In the book The Subtle Art of Not Giving A %#$&, Mark Manson eschews the positive psychology trend in favor of a Stoic, no-nonsense approach to leading a life that is meaningful and oriented solely on what matters to you. Manson understands that life has become overwhelming and that the only way to reclaim our focus on the things that truly matter to us is to stop caring about anything else.
Manson is a stoic individual, and it shows in his writing and guidance. Focusing solely on what you can control is a popular Stoic notion. When it comes to your actions, this is simple to grasp and use, but it can also be applied to more intangible elements of your life. Take, for example, your personal principles. I know it's difficult to put them into words, but if you try to define yourself in three adjectives, you'll have a decent understanding of which values are most important to you. Let's say you choose the terms honest, reliable, and well-known. Here's where Mason says something interesting: "Only choose values you can control." As we grow older, most of us give up some of our beliefs in order to pursue a career and earn money. While this is a normal part of life, it's critical that you don't let go of the steering wheel entirely. Values you don't have control over are terrible because they'll lead you to suffer unnecessarily. When it comes to the three we just discussed, honesty is completely under your control. No one else needs to know how honest you are since you are the only one who knows. You have some control over punctuality. You can compensate for most potential hurdles if you always depart with plenty of buffer time. Popularity, on the other hand, is completely beyond your control.
Manson also encourages us to reject the notion that you know everything there is to know is a terrific place. This is true for getting factual knowledge, such as using the scientific method to develop business hypotheses, but it is equally true for developing conceptual information. The second type involves knowledge about the relationships between diverse entities that is more implicit. Take, for example, your position in the social hierarchy at school. You'll be depressed a lot if you believe you're ugly. However, if you find that you get a lot of praise at school, that others call you charming, and that some people have a crush on you, this is evidence that your brain is deceiving you. You can dispel this limiting idea about yourself if you allow yourself to have a little uncertainty.
Manson finally gives us an unpleasant but necessary reminder: you will die one day. We're all doing it. We're all afraid, whether we confess it or not, as the deadline approaches. That is why many of us, like myself, desire to leave a legacy. Mark, on the other hand, believes that would jeopardize our limited time on this planet. We start seeking popularity, working too much, and focusing on the future the more we're determined to create a great body of work. What if we merely sought to be useful in the here and now? We could still help a lot of people, have fun, and thoroughly enjoy our days while we're here. Manson's philosophy is simple: focus on bringing joy to yourself, your loved ones, and the people you encounter in the present now, and let the legacy portion take care of itself.