Mark Manson at book launch of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck at Booktopia, standing next to a lot of his books

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: Coping with Challenges for a Better Life

by Paul Osei-Owusu

Coping with challenges can be a difficult concept to grasp. It may seem like the idea of caring less about things goes against everything we’ve learned growing up. However, this approach may hold some truth.

Living in the real world means facing tough situations and coming to terms with the reality of life. Bad things happen and we can’t always escape them. The key is to confront these challenges head-on and learn how to let go to move on. This fundamental insight can help with coping with challenges.

A close friend noticed that I was struggling and recommended a book that she thought would help me care less and lead a better life. The book is called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. In it, Manson shares his personal philosophies and perspectives on life. While many of his insights are based on his own experiences, he also uses research to provide a unique perspective on living a fulfilling life.

Manson argues that the key to happiness is not trying to please everyone, but rather focusing on what truly matters to us. By letting go of the things that don’t, we can live a more meaningful life.

A man in grief leaning on a tree

Who is the man?

Mark Manson is a renowned American self-help author and blogger. In his book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, he presents a unique approach to happiness by encouraging readers to stop striving for constant positivity. And instead, become better at coping with challenges and managing adversity.

Manson argues that it’s essential to accept life’s challenges and not try to escape them. But rather learn how to handle them. The key to living a fulfilling life is to focus on things that align with our personal values. Instead of giving too much attention to things that don’t matter.

This book is not meant to be a solution to all life’s problems, but instead provides a more honest perspective on how to live life. It debunks the idea of greatness as an illusionary destination. It encourages readers to take control of their lives and figure out what is truly important to them.

The book teaches readers to embrace change, thus improving our ability for coping with challenges. It’s about taking a leap of faith, and trusting that even when things don’t go as planned, it’s still possible to be okay. In essence, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is a guide to help readers simplify their lives and prioritise what truly matters.

Coping with Challenges: The Art of Not Giving a F*ck:

Forgiving and Forgetting

Forgiving and forgetting can be difficult tasks, especially when the offence is big. However, holding on to anger and resentment only serves to cripple you and prevent the healing process from taking place.

As American politician Edward Wallace Hoch once said;

There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it hardly behoves any of us to talk about the rest of us

In line with the philosophies of Mark Manson, it’s important to remember that if you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude towards it.

Carrying the physical and mental stress of resentment only keeps you down and does not help in coping with challenges.

Stand-offs with no Peacemakers

Pride, stubbornness, confusion, resentment, and selfishness are all forms of stand-offs that Mark Manson tells us not to give a f*ck about.

These emotions only serve to widen the divide and harm relationships and friendships. In many cases, all that’s needed to resolve a stand-off is for one party to remain silent. However, the determination to prove one’s own rightness often leads to prolonged stand-offs.

Not giving a f*ck means not being afraid of losing face, eating humble pie, or becoming the peacemaker. When you prioritise your own happiness over others, it becomes easier to take the initiative and break the deadlock.

Woman running on beach with dog as a way of coping with challenges

Learning to Get Up Again Helps when it comes to Coping with Challenges

Bad things happen and it can be tempting to give up and feel like there’s no way out. However, it’s important to remember that bad things happen to everyone and it’s a part of life.

A child learning to walk falls many times but gets back up, and a boxer gets back up after being knocked down.

In both situations, it’s the act of getting back up that sets you apart. When we encounter trouble or heartache, it can be tempting to give in to the pain. But by acknowledging the pain, learning from it, and moving past it, we can ensure that we can be happy again.

Pain and trouble will always be a part of life, but learning to get back up and cope with challenges is what sets us apart. Similar to the butterfly effect, where small changes and actions can have a big impact on our lives.

By learning to get up and face challenges, we can create positive change and improve our ability to cope. Every action counts (marginal gains) and has the potential to create a ripple effect.

Enjoying Your Current Circumstances

We often find ourselves in circumstances we would rather not be in. But it’s important to make the most of it and not wait for it to change if you plan on coping with challenges.

Your happiness or pain is not based on your circumstances, but rather on your character and attitude. By not giving a f*ck, you can learn to be content in any situation and make the most of it, allowing you to flourish.

In a nutshell, life is a journey with ups and downs, but it’s important to embrace it. Focus on the present and enjoy the ride. And not let the highs and lows control you, instead make the most of the journey.

Display of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fck Book. The book that can help with coping with challenges,

Here are some nuggets of wisdom or pearls of insight from the book:

  • Conventional positivity advice can actually harm self-esteem by focusing on perceived shortcomings.
  • Giving too much importance to things can harm mental health, but giving fewer f*cks to superficial things can lead to a happier life.
  • Society’s obsession with consumerism and perfectionism creates the illusion that negative emotions are unacceptable.
  • Accepting negative emotions and not giving too much importance to them, short-circuits the vicious cycle of self-hate.
  • Wanting constant happiness can actually lead to more unhappiness while accepting negative experiences can lead to happiness.
  • Caring less about things can actually lead to more success.
  • We have limited f*cks to give in life, so it’s important to choose what to give them wisely.
  • Not giving a f*ck doesn’t mean being indifferent, it means being comfortable with being different.
  • Being a positive influence in someone’s life often means being a joke or embarrassment to others. It’s about finding what adversity you enjoy dealing with.
  • Consistently caring too much about trivial things may indicate a lack of fulfilment in life.Pain and loss are inevitable and resistance only increases suffering.
  • Suffering is biologically useful and inspires change.
  • Problems are a necessary part of life and happiness comes from solving them.
  • Emotions are suggestions, not commands, and success is determined by what pain one is willing to sustain.
  • Love involves giving a f*ck about your partner unconditionally, regardless of their f*cks.
  • Death is inevitable and we should focus on loving each other instead of grappling with trivialities.
  • Seize the day, take responsibility, and pursue dreams with less shame.
  • “Coping with Challenges” by accepting negative emotions, choosing what to give f*cks to wisely, embracing adversity, and pursuing dreams with less inhibition.

Final Note on Coping with Challenges

What is truly important to me are things that I am told I need to let go of. But how can I let go when they are important to me?

I guess I will continue to bear the physical and mental stress of resentment, preventing me from living a more meaningful life. As Stormzy says in his song ‘Lay Me Bare,

And f*ck letting go, I’ll keep the pain… F*ck that! I’m still not over this, f*ck that! No, I’m still not over this.

Personally, I will hold onto the pain, while others can keep the peace. Some things just cannot be let go.


As a follow-up article, my next blog post will be titled “Potential for Greatness or Screwed for Life: Embracing Change.”



  • UCB Word For Today, 18 APRIL 2022, Forgive and Forget, [Accessed ?? 2022]

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