One of the best selling self-help books of 2017 is a compelling manifesto against the very notion of self-help.
Mark Manson’s, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, has sold more than one million copies and has become something of a status symbol for the cynical, perpetually pissed off millennial.
Over the weekend, I attended a talk by Mark Manson held by The School of Life. As audience questions came to an end, the host turned to him and asked, “If people leave here remembering one thing, and employing one idea, what would that be?”
He paused for a moment, before articulating his philosophy in four simple words.
“We are always suffering.”
One of the most successful self-help writers of our time is not selling us happiness, or success, or prosperity.
He is selling us pain.
Manson explained during the course of the night that he finds the entire self-help genre “slightly delusional”.
There is no such thing as ‘achieving happiness’, he said, because the target is constantly moving.
If happiness looks like marriage and three children and owning a home, then rest-assured, once you achieve it, you’ll want something new.
“Whatever makes us happy today will no longer make us happy tomorrow, because our biology always needs something more,” Manson told the Australian Financial Review. “A fixation on happiness inevitably amounts to a never-ending pursuit of ‘something else’ – a new house, a new relationship, another child, another pay raise. And despite all of our sweat and strain, we end up feeling eerily similar to how we started: inadequate.”