Manson’s Law of Avoidance

I finally finished Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck last night. It’s an interesting book, full of advice that’s actually pretty useful.

Perhaps the most useful section for me was where Manson names (after himself, of course – he’s a superstar blogger) a ‘law’ which I’ve definitely noticed both professionally and personally:

The more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid it.

I’m aware of this in myself, members of my family, colleagues, the electorate, and almost everyone I’ve ever met. The problem is, of course, that most people’s identities are an incoherent mish-mash of values, pragmatism, and genetics.

Without reflection and growth built into our lives, avoiding things that threaten our identity makes us tribal, irrational, and unwilling to try out new ideas and approaches.

I’m not a fatalist. I believe that we can and should be able to change what we believe without being labelled a hypocrite. But ‘hypocrisy’ is something that those on the political left seem hate more than anything – meaning, of course, that we’re subject to the politics of identity just as much as those on the political right.