The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Striving, wishing, and wanting is the source of suffering. Very Buddhist.

Striving for something specific reinforces the idea that we don’t have that thing already.

Typical self-help is masturbation that re-emphasizes what you don’t already have (but with tips on how to get it!)

We become addicted to the disease of “more.”

Figure out your own beliefs and adhere to them. Don’t ascribe to the beliefs of others. Figure out what’s important to you (what you give a fuck about), and save ALL of your fucks for those important things.

Satisfaction doesn’t always feel good. Don’t try to feel good or be happy all the time, create the circumstances for happiness (or fulfillment) and let it happen. Don’t chase happiness high.

Learn that it’s okay to feel bad. Sit with it sometimes, and let it pass. Accept reality as it is.

Don’t make it a struggle. Even for your important goals. Focus, don’t obsess. Work, don’t grind. Engage, don’t hustle.

Focus more on less. Minimalism at its core.

Happiness isn’t something that you can “get.” Achievement doesn’t raise your happiness level by any amount of points. It’s a temporary high.

Instead, focus on fulfillment from overcoming challenges and solving problems that are important to you.

Reiteration — you create the conditions for happiness. It’s a matter of positioning, like marketing. Go where happiness is likely to be, then wait. Go where the customers are likely to be, then wait.

You have to allow happiness, not pursue it. Pursuit of happiness makes you unhappy.

We’re hardwired to be dissatisfied, which encourages us to solve problems, which makes us happy (or fulfilled). So pay attention when you’re dissatisfied, look for the problem that needs solved, and be grateful for the dissatisfaction.

Don’t distract yourself from your problems with new stuff, denial, or bad habits. This leads to more unhappiness.

Strive for good problems. Problems that — if solved — will improve your life or the lives of others.

Decide how much pain you’re willing to accept to achieve your goal. The more pain you’re willing to experience for a goal, the more meaningful the goal. Especially if it’s an intrinsic goal.

Entitlement is an epidemic. Not everyone wins. And that’s ok. Instead of making everyone feel like a winner, we should teach that it’s ok to fail, but getting back up and learning is how you grow.

Self-esteem is how a person feels about their flaws and bad experiences, not being self-aggrandizing about their positive experiences. A person who can admit their flaws and actively work on fixing them has much higher self-esteem.

Happiness = Reality – Expectations.

Define your own values. We have to choose what to value, or society will choose for us (and usually not the best values).

Spheres of control, sort of. Negative and positive values. Positive values are within your control.

Take responsibility for everything in your life. Not blame, but responsibility. It’s not your fault, but you can change it.

Blame is pointless, destructive, and not solution-oriented. Responsibility looks to address the problem.

Assume that your problems are due to your choices and you can change them. Assume others’ problems are circumstantial and have sympathy or empathy.

Marcus Aurelius – Strict with yourself, lenient of others.

Sometimes circumstances DO suck, but you’re still responsible for your responses. (Response-able)

Accept uncertainty. It’s ok not to know. Doubt yourself.

Don’t try to prove that you’re right. Be curious and find out how you’re wrong.

Daniel Kahneman – “I was wrong. It was delightful.”

The only way to be more right is to find out where you’re wrong, then grow.

Don’t try to be right, just less wrong.

Buddhism – empty cup.

Scientific method for values and beliefs:

  • Your belief is the hypothesis.
  • Your actions are the experiment.
  • Thoughts, feelings, outcomes are the data.

Questions to help develop a better set of values or beliefs:

  • Could I be wrong?
  • If I am wrong, what does that mean?
  • Would changing my position make things better or worse?

Reminds me of Socratic thinking. For good measure:

  • Clarify thinking.
  • Question assumptions.
  • Find supporting evidence.
  • Consider alternatives.
  • Examine implications/consequences.
  • Question the original question.

Embrace failure. Learn from failure and try again.

If you want to be successful at something, you have to be willing to fail. It’s uncomfortable, but true. You’ll never hit a home run if you’ve never struck out. You have to take swings and learn.

Don’t avoid pain. Embrace the experience and see what the pain is trying to teach.

Have a bias toward action. You already know what to do, so go do it. It’s going to be painful, but getting started is the hardest part.

You may fail.

If getting started is the hard part, break it into the smallest step to just DO SOMETHING. If it’s a small failure, it hurts less, but it still gets you moving.

Set the bar crazy low, then clear the bar as much as you want. Echo of the previous point to not make it a struggle. Make it easy, then try really hard AFTER you’ve cleared the bar.

Practice rejection. Get rejected sometimes, and reject everything that you don’t need to give a fuck about.

Say no to shit that doesn’t align with your values.

We tend to be happier with less. Minimalist.

Don’t chase new experiences, possessions, jobs, etc. Hedonic treadmill.

Focus on what brings you fulfillment and satisfaction. Cut everything else.

Counterpoint: When starting out, experience as much as possible when exploring what your values are. Echoes Derek Sivers’ advice to say yes to everything until you figure out what you like and dislike, then say no to everything except what you love to do. (Hell Yeah or No)

Setting boundaries in your relationships is a form of rejection. They’re important for friendships or romantic relationships. The strength of a relationship is determined by how comfortable each partner is with a boundary.

You’re not responsible for anyone else’s happiness. They also aren’t responsible for yours.

Victims and saviors tend to be attracted to each other. That sucks for everyone involved. Handle your own shit, but be a supportive partner. Work through your problems as a team, not as a codependent unit.

Reflect on your mortality. Memento Mori. Knowing that you probably won’t be remembered for long, what do you want to be remembered for when you die?

Get rid of selfish values and figure out what impact your life has had on the world. Is it going to be a net positive or negative?

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