#65: Next Level Adulting with Mark Manson

#65: Next Level Adulting with Mark Manson

#65: Next Level Adulting with Mark Manson

It’s about time you stepped up your adulting! Did you know that only 13% of adults actually think and behave like “adults” ? Today on the show we are chatting with Mark Manson, a best-selling author, speaker, podcaster and blogger. His most recent book is Everything is F*cked: A Book About Hope debuted at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list.

Mark is most known

for writing The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, which came out in 2016 and has become a massive global bestseller with over 8 million copies sold worldwide.

In this episode, we discuss the downfalls of hope and why we’ll never be satisfied unless we face Mark’s uncomfortable truth of life head on. And Hala also digs into his guidance for better adulting. For example, gaining more self-control by better understanding the relationship between our thinking and feeling brains, and enhancing our growth mindset with the concept of anti-fragility – which welcomes pain as a means to gain strength and resilience.

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Check out our website to meet the team, view show notes and transcripts: www.youngandprofiting.com

#65: Next Level Adulting with Mark Manson

Hala Taha:

[00:00:00] You're listening to YAP. Young and profiting podcast, a place where you can listen, learn, and profit. Welcome to the show. I'm your host Hala Taha and on young and profiting podcast, we investigate a new topic each week and interview some of the brightest minds in the world. My goal is to turn their wisdom into actionable advice that you can use in your everyday life.
No matter your age, profession, or industry. There's no fluff on this podcast and that's on purpose. I'm here to uncover value from my guests by doing the proper research and asking the right questions. If you're new to the show, we've chatted with the likes of ex FBI agents, negotiation, coaches, world famous cartoonist self-made billionaires CEOs and bestselling authors.
Our subject matter ranges from enhancing productivity. How to gain influence the art of side hustles and more, if you're smart and like to continually improve yourself, hit the subscribe button because you'll love it

[00:01:00] here at young and profiting podcast today on the show we're chatting with Mark Manson, a bestselling author, speaker, podcaster, and blogger, his most recent book.
Everything is a book about hope debuted at number one on the New York times bestseller list. Mark is most known for writing the subtle art of not giving a counter-intuitive approach to living a good life, which came out in 2016 and has become a massive global bestseller with over 8 million copies sold worldwide.
In this episode, we discuss the downfalls of hope and why we'll never be satisfied unless we face Mark's uncomfortable truth of life head-on. We also dig into his guidance for better adulting. For example, gaining more self control by better understanding the relationship between our thinking and feeling brains and enhancing our growth mindset with the concept of anti-fragility, which welcomes pain as a mean to gain strength
and resilience.

[00:02:00] Hey everyone. Welcome to young and profiting podcast. I am here with author, Mark Manson. Welcome to the show, Mark.
Mark Manson: It's good to be here. Thanks for having me.
Hala Taha: No problem. We're very excited to have you on. So you're from New York, you're a fellow new Yorker like myself. Are you currently bunker down in New York or did you get to escape?
Mark Manson: No, I'm definitely quarantine here.
Hala Taha: Okay. Yeah. I ended up going to New Jersey. My whole family got Corona virus. I had coronavirus, I survived. So it was, it was terrible. It really was, but I'm happy to be in New Jersey where I can at least go inside and get fresh air. So I feel sorry for you cause going outside in New York is the last thing anybody wants to do.
Mark Manson: It's not pleasant. It's I usually go out for a walk every couple of days, but you start walking around and it's it smells like garbage and there's like crap all over the sidewalk. And you're like why am I doing

[00:03:00] this?
Hala Taha: Yeah, I can't wait until things get back to normal. I probably really impacted you because you do a lot of speaking.
And how has it impacted you so far?
Mark Manson: I, yeah, I had a very large Europe trip canceled. I had, I think, five or six speaking engagements over in Europe and April and may and every single one of them got canceled or postponed, on the one headed it's been nice to be home.
Hala Taha: Yeah.
Mark Manson: I haven't really been home in a couple of years extended period of time.
And every year I'm always telling my wife, I'm like, this is the year I'm staying home. And it turns out 2020 actually is the year I'm staying home. So it's been a little, there's a little bit of a silver lining there, but. That aspect of my career has definitely been disrupted.
Hala Taha: That sounds very helpful. Considering a, you wrote a book about not having hope. So just to introduce yourself to my listeners, you're one of the most popular authors of our generation. You have a book that has become one of the staples of our time. It's called the subtle art of not giving many of our listeners. You've either read

[00:04:00] it, listen to it.
Or you've seen it walking by at the airport and it's been translated in over 50 million languages. It sold over 8 million copies. And Mark, you also have a blog site, markmanson.net. It attracts millions of readers each month. And so you really were the author of this like cultural phenomenon and you wrote a new book.
It's called everything is it's another hit. And that's what I'd like to spend a majority of our time on. There's so much information in that book. There's so many takeaways to unpack. I definitely want to have as much time to get through it as possible. But first for my guests who don't know you, I would like to get
some color about your background. I've read some of your blogs on career advice and you note that you're living out your dream job currently. And I say that was like air quotes, because I know there's no such thing as a hundred percent perfect job. And we've been focusing a lot about careers on our podcast, because a lot of people are in transition mode with the coronavirus and things are changing for people.
So how did you end up becoming a

[00:05:00] blogger and an author? Was that something you always wanted to do or did that sort of fall into your lap?
Mark Manson: It was an accident. See, I graduated from college. In the last crisis we had, which was the financial crisis in 2008. And there was like zero job market.
And I bounced around a few odd jobs. I lived on a friend's couch for awhile, and I started doing freelance web design. And around the same time I read Tim Ferriss's four hour workweek, which talked about building online businesses and automating them. And how you can work four hours a week and go live and play in Argentina or whatever.
I was like, hell yeah, I'm in. That sounds perfect. And so I spent the next couple of years trying to actually build e-commerce sites and like affiliate marketing sites. And it turned out that I was bad at it. I'm not a natural salesman or marketer, but the funny thing was at the time.

[00:06:00] Blogs were all the rage back then. And I started blogging in 2008. And so if you wanted people to come to your website, if you want it to rank on Google, if you wanted, there wasn't much sharing on social media back then it was, you had to be blogging. You had to be posting articles and coming up with stuff.
And so that's actually how I ended up blogging originally. It was just to promote these crappy affiliate sites I had and it turned out I was much better at blogging than I was e-commerce and by 2011, 2012, it was blogging was all I was doing.
Hala Taha: Yeah. You are such a good writer. So many people like really like your writing style, because it's so different.
It's like a breath of fresh air. It's like a little witty and cheeky. So props to you. I actually had a website as well. I had an entertainment news website from like 2010 to 2013. And I think that was like the height of blogging, but I couldn't monetize it. And shut that down. And your blog is one of the only blogs.
I think that really has been able to

[00:07:00] monetize that you've got like a premium subscription. What would you tell somebody today in 2020 when it comes to blogging? I know you also have a podcast which is like the audio version of a blog, in my opinion. So would you recommend like going and starting a blog or a podcast or do you think those things are saturated now?
Mark Manson: I definitely think blogging is at a tough spot. I. What happened with blogging is just that all of the smaller and medium-sized websites, they either they couldn't monetize anymore. Or they got eaten up by larger networks and large websites. So people went to Huffington posts or write for Huffington post or business insider or whatever.
So it, it's a tough spot to start. And I don't want to discourage anybody from blogging, but if you're looking to build a content business, blogging is probably one of the worst options right now.
Hala Taha: I totally agree.
Mark Manson: If I was starting today, I would start a podcast or a YouTube channel. Those are the spaces that are still growing very quickly.
Those are the spaces where there's still a

[00:08:00] lot of opportunity. Like the big media companies haven't totally figured out what works or how to do it. And so those are always going to be the spaces where young hustlers have an advantage.
Hala Taha: I totally agree. And I'll be more frank with my listeners.
Cause I have a more personal relationship with them. I would totally avoid blogging if you don't blog yet, because unless you're Mark Manson, who was able from back then when it was like at its peak to get all these subscribers and things, it's really hard. And I would suggest working on something like he mentioned like podcasts or YouTube instead.
Okay. We have limited time. And like I mentioned, your new book, everything has so much content. And I definitely want to get into some of the key takeaways that I've found just to summarize in my opinion, at a super high level, what this book is about. It's really about becoming an adult and not just any adult, but the best adult that you can be.
And some people think that like when you turn 18, you automatically become an adult, but that's not really the case. 13% of adults

[00:09:00] actually behave and think like adults, according to some studies, we'll get into that later. I just want to say that I read that book. It was great. I felt like I was getting a philosophy lesson with a modern twist and I really learned about philosophers.
I didn't really know much about Nietzsche and con and Play-Doh and so I wanted to say thank you for writing something that's like easy to understand for somebody who's not really into philosophy. I want to go back to when you actually started first writing this book. So it released in May 9th, 2019.
So I'm assuming you wrote it like the year before at that time. Why did you think that everything was
Mark Manson: Well, it's funny talking about this now. When actually there is a real crisis happening because I think we it's, we so easily forget. I feel like that period of 20 17, 20 18, 20 19. There was like a fever pitch in our culture where everything felt like a crisis, but nothing was actually a crisis like keep

[00:10:00] always freaking out over everything that happens. Whereas, you look out the window and everything's great. And job markets best. It's been in 50 years and the economy's doing great. And. All the metrics in terms of like life expectancy and health and education are like all time highs, meanwhile you go on Twitter and you would think that the apocalypse was happening.
So the book was very much written to address that. What is it about not just our culture today, but our generation that we get so worked up about things and trying to put those things in perspective. And it's ironic because one of the things that I talked about in the book is that it's, there's a little bit of a paradox
where, when things are great, you have to make up problems to be upset about because it's by being upset about things that you give your life a sense of meaning or a sense of hope. And then it's when things are actually up as they are right now, you

[00:11:00] don't have to go searching for a crisis.
You don't have to go searching for problems. If the problems right there in front of you. So in a weird way, crises are almost. Psychologically easier for us to bear because we know exactly what the hope for.
Hala Taha: Yeah. So it's almost like when things are going so great. We end up making it worse for ourselves because we imagine things to be so bad or we make things that we wouldn't otherwise think are bad just to like satisfy our need to have a crisis.
And our needs like hope for something. So tell us what the definition of hope is in your opinion. Like how do you define hope?
Mark Manson: I define hope as some sort of vision of the future that we believe will be better. There are a couple of things that are interesting about, I guess that definition of hope is one is just simply that if we don't have some vision of our future, that is better.
That's when we fall into depression or despair, it's one of the things I talked about in chapter one is that, the opposite of

[00:12:00] happiness is not sadness or anger. The opposite of happiness is hopelessness is a sense that nothing we do matters, nothing that we do will affect any sorts of change.
But the other thing about that vision of a better future is that paradoxically that it's easier to have hope when times are bad and it's more difficult to find hope when things are good and comfortable. And for me, that's I present, there's a lot of statistics. Suicide is the highest and the wealthiest and safest countries in the world.
People who, once they reach middle class or upper middle class things like depression, anxiety, mental health issues start to increase. And that doesn't really make sense. But when you look at it in terms of the difficulty, it comes with hoping for something better in the future. It explains that.
Hala Taha: And so I know that a way that we can deal with the issue of hope is to deal with something you call

[00:13:00] the uncomfortable truth and take that head on. Can you explain that concept to our listeners?
Mark Manson: Sure. The uncomfortable truth is that, in the grand scheme of things, the vast majority of the things that we say and do.
Are not going to matter. Period. It's it revise me like when I was at school, I remember taking an astronomy course and like just learning how vast the universe is and how like long the history of the earth is and how many billions of people who've come before. And just, and it's just like that feeling of smallness and insignificance, It's wow.
And I was really upset over what my mom said this morning. Like it just seems so trifling by comparison. So the uncomfortable truth is it's just this realization that like the vast majority of the things that you spend your energy time and energy you carried about are not going to matter in the long run.
And on the one hand, that can be a very depressing realization. But on the other hand, it can be a very liberating realization because it allows you to

[00:14:00] let go of those things.
Hala Taha: But how would somebody get motivated from that? Or is your point not to motivate someone from the uncomfortable truth is the point for the person to feel like less stressed about everyday life? Like what's the point of acknowledging that uncomfortable?
Mark Manson: I think we all spend a lot of our energy avoiding that truth. So we convince ourselves that some little project in our life is like life and death important or something we say to another person is like, if we embarrass ourselves in front of somebody, it's oh my God, our lives are over.
It. It's the uncomfortable truth. It's it's a scary thing that we avoid accepting, but if you are able to accept it shows you that most of the things that stress you out are actually not that significant. And so it has a, it's a double, a little bit of a double-edged sword. It can make everything feel meaningless, but at the same time, if most of the things that you say or do or pursue are meaningless, then that means you are completely

[00:15:00] free to do what matters to you.
To, there's no excuse to not embarrass yourself or to not fail at something or to not pursue a dream or to not tell somebody that you love them. There's because it's, we're all going to die anyway. So you might as well. Live each moment to its fullest.
Hala Taha: Yeah, totally. It's gives you some perspective and also helps you with your priorities and makes you realize that this big problem that I have, isn't really that serious.
Who's going to remember it when I die. Who's going to, so that's a good point. Something else in your book that I really thought was interesting. Was the concept of the thinking and feeling brain. And so this is something that people have been talking about for a long time in the Christian era. I think that it was people thought that it was more like the thinking brain that was in control, but now more recently people are saying it's really the feeling brain that's in control of our mind.
You have this awesome analogy of the conscious car. Would you explain that to us and help us

[00:16:00] understand your perspective between the thinking and feeling brain and how they react to each other.
Mark Manson: Sure. So the consciousness car is, if you think about the two aspects of our minds, the emotional side of the mind, and then the more rational side of our mind, most of us operate under the assumption that the rational side of our mind is like
the adults in the car who's driving and is in charge. And the emotional side of our mind is like the obnoxious kid in the passenger seat who just won't shut up and is like demanding ice cream all the time. And a lot of what we understand as being like a discipline mature human being is like teaching that kid and that the emotional side of our brain to just shut the fuck up
for 40% of the time so that the adult, like the rational part of our brain can get to work and do the right things and be a, be like a functioning human being. But what's interesting is that if you look at

[00:17:00] psychological research, it's like, it turns out that we're all very driven. It's actually the emotional side of our brain is the one that's driving the car.
And it's the thinking part of our brain is very good at explaining our emotional impulses in a way that sound very reasonable and rational, but they aren't necessarily. And so really we are very impulsive creatures. We all make most of our decisions based on our emotions based on our feelings and. If we're not aware that we're doing that, then our, the rational side of our brain is enslaved by our emotions to always just justify whatever we feel about ourselves.
And so what I argue in that part of the book is that, instead of working, trying to work against our emotions or suppress our emotions or deny our emotions. We need to work with our emotions. We need to understand the role

[00:18:00] that each part of our mind plays because our, the emotional side of our brain is incredibly important.
It determines our motivation that determines our inspiration, that determines where we feel value and significance in our lives. And so if we deny that part of ourselves, And just try to be rational all the time. Then we're gutting ourselves of the meaning in our lives. So what I argue is that, we should get the two sides of our brains talking to each other and listening to each other, which is difficult because they speak different languages.
But in my opinion, that's what emotional. Or I would say even mental health is having the rational side of our brain and the emotional side of our brain. Interacting with each other and understanding each other.
Hala Taha: So give us like a real example of doing that. Like a situation where let's give an example of you don't feel like going to the gym, but you knew that you should like, what's the dialogue that you should be having in your head.
Mark Manson: Hey, if you feel like you should be working

[00:19:00] out, but you're not, we've all experienced that before. And most of us, we, we judge ourselves. We're like, man, I'm such a loser. I can't get out of bed and go to the gym. And, we see it as a failure of willpower. We see it as a failure of kind of like our rational side of our mind, but the fact that the matter is until we are emotionally motivated to go to the gym until we enjoy going to the gym, to some extent we're not going to go, we're always going to find a reason not to go.
And so in that sense, it's an emotional problem. It's not a problem of knowledge. It's not a problem of willpower or whatever. So if we understand that what we can do instead of trying to will ourselves, the gym constantly, what you can do is you can set up your environment in such a way, and that you make it enjoyable to go to the gym.
So maybe you find a friend who goes to the gym with you and it's in that way. If you wake up and you're supposed to meet your friend at the gym at 8:00 AM, The fear of embarrassment of

[00:20:00] not being there. And you're like your friend arriving and you not like that is an emotional motivation that will get you out of bed and to the gym, another way to do it is to hire a trainer and be like I spent all this damn money and I'm going to feel awful if I don't use it.
So it's using your rational mind to create. Parameters and circumstances that make something emotionally enjoyable to do.
Hala Taha: Yeah. It's like tricking your feeling brain into something that you want to do.
Mark Manson: Totally.
Hala Taha: So another piece of this thinking and feeling brain in your book that you talk about is how the thinking brain tries to maintain a sense of hope.
And we're talking about hope before. Can you help us understand the connection with that?
Mark Manson: Oh the thinking brain is always, you're always trying to envision some sort of better future for yourself. So whether that's like you as an individual, or if it's the world being a better place or impressing your parents or whatever, like it's, we all need

[00:21:00] some sort of carrot dangling in front of us, to
to give ourselves direction and purpose in our lives. And so the thinking brain's job is to come up with those sorts of things is to figure out that equation of, if I do X, then I will be happy, whatever.
Hala Taha: Okay. So let's move on to another big topic, which is pain and values. Now you say pain is a currency of our values.
I thought this was super powerful. Help us understand why you think that like pain is what really keeps us motivated and things like that.
Mark Manson: Oh generally people, people like to avoid pain, but the problem with avoiding pain is that we only value things in our lives, in proportion to how much we feel we have to give up for.
So if you think about a spoiled child, like a child, that's just given everything he or she wants, the reason they're these spoiled kids grew up

[00:22:00] to be like awful human beings is because they never understand the value of anything. Everything is, it's just a frivolous thing for them to experience from moment to moment.
It's only when you're able to go through some sort of challenge or hardship that you are able to understand Is worth sacrificing for him what is not, it's only once you've lost something that you understand how valuable, how meaningful it was in your life. And so I just threw all my work and all my books.
I, I consistently make the argument that pain and suffering is important. And not only is it impossible to get rid of pain and suffering but like we need that pain and suffering because psychologically it is like the fuel that generates our sense of meaning and importance in the world. And so it's not a question of getting rid of pain.
It's like choosing better pain, essentially.
Hala Taha: Yeah. And we can go back to the workout example. The more you put yourself in pain with working

[00:23:00] out the more you're able to keep working out and build that strength and everything is pain when you're happy. It's just like your pain is alleviated when you're sad.
It's your pain is amplified. Let's talk about anti-fragility. This is a really cool concept that you have, and basically it means that we need to like you said, choose our suffering and be okay with choosing pain and not avoiding it. Can you tell us more about that?
Mark Manson: So anti-fragility comes from the scene to lab. It's a really cool idea where he talks about how, the opposite of fragility or being fragile. It's not necessarily being robust. It's actually being antifragile, which is you gain from pain or disorder in your life. And so if you look at things like the human body or the human mind, the human body and human mind are actually, they're not resilient.
They're anti-fragile. The reason you get stronger at the gym is because you are breaking your muscles that down and making them stronger. The reason that

[00:24:00] you get better after failure is because you are breaking down a lot of your assumptions and beliefs and your fears and building up better experiences over them.
And so in that sense, by actually inviting certain amounts of pain and struggle into your life, you make yourself a stronger individual with far more, more potential. And one of the big arguments of the book is what I in, what I fear is that, in our culture, there's been such a, it's been it's be it's becoming so.
Taken for granted that, we're all like you, we're all supposed to be happy and we all deserve to be happy and we all deserve to have a great easy life and nobody should suffer and all this stuff. And it adds, yes, we should try to get rid of injustice. We should try to get rid of people who are predatory or people who are evil, but you shouldn't try to get rid of suffering because suffering is necessary for growth.

[00:25:00] It's necessary for making people stronger, more resilient, more mature human beings. And so what I fear is that as our culture kind of has turned towards this obsession with positivity and feeling good all the time, we are losing that ability to grow from our pain and our failures.
Hala Taha: And I think you say this in the book, you say that everything you do, everything you are, everything you care about is a reflection of your choice, your relationships, health work, emotional stability, your integrity, your breadth of your life experience.
If any of these things are fragile in your life, it's because you've chosen to avoid pain. I think that's so powerful because it's so true. The way that you grow is through pain. Let's stick on that a little bit. Tell us about how pain helps you grow and how, if you don't choose to accept pain. And if you avoid pain, how you stay as an adolescent and you don't ever really grow up to be an actual adult. Tell us about that.
Mark Manson: So I think for

[00:26:00] me, and I define this in the book, but like what defines an adult or just being a mature, healthy individual, is that ability to understand what is we're suffering for and when is it worth suffering for it? And the simple example of say a romantic relationship. For that relationship to grow, you have to understand when a fight needs to happen, some people, and I think younger, more idealistic people, their idea of a good relationship is a relationship where you just never fight, but it's that's not a healthy relationship.
Cause that means you're hiding things. You're pretending things are not happening. And that makes you more fragile as a couple. Whereas if you get very good at noticing the things that need to be addressed, And being able to address them, even though you're not, you're going to fight about it. It's going to be painful.
You got to be angry at each other for a day or two. If you're able to do that, you actually become a stronger.
Hala Taha: Yeah, your bond is stronger.
Mark Manson: For it. It's the same thing in business, is you'd

[00:27:00] all. If you've got employees that are. That are messing up. Like you can't pretend they're not messing up. You have to say something or if you've got a coworker that's screwing around, like you, you have to say something.
So there so many incidents, everywhere. You look in life. There's like a skillset of understanding what pain is necessary. For growth to occur and then having the ability to step into that pain.
Hala Taha: I loved the fact that you brought up how like pain can strengthen relationships.
So just to relate to that a little bit, my listeners don't really know this. I haven't really shared this, but I shared it on LinkedIn, but not on my podcast. I actually went home to take care of my whole family who got coronavirus. So like my mom, my dad, my brother, and my brother was home from California. And, we haven't spent that much time together in a long time, and it was such a hard time, but now I feel
so close to my brother and my mom and everything, because it's we like went through that crazy time

[00:28:00] together and we'll never forget that. And it was, it sucked, it was horrible. But at the same time, like my relationship particularly with my brother is so strengthened because we went through this horrible experience together.
So it's just, it's funny how even if it's a horrible experience, there's always some silver lining and actually like that kind of pain can grow a really big bond.
Mark Manson: Yeah, absolutely. And it's, I talked about this in my first book, subtle art. I said that if you think about the most important experiences of your life, probably three out of four of them were negative experiences, very like a breakup, a death.
Losing a job like the, these all they're horrible in the moment, but like when you look back on them years and years later, you're like, wow, I'm so glad that happened. I was such a better person for that happening.
Hala Taha: So you say that living well does not mean avoid suffering. It means suffering for the right reasons.
So tell us what do you suffer for? What suffering do you do to provide value in your life?

Mark Manson: I stay inside. That's one way for the right reasons. I think there are a few fronts. One is I think the most obvious example is just my career. So it's writing. That's fun a lot of times, but a lot of times it's suffering, it's, I'm finishing up another book right now.
And I went back to revise a chapter that I hadn't looked at in a few months and I just looked at it and I'm like, this is terrible. This is absolutely terrible. It is just, it's like almost heartbreaking. Like I, I had to take the rest of the afternoon off because to have something that you've been working on for over a year and you think you're almost done, and then you go look at like an early part of it and you're like, wow, that's, I can't publish that like
that is awful. It just flattens you. And I think writing is, it has its emotional struggles that a lot of people just don't. I seem to be constituted for it. I like being alone. I like working by myself. I don't mind rewriting something like eight different

[00:30:00] times. And so that's a form of suffering that I'm well adapted to.
And then that I even get a little bit of a sick pleasure out of and so it's, that's why it's become my life is, one thing I always say in my talks is that it's not. Being good at something that's not because you enjoy it necessarily being good at something is you enjoy the sacrifices involved in it.
Hala Taha: Totally.
Mark Manson: In a way it's the thing you end up best at is just that the pain you can tolerate better than most other people.
Hala Taha: Totally. And that's like back to like you're in your dream job. Not every job is perfect. It's what job do you enjoy the most? Like even the shitty parts of the job. Can you tolerate the most. That's how you find your dream job. It's not like something that you like all the time and you're always happy doing it.
It's just like the parts that do suck. Are you able to manage that suffering enough.
Mark Manson: Yeah it's, even if your dream job, like your dream job is going to suck about 30% of the time. There's just no such thing. Like we all have to do taxes. There's just no such thing as a job that is fun

[00:31:00] every single day. Yeah.
Hala Taha: So I do want to talk about the difference between a child and adolescent and an adult.
You say it's not how old they are or what they do, but why they do something. Can you unpack that for us?
Mark Manson: Sure. So when I go through this, I'm summarizing, there's a field called developmental psychology and some kind of just summarizing this entire field, but basically, human, the human mind.
Develops in a series of stages. It doesn't, we know we don't just come out of the womb, knowing how to drive a car and send an email. So when we're kids were generally very everything we understand about the world and understand about life is very much just derived from pleasure and pain. Toys
make us happy. Candy makes us happy. Falling off the bed makes us sad. Like it's just, we don't really think past that kids aren't able to think about the future. They aren't really able to reason about the past.

[00:32:00] They aren't able to think about other people's feelings or what other people might do.
It's just, all they know is this is fun. This is not fun. I want to do the fun thing. As we get older, though, we start to realize things. We start to realize that. Sometimes something is pleasurable now, but it causes pain later. So maybe it feels good to eat like a pound of candy right now. But when I'm like sick in six hours, last time I did that, I got sick and I felt awful.
And so kids start to understand that there are repercussions for things. They start to understand there's cause -effect. They understand that other people have thoughts and feelings that are affected by their actions as well. And so around. Late childhood or early adolescents, maybe around ages, like 8, 9, 10 kids start to figure out that the world is very transactional.
If I agree to do what mom says today, she will reward me tomorrow. And so the adolescent phase is very much built off of a life

[00:33:00] of managing transactions of understanding that if I behave in these certain ways, People will be nice to me and I will get good things that I want. Now the trend, the transactional approach to life is fine.
Like we all need to be able to do it. We all need to be able to think through those things, but the problem is that it objectifies everything. So if your approach to all of your relationships is I'm going to say this to Hala because I know she likes to hear that. So if I say this she'll like me, That's great.
If I'm like trying to get a favor from you, but if I'm trying to be a friend or if I'm a family member, that's a really crappy way to have a personal relationship with somebody that like everything they say to you is based on what they think you want. It's just, you can't really operate in life that way.
And you run into the same thing. If you look at businesses, for instance, some people are very good at the transactional game of, okay. If I put this product out or market it this way, I'll get a lot of money. That's one way to play that game. But at a

[00:34:00] certain point, you have to ask yourself, okay, maybe this will make me a lot of money, but.
Am I screwing over my customers, am I willing to screw over my customers? Or am I willing to break a law to add profit to my bottom line? You start running into situations like that. And so it's only when you get to adulthood that you understand that sometimes you simply have to willingly take on pain.
For no other reason than it's the right thing to do that it's better for you in the long run. It's better for society in the long run. It's better for the people you care about in the long run. And so a lot of, the highest virtue is concepts that we've had throughout human history, things like honesty, charity, compassion, these are all things that can really only be attained in adulthood.
But I have to be willing to sacrifice myself for my family or willingly sacrifice myself or give up potential profits to make sure my employees are taken care of. It's those sorts of actions and

[00:35:00] behaviors. Can only occur once you've transcended this transactional view of the world.
And so that's the adult view.
Hala Taha: Yeah. And if I remember correctly from your book to think and act like an adult, you need to endure pain, you need to abandon hope and you need to let go of the desire for more pleasant and fun things like, and you have to act unconditionally. That's something else that I remember.
Mark Manson: Yes, the unconditionality. Yeah. And the thing about adulthood, I go hardcore on it, but I think people should understand that it's like an ideal. And I even mentioned that often this kind of ideal, this like selflessness of adulthood is something that's been canonized and crystallized in religious myths and heroes and stories and things like that.
None of us are actually like fully that way all the time. We've all still got like our inner child that like, just wants to. Drink ice cream for the next three hours, and then we've all got the adolescent in us. Who's maybe I can scheme a little bit and get a little bit more for myself.

[00:36:00] it's those things never, you never completely leave those things.
Hala Taha: It's like what point of the spectrum are you on? Totally. So one of the other topics, there's so much content in your book, I'm actually having a hard time, like trying to grab everything that I need to talk about. This is definitely one of the hardest interviews that I've had in terms of that, of tying everything together.
But one thing that I wanted to talk about is fake freedom vs real freedom. I thought this was really important for my listeners to understand your perspective on, can you talk to us about that?
Mark Manson: Yeah I I feel like this is very important in art in this day and age and especially in the U S I think if you look historically the idea of freedom and Liberty is not what we traditionally think of it today, we think of freedom and Liberty as simply being able to do whatever the hell we want when we want to do it without being constrained by any sort of outside force whatsoever.
And my opinion, this is a very childlike. Entitled version of freedom, this idea that it's I should be able to

[00:37:00] do whatever the hell I want. And you, if you don't like it, like that is like an angry child sitting on the floor of a grocery store, demanding that he can eat as much candy as he wants. The truth is that we all live in a society.
We all have to make compromises because we all, we are all better off for it. And the truth is as well, is that when you do indulge everything, you want, it makes you more fragile. It makes you a weaker human being. It makes you a more susceptible individual to outside forces and chapter eight of the book, I spend that whole chapter arguing that we need to redefine freedom, the same way that the philosophers and the Greeks and Romans understood it, which is that freedom is the ability to choose what to give up.
Freedom is choosing what you will sacrifice. And so freedom is not. Sitting on the couch, eating whatever the hell you want for the rest of your life. Freedom is actually getting up at six in the

[00:38:00] morning and going into the gym because. By building up your body, you are actually giving yourself more options for the future by limiting options today, by choosing which options you're going to limit today, by choosing not to eat Cheetos, you are giving yourself
more options in the long run. And so freedom is actually, it's a personal form of discipline. It's a constant choice of what sacrifice am I going to bring into my life? And what is going to be important to me. And so in that sense, I see things like, and I just have to bring this up, cause we're in the middle of it now.
There people protesting during this coronavirus thing saying that the government shouldn't tell me to stay home. I shouldn't have to stay home, blah, blah, blah. It's like guys, you can't like you're okay. If the government tells you, you can't smoke next to a pregnant person or like you can't smoke in a restaurant you're fine.
If the government tells you, you can't scream fired a theater, how is this any different? At some point you have to. You have to accept that.

[00:39:00] It's not about what you individ freedom is not about what you individually want. It is about what you are individually capable of sacrificing and giving up both for yourself and for the greater good.
Hala Taha: And also, because I think you talk about this in your book that if freedom is variety or. Unlimited experiences. Like you'll never be satisfied. You'll never actually be free because you'll never be satisfied. There'll always be something else that you're trying to attain. And so you'll never really be free.
You say that freedom. Isn't what you can experience. It's what you can limit yourself to. I think that's really powerful stuff. Okay. So the last question I'm going to ask it's on the last chapter of your book, you ask us to abandon hope all throughout the book. But when I was reading your last chapter, it's clear that you have hope in science and technology and AI, and you imagine the world in the future where AI has
taking over humans and ultimately does a better job of running the show than we do. And that's

[00:40:00] terrifying, but then it's oddly hopeful. So talk to our listeners about this world that you imagine in the future with AI.
Mark Manson: First I would argue that it's not even the future really. It's already happening.
I think they AI runs the world better than humans in many ways already. The last chapter is a little bit tongue in cheek. It's a little bit just me being a little bit crazy and being like, you know what, let's see how far I can take this. I one of, one of the more tragic things I talk about in the book is that ultimately we do have to hope for something.
But our hopes inevitably end up causing everything to be, it's everything is, which is why we need hope, but then it's our hopes are what caused everything to be. So it was this vicious cycle that keeps happening. And it's just an inherent part of our psychology.
It's there's not really any way around it. And so really the message of the book is like since we can't get rid of hope. We have to just be very careful about what we hope for. And

[00:41:00] the last chapter is my very careful, slightly facetious hopes, which is just that I personally think, one, one of the cornerstones of my philosophy, personal philosophy and kind of all my work in general is that humans suck.
Like we are just we're not the human mind is not very well equipped to handle global ethical, moral questions. If you look at human history, it's just full of violence and screw ups and disasters. So it's my starting point is like, if there's any way we're going save ourselves from ourselves, it's going to happen.
Via science and technology in some form. So that is the thing. The one thing I dare to hope for, although I am also very skeptical of my own hopes.
Hala Taha: I hope our AI masters are nice to us, not

[00:42:00] evil. Okay, cool. So the last question I ask all my guests is what is your secret to profiting in life?
Mark Manson: A secret of profiting in life. I think if you just make it a habit to give more value than you consume, good things will happen everywhere. It'll happen with people in relationships. It will happen in business. It will happen in your own life, is just build a habit of give more than you, than you take.
Hala Taha: I love that. That reminds me of David Meltzer.
Thank you so much, Mark. You have such great content. Your books are amazing. I would highly recommend everybody to go get your latest book. Everything is you can find it everywhere and thanks so much for your time today.
Mark Manson: Thanks for having me.
Hala Taha: Thank you.
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