This is a comprehensive summary of the book Everything Is F*cked: A Book About Hope by Mark Manson. Covering the key ideas and proposing practical ways for achieving what’s mentioned in the text. Written by book fanatic and online librarian Ivaylo Durmonski. Supporting Members get full access.
The Book In Three Or More Sentences:
Everything is F*cked is an in-depth textbook about understanding your feelings so you can ultimately find freedom and a bit more joy in your life. Mark Manson gives us never-heard-before life tips that can upgrade your physical being so you can stop obsessing over quick wins. Along with the you-definitely-need-to-read advice, he presents us with a way to find meaning in this world of a never-ending stream of unnecessary information. Also, explains far better than the pope the whole religion thing and even how you can start your own cult.
The Core Idea:
You don’t need to read the book to know that the world is fucked. I mean, social media, Trump, and terrorism are enough proof. But you do need to read the book if you want to understand how you can make your presence in the current world a far better stay. In times where people are wondering what to hope for and how they can reduce the amount of pain they experience, the only way to upgrade your life is to live a better life. To anticipate problems, not to avoid them. Mr. Manson gives us a systematic way to handle our emotions and prevent us from doing stupid things that can eventually destroy the world around us.
- The only way we can make the world a better place is by being better ourselves.
- Pain is part of life. It’s something you can’t avoid. You can only numb it by using drugs.
- All of our problems are emotional problems. We’ll feel a lot better if we learn to handle our emotions.
7 Key Lessons from Everything is F*cked:
- Lesson #1: The Opposite Of Happiness Is Not Anger Or Sadness
- Lesson #2: You Have Two Brains, and They’re Really Bad at Talking to Each Other
- Lesson #3: Why Don’t We Do The Things We Know We Should Do?
- Lesson #4: There Is No Such Thing As Change Without Pain
- Lesson #5: The World Runs on One Thing: Feelings
- Lesson #6: Love People Without Expecting Anything in Return
- Lesson #7: Don’t Hope for Better. Just Be Better
Lesson #1: The Opposite Of Happiness Is Not Anger Or Sadness
The opposite of happiness is hopelessness. A place where the everything-is-fucked mindset is the default state. A state of mind where you don’t see any point of doing anything. Hopelessness often leads to all sorts of nasty shit: drinking vodka instead of water; making the McDonalds Happy Meal your all-day meal; running around with scissors and tied shoes.
When we lose hope, we surrender ourselves to the world and nothing matters for us. It’s depression and melancholy on steroids. A suicidal cocktail of feelings which doesn’t let you leave the local pub or delete your dealer’s phone number. You basically don’t care about anything when you’re experiencing hopelessness.
The way out?
Care about something. Something greater than yourself and your personal desires. If you don’t find any real meaning in your current day-to-day life and if you’re wrapped by depression, the best way out is to start valuing something.
This way you’ll slowly start gaining the control of your own life back and start striving for something better. And to speed things up, take part in a local community that has the same values as you do. The community will help you get up on your feet while the caring attitude towards something greater will empower you to push forward.
To build and maintain hope, we need three things: a sense of control, a belief in the value of something, and a community. “Control” means we feel as though we’re in control of our own life, that we can affect our fate. “Values” means we find something important enough to work toward, something better, that’s worth striving for. And “community” means we are part of a group that values the same things we do and is working toward achieving those things.” Mark Manson
Lesson #2: You Have Two Brains, and They’re Really Bad at Talking to Each Other
You might think that you have only one brain in your skull but there are actually two: The Feeling Brain and the Thinking Brain.
While the Thinking Brain represents your conscious thoughts, your ability to make logical decisions, and your ability to understand how things work. Your Feeling Brain represents your emotions, impulses, intuition, your constant desire for more food and more fun.
Each of your two brains has its strengths and weaknesses. For instance, the Thinking Brain will surely help with your algebra test but it won’t do you any good if you need to convince a girl to hang with you for the night. In contrast, the Feeling Brain will aid when you need to inspire others to take action but it will never say, “I need to stop playing Marios Bros.” The Feeling Brain is impulsive and inaccurate but it’s the real captain of our ship. Contrary to our understanding, the Thinking Brain is the one occupying the passenger seat hoping.
Of course, the only way to accomplish our goals is to promote the Thinking Brain and to disobey the orders coming from the Feeling Brain. But that’s not an easy task. The Feeling Brain is superior and it has more power over us.
The way to move forward is by asking how the Feeling Brain is feeling. Say something like “Hey, Feeling Brain, how do you feel about going to the gym today?” or “How do you feel about changing careers?” or “How do you feel about selling everything and moving to Tahiti?”
Or in other words, you need to bargain with your Feeling Brain and make it believe that it’s getting a good deal out of all this talking.
The Feeling Brain may not want to go to the gym today, but you might convince him to do 10 push-ups. Slowly over time, going to the gym won’t sound like a bad idea.
Lesson #3: Why Don’t We Do The Things We Know We Should Do?
In short, because we don’t feel like it.
All obstacles and things we consider bumps on our way towards success are emotional problems. Your inability to stay out of social media for just 5 minutes is not a discipline problem, it’s an emotional problem. You stay online for hours because there is an emotional gap between how you feel now and how you want to really feel. Probably you’re single but you want to be in a relationship. Or, you’re in a relationship but you want to be single and social media allows you to spice up your romantic desires by flirting with random people you don’t really know but you’re somehow certain that they are far better than your current partner.
Basically, all of your problems are emotional ones and if you really want to stop procrastinating, stop overworking yourself to the bone and quit the evil social media for good, you need to first face your inner conflicts. Come in terms with your emotions to figure out your worries.
It might seem easy but it’s actually not. Unraveling your emotional gaps isn’t like finding out that you’re out of sugar and you just order a whole pack. They are neither math equations with only one solution. It’s a continuous process of observation that requires a lot of time and a lot of self-knowledge.
But even if you figure out what’s wrong with you, emotionally, this doesn’t magically resolve the problem. As the author states in the book, “Emotional problems are irrational, meaning they cannot be reasoned with. And this brings us to even worse news: emotional problems can only have emotional solutions.”
Or in other words, in order to find inner peace and joy, you need to start suggesting new actions to your Feeling Brain that feel good and that will eventually lead to a brighter future.
Lesson #4: There Is No Such Thing As Change Without Pain
“There is no such thing as change without pain, no growth without discomfort. It’s why it is impossible to become someone new without first grieving the loss of who you used to be.” Mark Manson
We are designed to avoid pain at all costs. Our brain is gradually trying to lead us towards a pain-free life where everything is Gucci. But constantly avoiding pain won’t do you a favor in the long run.
In the era of technological advancements, we grow extremely weak both emotionally and physically compared to our ancestors. Nowadays, someone criticizing our new Instagram post will make us weep like a baby. On top of that, we feel a great inconvenience when we forget our phone charger or when the printer is not printing.
But the only way to move forward and get better is not by avoiding pain. To get better you should head straight towards the bumpy road, barefoot. For example: To wait in line without touching your phone and to eat greens instead of sugar-rich chocolate bars.
Ask yourself: How do athletes improve their results? By exercising harder than last year. That’s the only way you can move forward and advance.
The pursuit of endless happiness is a modern lie told by marketers. What you really need is to stop running towards ultimate joy and, instead, embrace the pain. Pain is part of us. Simply choose pain you’re somehow comfortable with. Choose to suffer for the right reasons.
“Human pain is like a game of Whac-A-Mole. Every time you knock down one kind of pain, another one pops up. And the faster you whack them, the faster they come back. The pain may get better, it may change shape, it may be less catastrophic each time. But it will always be there. It’s part of us. It is us.” Mark Manson
Lesson #5: The World Runs on One Thing: Feelings
People spend good money on things that make them feel good. That’s why pharmaceutical companies thrive no matter the current economic situation. Medications dull the pain > People feel good > Those same folks buy even more pills to experience less pain > Pharmacies make a lot of cash.
This also applies to all entertaining industries. The more you’re able to influence the emotions of people, the more money and power you’ll accumulate.
How you can capitalize on this idea?
According to the author, there are two ways to create value in the current marketplace by using the above:
- Innovations (upgrade pain): In short, replace one pain with another much more tolerable pain. For instance, wearing brackets replaced a lifetime of ugly smile for a couple of years of wearing metal inside your mouth.
- Diversions (avoid pain): Instead of studying for your exam you watch Netflix. Instead of working out you eat a crunchy chocolate crispy meal. Diversions products make people numb their pain. Even though we all need these things from time to time, it becomes problematic when these things begin to dominate our lives.
Unfortunately, instead of focusing on upgrading pain, most new companies concentrate on avoidance. But you can do the opposite thing and help people improve.
Lesson #6: Love People Without Expecting Anything in Return
Our desire for more material possessions and more wealth makes us believe that if we do A, we should undoubtedly get B. If we work more, we should get more money. If we buy our wife a burrito, we should definitely expect something else in return. But this way of thinking leaves us constantly expecting something in return for our actions. It makes us feel bad and disappointed when we don’t get what is rightfully ours – or at least we think is right for us.
Instead of relying on some imagined vision of hope, instead of constantly expecting more things from others, you might be better if you lower your standards – don’t expect anything in return for your actions.
See, every time you do something only to get something else in return, a spark of hope ignites inside of you. A desire to receive something based on what you did. However, this way of thinking is not sustainable if you really want to be happy.
To grow as an individual you must act unconditionally. Or as Mark Manson states in the book, “You must love someone without expecting anything in return; otherwise it’s not truly love. You must respect someone without expecting anything in return; otherwise you don’t truly respect him. You must speak honestly without expecting a pat on the back or a high-five or a gold star next to your name; otherwise you aren’t truly being honest.”
Lesson #7: Don’t Hope for Better. Just Be Better
We spent most of our lives waiting for someone to make our lives better. We change jobs, hoping that the new boss will be more generous. We watch the lottery, secretly hoping that we’ll win although we did not even participate in the game. We vote, hoping that the new president will raise our salary and mow our lawn. But that’s the only thing we do, we sit, and we hope. Doing nothing else.
Contrary to your understanding and spiritual beliefs, the scenarios mentioned above are unlikely to happen, to say the least. The only way we can have a better life is to live a better life. Yeah, I mean, it doesn’t sound like eye-opening advice, but we tend to forget this very often. As the author put it in the book, “Don’t hope for better. Just be better. Be something better. Be more compassionate, more resilient, more humble, more disciplined. Many people would also throw in there “Be more human,” but no—be a better human. And maybe, if we’re lucky, one day we’ll get to be more than human.”
And although you might think that this is out of your league kind of thing, it’s quite the opposite. We can all be better. We don’t need to donate millions of dollars to charity or invest in hospitals to be considered a better human being. We can simply be a better parent, a better partner, a better friend, a better citizen, day in, day out.
- Focus on nontransactional things: The most important things in life are nontransactional. Or in other words, things you can’t buy with money. You can’t buy happiness even though you can buy a huge house and a new car. What you need to focus on is emotional happiness: good relationships, meaningful work, healthy habits.
- What are you evolving towards? Man is a transition. Regardless of your past experiences and actions, your aim in life should be towards becoming better. In which areas of your life you should improve?
- Embrace pain: People often say that change is the only constant but pain also falls into this category. Avoiding pain won’t let you grow up and will additionally make you fragile and incapable of handling what life throws at you. So, telling yourself that everything’s okay won’t do you any good. Learn to adore pain because only pain will help you grow up and grow stronger.
- Understand what’s real freedom: Pleasure never lasts. We quickly become bored even when we’re surrounded by toys and gadgets. True freedom is about self-limitation. It’s not about getting everything, it’s about choosing what you’re willing to give up in your life. It might sound counterintuitive but that’s exactly what you should aim for. For example, the sacrifice of most of your possessions gives you the freedom to travel lightly. The willingness to ditch most of the online tools you use will help you focus and do more deep work.
- Improve yourself to improve the world: “The only logical way to improve the world is through improving ourselves,” there is no other way. We often think that making the world a better place requires sophisticated machinery, racks on racks of money and smart-ass scientists who do lab stuff. In reality, though, improving the world is quite easy. The trick is that we all need to be heavily involved. It’s basically making good long-term decisions that have a healthy impact on others, daily.
Commentary And My Personal Takeaway
The world is fucked and all superheroes known to man are nowhere to be found. Fortunately, we have Mark Manson and his book Everything Is F*cked: A Book About Hope. Without exaggeration, this book might save your life. Except hilarious, it’s also well researched and well written.
Even though the online trolls are already bombarding this book with negative reviews, it’s a must-read for all of us. All of us looking for meaning and hope in this crazy-ass life. It will teach you about values, religion, and maturity in a very different way. Along with that, it will help you get closer to your ultimate meaning in life.
My best take from the book is this: The world is a mess because of us. And if we want to make things better, it’s up to us to stand up and take action. To learn to act even when all hope is lost.
“The only true meaning in existence is the ability to form meaning. The only importance is the thing that decides importance.” Mark Manson
“Protecting people from problems or adversity doesn’t make them happier or more secure; it makes them more easily insecure.” Mark Manson
“To transcend the transactional realm of hope, one must act unconditionally. You must love someone without expecting anything in return; otherwise it’s not truly love.” Mark Manson