Personal Improvement

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck with Mark Manson

Updated on March 27, 2020 Updated on March 27, 2020
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Woman giving middle fingers

How many fucks do you give? Too many? If it’s more than one, today we will learn the subtle art of not giving a fuck with Mark Manson.

Big News!

Before we get to the show, Andrew made a big announcement. After years of hard work, he quit his day job to do LMM full time! All of the stuff he has been preaching to us for years, invest early, save your money, start a side business and if you work on it consistently, you can make it your full-time gig, he did. Congratulations Andrew!

Now Back to the Show

In 2007, Mark was working in an investment bank at a job he hated. He had been doing some freelance work, had about $10,000 saved, and was making $500-1000 a month from his blog. So being 23, he decided it was a great time to quit his job.

It was rough for a time, but it turned out to be the right decision in the end. Mark took a chance by not giving a fuck, and now he gets to not give a fuck full time.

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Change the Metric

The way we define happiness is personal to each of us. Often it’s how we choose to feel about something more than the actual thing, that dictates our happiness. Mark uses his brother’s lack of responsiveness to texts as an example.

This used to annoy Mark until he realized that his brother wasn’t sitting on the couch ignoring the texts to piss him off. He is just a different person.Texting is something he doesn’t give a fuck about.

When Mark changed the metric he used to measure how good their relationship was, he was happier. Did they see each other regularly? Did they get along well when they were together? The answers were yes so the texting stopped being the measure of the relationship.

Money can be the same. If only we made $80,000, we would be happy. Now we are making $80,000, but if only we made $100,000, we’d be set, life would be perfect. But when we get what we want, or thought we thought we wanted, it can bring its own set of problems. Continuously pushing happiness just a little further out means we are continuously pushing it beyond our reach. 

Listen, money matters. No one thinks it doesn’t. But the problems start when we think it’s the only thing that matters and the only thing that can make us happy and solve our problems.

It Could Be Worse

If you’re listening to this podcast, you are more financially savvy than the vast majority of people. You may have debt, you may have not yet started to invest, but just being aware of finances and putting yourself in a position to learn more, puts you leagues ahead of so many people for whom finances are not even on the radar. It’s called being an adult.

For most of us, things could be better, and they could be worse. Many of us would like to make more money but dare I say, none of us are living on the streets unsure of where our next meal is coming from.

Happiness comes not from struggle. If you’ve struggled with being poor, and I mean poor, not broke, if you’ve struggled with illness, there is no happiness there. But there isn’t happiness on the other end of the spectrum either. That’s why so many trust fund kids are miserable assholes.

The happiness is not in the struggle; it’s in overcoming challenges. You didn’t grow up poor, but maybe you didn’t go to a great school, so college was a challenge. But you met the challenge. You worked hard and graduated.

You can also find happiness is challenged you set for yourself. Maybe you want to pay off your student loan debt in record time or live very frugally so you can retire early and travel. Meeting those kinds of challenges can bring happiness too.

Fuck Yes or Fuck No

Every important decision you make should be made by answering fuck yes or fuck no. Do you want to do X? Fuck yes! Do you want to do Y? Fuck no! Do you want a second date with this person? Do you want to take this job? Do you want to move away from the city you currently live in? Those kinds of questions should be answered with fuck yes or fuck no.

But it’s easier to use this method when you are young and don’t have a lot of obligations. At 24 if you decide, “Fuck yes, I’m quitting this job to start my own business!” and it doesn’t work out, you have a lot of time to recover, and no one but you is much affected.

When you’re 45 and have a spouse, some kids, and a mortgage, you don’t get to use this method so cavalierly. That doesn’t mean you can’t start your own business. But you have to create some evidence that this is something that will make money.

Ideas are not that important. Everyone has ideas. Whether or not you can translate that idea into money is the important part. Start small, nights and weekends. Get that first client, that first $1,000, a runway of six months. Then you can say, “Fuck yes. I’m quitting this job to start my own business!”

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

I love the word fuck, so that’s what turned my head when I saw this book. But the key word is subtle. None of us can obtain honey badger levels of giving fucks and give zero fucks. If only.

We have to care about some things but we need to be more conscious of who we value and what we care about. We only have so much time and energy. But it’s not always obvious what we should give a fuck about. You have to figure out who and what matters.

We all get to choose what we give a fuck about, and we choose every day whether we realize it our not. You have a finite supply of fucks to give. Don’t waste them.

Show Notes

Evil Twin Yang: An Imperial IPA.

Mark Manson: Author, thinker, life enthusiast.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck: Get Mark’s book.

Tool Box: All the best stuff we use to manage our money.

LMM Pro: Research and evaluate rental properties.

Candice Elliott - Senior Editor
Candice Elliott is a substantial contributor to Listen Money Matters. She has been a personal finance writer since 2013 and has written extensively on student loan debt, investing, and credit. She has successfully navigated these areas in her own life and knows how to help others do the same. Candice has answered thousands of questions from the LMM community and spent countless hours doing research for hundreds of personal finance articles. She happily calls New Orleans, Louisiana home-the most fun city in the world.

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