Frankly, My Dear, I Don’t Give a Damn or a Mark Manson F*ck
Sep 28 2016

squirrels-nutsmasteIt’s an unconventional title: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life(amazon link), but it’s an insightful, irreverent, and hilarious book that’s not too trite, sappy, or “duh, who doesn’t already know that!” kind of read. It seems to be about how so many of us get hung up on the wrong things and make ourselves and potentially others in our social solar system miserable. He helps the reader figure out what they really should give a f*ck about instead of wasting time and energy measuring their success or failures using other peoples metrics instead of their own.

He suggests if we go through life being uncertain about everything, including our adamant beliefs about ourselves and others, as well as accept our idiosyncrasies and human flaws, we will be much happier.  I suck at directions, and that’s OK!

Those who are absolutely certain about things tend never to achieve lasting happiness because really, as most of us know, nothing is certain and disappointment is inevitable.  As a person who practices yoga, self-learning, appreciates the teachings of the Buddha, was raised Episcopal/Southern Baptist, and performs much less mental self-flagellation than I used to, the concepts Manson discusses resonate with me.

It’s a much more upbeat read than the must read book Man’s Search for Meaning(amazon link) by Viktor Frankel, a psychiatrist who writes about concentration camp survivors. Those who made it through the experience (if they weren’t randomly killed) had something they really gave a f*ck about. Those who didn’t were more likely to be measuring success by using metrics that didn’t fit the situation in which they found themselves (i.e., the drastically unfortunate cards they were dealt). I think the lessons in Frankel’s and Manson’s books are similar, but Manson uses many more F-Bombs and has modernized it to address our current more whiny “first world problems,” because, fortunately, almost none of us Gen X’ers and Millennials had to survive a horrific concentration camp!

Other posts I’ve written on self-exploration that may be useful to new/future readers are:

Wow, I didn’t realize how much I wrote about this sappy, self-help, existential crisis stuff! But I think all that writing and creating of songs I did was better than doing the 100+ less emotionally, physically, spiritually, medically healthy things I could have done while processing all that painful personal growth, trying to stay a mostly sane mother, and not turning into a raging HULK. Haha! Thanks to my readers who actually read my ramblings and still remained readers! 😛

Based on who you ask and when you ask them, I am much happier, tolerant, understanding, and calmer (unless provoked/poked while I’m under duress!) than I used to be even 3 to 5 years ago, which likely explains why I post much less frequently.  I’ve learned to tame some of those demons (who never fully disappear), set better boundaries (which Manson mentions in his book), be OK with my human failings by relying on GPS, and try to make better choices largely thanks to the kindness, support, and understanding of my numerous truly amazing friends and certain great family members. Just like Manson and most of us, I am constantly learning what to give a f*ck about based on where I am in life. I’ve gotten better at letting the rest of it flow on by just like the river in Siddhartha(amazon link) by Herman Hesse.

I’ll be interested to see how Manson’s views change if/after he has kids. Those new humans can cause you to question your entire life in a mostly sleep deprived state as well as pummel your a$$ affirming how little we really know/understand about ourselves or tiny humans!  He also discusses the “fear of death” in his book. Ironically, I fear pain more than I fear death. I fear dying before my kids are on their own, and I can’t even think about anything bad happening to them because then I might as well be dead.

I highly suggest you read this book because I care enough about all of you (even if I don’t know you) that I don’t want you to embody this quote: “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” – Henry David Thoreau from Walden.

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Failure, Rejection, and the Art of Being Average
Sep 16 2015

Tibetan monks creating a intricate mandala that they will soon wipe away and throw into a nearby river.

Tibetan monks creating an intricate mandala they will soon wipe away to illustrate impermanence. Later they will throw the colored sand into a nearby river and start the process over again.

Life seems to have a lot of rejection, failure, and unmet expectations in between occasions of blissful acceptance, success, peace, and happiness.

But it’s all part of the human experience and according to Pema Chodrin we need to Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better: Wise Advice for Leaning into the Unknown (Amazon link).  I heard about the book from Seth Godin’s blog post Failing, again. It’s a quick, easy read with a nice analogy of how we build resilience, understanding, and acceptance over time as we get better at dealing with the big waves that life sends us that sometimes knock us down. We struggle to get back up only to experience the next big wave trying to knock us down again!  I also recently read her book Practicing Peace in Times of War (Amazon link) and found it insightful.

The Top 5 Stressful Situations (1. Death of a loved one, 2. Divorce, 3. Moving, 4. Major Illness, and 5. Job Loss) can leave us feeling like a failure and/or rejected.   I’ve experienced 4 of those 5 events personally and two of them at the same time. [major stress emoji]  Based on my experience, it takes a great support network, a positive attitude, and not being afraid to ask for help (even if you ask for it in an imperfect way) to navigate these life changes and come out the other end with most of your mental faculties still in tact. 😀 You learn pretty quickly who your friends really are during those tough times. And if you take the time to learn from those experiences, you build resiliency to weather the next big wave and are able to help others get back up too!

Here are some great articles I’ve read recently that can help all of us put feelings of rejection, failure, and lack of confidence into perspective.

On feeling like a failure – Seth Godin

In Defense of Being Average – Mark Manson.  He is such a funny and talented writer!  It is okay to be average, because most of us are.

The Confidence Gap – The Atlantic.  This article discusses the unique challenges even the most talented and accomplished women face on the topic of confidence.

On Marrying the Wrong Person – The Book of Life.  Will the way we pick our spouses evolve yet again? I hope so.  This article discusses how we should pick our mate.  The method they suggest makes more sense than how we humans have typically done so in the last thousands of years.

Mixed Signals: Why People Misunderstand Each Other – The Atlantic.  What did she say? He couldn’t have really meant that, right? OMG, I can’t believe she didn’t understand me!

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