Reading is my preferred way to acquire new information, ideas, and perspectives. I have an overly ambitious goal of reading 150 books before the year-end. A goal that I was glad I set. Though it's looking like I will fall well short of my aspirations -- probably hitting just over 100 -- I have definitely read more this year than I ever have.
Why keep this information to myself? I'm sure others might be interested in some of the material and what I'm learning. So Monday's I'll dedicate to sharing a book I'm reading, what I learned as it applies to my current situation, and why you might want to pick it up.
In traveling back from a long trip to Thailand, I had time to catch up on a number of books from my growing list. One that I hadn't heard of until I browsed my suggested reads on Overdrive was "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck". Yeah, get's your attention, right? I decided to move this to the top of my list and read it in a few hours on my return flight. And it came at the right time.
What am I reading now?
"The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck" by Mark Manson
What made me pick it up?
I've had a few conversations with friends about what I admire most in other dancers. A common them was the notion of freedom - not caring what other people thought and putting honest expression above all else. That's been the largest barrier for my own journey. So if this book had any insights on this, I was open to hearing them. And though a gentle nudge in the right direction is nice, sometimes I need a swift kick and cold water splashed in my face to wake up and get the message. This seemed like the approach I would get.
What are some points that spoke to me?
- Happiness and suffering aren't what I think.
I've often avoided pain because I thought life is usually better with less of it. I equated less suffering with more happiness. It seemed reasonable. However, as Manson points out, we all have problems. To live in self-denial of them doesn't allow us to do the thing that actually brings happiness -- solving our problems. Therefore happiness stems from action and not acceptance.
In my leadership journey, most days are full of problems. Often I view them as annoyances instead of opportunities. So I procrastinate and put things off, hoping that somehow they would disappear by the next day. Time to start rethinking my strategy.
- What to give a f*ck about
You only have so many to give so you might as well place them on values that are meaningful, positive, and under your control. So goals like popularity, approval, and status are terrible things on which to base your self-worth.
This chapter really hit me hard. In doing some self-reflection, I realized I placed a lot of importance on acceptance and likability -- things completely out of my control. So I will be working to cross these off my list and replace them with vulnerability and self-respect. Two things that I can put into action now and can take full responsibility for.
Who would benefit from this read?
Everyone, because I think the message is counter-cultural in a way that we as a super-connected, overly self-centered society should at least hear out. I would recommend this to people 1) open to a new perspective 2) willing to take the time to be brutally honest with oneself after reading 3) not easily offended by profanity. I don't swear often and there is a lot packed in here. I don't think it was overdone. Sometimes we need profanity to wake us up and pay attention.
If you do end up reading this or already have, feel free to share your own insights.