The Situation is Hopeless, But Not Serious – Paul Watzlawick

The situation is hopeless – but not serious.

I just love this phrase. It does seem true to me that it applies to many situations in life, big and small. Sometimes yes, the situation you are faced with is hopeless. But often, it doesn’t really matter that much. I find it helpful to remember that.

Unfortunately, this book doesn’t really explore that phrase very much – the author uses it as an illustration of the Austro-Hungarian psyche, by way of explaining his own mindset. The actual book is better described by its subtitle: The Pursuit of Unhappiness. It’s presented as a self-help book showing you how to be unhappy: if you would actually rather be happy then the book might be useful in telling you what not to do.

The book is fairly short and has the sort of wry humour you might expect from its title and subtitle. Quite a fun read, but also profound. Remember:

The situation is hopeless!

(But not serious.)

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