Worthy Suffering

I may be a little late to the party, but I’ve been listening to Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK, and it’s brilliant. I make this grand statement because Manson presents a theory that gets to the root cause in explaining why so many of us are sad, or unhappy, or unsatisfied: we fail to accept that we will always have problems, and that these problems will always cause suffering.

 Even Warren Buffet has money problems. They’re just better money problems than I have. These problems still suck, and these problems still cause him suffering. 

 Even Margaret Atwood has writing problems. They’re just better writing problems than I have. These problems still suck, and these problems still cause her suffering. 

Even Megan Markle has parenting problems. They’re just better parenting problems than I have. These problems still suck, and these problems still cause her suffering. 

Even Chrissy Teigen has body image problems. They’re just better body image problems than I have. These problems still suck, and these problems still cause her suffering. 

Even Connor McDavid has hockey problems. They’re just better hockey problems than I have. These problems still suck, and these problems still cause him suffering. 

Even Jody Carrington has connection problems. They’re just better connection problems than I have. These problems still suck, and these problems still cause her suffering. 

Assuming Manson’s theory is correct, there’s a brilliantly simple approach to finding happiness. I love this approach because it’s raw and real. Unlike the shallow self-help strategies that promise to remove pain and suffering from our lives, Manson says we need to do the hard, messy, soulful, human work of defining our values, and then taking actions that align with those values. In consequence, problems and suffering will be created – BUT – (& here’s the kicker) because those problems and suffering arise from our values, facing the problems, and experiencing the suffering, will be meaningful and even, perhaps kind of enjoyable. 

Read that last sentence again. 

 

If you’re not living a life aligned with your values, then no amount or metric of success is going to make you happy. & I think that’s a pretty powerful idea to carry into the last month of this decade; to reflect on, to chew on, to mull over, to digest, and to be ready to put into practice. 

What’s truly worth suffering for in 2020?

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