Why I’m Wrong About Everything (And So Are You)

Mark Manson

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F ive hundred years ago cartographers believed California was an island. Doctors believed that slicing your arm open and bleeding everywhere could cure disease. Scientists believed fire was made out of something called phlogiston. Women believed rubbing dog urine on their face had anti-aging benefits. And astronomers believed the sun revolved around the earth.

When I was a little boy, I used to think “mediocre” was a kind of vegetable and that I didn’t want to eat it. I thought my brother had found a secret passageway in my grandma’s house because he could get outside without having to leave the bathroom (spoiler alert: there was a window). I also thought that when my friend and his family visited “Washington BC” they had somehow traveled back in time to when the dinosaurs lived, because after all, “BC” was a long time ago.

As a teenager, I used to try and not care about anything, when the truth was I actually cared way too much. I thought happiness was a destiny and not a choice. I thought love was something that just happened and not something that was worked for. I thought that being “cool” had to be practiced and learned from others rather than invented for oneself.

When I was with my first girlfriend, I thought she would never leave me. And then when she left me, I thought I’d never feel the same way about a woman again. And then when I felt the same way about a woman again, I thought that love sometimes just wasn’t enough. And then I realized that you get to decide what is “enough,” and love can be whatever you let it be for you, if you so choose.

Every step of the way I was wrong. About everything. All throughout my life, I was flat-out wrong about myself, others, society, culture, the world, the universe, everything. And I hope that will continue to be the case for the rest of my life.

Just as Present Mark can look back on Past Mark’s every flaw and mistake, one day Future Mark will look back on Present Mark’s assumptions and notice similar flaws. And that will be a good thing. Because that will mean I have grown.

There’s that famous Michael Jordan quote about failing over and over and over again, and that’s why he succeeds. Well, I am always wrong about everything, and that’s why my life improves.

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Mark Manson

Author of #1 NYTimes Bestseller ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck’. OG Blogger. Psychology Nerd. I enjoy cats and whiskey. But not at the same time.