By: Jonathan Fields
Book Overview: Seriously . . . another book that tells you how to live a good life? Don’t we have enough of those? You’d think so. Yet, more people than ever are walking through life disconnected, disengaged, dissatisfied, mired in regret, declining health, and a near maniacal state of gut-wrenching autopilot busyness. How to Live a Good Life is your antidote; a practical and provocative modern-day manual for the pursuit of a life well lived. No need for blind faith or surrender of intelligence; everything you’ll discover is immediately actionable and subject to validation through your own experience.
The following is an excerpt from The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. It recounts the life and story of Buddha and how he went from being a young, spoiled child—who had essentially everything (and anything) he could have ever wished for—to the sage that we remember him as today who practiced severe asceticism before his enlightenment.
The suffering that the Buddha endured formulated the foundation for the teachings and philosophies on which Buddhism was later founded and the story of the Buddha shares a deep insight about how happiness is not the absence of suffering but rather a dance with suffering and non-ascetic, middle way living.
Below, you will find the story of Buddha as it was shared in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. While you read, we strongly encourage you to reflect on your beliefs of suffering and happiness and challenge you to take notes (real or mental) on areas of your life that might need some attention or reevaluation.
Some questions to consider: Are you pursuing happiness or happy in your pursuits? Are you waiting for a criteria to be met before you feel that you can be happy? Is meeting that criteria really going to make you happy or will it just lead to more criteria? If you’re feeling moved, drop some of your thoughts in the comment section below! We hope this helps and we hope you find value in this story. Enjoy!
“Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.” ~ Søren Kierkegaard, via How To Live A Good Life
“The only way to be comfortable with death is to understand and see yourself as something bigger than yourself; to choose values that stretch beyond serving yourself, that are simple and immediate and controllable and tolerant of the chaotic world around you. This is the basic root of all happiness. Whether you’re listening to Aristotle or the psychologists at Harvard or Jesus Christ or the goddamn Beatles, they all say that happiness comes from the same thing: caring about something greater than yourself, believing that you are a contributing component in some much larger entity, that your life is but a mere side process of some great unintelligible production.” ~ Mark Mason, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
“Consumer culture is very good at making us want more, more, more. Underneath all the hype and marketing is the implication that more is always better. I bought into this idea for years. Make more money, visit more countries, have more experiences, be with more women. But more is not always better. In fact, the opposite is true. We are actually often happier with less. When we’re overloaded with opportunities and options, we suffer from what psychologists refer to as the paradox of choice. Basically, the more options we’re given, the less satisfied we become with whatever we choose, because we’re aware of all the other options we’re potentially forfeiting.” ~ Mark Mason, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
“Research shows that once one is able to provide for basic physical needs (food, shelter, and so on), the correlation between happiness and worldly success quickly approaches zero. So if you’re starving and living on the street in the middle of India, an extra ten thousand dollars a year would affect your happiness a lot. But if you’re sitting pretty in the middle class in a developed country, an extra ten thousand dollars per year won’t affect anything much—meaning that you’re killing yourself working overtime and weekends for basically nothing.” ~ Mark Mason, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
“The person you marry is the person you fight with. The house you buy is the house you repair. The dream job you take is the job you stress over. Everything comes with an inherent sacrifice—whatever makes us feel good will also inevitably make us feel bad. What we gain is also what we lose. What creates our positive experiences will define our negative experiences. This is a difficult pill to swallow. We like the idea that there’s some form of ultimate happiness that can be attained. We like the idea that we can alleviate all of our suffering permanently. We like the idea that we can feel fulfilled and satisfied with our lives forever. But we cannot.” ~ Mark Mason, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
“Happiness is a constant work-in-progress, because solving problems is a constant work-in-progress—the solutions to today’s problems will lay the foundation for tomorrow’s problems, and so on. True happiness occurs only when you find the problems you enjoy having and enjoy solving.” ~ Mark Mason, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
“Happiness comes from solving problems. The keyword here is ‘solving.’ If you’re avoiding your problems or feel like you don’t have any problems, then you’re going to make yourself miserable. If you feel like you have problems that you’ can’t solve, you will likewise make yourself miserable. The secret sauce is in the solving of the problems, not in not having problems in the first place.” ~ Mark Mason, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
“We have problems perceiving nonevents. We are blind to what does not exist. We realize if there is a war, but we do not appreciate the absence of war during peacetime. If we are healthy, we rarely think about being sick. Or, if we get off the plane in Cancún, we do not stop to notice that we did not crash. If we thought more frequently about absence, we might well be happier.” ~ Rolf Dobelli, The Art of Thinking Clearly
Picture Quote Text:
“Life is too short. Grudges are a waste of perfect happiness. Laugh when you can. Apologize when you should and let go of what you can. Take chances. Give everything and have no regrets. Life is too short to be unhappy. You have to take the good with the bad. Smile when you’re sad. Love what you got and always remember what you had. Always forgive but never forget. Learn from your mistakes but never regret. People change and things go wrong. But always remember, life goes on.”