Mental health issues seem to be at an all-time high. It seems almost impossible for us to switch off. We are constantly bombarded with information from our boss, from our family, from our friends, social media, advertising, it never ends. On the one hand this is great, because there has never been more opportunity for all of us to get ahead. The downside is that there has never been more opportunity and it can be so hard to know what to focus on. We are trying to do it all, have a great career, be there for our family 24/7, have great holidays, the right house and car, hobbies, social lives. It’s hard to fit it all in and we are spreading ourselves too thin. The subtle art of not giving a F*ck by Mark Manson aims to address this by being able to shut out everything that is not important and prioritise the things that truly matter to us. So, what can we learn from the book?

Prioritise what is right for you

Part of the problem as to why we are stretched so thin is that we have not prioritised what is important to us. Whether intentional or not, we are more focused on what we think we are supposed to do, instead of focusing on what we actually want to do. So, the starting point for anyone should be to understand what their ultimate goal is. If it’s to be the perfect parent and to raise wonderful children then does it make sense to chase after a promotion that is going to make it harder for you to dedicate the time to that goal? If it’s to provide financial security for your family, you should probably be making sure that you get that overtime in. If it is to travel the world, does it make sense to tie yourself down to a 30-year mortgage in a fixed location to buy a house? There simply are not enough hours in that day, so you need to get comfortable with not caring about what you are supposed to do. As the book would say, you should not give a f*ck about the things that do not matter to you. If someone judges you for missing your child’s football game because you were closing a business deal to ensure you could fund college for them, who cares? Likewise, if you pass up on the business opportunity because being at the football game is your priority, again who cares? You get one life, live it your way.

Take responsibility

One of the things that holds us back from achieving this, is that we feel like we are not in control and so we say we are victims of our circumstances. The truth is that positive change only happens when you take full responsibility for your life. If you have a crappy job, you can choose to get another one. Yes, you may need to stick it out for a few months until you find something better if you have bills to pay, but you can change jobs. You might want to change careers, but don’t have the skills to pursue that new career, but you can learn them by signing up for training courses. We make choices every day, and we can choose to make better choices to change our circumstances, instead of choosing to make ourselves a victim of those circumstances.