Neil Pasricha: Resilience and Going Untouchable – The Chase Jarvis LIVE Show

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Key Takeaways

  • Despite living in abundance, people are more thin-skinned than ever before
    • “Because life is so ‘easy’ right now and we’re living in an era of infinite abundance, we actually haven’t developed the internal musculature to handle failure or even perceived failure. We are turning into an army of porcelain dolls. We are soft… We’re thin-skinned.”Neil Pasricha
  • Every morning, journal on these three prompts:
    • “I will let go of…”
    • “I am grateful for…”
    • “I will focus on…” 
  • Advice for creators:
    • “Ironically, the way to find your audience again, and again, and again, is to ignore your audience and just focus on having fun and being selfish”Neil Pasricha
  • Pick up a reading habit – books are the greatest form of compressed knowledge that we have
  • Whenever you’re contemplating a big decision in life, ask yourself:
    • “Which of these options would I regret not doing more on my deathbed?”
    • “What will I do if I fail? What’s my plan B?”
  • Incorporate intermittent smartphone/social media fasts into your routine

Books Mentioned

Intro

You Are Awesome

  • This is Neil’s latest book
  • The central premise: Despite living in abundance, people are more thin-skinned than ever before
    • We’re more affluent, educated, and safer than ever – we’ve never had it better! 
      • Yet, rates of depression, anxiety, loneliness, and suicide are skyrocketing
    • “Because life is so ‘easy’ right now and we’re living in an era of infinite abundance, we actually haven’t developed the internal musculature to handle failure or even perceived failure. We are turning into an army of porcelain dolls. We are soft… We’re thin-skinned.”Neil Pasricha
  • Another essential idea discussed in the book:
    • “You know what we’re doing as parents? We are coddling our children. We are inadvertently depriving them of the necessary experiences they need in order to build resilience.”Neil Pasricha

The Two-Minute Morning Ritual

  • This is discussed more in You Are Awesome
  • First off, stop sleeping with your cell phone – keep it in another room
    • “All of us are basically sleeping with our cell phones, and we don’t see what this addiction is doing to us. It’s jostling our mind into a low-resilient state as soon as we wake up.” – Neil Pasricha
  • Every morning, journal on these three prompts:
    • “I will let go of…”
      • This one is a way of ejecting anxiety, allowing you to minimize regrets throughout the day
      • Think of this as a place to “put your anxieties”
    • “I am grateful for…”
      • By showing gratitude, you’re better able to view the world through a positive lens
    • “I will focus on…” 
      • This is a simple method of determining the most essential item on your to-do list

There’s No You Today Without the You of Yesterday

  • “We so often think of the past as breaking something down and building something new, when actually, all of us are works in progress; the past is transcended and included in something new.” Neil Pasricha
  • Just think:
    • Siri wouldn’t have developed without search
    • Uber wouldn’t have developed without mapping technology

Neil’s Approach to Work

  • His goal: Simplification 
    • “I don’t think of myself as someone who’s smarter than other people. If anything, I do no work at all. I do no research. I’m not an academic. I don’t study anything. All I do is read a ton and try my best to distill everything I understand into a simple framework that works for me and hopefully for other people.” – Neil Pasricha

Create Art for Fun, Not for the Money or Views

  • For more on this, Neil highly recommends David Foster Wallace’s The Nature of Fun essay
  • “Ironically, the way to find your audience again, and again, and again, is to ignore your audience and just focus on having fun and being selfish”Neil Pasricha
    • The reason many books get popular in the first place is because the writer has FUN writing them, and did so selfishly 
      • Backtrack this out to whatever your art is – podcasting, drawing, you name it
      • When all else fails, ask yourself: “What could I do just for FUN?”
      • When you create art for your own personal enjoyment, the audiences comes TO YOU because they’re interested in your unique human perspective
    • Don’t get caught in the trap of seeking audience praise – create for YOU 

Pick Up an Amateur Hobby

  • Nobel Prize winners are 22x more likely than their scientific peers to have an amateur hobby unrelated to science, outside of their discipline
  • “Your learning rate is the steepest when you know the least. A big way to avoid cognitive entrenchment, make your mind more flexible, and increase its resilience is always to be doing something you stink at.” – Neil Pasricha
    • Give yourself permission to suck!! 
  • Similarly: If you’re trying different things over and over again, and frequently exposing yourself to new fields, you’re more likely to experience those aha moments you can backtrack to your core discipline

Progress > Perfection

  • All the self-help/self-improvement advice can sure get overwhelming, but at the end of the day, try to remember:
    • “The goal with all this stuff is not to be perfect, it’s just to be better than before”Neil Pasricha

The Power of Reading

  • One in three Americans read zero books last year
  • Books are the greatest form of compressed knowledge that we have
    • They open up more of our brains than any other form of media (specifically areas of the brain related to empathy, compassion, understanding, and emotional intelligence – all needed now more than ever!)
  • Neil recalls a quote from Game of Thrones:
    • “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”

Neil’s Two-Question Framework for Significant Life Decisions

  • Whenever you’re contemplating a big decision in life, ask yourself:
    • “Which of these options would I regret not doing more on my deathbed?”
    • “What will I do if I fail? What’s my plan B?”
      • Pondering this question allows you to realize that the worst-case scenario often isn’t as bad as you make it out to be 

Go Untouchable

  • Many people use their phones over 5 hours a day, and touch their phones more than 2,500 times a day
  • The problems with smartphone and social media addiction:
    • Use before bed impairs sleep quality
    • We’re caught in a constant state of comparison, resulting in unhappiness
    • We’re continually multitasking and inhibiting productivity
  • One day a week, Neil goes totally untouchable – no smartphone, no internet
    • You may not be able to make it a whole day yourself, but do what you can – try an intermittent technology fast from bedtime to lunch the following day
      • In addition to going untouchable one day/week, Neil has his wife hide his smartphone from him every night after dinner until the next morning

The Three Buckets of Life

  • There are 186 hours in a week
    • 56 of those hours are spent sleeping
    • 56 of those hours are spent working
    • The last 56 hours can be spent however you choose – make the most of them

Additional Notes & Quotes to Ponder

  • “When you put your best self out to the world, the world gives you its best self back” – Neil Pasricha
  • Neil recalls a quote from Kurt Vonnegut: “Don’t use semicolons. All they do is show you’ve been to college.”
  • “All I hope to do for my children, in this one precious life, is give them as many models as possible, show them the many different ways of avoiding cognitive entrenchment, and encourage them to always try to see life as a series of random little experiments that grow our resilience and keep us moving forward.” Neil Pasrciha
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