The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, de Mark Manson, HarperOne, 2016

O carte care a făcut ceva vâlvă, pentru că autorul, blogger destul de cunoscut, se îndepărtează de tiparul cărților de self-help și promite nu să îndulcească și să aline, ci să spună lucrurile verde în față. Așadar, nu bate aceeași monedă a gândirii pozitive în vederea unei vieți mai bune, ci promovează o filosofie care se bazează pe acceptare și selectare. Un alt element de noutate este limbajul colorat, care, alături de exemple științifice și de umor, contribuie la succesul cărții.

Mie mi-a plăcut la început și mi s-a părut că vine cu o abordare nouă în literatura motivațională (atât cât mă pricep eu, că nu am citit prea multe de genul ăsta). Am avut totuși impresia că, după partea introductivă, foarte haioasă și dinamică, a cam alunecat așa, ușor, în liniile deja întâlnite ale cărților de self-help.

Oricum, per total, a fost o lectură plăcută, chiar dacă sunt puțin dezamăgită că restul cărții nu a fost la fel de bun și de proaspăt ca începutul. Las mai jos câteva citate, ca să vă faceți o idee.

The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.

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Subtlety #1: Not giving a fuck does not mean being indifferent; it means being comfortable with being different.

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Subtlety #2: To not give a fuck about adversity, you must first give a fuck about something more important than adversity.

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I once heard an artist say that when a person has no problems, the mind automatically finds a way to invent some. I think what most people—especially educated, pampered middle-class white people—consider “life problems” are really just side effects of not having anything more important to worry about.

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Essentially, we become more selective about the fucks we’re willing to give. This is something called maturity. It’s nice; you should try it sometime. Maturity is what happens when one learns to only give a fuck about what’s truly fuckworthy.

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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. When you feel them, life seems simple and there is nothing else to do but enjoy it.

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the value/metric isn’t based on reality: you may feel popular or unpopular, when in fact you have no fucking clue what anybody else really thinks about you. (Side Note: As a rule, people who are terrified of what others think about them are actually terrified of all the shitty things they think about themselves being reflected back at them.)

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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.

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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.

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“outrage porn”: rather than report on real stories and real issues, the media find it much easier (and more profitable) to find something mildly offensive, broadcast it to a wide audience, generate outrage, and then broadcast that outrage back across the population in a way that outrages yet another part of the population. This triggers a kind of echo of bullshit pinging back and forth between two imaginary sides, meanwhile distracting everyone from real societal problems. It’s no wonder we’re more politically polarized than ever before.

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As a teenager, I told everybody that I didn’t care about anything, when the truth was I cared about way too much. Other people ruled my world without my even knowing. I thought happiness was a destiny and not a choice. I thought love was something that just happened, not something that you worked for. I thought being “cool” had to be practiced and learned from others, rather than invented for oneself.

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in the “free” West, my Russian teacher continued, there existed an abundance of economic opportunity—so much economic opportunity that it became far more valuable to present yourself in a certain way, even if it was false, than to actually be that way. Trust lost its value. Appearances and salesmanship became more advantageous forms of expression. Knowing a lot of people superficially was more beneficial than knowing a few people closely. This is why it became the norm in Western cultures to smile and say polite things even when you don’t feel like it, to tell little white lies and agree with someone whom you don’t actually agree with. This is why people learn to pretend to be friends with people they don’t actually like, to buy things they don’t actually want. The economic system promotes such deception. The downside of this is that you never know, in the West, if you can completely trust the person you’re talking to. Sometimes this is the case even among good friends or family members. There is such pressure in the West to be likable that people often reconfigure their entire personality depending on the person they’re dealing with.

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Romeo and Juliet is synonymous with “romance” in our culture today. It is seen as the love story in English-speaking culture, an emotional ideal to live up to. Yet when you really get down to what happens in the story, these kids are absolutely out of their fucking minds. And they just killed themselves to prove it! It’s suspected by many scholars that Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet not to celebrate romance, but rather to satirize it, to show how absolutely nutty it was. He didn’t mean for the play to be a glorification of love. In fact, he meant it to be the opposite: a big flashing neon sign blinking KEEP OUT, with police tape around it saying DO NOT CROSS.

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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. That’s unconditional love, baby.

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