How Not Giving A F*ck Gives You Confidence

Entrepreneurship is tough and the challenges are varied. You need to work incredibly hard, be clever enough to solve tough problems, but more than anything, you need to have emotional stamina. You need to have grit.

Yet in all the blog posts and videos you read and listen to about startups, that aspect of your life is rarely addressed. Because of this, I highly recommend reading a decent dose of self-help or motivational books. They can be just as useful as the Lean Startup. I promise.

One that I’m reading right now is titled The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life. It was written by Mark Manson, a well-known American blogger. In it he discusses a modern phenomenon: that we all desire to be rich and famous and successful, but we are uncomfortable with the hard path it takes to get there. We want so bad to be the next Zuckerberg or Jobs to the point that we can’t even acknowledge our current status of, (dare I say it)… average.

He continues by stating how social media compounds this effect. We are in constant FOMO mode which doesn’t allow us to make the true sacrifices needed to accomplish our goals. This constant feeling of being inadequate, or of jealousy, not only makes you feel like crap, but prevents you from being real with who you are and where you’re at. And without this ability, true success is nearly impossible.

Manson’s solution is that we should face our issues directly. That we should take full ownership of them:

Being open with your insecurities paradoxically makes you more confident and charismatic around others. The pain of honest confrontation is what generates the greatest trust and respect in your relationships. Suffering through your fears and anxieties is what allows you to build courage and perseverance.

Seriously, I could keep going, but you get the point. Everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience. Any attempt to escape the negative, to avoid it or quash it or silence it, only backfires. The avoidance of suffering is a form of suffering. The avoidance of struggle is a struggle. The denial of failure is a failure. Hiding what is shameful is itself a form of shame.

Pain is an inextricable thread in the fabric of life, and to tear it out is not only impossible, but destructive: attempting to tear it out unravels everything else with it. To try to avoid pain is to give too many fucks about pain. In contrast, if you’re able to not give a fuck about the pain, you become unstoppable.

Creating a startup is tough. But if you can accept that the struggle is hard and long, it makes it more endurable, and therefore increases your chances of success. Yes, it’s a paradox, but an important one to understand if you are realize your full potential.

Read more of Manson’s work in his book, his blog and his twitter.