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!
“Our most radical changes in perspective often happen at the tail end of our worst moments. It’s only when we feel intense pain that we’re willing to look at our values and question why they seem to be failing us. We need some sort of existential crisis to take an objective look at how we’ve been deriving meaning in our life, and then consider changing course.” ~ Mark Mason, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
“One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.” ~ Sigmund Freud, via The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
“I have found that battling despair does not mean closing my eyes to the enormity of the tasks of effecting change, nor ignoring the strength and the barbarity of the forces aligned against us. It means teaching, surviving and fighting with the most important resource I have, myself, and taking joy in that battle. It means, for me, recognizing the enemy outside and the enemy within, and knowing that my work is part of our power, and knowing that this work did not begin with my birth nor will it end with my death. And it means knowing that within this continuum, my life and my love and my work has particular power and meaning relative to others. It means trout fishing on the Missisquoi River at dawn and tasting the green silence, and knowing that this beauty too is mine forever.” ~ Audre Lorde, The Cancer Journals
“The truth is that there’s no such thing as a personal problem. If you’ve got a problem, chances are millions of other people have had it in the past, have it now, and are going to have it in the future. Likely people you know too. That doesn’t minimize the problem or mean that it shouldn’t hurt. It doesn’t mean you aren’t legitimately a victim of some circumstances. It just means you’re not special. Often, it’s this realization—that you and your problems are actually not privileged in their severity or pain—that is the first and most important step toward solving them.” ~ 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
“Problems never stop; they merely get exchanged and/or upgraded.” ~ Mark Mason, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
“Where you are, right here and now, this is how bad stories end. But it’s also how the best stories, begin.” ~ Iain Thomas, I Wrote This For You
“Oh shut up. Every time it rains, it stops raining. Every time you hurt, you heal. After darkness, there is always light and you get reminded of this every morning but still you choose to believe that the night will last forever. Nothing lasts forever. Not the good or the bad. So you might as well smile while you’re here.” ~ Iain Thomas, I Wrote This For You
“It does not count if you believe in yourself when it’s easy to believe in yourself. It does not count if you believe the world can be a better place when the future looks bright. It does not count if you think you’re going to make it when the finish line is right in front of you. It counts when it’s hard to believe in yourself, when it looks like the world’s going to end and you’ve still got a long way to go. That’s when it counts. That’s when it matters the most.” ~ Iain Thomas, I Wrote This For You
“I know the world is crazy. I know love is not always the way it’s meant to be. I know sometimes, things hurt. But I also know that we’ll get through this. That our hearts will arrive on the other side, in one piece. That everything is beautiful, if we give it the chance to be.” ~ Iain Thomas, I Wrote This For You
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“I am not looking to escape my darkness, I am learning to love myself there.” ~ Rune Lazuli