Unlearn Book Summary - Unlearn Book explained in key points
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Unlearn summary

Humble the Poet

101 Simple Truths for a Better Life

4.1 (30 ratings)
12 mins

What is Unlearn about?

Unlearn (2014) is a collection of 101 short essays on how to live a better life. These succinct yet profound essays prompt you to challenge your own beliefs as well as the commonly held assumptions of wider society. The truths revealed about happiness, love, success, and truth itself aren’t always easy to hear, but they’re crucial insights into the nature of empowerment and freedom.

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    Truths about happiness

    For a species obsessed with obtaining happiness, we seem to make it awfully complicated.

    For starters, it’s common to subscribe to the idea that happiness is some elusive state, only made possible when a vast constellation of circumstances comes into alignment. Let’s be clear, unhappiness is simply our response to seeing that the vision in front of us doesn’t match the vision in our heads. That’s all there is to it. Unhappiness is just the gap between our expectations and our reality.

    So happiness isn’t some rare external phenomenon. It’s infinitely more straightforward than that. Happiness is our response to being in the moment – present with what is.

    Now, you may think, That’s all well and good when life is smooth sailing, but what about when life gets hard?

    The truth is, we have very little control over what happens to us. That’s why it’s so important to take control of how we interpret these circumstances. If we buy into the belief that happiness is a life free from obstacles, we’ll never be happy – even when life is smooth sailing.

    Life is more accurately thought of as a string of obstacles, one after the other. Some obstacles are objectively formidable – war breaking out in your homeland, for instance – while others are just annoying – coffee spilling on your laptop, for example. If we postpone our happiness until the day when obstacles become obsolete, we’ll be six feet under before we know it.

    Tied to this is the prevalent assumption that we must get more to be happy. This is true to an extent, but after our basic needs are met – think food, water, and shelter – it becomes a harmful stance to take.

    The pursuit of more is a game you’ll never win. There’ll always be another zero to add to your income, another exclusive experience to have, or another gadget to add to your collection.

    In reality, happiness has nothing to do with getting more – again, assuming the essentials for survival – and everything to do with needing less. Actively acknowledge everything you already have, everything you already get to experience, and you’ll find happiness will bubble up to the surface like a deep spring. You’ll come into the present moment. The gap between your expectations and reality will narrow.

    Life isn’t a fairytale, but you can rewrite some of those unhelpful internal narratives. While this means shedding the idea of one day arriving at a utopia where you have it all, in the end, it will actually inch you closer to the very thing you’re looking for: happiness itself.

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    About the Author

    Humble the Poet – otherwise known as Kanwer Singh – is a Canadian spoken-word artist and author. Formerly an elementary school teacher, he now boasts a YouTube channel with over 15 million views. His other books include How to Be Love(d) and Things No One Else Can Teach Us.

    Who should read Unlearn?

    • Anyone feeling lost or stuck in life
    • Those looking to improve their relationships with others and themselves
    • Artists seeking inspiration

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