"EVERYTHING You Think You Know About Yourself Is WRONG!" (How To Find Yourself) | Mark Manson | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled ""EVERYTHING You Think You Know About Yourself Is WRONG!" (How To Find Yourself) | Mark Manson".
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Ultimately, your concept of yourself is built out of the narratives that we create out of our experience. So all of the experiences that I've had or all the experiences that you have, your idea of Tom is just this vast collection of narratives that you've constructed around your own experiences. And it's layer on top of layer on top of layer on top of layer. And your feeling brain has a certain valence for those experiences. And so if you want to change how you feel about yourself, you have to start peeling back those layers of narrative and start getting down into the deepest, earliest ones, because those are often the most impactful and influential. Well, you can't leave us with just that. So how do we begin peeling back those layers, man? Hey everybody, welcome to Impact Theory. Today's guest is the New York Times best-selling author of the international smash hit, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. His book, which many consider to be the generation defining self-help book sold millions of copies, was translated into 25 languages and absolutely dominated the bestseller list for a staggering amount of time. It's also been at or near the top of Amazon's most read list continuously since the chart began and it remains one of the most downloaded audio books of all time on Audible. He's also written for or been cited by some of the most prestigious outlets on the planet, including Time, CNN, BBC News, Business Insider, Yahoo News, The Huffington Post, and many, many more. Additionally, he's published hundreds of blog articles, which are viewed by millions of people every month, making him one of the most visible and studied authors of our time. So please, help me in welcoming the founder and CEO of Infinity Squared Media, the author of the recent book Everything Is Fucked, a book about hope. Mark Manson. That's a nice intro. I should have you do my PR. I'd be happy to do it now. Look, the stats are staggering. So putting something like that together is pretty easy. I'm sure that kind of thing really took you by surprise, but what you've done with it in terms of really giving some self-help that is very direct and just sort of says it like it is, and a voice that I think people can relate to is really amazing. I'm super excited to have you here. Thanks. Go into some of these topics. Yeah, it's good to be here. Especially the new book, which I think is lovely. Everything is fucked. That's a nice title. Certainly catches your attention. The thing that I found most interesting is the talk about values and how much values begin to inform your identity and basically your values are essentially who you are.
Personal Growth And Resilience Techniques
What your values say about you (03:03)
Yes. Take us into that. What does it mean and then how much malleability is there in values? Sure. So my focus in my work has always been value focused. I feel like in the self-help and self-development world, there's so much focus on success. Getting ahead in your career, starting a business, making more money, having better relationships, but nobody's actually standing back and defining what success is. Is our definition of success valuable or not? I think especially in today's crazy internet world where we're exposed to everything, deciding what we're choosing to define as success is a more important question than ever before. That's kind of what got me started on the whole value question in general. When I started investigating it and doing a lot of research and writing about it, I started to discover that basically if you think of how you define a person in general, as humans, we tend to define people by their choices, by their actions, but then what motivates their actions? Well, often it's how they feel and then what motivates how they feel about certain things and it's their perception of what's valuable and what's not. That's how I drilled down to this idea that essentially what we are is just an aggregation of what we choose to value in this world. If I value money more than anything else, that will come to define me. Through my actions, my behaviors, what I invest my time and attention into. If I value family, that will define who I am because everything else will flow from that. The thing that I find interesting about values is people often act as if they are empirical truths like money is valuable or family is valuable and they don't realize that it was a choice, often handed to them by the way they grew up, their parents with their parents instilled in them. Stepping back and recognizing that all of this is a choice, that you can consciously decide what you're going to value. I'd love to hear your thoughts on how the process works of deciding to value something.
The one exercise to stop self loathing (05:21)
If somebody finds themselves in a place where they feel totally fucked up, they don't like who they are and they buy into this notion that, "Okay, a lot of this is being driven by values." How do they actually change that? It's funny because I'm not a huge fan of a lot of the typical self-help tropes, but the answer to this question, I think, is classic visualization, but it's not the visualization that we usually hear about. What I talk about in the book is that let's say I'm just really superficial and I value money more than anything else. I've got a fleet of yachts and it's all I care about. When something happens in my life and I realize that that's pretty superficial, I should grow up a bit and value something else. It's not as simple as just deciding. We've all had that experience in our lives where we wish we cared about something that we don't or vice versa. We wish we didn't care about something that we do and you can't just stop. The process that I describe in the book is that essentially before you can commit to a new value, you have to try them on. Going to a store and trying on a bunch of pairs of clothes. The way you try on a new value is you need to sit down and visualize. You can even write it out if you want, but it's like, "All I care about is my fleet of boats and I want to try on a new value, like charity or something." I have to sit down and start asking myself, "What would it mean for my life? What would it mean for me as a person?" If I didn't value those boats anymore. That's a very hard question. It messes us up because we realize that a lot of our relationships would probably fall apart, a lot of our business commitments would probably fall apart, a lot of our understanding of ourselves would be shaken up or questioned. It's a very difficult thing to ask. Most of the times when you see visualization taught in the self-help industry, they take a guy who wants a fleet of boats and they say, "Visualize a fleet of boats." Now go get it. It's like, "No, no, no. What you need to do is take a guy who wants a fleet of boats and say, "Visualize not wanting a fleet of boats. What would that say about you? Who would you be if that thing you always desired was not your desire anymore?"
Dealing with the loss of your passion (07:43)
That to me is really interesting. You went through a pretty cool moment like that where you said, "Ultimately, this all comes down to choices." For a long time in your life, you just always assumed you were going to be a musician. That was where you were headed. Then choosing to do the writing instead. The thing that really interested me in that was you said there was a period of mourning. Why is there a period of mourning? What's going on as we reshape ourselves? My background is a little bit Buddhist and I subscribe to the belief of no self essentially. Our conception of who we are is this arbitrary imagined thing in our brain. I think of our relationship with ourselves as being basically functioning the same way as our relationship with another human being. When you lose a part of yourself, I spent pretty much all my early life wanting to be a musician. That was my ambition. It was my hobby, my passion. That's how I spent all my time. I went to music school and I just got the shit kicked out of me. I was like, "Oh, this is not going to work anymore." The process of letting go of that value was very much similar to a breakup. It felt like losing a girlfriend or losing a friendship. This thing that gave all this meaning and emotion to my life was now unavailable to me. Whenever you lose something like that, you go through the same emotional process, which is that process of grieving or mourning because the same way a breakup leaves you grieving this beautiful thing in your life that no longer exists. When you lose an important value or an important part of yourself, you also grieve this beautiful thing that defines your life and no longer defines it. What I think is it's such a critical thing to understand how your identity begins to get tied up in all of this.
Why we must define what is good, & what is the purpose of life (09:36)
I think a lot of this hinges on what you talked about right off the top, which is how we define success. How do you help people in that so that they don't succumb to a trap? I know the example that you gave in one of your articles I thought was so hilarious, which is the being driven, being ambitious towards something without taking a moment to reflect in the morality of what you've decided to value. You said, "Take Hitler, who's one of the most driven people and has had this tremendous impact but was a psychopath." Walk us through, you go pretty into how we can reason our way to really having a base understanding of how you talk about Kant and morality at a really deep level. How do we begin to get to a base level of like, "Okay, now I'm going to stack my belief system, my values on top of this base?" Sure. Just a little background on the Hitler thing for our viewers. You think you need to clarify? I don't understand. I've wanted for so long, I had this idea with a friend, we got drunk and went paintballing. And I was... As you do. Yeah, where most of my ideas come from. I was talking to him, I was like, "You know what would be amazing? If you did like a Tim Ferriss style podcast with a fake Hitler and you're like, "So, Adolf, what's your morning routine? How do you rally the troops? How do you inspire millions of people?" It would just be this beautiful satire of focusing on that point of like, if you're not improving yourself for the right reasons, you could be damaging yourself. The why behind everything you try to improve or everything that you're driven towards is more important than actually how far you get. So for me, I see a very direct connection between self-improvement and ethics. I think if you dig deep enough into these questions of what growth means or what improvement it means, you inevitably run into what is better period, what is better or worse period, what makes a better life, what makes humanity better. And so it's... My goal has always been, I never want to be that guy on stage who's like, "This is what you should do. This is how you do it. Here's my five step method, blah, blah, blah." I want to be the guy who doesn't... I don't want to give answers. I want to give better questions. I want to help people sort through these questions in themselves because ultimately, these questions around values are so personal. There's no way for me to answer any individual without inserting my values onto them. And when you do that, you rob them of the ability to choose what matters for themselves, choose their own meaning in their life. So for me, it's just... It's all about just pointing people in the right direction, pointing out little hypocrisies or little paradoxes and trying to steer them towards finding their own answers. So give me some of those better questions and what should we be asking ourselves? Well, the classic thing is always write down a list of goals or whatever. I would go past that. I'd say write down your goals and then ask yourself, "Why do I want each of these goals? What would it mean in my life if I accomplished these goals?" Similarly, a common exercise is write down things you're grateful for. Ask yourself, "Why are you grateful for them? What would happen to your life if you didn't have them?" That's the crazy thing is that a lot of times the things we're most grateful for are actually the things that we're all fucked up about. If you had asked me when I had a series of very dysfunctional relationships, I was happy as a pig and shit in the middle of this. I would be like, "Oh, my girlfriend is the most beautiful thing." It's like, "No, dude. I was a mess." And so it's not just about questioning the bad things in our life. Why did this painful thing happen? You need to question the good things as well. Why does this feel good? Does it feel good for a good reason? Because there are a lot of things that feel good that are actually hurting you. That's one of the things that I really want to dive into is how do we begin to establish what we think is good, what does it mean to be better? You come to this from an ethical place. I know that you don't want to direct people too much and say, "Believe this or whatever," but what are some jumping off points? Is it to go read philosophy? You said that you approach life as a Buddhist. How can people begin to build that framework for themselves? Because what I'm really trying to get to is I feel like you have to have a base belief of some kind upon which things stack, but I don't think people think about that. Even just pointing them in a direction of how to start beginning defining that for themselves, I think would be super helpful. Also for me, I found that, I talk about Kant in the book. I was very inspired by Kant's moral philosophy. Basically, he has this principle called the formula of humanity, which is essentially, it's so simple, but it kind of explains everything. He says that always act in such a way that you never merely treat people a person as a means, but always as an end. What that means is don't use people. Anything you do, the whole point of what you do, the end goal of what you do should always be a person, whether it's yourself or somebody else. If you're kind of misleading somebody or just saying something to somebody just to get them to give you some money or make them like you a little bit, under that principle, that is not growth, that is not success. Any basic stuff like lying, cheating, stealing, all of those are examples of using people as a means to some other end, rather than treating the person as an end of themselves. When I came across that principle, it just, for me, it kind of blew me back on just how universal and powerful and useful it was. I spent a lot of time writing about dating and relationships and I was coming from a place where my philosophy around relationships was always like the thing that screws relationships up is treating people as a means, is being transactional in your relationships. When I found that concept, I was like, "Damn, this dude gets it." It is very interesting.
How the brain rationalizes suffering & fall in love (16:48)
If you had to, and look, you've urged people not to take you too seriously, and so I asked this question, knowing that, but if you had to define success in a sentence, how would you define it? For me, success means creating a life and creating a world with better problems.
Bestselling author Mark Manson's 2021 advice for Gen Zers (17:00)
That's interesting. That reminds me of quote of yours, I'm in a paraphrase, but if you want purpose in your life, the most important thing you need to do is answer honestly the following question, what is your favorite flavor of shit sandwich, which I thought was absolutely phenomenal. That is the absolute right question, but what do you mean by that? It's basically anything you pursue, like our mind plays this little trick on us, which is when we want something, our brain only shows us the good side of it. It doesn't show the sacrifice required for it. In everything, every experience you have in life, there is a shit sandwich part of it. There's everything has its associated problems, but our brain doesn't think about that when we're pursuing it. For me, one of the most powerful heuristics is to simply, instead of thinking about what benefits I want in my life, I try to think about what problems do I want in my life. Something as simple as people might see this show and they're like, "Damn, I wish I had a bad-ass show like that on YouTube." They don't understand there's a whole crew here, there's logistics, there's waivers, you got to get clear through lawyers and all sorts of crap. Those are the problems you chose. Those are the problems that you wanted to have. That's why it's a successful show. It's not just because it's like, "Oh, damn, having a show would be awesome." It's easy to just want something. Your whole concept around struggle I think is really powerful. You talk really interestingly about emotions in the book. You go into the Newton's emotional laws that were really interesting. Why is it so important, especially as it relates to willpower, to understand your emotions, to leverage them? At the same time, when you talk about emotions, there's an inherent sense of like, don't always trust your emotions. So untangle this emotional not-force. Emotions are messy for a lot of reasons. One of the key things that I talk about is I use this analogy of a car. If your consciousness is a car, you have two brains in it. You have a feeling brain and a thinking brain.
We have two types of brains (19:40)
Most people's assumption is that the thinking brain is the responsible one, driving, and the feeling brain is the bratty little kid and the passenger seat screaming and pointing at stuff out the window. It's the job of your thinking brain to keep two hands on the wheel and be like, "Shut up. Shut up. I'm trying to drive here." As a culture, we look at anybody who fails to control their impulses or their emotions as somebody who's just fundamentally failing to drive their own car. We see it as a failure of willpower and discipline. But the truth is, if you dig into all the psychological literature, the feeling brain is actually driving the car. He's a little bit crazy. I compare him to an angry boyfriend who refuses to stop for directions. He just wants to go wherever he wants to go. He's not going to listen to anything. The thinking brain is actually in the passenger seat. Our conscious mind is a passenger in our own behavior who has deluded himself into thinking that he's driving even though he's not. What I talk about is that the power of the thinking brain is that we get to draw the map. The thinking brain gets to decide what the lay of the land is. Even though we don't totally have control over what's pushing us forward, our actions, our emotions, all those things, we do have control over the meaning and the interpretation of those actions and emotions. What I talk about is that to develop a real sense of control in your life, to feel a sense of self-discipline, it's not about beating your emotions into submission because that just causes greater neuroticism and compulsion. The trick is that you got to get the two brains to talk to each other. It's hard because they speak different languages. Instead of just trying to get your feeling brain to shut up, you need to ask your feeling brain, "Well, how does this make you feel?" It's like, "How does waking up at 5 a.m. and going to the gym feel?" The feeling brain will be like, "Oh, that feels awful. Why would you ever do that?" The thinking brain needs to be like, "Okay, okay, that's okay. I hear you. But why does it feel bad? What about 6 a.m.? The feeling brain is like, "Well, that's not as bad." It would feel nice to work out, I guess. It becomes this negotiation between the two sides of yourself. There are a lot of mental tricks to coax to work with your emotions, to leverage your emotions, and get the feeling brain pointed in the direction you want it, rather than just fighting it for your entire life. Yeah, I love that. I want to go farther on that. Going back to the shit sandwich, the whole idea of what are the things that you actually want to struggle with? How do we think of willpower in terms of aligning with the things that are hard that you enjoy?
What you love probably feels easy (22:44)
I think that your own example of, "I thought I wanted to be a musician, but writing was the thing that made me lose track of time." I feel like that does a great job of addressing this. Yeah, I think there are things in our lives where we don't even, I think the things that we tend to be passionate about, we don't even realize we're passionate about them because they seem so normal and obvious to us. For instance, to use the music and the writing example, I remember when I was in music school, I was practicing, I played guitar. I was practicing like six hours a day, just beating my head against the wall, trying to learn all these different songs and stuff. I hated it. It was a grind and it felt like a job I was supposed to do. I remember actually right before I quit, there was a kid in the program who was like, "You know, he was an all-star." Everybody knew he was going to make it. It's funny, today I think he has two or three Grammys. I found him in the cafeteria and I sat down with him and I'm like, "Oh man, I don't know. Can you give me some advice, man?" He's like, "Yeah, sure, what's going on?" I'm like, "How do you practice this much? I'm practicing like six hours a day. How much are you practicing?" He's like, "Yeah, six hours a day." I'm like, "But yeah, but how do you stay motivated? How do you, what's your warm-up like? How do you schedule your practice time?" He's just looking at me like, "I'm speaking Klingon." He's like, "What are you talking about?" I just practice. I always practice. "Whoa, it didn't even compute for him." Then I was like, "Okay, I should probably quit." Jump ahead, like five, six years I had started blogging and I would go to these internet marketing conferences and stuff. People would start coming up to me and they're like, "Oh man, I love your blog." Your articles, they're like 10, 20 pages long. You're posting multiple each week and I'm like, "Yeah, thanks." It's incredible. What's your writing regimen like? How do you get yourself motivated? It starts asking me all these questions and I'm like, "Look at it." I'm like, "What are you talking about?" I just write. I just sit down and write. I don't even have to think about it. It kind of like wrung a bell in my head or like, "Wait a second. That's something. That's a signal that there's something special about this." For whatever reason, what seems to cause other people a lot of stress and pain comes easily to me. What causes me a lot of stress and pain came easily to the guy who did make it through music school. I realize that it's not about grit or willpower or just wanting it enough. A lot of it too is just we're all masochists a little bit. There's some pain in the world that we all, it gets us off a little bit and I found mine. Yeah, you just keep hitting that shit. You just keep going. I think people when you're so focused on pleasure and pleasant rewards, you don't actually get to that question. You don't actually get to like, "Yeah, what's that pain that actually kind of gets me going?" Because we all have it. That's the sweet spot when you can find it. That's really interesting. I love how much you sort of orbit around emotions and how people can really get in connection with what using my own language would be sort of the neurochemical reality of what you're doing. Yeah.
Newton's three laws of emotions (26:42)
Walk us through the three Newton's three laws of emotions. I found these to be really, really interesting speaking of gravitational pull. I've always found Newton's life super fascinating because not only was he one of the smartest guys ever, but when you read about his life, he was a total head case. Like had a very traumatic childhood, suffered a lot of abuse and just was very antisocial and emotionally dysfunctional his entire life. I thought it would be really cool to kind of use him and his life as an example to demonstrate a lot of these topics that we're talking about in terms of identity, growth, self-discipline, etc. I took his three laws of motion and I basically just created emotional analogs of those. But first one was for every action, there's an equal and opposite emotional reaction. This is basically just the idea that every emotion is simply a response to either pain or the absence of pain. When you remove pain from life, a positive emotion emerges in reaction and if you add pain into life, a negative emotion emerges. The second one, the second one if I remember right, was our self-discipline. Life worth equals the sum of our emotions over time. You might even say like identity equals our emotions over time. Basically, let's say something traumatic happens in your childhood. That pain early on in your life causes a lot of negative emotions. One of the things that I talk about is that anytime we feel an emotion, it compels us to do what I call equalizing. If I'm angry at you, I'm going to continue to be angry at you until either retaliate or you apologize. Something needs to happen to make that anger go away. There needs to be some equalization between us. If there is no equalization, that anger just kind of simmers and sits there forever. One of the reasons why childhood traumas are so debilitating for people is that essentially these extremely painful experiences occur to our feelings while our thinking brains are still undeveloped and don't know how to explain or create meaning around that pain. Let's say something really painful happened to me now. I'd be like, "Oh, well, he meant well and shit happens or whatever. But if I'm like a five-year-old, my explanation for it only gets as far as I'm a bad boy. I'm a bad person and the world hates me." That will stick because it doesn't get equalized and it'll stick for the rest of my life. The problem is that we forget that that painful thing happens. We just go through life with this feeling of inferiority and pain that lingers that we can't really put an explanation to or explain away. The process of therapy is basically unraveling a lot of our experiences until we get back to that original experience. With our adult thinking brain, we can now put meaning to that pain that is helpful to us, essentially. That's the second law, is that our identity is the sum of our emotions over time. The third law is our identity will continue to be our identity until new experience acts against us. To use the music school example, I was a musician. I would introduce myself as a musician. I got to second semester of music school and had my ass handed to me. Suddenly, I'm like, "Oh, shit. I'm not a musician anymore. Now I have to go around." It's like, "I'm not a musician. I don't know what I am." It required, there was some new contrary experience that was required to create that shift within me. This is why identity change, by definition, needs to be painful and uncomfortable. If it's not painful or uncomfortable, nothing's changing. Nothing's shifting. There might be a perception of a change, but ultimately, the only way our values change is that life knocks us on our ass a little bit and causes us to question everything we understand. Yeah. The whole process of losing an identity, mourning that, trying to find or create a new sense of self, I think, is one, very misunderstood and two really, really critical. You talk about people breaking away and "finding themselves in a moment of crisis." Walk us through that and I'd love to hear if that's what you were doing. You're so well traveled. 60+ countries, speak three languages. Was that a part of that redefinition for you? Were you seeking experience? How do you advise people who are... They don't know. I don't know if I'm a writer. I don't know if I'm a musician. I don't know what shit sandwich I enjoy. How do you help people through that process? I think there's an exploration phase because if you have this identity, you have this perception of who you are, and then suddenly that's yanked away from you, there's just this void there. I think there needs to be an exploration to basically find your shit sandwich, essentially. It takes time. It takes patience. I think probably the most helpful thing you can do is just be okay with not knowing.
Building Resilience (32:38)
Let's talk about building resilience. You said something early that I found really interesting, which is that you have a relationship with yourself the way that you have with somebody else, which is really fascinating. Tell me about that. What do you mean by that? And then the whole notion of, "Ah, I forget the exact words you used," but you said, "I approach this like a Buddhist. The self is an illusion. I don't think you said that." But it was like it made me feel that way. Yes, yes, yes. I said it's an arbitrary construct, which, yeah, illusion. I think our relationship with ourselves, essentially what self-esteem is or self-worth is, basically, let me back up for a second. The thinking brain thinks in terms of logic, cause and effect, correlations, things like that. The feeling brain thinks in terms of importance. It thinks in terms of values. Some things are very valuable and worthy of being pursued and other things are very, very not valuable and they should be avoided. The feeling brain kind of designates almost a value score for everything, every experience, every potential experience that we can consider. Being ourselves. So, our idea of what ourself is is just another idea. The same way living in New York is an idea. There is a certain value I place on that and that idea has logical connections to all sorts of things. Who I am as Mark Manson is simply a constructed idea in my mind and as a constructed idea, my feeling brain has either positive or negative valuations and feelings for Mark Manson. When people have a low valuation of themselves, when their feeling brain thinks that their identity is not valuable and have negative emotions about it, we call that low self-esteem. When our feeling brain has a high valuation of it and has positive feelings for it, we call that high self-esteem. A lot of therapeutic work for many decades was almost obsessed of just trying to get this relationship between your feeling brain and your conception of your identity to get the needle to move from negative to positive because there are all sorts of positive repercussions of that. But ultimately, your concept of yourself is built out of the narratives that we create out of our experience. All of the experiences that I've had or all the experiences that you have, your idea of Tom is just this vast collection of narratives that you've constructed around your own experiences. It's layer on top of layer, on top of layer, on top of layer and your feeling brain has a certain valence for those experiences. If you want to change how you feel about yourself, you have to start peeling back those layers of narrative and start getting down into the deepest, earliest ones because those are often the most impactful and influential. Well, you can't leave us with just that.
Therapeutic Practices (36:15)
So how do we begin peeling back those layers, man? Like I'm so with you on that. And the way that people construct their sense of self and beliefs and values and it's like this just crazy rat's nest of unidentified, unexplained beliefs, feelings, reactions, long-held wounds that have never been dealt with from your childhood. But that act of peeling that stuff back, I think is also an act of rewriting. So it's like, "Ah, I've identified this narrative. Now what narrative do I change it to?" And so going back to your driving analogy, you've got this thinking brain whose job is to basically rewrite the map of a past experience. How do you help people take control of that or do you have thoughts around how they can take control of that? Are there, like I would say I have a very strong thesis about whatever you rewrite. Like the guiding principle should not be a guiding principle of objective truth because I think people are atrocious at figuring out what is actually objectively true. So if you could, that would be amazing. But since you can't focus entirely on what's empowering. So using your language, what moves the needle to something positive? Do you have a guiding principle that you tell people to utilize when thinking about that rewriting process? I think, so everybody's a little bit different. And this is how I see therapy, meditation, journaling, like a lot of these therapeutic practices. I see them, they're all different versions of what you just said. It's like peeling that layer back, looking at it, being like, "Huh, maybe that's not true. What if this idea was true instead?" Like trying on new narratives and stories that define ourselves. So everybody kind of has their own practice that will resonate with them more. But it's in terms of how to actually go about it. I think the first step is to just decide that you don't actually know who you are. Again, it's the Buddhist thing. It's like the self-scent illusion. It's an arbitrary construct that you've spun up over the course of your life. And so it's just this thing. It's just this idea. It's a subjective idea. And it can be anything you want. Now that doesn't mean you necessarily want to become delusional and decide that you're Spider-Man and you're going to be president of Ukraine. You want to be tethered to reality, but also understand that you said you never know for certain who you actually are. You don't actually know what's true. You don't know if you're a good person or a bad person. You don't know if you're a musician or an author. I could label myself anything. So I think when we start to realize that how kind of lose that certainty about who we are or what we think we know about ourselves, that kind of like it starts to loosen the glue of that ball of yarn of stories that we've told ourselves. And once that glue is loosened, you can more easily pull threads out and start to see like, "Oh, well, yeah, that's definitely not the most helpful narrative that I could create for myself." So I guess that would be the second step. First step, lose the certainty. Second step is to actually pull on some of these threads and then question what if that wasn't true? What if music school didn't kick my ass? What if I just didn't try hard enough? Like, could be true. What would that mean about me? It's useful to sit down and think through those things because it's by doing that enough that you start to stumble upon epiphanies and big realizations about what you've been telling yourself your whole life. We have to understand that our identities are not logically constructed, they are emotionally constructed and they are emotionally constructed based on our feelings and they have an inertia to them to bring it back to the Newton's laws. Our identities have an inertia to them that is extremely difficult to stop or reverse. And you definitely can't do it just through logical arguments or punishing somebody. So how the hell do we put ourselves in those difficult situations? How do we seek them out? I think it's just a healthy habit to develop the desire to challenge yourself in every sense, physically, mentally, emotionally. One thing I definitely started trying to do, especially recently given the political climate that's been going on, is I seek out articles and news sources that I disagree with because I see the bubbles that everybody's in and the tribal lines that everybody's drawing. And I'm horrified by it, but I also want to try my best to not succumb to that myself. And so, yeah, I read sources, I read books of things I disagree with and it changes me. It really does. It softens me. Sometimes I'll finish the book and I'm like, well, I still don't agree with them, but damn, I respect them now. That's a smart person. And so that's one way I do it intellectually. But I think that carries over into all areas of life. If you go to the gym, it's like challenge yourself to do something new.
How To Seek Out Uncomfortable Situations (42:18)
Take a class that my wife just at the age of 37 decides she wanted to learn how to swim. And she's mortified of it. But I'm like, hell yeah, go do it. That's because it's not just about swimming. It's about just developing that consistent habit of stepping into your discomfort. I love that. Who was it that you quoted them? They said either to their daughter or niece. It was a famous writer, I think, that the whole idea of getting better at life is about surrounding yourself with people that disagree with you or don't think like you think. Yeah, I'm putting you on this spot here. But I thought that was such an interesting idea about getting yourself around this confirmation, seeing yourself around people that shake you out of your cognitive biases. I think that's really powerful. Man, I really think in this book you're on to some of the most fundamental and important things that a human being can do to change who they are. I think it is super powerful and way extraordinary.
Connect With Mark Manson
Where To Find Mark (43:16)
I have no doubt that the author hat, author identity is a good identity for you. Where can people find you? Where can they get the book? So, website is markmanson.net. There's hundreds of articles there. Encourage people to check it out. Book is available everywhere. Every story you can imagine, it should be there. So go check it out. I will be doing a speaking tour across US, Canada and hopefully Australia and UK. So you can learn about that. Go to my Facebook page, which is Facebook/markmansonnet or markmanson.net/book-tour. Nice.
Mark Manson'S Desired Legacy
The Impact Mark Wants To Have (44:00)
All right. What's the impact that you want to have on the world? I want to expand. I basically, I just want to challenge people to find new perspectives. I think if you look at what human progress is, it's ultimately rooted in the search and the discovery and the testing of new perspectives and taking the same experience and rewriting the meaning around it. And so I see my work very much as training brains to do that better. I like that a lot. My man, thank you so much for coming on the show. Absolutely extraordinary. Guys, if you haven't already, be sure to subscribe and until next time, my friends, be legendary. Take care. That was amazing. Thank you. Good shit. What's up, impactivists? If you want to acquire new skills or improve the ones you already have, then you're going to love this. As you know, a huge part of my life is about acquiring skills that have utility and exist in service of something greater than myself. And that is why I highly recommend Skillshare. Skillshare is an online learning community with over 25,000 classes across more skills than you can imagine. At Impact Theory, we view Skillshare for things like project management, marketing analytics, and even for our comic book. And today, Skillshare is giving the first 500 people who click on the link in the description two free months to their entire library of courses. That's 60 days access to literally thousands of courses on whatever topics you choose for no money at all. You just have to click on the link in the description below and join the classes that work for you. And you will be in very good company as one of 7 million people on Skillshare. And should you decide to stick around beyond your free trial, an annual subscription to Skillshare is less than $10 a month. That's nothing for a skill that can very well change your life. So go ahead and click on the link in the description below to start acquiring those skills today. And until next time, my friends, be legendary. Take care. I want to influence them. I want to get inside your skin, inside your brain, and alter how you look at the world. I think this change in your perspective and how you look and socialize and deal with people will radically alter so many aspects in your life.