naval ravikant + farnam street (knowledge project podcast)

listen: naval <> farnam audio

read: naval <> farnham transcript

10 questions after reading/listening:

1) how are you guaranteeing that every day you read anything/something that excites you?

“I probably read one to two hours a day. That puts me in the top .00001%. I think that alone accounts for any material success that I’ve had in my life and any intelligence that I might have. Real people don’t read an hour a day.

Real people, I think, read a minute a day or less. Making it an actual habit is the most important thing… How you make it a habit doesn’t matter…

It almost doesn’t matter what you read. Eventually you will read enough things, and your interests will lead you there, that it will dramatically improve your life…the books or blogs or Twitter or whatever, anything with ideas and information and learning, the best ones to read are the ones that you’re excited about reading all the time”

(7 transcript)

2) what are you prioritizing in your day-to-day habits?

“What you really have to do is say is it a priority or not. If something is your number one priority then you will get it. That’s just the way life works. If you’ve got a fuzzy basket of 10 or 15 different priorities, you’re going to end up getting none of them.

What I did there was I basically just said, “My number one priority in life, above my happiness, above my family, above my work, is my own health. It starts with my physical health.” Second, it’s my mental health. Third, it’s my spiritual health. Then it’s my family’s health. Then it’s my family’s wellbeing. After that, I can go out and do whatever I need to do with the rest of the world”

(11 transcript)

3) what is happiness to you?

“The answer that works for me is going to be nonsense to you and vice versa. Whatever happiness means to me, it means something different to you and it means something different to the listener. I think it’s very important to explore what it is. For some people, I know it’s a flow state. For some people, it’s satisfaction. For some people, it’s a feeling of contentment. My definition keeps evolving. The answer I would have given you a year ago will be different than what I tell you now…

Today, I believe that happiness is, it’s really a default state. It’s what’s there when you remove the sense that something is missing in your life.

We are highly judgmental, survival, and replication machines. We are constantly walking around thinking I need this, I need that, trapped in the web of desires. Happiness is that state when nothing is missing. When nothing is missing, your mind shuts down and your mind stops running into the future or running into the past to regret something or to plan something….

In that absence for a moment, you have internal silence. When you have internal silence, then you are content and you are happy. Feel free to disagree, again, it’s different for everybody, but people believe mistakenly that happiness is about positive thoughts and positive actions.”

(11-12 transcript)

4) do you really need to solve or plan [problem/event thats on your mind] right now?

” …’Why am I fantasy future planning? Why can’t I just stand here and brush my teeth?’ It’s the awareness that my brain was running off in the future and planning some fantasy scenario out of ego. I was like, “Well, do I really care if I embarrass myself on Shane’s podcast? Who cares? I’m going to die anyway. This is all going to go to zero and I won’t remember anything, so this is pointless.” At that point, I shut down and I went back to brushing my teeth. Then I was noticing how good the toothbrush was and how good it felt. Then the next moment I’m off to thinking something else.

I have to look at my brain again and say, ‘Do I really need to solve this problem right now?’ The reality is that 95% of what my brain runs off and tries to do, I don’t need to tackle at that exact moment. ”

(13 transcript)

5) what are your foundational values (the set of things that you will not compromise on)? 

“[values are] a set of things that I won’t compromise on and that I just live my entire life by. I think everybody has values and a lot of finding great relationships, great coworkers, great lovers, wives, husbands, is finding other people where your values line up and then the little things don’t matter. Generally I find that if people are fighting or quarreling about something, it’s because their values don’t line up. If their values lined up, the little things wouldn’t matter”

(15 transcript)

“I think working with your values is long-term selfish, although short-term it absolutely involves sacrifices…Like everything in life, if you are willing to make the short term sacrifice, you’ll have the long-term benefit”

(35 transcript)

6) what parts of your life are you playing in single-player mode? what parts are you still playing in multi-player mode?

“Socially, we’re told, “Go work out. Go look good.” That’s a multi-player competitive game. Other people can see if I’m doing a good job or not. We’re told, “Go make money. Go buy a big house.” Again, external monkey-player competitive game.

When it comes to learn to be happy, train yourself to be happy, completely internal, no external progress, no external validation, 100% you’re competing against yourself, single-player game….

The reality is life is a single-player game. You’re born alone. You’re going to die alone. All of your interpretations are alone. All your memories are alone. You’re gone in three generations and nobody cares. Before you showed up, nobody cared. It’s all single-player…All the real score cards are internal. ”

(19-20 transcript)

7) on jealously of another person: do you really want to be 100% that person?

“The one that I discovered that spoke to me was the day I realized that all these people that I was jealous of, I couldn’t just cherry-pick and choose little aspects of their life. I couldn’t say I want his body, I want her money, I want his personality. You have to be that person. Do you want to actually be that person with all of their reactions, their desires, their family, their happiness level, their outlook on life, their self-image? If you’re not willing to do a wholesale, 24/7, 100% swap with who that person is, then there is no point in being jealous.”

(20 transcript)

“No one in the world is going to beat you at being you. You’re never going to be as good at being me as I am. I’m never going to be as good at being you as you are. Certainly listen, absorb, but don’t try and emulate. It’s a fool’s errand. Instead, each person is uniquely qualified at something. They have some specific knowledge, capability, and desire that nobody else in the world does. That’s just purely from the combinatorics of human DNA and development.”

(32 transcript)

8) what are you doing to incrementally improve your decision making?

“Decision-making is everything. In fact, someone who makes decisions right 80% of the time instead of 70% of the time will be valued and compensated in the market hundreds of times more…

If you can be more right, more rational…then you’re going to get nonlinear returns in your life. Decision-making is everything…”

(30-31 transcript)

9) in what ways are you distorting your home/work/life/relationships/etc.. realities?

“I think the number one thing that clouds us from being able to see reality is that we have preconceived notions of the way it should be. There’s one definition of a moment of suffering is that it’s that moment when you see things exactly the way they are.

This whole time you’ve been convinced your business is doing great and really you’ve ignored the signs that it’s not doing that well. Then your business fails and you suffer. That’s just because you’ve been putting off reality. You’ve been hiding it from yourself…

I think the hard thing here is seeing the truth. To see the truth, you have to get your ego out of the way because your ego doesn’t want to face the truth. The smaller you can make your ego, the less conditioned you can make your reactions, the less desires you can have about the outcome you want, the easier it to see the reality…The more of a desire that I have that it work out a certain way, the less likely I am to see the truth.”

(37 transcript)

10) Who is making [this] decision? Current you or future you?

“I wish there was a two-factor code against my calendar because current me, present me, is always making promises for future me.

Current me is tired, exhausted, hungry, wants to go home, wants to go to sleep, wants to read a book, wants to hang out with the wife and baby. Future me is this dynamic, high-energy individual who will always show up to every meeting and will have a lot of energy and will want to get a lot of things done.

I commit myself to all these commitments in the future that when the future me arrives, it’s actually this present me that’s back to being lazy and hungry and tired.”

(42 transcript)