Scott Galloway: Men’s Health – “If You Continue to Do This, You’re Going to Die Early” | The James Altucher Show

Check out The James Altucher Show Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • Secrets to longevity:
    • Being engaged in your relationships, family, and work
    • As discussed in Blue Zones, the number one predictor of longevity among centenarians was how social they were/how many people in their life they cared for
  • There’s a lot of research showing that our happy place as a species is when we’re in motion and surrounded by others
  • Money and happiness are correlated, but only to a certain extent
    • The correlation flatlines once you get to a point where you have decent housing, can take vacations, can absorb an economic shock, and feel as if your kids can get a decent education
  • An exercise everyone should do:
    • Just imagine the 3 words you want on your tombstone – doing so serves as a great guide for how you should live your life
  • “Follow your passion” is terrible advice
    • Instead, find what you’re good at, double down on it, and become great. Over time, the accoutrements that come with being great at something will in turn make you passionate.
  • Alcohol is a destroyer of happiness while the depth and number of meaningful relationships you have is its bedrock
  • “People overestimate the joy and happiness they’ll get from things and underestimate the joy and happiness they’ll get from experiences”

Books Mentioned

  • Blue Zones by Dan Buettner is an excellent book which examines the commonalities among populations with high numbers of centenarians
  • Jonathan Haidt discussed the mental health crisis among teens in his book The Coddling of the American Mind 

Intro

The Secret to Longevity: Being Engaged

  • “There’s a lot of research showing that men who live on their own die eight to ten years earlier than men who are engaged in a family”
    • “If you’re a man and you want to check out early, just start hanging out alone a lot”
      • (this doesn’t apply as much to women – they do a better job of maintaining social connections)
    • Why is this the case?
      • On a simple level, there’s a low-level “security camera” inside your brain trying to figure out if you’re adding value to the the world
        • When you’re exercising hard, you’re fooling the security camera into believing you’re hunting prey
        • When you’re engaged at work or even just doing a crossword puzzle, you’re fooling the security camera into thinking you’re making important decisions for your tribe
        • BUT – When you’re sedentary, not engaged in other’s lives, and not physically active, that security camera figures you’re not adding any value
          • That security camera then stops secreting the hormones that clear away bad cholesterol, leading to the development of any number of ailments, whether depression or diabetes

The #1 Predictor of Longevity: How Many People You Care For

  • As discussed in Blue Zones, the number one predictor of longevity among centenarians was how social they were/how many people in their life they cared for
    • The universe wants the next generation to be stronger, smarter, and faster so it creates incentives around things that are good for the species
      • “Eating food is fun and having sex feels great and since caring for others is the most important thing for the survival of the species, it’s the most rewarding”
    • “The most important type of love is when you get to a point emotionally, spiritually, and financially where you can engage in what I would call complete love… You’re not keeping score, you’ve just decided to go all in on someone else’s well-being, regardless of what you get back.”

The Happy Place of Our Species

  • “There’s a lot of research showing that our happy place as a species is when we’re in motion and surrounded by others”
    • Think – group exercise!
    • On a family level – “They say a lot of the real memories that cement in our grey matter as we get older, those we look back on as being really profound moments, are moments when we’re traveling in motion with our children”

The Arc of Happiness (why happiness looks like a smile in more ways than one)

  • From 0-25: People are generally happy
  • From 25-35: Shit gets real
    • The economic/career stress, dealing with the death of friends/family, facing failure professionally – it adds up!
  • But starting at age 40s-50s…
    • Many people tend to realize life is finite and take stock of their blessings, thus boosting their overall happiness
    • “The people who are happiest as a cohort, hands down, are always the same people and it’s seniors”

Money and Happiness Are Correlated, But Only to a Certain Extent

  • “There’s research on the correlation between money and happiness… there’s a correlation, but it tops out… The correlation flatlines once you get to a point where you have decent housing, can take vacations, can absorb an economic shock, and feel as if your kids can get a decent education.”
    • If you live in St. Louis, making somewhere between $70k-100k/year would be sufficient. In somewhere like Manhattan, $700k-1 million might be required.
    • So – get to a place of economic security, but realize after that more money won’t make you happier

Social Media is Leading to a Mental Health Crisis Among Teens

  • Jonathan Haidt discussed this more in his book The Coddling of the American Mind (and in these Podcast Notes)
  • “I worry that we have an emerging mental health crisis among teenagers, especially teen girls, where this combination of concierge parenting and social media is creating an entire generation of fragile and depressed young adults.”
    •  Concierge parenting = babying your kids
    • Among teens:
      • Depression is skyrocketing
      • Suicide is up 30%
  • Boys bully physically, girls bully relationally – social media is a nuclear weapon in this regard

A Simple Exercise to Help You Live Your Life with the End in Mind

  • Just imagine the 3 words you want on your tombstone
    • Doing so serves as a great guide for how you should live your life

“Follow Your Passion” is Terrible Advice

  • “Your job as a young person is to find what you’re good at. Once you do, then make the investment in grit, perseverance, skills, and training so you can get great at it. The accoutrements of being great at something, the respect, the admiration, the economic security, the self-fulfillment… those things are wonderful and anything that provides you with those things will make you passionate about whatever it is.”

If You Remember Nothing Else, Remember This – “Happiness is love, full stop”

  • (The below findings originated from the Harvard Grant Study)
  • “The research is pretty clear: alcohol really is the destroyer of happiness across cultures”
    • Why? – It causes your health to take a downward spiral, failed relationships, and less productivity at work
  • The bedrock of happiness: the depth and number of deep, meaningful relationships you have across 3 categories
    • At work – do you feel respected and admired?
    • With your friends – do you feel a sense of joy and camaraderie? Do they sense joy and camaraderie when they’re with you?
    • At home – do you feel an intense level of love and support? Just as importantly, does your partner/family feel love and supported by you?

Thoughts on Success & Failure

  • “Success is the ratio of resilience over failure”
    • Your success in life is determined by your ability to brush off failures and try again… especially in America
  • “We always joke in America that we embrace failure… We don’t embrace failure, but we tolerate it better than any other society.”

The Problem with Universities

  • “We as academics have become drunk on exclusivity. Rather than viewing ourselves as public servants, we now view ourselves as luxury brands.”
    • It’s become a brag to turn away 90% percent of applicants – “That’s tantamount to a housing shelter bragging that it turned away 90% of the people who showed up last night”
      • Stanford hasn’t increase their freshman class size one bit – “because academics have so little to fight over that they like the exclusivity and prestige that comes from that”
    • “Academics like myself have totally lost the script. We should be in the business of making unremarkable kids remarkable and instead we’re in the business of making remarkable kids billionaires.

Additional Notes and Quotes About Happiness You Can’t Miss

  • “I feel confident saying that the first two trillion-dollar company will be Amazon”
  • “I don’t think there is a certain algorithm around happiness, but there are best practices – behaviors and investments that people make that tend to result in an arc of happiness.”
  • “I know a lot of successful people… and it’s not a guarantee of happiness”
  • “The research shows that in terms of actual happiness… people without kids are more happy”
  • “People overestimate the joy and happiness they’ll get from things and underestimate the joy and happiness they’ll get from experiences”
  • “People always focus on their top line, but they also need to focus on their burn. There is a real liberty and dignity to spending less than you make.”
    • “If you want to be rich, it doesn’t mean making three million bucks a year. It means having a passive income that’s greater than your burn.”
  • “Happiness is not only what you have, but it’s an absence of fear from what can be taken away from you”
  • “Life expectancy in the United States has declined three years in a row for the first time in our history”
    • This is largely due to opioid overdoses
  • “Once you’re 20 years old, statistically you have 2600 Sundays left” – James
  • Check out the 1 Second Everyday app
    • The app takes a 1 second video every day and at the end of a year you have a continuous 6 minute timeline of your year
  • “People have this dangerous stereotype of substance abusers… the vast majority of people with a substance problem are functioning adults”
  • “The one piece of advice seniors consistently say they would give to their younger selves… is that they wish they’d been less hard on themselves”
  • “The most overvalued public company in the world right now is Lyft. The most overvalued private company right now is WeWork.”
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