Mark Manson is the author of the book, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck.” As one might expect, it contains a plethora of choice language and is pretty direct and to the point. And yet, it is just as equally beautiful and powerful.
He begins each chapter with a story. Some personal. Some not. The final chapter contains my favorite: He shares a touching story of the loss of his friend Josh. Manson was 19 years old when he lost him. Manson reveals that after a battle with depression, he came out the other end and eventually started bettering his life – likely in ways, in my opinion, that probably wouldn’t have happened had Josh not passed away.
A couple of years ago, I wrote about my own experience and hopes after I lost one of my childhood friends, Dave Kendricken. (In the three years or so of writing, this has been by far my most popular post….he was a popular guy, what can I say.) If you know me, you know I hate pain. I hate when there’s nothing but negatives and I’ll do whatever I can to change it. I wanted to find the positive meaning in the situation.
Someone called me “The Happy Guy” earlier that day….I was okay with it.
First let’s clarify – this is not about pretending that things are fine, or pretending we’re happy when we really need to cry. You can ask the couple sitting next to me on my flight home to verify that. (Thank God I had a window seat.) This also isn’t about pretending that the positive meaning makes the situation a good thing. It means that given we can’t control the situation and we’re allowed to take away the beautiful moments that might never have occurred otherwise.
When Dave died, I wasn’t happy about it. And today I’m not happy about. What I do feel is an abundance of gratitude that it brought me closer to my family (and some of his family) in a way that I hadn’t felt before.
So how do both these stories help you?
Saw this at an audition last week. Figured it was good luck 🙂
Manson also shares a dream after Josh passed away where the two of them were chatting. Mark recalls that telling Josh that he was sad that he died. To which Josh replies something along the lines of, “Why are you upset that I’m dead when you’re still so afraid to live?”
That, my friends, is a beautiful takeaway.
Imagine for a moment that every reader who read this part started to do things different in their life. Imagine that actors finally stop making money excuses and start finding ways to get seen for commercials and high profile theatre companies. Imagine if aspiring entrepreneurs took the leap and quit their day job (after the accumulated some savings, of course) and began creating the job they always wanted. Imagine that every single person who said, “I can’t do [that thing I really want to do] because of [time, money, etc.]” stated to do that very thing?
Most of us are too afraid to live. Most of us play the safe route. Many of us rob ourselves of we really want to do and what could make us most happy.
As Manson reminds us – we are all going to die. So if that’s the case…what do we really have to lose?
Let’s start living my friends.
Let’s go get ‘em.
Tony is a theatre and film actor living in Chicago, just up the street from Wrigley Field He loves helping others to become the happiest version of themselves so that they can live more fun, fulfilled lives on their terms. Contact him for a free one-on-one to see if he can help you with your own mindset and happiness in life at
PS – Rumor has it that he loves when you share his content with friends and family.