The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck Quotes

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck" by Mark Manson. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Looking for The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck quotes? What can Mark Manson teach you about letting go of society’s expectations?

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is Mark Manson’s book about letting go of the expectations of society and focusing on the right things. If we try to give a f*ck about everything, then we’ll never be happy.

Continue below for The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck quotes.

Quotes From The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

In The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, author Mark Manson argues that our consumer culture and social media have us chasing the wrong things in pursuit of happiness and a meaningful life. We are giving a f*ck or caring about too many things that don’t matter and don’t make us happy in the long run.

Here are some of the best The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck quotes.

“If you think about a young child trying to learn to walk, that child will fall down and hurt itself hundreds of times. But at no point does that child ever stop and think, “Oh, I guess walking just isn’t for me. I’m not good at it.”

Most people are reluctant to fail or to admit failure. But to succeed at something you first have to fail, usually multiple times, so you can learn.

Improvement at anything is a result of many small failures. The more you’ve failed, the greater the scope of your success will be. Someone who is better at something than you are probably failed at it more times.

Children fall repeatedly when they are learning to walk, but they don’t give up on walking after failing a few times — they keep trying until they succeed.

“Essentially, we become more selective about the fucks we’re willing to give. This is something called maturity. It’s nice; you should try it sometime. Maturity is what happens when one learns to only give a fuck about what’s truly fuck-worthy. As Bunk Moreland said to his partner Detective McNulty in The Wire: “That’s what you get for giving a fuck when it wasn’t your turn to give a fuck.”

In The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, author Mark Manson argues that our consumer culture and social media have us chasing the wrong things in pursuit of happiness and a meaningful life. We are giving a f*ck or caring about too many things that don’t matter and don’t make us happy in the long run. We are urged by social media and society to give a f*ck about everything.

But success, fame, and fleeting self-improvement don’t lead to satisfaction. The key to a happy, meaningful life is to give a f*ck about less, and focus only on what is most valuable and important to us.

“It turns out that adversity and failure are actually useful and even necessary for developing strong-minded and successful adults.”

Our culture treats happiness as a formula that can be solved. For instance, we may think: If I get a certain thing or do a certain thing, such as marry the right person or live in the right community, I’ll be happy. Or, we treat happiness as something we can earn or acquire. However, happiness isn’t something you get in return for an achievement (such as a new job). Happiness grows from solving problems or overcoming challenges.

“Our culture today is obsessively focused on unrealistically positive expectations: Be happier. Be healthier. Be the best, better than the rest. Be smarter, faster, richer, sexier, more popular, more productive, more envied, and more admired. Be perfect and amazing and crap out twelve-karat-gold nuggets before breakfast each morning while kissing your selfie-ready spouse and two and a half kids goodbye. Then fly your helicopter to your wonderfully fulfilling job, where you spend your days doing incredibly meaningful work that’s likely to save the planet one day.”

Social media, entertainment, and advertising messages urge us to give a f*ck about everything incessantly. We “must” always strive for more — more happiness, more money and success, more experiences, more friends, more possessions, greater attractiveness, and a better body. In addition, self-help “experts” unrealistically urge us to be positive and happy all the time.

“The more you pursue feeling better all the time, the less satisfied you become, as pursuing something only reinforces the fact that you lack it in the first place. “

We feel unhappy instead because these messages emphasize what we lack. By constantly wishing/striving for something, you reinforce to yourself that you don’t have it. Then the self-help experts give you superficial, short-term fixes: Stand in front of a mirror and repeat affirmations, or follow 10 easy steps to become rich. The advice further emphasizes what you’re lacking while failing to offer lasting solutions.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck Quotes

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Here's what you'll find in our full The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck summary:

  • How to clarify what's important to you (and not just what you think should be important)
  • Why it's okay for things to not always go well in life
  • Why you need to care about fewer things

Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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