You might have heard of Mark Manson’s book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck? The guy’s a personal development blogger and hyped-up online marketing dude. I skimmed his book recently in a bookshop. And frankly, I think it should be called The Subtle Art of Giving a Fuck (leaving out the “not”) because, in some ways, this is the more pressing issue (knowing what to give a fuck about amongst all the fucks that fly our way).
We’re all wanting to know where to draw the fine line on our fucks. And where to draw the line on the pain inherent in caring so much about so many things. Or at least the expectation to.
I pull out a point that Manson made in a recent interview on Mother Jones, a great political and cultural site you should subscribe to, BTW.
He points out the importance of giving a fuck:
“Pain is inevitable, and the only really reliable way to persevere or deal with (pain) is to find a worthy cause or a worthy reason for dealing with it.”
He uses an example from his book:
“If the biggest problem in my life right now is that my favourite TV show got canceled, that’s a pretty poor reflection of my values and the quality of my life. That’s a poor thing to care about, it’s not controllable, it’s not immediate, it has no immediate effect on the people around me or the people I care about. The highest priorities in our life should be something that’s grounded in being constructive toward the people around us, and something that’s immediate and we have control over.
“So if someone says they want to be a famous singer on TV, for example, it’s a poor value, because there’s so many factors that could influence that. The thing that will bring greater quality to life is something more controllable, more like, ‘I want to the best singer that I possibly can’.”
To emphasise his point, he adds that:
What we should give a fuck about is stuff that’s controllable, immediate and is constructive toward others.
How do you feel about this? I get the pragmatism of only caring about things you can do something about. If you can’t attend to it, then you just have to sit out the pain and not get worked up over it.
Immediacy? I get that he’s probably trying to steer us from lurching into future worry, but I do think we have to endure a certain amount of future-oriented angst to be able to“#giveashit” about the bigger issues.
And, of course, if there’s anything we can do to make the world a better place for those around us, then, well, that is a pain worth enduring for sure.
What do you think? Do you think our issue today is caring too much or not enough or not knowing where the line is?