Everything is F•ckd by Mark Manson
My rating: 7/10
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Pain is the universal constant. The quality of your life and character is determined by your relationship with it.
The opposite of happiness is not anger or sadness. It is hopelessness. An endless grey horizon of resignation and indifference. The belief that everything is fucked, so why do anything at all?
Hopelessness is the root of anxiety, mental illness, and depression. The source of all misery and the cause of all addiction.
We see lack of self-control as a sign of a deficient character, and celebrate people who beat their emotions into submission.
We often develop the false belief that we need to change who we are. Because if we can’t achieve our goals, if we can’t lose weight or get the promotion or learn a skill, then signifies some internal deficiency.
This becomes its own sort of addiction: each cycle of “changing yourself” results in similar failures of self-control, therefore making you feel as though you need to “change yourself” all over again.
You can’t simply change yourself. Nor should you always feel you must.
The belief that we’re in complete control of ourselves is a major source of hope. We want to belief that the ability to do something is as simple as deciding to do it and mustering enough willpower to get there.
We are moved to action only by emotion. Action is emotion.
Why don’t we do things we know we should do? Because we don’t feel like it.
Self-control, laziness, procrastination… are emotional problems.
Intellectually understanding how to change your behaviour doesn’t change your behaviour.
Emotional problems can only have emotional solutions.
It’s self-acceptance that will save us — accepting our emotions and working with them, rather than against them.
The cravings, impulses, horrible decision making… you need to find a way to empathize with them.
The only language the Feeling Brain really understands is empathy.
Instead of bombarding it with facts and reasons, start by asking how it’s feeling.
Let feelings out into the open where they can breathe. The more they breathe, the weaker their grip.
Appeal to your Feeling Brain in a way it understands: through feelings.
Picture the benefits of some desired new behavior.
Remind how good it feels to have exercised, how great it will feel to look good in a bathing suit this summer, how much you respect yourself when you’ve followed through on your goals, how happy you are when you live by your values, when you act as an example to the ones you love.
Agree to do something the Feeling Brain likes, as long as it does something it doesn’t like.
Do not fight the Feeling Brain.
You may not have self-control, but you get to control the meaning of your impulses and feelings.
It’s the meaning that we ascribe to our feelings that can often alter how the Feeling Brain reacts to them.
Create an environment that can bring about the Feeling Brain’s best impulses and intuition, rather than its worst.
Accept and work with, rather than against, whatever the Feeling Brain spews at you.
The Feeling Brain decides what is good and bad; desirable and undesirable; and most important, what we deserve and what we don’t deserve.
Real problem: we decide we don’t deserve to do what intellectually we know we should. That we are unworthy. This is the fundamental problem of self-control. Not an uneducated Thinking Brain, but an uneducated Feeling Brain that has accepted poor value judgments about itself and the world.
Our self-worth equals the sum of our emotions over time.
Life kicks you around a little bit, and you feel powerless to stop it. Therefore your Feeling Brain concludes that you must deserve it.
Our values aren’t just collections of feelings. Our values are stories.
The network of value-based narratives is our identity.
The longer we hold onto narratives, the less aware we are that we have them. They become the background noise of our thoughts. Despite being arbitrary and completely made up, they seem natural and inevitable.
The only way to change our values is to have experiences contrary to our values.
Any attempt to break free from those values through new contrary experiences will inevitably be met with pain and discomfort. There’s no thing as change without pain, or growth without discomfort. It’s impossible to become someone new without first grieving the loss of who you used to be. When we lose our values, we grieve the death of those defining narratives as though we’ve lost a part of ourselves. Fundamental parts.
Two ways to heal yourself (to replace faulty values with better, healthier):
- Reexamine the experiences of your past and rewrite the narratives around them.
- Begin writing the narratives of your future self. Visualize what life would be like if you had certain values or possessed a certain identity.
By visualising the future we want, we allow our Feeling Brain to try on those values for size, to see what they feel like before we make the final purchase. Eventually the Feeling Brain becomes accustomed to the new values and starts to believe them.
Fruitful visualisation should be a little bit uncomfortable. Should change you and be difficult to fathom.
Ask “what if” questions.
Tell your Feeling Brain stories that might or might not be true, but that feel true.
Values cannot be changed through reason, only through experience.
Every time you knock down one kind o pain, another one pops up. It’s part of us. There is no end.
The more we look for threats, the more we will see them, regardless of how sage or comfortable our environment actually is.
Removing healthy adversity and challenge, makes people struggle more. They become more selfish and childish. They fail to develop and mature out of adolescence.
Pain is the universal constant of life.
The philosophers of antiquity didn’t see happiness as a virtue.
They saw humans’ capacity for self-denial as a virtue, because feeling good was just as dangerous as it was desirable.
The pursuit of happiness is a toxic value.
Living well does not mean avoiding suffering; it means suffering for the right reasons. Because if we’re going to suffer by simply existing, we might as well learn how to suffer well.
A healthy love relationship is antifragile: misfortune and pain make the relationship stronger rather than weaker.
If you actively seek out pain, the body is antifragile, meaning it gets stronger the more stress and strain you put on it.
When we avoid pain, stress, chaos, tragedy and disorder, we become fragile. Our tolerance for day-to-day setbacks diminishes.
No matter how “good” or “bad” your life gets, the pain will be there. An it will eventually feel manageable. The only question is: Will you engage it or avoid it? Will you choose fragility or antifragility?
Avoiding pain: choosing childish values, chasing simple pleasures, desire, and self-satisfaction.
Meditation: there is no getting good, that’s the whole point. You’re supposed to suck at it. Accept and embrace the suckage.
All sort of wacky shit comes up: strange fantasies and decades-old regrets and odd sexual urges and unbearable boredom and often crushing feelings of isolation and loneliness. All these things, too, must simply be observed, acknowledged, and then let go. They, too, shall pass.
Most people avoid meditation the same way a kid avoids doing homework. They know what meditation really is: confronting your pain, observing the interiors of your mind and heart, in all their horror and glory.
While pain is inevitable, suffering is always a choice.
Psychological growth is a process of building more and more sophisticated and abstract value hierarchies in order to stomach whatever life throws your way.
Death is psychologically necessary because it creates stakes in life. There is something to lose.
Without the pain of loss (or potential loss) it’s impossible to determine the value of anything at all.
Pain is at the heart of all emotion. Negative emotions are caused by experiencing pain. Positive emotions are caused by alleviating pain.
The ancient philosophers spoke of a life not of happiness, but of character, developing the ability to sustain pain.
Today’s tyranny is achieved by flooding people with so much diversion, so much bullshit information and frivolous distraction, that they are unable to make smart commitments.