F**k It Therapy Book Review
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Who hasn’t ever said “f**k it” in life? You hit your limit and toss your hands up in the air, often in despair. But John C. Parkin’s take is slightly different in F**k It Therapy – The Profane Way to Profound Happiness. Saying “f**k it” to crap isn’t about despair, it’s about releasing the outcome and releasing the worry so that you actually mean it. It used to drive me crazy when people would tell me not to “sweat it.” What the F does that mean, right?? Well…now that occasionally angry or empty statement has a lot more meaning.
I remember browsing the bookstore during a lunch break of a particularly stressful day at work. Reports were due, work was piling up, and people were annoying. It was one of “those” days. I escaped to my place of comfort – aisles of books. While meandering around, I spotted the cover for this book. Its design did what it was meant to do and made me stop dead in my tracks.
“THAT’S EXACTLY HOW I FEEL!” I gasped.
I didn’t even read the very impressive cover information; I just purchased it and started flipping through this divine intervention. (Not really that divine when you’re standing in a self-help section).
Parkin explains the constraints of living in a prison. Not Orange is the New Black prison, but rather your own self-inflicted prison. He helps you understand the “its” you need to say “f**k it” to. If you can’t make it to one of his retreats in Italy, F**k It Therapy and its predecessor (F**k It: The Ultimate Spiritual Way) can help bring you some local relief.
“Why exactly am I doing this soul-destroying work day in, day out?”
“We are RIDICULOUS,” Parkin says (he loves ALL CAPS). As children, we went with the flow of whatever came our way without worrying too much about the big picture. Nothing really existed outside of our sandboxes. Yet as adults, we freak the f**k out about everything. We demand to find meaning in the people who don’t want to date us back, in the jobs we’ve built in to our reality, or even just about how anything may or may not go our way. This is the prison of meaning that Parkin will now help you escape (not through a 4,921-foot long tunnel).
“Everything is set up around us to convince us that the prisons we’ve created for ourselves are the only way to live.”
Prisons are safe in the sense that they protect either the outside from the inside (or the inside from the outside). Sometimes we jump around in to similar prisons (read: habits), and we stay there because we’re scared. Oddly enough, we are often quite comfortable in these prisons. He shares an example from his years at an advertising agency during which he decided to go to part-time work so he could write:
I was amazed by how many people would say, ‘John, my you’re lucky, how did you pull that off?’
‘I asked,’ I replied
They’d look at me as if they understood what I was saying: that they too, could ask. But they wouldn’t would they? There was always a pause, then: ‘Ah, no, but I couldn’t, could I, because…’ And the same odd list was reeled off. But they were affluent people. They were also entrepreneurial, imaginative, self-confident people. Yet they were happier to rest in the assumption that they couldn’t do it because they hadn’t been given the opportunity, rather than they truth that they wouldn’t ever do it because they’d made their decision to enjoy the trappings of work success over the freedom they professed to desire.
Simply ask and it is given.
Cell Block F
Continuing with the theme of prisons, Parkin drafts up several cell blocks and their descriptions typical mantras probably repeated by their inmates. Personally, I was serving time at F Block: Perfectionism – the place where “exceptional” and “work” go together like white on rice. It’s challenging to take a step back from the insane expectations we often put on ourselves to try and realize that taking it down a notch doesn’t mean you suddenly do un-awesome work. Coming from competitive work environments and top schools can groom you to be really bloody crazy with the microscope you put yourself under. And sometimes, the paralysis of realizing you can’t achieve true perfection was crippling for me at certain points in my career.
- A Block: The Story (i.e. those people that want you to hear their story)
- B Block: Fear
- C Block: Seriousness
- D Block: Self-Doubt
- E Block: Lack of Consciousness (i.e. awareness)
- F Block: Perfectionism
- G Block: Lack of Imagination
- H Block: Believing It’s Real
Where are you trapped in prison?
One thing worth noting is that Parkin’s style is very conversational (with tangents and occasional illustrations). It’s a refreshing change to some of the rah-rah personal development books out there because you get a real sense of his personality. At times it can come off a big “New Age-y” (it is published by Hay House, after all), but just stick with it and you will learn not only about yourself but other jailbirds that might be in your circle. For more about John Parkin and his F**k It approach (and retreats), check out The Fuck It Life.
Pick up a copy of F**k It Therapy – The Profane Way to Profound Happiness for your bedside table.