kamal ravikant

Loving Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It, Taming the Mind, and Following Fears – Kamal Ravikant on What Got You There with Sean DeLaney

Check out the What Got You There with Sean DeLaney podcast page

Key Takeaways

  • Start and end your days with 30-minutes dedicated to self-improvement or inner work
  • Every morning, take time to answer the question: “Who do I want to be today?”
    • As of late, Kamal has been trying to “be a man who lives gratitude”
  • Throughout your day, pause and take ten deep breaths
    • On the in-breath, focus on feeling whatever it is you want to feel: Gratitude, happiness, love, empathy, joy… you name it
  • When you transform your inner game, the outer game takes care of itself
  • “If it scares me, there’s magic on the other side” Kamal Ravikant
    • “Most fear is a signal of where to go, but we actually look at it as a signal of where not to go”
  • Advice that will never steer you wrong: Leap, and the net will appear
  • “With whatever you’re doing in life… if you know it’s true, if you know it’s real, you have to do it… That’s where the magic is.” Kamal Ravikant
  • When faced with a decision, ask yourself: “If I loved myself truly and deeply, what would I do?”


Kamal’s Near-Death Experience

  • On October 2nd, Kamal had quite the scare after some unfortunate complications from a standard surgery resulted in severe internal bleeding
    • Kamal, seconds away from death, was luckily at the hospital when the bleeding began. After emergency surgery and several months of recovery, Kamal is finally starting to feel better.

How to Start and End Your Days (especially if you run a startup)

  • “Startups can become all-encompassing. From the moment you wake up, you’re on email and fighting fires.” – Kamal Ravikant
    • Unfortunately, this tends to lead to some unhealthy mental states
  • Back when Kamal was heavily involved in the startup scene, because of the above, he focused on starting and finishing his days doing things that had nothing to do with work, but rather self-improvement
    • The specifics:
      • No phone or email during the first and last half-hour of each day
      • In the morning, either work out or meditate
      • At night, avoid watching TV and instead, read
    • Kamal adds: “It’s very simple; the first half-hour and last half-hour is yours, and it’s for your mind and spirit”
  • If you immediately wake up and check your email/jump into fighting fires, you’re much more prone to burnout
    • “You’d think because you’re always on you’d be more effective, but it actually turns out that when you take these breaks, you feed your inner self and you’re better for it” Kamal Ravikant

Who do you want to be today?

  • This is a question Kamal has been asking himself every morning as of late
    • “I sit there with my coffee and meditate. I take a little time to think about who I want to be today…the man I want to be. I make a mini commitment to myself to be that man. Then, throughout the day, I just check in with myself: ‘Am I being that man?'”Kamal Ravikant
      • Lately, Kamal has been trying to “be a man who lives gratitude”
        • “It sounds cliche… But after having almost died in a painful and messy way, I’ll tell you, you start to feel some gratitude. You just do… I don’t want to lose that. It’s a beautiful feeling.”

Taming the Mind with Ten Breaths

  • “The mind is a freakin’ monkey, and if you leave it untamed, it’s going to run around and scream and throw bananas at everything” – Kamal Ravikant
  • To further enforce a feeling of gratitude, Kamal takes time to pause throughout the day with ten deep breaths
    • “On the in-breath, I make myself feel gratitude. For what? It doesn’t matter.”Kamal Ravikant
      • “I’m layering that in. I’m becoming the man who feels gratitude. And you know what happens? You start to think and act from that place… If you just focus on creating those feelings within yourself, it starts to become a regular pattern.”
        • Going further: “Your thoughts start to come from this place, your actions start to come from this place, your life starts to come from this place.”
      • One note: You don’t have to focus on feeling gratitude specifically. Make yourself feel whatever you want to feel: happiness, love, empathy, joy… you name it.

Make a Vow

  • “Everything starts from a commitment to the self… It all starts from within. If you fix your inside, the outside works.” Kamal Ravikant
    • When you transform your inside, you transform your life
  • To further facilitate the commitment to feel more gratitude, or whatever it is you’re trying to feel, write it down as a vow
    • Then, every morning, give the vow a read
  • Kamal’s Current Fitness and Nutrition Regimen
    • To fully heal his body, Kamal is focused on eating as clean as possible. His diet includes:
      • Lots of grass-fed meats
      • Wild-caught salmon
      • “Badass Rhonda Patrick-style smoothies with everything green you can find under the sun”
      • Minimal, if any, alcohol
      • Almost zero carbs
    • Before his surgery, Kamal’s exercise routine consisted of tons of heavy squats, deadlifts, rows, and military presses
      • After taking a month off, Kamal is back in the gym with his doctor’s permission and keeping the weights light, but slowly increasing the load
        • Because of the lighter weight, Kamal has been focusing on slowing down the movements as much as he can, increasing the time he spends under resistance

Everything is Solvable

  • “I have a mindset that every problem is solvable… If you realize everything is solvable, then when you go at it, you’ll figure out the solution.”Kamal Ravikant

Kamal’s Background

  • Kamal was raised by a single mother in Queens
    • “She was always working minimum wage jobs, gone all the time just trying to put food on the table… My brother and I were latchkey kids. We just read all the time and lived in libraries. That was daycare. My mom would leave us in the library while she’d go to work on the days we didn’t have school.” – Kamal Ravikant
  • Kamal attended college at UAlbany on a full ride, but only stuck around for his freshman year, leaving to join the U.S. Army as an infantry soldier 
    • “One thing that I think was a defining experience in my life at age 18 was attending boot camp… Just being thrown into that, and every day being challenged, at 18, that’s a gift I gave to myself. I came out of that knowing I made it through.” Kamal Ravikant
  • Later on, Kamal took some time to backpack around the world, despite minimal savings
    • This experience, in particular, enforced the mindset that, no matter what, every problem was solvable
    • Kamal documented a bit of his journey in his novel, Rebirth

Follow Your Fears

  • “If it scares me, there’s magic on the other side” Kamal Ravikant
    • “Most fear is a signal of where to go, but we actually look at it as a signal of where not to go”
  • Kamal walks to talk:
    • After going back to school to get his degree, Kamal spent some time working at a trauma center in Upstate, NY in order to get the necessary research experience needed for med school
    • Around this time, the dot-com boom was in full swing, and Kamal felt some pull to move to Silicon Valley to get in on the startup action
      • After one of his friends gave him some advice – “Leap, and the net will appear” – Kamal knew he had to make the move
        • “The next day I bought a one-way ticket to California, sold everything I had, and moved out” – Kamal Ravikant 
        • Kamal adds: “You don’t first look and create a net and then leap into it. You gotta leap first. The net appears afterward.”

The Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It Origin Story

  • After his self-funded company failed, Kamal fell into the darkest depths of depression. A fighter in his own right, Kamal fought back and started working on his inner game.
    • With some effort, things started to shift. After developing a few tactics that he wanted to share with the world, Kamal self-published the first version of Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It on Amazon.
  • Putting the book out into the world certainly wasn’t easy: “I put it out, and I really thought I was going to destroy my career in Silicon Valley” – Kamal Ravikant
    • (This was back in 2012 when the idea of mental well-being was far less accepted)
    • “It was a big risk that I took… I took it because I had something true to share. I had something I knew was real. With whatever you’re doing in life… if you know it’s true, if you know it’s real, you have to do it… That’s where the magic is.”
  • Fortunately, the book took off and ended up changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the globe

On Self-Belief

  • Sometimes, you have to put self-belief aside, and just do whatever it is you want to do
    • “If we waited until we believed in ourselves… then we’d never do anything” – Kamal Ravikant
  • “Self-belief matters less than doing things. It comes from doing things.”Kamal Ravikant

Kamal’s Writing Process

  • When working on a book, Kamal utilizes the Pomodoro Technique – a time management method in which work is broken down into short, 25-minute sprints/intervals
    • Every day, he tracks how many “Pomodoros” he puts in 
      • Naturally, day after day, Kamal wants to beat his previous day’s tally
    • Sometimes, Kamal will go for several 25-minute blocks without stopping, especially if he’s in the flow state
  • “I give everything to my books. When I write, I don’t hold anything back. I bleed onto the page. I do that for a reason. I do that because I know the impact that my words have on my readers.”Kamal Ravikant

The Revised and Expanded Version of Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

  • “This expanded version, I worked so hard on it for a year. I gave it everything… I know I created something special. The first version helped; this version’s really going to help.” – Kamal Ravikant
  • “This is ultimately about making yourself better from the inside and how one man does it… We’re all human beings; if it works internally for one person, it’ll work internally for the next person.” – Kama; Ravikant
  • One of the book’s key points: Asking yourself, “If I loved myself truly and deeply, what would I do?” before making a decision

Advice to Young Entrepreneurs

  • “There’s no better framework than just jumping in and doing it… I meet a lot of first-time entrepreneurs, and they’re too over-prepared. That’s fear. Over-preparing is fear.” Kamal Ravikant
    • “Over-preparation is the death of creativity”
    • “There’s no substitute to doing… Nothing beats action.”

Invest in People, Not Ideas

  • “Ultimately, in investing… I’ll always look at it as a people game. What people do I want to back? It comes down to that.” – Kamal Ravikant 

Why Kamal Loves The Rock

  • Kamal only follows one person on Twitter – The Rock
  • “The dude’s baller, and when I say baller, it’s a model of excellence. This guy works his ass off. He goes from industry to industry and owns it.” – Kamal Ravikant
    • And there’s more:
      • He’s incredibly kind to his fans
      • He has strong family values
      • His workouts are off the charts
  • “He’s a guy that you can tell makes commitments to himself and keeps them. That, I think, is the role model for excellence.” – Kamal Ravikant


  • Kamal is currently taking a break from reading
    • Why? – He’s pondering another book idea and wants to avoid outside influence 
  • Prior, Kamal was reading a lot of writing from old Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, and Sufi mystics
    • One of their common teachings: “This whole thing is an illusion,” and freedom comes from breaking free
  • One of Kamal’s favorite books: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho 
What Got You There with Sean DeLaney :
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