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The Subtle Art of Not Giving a ...

By Brent Tiesma | Tech CA

Mark Manson is one of my favorite writers so, I go out of my way to read anything he puts up on his blog. So I was thrilled when he announced that he was publishing his thoughts into a book. Aside from being very colorful (just fill in the book’s title above), Mark tells you like it is and doesn’t candy-coat his better-your-life advice. I like that. What I like most of all, is just like another counter-intuitive author; Malcom Gladwell, Mark sees ‘self-help’ in a very different light than the oodles of touchy-feely, Staurt–Smalley-ish books that line shelves at your local bookstore.

Reading the book, I was impressed with just how aligned Think by Design and Mark’s views are. Values, after all, rule the day. Mark spends some time going over value metrics and how they relate to how you see and measure yourself, the secret to a happy life is (rinse & repeat) and the dangers of Feed Back Loops; how thinking about how much you sucking at parallel parking sets up you to actual sucking at parallel parking then feeling bad that you feel bad for sucking so much at parallel parking. It’s a cruel, cruel world. But the thing that really got me thinking was his hatred of affirmations (they’re like the empty calories of the ‘Self-Help’ world) and as Marks puts it –

“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.”

What? I know, right! To clarify it’s the idea that going after something to make you ‘feel better’ often leads to feeling less better since pursuing it in the first place reinforces that you never had it to begin with. Makes sense, right? Mark’s point is that often not trying so hard brings about the best success. In fact, it’s the negative experiences (ie. hard work) that more often than not brings on successes and it’s those negative experiences we should be craving. After all, that’s passion — the thing you love so much that you’re willing to put up with the negatives to do it. Or as CrossFit athlete known for his punishing and brutal workouts, Matt Fraser puts it, “I’m not addicted to pain, I’m addicted to where pain gets you”. It gets you crowned as the World’s Fittest Man, by the way.

I’ve also read Mark’s last chapter of the book “…And then you Die” a number of times now. He does a great job of pulling all his yarns together and making a grand conclusion on the issues plaguing the modern world (I’ll paraphrase here – you’re a self-entitled jerk but he means that in a very nice way). Throughout the book, Mark argues that a vast majority of us have no concept of self-responsibility and hide from any real type of self-discovery through distraction, blame, pity and by avoiding the ever present gaze of death – which sets you up thinking that the superficial is important and the important is superficial (it’s not). In the end, just like Think by Design, it all comes down to  legacy and buying into something bigger than ourselves.

To learn more about values, legacy and creating a clear and purpose, join us for Think by Design on Mon. Oct. 17 @7:00pm. And yes, I highly recommend Mark’s book!

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