Hello my, dear.✨

I recently published an article about the 5 books that help me make $1,500 of passive income every month.

One of the books is Mark Manson's The Subte Art of Not Giving a F*ck. It's the only self-help book on the list.

An excerpt:

“[H]ere’s the thing that’s wrong with all of the “How to Be Happy” shit that’s been shared eight million times on Facebook in the past few years — here’s what nobody realizes about all of this crap:

The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.”


Mark Manson is a millionaire online entrepreneur and, in his own words, writes about life advice that doesn’t suck.

I read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck right after I quit my job to start an online business. I re-read it a year later when I felt like a complete failure and questioned all my life choices.

For the first time, someone told me happiness isn’t the ultimate goal, there’s power in failure, and tenderness often emerges when life f*cks you up.

Before, I read tons of books about positivity and the can-do-mentality. While I still believe I can do a lot of stuff, I learned it takes more than the right attitude, positive affirmations, and a good morning routine.

Stumbling upon this book again prompted me to collect the mindsets I see as unhealthy vs. healthy.

Not that I mastered them (I wish!). However, this is what I try to live by and use to navigate through a life full of uncertainty.

Unhealthy sign #1: You rely on positive affirmations to lift your mood.

Healthy counterpart: Forget about round-the-clock positive feelings about life, yourself, and your body. Instead, give space for your negative feelings and accept them as a part of your human experience.

I write more about this here.

Unhealthy sign #2: You don't want to think about death or loss.

Healthy counterpart: Practice Memento Mori, the Stoic reminder of the inevitability of death. You'll die, I'll die, everyone you love will die. Yet, we're masters of pushing these thoughts away. We see death as an abstract concept instead of the only guaranteed thing in life. The Stoics preach it's much better to face the facts. It helps us to appreciate the present moment and what we have.

I write about how I practice Memento Mori here.

Unhealthy Sign #3: You're crazy about your goals.

It's good to have goals. It's bad when these goals become your identity and you feel like your life depends on reaching them. Oliver Burkeman has an outstanding chapter about this in his book The Antidote. It's called Goal Crazy and I highly recommend it if you're, well, goal crazy.

He argues rigid goals require great sacrifice and goal-free living makes for happier humans.

Healthy counterpart: Don't make it your mission to destroy every barrier between yourself and an outcome you're obsessed with. While we all have a vision that helps us move forward, don't make this vision your identity. Be flexible and willing to change your destination. Life is too uncertain for a rigid tunnel vision.

Unhealthy Sign #4: You practice manifestation.

I call BS on manifestation. The Secret doesn't work. The outcomes we attribute to it are a mixture of luck, privilege, and the confirmation bias on steroids.

Mark Manson rips the Law of Attraction apart here and explains why it's harmful to live by it: It's self-delusional and forces you to run away from negative thoughts and feelings - a recipe for long-term emotional damage.

Healthy counterpart: Explore your fears and anxiety. See them either as teachers or as inevitable chapters of the human experience. This is how you grow emotional resilience. They aren't the obstacles on your path - they're the friggin' way.

Unhealthy Sign #5: You console yourself and others by saying Everything will be fine.

Everything will not be fine. Many things will but some won't. If you tell yourself and others how the worst case scenario will never occur you actually increase the anxiety. You signal how the worst is indeed really, really bad and, therefore, we shouldn't even think of it.

Healthy counterpart: Stare the worst case scenario in the face. The Stoics call this Premeditatio Malorum - the Premeditation of Evils. This helps you prepare for the worst and move on with your life. It prepares you for unfavorable circumstances and doesn't allow them to paralyze you should they occur.

💌 What do you think?

Many of these approaches are counterintuitive. Do you agree with the unhealthiness of the above approaches? Or do you rather think the counter advice sucks? Is there any other approach that comes to mind that turned out to be unhealthy and self-destructive?

Let me know with a reply! You can always reply directly to my emails.


Things I enjoyed in the past week

Note: You can find all articles and books I read, podcast episodes I listen to, and movies I watch on my virtual Bookshlf (the place where I list all digital content I consume).

🗣️ Article: Ethos, Pathos, and Logos Can Help You Win Any Argument by Eva Keiffenheim
How to persuade and convince people with Aristotle's logic and rhetoric. A great piece with a bonus crash course in philosophy.

🧙‍♀️Book: Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power by Pam Grossman
This book is nothing short of magical and enchanting. It's about the female energy revealed through the history and social and cultural context of the witch. I recommend it to everyone who wants to read about female liberation and the revival of the nature-based religion of witchery.

📚 Tutorial: How to Read a Book from the School of Information of the University fo Michigan
I constantly look for ways to read more, better, with higher efficiency. This is a step-by-step strategy to read more books in less time and remember everything you read. Counterintuitively, you'll have to read the book 3x instead of once. However, not all reading sessions are created equal and you'll approach the book with a different strategy each time.

🃏 Article: This Popular Card Game Taught Me Why Modern Capitalism Is so Incredibly Screwed Up by J.J. Pryor

Do you know the card-game Asshole? I also know it as President or Janitor.  Where I live it's mostly known as a party game. Recently,  I learned it's ancient - and created to depict the class struggle of society.

🌍 Book & Series: The Handmaid's Tale by/based on Margaret Atwood
Where to start? I gorged on the book and binged the series. HBO dropped season 4 a few days ago and I watched the available episodes in one sitting until 3 am in the morning. Yes, The Handmaid's Tale can be over the top. I didn't love the new season. Nevertheless, there's something gripping and eerie about this dystopian theocracy that won't let me go. The most unsettling part? Atwood and the screenwriters didn't invent any of the methods of torture and oppression. They all have historical precedents. All they did was merge them into a composite of every nightmare I ever had. 


Thank you for being here.🙏

☕If you're feeling generous, buy me a coffee and boost me for the day.
💌 If you enjoyed this letter, forward it to goal-obsessed friend.
Seeing The Self-Letter for the first time? You can subscribe here.
Copyright © 2021 Julia Horvath, All rights reserved.

My mailing address is:

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.