This weekend I bought a new book called, "The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck" by Mark Manson. A couple weeks ago I came across a podcast from the Art of Charm and Mark Manson was the guest of the show. During the episode they talked about his upcoming book. At first, I was just curious to find out more based on the title , but after a few minutes I was sold. So without further thinking, I went ahead to amazon and ordered the book. Currently I am halfway through the book and it has me hooked. Mark Manson is an amazing writer who is able to mix story and science together very well. The book's main focus is on today's current self-help generation. Just two months ago I wrote an article called Happiness Is A Choice. In the article, I talk about the importance of being able to realize that you control your emotions and that ultimately you determine your own happiness. And honestly, I still believe that, but since reading some of the book, I have a greater understanding of it.
As I write this, I am in not the best of moods. I am not hurt physically or emotionally. I have family and friends who love me. From the outside, my life looks very well and I have every reason to be happy, but for some reason I am just not happy right now. Nevertheless, I am not going to let this mood bring me down or impact my decisions.
You know why?
Because I am in control of my life and I know that these "emotions" and "feelings" are simply just symbols and that is it. They are meant to bring light to a subject, to let you know something isn't right. As of right now I am in a pretty fucking shitty mood and I am questioning my life every second, asking myself,
" What am I doing here?"
"Is this the right place for me?"
"Oh my god, he is such a terrible trainer! He is doing it all wrong, he is teaching it all wrong!"
Yes, the old me would have told myself to let it go and embrace the positivity, but that is all bullshit and doesn't get you anywhere in life. All it does is take the pile of shit and throw it under the carpet. Before starting this book, I thought that if you smiled and conjured up happy thoughts then you would be happy. But that is complete bullshit and just not true. Yeah, having positive thoughts might help a little bit and yes, that smile might just make someone else's day. So I am not saying you shouldn't smile, I am just saying that the smile and the positive thought's won't fix the underlying problem. This isn't a bad thing, this is a good thing. You actually want to embrace this pain the same way you would embrace happiness. This the beauty of suffering and pain because it lets us know that something isn't right. These insecurities are what push us forward and make us work harder than ever before. So thanks to this book, I have a new perspective, and this perspective entails me giving zero fucks about my current mood. Actually, instead of letting go and being positive, I am going to confront this beast head on. I am going to embrace the pain and figure out what the fuck is going on in my life. In my opinion, the best way to do this is through writing. So you can thank my terrible mood for the following blog post. I hope you enjoy.
Here's the thing about emotions, they tend to fuck with your head; one day you are the king of the world, the next day you are the jester in the courtroom. So why do our emotions change so quickly? It is very simple actually, our emotions are just symbols, thoughts that we react to. The emotion itself doesn't cause any harm, rather it is how we react to that emotion. Feelings of anger and sadness are just feelings, they don't take hold of your body and force you to do anything. You are the one who reacts to those emotions and then blames those emotions for your behavior. Basically, you are using your emotional baggage as a scapegoat..
"It wasn't my fault, I just haven't had my coffee yet" or "I am so sorry, I will be much better after I eat this."
Now here's a question, do those statements above sound like an adult or a child? If you guessed child then you are correct! Because that is the main difference between being an adult and a child, the ability to control and react to one's emotions. When we are in a terrible mood we tend to think the world is ending and we let this feeling determine the rest of our decisions for the day.
Following a strict diet?
"Not anymore because I had a terrible day so I deserve a huge pie of pizza!"
Which I did last night by the way, but I digress. This doesn't sound to good right? I mean living based off your emotions is a prison, in order to be free you must have the disciple to control your reactions. And I am going to show you exactly how to get out of that vicious cycle, well, Mark Manson is going to show you how. But, I am going to do my best to spread his message. And his message is this: start giving zero fucks about the things you can't control and focus all those fucks on the things you can control. Let me write that again, but this time without the explicit language:
"Focus on what you can control and forget about the rest"
Now I am not saying that all suffering is created equal, but suffering itself is inevitable. Regardless of where you are at life, you are going to suffer,but you do determine how long you suffer for. Like I said before, suffering and pain let us know that something is going wrong. If you are working out and your shoulder is numb, there is a good chance that you fucked up your shoulder and that you should stop and examine the problem. The same can be said for our emotional state, you feel a certain way because something happened, be it good or bad, there was something that influenced that mood. Instead of becoming angry and upset with the fact that you aren't as happy as you were yesterday or an hour ago. It is a much better idea to ask yourself,
"Why am I not as happy as I was?" or "What is causing this, and how can I fix it?"
Thus, it is a great idea to figure out what makes you happy and this is extremely easy to do. Whenever you feel happy, you do the same exact thing, you ask yourself a simple question:
"What stopped my suffering and why am I so happy!"
By asking yourself these simple questions you get a better idea for what you love and what you truly want in life. Over the last three months, I have learned more about myself then in the last twenty years and it is all due to suffering. The last three months have been very uncomfortable and filled with its ups and downs. But by asking the simple questions,
"Why am I suffering?" or "How do I fix this?"
I have found out my form of happiness, which happens to be solving problems with deep focus. In essence, I love escaping the current world and dedicating all my attention to a problem at hand. This problem could be in the form a client trying to achieve a weight loss goal or an unwritten blog post. I realized this because most of my suffering would happen on the weekend when I wasn't doing anything. This laziness would cause me to get to caught up in my head and I would literally drive myself crazy. That is until I read this book, and I came to a conclusion that I need to stop giving so many fucks and just let go of these expectations I have for myself.
I have learned to let go of these lofty expectations and to do what I love, and what I love is problem solving. Honestly, I hope my suffering never ends, it gives me reason to live. Just like you need to take a break from the gym every so often, you need to take a break from happiness. Suffering allows you to look at yourself in a different perspective. Pain and suffering forces growth and helps you become a better person. If you aren't suffering in this world then you aren't trying hard enough. Now, I am not saying you have to feel miserable every day to see growth. I am just suggesting that growth rarely occurs without some form of adversity. Usually we don't notice this adversity because it is minimal. We tend to only notice it when it is smacking us in the face making us feel like a little child again. So when you do feel miserable, instead of freaking out about your loss of happiness, I suggest you take a deep breath and relax because suffering is normal and inevitable. Yes, you read that correctly. Suffering is inevitable and will never go away, but you determine how you deal with it . You can either let it destroy you, or you can use it for growth. The easiest way to do this is through self reflection. In my opinion, writing is best form of self reflection. It allows you to get your ideas on paper and make sense of our thoughts.
Our current environment isn't helping this process either, it has made the highs higher and the lows lower. We are now living in a world where you can put a headset on and become whatever you want. Obviously, your normal life isn't going to compare to that and you might be a little upset if you can't do that everyday. Don't get me wrong, technology is great and I am very happy to be born in this time period, but you must realize that every high has a low. No matter how high you shoot something, eventually it will fall back down due to gravity. And the same rules apply to your emotions. Even if everything is going right in your life, you will still find something to improve or complain about. This is just how we are wired , it is critical to our survival. Remember, we still have the same wiring from 100s, if not 1000s of years ago where we had to double check every inch of our environment and you aren't going to be able to turn that instinct off anytime soon. You are stuck with it until you die.
Therefore, if you want to stop worrying and start living then I suggest you start accepting the fact that suffering is going to happen and when it does happen I want you to give zero fucks. Now I am not saying to get naked and do whatever you want. I am suggesting that you stop overreacting to the things out of your control and focus on what you can control. Embrace the uncomfortable feeling and solve the problem that is causing the stress in the first place. Furthermore, you need to become less attached to these feelings and realize that your actions define you, and your feelings don't. Since reading this book I have realized that our emotions are byproducts of our actions, thus neither emotion can last forever. Which means that you are going to be happy and you are going to be sad. Hopefully, as you get older, you become mature and start to realize what you like about your life. Hence, why people tend to get happier with age. The reasoning is simple, as you get older you realize what is important in your life and you do those things more. You begin to realize that life is extremely short and you only have a short amount of time to do the things you love.
And this post has gone on entirely too long, but I do feel much better than before so overall this was a success and since I am in such a good mood, I will end this with some positivity from one of the greatest coaches of all time:
“Be true to yourself, help others, make each day your masterpiece, make friendship a fine art, drink deeply from good books – especially the Bible, build a shelter against a rainy day, give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day.” – John Wooden