Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

We’ve all, at some point in our lives, mentally told ourselves ‘I don’t give a f**k anymore’. But what does ‘0 f**ks given’ really entail? To break this down, we will analyse 4 (of the numerous) key components of the book in question and give a brief description of each of them, so that you can use this phrase adequately and to truly not give a fuck. Reading the book would be a better start, so let’s consider this a taster. (This is also probably the only acceptable article in which I can swear this much – prepare your little head voice.) 

  1. Not giving a f**k still means you’re giving a f**k about something. You’re just better at prioritizing your f**ks.  

You are choosing to give meaning to some things, but disregarding others. It is essential to prioritize what truly matters to you and focus on something purposeful and productive. If you have nothing interesting going on, then your f**ks will be given elsewhere – in meaningless, fatuous things.  

  1. If you want to feel happy and fulfilled, you need to adopt good values (not the ones prescribed by our consumerist society) 

Many people’s values are defined by external events, for example, becoming the most popular girl in school, graduating with a first & getting married before your 30s. If these things don’t end up happening, then these people will live a deeply dissatisfied life. On the contrary, if one adopts different values, more ‘reality-based’, ‘socially constructive’ and ‘immediate and controllable’, then people will be able to live up to their values and feel much better about themselves. These values could be: honesty, empathy or self-respect.  

  1. Negative experiences aren’t always ‘bad’. Sometimes, they are necessary for your personal growth. We will always have struggles of some sort, so choose your struggles wisely! 

Every ‘feel-good’ experience will also make us feel-bad at some point. We all like the idea of the reaching the top of Maslow’s pyramid to finally feel ultimately happy – also called the moment of ‘self-actualization’. But everything comes in black and white – you’ve got to have the bad days to enjoy the good days even more, right? So, if you choose to be in a happy marriage with the love of your life, you’re also choosing to experience relationship disagreements that you wouldn‘t otherwise if you were single. If you choose to become the CEO of a big corporate institution, then you are willing to slog through 60-hour working week in order to climb your way up there. You decide what you are willing to struggle for.   

  1. Life is a series of problems one after the other. You can either play the victim or become the solution and strive to be better from every experience.  

As the author says, ‘Problems never stop; they merely get exchanged and/or upgraded’. If you solve your health problem by buying a gym membership, then you create a new problem – having to wake up every morning and excessively sweat on the treadmill half an hour. According to the author, happiness comes from solving problems. You will feel much better inside and out if you are healthy! Even if the battle is constant and difficult at times. So rather than avoiding your problems or disregarding them, make yourself less miserable and focus on finding solutions.  

Leora Garling

Leora is a final year German and International Management student and Features Editor for 2020/1.

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