domingo, 1 de enero de 2017

The Subtle Art of Don't Giving a Fuck


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Some book notes, the aim is make me remember the highlights:
  • He never tried to be anything other than what he was.
  • Bukowski didn’t give a fuck about success.
  • 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
  • The world is constantly telling you that the path to a better life is more, more, more—buy more, because giving a fuck about more stuff is good for business.
  • The key to a good life is not giving a fuck about more; it’s giving a fuck about less, giving a fuck about only what is true and immediate and important.
  • “I feel like shit, but who gives a fuck?”
  • The more you desperately want to be happy and loved, the lonelier and more afraid you become, regardless of those who surround you.
  • Being open with your insecurities paradoxically makes you more confident and charismatic around others. The pain of honest confrontation is what generates the greatest trust and respect in your relationships. Suffering through your fears and anxieties is what allows you to build courage and perseverance.
How to pick and choose what matters to you and what does not matter to you based on finely honed personal values.
  • Subtlety #1 Not giving a fuck does not mean being indifferent; it means being comfortable with being different. The people who just laugh and then do what they believe in anyway. Because they know it’s right. The point isn’t to get away from the shit. The point is to find the shit you enjoy dealing with.
  • Subtlety #2: To not give a fuck about adversity, you must first give a fuck about something more important than adversity. I once heard an artist say that when a person has no problems, the mind automatically finds a way to invent some.
  • Subtlety #3: Whether you realize it or not, you are always choosing what to give a fuck about. This is something called maturity. It’s nice; you should try it sometime.
Happiness Comes from Solving Problems. If you’re avoiding your problems or feel like you don’t have any problems, then you’re going to make yourself miserable. To be happy we need something to solve. Happiness is therefore a form of action; True happiness occurs only when you find the problems you enjoy having and enjoy solving.
  • Denial. Some people deny that their problems exist in the first place. And because they deny reality, they must constantly delude or distract themselves from reality. This may make them feel good in the short term, but it leads to a life of insecurity, neuroticism, and emotional repression.
  • Victim Mentality. Some choose to believe that there is nothing they can do to solve their problems, even when they in fact could. Victims seek to blame others for their problems or blame outside circumstances.
Emotions Are Overrated
  • Emotions are simply biological signals designed to nudge you in the direction of beneficial change.
  • Therefore, we shouldn’t always trust our own emotions. In fact, I believe we should make a habit of questioning them.
  • Decision-making based on emotional intuition, without the aid of reason to keep it in line, pretty much always sucks.
The hedonic treadmill:
  • Psychologists sometimes refer to this concept as the “hedonic treadmill”: the idea that we’re always working hard to change our life situation, but we actually never feel very different.
  • We like the idea that we can alleviate all of our suffering permanently. We like the idea that we can feel fulfilled and satisfied with our lives forever. But we cannot.
Choose Your Struggle
  • “What pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for?”
  • People want to start their own business. But you don’t end up a successful entrepreneur unless you find a way to appreciate the risk, the uncertainty, the repeated failures, the insane hours devoted to something that may earn absolutely nothing.
  • And what it took me a long time to discover is that I didn’t like to climb much. I just liked to imagine the summit.
  • People who enjoy the stresses and uncertainties of the starving artist lifestyle are ultimately the ones who live it and make it.
  • See: it’s a never-ending upward spiral. And if you think at any point you’re allowed to stop climbing, I’m afraid you’re missing the point. Because the joy is in the climb itself.
One average:
  • You Are Not Special. Research found that people who thought highly about themselves generally performed better and caused fewer problems.
  • The Tyranny of Exceptionalism
  • And because we all have limited time and energy, few of us ever become truly exceptional at more than one thing, if anything at all.
  • the deluge of exceptional information drives us to feel pretty damn insecure and desperate, because clearly we are somehow not good enough.
  • So more and more we feel the need to compensate through entitlement and addiction.
  • Technology has solved old economic problems by giving us new psychological problems. The Internet has not just open-sourced information; it has also open-sourced insecurity, self-doubt, and shame.
  • B-b-b-but, If I’m Not Going to Be Special or Extraordinary, What’s the Point?
  • When a culture’s standard of success is to “be extraordinary,” it then becomes better to be at the extreme low end of the bell curve than to be in the middle, because at least there you’re still special and deserve attention.
  • On the contrary, they become amazing because they’re obsessed with improvement.
  • It’s anti-entitlement. People who become great at something become great because they understand that they’re not already great—they are mediocre, they are average—and that they could be so much better.
  • “The vast majority of your life will be boring and not noteworthy, and that’s okay.” This vegetable course will taste bad at first. Very bad. You will avoid accepting it.
  • The stress and anxiety of always feeling inadequate and constantly needing to prove yourself will dissipate.
  • Sounds boring, doesn’t it? That’s because these things are ordinary. But maybe they’re ordinary for a reason: because they are what actually matters.
  • The Value of Suffering: To both men, their suffering meant something; it fulfilled some greater cause. And because it meant something, they were able to endure it, or perhaps even enjoy it.
The Self-Awareness Onion:
  • Self-awareness is like an onion. There are multiple layers to it, and the more you peel them back, the more likely you’re going to start crying at inappropriate times.
  • The second layer of the self-awareness onion is an ability to ask why we feel certain emotions. Why do you feel angry? Is it because you failed to achieve some goal? Why do you feel lethargic and uninspired? Is it because you don’t think you’re good enough?
  • The third level is our personal values: Why do I consider this to be success/failure? How am I choosing to measure myself? By what standard am I judging myself and everyone around me? Our values determine the nature of our problems, and the nature of our problems determines the quality of our lives.
  • If what we consider success/failure is poorly chosen, then everything based upon those values—the thoughts, the emotions, the day-to-day feelings—will all be out of whack.
  • Why do they feel such a need to be rich in the first place? How are they choosing to measure success/failure for themselves? Is it not perhaps some particular value that’s the root cause of their unhappiness, and not the fact that they don’t drive a Bentley yet?
  • Honest self-questioning is difficult. It requires asking yourself simple questions that are uncomfortable to answer. In fact, in my experience, the more uncomfortable the answer, the more likely it is to be true.
  • The question is not whether we evaluate ourselves against others; rather, the question is by what standard do we measure ourselves?
  • If you want to change how you see your problems, you have to change what you value and/or how you measure failure/success.
  • some values and metrics are better than others. Some lead to good problems that are easily and regularly solved. Others lead to bad problems that are not easily and regularly solved.
Shitty Values
  1. Pleasure. Research shows that people who focus their energy on superficial pleasures end up more anxious, more emotionally unstable, and more depressed.
  2. Material Success. Many people measure their self-worth based on how much money they make or what kind of car they drive or whether their front lawn is greener and prettier than the next-door neighbor’s. When people measure themselves not by their behavior, but by the status symbols they’re able to collect, then not only are they shallow, but they’re probably assholes as well.
  3. Always Being Right. As humans, we’re wrong pretty much constantly, so if your metric for life success is to be right—well, you’re going to have a difficult time rationalizing all of the bullshit to yourself. The fact is, people who base their self-worth on being right about everything prevent themselves from learning from their mistakes.
  4. Staying Positive. While there is something to be said for “staying on the sunny side of life,” the truth is, sometimes life sucks, and the healthiest thing you can do is admit it. Negative emotions are a necessary component of emotional health. To deny that negativity is to perpetuate problems rather than solve them. 
Defining Good and Bad Values
  • Some examples of good, healthy values: honesty, innovation, vulnerability, standing up for oneself, standing up for others, self-respect, curiosity, charity, humility, creativity.
  • This, in a nutshell, is what “self-improvement” is really about: prioritizing better values, choosing better things to give a fuck about. Because when you give better fucks, you get better problems. And when you get better problems, you get a better life.
  • These five values are both unconventional and uncomfortable. But, to me, they are life-changing. You Are Always Choosing. Often the only difference between a problem being painful or being powerful is a sense that we chose it, and that we are responsible for it.
The Choice
  • This is the realization that we, individually, are responsible for everything in our lives, no matter the external circumstances.
  • What are we choosing to give a fuck about? What values are we choosing to base our actions on? What metrics are we choosing to use to measure our life? And are those good choices—good values and good metrics?
  • The more we choose to accept responsibility in our lives, the more power we will exercise over our lives. Accepting responsibility for our problems is thus the first step to solving them.
  • Took responsibility for my problems and improved upon them. I took responsibility for my role in that unhealthy relationship and improved upon it with later relationships.
  • Responding to Tragedy. But I get to choose how to live with it; I have to choose how to live with it.”
  • There Is No “How” It’s not easy because you’re going to feel like a loser, a fraud, a dumbass at first. You’re going to be nervous. You’re going to freak out. You may get pissed off at your wife or your friends or your father in the process. These are all side effects of changing your values, of changing the fucks you’re giving. But they are inevitable.
You’re Wrong About Everything (But So Am I)
  • Growth is an endlessly iterative process. Our values are our hypotheses: this behavior is good and important; that other behavior is not.
  • Instead of striving for certainty, we should be in constant search of doubt:
  • Being wrong opens us up to the possibility of change. Being wrong brings the opportunity for growth.
  • Some of the most difficult and stressful moments of our lives also end up being the most formative and motivating.
  • Architects of Our Own Beliefs. Be Careful What You Believe
  • This openness to being wrong must exist for any real change or growth to take place.
  • Manson’s Law of Avoidance. The more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid it. There’s a certain comfort that comes with knowing how you fit in the world. But he never launched. There was always some reason: Because despite dreaming about making a living through his art, the real potential of becoming An Artist Nobody Likes was far, far scarier than remaining An Artist Nobody’s Heard Of.
  • We all have values for ourselves. We protect these values. We try to live up to them and we justify them and maintain them.
  • I say don’t find yourself. I say never know who you are. Because that’s what keeps you striving and discovering. And it forces you to remain humble in your judgments and accepting of the differences in others.
Kill Yourself
  • there is little that is unique or special about your problems. That’s why letting go is so liberating
  • you’re implicitly telling yourself, “I’m the exception; I’m unlike everybody else; I’m different and special.” This is narcissism, pure and simple.
  • My recommendation: don’t be special; don’t be unique. Redefine your metrics in mundane and broad ways.
  • measure yourself by more mundane identities: a student, a partner, a friend, a creator.
  • How to Be a Little Less Certain of Yourself
  • Questioning ourselves and doubting our own thoughts and beliefs is one of the hardest skills to develop. But it can be done. Here are some questions that will help you breed a little more uncertainty in your life.
  • Question #1: What if I’m wrong? until you’re able to question yourself to find it, nothing will change. 
  • Question #2: What would it mean if I were wrong? Not only does it call into question our values, but it forces us to consider what a different, contradictory value could potentially look and feel like. 
  • Question #3: Would being wrong create a better or a worse problem than my current problem, for both myself and others? 
  • I try to live with few rules, but one that I’ve adopted over the years is this: if it’s down to me being screwed up, or everybody else being screwed up, it is far, far, far more likely that I’m the one who’s screwed up.
Failure Is the Way Forward
  • The Failure/Success Paradox. Picasso said. “It took me over sixty years to draw this.”
  • Improvement at anything is based on thousands of tiny failures, and the magnitude of your success is based on how many times you’ve failed at something.
  • Avoiding failure is something we learn at some later point in life. I’m sure a lot of it comes from our education system, which judges rigorously based on performance and punishes those who don’t do well.
  • This confines us and stifles us. We can be truly successful only at something we’re willing to fail at. If we’re unwilling to fail, then we’re unwilling to succeed.
  • My self-worth is based on my own behaviors and happiness.
  • Every new conversation, every new relationship, brings new challenges and opportunities for honest expression.
  • If your metric for the value “success by worldly standards” is “Buy a house and a nice car,” and you spend twenty years working your ass off to achieve it, once it’s achieved the metric has nothing left to give you. Then say hello to your midlife crisis, because the problem that drove you your entire adult life was just taken away from you.
  • They may be helpful when pursuing quick, short-term benefits, but as guides for the overall trajectory of our life, they suck.
Pain Is Part of the Process
  • As Dabrowski studied the survivors, he noticed something both surprising and amazing. A sizable percentage of them believed that the wartime experiences they’d suffered, although painful and indeed traumatic, had actually caused them to become better, more responsible, and yes, even happier people. more confident, more sure of themselves, more grateful, and unfazed by life’s trivialities and petty annoyances.
  • Many cancer survivors, for example, report feeling stronger and more grateful after winning their battle to survive.
  • Fear and anxiety and sadness are often representative of the necessary pain of psychological growth.
  • We need some sort of existential crisis to take an objective look at how we’ve been deriving meaning in our life, and then consider changing course.
  • “But how?” When really, it’s as simple as just doing it.
  • The problem was that my emotions defined my reality.
  • You still won’t know what the hell you’re doing. Don’t ever forget that. And don’t ever be afraid of that.
The “Do Something” Principle
  • “If you’re stuck on a problem, don’t sit there and think about it; just start working on it. Even if you don’t know what you’re doing, the simple act of working on it will eventually cause the right ideas to show up in your head.
  • Don’t just sit there. Do something. The answers will follow.
  • Action isn’t just the effect of motivation; it’s also the cause of it.
  • Emotional inspiration → Motivation → Desirable action
  • Inspiration → Motivation → Action → Inspiration → Motivation → Action → Etc.
  • Taking advantage of this knowledge, we can actually reorient our mindset in the following way: When the standard of success becomes merely acting—when any result is regarded as progress and important, when inspiration is seen as a reward rather than a prerequisite—we propel ourselves ahead.
  • Do something. Start simple. Make it a goal to listen to someone’s problem and give
Be likable
  • Honesty in the truest sense of the word. Communication with no conditions, no strings attached, no ulterior motive, no sales job, no desperate attempt to be liked.
  • Travel is a fantastic self-development tool, because it extricates you from the values of your culture and shows you that another society can live with entirely different values and still function and not hate themselves.
  • This exposure to different cultural values and metrics then forces you to reexamine what seems obvious in your own life and to consider that perhaps it’s not necessarily the best way to live.
  • This is why people learn to pretend to be friends with people they don’t actually like, to buy things they don’t actually want. The economic system promotes such deception.
  • There is such pressure in the West to be likable that people often reconfigure their entire personality depending on the person they’re dealing with.
Rejection Makes Your Life Better
  • We need to reject something. Otherwise, we stand for nothing.
  • Avoiding rejection gives us short-term pleasure by making us rudderless and directionless in the long term.
  • The point is this: we all must give a fuck about something, in order to value something.
  • And to value something, we must reject what is not that something. To value X, we must reject non-X. Rejection is an important and crucial life skill.
  • But part of having honesty in our lives is becoming comfortable with saying and hearing the word “no.” In this way, rejection actually makes our relationships better and our emotional lives healthier.
Boundaries
  • By “boundaries” I mean the delineation between two people’s responsibilities for their own problems. People in a healthy relationship with strong boundaries will take responsibility for their own values and problems and not take responsibility for their partner’s values and problems.
  • You both should support each other. But only because you choose to support and be supported. Not because you feel obligated or entitled.
  • For savers, the hardest thing to do in the world is to stop taking responsibility for other people’s problems. They’ve spent their whole life feeling valued and loved only when they’re saving somebody else—so letting go of this need is terrifying to them as well.
  • It’s not about giving a fuck about everything your partner gives a fuck about; it’s about giving a fuck about your partner regardless of the fucks he or she gives. That’s unconditional love, baby.
How to Build Trust
  • Freedom Through Commitment Make more money, visit more countries, have more experiences, be with more women. We are actually often happier with less.
  • We suffer from what psychologists refer to as the paradox of choice. Basically, the more options we’re given, the less satisfied we become with whatever we choose, because we’re aware of all the other options we’re potentially forfeiting.
  • you avoid choosing anything at all. You aim to keep your options open as long as possible. You avoid commitment.
  • The older you get, the more experienced you get, the less significantly each new experience affects you.
  • Commitment gives you freedom because you’re no longer distracted by the unimportant and frivolous. Commitment gives you freedom because it hones your attention and focus, directing them toward what is most efficient at making you healthy and happy.
  • And you have to stay committed to something and go deep to dig it up. That’s true in relationships, in a career, in building a great lifestyle—in everything.
. . . And Then You Die
  • Something Beyond Our Selves
  • The Denial of Death essentially makes two points:
  • Humans are unique in that we’re the only animals that can conceptualize and think about ourselves abstractly.
  • Because we’re able to conceptualize alternate versions of reality, we are also the only animal capable of imagining a reality without ourselves in it. This realization causes what Becker calls “death terror,” a deep existential anxiety that underlies everything we think or do.
  • Becker’s second point starts with the premise that we essentially have two “selves.” The first self is the physical self—the one that eats, sleeps, snores, and poops. The second self is our conceptual self—our identity, or how we see ourselves.
  • in the hopes that we will be remembered and revered and idolized long after our physical self ceases to exist.
  • Becker called such efforts our “immortality projects,”
  • all the meaning in our life is shaped by this innate desire to never truly die.
  • If you haven’t figured it out yet, our immortality projects are our values. They are the barometers of meaning and worth in our life.
  • Becker called this “the bitter antidote,” and struggled with reconciling it himself as he stared down his own demise.
The Sunny Side of Death
  • “The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”
  • death confronts all of us with a far more painful and important question: What is your legacy?
  • Death is the only thing we can know with any certainty.
  • caring about something greater than yourself, believing that you are a contributing component in some much larger entity, that your life is but a mere side process of some great unintelligible production.
  • And they do this not because they actually think they are greater than everybody else; they do it because they feel that they need to be great to be accepted in a world that broadcasts only the extraordinary.
  • You are already great because in the face of endless confusion and certain death, you continue to choose what to give a fuck about and what not to.