Mark Manson: Here are 40 Harsh Truths I Know at 40 But Wish I Knew at 20

April 3, 2024

Mark Manson, self-help blogger and author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck shares 40 harsh truths he knows at 40 but wish he knew at 20.

Truth #1: Your relationship with others is a direct reflection of your relationship with yourself.

Truth #2: The only way to feel better about yourself is to do things worth feeling good about.

Truth #3: The only failure is not trying. The only rejection is not asking. The only mistake is not risking anything. The only real failure is doing nothing.

Truth #4: No one is coming to save you.

Truth #5: Be the partner you want to have.

Truth #6: The most valuable things in life compound over a long period of time.

Truth #7: The most sexy and exciting things have diminishing returns.

Truth #8: If you aren't turning down things that excite you, then you're not focused enough on something that matters.

Truth #9: Taking responsibility for all your problems alleviates more suffering than it creates.

Truth #10: You give power to who you blame.

Truth #11: If you have to tell someone you're that, then you're not that.

A rich man doesn't feel the need to tell people he is rich, a smart man doesn't feel the need to tell people he is smart, a confident person doesn't have to show people that he is confident.

Truth #12: Motivation is not the cause of action but the effect.

Truth #13: Love is not the cause of commitment, but the effect.

Truth #14: Passion is not the cause of good work, but the effect.

Truth #15: The person you marry is the person you fight with. The house you buy is the house you repair. The dream job you take is the job you stress over. Everything comes with an inherent sacrifice to it.

Truth #16: A happy life is not a life without stress, it's a life of meaningful stress.

Truth #17: Don't view exercise as an exchange for something.

Truth #18: Trust people.

Truth #19: There is no such thing as life without problems.

Truth #20: Growth is rarely accompanied by joy and celebration.

Truth #21: F*ck being normal.

Truth #22: If you can't say no, then your yes's mean nothing.

Truth #23: Be careful how you define yourself. Define yourself as loosely and ambiguously as possible.

Truth #24: Don't make assumptions about people. Don't make assumptions about yourself.

Truth #25: No one thinks about you as much as you think about yourself.

Truth #26: Confidence does not come from an expectation of success, it comes from a comfort with failure.

Truth #27: Develop a willingness to be disliked.

Truth #28: You cannot be a life-changing presence to some people without also being a complete joke to others.

Truth #29: Floss and wear sunscreen everyday.

Truth #30: Extraordinary results come from repeating ordinary actions over an unordinary amount of time.

Truth #31: Choosing a partner is not about romance.

Truth #32: Don't overestimate romantic love.

Truth #33: Trust is the currency of all relationships.

Truth #34: If all of your relationships have the same problem, you're the problem.

Truth #35: There is no such thing as a bad emotion, only a bad response to an emotion.

Truth #36: There is no such thing as a bad emotion, only a bad response to an emotion.

Truth #37: You don't have to prove anything to anyone, including yourself.

Truth #38: Bad advice will be useless within a few weeks, but good advice will last you a lifetime.

Truth #39: Nothing meaningful in life is easy, nothing easy in life is meaningful.

Truth #40: It's never too late to change.

– Mark Manson, Author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: : A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

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