The TOP Takeaways Q1 2019 – Life Advice

We went back and compiled all the best life advice from the first quarter of this year. In Podcast Notes fashion, here’s what’s most important:

Key Takeaways

  • Risk is the probability of bad outcomes (Howard Marks)
    • But….bad outcomes = loss AND gains that you miss out on
    • Many people care more about the former – we should think of risk in terms of BOTH
  • “If there’s any scent on the trail, you gotta go”Mike Posner
    • When you’re chasing a dream, and any opportunity presents itself that might bring that dream closer to a reality – follow the scent
  • “People who are living far below their means enjoy a freedom that people busy upgrading their lifestyle just can’t fathom” – Naval Ravikant
  • Instead of trying hard to pick projects to work on, aim to instead develop skills and relationships that transcend any one narrow area of specialty (Tim Ferriss)
  • Create your own struggles in life (through things likes intense physical exercise) to minimize life’s daily, acute struggles (Joe Rogan)
    • “People need a certain amount of conflict and a certain amount of struggle and they create that struggle if they don’t get it in some sort of an organic form” 
  • The people you are surrounded by will rewrite your brain whether you want them to or not (Daniel Gross)
  • “If you don’t deal with your demons, they go into the cellar of your soul and lift weights” – Amanda Palmer 
  • Read what you love, until you love to read (Naval Ravikant)
  • Consider that the next time your partner comes to you with a problem, maybe they don’t want a solution – perhaps they just want someone to listen to them and someone to vent to (Laura Markham)
  • The ability to speak/write well is of the upmost importance (Alexander Cortes)
    • “If you can communicate effectively, whatever environment you’re in, you’re always going to be near the top” 

Let’s dig in.

Always Remember…

  • A conversation tip – Try not to equate your experiences with someone else’s (Celeste Headlee)
  • Don’t listen to reply, listen to consider and understand (Celeste Headlee)
  • Always ask yourself how the opposite of your opinion might possibly be true (Jd Ross)
  • Spend extravagantly on the things you love and cut costs mercilessly on the things you don’t (Ramit Sethi)
  • If someone is willing to give you mentor time, you owe it to them, and to you, to go prepared and then to do a lot of writing after about what you learned (Jim Collins)
  • The most expensive mistake you can make in life is to be a pessimist (Sam Altman)
  • During joyful experiences, try to pause and imagine yourself in the future asking- “How much would I pay to be in this moment again?” (Graham Duncan)
    • Doing so, really helps you to appreciate life’s special moments
  • Think about life as a game – “It’s just another level, another boss, another battle” (Riva Tez)
  • You cannot tell the quality of a decision from the outcome (Howard Marks)
    • Improbable things happen all the time, and probable things fail to happen all the time
  • Risk is the probability of bad outcomes (Howard Marks)
    • Bad outcomes = loss AND gains that you miss out on
    • Many people care more about the former – we should think of risk in terms of BOTH
  • “People who are living far below their means enjoy a freedom that people busy upgrading their lifestyle just can’t fathom” – Naval Ravikant
    • Once you start making money, keep living like your old/poorer self
  • On some level, all of life is investing (Tim Ferriss)
    • We have finite time, energy, and capital – It’s important to be able to make good decisions for how we invest them
  • When looking back and reviewing past decisions and situations, have a system mindset as opposed to an outcome mindset (Safi Bahcall)
    • The system mindset examines the question – “Why did I make that decision?”
    • The outcome mindset only analyzes the result
  • “All the benefits in life come from compound interest”Naval Ravikant
    • Whether it’s in relationships, life, your career, health, or learning
  • “If there’s any scent on the trail, you gotta go” – Mike Posner
    • When you’re chasing a dream, and any opportunity presents itself that might bring that dream closer to a reality – follow the scent
  • 10-20% of your time should be spent being “incredibly opportunistic” (Daniel Gross)
    • “Focus on doing something that may not seem intuitive, that may not align with the metrics you’re collecting, and that may seem a little crazy, but has the potential of really changing your life”
  • “Anything you do can be fixed. What you cannot fix is the perfection of a blank page…because there’s nothing there to fix”Neil Gaiman
  • It’s VERY NORMAL to not have any idea of your purpose in life…especially in your 20s (Tim Ferriss)
  • Instead of trying hard to pick projects to work on, aim to instead develop skills and relationships that transcend any one narrow area of specialty (Tim Ferriss)
  • “You don’t develop confidence in a vacuum. You develop it by systematically exposing yourself to things outside of your comfort zone. As you do that, you condition yourself to better tolerate stress….that’s how you build confidence.” – Tim Ferriss
  • Realize that most of your ideas about how the world works are probably wrong (Marc Andressen)
    • Aim to have strong views, weakly held
  • It’s a superpower to say to yourself – “Do I really need to stay angry about this?” or “How useful is it to stay angry about this?” (Sam Harris)
  • “If you consume the same information as everyone else, how are you going to come up with unique ideas?” – Michael Mayer
  • Life is not about happiness – what people actually want is to not be anxious and miserable (Jordan Peterson)
  • Instead of happiness, look for meaningful engagement and significant responsibility – happiness is a gift, not the main pursuit (Jordan Peterson)
  • Always assume that the person you’re listening to knows something you don’t (Jordan Peterson)
  • “Failure comes from a failure to imagine failure”Josh Wolfe
  • Create your own struggles in life (through things likes intense physical exercise) to minimize life’s daily, acute struggles (Joe Rogan)
    • “People need a certain amount of conflict and a certain amount of struggle and they create that struggle if they don’t get it in some sort of an organic form”
  • EMBRACE the chaos of daily life – LET GO of the need for control (Joe Rogan)
  • You are NOT your past (Joe Rogan)

Kapil Gupta Wisdom

  • “When you need NOTHING, you have EVERYTHING” (Notes)
  • “This is an empty, meaningless, purposeless existence” (Notes)
    • “And if there is freedom, which there is, and if there is true peace, which there is, it lies precisely in seeing the full nature and breadth of the emptiness”
  • The best question you could ask yourself –  “Where could I arrive if limitations simply did not exist?” (Notes)
  • “When one is no longer attached to needing respect, love, or reciprocation, or for someone else to make him happy…when one is no longer attached to the idea of happiness itself…he becomes wildly free” (Notes)
  • A quote you can’t miss(Notes):
    • “If you have 10 people in a room…if you have 1 in those 10 who has that unique and rare DNA, and they’re an ‘outside the box’ human, he needs to run like hell from the other 9
  • The type of questions you ask creates your path in life (Notes)
    • The question that governs Kapil’s life: “What is it that is sitting before me right now that I just haven’t seen?”
  • “Something becomes possible for a human being when he has no choice” (Notes)
  • It’s essential to make the time to pause, reflect, and ask whether what you’re pursuing is even relevant/something you actually want (Notes)

Self-Help/Improvement

  • Think of “failure” as “the successful discovery of something that didn’t work” – Tobi Lütke
  • “Hell is meeting the best version that you could have become at the end of your life”Tobi Lütke
  • Improving 1% every day compounds and adds up to a 3780% improvement by the end of the year (James Altucher)
  • “The next year is going to go by whether you’re doing something about your life or not”Dr. Phil
    • Sure you’re far from your goal now, but the time is going to go by anyway – make the incremental changes, and every day you’ll be better off
  • Instead of focusing so much on adding good habits into your life, consider first subtracting the bad ones (Michael Mayer)
  • “It is much more important for people to cut out bad information than it is to seek good information”Michael Mayer
    • Carefully curate who you follow on Twitter – if you follow the right people, Twitter can be a great educational tool, rather than a dopamine farm
    • Stop consuming information with a short-term shelf life – it won’t matter tomorrow
  • Just like money compounds over time and it’s best to invest it as early as possible, the same is true about yourself – invest in your body and mind as early as you can (Mike Cernovich)

Relationships

  • Consider that the next time your partner comes to you with a problem, maybe they don’t want a solution – perhaps they just want someone to listen to them and someone to vent to (Laura Markham)
  • Advice for finding a good life partner – Find someone you enjoy having dinner with (Safi Bahcall)
  • Great advice from Peter Attia: If you want to make your time on Earth count, think of everyone who would miss you 5 years from now if you were to die today
    • Spend more time deepening relationships with those people
  • Find a group of individuals you can consider as your personal advisory board (Daniel Gross)
    • “The people you are surrounded by will rewrite your brain whether you want them to or not’

For Life’s Hard Times

  • On depression and hard times – “Those periods are very formative. They are very important. You go back to them, those moments when you’re at your worst, and look back at the path you took out of them. The ability to emerge from them and keep going in spite of them are some of the most meaningful parts of life. Your strength comes from that.” – Caterina Fake
  • Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about – we ALL have our demons (Terry Crews)
  • A great quote to live by from Amanda Palmer  – “If you don’t deal with your demons, they go into the cellar of your soul and lift weights”

The Very Useful

  • Check out this neat tracking system from Jim Collins
  • Try writing “morning pages” – this is something Brian Koppelman does every day as soon as he wakes up
    • What are morning pages? – At the start of every day, you write down everything on your mind
      • It’s essentially a huge brain dump (fears, worries, thought, anxieties, ideas…everything)
      • By doing this, you free yourself from the perfectionism, and the fears that hinder your creativity
  • Always live life aiming to never regret anything (Sam Altman)
    • So if your making a decision, and feels like you’re going to regret not doing something in the future, go for it
  • Just like people are billionaires financially, if you have more than a billion seconds left in your life – you’re a time billionaire (Graham Duncan)
    • (A million seconds is 11 days, a billion seconds is slightly over 31 years)
    • Just think – How much would a 90 year old billionaire pay to go back in time and be 20-years-old again?
  • Tim Ferriss‘ advice for finding a mentor
    • Don’t ask – “How do I get a mentor?”
    • Instead ask – “How can I encourage people I aspire to be like, who are 10-30 years ahead of me, to respect me and want me to succeed?”
    • AND –  Before reaching out to a mentor with questions, ask yourself – “Is this a question they could answer in 4 lines or less?”
      • Make sure the answer to this is yes – successful people are very busy
  • A good metric to assess you’re overall state from Tim Ferriss
    • How easily do you fall asleep, and how excited are you to wake up in the morning?
  • The most important skills to cultivate in the 21st century according to Alexander Cortes:
    • Rhetoric
    • Logical thinking ability
    • Knowing how to build a website
    • The ability to speak/write well
      • “If you can communicate effectively, whatever environment you’re in, you’re always going to be near the top”
  • Superpowers in the modern age according to Ed Latimore:
    • Not caring what other people think
    • Not being easily embarrassed
    • Being able to manage, control, and break addictions
  • An important mental model from Scott Page
    • Always try to consider what a problem looks like through the lens of each person involved
  • The 5 most important skills (according to Naval Ravikant) are reading, writing, arithmetic, persuasion, and computer programming
    • “If you’re good with computers, if you’re good at basic math, if you’re good at writing, if you’re good at speaking, and if you like reading, you’re set for life.”
  • “Happiness to me is flow” – Daniel Gross
    • To go further: flow + knowing you moved the needle of the planet —> a good day
  • The best advice Josh Wolfe ever received – avoid boring people
    • Stay away from people that aren’t interesting, avoid boring people, and avoid boring people (don’t be boring to others)
  • Forget psychedelics, you probably just need to spend some time alone in nature – it’s the ultimate perspective enhancer (Joe Rogan)
  • Most of the time, we procrastinate because of the presence of distractions (@CrazyPolymath)
    • And often, that distraction is easy to indulge in (like easily being able to pick up your phone and scroll Twitter)

Lessons on Reading from Naval Ravikant

  • “The foundation of learning is reading”
    • “I don’t know a smart person who doesn’t read”
  • “It’s not that the means of education or the means of learning are scarce, the means of learning are abundant. It’s the desire to learn that’s scarce.”
  • Read what you love, until you love to read
  • BUT…
    • It is important, however, that you read foundational things (the original books in a given field which are scientific in nature)
      • Instead of reading a random business book, read The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
      • Instead of reading a recent book on biology or evolution, read Darwin’s On The Origin of Species
      • Instead of reading a recent biotech book, read The Eighth Day of Creation
      • Another recommendation – Richard Feynman’s Six Easy Pieces
      • “If you understand the basics, especially in mathematics and physics and science, then you will not be afraid of any book”
        • Aim to eventually be able to walk into a library and not fear ANY book
  • “It’s better to go through a book really slowly, and struggle and stumble and rewind, than it is to fly through it quickly just to say, ‘Well now I’ve read 20 books.
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