Reading time: 6 minutes

Recently, I have been reading quite some books and especially on the topic of self-improvement. There are two practical books that have benefitted me to improve my life circumstances and provided me with new insights.

Since it has been helpful for me, I thought this would help my readers as well.


Book #1: ‘The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck’ by Mark Manson

If I have to summarise this book in one sentence, it would be: “The no bullshit lifestyle to start living your life with meaningfulness, which is centred around being comfortable with being different by embracing negative thinking and not give a f*ck about everything, but still give a f*ck about something.”


“Life is messy, and we’re all a little screwed up in our own special snowflake kind of way.” — Mark Manson


It’s truly a self-help book for people who usually hate self-help.

Mark Manson believes that the only way to do the things that is meaningful to us is to not give a f*ck about anything else, and to only give a f*ck about what really matters to you. Here are three important lessons to be learned.


1. Choose Life Values You Can Control

Most of us give up some of our principles as we grow up trying to have a career and make money. Though that’s simply part of real life, it’s important you keep control of where you are heading. Values you don’t control are bad because they’ll be a constant source of pointless suffering in your life.

Let’s say that your value is punctuality. That’s a value you can have a complete control over. You leave with enough spare time, so you can compensate for some unforeseen obstacles. But if your value is something like popularity, it’s a value totally out of your grasp. Surely, you can be nice and friendly to everyone, but you can’t control how they will think about you.

So, rethink your values, on which you can have control over.


“This, in a nutshell, is what self-improvement is really about: Prioritizing better values, choosing better things to give a fuck about. Because when you give better fucks, you get better problems. And when you get better problems, you get a better life.” — Mark Manson


2. Uncertainty Promotes Growth

Accepting the idea that you know nothing is a great base to start learning from. This is true for discovering factual knowledge, such as using the scientific method to build a business hypothesis, or any kind of hypothesis, helps arrive at better conclusions and at the same time gain conceptual knowledge.

If you permit yourself to have a little uncertainty, you can then disprove this restrictive belief you hold about yourself.


“Choose how you are willing to suffer. Because that’s the hard question that matters.” — Mark Manson


3. Stop Your Obsession With Leaving A Legacy

The more you focus on building a great legacy, the more you start chasing fame and focussing on the future. Just try to be useful in the present. You could still help plenty of people, enjoy your days and be here.

Find ways to bring yourself, your loved ones and the people you meet joy in the now and let the legacy part take care of itself.


“Be careful when choosing legacy over happiness; ‘forever’ seldom lives up to its definition.” — Colin Wright


Book#2: ‘The 5 Second Rule’ by Mel Robbins

To summarise this book in one sentence: “The 5 Second Rule is a tool, a form of metacognition that beats every trick your brain plays fear on you to cause hesitation, overwhelm, procrastination, and overthinking; to allow you to take action, live happier and reach your goals.”

When Mel Robbins found herself in financial trouble, she drank too much and lost grasp on her duties as a mom and wife. One day, she noticed a commercial on TV that showed a rocket launch, counting down from five. She thought it was stupid, but the next morning she decided to launch herself out of bed, just like a rocket, and that changed her life completely.


“If you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill the idea.” — Mel Robbins


Here are three reasons why the 5-second countdown changed her life completely and can also do the same for you.


1. It Builds Up Your Everyday Courage

When you read biographies of historical figures or heroes, you tend to see people of remarkable courage and bravery. That’s not the case, as they were all just as shy, afraid and anxious as you and me. What made them stand out throughout their life is that they made small courageous choices, which added up and are now remembered for what they did.

From one small act of courage, much more courage will follow with each day, by counting down from five and when it hits one, you GO! One day, you can look back on your courageous life with pride.


“You were born not to be just fine.” — Mel Robbins


2. You Stop Waiting For The Right Time

We all want to change our lives one way or the other and we spend most of the time waiting for that change to magically happen. “I’m waiting for the right moment” is what we tell ourselves. And somewhere deep down, we know change won’t happen because it’s new, therefore it’s scary and it always comes with uncertainty.

Whatever you want that you don’t have always involves doing something new, scary and uncertain, which makes postponing or waiting even a day longer nothing but an excuse and a waste of time. Even small actions, like setting a reminder on your phone or start searching on Google, it’s still an act and that’s what matters.


“The time is now. Stop hitting the snooze button on your life.” — Mel Robbins


3. Your Feelings Are Just Suggestions

In this book, Mel referred to world-renowned neuroscientist Antonio Damasio‘s work In a book called Descartes’ Error, where the result of his research suggests as much as 95% of our decisions are ultimately decided by feelings, not facts.

Therefore, the correct order of event is you feel, then act, and isn’t you think, then act. Accordingly, the reasons why you don’t act at all is that you “don’t feel like it”. It is advised that feelings are just suggestions, rather than a fact, which allows the possibility to override your feelings and push towards your goals.

This is called a psychological intervention on a small personal scale. What you’re doing is changing your behaviour to impact how you feel, rather than how you think. Choose good behaviour and good feelings will follow.


“When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.” — Abraham Lincon


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  • Have you read these two books?
  • What other important lessons do you think I should include from the books?
  • Do you have any other recommendable practical books?


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