Don’t Believe Everything You Think: Why Your Thinking Is The Beginning & End of Suffering

Don’t Believe Everything You Think: Why Your Thinking Is The Beginning & End of Suffering


Joseph Nguyen


July 20, 2022


July 20, 2022

|| Currently reading

A while ago, I came across this book because of Sophia Yuna Cheong's video on not thinking for 24 hours. I was curious what “not thinking” meant, and decided to read this for myself.

The Book in 3 Sentences

Thinking is the root cause of all suffering; the best way to fight it is to not think.

Negative emotions stem from rumination; positive emotions stem from accepting thoughts and not ruminating.

Everything is neutral until perception or interpretation is involved.


I started the introduction as a skeptic, because there were some bold claims in there. Everything is simple in theory; putting it into practice is always the challenge when it comes to “self-help” books like this.

How the Book Changed Me

People live in their own thoughts and perceptions of the world. Everyone has a filter, and reality is that the event happened, without any meaning, thinking or interpretation of it.

As a chronic over thinker, I want to practice stopping all thought when I think too much, to help ease the anxiety and stress.

Thought exercise: "If I had infinite money, already traveled the world, had no fear, and didn't receive any recognition for what I do, what would I do or what would I create?"

Top Quotes

“In actuality, we only want these external results like money and significance because we want to experience certain feelings inside such as love, joy, peace, and fulfillment. The feeling is really what we want in our lives, not the physical things, but the trap is that we believe the physical things will give us those feelings. The secret lies within the feeling.”

“If you want to find truth, look beyond the words, and look for a feeling.”

"People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh

“The root cause of our suffering is our own thinking.”

“Thoughts create. Thinking destroys.”


Buddhism - there’s a story that when a negative event happens to you, two arrows fly your way. The first one is physical, but the second one is an optional emotional arrow that you can control where/if it lands based on your reaction. Why suffer when you don’t have to?

Goals should be created out of inspiration instead of desperation. In my own life, I’ve always set these arbitrary goals because they feel like what I ought to be chasing, because they are a means to an end. Like Atomic Habits, the more that you can disassociate from goals, the more you focus on the journey, and what Joseph calls “Divine Inspiration”.