest self-questioning is difficult. It requires asking yourself simple questions that are uncomfortable to answer. In fact, in my experience, the more uncomfortable the answer, the more likely it is to be true.
Take a moment and think of something that’s really bugging you. Now ask yourself why it bugs you. Chances are the answer will involve a failure of some sort. Then take that failure and ask why it seems “true” to you. What if that failure wasn’t really a failure? What if you’ve been looking at it the wrong way?
Rock Star Problems
Our values determine the metrics by which we measure ourselves and everyone else.
If you want to change how you see your problems, you have to change what you value and/or how you measure failure/success
- Pleasure. Pleasure is great, but it’s a horrible value to prioritize your life around. Ask a man who almost ate himself to death how pleasure helped him solve his problems
- Material Success
- Always Being Right
- Staying Positive. Denying negative emotions leads to experiencing deeper and more prolonged negative emotions and to emotional dysfunction. Constant positivity is a form of avoidance, not a valid solution to life’s problems
Defining Good and Bad Values
Good values are 1) reality-based, 2) socially constructive, and 3) immediate and controllable. Bad values are 1) superstitious, 2) socially destructive, and 3) not immediate or controllable.
like: honesty, innovation, vulnerability, standing up for oneself, standing up for others, self-respect, curiosity, charity, humility, creativity.
Bad values are generally reliant on external events
This, in a nutshell, is what “self-improvement” is really about: prioritizing better values, choosing better things to give a fuck about. Because when you give better fucks, you get better problems. And when you get better problems, you get a better life.
You Are Always Choosing
when you chose it freely and prepared for it, it was a glorious and important milestone in your life. When it was forced upon you against your will, it was one of the most terrifying and painful experiences of your life.
Often the only difference between a problem being painful or being powerful is a sense that we chose it, and that we are responsible for it.
We don’t always control what happens to us. But we always control how we interpret what happens to us, as well as how we respond
The more we choose to accept responsibility in our lives, the more power we will exercise over our lives. Accepting responsibility for our problems is thus the first step to solving them
It might not be my fault but my reaction to it is my responseability
(What he didn’t realize was that he had chosen the value that was hurting him: height. Women, he assumed, are attracted only to height. He was screwed, no matter what he did.)
As you reassess your values, you will be met with internal and external resistance along the way.
You’re Wrong About Everything (But So Am I)
Growth is an endlessly iterative process. When we learn something new, we don’t go from “wrong” to “right.” Rather, we go from wrong to slightly less wrong.
Our values are our hypotheses: this behavior is good and important; that other behavior is not. Our actions are the experiments; the resulting emotions and thought patterns are our data.
It’s easier to sit in a painful certainty that nobody would find you attractive, that nobody appreciates your talents, than to actually test those beliefs and find out for sure.
Certainty is the enemy of growth. Nothing is for certain until it has already happened—and even then, it’s still debatable.
Architects of Our Own Beliefs
Most of our beliefs are wrong. Or, to be more exact, all beliefs are wrong—some are just less wrong than others
tThe human mind is a jumble of inaccuracy. And while this may make you uncomfortable, it’s an incredibly important concept to accept,
Be Careful What You Believe
experiences is to interpret them in such a way that they will cohere with all of our previous experiences, feelings, and beliefs
our beliefs are malleable, and our memories are horribly unreliable.
If we’re all wrong, all the time, then isn’t self-skepticism and the rigorous challenging of our own beliefs and assumptions the only logical route to progress?
The Dangers of Pure Certainty
It’s the backwards law again: the more you try to be certain about something, the more uncertain and insecure you will feel.
But the converse is true as well: the more you embrace being uncertain and not knowing, the more comfortable you will feel in knowing what you don’t know.
Manson’s Law of Avoidance
The more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid it
If I believe I’m a nice guy, I’ll avoid situations that could potentially contradict that belief
How to Be a Little Less Certain of Yourself:
Questioning ourselves and doubting our own thoughts and beliefs is one of the hardest skills to develop.
- Question #1: What if I’m wrong It’s worth remembering that for any change to happen in your life, you must be wrong about something
- Question #2: What would it mean if I were wrong?
- Question #3: Would being wrong create a better or a worse problem than my current problem, for both myself and others?
if it’s down to me being screwed up, or everybody else being screwed up, it is far, far, far more likely that I’m the one who’s screwed up. I have learned this from experience
That’s simply reality: if it feels like it’s you versus the world, chances are it’s really just you versus yourself.
The Failure/Success Paradox
Improvement at anything is based on thousands of tiny failures, and the magnitude of your success is based on how many times you’ve failed at something.
Better values, as we saw, are process-oriented. Something
Pain Is Part of the Process
pain is part of the process. It’s important to feel it. Because if you just chase after highs to cover up the pain, if you continue to indulge in entitlement and delusional positive thinking, if you continue to overindulge in various substances or activities, then you’ll never generate the requisite motivation to actually change.
Learn to sustain the pain you’ve chosen. When you choose a new value, you are choosing to introduce a new form of pain into your life
The “Do Something” Principle
If you’re stuck on a problem, don’t sit there and think about it; just start working on it. Even if you don’t know what you’re doing, the simple act of working on it will eventually cause the right ideas to show up in your head
Action isn’t just the effect of motivation; it’s also the cause of it.
Action → Inspiration → Motivation
Simply do something
The Importance of Saying No
Ultimately, the only way to achieve meaning and a sense of importance in one’s life is through a rejection of alternatives, a narrowing of freedom, a choice of commitment to one place, one belief, or (gulp) one person.
Rejection Makes Your Life Better
The act of choosing a value for yourself requires rejecting alternative values.
Honesty is a natural human craving. But part of having honesty in our lives is becoming comfortable with saying and hearing the word “no.” In this way, rejection actually makes our relationships better and our emotional lives healthier Boundaries
The difference between a healthy and an unhealthy relationship comes down to two things: 1) how well each person in the relationship accepts responsibility, and 2) the willingness of each person to both reject and be rejected by their partner
In general, entitled people fall into one of two traps in their relationships. Either they expect other people to take responsibility for their problems
Or they take on too much responsibility for other people’s problems, victim and saver
Instead, victims and savers both use each other to achieve emotional highs. It’s like an addiction they fulfill in one another. Ironically, when presented with emotionally healthy people to date, they usually feel bored or lack “chemistry” with them.
How to Build Trust
Because honesty in my relationship is more important to me than feeling good all the time.
When our highest priority is to always make ourselves feel good, or to always make our partner feel good, then nobody ends up feeling good.
Freedom Through Commitment
Commitment gives you freedom because you’re no longer distracted by the unimportant and frivolous. Commitment gives you freedom because it hones your attention and focus, directing them toward what is most efficient at making you healthy and happy
The Choice Paradox = More Options make us go crazy. Less make us focused on them. Also I am a maximizer
death is the light by which the shadow of all of life’s meaning is measured. Without death, everything would feel inconsequential, all experience arbitrary, all metrics and values suddenly zero.
The Sunny Side of Death
You too are going to die, and that’s because you too were fortunate enough to have lived. You may not feel this there is nothing to be afraid of. Ever. And reminding myself of my own death repeatedly over the years—whether it be through meditation, through reading philosophy, or through doing crazy shit like standing on a cliff in South Africa