For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. “F**k positivity,” Mark Manson says. “Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it.” Th is book is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected modern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up. Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better.
Here are the quotes that stood out for me:
**There is little that is unique special about your problems. Don’t be special. Don’t be unique. Redefine your metrics in mundane and broad ways. Measure yourself by more mundane identities: a student, a partner, a friend, a creator.
If it feels like it’s you versus the world, chances are it’s really you versus yourself.
The more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid it.
Instead of striving for certainty, we should be in constant search of doubt: doubt about our own beliefs, doubt about our own feelings. Instead of looking to be right all the time, we should be looking for how we’re wrong all the time. Being wrong opens up to the possibility for growth.
**Nobody else is ever responsible for your situation but you. Many people may be to blame for your unhappiness, but nobody is ever responsible for your unhappiness but you. This is because you always get to choose how you see things, how you react to things, how you value things.
**Popularity is a bad value. The value/metric isn’t based on reality: you may feel popular/unpopular, when in fact you have no fucking clue what anybody else thinks about you. (Side note: As a rule, people who are terrified of what others think of them are actually terrified of all the shitty things they think about themselves being reflected back at them.)
I starred the three that really hit me. I mean REALLY hit me. I spoke about them in therapy. I am still processing what I got out of that session. The last chapter of the book about death was a bit too mundane and anxiety inducing for me, but I truly enjoyed the rest. Even though there was some repetition, I didn’t care. Manson writes in a style that made me laugh and then think all in a span of a paragraph. What he says isn’t groundbreaking or new, but how he says it made the difference for me. I paused so many times as I read this book to reflect on what I just read. I don’t know if I will ever perfect not giving a f*ck, but this book helped me start down a path that I haven’t travelled before and that’s exciting.