I first read Mark Manson’s book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, last year. It was one of those books that I added to my To Be Reread list. Sometimes a book has too much to unpack, and I have to go back and reread it a second or third time to take it all in.
I started rereading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck this past Tuesday on my way to work, a way for me to make good use of my commute time.
‘Not Giving a Fuck’ Ain’t Easy
As much as I want to, and as much as I try to convince myself that I’m good at not giving a fuck, in reality I suck at it.. I know I need to be more selective about the things I should care about, because there are a lot of small things that piss me off. Like people walking against the flow of [pedestrian] traffic. The people who place their bags on the seat next to them on a crowded subway. Others who play music on their phone or have their conversations on speaker and think we share their taste in music or have any interest in what they’re talking about.
I turn the volume up on my headphones so that I drown out the world around me, which allows me to — temporarily — not give a fuck.
But reading this book yesterday, I was struck by a section in Chapter 7 called, “The ‘Do Something’ Principle.” Manson writes: “If you lack the motivation to make an important change in your life, do something — anything, really — and then harness the reaction to that action as a way to begin motivating yourself.”1
I know this. But I haven’t been executing the principle in certain areas of my life because I’ve let fear take away my courage to act. I’ve let fear hold me back.
For awhile now, I’ve wanted to do more proofreading for authors. I’ve had a few proofreading roles in the corporate world, and last year I successfully completed more training to hone my proofreading skills. But since then, I’ve sought out client work because I’ve doubted my ability. I’ve worried I would repeat the errors of proofreaders I had hired for my own work — those who missed so much that I had to hire another proofreader. I feared overcorrecting. I feared not knowing the answer and looking foolish.
Take a Risk
Reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, I think I finally understood that I just can’t give a fuck about how I may look to others. If I want to change my life, I have to do something. I might succeed. I might make mistakes. But I’ll never know what I can or cannot be, how good I can or cannot be … until I try.
It’s time for focus on what matters, and not give a fuck about everything else.
So, I’m going to try. Because I’m not where I want to be, and if I don’t do something, nothing will change.
1 Manson, Mark. 2016). The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. HarperCollins, p. 155.