"Finding something important and meaningful in your life is perhaps the most productive use of your time and energy" pg. 18. Mark Manson isn't talking about surface level things here. He's talking about deep down soul level stuff that you stand for no matter the challenges along your life path. Each uniformed service has it's set of core values which members have engrained in them from the moment they put on their recruit boots. The US Navy values are Honor, Courage, and Commitment. These three values give voice to a lot of the complicated ideals service members hold before joining and which led to them signing on the dotted line. They link everyone to a common root so that even on the darkest mission days everyone knows what everyone around them stands for. If you haven't served in our nation's military, take my word for it that this is a powerful feeling and one that is available to you too. Identifying and cementing your values is one of the themes in Manson's The Subtle Art of not Giving a F*ck.
Identifying one's values requires dedicated self-reflection and questioning. "Honest self-questioning is difficult. It requires asking yourself simple questions that are uncomfortable to answer" pg 73. These aren't questions you'd ask at an office social gathering. They are meant to target the root of your being such as: How do I define my faith? What does freedom really mean to me? What am I willing to sacrifice in order to remain free? How do I want to be treated by those in my community and family? What is the one absolute that I cannot live happily without and I'll fight for every time? Take a moment and consider these. Do your answers come easily? If not, maybe mark time on your calendar for this up coming week to dedicate to seeking clarity.
"We are defined by what we choose to reject. And if we reject nothing (perhaps in fear of being rejected by something ourselves), we essentially have no identity at all" pg 165. Knowing what you're not is as important as knowing what you are, if not more so. Identifying the causes, beliefs, skills, people, etc. that you choose not to allow to affect your pursuit of those causes, beliefs, skills, people etc. that you value is crucial to your happiness. If you do not identify those aspects of the world to reject, and you allow yourself to attempt to stand for/deserve everything, then you risk joining the line of people labeled as Entitled. "Entitled people, because they feel as though they deserve to feel great all the time, avoid rejecting anything...and because they refuse to reject anything, they live a valueless, pleasure-driven, and self-absorbed life" pg 165. Until I read this book, I had not read a definition of "an entitled person" that resonated with me. This one does because it pinpoints such a person's core issue - they do not have a clear grip on their values, so they are not committed to anything and are therefore attempting to be committed to everything.
Identifying your values requires commitment. You have to be determined to standby them even when the huge, interconnected world of 24-hour media connectivity threatens to pull you away from you. "Commitment gives you freedom because you're no longer distracted by the unimportant and frivolous" pg. 182. All those superficial things other people have chosen to avoid rejecting are distracting them from what truly matters in life. "Commitment gives you freedom because it hones your attention and focus, directing them toward what is most efficient at making you healthy and happy" pg. 182. You are able to focus in on the real you, not the you society has dictated, and live true to yourself. "Commitment allows you to focus intently on a few highly important goals and achieve a greater degree of success than you otherwise would" pg. 182-183.
Yes! Commit to you. Your values. Your truths. Your goals! Maybe that next step of commitment for you is to partner with a Life & Leadership Coach to join your journey and help you better guide your steps to success. Life & Leadership Coaches are hugely valuable tools in our fast paced, distracting world where everything and everyone is vying for your attention at once. A coach creates a space for you to be heard above this noise so you can identify your values, commit to them, and prioritize your goals based on these values. I happen to be a Life & Leadership Coach and I would love to partner with you. Hop on over to New You Coaching LLC and schedule your free meet and greet today!
Please join the conversation on Mark Manson's NYTBS by commenting below, emailing me, or connecting on my social media. The next book we'll be digging into comes from a talented former colleague of mine, Andrew Steadman. Drew runs the blog The Military Leader. He took several of the insights presented digitally over the past 4+ years and gathered them into this easy to read leadership handbook. Many of the lessons he presents stem from the battle fields in the Middle East but can easily be applied to your office and personal setting. Grab a copy online and join in the discussion February 15th!