For many, the idea of having a “don’t give a fuck” attitude might seem counterintuitive to finding success and happiness.
- What other people think about you
- How other people treat you
- The weather
- Whether or not your significant other leaves you
Why should we not give a fuck about stuff like this? Because these things are largely out of our control. By focusing on things outside of our control, we experience more negative emotions.
So what things should we give a fuck about?
Well, mostly the things we can control – for instance, our values. The values you determine to be important are completely within your control. Therefore it’s crucial to only establish good values that can give your life meaning and direction.
Drawing from the principles of ancient Stoic philosophy, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck reminds us that to live a fulfilling life we should limit our focus to things that are truly important – the things that we have control over.
Don’t have time to read this extremely profane, yet insightful book? Read a short summary and get all the key ideas from the book here.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck Quotes
1. “If you live your life solely in search of pleasure, you’ll actually end up living a life full of mistakes. Conversely, if you experience the occasional instance of suffering, you’ll be equipped to lead a better, happier life.”
2. “Self-awareness is like an onion. There are multiple layers to it, and the more you peel them back, the more likely you are going to start crying at an inappropriate time.”
3. “Giving too many fucks is bad for you.”
4. “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.”
5. “Don’t hope for a life without problems. There’s no such thing. Instead, hope for a life full of good problems.”
6. “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’s wrong with me? This is why not giving a fuck is so key. This is why it’s going to save the world.”
7. “No truly happy person feels the need to stand in front of a mirror and recite that she’s happy. She just is.”
8. “Indifferent people often attempt to be indifferent because in reality, they give way too many fucks.”
9. “A good life is not a life without problems. A good life is a life with good problems.”
10. “Everyone and their TV commercial wants you to believe that the key to a good life is a nicer job, or a more rugged car, or a prettier girlfriend, or a hot tub with an inflatable pool for the kids.”
11. “The key to a good life is not giving a fuck about more; it’s about giving a fuck about less, giving a fuck about only what is true and immediate and important.”
12. “All the positive and happy self-help stuff we hear about all the time is actually fixating on what you lack.”
13. “Honesty is a good value because it’s something you have complete control over, it reflects reality, and it benefits others (even if it’s sometimes unpleasant).
14. “Don’t just sit there. Do something. The answers will follow.”
15. “Our culture today is obsessively focused on unrealistically positive expectations: Be happier. Be healthier. Be the best, better than the rest. Be smarter, faster, richer, sexier.”
16. “It’s not about giving a fuck about everything your partner gives a fuck about; it’s about giving a fuck about your partner regardless of the fucks he or she gives.”
17. “Self-improvement and success often occur together. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the same thing.”
18. “I say don’t find yourself. I say never know who you are. Because that’s what keeps you striving and discovering.”
19. “In my experience, the more uncomfortable the answer, the more likely it is to be true.”
20. “Unhealthy love is based on two people trying to escape their problems through their emotions for each other – in other words, they’re using each other as an escape.”
21. “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.”
Contrary to what we learn from the media and our consumption-driven society, more does not always equal better.
The fact is, we’re happier when we have fewer choices. This means that to live a good life, we must learn to say NO to the majority of options we’re presented with on a daily basis. Only then will we be able to stop suffering from the pain that comes from giving a fuck about too many different things.
Even if you find the vulgar title offensive and in poor taste, I still suggest reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. I promise that underneath all the vulgarities, there’s a liberating message that will help you better choose your values based on what’s truly important.
Just want a quick summary? Read Blinkist’s summary of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck here.
Did you enjoy these quotes from The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck? If so, check out my favorite Tara Brach quotes. Brach is one of the leading meditation teachers in the world today and has incredible advice on self-acceptance and living a more positive life.