Embrace the grind – let your actions define you

The one thing that you should do every day is to remind yourself where you are going. Remember the plans that you’ve made for yourself. Recite them every morning. Own that easiest and indispensable building block of living happy and fulfilled life – be present and know where you are actually going. Understand true motivation and purpose behind your actions.

Once you are truly on the path toward your goal, the only thing left is to start enjoying the journey. That’s where most people start to struggle. They stay so focused on the goal that they allow frustrations of not yet arriving to build up to the point of bursting. Why? Getting upset that you haven’t already arrived will not make you reach your goal faster. Even worse, in most situations, it’ll actually put you further away from your goal.

Building up understanding and appreciation of the journey toward goals is indispensable skill that we all need to develop. Love your struggles. Appreciate the grind that brings you closer to your goals. Rejoice that your destination is long and hard, allowing you to celebrate not once, but multiple times for each and every milestone you pass on your journey. Reject doubts that are trying to get a hold of you and arise above petty excuses and empty dreams of everything changing once you arrive at certain destination.

Stop focusing on the goal when that goal is just a mean to another end. You are not reaching an end point, but yet another marker on the longer path your drew for yourself. Focus on the happy fact that you are performing in the moment and that you are staying true to the decisions you’ve made. And stop shielding yourself from excitement. Allow your inner self to release cry of joy for every single victory no matter how small or trivial it may seem. You deserve to celebrate and be celebrated for every positive impact you make.

Only when you put journey ahead of destination will you be ready to conquer anything you set yourself toward. The happiness belongs to those who love each and every moment of what they are doing. And if you are on the path toward your goals, nothing is preventing you from joining them. Embrace the grind.

The chief cause of unhappiness and failure is trading what you want most for what you want right now - Zig Ziglar. Grind for the long term.

The chief cause of unhappiness and failure is trading what you want most for what you want right now – Zig Ziglar

Time for BeastMode – Creating yourself

It is paradoxical that in this era of abundance we are so easy to slack off. Here we are, in the moment of reading this, able to watch and consume almost anything on the great world wide web. And yet, in this sea of choice, so many of us choose celebrity gossip and news. Are humans truly that shallow? Or is it that we are shaped by our choices? That so many of us when confronted with buttons that say Easy and Hard, will always press Easy.

With each action you take, you train yourself. The same way someone trains themselves to get upset and mindlessly yell, other people train themselves to calm down and approach the problem with clarity. Ultimately, you are the one deciding your fate. Others can plead, force, push you around – but it is you who signs off on what will happen.

So, think before your act. Know that each repetitive action you take brings you closer to automation in your brain. Remember the person you want to be and act like it. Never will be easier to make the right choice than it is right now. Picking what you know is the wrong choice is not only bad for the present, it also will set you back in the future. Your brain remembers, so the next time you are confronted with the same choice it’ll lean you toward the same wrong action even harder.

Bring out the fire in yourself and fight to choose right the first time. Do not shy away or pacify yourself with busy thoughts. Understand that you can’t live in the past or the future. The only time you truly impact is the ever fleeting present. So, make it count. Fill your actions with desire and caring so that you can remember them fondly when present becomes past. Battle the best you can so that upcoming challenges become laughable once they materialize from the future as part of the present facing you.

The time to make breakthrough is now.

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. -George Bernard Shaw Focus

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. -George Bernard Shaw

United passenger dragged off the flight

Past few months have been interesting. But so far, looking at the reactions, the dragging of passenger off the United flight caused the biggest uproar of 2017. And how it could not be, when you look at the video it’s truly hard not to be in shock:
 
 
Lady yelling “This is wrong” gives the simplest and the best possible description of the video. Simply, looking at what’s going on you find it completely unbelievable. It’s like you are suddenly transported in some surreal theater in which this gruesome scene playing out.
 
That’s also where initial United’s response comes in. Basically, in PR they went with standard “we were just following procedures”. Passenger refused to cooperate, so we have dragged him off the flight, and the rest is history. Sorry, but that’s how things are. No mention on how or why they boarded all the passengers. No explaination on decision to off 4 paying customers to accommodate employees. Or how doc managed to get back onto the plane through security mumbling “I have to go home” and “Just kill me” (0:50):
 
 
Confirmation that this is United‘s corporate culture came with CEOs internal memo. Basically he doubled down on what happened by saying:
 
Like you, I was upset to see and hear about what happened last night aboard United Express Flight 3411 headed from Chicago to Louisville. While the facts and circumstances are still evolving, especially with respect to why this customer defied Chicago Aviation Security Officers the way he did, to give you a clearer picture of what transpired, I’ve included below a recap from the preliminary reports filed by our employees.
 
As you will read, this situation was unfortunately compounded when one of the passengers we politely asked to deplane refused and it became necessary to contact Chicago Aviation Security Officers to help. Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this. While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right.
 
I do, however, believe there are lessons we can learn from this experience, and we are taking a close look at the circumstances surrounding this incident. Treating our customers and each other with respect and dignity is at the core of who we are, and we must always remember this no matter how challenging the situation.
 
Now, I understand the need to pump up your team’s spirit. But being CEO of large company and paid $14 million a year you should be well aware of two things:
  1. That your statement to wide number of recipients will likely leak
  2. The outrage going on was not on whether you were correctly following self-imposed rules and procedures. The outrage was on whether what happened was fundamentally right or wrong
This video got so viral in part because other people found it easy to imagine themselves in similar situation. Many lived it. There were actually hundreds of thousands of people bumped off the airlines in last year alone. On that same flight 3 other persons were removed from the flight. Unfortunately, neither United nor their CEO understood this. For them, it’s business as usual – in 2015 over 550,000 passengers were denied boarding.
 
Finally, responses from United and their CEO siginificatly contributed to fallout. They showed that handling of situation is not incident, but how they operate. They basically poured gasoline on the fire. And then even more stories of United’s incompetence began to surface:
So, taking all this into consideration it’s easy to understand how this came to be one of the most discussed events of this year. For me it truly got crazy when it went international – and people in China and Vietnam started accusing United of racism… like this wouldn’t have happened to non-Asian. As always, facts at this point become completely irrelevant. What is relevant for United is just how easy it was to do things better.

How United Airlines should’ve reacted

The weirdest part of this whole incident for me is how many times common sense was ignored. The whole problem started not because the flight was oversold, but because someone decided to board 4 employees so they could service flight from Louisville the day after. So, obviously, first option would be – find another 4 people to service Louisville flight. Problem solved, right?
 
Now, let’s say that for some reason you can’t do that. You need exactly those 4 people on the flight… i.e. you can’t put 3. Well, follow federal regulations and offer cash instead of vouchers. Reason why United didn’t get enough volunteers was because offer was $800 in $50 vouchers. And you can’t use more than one $50 voucher when purchasing ticket. Others will expire.
 
Analyzing this situation from economic side shows how crazy it was. Because if you are now in position to pay $800 in cash per seat – tons of options open up. Say there aren’t ANY flights from Chicago ORD to Louisville. There is no other flight on any airline with free seats. Well, there is Midway airport – put your employees in cab and let them fly from that airport.
 
Or if even that is not an option – final solution. Say to your employees: here is $800 each, we’ll rent you a car and you just drive from Chicago to Louisville. Paradoxically they would’ve arrived to Louisville faster that way (4h30m). With security check and blood cleaning delay, United flight from Chicago to Louisville lasted more than 5 hours.

Outcome

It was just announced that passenger will sue United. So Dr. David Dao and his family are probably set for few million dollars. Here is excerpt from the news conference with his lawyers and daughter:
 
 
After going up and down for past few days, UAL stock is now on downtrend and will likely shed few billions from market cap. Also, United is set to lose a lot of ticket sales – this was mother of all PR blunders – and will be felt in Asia. What could’ve been $3,200 in cash, will probably cost United at least 100,000 times that. Oscar Munoz, CEO is supposedly losing $500,000 bonus over this. I get that it’s peanuts for him, but hopefully it’ll at least make him rethink policies.
 
The rest of us got to learn a lot about our rights in respect to denied boarding. As a bonus we also got tons of quality memes and jokes. Hopefully all this will be a lesson for everyone that eventually improves airline travel. In the meantime, let’s enjoy those memes and jokes, shall we.
I don't know about you brother. But that's the last damn time I fly United Airlines
United, let us re-accommodate you
United releases new app, drag and drop feature
 
Southwest - We beat the competition. Not you.
United - hockey masks on the flight
 
 

Fiverr for bloggers – impressions after spending money on 10+ various services

Fiverr is one of those services that increases the lure of blogging. Looking at Fiverr’s front page it seems like writing is all you need in order to start and maintain successful blog. You can hire $5 providers for everything else. Whether you need advertising, social media management, guest blog posts, traffic, likes, shares, comments – it’s all there. Just give the service providers $5 and that’s it – you’ll be taken care off.

Now, everyone heard that saying: some things are too good to be true. If guys behind Fiverr didn’t mind joke at their expense they could try adopting “Too good to be true” as motto. It would be both funny & great move. And that motto would definitely describe what they offer more accurately then current (“Freelance services for the lean entrepreneur”).

What complicates situation is that you there are definitely some gems on Fiverr. But it’s like 10% / 90% – out of 10 services you buy 2 will truly help you. Other 8 will fall somewhere between “this service produced negative net result” and “seller didn’t bother to deliver anything, cancel and ask for refund”.

The biggest surprise for me was that ratings system doesn’t matter much. You have 5 star, Top Rated sellers that will do things which fall under Black Hat SEO. Things like spamming links to your website with automatically registered accounts on major domains. Now, don’t get me wrong – this technique when properly executed can do wonders for your SEO ranking. Just when you are ordering you aren’t told that this is what you will get.

But, let’s start with more positive experiences I had – I’ll review several services: 2 good, 2 bad and then 1 ugly. If there is interest in this post I can even link directly to providers I review here. Let’s go.

Guest blog posting

I loved this gig because seller threw in bunch of tips as free extra. So on top publishing my post and linking back to the site, I got some advice. Blogging is one of the latest in series of crafts humans have been perfecting. The best way to learn craft is to work with someone who is already great at it.

So, this type of service is definitely something very valuable on Fiverr. You can explore who offers this service, look at the Alexa stats of their blogs and decide who you want to work with. Then for $5 you get to interact with someone who you can emulate.

The downsides of this approach are obvious – writing 1000 words is not easy and there is no instant result. Words per minute is one of those metrics that you need to focus on as a blogger. I would say that on average you are looking at typing 500 words per hour if you want to keep quality at decent level. Sure, you can type 80 WPM but good luck producing original content at that speed. So, it’s up to you to see whether investing 2 hours + paying $5 on top of that is good use of your time.

Yes, I've blogged about Kirby and I'm proud of it! I love little pink blob and his heroics!

Yes, I’ve blogged about Kirby and I’m proud of it! I love little pink blob and his heroics!

Facebook page followers building

This definitely doesn’t fall in White Hat SEO… but building following on Facebook Fan page in era of $0.8 per US Like is hard. So, if you can hire someone who builds following by manually linking to your fan page – it’s all good right? You save time by having someone else join various interest groups and post your link in relevant discussions. You then use that time to produce content. Win-win, right?

The obvious problem here is – how to hunt down provider who genuinely works? I.e. someone who doesn’t have 10000 bots that he is reusing over and over on different gigs? Well, unfortunately there is no silver bullet here. You need to hire over and over until you find someone reliable. Or go with recommendation of someone you trust.

Let’s buy traffic on Fiverr

To start of “bad” gigs – let’s go with the most attractive offering on Fiverr – traffic. Basically all traffic gigs on Fiverr are not what you expect. Most $5 gigs that you are buying are software generated – you get bunch HTTP requests through VPNs from different IPs. These show up in Google Analytics as hits. This can be part of SEO strategy, but as all Black Hat SEO practices it is frowned upon and not sustainable long term.

Then you have premium gigs which are either popunders or traffic from traffic exchanges. Both can be genuine human traffic, but it’s highly unlikely you’ll get much traction. Maybe if you are having truly “attractive” blog (wink ;)… but again you won’t have much luck with these traffic types either.

Now, you may say – for $5 I don’t expect much and if I can get 1000 people on my blog for that money it’s worth it. Well it would be worth it – if it didn’t impact your bounce rates.

First of all, *most* of traffic sellers on Fiverr simply lie. They tell you it’s human traffic exchange – you pay and then get 1000s of visits that last 10 seconds each. So, you got synthetic traffic. Not only you got synthetic traffic – but you now have terrible activity and bounce rate on your site measured by Google Analytics. Your content is now likely marked as terrible (considering activity time and bounce rates).

If you just want to pump up your Gstats and ego, Fiverr traffic buying gigs can be pretty useful

If you just want to pump up your GA stats and your ego, then yes, you’ll get something out of buying Fiverr traffic gig

SEO authority links

Oh, how happy I was when I found this gig. Top rated guy, Fiverr ambassador, 1000s of 5 stars – and he is willing to provide 10 links from his “high authority domains” to my site for only $5! Joy!

After paying and waiting several days you get professional looking report saying that you got 20 links instead. Disappointment creeps in when you see that like 18 links are nofollow… while provider claims in report that he “aims for 70% follow / 30% nofollow mix because thats _optimal_”. Even bigger disappointment is seeing that links are created by spam accounts on domains like ted.com. Not only you got low value links, but now you’ll forever be marked as spammer = will never have opportunity to do a TED talk. T_T

Again, I understand that there can be value in this if you are doing Black Hat SEO. Like, create conversion page for some product, aim to improve your ranking on Google for certain keywords, end up making boatload of $$$. So, sure you can do tons of stuff with these spam links. But if you are trying to establish online presence, build long term value and share knowledge – gigs like this are pretty much pointless for you. In the end you’ll have bunch of links to your site marking you as spammer.

Buy promoted Reddit post through Fiverr

I love Reddit. Look at my post history and it’s pretty much obvious – I spend tons of time here interacting on various topics. I talk on /r/bitcoin, read books and discuss on /r/BettermentBookClub, moderate /r/BloggersHelp – you name it. So, when I saw a gig that advertises Reddit promotion for $5 I simply had to try it. They describe the process as finding great, relevant subreddit, crafting post and then adding bunch of upvotes and relevant comments so that your content gets promoted.

Sounds terrific, right? All they want for you is URL, keywords and optionally script or text to post on Reddit. I went with it and provided:

  1. http://howtoaddict.com/review-summary-subtle-art-not-giving-fck-mark-manson/
  2. book review, book summary, mark manson
  3. You go with whatever script you deem best – and be sure NOT TO POST IN SUBREDDIT I mention in my review… go with some that is popular enough and with lots of people who are looking for book reviews / summaries.

Here comes the funny part – the result:

You go with whatever script you deem best – and be sure NOT TO POST IN SUBREDDIT I mention in my review… go with some that is popular enough and with lots of people who are looking for book reviews / summaries. from Reviews

Yeah, you don’t expect much for $5 but come on – you need to try in order to mess up that badly. Obviously I couldn’t be upset after witnessing result that was this funny. So I sent back something in line of “Come on guys, seriously?”. After a while response came back: “We sincerely regret for this situation, our associate made a mistake and he will be punished for this situation. We will redo the post and will get back to you in nearest time.” T_T for “punished associate”. “Redo” wasn’t as funny as original, but still funny:

Summary of "The subtle art of not giving a f***" by Mark Manson – How To Addict.Reading this book got me to finally produce detailed overview that I am using now as review of the book. from bookquotes

Kill it with downvotes. I mean what else would you expect when you post what they posted in /r/bookquotes. Sorry to mods over there – but please do keep it up for lolz.

Conclusion

The biggest problem of Fiverr is that you practically need to pay for 10 gigs to find 1 that is good. Descriptions of gigs and star ratings mean almost nothing. So if you are trying to establish quality blog, you pretty much have two choices:

  1. Completely avoid Fiverr
  2. Pay for premium services that someone you personally trust recommended

This way $40 out $50 you spend will go toward marking your site as spammy. $5 will go toward gig that is OK but doesn’t truly improve your blog traffic. And finally $5 will truly benefit you.

At that rate you are better off hiring someone to post links to your site on social media for $50. Or buy Fiverr gig for $50 that truly improves your blog.

Whatever you do – keep blogging, keep rocking and if you ever need a blogger friend – reach out. I’m not sending nudes or anything, but I’ll gladly send comment, like, share or hug. :*

Stop making excuses

Doesn’t it feel great when there are others you can blame for something that went wrong? When your effort and time ended in a loss and now you can say – it was because of certain someone or something? Do you feel positive vibe when trading your responsibilities for excuses and pinning the blame somewhere else?

You don’t? Well, you are right. After things go wrong, in the grand scheme of things, blame actually doesn’t matter that much. The only thing that matters is how you feel about your actions. Whether or not you have succumbed to the pressure and circumstances or you raised above them.

When you are part of a group effort don’t be surprised to witness that some people will actually start working against themselves. If they came to conclusion that your team will lose, they will actually start working toward that outcome, just to prove themselves right. It is truly paradoxical how some of us will let emotions rule; all the way to the ruin.

And when blame is not readily available in the present, even invoking distant past is an option. Some of those lucky enough to have supportive parents can even manage to say: yeah, my parents never told me how terrible world actually is. How everything is so much different from what I was taught and told. Somehow, parents not telling little Johnny that Santa Clause doesn’t actually exist and that he may run into difficulties in life is what keeps him from performing in the present.

Obviously, don’t join the choir of ridiculousness. Be the voice of reason. Stand behind your actions, not only when it easy, but when it’s hard. Especially then – be the foundation on which others can lean and focus on following your path regardless of noise around you. Do not take excuses even when they hand them to you on a silver platter. Stay directed toward the destiny you designed for yourself. You do not need excuses, because in the end – they won’t make you happy and, more importantly, won’t even matter.

The search for a scapegoat to take blame and find excuses is the easiest of all hunting expeditions. -Dwight D. Eisenhower

The search for a scapegoat is the easiest of all hunting expeditions. -Dwight D. Eisenhower

Review / Summary of “The subtle art of not giving a f***” by Mark Manson

Book reviews are part of the reason why I started this blog. Unfortunately, as I manage to pile myself with bunch of obligations I’m in constant dreaming mode. Mode where I dream about new things over and over never actually getting to DO things I dreamt about. Luckily, reading this book as part of Betterment Book Club on Reddit got me to finally produce detailed overview that I am using now as summary / review of the book.

Note that my writings on this blog regarding books will fall somewhere between reviews and summaries. Like, I will definitely give score at the end so that people can understand whether or not I recommend book. But also, I’ll try to be detailed enough so that you have summary of the book and biggest takeaways. So, let’s dive in right away – my view of “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck” by Mark Manson. Caveat – I’ll mix both positive and negative… takeaways and just plain interesting bits.

Happiness is a problem

If I was forced to choose only one takeaway from the book – this would be it. Ever since I’ve read the book I’m trying to remind myself every day that “Happiness is a problem”. That sentence is ingenious because it has multiple meanings. As Mark tells in the book: the act of trying to have positive experience is itself a negative experience. On the other hand the act of accepting negative experience is itself a positive experience. In that sense, chasing happiness will cause problems for you. The more you yearn happiness the bigger problem you’ll create.

Also, another meaning of that sentence targets relationship between solving problems and being happy. Like – find something meaningful, solve it, be happy. Of course, after some time happiness will vanish and you’ll need to look for another meaningful problem to solve to be happy. In that sense, people who don’t have meaningful problems in their they feel

The value of suffering

Hiroo Onoda was officer of Japanese army who at the end of 1944 was basically sent on a suicide mission. His orders called to do as much as damage as he could to overwhelming Allied forces and basically fight to the death without surrendering or taking his own life. Well, Onoda did exactly that – for next 30 YEARS. He hid in the jungles of Philippine island he was on, fighting on and on and on… ignoring pamphlets dropped from planes, pleads of locals and probably his own doubts.

I feel tempted to link to YouTube video or various online articles that tell the story… but instead I call you to purchase this book and read about Onoda there. The way Mark presented Hiroo and tied his legacy with “the value of suffering” is alone worth the price of admission. I’ve read lots of book that talk about necessity of suffering for goals you hold dear… but never was that idea better presented than in this book. Crystal clear. Bravo Mark Manson.

Hiroo Onoda surrendering to Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos in 1974, 29 years after WW II ended

Hiroo Onoda surrendering to Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos in 1974, 29 years after WW II ended

Inspiration -> Motivation -> Action misconception

Also a big takeaway from this book is that action should precede everything else. Like, most people harbor idea of being inspired, which in turn will get you motivated and ready to perform. Reality is that this almost never materializes. What Mark recommends is to turn those 3 into a loop that STARTS with action, like: Action -> Inspiration -> Motivation… Every time you will lead with Action, after finishing action you’ll be Inspired, and reflecting back on your action you’ll be Motivated. Then when it’s time to start again, you go with another Action feeding off Inspiration and Motivation of previous cycle. Pro-tip.

Commitment is a NO

Finally, one more misconception that gets shattered in this book is “Commitment is a YES”. What Mark points out is that Commitment requires way more NOs than YESes. If you are committed to something you basically only need to say 1 YES. From there, until you “complete” your commitment you’ll be saying NO over and over.

Title of this book is misleading

Author probably went with it because it sounds cool and is eye catching (let’s boost sales, right?). But then you start reading first chapter and essentially get that title of book should be – “The Subtle Art of Choosing What to Give a F*** About”. Subtitle would be in line of: after you choose what to give f*** about, you then need to go deep and invest 100% of you into it. Mark illustrates this by bragging about how he went all-in-badass with helping his mom recover money from scammer.

Do try

Author is obviously a try-hard. And that’s a good thing. However, for some reason he is ashamed of it. Even worse, the way he glorifies Bukowski and his tombstone inscription of “Don’t try” completely misses the mark. Message of Bukowski’s life is more in line with “Don’t try – do it”. Like when you ask someone to do something and he replies with “I’ll try”. Well – don’t try, actually do it.

Because if you look at history and how Bukowski succeeded – you’ll see that guy TRIED for 20+ years to get published. He wrote daily and went through rejection after rejection oblivious of failures until, in the end, he found one person that believed in him and was proficient enough in the publishing business.

Now, Bukowski is definitely person whose “talk the talk” is far removed from “walk the walk”. Thus, book which aims to help people improve should not mystify and feed cult of personality for sake of cool factor. Tell it as it is. Help people find the truth… don’t obscure it. Especially if person you are using as an example is as complex and confusing as Bukowski was:

Writing f*** a lot won’t make you cool

Start of the book is especially bad because you are torn between author’s message of “Don’t try” and his incessant *trying* to sound cool. F*** count in first chapter is over 9000. My theory is that author re-purposed one of his early writings as a filter chapter for a book. Like – let’s put worst chapter at start, so we filter out readers. Because as soon as chapter 2 stars, f*** count drops almost to zero and book quality picks up.

Drama and sounding cool returns at the end

After spending 7 chapters explaining that “you are not special”, “you’re wrong about everything”, “failure is the way forward”… in the last chapter author suddenly goes all soft and fluffy with “don’t try, you are already great”. Then he supports that with following bs paragraph:

You are already great because in the face of endless confusion and certain death, you continue to choose what to give a fuck about and what not to. This mere fact, this simple optioning for your own values in life, already makes you beautiful, already makes you successful, and already makes you loved. Even if you don’t realize it. Even if you’re sleeping in a gutter and starving.

Yeah, right. Kinda fits with whole narrative of the chapter in which he approaches, sits on the edge of The Cape of Good Hope and lives through zen-like “I’m reborn” experience. Of course, there is also someone to witness his brave, awe-inspiring act of sitting on the cliff:

As I step back over some rocks, back to the main path, I look up to see a man staring at me. I stop and make eye contact with him.
“Um. I saw you sitting on the edge over there,” he says.
His accent is Australian. The word “there” rolls out of his mouth awkwardly. He points toward Antarctica.
“Yeah. The view is gorgeous, isn’t it?” I am smiling. He is not. He has a serious look on his face.
I brush my hands off on my shorts, my body still buzzing from my surrender. There’s an awkward silence.
The Aussie stands for a moment, perplexed, still looking at me, clearly thinking of what to say next.
After a moment, he carefully pieces the words together.
“Is everything okay? How are you feeling?”
I pause for a moment, still smiling. “Alive. Very alive.”

Yeah… that’s our unfazed, uber-cool Mark Manson. And the best part is that he doesn’t give a f*** and isn’t even trying. /s

Psycho girlfriend

Mark dedicated few paragraphs in his book to bragging about dating “Harvard Law School graduate” who was desperately in love with him. I was curious enough to Google about “Mark Manson girlfriend” and it seems his ex is a prolific blogger. For past 10 minutes I’ve been trying to write few sentences and explain how relationship between Mark Manson and Erika “Awakening” ties into this book. But it seems I’m unable to do so… you’ll need to read whole “It’s Complicated: An Open Letter to My Ex Mark Manson” by Erika Awakening.

Mark Manson and Erika Awakening - they do make a lovely couple

Mark Manson and Erika Awakening – they do make a lovely couple

Summary

This is probably one of the best self-improvement books I’ve ever read. What makes it even better is the fact that Mark Manson is pretty young writer. I honestly can’t wait for him to get older and wiser… considering he is writing killer books now, when he is 50+ and becomes just a bit more mature, material he’ll spew out will probably be godly.

I promised a score, so here it is: 89/100.

In the end, if you are still on the fence, I HIGHLY recommend reading chapter breakdowns by TheZenMasterReturns. The guy just killed it with his breakdowns as part of Betterment Book Club, and he was instrumental in getting me to write my own detailed view. Here are the links to detailed analysis of “The subtle art of not giving a f***” by /u/TheZenMasterReturns:

Stick to your childhood dreams. Reach the stars.

Most people, when they remember their childhood dreams, often find them silly and far disconnected from life they are currently living. Of course, they can promptly provide you with a list of reasons why those dreams are unachievable. Those few who have actually tried following their childhood dreams will often say how hard it was even to start going, yet alone get anywhere near what they dreamed about. Most of us can accept a statement that life is not a dream as a solid fact. That sweet dreams are simply not compatible with harsh reality.

It’s understandable and it’s undeniably true – some dreams are just too wild. Some dreams are incompatible with people around you. And some dreams are actually silly. So, yeah – you probably won’t be traveling outside of solar system in next 10 years.

But what about dreams of having fulfilled and happy life? What about your dream job? What about wanting to be in shape and workout? What about hundreds of other small and happy dreams you had for yourself when you were younger and wanted to accomplish? Are those also unattainable? Or you are too distracted to even remember them any more?

Do not kid yourself that you are in a transition period. Everyone can slip and have a bad day or two. But there is no such thing as a year-long slip. You are who you are in the moment of reading this. Whether you are happy with who you currently are is topic for another discussion. But the good news is that you can be the person you decided to be. Simply remember your childhood dreams and be honest – if you went back in time what would be the reaction? Would you make yourself proud? Repulsed?

Think about it. And do not let your goals to slip your mind. Deep down in yourself you’ve always knew what you were destined to be. You are the only one that decides whether your dreams will become your reality. So, stop making excuses and start making your dreams happen.

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. -Oscar Wilde Dreams

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. -Oscar Wilde

Keep marching on your way toward success

When you are well on the path toward your goal, you may find yourself at crossroads. Looking back on everything accomplished so far you may start to feel as if it’s time to “rest”; stand still for a bit and do nothing – just for sake of it. Your brain doesn’t know better and whether you like it or not it will often try to protect you. You should recognize the helpful intention but you should also reject the notion and keep going toward your goals.

It is said that laziness is a habit of resting when you are not really tired. It’s easy to fall into this habit and allow it to overwhelm you over time. And then as you age you find yourself resting more and more often. Why? Because collective thought of humanity said it must be that way? Because it’s the way things are?

Nothing could be farther from the truth. Especially in this day and age it’s easy to find examples that prove otherwise. You can witness humans in their 50s who are more fit and focused than they were in their 20s. In days of record setting obesity in teens and young adults you have scores of 80 year olds who are completing marathons each year.

What is it that fuels this shocking contrast? Maybe it is that we do gain wisdom with age, so that we find trading couch and pizza eating in front of a screen for outdoor challenge a no-brainer. Maybe we do not know better when we are young so we allow easy excitement and shallow fun to consume our best years.

Or maybe it is regret. Maybe as we draw near to the moment when we will finally be gone from this world we start realizing how much time we have wasted. How many unnecessary stops and detours we have taken. How we should plan rests as meticulously as our goals… and join the two whenever possible.

The next time you feel like taking a break just for sake of it – don’t. Recognize that only you can stop yourself. And that there is simply no need to do that. Keep marching.

Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. -Winston Churchill

Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. -Winston Churchill

Creatures of habit and routines that rule you

When you take a closer look at living beings on Planet Earth you’ll invariably start to discover certain patterns in their behavior. You will see that every animal has habits it conforms to while it goes through it’s day. Of course, pretty soon you will see that majority of animals don’t even realize the patterns and routines that rule their lives. They stumble through their day without noticing all the shortcuts they could take and improvements they could make.

You will be shocked when you discover how many of these animals are healthy, full-grown humans. How many of them don’t even pay attention during most of the day. How they are trapped in their own negative thoughts or events that happened years ago. How they’ve developed a routine that makes them wade unhappily through every single waking hour of their lives, while clinging to status quo simply because they won’t think for a second, and start fighting for themselves.

That’s the most striking thing. Almost every human in the world today has the capacity to stand up and take the ownership of their life. True, some of us are more free than others. But I will argue that if you are reading this text on the screen of your electronic device, you can make a difference. The weight of burdens you carry does not matter – you can still make a stand for your and lives around you.

Decide what you want to do with your life and how you can help others. Do not let world, happenstance, negative thoughts or circumstances decide your habits. Design your routine for yourself. Consciously pick who and what you serve. And even if you want to surrender to your anxiety and fears – by all means – do it. But don’t do it unconsciously, while tricking yourself with other busy thoughts. Say it out loud and force yourself to acknowledge what you are doing.

Only when you make a conscious effort to realize your reality will you be on the path of building a routine which serves you as much as you serve it. Routine is a powerful master that can lead you all the way to the rags or the riches. You have the power to choose what your routine consists of. Choose wisely.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. -Aristotle

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. -Aristotle

Addition by subtraction. Remove unnecessary things from your life.

Do you ever imagine yourself living in the distant past? And how do you see that past? Glorious and exciting as movies and popular media try to present it? Or you imagine yourself vulnerable, ill equipped for time travel, struggling to accept amenities of simple life?

Even recent past can seem daunting. Just think about everything you would’ve missed if you go back only 30 years in time. All the choices you simply couldn’t make, innovations you would need to wait out…. lotteries you could win if only you remembered the numbers.

Not surprising, some people find past and less choice a positive turn of events. It is easy to forget how overwhelmed we are nowadays. How many choices we need to make each and every day, glued to our smart device that seems to keep ringing through the whole day, telling us of yet another thing we need to do.

And yet, there is no reason for it to be this way. We should rule choices rather than allowing choices to rule us. If choice is trivial, remove it from your thoughts. Do not allow anxiety to get a hold of you and push you into seeing every choice as a matter of life and death. Take a moment to step back and look at what you are doing. Realign yourself toward what is truly important.

Mathematics is probably the closest we humans have came to universal language of cosmos. And math can well show that subtracting a negative number will increase score in the same manner addition of positive number does. Use your ability to choose less. Remove everything meaningless from your life.

Nothing prevents you from enjoying each and every moment you live. But to get there you need to remove your busy thoughts, meaningless tasks, shallow ambitions and unhappy relationships. Remove things that hold you back, so that you can rediscover how long day actually is. And how there is time for everything you want. Subtract everything that is negative and – just go.

Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities. -Mark Twain

Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities. -Mark Twain