I read a lot about psychology, and the concept of owning your thoughts and responses as part of my belief in never-ending learning. Some of the books I read are good, others are important and some are difficult and challenging (and not in a good way). I was reluctant to pick this one up, afraid it was just another attempt to regurgitate the same old stuff, but with a trendy approach of significant swearing. I’m delighted to say this book sits in the category of great books I’ve read on the subject. Manson is a research nerd and this book is layered and layered with history, psychology, philosophy, from which he mixes it all together and produces new words of wisdom. It’s a no-bullshit approach to getting the best from your life, with a really clever look at how our minds work (we have 2 brains – the Thinking Brain and the Feeling Brain) and how to make them work for us.
My favourite quote: “Pain is the universal constant. No matter how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ your life gets, the pain will be there. And it will eventually feel manageable. The question then, the only question, is: Will you engage it? Will you engage your pain or avoid it? Will you choose fragility or antifragility? Everything you do, everything you are, everything you care about is a reflection of this choice; your relationships, your health, your results at work, your emotional stability, your integrity, your engagement with your community, the breadth of your life experiences, the depth of your self-confidence and courage, your ability to respect and trust and forgive and appreciate and listen and learn and have compassion.
If any of these things is fragile in your life, it is because you have chosen to avoid the pain. …………That while pain is inevitable, suffering is always a choice. That there is always a separation between what we experience and how we interpret that experience. That there’s always a gap between what our Feeling Brain feels and what our Thinking Brain thinks. And in that gap you can find the power to bear anything.”