Intangibles – Kamal Ravikant on The Power of Loving Yourself

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Key Takeaways
  • If you love yourself, life loves you back
  • “I really do believe to create anything great in life, whether it’s in ourselves or outside, it requires a full on commitment. I don’t believe in the middle ground.”
  • “You don’t change industries by telling people to change, you change them by making the alternative more profitable”
  • “If you have a truth, share it. It changes peoples’ lives.”
  • “You’re human, you’re going to fail every day. Learn from it. Adapt.”
Intro
What is Kamal most proud of?
  • Being a U.S. Army infantry soldier
    • Prior to this, Kamal was attending a state school on a full scholarship, but dropped out after only a year – “I was getting straight As, and just drinking, and not going to class. I was bored. I wondered, ‘Is this all this is?'”
    • As an immigrant child, Kamal felt a strong sense of pride to serve his country
    • He attended boot camp (infantry training) in Georgia when he was 19
      • “One of the biggest accomplishments of my life, was earning my infantry blue cord. I really felt for the first time in my life, I was a man. It was one of my proudest moments.”
Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It
  • Prior to being an author, Kamal did quite a stint in the world of entrepreneurship
  • He was in the process of building a company (sounds like it was software based), which eventually blew up, and he lost everything
    • “I’d been going for 4 years as a founder, with no vacations, going all in. I was obsessed with making a bunch of money and doing something big, and it all went to zero.”
    • This led Kamal into a serious depression – he describes himself as suicidal
      • He was living in SF at the time, in an apartment that overlooked the Bay Bridge – “The only thing that kept me from walking there, and jumping off, was the fact that I was too sick to walk there”
    • “I thought I was a failure. But if you look back, who’s a failure? A failure is someone who doesn’t try, I gave it everything.”
  • One night, Kamal knew he had to do something
    • In a journal, he wrote a vow to himself – “I’m a huge believer in the transformative power of commitment. You commit, you’re in. What came out of me was a vow to love myself. It came from a place of desperation.”
    • The vow – “This day, I vow to myself to love myself, to treat myself as someone I love truly and deeply – in my thoughts, my actions, the choices I make, the experiences I have, each moment I am conscious, I make the decision I LOVE MYSELF.”
  • “Life was falling apart. The only control I had was my head, so I started working on my thoughts. If things started causing any kind of shift, I went deeper. If it didn’t, I threw it away. All I wanted was results.”
  • Eventually…”My mind started to shift, and my body started to get better”
    • “Mind over matter…it does work” – it’s not a placebo effect
    • “And then life started to work. All these random serendipitous coincidences started happening that never in a million years could I fathom, and all I did was continue this process of loving myself”
    • “The more I did it, the more good things started to happen”
  • The company eventually died, and Kamal was forced to start things again from scratch
    • Kamal says on top of this, he was in severe credit card debt at the time
    • “It was a blow to the ego, but it was also like, ‘Wow, I start fresh. What now?'”
More on The Vow
  • Kamal told no one about it. It was his “stake on the planet”- he was going to hold onto it come hell or high water.
  • “I really do believe to create anything great in life, whether it’s in ourselves or outside, it requires a full on commitment. I don’t believe in the middle ground.”
    • You can go to the middle ground once you achieve things, but you can’t get there by staying in the middle ground
  • “I think I’m the laziest person on the planet…but I get a lot done because I make commitments”
    • Once you make commitments, and see the results, you know what works – like exercising to lose weight
  • “The vow to oneself, is the ultimate sacred act”
  • “When you start saying ‘How do I do this?’, your brain starts looking for answers”
    • Kamal saw no other choice, it was either jump off a bridge, or live out his vow to love himself and get better
  • “It’s one thing to make a vow, the work is living it. The vow is like the line in the sand. Now get up and do the work.”
    • “The more you give it, the more you get”
  • “If you start loving yourself, you start becoming a pretty damn good human to be around”
  • “I realized that the only thing I could work on was my inside. My outside was falling apart.”
    • Rather than reacting to the outside world, focus on what you can control – your self-talk 
    • Everything starts with your thoughts
How did the book, Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It, come about?
  • Eventually Kamal mentally and physically improved
  • During his entrepreneurial days, Kamal obsessively studied Hemingway to teach himself to be a better writer
    • “While people we’re out at night partying, I was reading For Whom the Bell Tolls, underlining it for the 15th time”
  • Over time, Kamal started organizing his story into a novel, but collected LOTS of rejection letters along the way
    • He said to himself – “If I’m going to give this to someone, I have to write as real and true as I can, and take my ego out of it”
    • Kamal began excessively working on the book, and wrote, and rewrote – “What was left was something simple, true, and effective, that was something I wish someone had given to me when I was down and out.
Share Your Truth
  • “All I had to do was tell the truth, in the clearest, simplest manner possible, and that’s what I said”
    • Take yourself out of it, share your truth
  • “The thing about putting yourself out there – I was terrified, I almost didn’t publish this book.”
  • “You don’t know what’s going to happen. You gotta do it, and on the other side is magic.”
  • “You gotta have something you believe in. If you’re afraid of what people are going to think of you, because of what you believe in, that’s when you do it. Not for the sake of being vulnerable. It’s got to be something you will really stand up for.”
  • Everyone has their own truth, but how do you get to discover it?
    • “If you sit around and mindlessly consume, you wont find it. It’s hard because it requires self-inquiry. Self-inquiry is not easy.”
  • On a related note, Kamal is also the author of Live Your Truth
    • “There’s no step by step process to figuring out your truth. All I can do is guide you to the thinking required to change your mindset to get there.”
  • “If you have a truth, share it. It changes peoples’ lives.”
Rebirth
  • One of Kamal’s other books
  • Note from Podcast Notes – Please read this, it’s amazing
  • One of the best ways to teach lessons, is through a story, and that’s what Kamal does in this novel
The Love Yourself Practice
  • Loving yourself needs to be a practice, because most humans are not wired to think this way continuously
  • “You have to make it a practice, because if you don’t, the body reverts to what it’s been trained for over our life time”
    • The default state, for many, is negative self-talk
  • The mind is a monkey, and it will actively try to convince you that you don’t, in fact, love yourself
    • “That’s where commitment comes in. If you stick with it, you’ll see results.”
  • “We’re wired for love and fear. All the other things are conditioned over our life time, but they’re based on those two.”
  • For more on the Love Yourself practice… read the book 😉
Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down
  • But it comes back to commitment
    • Jock Wilink likes to say “discipline equals freedom”
  • “You’re human, you’re going to fail every day. Learn from it. Adapt.”
  • Kamal has gone through phases where he’s removed all social media apps from his phone, during rough patches
    • “My mind is better for it. I’m naturally happier”
  • “Commit to loving yourself, it will change your life”
How can you apply loving yourself to entrepreneurship?
  • You can avoid putting up with the negative behaviors of certain founders and employees
    • Just walk away or fire
  • “When you love yourself, you tolerate less.”
Good Founder Traits
  • “Tenacity is probably the most valuable trait you’ll get in a founder”
    • When Kamal speaks with a founder – he really wants to know why they’re doing what they’re doing
    • “I want someone who was born to this”
  • An irrational belief in the validity of their thing
    • “If it was rational someone else would have done it”
Random Yet Important
  • Kamal is working on a an expanded version of Love Yourself – he just finished the third draft
  • “You don’t change industries by telling people to change, you change them by making the alternative more profitable”
  • Outrage on social media is the worst form of participation
    • You feel like you did something, and instead, you did nothing
    • You feel like you’re taking action, when it’s the ultimate inaction
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