TSAONGAF is the abbreviation for Mark Manson’s self-help book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. I’ve read MM’s articles with some regularity, and last week I read his bestselling book. It was a great experience for me and I learned a lot. As I said earlier, I’m going to blog about some of my thoughts on his various concepts.
What does MM mean by not giving a f*ck? He points out that most of us are wrapped up in caring about so many things that we feel perpetually entitled to a perfect world and freak out when things don’t go how we want. I guess you could say that our giving f*cks too freely has turned us into a bunch of whiny Karens. MM suggests we drill down to our basic values (and change them if they aren’t working for us), and then find the few, important things to focus on. “Let the little things go.” We’ve heard that before, right?
Obsessing over way too many unimportant details has been a huge problem for me my whole life. I can’t simply decide not to and that’s that. “Don’t do that” is a negative statement, and when you focus on a negative, well, you know what happens. “Don’t eat potato chips”… now all you can think about are potato chips. I’ve been trying to substitute the negative statements with positive ones. Focus on work. Pay attention to family. Engage in self-care routines. Get more sleep and exercise. Read more books.
Focusing on these positives has had the effect of pushing some of the trivial crap away. It really does work. I don’t have time (or the inclination) to engage in social media arguments (a huge source of past stress) when I’m in the middle of a good book. If I’m filling my time with pleasurable activities, I’m less inclined to click on a new dating site “just to see.” I know that leads down a bad path. I can step back now. It’s a bit harder in some areas, such as driving ~ I still get enraged when someone does a dangerous maneuver. What does MM say about that?
It’s okay for life to suck sometimes, is what he says. We are not entitled to a perfect life, and there’s no need to feel inadequate when something fails to be perfect. So I had a frustrating drive to Los Angeles. That’s just how it is some days and it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with me or the way I’m living my life. Sometimes traffic is sucky and frustrating. That’s okay. I literally had this ridiculous conversation in my head the other week. I was so stupid for letting my daughter go to UCB. She had a full ride to UCD and wouldn’t have met her future husband there probably. I’d have more money now and wouldn’t have to make this horrible drive when I want to see her. God, I’m so dumb!
But then I got to her house (a half hour later than expected) and had such a great time with my family. I’m not “dumb” because there was a detour and some other drivers were being rude and awful. It’s okay for things to suck sometimes. I’m not entitled to perfection. It’s hard though to keep that mindset all the time… I’m constantly reminding myself to stay positive and not dwell on small annoyances. Being positive is more of a habit now than it used to be though, so I am improving. Slowly.
Okay, that’s the end of this PoiMo. I’ll do more MM musing another time. 🙂
Melanie gives us some brain-crunchy Q’s this week…
1. Must we have evidence to know the truth?
I do, but lots of other people just go with “faith.” If I don’t have tangible evidence of X, or a collection of behaviors/events (including emotional states) to make X obvious, the truth of X remains an open question. I may still take action though. Sometimes you have to.
2. How much control does a person have over their life?
None. Isn’t that freeing? I just read about this in Mark Manson’s book too. Control is an illusion, but you are responsible for all your choices, including your emotional reactions.
3. What is gravity and how does it work?
It’s the irresistible attraction of a pen to a kitty, who must knock it off the table to see if it will fall to the center of the earth.
4. Can a person be happy if they have never experienced sadness? How about vice versa?
No. You need opposing states to compare, which is why I quit dating.
Please feel free to share a song, a poem, a quote or an image or photo to show what you were grateful for during this past week. (Optional as always).
This seems appropriate for these times… so grateful for friends who hook me up with interesting music!
For the bestseller book, I read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. I loved Manson when he was much less popular… found him early on when he gave mostly dating advice. Then I began to resent him. Who was this brash young guy (obviously privileged) telling everyone all this crap? And making bank off it. I quit reading him for a few years. But he was still around ~ peeps were always quoting him. Annoyed, I developed a conspiracy theory that he wasn’t even a real person but a character created by a publishing team. That still could be true… who knows.
Then my FB friend Barbara linked to one of his articles when I was depressed. I clicked. Whatever I read that day (don’t remember now) helped me so much that I subscribed to his blog by email. I grudgingly began to admire him again, so much so that I finally bought his book TSAONGAF. I didn’t read it until this challenge however.
Mark’s book is truly amazing. It’s a joy to read because he speaks to you as a friend, not as a high and mighty shrink. He admits to messing up in many areas before he began to view life much differently. He says he too is always growing and learning, and he doesn’t act like he has all the answers. He uses examples from his own life to illustrate his points, which makes his writing feel real and down to earth. Maybe the examples are made up, but regardless they are a great device to draw you in to the topic of each chapter.
My plan is to discuss in detail some of the TSAONGAF concepts that resonated the most with me in Pointless Meanders as time permits. That’s not a substitute for reading it yourself… I already feel better having finished it, and I highly recommend it in its entirety. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Two left! 📚
PS: I have no idea what happened with my phone’s pens, but I couldn’t find the right one for the checkmark, hence the slash.
I’m going to do this challenge in groups of 6 so that I will have only 5 posts total in June on this topic instead of one per day which would be an annoying chore. Here are my third set of books…
13. The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb is an excellent book about history, finance, politics, and (especially) human psychology. I highly recommend it. The last third is full of math, but you don’t have to pore over that to get the gist of the book (I did not).
14. Speaking of swans… Swan Song, a twisted adult fairy tale by Jess Haines was a magical love story, with a bittersweet/philosophical ending. It’s a retelling of The Swan Princess, which is a pretty bad love story imo, and Ms. Haines writes a much better one with a way cooler hero. (PS: it’s not that “adult.”)
15. Wesley the Owl by Stacey O’Brien made me cry sad tears and no this was not meant to be a bird-themed set of books! I look on Goodreads to find books I’ve read that fit the motifs. Or, if I can’t find something, I will read a new one, such as #14. Nothing wrong with reading a new book! But I digress. Wesley is such a wonderful story… please read it ASAP. I guarantee that you will love it, or… um… nothing. Owls are awesome!
16. I’ve read many books more than once, but let’s go with The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, a most excellent novel. Please don’t feel you know the story if you’ve merely seen the movie, which was good, but it didn’t (and couldn’t possibly) do justice to this complex philosophical work. It’s okay to read it in small doses and think about it. I did. It’s so very brain crunchy.
17. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine was such an unexpectedly weird read, but I enjoyed it a lot. I guessed part of the mystery early on, but I still liked it and wanted to see where it went. I recommend it if you like stories that are a bit offbeat.
18. For my RIP author, I’m going with Ray Carver and his book of short stories Where I’m Calling From. Many of my favorite stories are in there, including the title story as well as Fat, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, Neighbors, etc.
Alrighty then! See you with my next set on the 24th. 🙂
Which pre-pandemic activities are you ready to resume (or have you already resumed)? Which, if any, pre-virus activities are you likely to continue to avoid?
I have been going into my office a couple times per week and am totally fine with resuming a full-time schedule. There are only a few of us in a large suite and we hardly get any visitors. I will likely bring my own lunch so as not to deal with the cafe.
I’ve already been to my dentist for a normal cleaning and X-rays. I felt perfectly safe. They took my temperature as I came in and everyone was masked. I would also be okay with going to a regular doctor, if necessary.
When I grocery shop or go into other crowded public places, I wear a mask, even if it’s not required. I plan to continue doing this indefinitely. It’s uncomfortable, but I think it’s worth it. 😷
As I mentioned, I’ve visited my family in LA and have had a socially distant BYO picnic with friends. I’d probably be okay with outdoor dining at a regular restaurant. But maybe not… can’t predict how crowded it might get.
I want to get my hair cut and colored, but my daughter talked me out of it. I guess I can wait or figure out some DIY alternative.
I want to visit my older daughter in NorCal, but I’m definitely not ready to deal with either airports or flying. I could drive, but that’s a huge PITA. We shall see… 😞
While I find it enjoyable to hear the sounds of people having fun at our community pool, I’m not ready to join them. Not that I was a pool person in the first place. We also have a great gym though, but I’m not eager to go back there either. I’ll be passing up all peopley events for the foreseeable future, such as fairs or festivals or concerts or movies or even (my favorite) game nights with a bunch of people touching stuff.
Starting my Tuesday with questions from Melanie! 🙂
1. What do you think of professional motivational speakers? Do you think they motivate?
I don’t like to listen to jabber, period. I don’t seek out speakers and in fact avoid audio like the… you know. Videos are for music. 🎶 That said, I don’t mind reading some motivational jibber, depending on my mood. I enjoy short, profound philosophy that can make me go ahhhh and leave me thoughtful and/or calm. And I enjoy humor mixed with inspiration, a la Mark Manson. I don’t find motivation in everything he writes because a lot of it is geared toward much younger folks beginning careers and relationships. But there is still some stuff applicable to me. I don’t know if these speakers motivate people in general, but I’ve gotten value from reading other ideas, especially MM’s.
2. Do you have a favorite flavor?
Yes, several… coconut, cinnamon, lemon, and vanilla.
3. While out walking, you hear a rustling in some bushes. What do you think of?
4. What’s your ideal temperature (nature-wise)? Hot, cold, temperate and mild, humid or bone dry?
I like it pretty warm, 80ish. But I prefer an overcast day, as bright sun is a migraine trigger. Rain is also a trigger, as are any big changes in weather or extremes generally. Hate wind!
Alrighty! Got a post done and now on with the day… 🎉
You may have noticed, if you pay attention to such things, that my “follower count” just dropped by 1200 or so. No worries! That is not a real number. Those were my tweeters, and I delinked Twitter. Last night I realized that my blog posts get practically no engagement there, so it’s pointless to keep sending my posts over every time one goes live. They just sit there like a smelly old salami no one wants on their sandwich.
My use of Twitter is almost exclusively for poetry prompts and a tiny bit of politics. I like to see what’s trending there so I know the major news of the day right away. It also gives me hot takes on celebs, and I confess that I still like to know what some of them are up to. There are miscellaneous accounts I follow, such as the earthquake bot, which I find useful.
But Twitter and Blogville never integrated in any meaningful way for me, unlike say the way Facebook used to. I may send posts over to FB again, but not all of them. We’ll see. The problem with FB is that people will discuss the post there, not here, so later when I check comments on a post, I won’t see the full convo here on my blog. Annoy!
I blocked someone on Twitter last night for hijacking a post from here (which is what prompted the review of my posts there). People are so rude and thoughtless… and tempers are short now. There is no reason to put up with obnoxious behavior online, none. I see people unfriending others on FB all the time for being jerks, and I get it. If you disagree and can’t be decent about it, go sulk in private or start your own post on the topic. Don’t take over mine!
So far so good regarding my return to FB. I haven’t even been that careful, but I don’t go on and on either. I don’t need to have the last word on other people’s threads. I say what I want to say and get out. I think it’s rude to get into arguments on posts that aren’t your own. I don’t like it when others take over one of my threads for their own ego fest either. Go yell in front of a mirror!