I finished author Sarah Knight’s third public offering this weekend – and much too quickly! I haven’t read her first two books, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck and Get Your Sh*t together respectively, but plan to check them out. I’m an audio-book gal, so I was especially lucky with this selection because the Hachette Audio version is narrated by Knight herself.
I’ve always been a hobby writer, but I underwent a life change recently and left my job. For a time, I cast about restlessly, wondering what on earth I was going to do with myself before deciding that I loved to write, was able to write well, and now had the time to write with some frequency. Since then, I’ve been going at it pretty much full time, and You Do You: How to Be Who You Are and Use What You’ve Got to Get What You Want hit me at the perfect time in my career development.
Knight’s tone is light, conversational, intelligent, quirky, and direct. Her method, while tough, is different from Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. The latter asserts that unfortunately, “there are winners and losers in society,” while the former suggests that the real problem is framing.
Right away, she uses a gaming metaphor, You Do You – which hooked me immediately. She explains that in Mario Kart, the first thing players do is choose a character. They’re all different, and they all have different strengths and weaknesses. You pick one to suit your own reflexes and play-style, yes? You don’t just pick one because, like taking over the family business, it’s expected of you. The second thing you do in Mario Kart is pick a map. And again, you pick the track that plays to your abilities. If you’re prone to vertigo, you don’t play Rainbow Road. Trust me.
So, Knight reasons, if we’re able to isolate our strengths and weaknesses enough to combine characters and maps in a way that works for us in friggin’ Mario Kart, why can’t we manage to do it in real life? We’re so busy trying to conform to our universe that we don’t bother to ask if this given universe is appealing to us.
You Do You kicks off with some optional list-making homework. Curious, I played along. Knight is particular about not hiding or changing who we are – we should never apologize. In order to define our wants, needs and desires, she instructs the reader to write down characteristics that describe them, positive and negative. I’ll share mine with you; particular, odd, sweet, dark, witty, driven, shy, depressed, loves beauty, clever. Then she asks the reader to succinctly describe the ideal environment for them. I wrote down quietly creative. Finally, she has the reader decide what they want, need, and deserve out of life. My response was, I want to call my own shots. I need to be heard and respected. I deserve kindness.
This done, I compared my notes with my life as it stands now. I’m quite close, if I’m honest. I couldn’t truly say that a few months ago. And I’ll hazard a guess that you can’t either.
Knight posits that it’s best to work with your own personality rather than against it. A stubborn person can bemoan their innate habit of implacability, or they can own the fact that they are simply very determined.
There is so much freedom to be found here. There are times that I just want someone to tell me I don’t have to attend a family function. Or that if my body doesn’t want to wake up promptly at seven each morning, that’s okay. And there are a lot of people in my life who won’t give me the permission I crave to forge my own way. That’s why Sarah Knight exists.