Don’t try, feedback loop from hell, the backwards law, victim mentality, hedonic treadmill, two forms of entitlement, Hiroo Onoda & Norio Suzuki, layers of self-awareness, Dave Mustaine – Metallica & Megadeth, Pete Best – Beatles, outrage porn, motivation from action, paradox of choice,
I had bought this book to read on a flight simply because it was marked as a bestseller in an airport shop. It will be always a memory in a journey which was otherwise horrible. The author is Mark Manson, a star blogger. He sees a problem in people trying to be positive or happy always. Human beings generate true pleasure for themselves by solving meaningful problems, so pursuing a life without any problems is a contradiction. Another fact is everyone is not special, if it was the case then nobody will be special. So striving to become special as a life goal is a terrible idea.
According to the author our present social structures, schools push to make everyone feel special and equally capable. Highlighting stories of underdogs, stories where the protagonist struggles for a long time before achieving something significant, they try to prove that it is only a matter of effort. Nothing prepares people for real world where huge achievements are rare and majority of people live an average life. However the push to be special makes otherwise average achievers feel like losers. Fixating on always being happy and being special only generates more anxiety. We come to know about the best of the best cases through the news papers we read, TV we watch and somehow tend to believe that the world is living a life better than ours. With too many things thrown at us to be worried about, we should choose the things we actually want to worry about and in author’s words not give a fu*k about other things. Humans are essentially problem solvers and if we do not choose our problems, we will be caught up in shitty ones automatically. Being in pain and feeling miserable actually develops our character, so treating them like curses and looking for some shortcut to make them disappear instead of working on them consciously is a failure in long term. Systems which are meant to make everyone feel special about themselves without reasons will generate two kinds of personalities i.e. a) Entitled because they think they are special without anything to show for it b) Entitled because they thing they are miserable.
I loved the stories about real people that Mark uses to justify his position like that of Hiroo Onoda and Norio Suzuki, Dave Mustaine, Pete Best to name a few. Also I never knew Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet could be interpreted the way Mark has 🙂
Conclusion & Rating:
It seems Mark is a good reader himself and this book is a good attempt. Probably we will see more books from him. This book will not make your problems disappear but may inspire you enough to start working on solutions instead of trying to avoid or bypass them. If you are at a point in your life where you feel you are unique in your situation or life has been unfair to you, read this book instead of some conventional BS self-help book that tells you to chant “I am special” in front of a mirror!