Making Decisions, Achieving Excellence and Finding Meaning | Derek Sivers on Modern Wisdom with Chris Williamson

Key Takeaways

  • Ignore what you say, but notice what you do
  • Your actions reveal your values
  • When you’re making a decision between choices A and B, don’t forget to consider the benefit of doing neither
  • Don’t oversimplify situations, acknowledge nuance
  • Succinctness is a good tool to get ideas to spread and carry, but not so, for truth
  • What you wanted five years ago, may not be what you want now and that’s okay!
  • Ask yourself: what you want now vs. what you want most = shallow happy vs. deep happy
  • What you do may not mean anything in 50 years, but if you enjoyed doing it, that’s great “ – Derek Sivers
  • Tips to help power down:
    • Charge your phone overnight outside your bedroom
    • No electronics in the bedroom! It’s not sexy
    • Use an old-school clock by your bed
    • Don’t arrange your house or furniture around the TV

Books mentioned

Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives – by David Eagleman

Mindwise: How We Understand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want – by Nicholas Epley

Happy – by Derren Brown

Intro

Derek Sivers is a writer, entrepreneur & musician. Check out Derek’s Website

Host: Chris Williamson is on Instagram and Twitter

Decision-Making: Hell, Yeah! or No

  • When you’re making a decision between choices A and B, don’t forget the benefit of doing neither, of doing nothing – name it as an option: choice C
    • If you want to do nothing, ask yourself, why?
  • Hell, Yeah! or No – decision-making based on Derek’s new book of the same name
    • A tool to use when you feel overwhelmed and over-committed
    • When deciding whether to do something, if you feel anything less than “Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!” — then say “no.”
    • Example: Derek suggests that when you’re just out of college, say yes to everything, when something hits and you start being successful, double down on it, then start saying no and focus on the thing giving you major payoffs/satisfaction
  • The Slow Approach – embrace slow thinking, the first answer that comes to mind when answering a question or solving a problem is not always the right answer or even the most interesting answer

What would you identify as your life values?

  • Ignore what you say, but notice what you do
  • Your actions reveal your values
    • Ex) You can say you want to be kind, but if you walk around being an asshole it doesn’t matter what you say
  • Don’t oversimplify – i.e. You hate the city, so you move to the country, and then wind up missing the city
  • Truth is nuanced – i.e. Sometimes you hate the city
  • We want to have a simple profile of ourselves but life is situational
  • Don’t oversimplify situations, acknowledge nuance
  • You can be ever-changing – like nature you can change your colors
  • “In between black and white is not only gray, but every color in the world”- Derek Sivers
  • What you wanted five years ago, may not be what you want now and that’s okay!

What have you changed your mind about recently?

  • Don’t oversimplify – most things are more nuanced, especially truth
  • Truth is very nuanced whereas soundbites and tweets are succinct
  • Succinctness is a good tool to get ideas to spread and carry, but not so, for truth
  • Truth doesn’t tweet well
  • Barbell theory – you have black AND white thinking – do succinct things but think in a nuanced way

What are you optimizing your life for?

  • Sometimes in your life it’s okay to stick with one thing, other times its okay to chase distractions
  • Ask yourself: what you want now vs. what you want most = shallow happy vs. deep happy
  • No one is more qualified to make a decision about you than you
  • Discover if it’s time to stay focused or if it’s time for you to change things up
    • Try on a new hat to find out if something new works for you

How do you balance excellence in life?

  • People that choose the easier path don’t get excellence
  • “Excellence is usually choosing the more difficult path which gives greater rewards” –Derek Sivers
  • Excellence is doing what you need to do even when you don’t feel like it
  • Precision is doing what you mean to do
  • The opposite of excellence is procrastination
  • People procrastinate when they’re facing something difficult, because it’s easier to retreat into the safe thing
  • Procrastination exists because people fear failure
  • The best way to stop procrastination is to catch yourself doing it and interrupt it
    • Go do whatever you need to do no matter how unpleasant it is
    • It gets easier after you begin the process
  • If there’s something you always wanted to do, stop wasting time and do it!
  • Most people could probably check off their Bucket List in a few months if they just switched their focus toward their list and away from playing video games, watching tv and hanging out

How does our mortality, our fleeting existence impact how we should view our lives?

  • What you do may not mean anything in 50 years, but if you enjoyed doing it, that’s great “ – Derek Sivers
  • Don’t get lost in “the bigger picture” – at any point in life you can zoom in or out on any given moment and change the focus
  • People have an innate fear of death
  • Our secular society has caused more people to try and find meaning in their life
    • Sivers said his podcast and books are what he’ll leave behind – his creative output
  • Advice from the book Happy: Your thought patterns are your personality
  • Sharing your personality with your family and friends now, will be what you will leave behind, your life-after-death contribution

Powering Down

  • Two hours before bedtime, Derek powers down his broadband modem
  • He disconnects from the world – even the phone – and keeps writing off line and doesn’t reconnect to the internet until noon the next day
  • Derek says he finds a wonderful peace and relief in knowing he’s unreachable: “no one can get to me”
  • Tips to help power down:
    • Charge your phone overnight outside your bedroom
    • No electronics in the bedroom! It’s not sexy
    • Use an old-school clock by your bed
    • Don’t arrange your house or furniture around the TV

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.