19 Lessons From 400 Episodes – Jordan Peterson, James Clear & Douglas Murray | Modern Wisdom Podcast with Chris Williamson

Key Takeaways

  • “The biggest productivity strategy in the modern world is just getting ruthlessly clear about what it is that you want to do and the culling everything that doesn’t contribute to it”Chris Williamson
  • Trying for perfection can derail you from the process of learning-by-doing (trial and error)
  • Fixing someone else is hard when you have a lot of things to do on your own (fixing your poor daily routine, faulty mindset, etc.)
  • Chris does not like the idea that smart minds are discussing identity politics when they could be doing more important things (pandemic, China, Russia, etc.)
  • Place money into stocks and shares that are linked to the S&P 500 – dollar cost average
  • Consistency is the best competitive advantage against other talented and enthusiastic people because it’s so rare
  • It’s perfectly normal to doubt your abilities if you are doing something for the first time. The imposter syndrome is an accurate representation of your uncertainty
  • Telling the truth is like a superpower; it works for everything, and lying degrades your virtue
  • “If you don’t know what you are going to think next, how can you say that the voice in your head is you?”Chris Williamson
  • If you do not trust yourself that you are going to do the things that you say you are going to do, you have no firm foundation to stand on

Key Books Mentioned

Intro

  • Chris Williamson (T: @ChrisWillx and IG: @chriswillx) is a podcaster, YouTuber, and club promoter
  • “There is nothing that I would rather do at 6:00 p.m. most weekday evening than speak to whoever the hell it is; a porn star or a psychologist or a philosopher or a sportsperson or me on my own how it’s going to be this evening.”Chris Williamson
  • To celebrate 400 episodes on Modern Wisdom, Chris Williamson breaks down some of his favorite lessons from the last 3 and a half years. Expect to learn advice for beating imposter syndrome by Seth Godin, why framing is everything, Morgan Housel’s investment advice, why you should never lie, and much more
  • Host – Chris Williamson (@ChrisWillx)

“You Cannot Overestimate the Unimportance of Practically Everything.”- John Maxwell

  • Most of the things we do in our day-to-day life are trivial and make us lose sight of our original goals
    • Nowadays, we have more options and more opportunities, but we lack the time to do everything
    • This is why we constantly get distracted
  • “The biggest productivity strategy in the modern world is just getting ruthlessly clear about what it is that you want to do and the culling everything that doesn’t contribute to it”Chris Williamson
    • What do you want to achieve?
    • When you have the answer, think about all of the things that don’t contribute to your goals and stop doing them

“Perfection Is Procrastination Masquerading as Quality Control.”- Chris Williamson

  • “Polishing things to perfection is a low leverage activity.”Tiago Forte
    • When people are trying to get good at something, they don’t usually don’t want to take the next step until they get it perfect
    • This can mean finding the perfect brand name for your product, the perfect logo, the perfect timing to go public, etc.
  • Trying for perfection can derail you from the process of learning-by-doing (trial and error)
    • You will learn more from taking the next step and failing (and reflecting) than you are from getting something from 90% to 93% quality
    • Learn how to be good at the things you do, there is no need for perfection
    • Be good enough and deliver something of value to your audience

“You Do Not Serve People From Your Cup, You Serve Them From the Saucer Which Overflows Around Your Cup.”- Aubry Marcus

  • By doing something important that we care about (think about how to become your best self) we will affect everyone around us
    • Working hard on yourself has an immediate influence on the people around you
    • Fixing someone else is hard when you have a lot of things to do on your own (fixing your poor daily routine, faulty mindset, etc.)
    • This does not mean you have to wait to become perfect, but it’s best to serve others if you serve yourself first

“Do People Love You for Who You Are or for What You Do?”- James Smith

  • This is not an easy question to answer because we build our identity around the things that we do
    • We tend to love ourselves for what we do (the last business deal we made, the last date we had, etc.) more than for what we are
    • This makes our self-worth dependant on the work that we put out into the world
    • If we love ourselves for what we do, why do we expect something different from other people?

“When the Barbarians Are at the Door, We Will Be Debating What Gender They Are.”- Douglas Murray

  • There are evil people out there and the West is preoccupied with social justice and identity politics
    • The West is not a powerful role model, it’s decentralized
    • Chris does not like the idea that smart minds are discussing identity politics when they could be doing more important things (pandemic, China, Russia, etc.)

“Don’t Try to Beat the Market, Just Dollar Cost Average Into It.”- Morgan Housel

  • The only investment advice that 80% of people need to know
    • You do not need to beat the market, all you need to do is track the market
    • Place money into stocks and shares that are linked to the S&P 500 – dollar cost average
    • It is highly improbable that all these companies will go bankrupt simultaneously

Consistency is Even Rarer than Talent or Enthusiasm

  • It’s common to have enthusiasm for any new thing you start doing
    • Some may even discover that they are exceptionally gifted at certain things
    • But how many of us will end up being consistent in the long term?
  • Consistency is the best competitive advantage against other talented and enthusiastic people
    • The best way to find out what works for you (you get feedback)
    • It’s so rare that it immediately separates you from almost all of your competition
  • E.g. by making 21 podcasts, you are in the top 1% of all podcasters ever
    • You will go top percentile just with consistency

“Loneliness Is a Kind of Tax You Have to Pay For a Certain Complexity of Mind.”- Alain de Botton

  • This is not a direct quote by Alain but Chris is sure that this is what Alain will say once he finally gets him on the show
  • The more unique you are (different interests than the majority of people, more complex mind, etc.), the fewer people will understand you
    • “People do not want people that are just like everyone else, they want people that are romantically unique and trailblazers that have odd idiosyncrasies and quirks that they can fall in love with”Chris Williamson
    • This is not something you should abandon just because you are struggling to find someone to connect with

“Imposter Syndrome is a Feature, Not a Bug of Growing as a Person.”- Seth Godin

  • It’s perfectly normal to doubt your abilities if you are doing something for the first time
    • There is nothing wrong with being uncertain
    • The imposter syndrome is an accurate representation of your uncertainty
  • You are just expanding your domain of competence, think of it as a line in the sand that lets you know you are out of your comfort zone
    • What awaits you on the other side of that line is proof of your competence

“Never Lie.”- Jordan Peterson

  • Your internal sense of self-wort is keeping check even if you are not
    • Telling the truth is like a superpower; it works for everything, and lying degrades your virtue
  • Sometimes it’s easier to tell people what they want to hear or to sugarcoat reality
    • If you do that for too long, you won’t know who you are anymore
    • You are already a mystery to yourself and lying just adds more layers on top of that
  • Truth, coupled with charm, charisma, and care is the best way to deliver what you and the people around you need to hear

“The Wise of Every Generation Discover the Same Truths.”- Shane Parish

  • The belief that you have a unique problem that no one on the planet has ever faced before is probably wrong
    • If we try to find wisdom in the past, the answer is already there
    • Many of the solutions we come upon are things that your parents would have told you
  • “Tradition is a set of solutions for which we have forgotten the problems, take the solution away and often the problem comes back.”Chris Williamson

“The Bleeding Edge of Internet Culture Can Predict Downfalls 6-12 Months Before From Most Normies Even Realize.”- Ryan Long

  • People who spend a lot of time on the internet, and understand the internet culture know the sort of things that are going to go viral
    • YouTubers like Fillion, Coffeezilla, Tom Nash had done takedown videos on Dan Bilzerian before he got “caught” faking everything
    • Keeping your ears down on the right areas of the internet is a good window into the future

“Your Framing is Everything.”- Benjamin Hardy

  • Feeling like you just finished a workout in the gym is amazing
    • You are working hard, bleeding, and when you finally crash on the floor in a pool of sweat, you feel amazing
    • Imagine you have that same post-workout experience while you are in a car and stuck in traffic
    • You would be terrified and think you are having a heart attack
  • Why does one make you feel amazing, and the other one makes you feel afraid?
    • It is because of framing; you are prepared to put up with blood, sweat, and tears in the gym because it is in service of something good
  • By learning to control frame situations, you can alter your perspective and emotional responses

“Don’t Practice What You Do Not Want to Become.”- Jordan Peterson

  • “Every action is a vote for the kind of person you’re going to be in the future.”James Clear
    • Every time you do something, it is more likely you will do it again in the future- that’s how habits work
  • The way our brains work is that it’s really hard to break connections in the brain once they are made
    • If you notice you are doing something you don’t like or you want to break a bad habit, try pattern interruption (changing little routines)
    • For smartphone junkies, that can mean rearranging the menu on your smartphone, or placing your smartphone on a different side of the desk, or a different pocket

“You are Not Your Thoughts.”- Corey Allen

  • Corey is a meditation teacher that makes binaural beats for meditation focus, check out Chris’ podcast with Corey
  • Identifying with what your mind says is like identifying with what someone on the street says
    • You don’t know what you are going to think next; it’s hard to predict our train of thought
    • “If you don’t know what you are going to think next, how can you say that the voice in your head is you?”Chris Williamson
  • Just because the voice comes from inside of us does not mean that we need to trust it
    • You can have faith in your word, but think about all the times that you thought of something that didn’t end up being true (e.g. catastrophizing about your future)

“Action is the Antidote to Anxiety.”- Rich Diviney

  • Rich Diviney founded the seal mind gym- Navy SEALs division for mental performance optimization
    • Doing something, anything can make us feel better
    • “You are not afraid of the future when you are moving towards it.”Chris Williamson
    • The sense in the back of your head that you should be doing something else – the stagnation and the helplessness
  • Moving just a little bit towards something that we want to achieve (even the tiniest step like doing one push up) can make us escape a bad mood

“Joy has to be found today, not tomorrow.”- Jonny Wilkinson

  • “If you can’t be happy with the coffee, you won’t be happy with a yacht; choose to find joy in today it’s there waiting for you.”Naval Ravikant
    • Do not look past today to be happy tomorrow
    • There is no becoming happy, there is just being happy
    • Do not make putting off happiness become a habit
  • Try to find a bit of joy in everything you do (helping out a friend, taking a walk, going for a coffee, etc.)

Keep Promises to Yourself

  • Every time you brake a promise to yourself, some part of you keeps track
    • Breaking a promise degrades your inner sense of value
  • If you do not trust yourself that you are going to do the things that you say you are going to do, you have no firm foundation to stand on
    • The person you have the most control over is yourself
    • And if you can’t trust yourself, how can you build meaningful relationships with anyone else

Most Problems are Easily Fixed

  • Lost Connections by Johann Hari
    • In recent history, depression is usually seen as a chemical imbalance in the brain
    • Johann stresses the importance of unmet needs (career, purpose, friends, relationship, etc.)
    • He was criticized for de-medicalizing depression but Chris liked it because it puts the power back in the hands of the person suffering
    • “Giving yourself the best opportunity to be happy by doing the things in your life that create the fundamental foundation for happiness is a good way to begin.”Chris Williamson
  • 90% of issues (that aren’t big problems) are solved by doing something that changes your current state
    • Have a good sleep (maybe you are underslept)
    • Drink a glass of water (dehydration)
    • Go to the gym (try to work out some aggression and negative energy)
    • Walk outdoors (expose yourself to sunlight and fresh air)
    • Talk with a friend (maybe you just need to be understood)

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