Key Takeways from the Subtle Art

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a #@$!

Subtlety #1: Prioritize What You Care About •Indifference is impossible. Being indifferent is a choice. •Therefore, you should decide what you give a @#$! about.

Subtlety #2: Accept Adversity As Empowering •To not accept adversity and use it to your advantage, means you must care about something more important than that annoying adversity: “not having enough” (i.e adversity is character/purpose building) •

Subtlety #3: You Are Always Making a Choice •Whether you realize it or not, you are always choosing what to give a @#$! about.

Law 1: Prioritize What You Should Give a #@$! About §Figure out what goals should you have and what goals you should actively not give a #@$! about.

Law 2: The Backwards Law §The pursuit of positive experience is itself a negative experience; §The acceptance of negative experience is itself a positive experience. §“Nothing good is easy, otherwise it is not good.” §“You can’t enjoy the highest mountain without knowing the lowest valley” §“Negativity is the path to positivity: tolerance of negative experience leads to positive experiences.” §“No pain, no gain.” §“Suffering is good, character building, valuable.” §“Failure and problem solving grows your brain cells.” §“Poverty propelled many boomers to wealth and success.” § “Challenges makes you stronger, more purposeful.” §“Easy/Pleasant/Convenient are bad aspirations.”

Law 3: Dukkha: Life Is Suffering •Suffering is helpful since it motivates you to find purpose. •Negative emotions have an inherent purpose: to help us. •Avoiding suffering is bad; that’s what heroine addicts do. •Beware of the Hedonic Treadmill: get a house, now I want a Y, get a Y, now I want a X, get an X, now I want a B etc. The carrot is always a few feet in front of you.

Law 4: Happiness Should Be From Solving Problems
•Everyone enjoys what feels good, be carefree, have amazing sex, look perfect, be well-respected, admired…. •The question is ‘what pain do you want in your life?’ •“Find out what the price of success is an pay it.”

Law 5: You Are Not Special •You have to work hard to become special, but you are not special by default. •Beware of entitlement: feeling as though you deserve to be happy without sacrificing to achieve it. •“Everyone can be extraordinary and achieve greatness” is flawed thinking. You can achieve greatness if you like but there will be many sacrifices and your passion will be formed through that sacrifice. •“Your actions don’t matter in the grand scheme of things for the most part. Most of your life is boring (thankfully) & that’s okay!”

Law 6: Forms of Entitlement

Grandiose Narcissism •I’m awesome and the rest of you all suck, so I deserve special treatment;

Victim Narcissism •I suck and the rest of you are all awesome, so I deserve special treatment.

The world should not be altered to serve you!

Law 7: Choose Good Values
•If you have the wrong goal then you are @#$!ed. •Good Values: Reality based, Socially Constructive, Controllable •Bad Values: Superstitious, Socially Destructive, Not Controllable

Honesty is a good value.

Law 8: Choose Your Suffering •If you choose a goal then your suffering will be a positive experience. •If someone chooses a goal for you then your suffering will be bad. •Responsibility does not equal your fault. Own your suffering. •Choose to be interested or indifferent to something you think sucks.

Law 9: Reality today will be hilarious looking back on §Reality is getting better, not in a straight line because suffering is good, but improvements over time happen. §People who stand on principal are dangerous, they can’t be wrong because of socially and logically constructed system. §

Law 10: Benefits of Uncertainty §Opens up space to learn and improve §Guards against extremist ideology §Opens up room for dialogue with people §

Law 11: The more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid it. §Cultural intolerance is a fear of losing your identity §Therefore, the less defined we define ourselves the better. §

Law 12: Become Less Certain of Yourself §Would it be wrong to create a better or a worse problem than my current problem for both myself and others? §

Law 13: Be comfortable saying “No” §Be open with your spouse §Be willing to say “No” to trust someone. §

Law 14: Death Focuses the Mind §You are going to die so make sure you pick the right goals, purpose and think about how to get there. §

Law 15: Births Focus the Mind §If you have a kid, then make sure you pick the right goals, purpose and think about how to get there. §

Law 16: The truth can be very frightening •Tragedies that don’t kill you, make you stronger. •While we don’t hope for the worst, we can truly unlock our potential in the ashes of failure, disappointment and sorrow. §

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