Scott Galloway: Solving the Algebra of Happiness – The Jordan Harbinger Show

Key Takeaways

  • Instead of following your passion, find out what you’re good at and become great at it
    • In return, you’ll earn money, status, and power and will over time become passionate about your work
    • Follow your passion on your weekends, do the work you’re good at during the week
  • The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest
  • Entrepreneurship is a VERY difficult way to make a living
    • It’s often over-romanticized and filled with very high highs and very low lows
  • The two most important factors Scott looks for when determining whether or not someone will be successful: The pedigree of where they went to college + their zip code
    • Aim for that zip code to be a big city – that’s where the majority of economic growth will take place over the next few decades
  • Work-life balance is largely a myth
    • If you want to be in the top 0.1% of earners, you’ll have to sacrifice a LOT more than you think
  • Get the easy stuff right – the rest takes care of itself
    • Have respect for institutions, work hard, find out what you’re good at, save some money, show up on time, respect the environment, be kind to others, and stay humble

Intro

About Scott Galloway

  • Scott was rejected by UCLA but wrote them a letter saying he was raised by a single mother and if he didn’t get into their school, he would have to continue installing shelves for $18 an hour as a career
    • The school appreciated his honesty and allowed him to enroll
      • Scott, however, wasn’t a great student (2.27 GPA)
  • Scott realizes now that as a kid, he smoked way too much pot and didn’t have much discipline

Life Advice

  • America’s mission used to be to create as many millionaires as possible, but today, it seems the mission has changed to creating the world’s first trillionaire
    • Household income and wages haven’t budged in 30 years, but no one seems to be talking about this
  • The two most important factors Scott looks for when determining if a young person will be successful: The pedigree of where they went to college + their zip code
    • America has a caste system – that system is university ranking
    • Two-thirds of economic growth over the next 30 years will take place in supercities
      • Get credentials and move to a big city while you’re young
        • The older you get, the harder it becomes to do so
  • If you’re super successful, realize that more likely than not luck played an important role in your life
    • If you’re unsuccessful, realize that bad luck also probably played a role
    • In either case – realize that you can move the needle in a certain direction, but some things are just out of your control
  • Just because you make millions of dollars each year doesn’t mean you’re rich
    • If you make $5 million a year, but spend $5.5 million a year, you’re broke
    • If you make $50,000 a year but spend $40,000 a year, you’re rich
      • Young people should focus on their income, older people should focus on their burn rate
  • Find time to stay fit and maintain your relationships
  • Both Scott and Jordan think that pursuing your passion is bad advice
    • Instead of following your passion, find out what you’re good at and become great at it
      • In return, you’ll earn money, status, and power and over time become passionate about your work
    • Follow your passion on your weekends, do the work you’re good at during the week
    • The “boring” industries are usually the ones that you’ll make the most money in – sexy industries (fashion, sports, music) are almost impossible to make money in
  • The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest
    • You can apply compound interest to everything (i.e., money, relationships, and friendships)
      • Invest in these areas early

The Truth About Entrepreneurship

  • Scott started 9 companies – some went bust while others were home runs
    • The reality is that 80% of new companies fail
  • Entrepreneurship = Ability to take risks + Ability to sell
    • Selling clients, selling employees, selling the mission, etc.
  • Entrepreneurship is a VERY difficult way to make a living
    • It is often over-romanticized and filled with very high highs and very low lows
  • Before you become an entrepreneur, ask yourself:
    • Are you comfortable asking people that don’t want to hear from you to buy your product over and over again?
    • Are you willing to ask friends and family for money and possibly be okay with losing all their capital?
    • Are you willing to put all the revenue you generate back into the business over and over again in the hope that it will turn out okay in the end?

Work or Life, Not Work-Life

  • Scott’s hunger to become successful came from him being unable to help his mother find better healthcare treatment when she was diagnosed with breast cancer
    • He decided then and there that he would be rich
    • Scott also realized that having money and power attracted a broader set of potential mates
  • Scott barely remembers his 20s and early 30s because all he did was work
    • He did become rich, but he also had health problems and it ruined his first marriage
  • Work-life balance is largely a myth
    • Sure there’s that person that makes a ton of money, is in great shape, has a fantastic family and finds time to volunteer, but they are the EXCEPTION, not the norm
  • Economic security is important, but don’t get caught in the hamster wheel and only focus on making money your entire life
    • A lot of Scott’s students set their income exceptions way too high – they don’t expect to be in the 1%, they think they’ll be in the .1%
      • But many of them don’t understand the sacrifices required to get to the .1%

Additional Notes

  • Get the easy stuff right:
    • Have respect for institutions, work hard, find out what you’re good at, save some money, show up on time, respect the environment, be nice and kind to others, and stay humble
  • The strength and depth of your relationships are the keys to your happiness
    • “Happiness is love full-stop”
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