Unf*ck Yourself
Gary John Bishop

by contributor

Jack Shields

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Themes are described as ideas that dominate a particular piece of literature. In almost all cases, pieces of literature will be centered a theme or a number of them.
Embracing Uncertainty

In the book, Bishop constantly talks about embracing uncertainty. He argues that humans strive for uncertainty due to the need to be safe. Today, this instinct can bring a negative effect. Bishop believes that for one to win, they need to be willing to allow others to judge them. He goes on to state that the worst decision is making no decision. This is because No decision results in No experience, which eventually boils down to No learning. Lack of decision, according to him, results in the worst regret in life. Another method of getting out of one’s head and into their mind is conquering fear. The author states that if you want to improve, it is vital to be content and to be thought of as foolish and stupid. To him, there is no destination, but there is always an exploration. As such, one has to believe that they are what they do, and not their thoughts. He poses the question, “who cares about your thoughts?” and advises the reader to focus on their deeds. You do not have to feel like you like a deed in order to do it, and this is the key way to happiness (Engers para. 2).

Fostering the will for change is one of the key steps one can take to unfu*k themselves and get to where they want to be in life. To achieve this step, it is vital to embrace uncertainty. One has to be ready to take the risks it takes to get to where they want to be (Lobell para. 6-7). The author poses the question, are you able to embrace uncertainty? Success is unpredictable, even if one works hard and smart, hence it is important to embrace uncertainty. Overall, Bishop talks about how to and the value of embracing uncertainty and explains that embracing uncertainty is an extremely powerful opportunity that one can use to grow.


Unfu*k Yourself also greatly explores the art of relentlessness. The author argues that it is important to take out what you want out of life, do not wait for someone to give it to you`. He notes that this will be painful, but nothing worth having comes easy. When exploring relentlessness, Bishop also tells the reader to be focused, destroy obstacles one after the other and expect nothing but learn to accept everything.   Disappointment is an unmet expectation (Engers para. 3).

 In one’s attempt to be relentless, it is vital to expect nothing and accept everything as long as it leads you to achieve your goal. Instead of thinking that there will be a positive outcome out of everything that you do, expect nothing and expect everything, including the failures, losses, and setbacks. Accept feeling f*cked because failure to do this will stop you from being persistent. Bishop further tells the reader to accept reality as it comes, and advises them to deal with it without any emotional bias. People should love what they already possess and be in control of their emotional state. The author also advises his audience to own their reactions, dispute their beliefs and interpretation of things and hence accept everything and act, and own their reactions. Eventually, there is always a solution to everything.

According to Bishop, if you want to unfu*k yourself, you have to keep going no matter what. After all, “True relentlessness comes when the only thing you have left is relentlessness” (Bishop 75). When it appears like everything is all lost, and all hope, as well as evidence for success, have long disappeared, relentlessness is the fuel that drives you through. This will eventually help ensure that you solve your problems and most importantly foster the will for change.

The Power of Language

According to the author, language is crucial because we are what we speak. For this reason, it is important to switch your negative words into positive ones. Bishop states, Want to get a better job? Say, “I’m getting a better job.”  If you always say, “That’s impossible” or “I can’t,” you will begin to feel defeated, hopeless, frustrated and even angry. However, if you say, “I haven’t worked it out yet” or “I can,” you will start to feel calm, optimistic and hopeful.

The power of language is also evident in a discussion about what you are feeling. How you do this can either work for or even against you. Each time you explain what you are feeling, it is important to ask yourself whether your language is building or destroying something and whether it is working for or against you. From this, you can start to feel better about whatever issue you are trying to deal with (Lobell para. 3-10).

Favoring Action Over Thoughts and Inaction

As stated earlier, the overall theme of the book is turning actions into thoughts and not thoughts into actions. Throughout the book, the author constantly reminds you that you are your actions and not your thoughts. He supports this using a variety of examples. He states that you might feel like going to the gym, asking your boss for a pay rise or attending a networking event; “but fuck your feelings.” You are not your thoughts or feelings. Rather, you are what you do. You do not have to think about confronting your boss, going to the gym or attending the networking event. Instead, do it. Overall, Gary’s reckoning is that performing an action, e.g., going to the gym, is easier than convincing yourself to go to the gym. Consequently, by blocking your thoughts and jumping right ahead into the action, you cut a large section of the most difficult part (Lobell para. 10).

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