There’s an old adage which states ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’, but I don’t know if the Roman Empire would have conquered Europe if they focussed on drafting letters asking for it. Mail-box drops rarely generate enough goodwill to prevent noise complaints during a party.
What I can confirm is that the pen is mightier than the hand. If you’ve ever read something so profound it influences the direction of your life, you’ll know exactly what that means. Words can hit like a slap in the face. In that respect, Mark Manson’s work is much like losing a boxing match.
The author of New York Times bestseller, ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck’, isn’t interested in filling you with false hopes. He doesn’t claim to peddle a magic pill that erodes all of your problems, Marks unique brand of life advice, or as he puts it “personal development that doesn’t suck” is all about accepting that we need problems.
At first glance, it could seem like a form of masochism. To consider problems as the building block of happiness is far from conventional. But in reality, solving problems is essentially how we give our lives meaning. So, as Mark says, “Don’t hope for a life without problems, there’s no such thing. Hope for a life full of good problems”.
Self-help isn’t a self handout, and Manson makes no secret about the fact that all lifestyles come with “a sh*t sandwich”. What matters is that we identify the flavour of sh*t we can accept, and eventually love.
He’s right! Everything sucks sometimes. Even rockstardom involves tasks that aren’t everyone’s pint of whiskey. Guitarist, Jim Martin, quit Faith No More at the height of their success to farm pumpkins. Clearly he identified that his sh*t sandwich preference was organic fertiliser, and not paparazzi photosnaps and… indoor sunglasses.
Mark Manson’s work has clear nods to intellectual giants like Immanuel Kant, Plato, and even Mark Twain, but the historic concepts of an older world have been reworked into a message more apt for modern society. A society that favours the F word, over the N word (sorry Mr Twain).
With a website that boasts two million readers per month, he’s clearly onto a winning formula, combining harsh truths, and introspection with bouts of hilarity. Although there are many concepts that hit home, The Disappointment Panda is my personal favourite.
It’s the idea of a fictional Panda who will tell you the truth, and although, it’ll hurt a little first it will make your life better.
When I consider that Panda, it tells me that in my mid-30’s, I enjoy pizza too much to achieve the goal of having abs. To be happy I should refocus my energy from worrying about non-relevant goals to my life. That I should accept abs aren’t my priority because I traded a gym physique for adventures, insights and a more holistic personality.
If you’ve worked on your gym body and found that offensive, you’ve missed the crux of Manson’s message. Stop giving a f*ck about my thoughts on your priorities.
Don’t miss your chance to hear from the artist himself, as Mark Manson visits Australia on his ‘Everything is F*cked’ tour in July, sharing insights from his latest book Everything is F*cked: A Book About Hope. Tickets via livenation.com.au.
Written by Craig Fridey