MARK MANSON – UNEDITED TRANSCRIPT *FOR INTERNAL USE ONLY*
Will will and humane handling brain hemispheres at entertaining and mentally invented telling me right now is an excellent frontotemporal occipital. I am in the form is to take you to the interest I think easily the human experiences in session. my guest today is Mr. Mark Manson Mark my good sir welcome to Atrix be extravagantly good to be here Mark. it’s it’s pretty interesting your your career his gaze shifted so much mean you short off as a blogger and now you moved into the sort of entrepreneurship and you’ve written had a couple books write all yet this is my second book but it’s the first with a publisher.
the book has a not-so-subtle title it’s called the so are not giving Fox a counterintuitive approach to living a good life was it was the self-help industry something that was meeting you said this think that the self-help industry is pretty saturated. we say yeah very crowded did you feel like you had put this book out because because of that reason so I have a certain style of writing which is can be very irreverent vulgar of incorporate a lot of humor into my work and think of the wanted that that is hope me differentiate myself but I also think it’s it’s in a grown some ways to the topics I write about.
Jack absolutely to the back flap of your your cover says in life we have a limited amount of folks to get so you must choose your Fox widely which is hilarious and but thing let’s dig into that mean how how do we choose our Fox widely as as you said essentially. it’s were talking about it it is values and what the relate with the book is about is our values what are we choosing find important what would we choosing is like the drivers and motivators our lives and I think a lot of people don’t consciously site those are very few people ask you sit down and think about those.
where they came from why they adopted them this book is very much designed to help people asked those questions. do you think we do you think it there’s a lot of sneak will going on industry where people are confronting seminars are moving into coaching in and doing these different things to come were people in the yeah I think I think snake oils kind of the pretty strong or a I’m sure there’s some of that.
I think there’s a lot of good intentions that are misguided misguided good intentions in this industry a lot of people who honestly believe that they are helping others and that they want to help others but it is a little bit of luck of blind leading the blind did you have going back to your values. what what is one of the some of those core values that we can identify with so the the book makes an argument or consider pretty simple ordinary you know it’s a lot of a lot of our culture not just self-help a lot of or culture generalist builds on this idea of doing incredible things have an incredible experiences up pursuing more more more all the time. and I wanted to make the argument that you know may be a happy and it stable life is a compounds always achieving are happy or maybe comes down to simplifying and being satisfied with less and that’s a very uncomfortable idea. many people to consider it’s wildly humor the Fox that are flying around basically its I make an argument for further the Monday it’s the stuff that really matters is that that really drives happiness and this is an just my opinion it’s research axis opted it’s very mundane things good relationships with your family and friends
having being good it somewhat working on something that you good at feeling as though you’re contributing.
is the people community around you like it it’s really don’t get much more complicated than the second chapter the book is called happiness is a problem is how is happiness problem… Argument I make is that be happy you need to have problem because happiness is a byproduct of solving or overcoming problems and the and basically that that whole chapter in a very or message of the book is that struggle. struggler necessary for happiness to exist and I think a lot of people when the first places that people get misguided is that they assume that happiness is the lack of problems it’s by just not having any struggles in their life or avoiding all the struggles of life in and actually the opposite is true.
mean you had if we can bounce over to you know your career you you started blogging pretty early on right yeah like 2007 2008 and in and you you gain a lot of traction in sort of the Dean approach, community right you how does a person move from an of guiding people to become better at with women than did to have that we are doing now. so what happened was ice I started back in 2008 I read spirit the forward week but the first train and that I was like sweet the sound easy of all start a website hidden and I started a few website that what I quickly learned is that making money online is extremely difficult and requires an insane amount of work but one of those website they created.
I I created I try to create a number of online businesses around my own interests and being made 24-year-old single guy at the time cycle all start a blog about the and the first few years it was very is a very generic site in about it was articles were things like 03 things to do on a first date. your like how to get her to call you back into this shift that you would see on Cosmo basically and and the funny thing is that as the years went on a kind of I started get a lot deeper and more personal with the stuff that I wrote about and as I did that people responded in a readership serve the grow and by 2011 or 2012 to my surprise I discovered that a large percentage of my readers were actually women.
so I had is writings dating advice site for men in were as I started out talking about like first dates and text messaging off by after few years I type, incidences place of talking about identity self-worth honest the vulnerability all is a very, have the psychological topics that I felt were being discussed in the men’s dating world or just by men in general that I fully needed to be addressed and it started attracting a lot of women’s surprising. yeah I was very surprised and I started actually sending to my first book is called models attract women through honesty and a lot of these women were telling me that like your date your devices great not just for men but for her us to and black she said sending a number of women models and I was like community.
this like tell me if it’s good but it’s like this makes sense and if there’s actually applies you and answers of women certain reading it and they they all came back in the like Actually this is even those was written for minutes better dating advice the night ever seen in any woman’s book and him twice are asking myself like I will why the hell my just writing ferment. so in 2013 early 2013 is a rebranded website relaunched everything that the gender-neutral just talk about life issues
general and the other think to the other thing McKenna drove it is that dating advice. people who struggle hundred and the repeating relationships their perception of the problem is something very simple so there perception is like oh like men never call me back after the first date or you know women are they like to be my friend but they’re not sexy attracted by once you actually like start getting deep into the problem it turns out that really it’s it’s a very the real problem underneath their dating problem.
is action just the general life problem you know it’s that there their lifestyle or their identity isn’t completely sort it out for themselves or that they have trust issues or they have a lot of sexual shame that they need to deal with than and the symptoms that the things that they thought were the actual problems are actually just symptoms of some sort of deeper problem. so I wanted to write about this deeper problems amid how they apply in life just in general you have you seems like that it happens a lot when I when there’s a problem it’s it’s something actually deeper rooted that is actually affecting Kind of my life output.
we wanted one of the chapters in your book is just the value of suffering is called the volume suffering how to suffering help us as kind of a general question I make the argument the book that pain exist for reason I can’t go through this funny little bit biological summary of what why pain exist not be think of something as simple as like stopping your toe like or when your kid you touch a hot stove it hurts. that hurts really bad and the reason it hurts us because it’s your biology’s way of teaching you not to do that again it’s your biology’s way of teaching you how to to learn how to how to do something different in the future how to adapt and the same is true for psychological pain.
in the whether it’s a breakup or business failure or an insecurity or anxiety what these things really are is that there there for psychological feedback there a they are feedback coming from your brain telling you a you need to look at this in a different way. you need to try a different method or try different approach to whatever you’re doing and so in that sense it’s it’s actually pain is incredibly important and if we try to avoid it or forget it we are actually depriving ourselves of that ability to evolve and grow past that.
There’s the inquiry quote are and that he save our lives hinge not on the ability turn lemons into lemonade but learning to stomach lemons better it’s basically learning the art of resilience because it and look optimism is great. I think people should be optimistic positive thinking that a lot of situations it’s good it’s good like they on the Sunnyside by I think in this is one problem I have with salt like a lot of the self-help world is that life just sucks sometimes like there’s really no way around you know. it’s like if my dog dies there is nothing good about that there’s no there is no silver lining there is no you know it’s it just hurts and it sucks and a lot of things in life are like that and that I think that needs to be okay it needs to be okay to hurt because one like I said earlier like a lot of our biggest lessons and a lot of our strength comes from our ability to withstand a lot of this pain.
but him but to its we need this stay grounded in reality we need to stay realistic about what’s going on around us that we can make the decisions for ourselves I think a lot of people when they get caught up on income of this like delusional
level of positive thinking they start ignoring or denying the writ the reality around. yeah I agree hundred percent of mean you’d you talk about how growth season endlessly iterating process we don’t shift from being wrong to just being right it’s kind of something just builds in you learn that the minutes what I say is what we never go from being wrong the being right we go from being wrong to being slightly less wrong another way I put it in the book is that problems are never permit.
the salt goes the solution one problem is the genesis of the next problem you know so maybe I have money problems and I solve that by going to getting a job well the job creates new problems I deals politics at work I wrote a really frustrating commute every morning my of stress of the projects on the side and and and my solutions to those problems will create the next higher level problems and so what I say is that that the key to a good let’s not getting rid of your problems. the key is actually just having very good problems and that process of solving one problem in creating a better higher level problem.
it in my opinion that’s that process is actually what rings a sense of accomplishment or lives Do you think that mean you when you are when you are coming out with models and books like that and using do you think that you are kind polarized in in your perception to kind me and did you feel like there are people either painted you or love do early.
on for sure I mean happen models came out the majority of the men’s dating advice industry was it was still your classic, like pickup artist stop it was like do you go to like go bang it’s had been in a it’s like show her this and say this to her and make her and stuff like that and so I knew what I when I was putting it out there that I was likely setting myself up for a lot of extremely harsh this is but I I believe very strongly in the message of the book. and and so initially was very polarized and I got called a lot of money names by certain people in the industry and by a lot of guys in the industry but I’ve been very happy that it seems that actually the book is influence in altered the course of that industry.
I see not only is it one of the best-selling books in that industry now but it’s it’s a lot of the other companies thing and coaches that exist and then an industry I I think are saying a lot healthier stuff these days but then they did say 56 years ago you had some pretty bold posts by cottage.
through your blog there’s one called why everyone on the Internet is now soul then you talk about how kind of the Internet warps perception was talk let’s talk about that a little bit like how how you feel about the way the Internet changes social behavior. I’m absolutely fascinated by this topic and I have been for a couple years now and and look like I think I’m not and the thing not at but I can’t the Empire Internet but it gave me my career but I think it should it’s interesting because is every new form of technology that comes out and makes our lives better and in summary different ways I think it also brings a new array of problems with it that we as a society or culture have to figure out how to surmount.
I think the interesting thing about the Internet is that because it so globally connected and so anonymous it makes it extremely easy to objectify not just
people but opinions points of view perspectives and when you objectify a person’s perspective with it easy to just should all over it and not not fear any repercussions. are not have any sympathy for it and and so in many ways this amazing tool that is given us access to more information than you know anybody in the human race is ever had is also made it easier for us to indulge some of our worse instincts and to be of more judgmental and and close ourselves off.
one of the main points that you make in in this post is you talk about how competition has no negative social consequences and I have it that’s obviously true mean how it to be how how is it changed for you moving from kind of this Internet-based persona into kind of a real-life think it’s an interesting. I mean I think one thing that kind of growing up so the speak as a writer on the Internet is that it’s it’s really I feel like it’s really maybe impervious the criticism there’s a lot of funny just like small moments over the last couple years working with my editor my agent and people are Harper where those opioid little things.
were like to get really worried that like my egos getting bruised like you realize how many people of like told me the kill myself you through email over the last five years like about I was fully find is not big deal of delete. it’s weird it’s made me at me jaded which I think has its both it’s it’s it’s pros and cons on one and I think I’m much more impervious to be a lot of things that a lot of authors go through when their publishing the first book but on the other hand I think of more cynical than you a lot WHICH is unfortunate you can totally understand that I mean as as the show has kind of grown a mean and it it’s like the hate mail that we get.
I just it just doesn’t affect me as much more just it after a while it just doesn’t get you as much you in there’s a weird thing and I don’t know if you’ve experiences but there’s a desensitization of both sides of the spectrum. which is the hate mail doesn’t bother me as much anymore but when I get those emails were people are like only guide to change my life thank you so much in a like I still appreciated but I feel desensitize in like five years ago.
whenever I received an email like that it was again made my whole day you like this is this is incredible but now it’s like sweet did they should like you know and if not even you know I I’m not being honestly because it’s when you’re just bombarded with so many messages positive and negative from so many people that after what it becomes hard to really invest a lot in and any of.
absolutely I was Ozarks you just having this conversation with a friend of mine your day and and we first started out when we would get emails saying something like you just said like that it shows change my life opted me my day and now me not to take away from anyone who sends me an email like that to us but it’s it’s not your doesn’t.
I’m grateful for it happy for it but it just you know that that desensitization that occurs on both it does occur on both ends of the spectrum out there know where you talk about there is another post you did called the pyramid scheme of positive thinking house I work all EAA a yes so the articles is the staggering will should seek you think that was the main article you yet been the pyramid scheme is a section I realized I was somewhere but I was like I should the articles article
it’s funny. I actually just so I just did I just got off on the call before I got on with you and I was talking to this guy and it if he was an interviewed is actually use of speaking agent then we were talking about the positive thinking thing and he was a major it doesn’t take clients who do that sort of thing.
that looked at sort of like motivational speaking I’ve stopped break and he said that he told me city literally have this conversation wants with the one of these like that some of motivational speakers the motivation was you said what what it what is your goal with doing speaking events like what is your goal to get across in the audience and make I was like will I want to inspire them to do great things in the world and because that the world all the world needs is is people to be more inspired and the fugitives was like love. I actually think we should probably like bigger how to cure cancer or AIDS want to work on that and as a oh but I can inspire people to cure cancer or AIDS every regard the guns legal Keizo like book there one of these people end up doing you know these these people the audience usually turn around and made they decide that they want to be a coach and they want to go inspire people and so you get this kind of this really money pyramid scheme of it in this happens a lot in the online world.
of of people who Francis people who will like teacher course those cocreated course on the Internet that teaches people how to create courses on the Internet it is people sick of the people think the course in the noble create courses on the Internet teaching other people how to create courses on the Internet in any see this and also to different ways your people.
I’ve met people who are life coaches who the majority of our clientele their teaching how to become life coaches and and it is just as crazy thing that just its pervading everywhere and I think a lot of what enables it is this idea that simply feeling good is it’s good enough you know it’s like if I can just say a bunch of stuff that people in my audience will be like why feels great in and tell them to go tell other people it just keep getting passed on and you know what I guess where I put my foot down both in the book go my site is like no feeling good is not good not to give you want to feel good. just go like snorting cocaine something like like there needs to be a higher standard to a good life than simply just feeling good all the time frame yeah man NEA I really find it interesting any the industry is definitely intriguing scents are think it’s likely I mean it it does feel like a pyramid scheme and it did it seems like a kind of wraps you in and you know like you keep going back for more.
it’s almost like a drug I find your career fascinating because you you went from hero disorder dating aspect to this it’s it’s not self-help but it is weird reworded this formula come from like what it will see you doing where you say that your content is is heating the most it tends to be others so I jokingly say you know what I need people in in real life and they they say like what you do I hope my coma writer. not go what you write I say I write self-help for people who hate self-help and it’s funny because so many people I meet like I think I would love feel like I did I think the desire to improve your life is a pretty universal and I think everybody the being honest with themselves like wants to have a better life and achieve more and more successful and feel better about themselves but I also
think there’s a lot of people especially the younger generations light of in a safe 35 and under food just kind of sense that a lot of this stuff you know a lot of the self-help stuff from the 70s 80s and 90s that it is it’s kind of BS. that brought really a very authentic it sells well but it’s it’s cheesy in and so I think those are the people in hitting it’s like this is I’m offering a viable alternative are it’s not just the same old clichés over and over again.
seven you would say that that your content is heading towards the self-help industry or is it still with the dating stuff out it’s deftly self-help stuff I mean it’s at this point the dating relationship I think is a minority portion of my audience but am but yet it’s weird it’s like a weird but at self-help amines it’s technically self-help but I kind of like go against the grain you have a lot of is. so there’s one thing that you just in my notes is that you you you started out and when you when you’re kind of starting out you you are approaching like these these agencies to publish your stuff like these online like Huffington Post like that now their come to you you’re being interviewed by by Forbes and CNN and inviting sentiment how does how is that switch feel for you have first.
it was a little bit of an ego boost right like it’s it suddenly always publications I was practically begging like the of my work to get more exposure in years ago you know if you years later that suddenly there knocking on my door so that that always feels nice like I become anybody can relate to that if you legal little a little victory for yourself but it’s funny it’s fine to me. it’s if I stand back and cut or removed my I saw from the equation but it’s a little bit representative of them the weird place at the publishing industry is then because of the Internet it’s like you yeah on yeah on the one hand anybody in start a blog instruct publishing on the Internet and that’s great but be the truth is is that you know the you have to the people who control what gets spread around most.
they still have it have control and it is a situation like the rich get richer so I put my articles work read by many people you like Huffington Post and one of anything to do with me and suddenly I start having some hit articles and develop like a really big fan base and out of the post publishing the everything I write so it’s the Isis that it’s a weird dynamic and I don’t know how I I feel like it there needs to be like, so the publishers you need to sort itself out always in one of the ways is that beneath the canopy a clear path again. you go from like an unknown nobody to gain your work disseminated pretty widely like right now it’s not very clear how that happens you just look like tried dozens of things and hope one of the work that has this whole process expected you were sensitive me night in like you have hundred thousand readers 500,000 and million and than 2 million and anything you’re just has this affected your sense of success.
yeah it’s been weird and and this is actually one of the inspirations for the book is that I always dreamed of a lot like a lot of the stuff that’s been happening to me the last couple years of it’s clearly what I dreamed about when I was starting out like it might in my mid-20s brain and it’s interesting that it doesn’t feel the way you expected to me. it’s great that mean it it’s there’s no way I could ever complain about anything that’s gone on last couple years but it’s it’s weird because it it doesn’t it doesn’t feel as good as you expected to feel the benefits
are as good as you you expected them to be. the problems are bigger than you expected them that the it complicates lives life in ways that you didn’t expect. insisted experiencing of like old large success like that is it’s actually a very strange it’s a very good experience but it’s a very complicated experience and this kind of being the first like really big success in my life is very disorienting at times is restrained genetic it kind of made me start asking like doesn’t really matter like to million people remain or if it’s like 100,000 like there’s this really make is at a certain point it just doesn’t feel real anymore.
like the difference the difference between half 1 million and 2 million like it doesn’t feel real it’s it’s all just is just a digit know and and so started really getting me ask myself a lot of these questions about talk about the book which is just like what actually matters here like what is what is actual driving my life and what should ask you got my life and of a couple into the slick little many existential crisis for little while. as I started writing the book and and that’s kind of a lot of like where this these ideas came from I can imagine enemy addicts it it seems like these are all pretty healthy questions.
mean did you you happen to kind of go stoic with this warming is a little bit of Buddhism in this to come Weibel it and mean how how did you get to the point where you were like okay wall in the value of suffering and you know the will be kind of reframing posit positive thinking and acting like what was was a driving factor was Ernie certain philosophy.
that your kind modeling by I was very big into Zen Buddhism when I was in college and I it’s interesting I kind of got away when I graduated I got away from but like that’s like my roots is a Zen Buddhist background and going to my 20 those very highly motivated by a lot a lot of a conventional goals else like I wanted to have a successful business I want to have going to be own my own business. I want have a lot of free time want to try world I want have you don’t the which amazing people and have amazing relationships in and it was kind what I was talking about at the at the beginning of the podcast is it I had a lot of goals based on more more more get more succeed more have more do more.
and that was great and then what happened is I started achieving a lot of those goals you know site I did I did traveled all world and I did feel these amazing places that I did out of much of amazing experiences I did build a successful business I became a successful writer and it left me like I said in that, like that weird state of ecstasy crisis. will ago what is this all mean you know why why none of this matters whether one of my doing with my life and and ask you I noticed that a lot of that then stuff came back started coming out you know I I was tell people that my writing is it’s my own form of therapy for myself like everything I write it’s not that like I know all the answers and him telling everybody else with the do.
it’s it’s literally like I’ve the same question and so I’m trying to write my way out of it and so as I was writing all this stuff I noticed that that the Zen stuff which is extremely similar to stoicism it’s all about your Zen and then they’ll they talk about a lot about not knowing and how how to get comfortable in a place of not knowing and you know Buddhism itself is very date on your life is a form of
suffering and you have did like detach yourself from your emotions. and it’s all the stops are coming out again and and it’s funny because I guess it didn’t really realize how big of an influence it it actually had been on me of until recently It was there.
I mean was Ernie single kind of like mentor or someone he had influencing you through this process not a specific person know I’m not I’ve always had but writers and artists that I looked up to him as like good examples of like this sort of stuff that I want to do but yet is nobody me again of the weird thing about Internet publishing these days is like there’s no real there was really figured it out yet know were all still, grasping in the dark trying to figure out what what works. liquids can be sustainable yeah I mean who Susan who who was someone that influenced you can remotely so I mean there are some writers that I really look up to a big fan of huge huge fan of David Foster Wallace and his in Tigre is nonfiction work.
I think it’s just like his fictions fantastic as well but nonfiction work is staggeringly brilliant Chris Thompson Alan Watts is a big one out of yourself part fan but there’s a South Park episode called citizens that it it’s basically the entire South Park episode is like the kids keep coming up with these like crazy ideas and then it’s like every time they go out to start doing it it’s like out know Simpson. Episode 328 and all philosophies he just a joke of like every unique idea the South Park creators have had the Simpsons Arrieta and I feel like that I feel like that like with Alan Watts it’s like any like really powerful idea.
I’ve I’ve you like I have like Alan Watts are it years ago efficient Marco as we pursue your time and what’s the next what’s coming the next journey for you what’s next up for you right now it’s I’m still, basking in the afterglow of of this book release and finally winding down with the interviews. I’m I’m really looking forward to just getting back to the website getting back to the blog of a got up part of ideas for articles alone right but I just haven’t had the time to write them and then I think know probably after maybe year like be the end of next year help get cracking on the next book.
so where can work and people find your work markets in.net and and the book is called the subtle art of not giving a Fokker counterintuitive approach to living a good life and it’s available everywhere all retailers Amazon everywhere awesome you set of 40 men. thank you so much for your time marker really appreciate man thinks X Remick this is the human experience we will see you guys next week thank you guys so much for listening