“Highway 61 Revisited”, Bob Dylan, from the album of the same name, (1965)
As previously noted, every now and again I come across an outstanding post on someone else’s blog or an article in an online publication or some beautifully articulated observation or, in this case, a little book that just nails the salient observations of life, at least MY observations anyway.
Just such a book is a new release by Mark Manson, read more about Mark here. I have edited an excerpt from his new book — replacing the F bomb with “damn” — to make it presentable for all audiences – but I warn you that the F bomb and other crudities figure large in this little gem.
Having spent the better part of the 70’s in the military, and a subsequent 10 years as a Correctional Officer, and understanding that there would be little or no communication in the military or the Corrections Service without the grammatical lubrication provided by the F bomb, and knowing some guys personally who would be quite literally speechless if they could not use the F bomb, I find its use in this book hilarious but … I have a somewhat twisted sense of humor and your mileage may vary. Was that a run-on sentence?
Look, this is how it works. You’re going to die one day. I know that’s kind of obvious, but I just wanted to remind you in case you’d forgotten. You and everyone you know are going to be dead soon.
And in the short amount of time between here and there, you have a limited amount of damns to give. Very few, in fact. And if you go around giving a damn about everything and everyone without conscious thought or choice—well, then you’re going to get damned.
There is a subtle art to not giving a damn. And though the concept may sound ridiculous and I may sound like an idiot, what I’m talking about here is essentially learning how to focus and prioritize your thoughts effectively—how to pick and choose what matters to you and what does not matter to you based on finely honed personal values.
This is incredibly difficult. It takes a lifetime of practice and discipline to achieve. And you will regularly fail. But it is perhaps the most worthy struggle one can undertake in one’s life. It is perhaps the only struggle in one’s life.
Because when you give too many damns—when you give a damn about everyone and everything—you will feel that you’re perpetually entitled to be comfortable and happy at all times, that everything is supposed to be just exactly the damned way you want it to be.
Manson, Mark. “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck“: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life (pp. 13-14). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
The humor of the F bomb aside, this is a concise summary of what goes wrong with our lives when we just give too many damns!
We choose the kind of life we have, the sorrows, difficulties and trials we encounter by the things we choose to give a damn about!