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The Almanack of Naval Ravikant
by Eric Jorgenson
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The path to success is to find a way to automate your uniqueness. "Productise" is about leverage and "Yourself" is about accountability.
If you’re looking toward getting wealthy, you should ask yourself:
Specific knowledge cannot be taught, but it can be learned. It’s about what makes you special. Like the things you were effortlessly doing that made people notice you. No one can compete with you on being you. Specific knowledge is found by pursuing your genuine curiosity and passion rather than whatever is hot right now.
Most of life is a search for who and what needs you the most.
The best jobs are neither decreed nor degreed. They are creative expressions of continuous learners in free markets. The most important skill for getting rich is becoming a perpetual learner. You have to know how to learn anything you want to learn.
It’s much more important today to be able to become an expert in a brand-new field in 9 to 12 months than to have studied the “right” thing a long time ago. You really care about having studied the foundations, so you’re not scared of any book.
Do things for their own sake. Whether it’s business, exercise, romance, friendship the meaning of life is to do things for their own sake.
Anything worth doing comes from trying to overcome boredom. Because you would be doing it for its own sake. Much more important than whatever is “hot” right now.
If you don’t own a piece of a business, you don’t have a path towards financial freedom.
It’s ownership versus wage work. If you are paid for renting out your time, even lawyers and doctors, you can make some money, but you’re not going to make the money that gives you financial freedom. You’re not going to have passive income where a business is earning for you while you are on vacation.
Without ownership, your inputs are very closely tied to your outputs. In almost any salaried job, even one paying a lot per hour like a lawyer or a doctor, you’re still putting in the hours, and every hour you get paid.
Leverage is a force multiplier for your judgment. 3 options:
Retirement is when you stop sacrificing today for an imaginary tomorrow. When today is complete, in and of itself, you’re retired. How do you get there?
And the best way to stay away from this constant love of money is to not upgrade your lifestyle as you make money. If you can hold your lifestyle fixed and hopefully make your money in giant lump sums as opposed to a trickle at a time, you won’t have time to upgrade your lifestyle. You may get so far ahead you actually become financially free.
You can only make progress when you’re starting with the truth. The hard thing is seeing the truth. Suffering is the moment when we can no longer deny reality.
Outside of suffering, 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 will be to see the reality.
Virtues are trained heuristics that automate decision making. You cannot solve every problem in life as if it is the first time it’s thrown at you.
The classical virtues are all decision-making heuristics to make one optimise for the long term rather than for the short term.
Julius Caesar famously said, “If you want it done, then go. And if not, then send.” What he meant was, if you want it done right, then you have to go yourself and do it. When you are the principal, then you are the owner—you care, and you will do a great job. When you are the agent and you are doing it on somebody else’s behalf, you can do a bad job. You just don’t care.
The smaller the team, the more everyone feels like a principal. The less you feel like an agent, the better the job you’re going to do. The more closely you can tie someone’s compensation to the exact value they’re creating, the more you turn them into a principal, and the less you turn them into an agent. Unfortunately the media and modern society spend a lot of time brainwashing you about needing an agent, an agent being important, and the agent being knowledgeable.
Go with options that excite you, rather than finding reasons for rationalising tasks that don’t. Trust your intuition.
The reason is, modern society is full of options. There are tons and tons of options. We live on a planet of seven billion people, and we are connected to everybody on the internet. There are hundreds of thousands of careers available to you.
Happiness is really a default state. Happiness is there when you remove the sense of something missing in your life. Happiness is the state when nothing is missing. When nothing is missing, your mind shuts down and stops running into the past or future to regret.
It is cultivated it with a lot of techniques. It is not something you inherit or even choose, but a highly personal skill that can be learned, like fitness or nutrition. 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. For some people, it’s a flow state. For some people, it’s satisfaction. For some people, it’s a feeling of contentment.
It’s all trial and error.
Desire is a contract you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want. We go about desiring things all day long and then wonder why we’re unhappy. Anticipation for our vices pulls us into the future. Eliminating vices makes it easier to be present.
Eliminating our vices is easier than expecting the world to deliver them to us. We think of ourselves as fixed and the world as malleable, but it’s really we who are malleable and the world is largely fixed.
You can convert peace into happiness anytime you want. But peace is what you want most of the time. If you’re a peaceful person, anything you do will be a happy activity.
Today, the way we think you get peace is by resolving all your external problems. But there are unlimited external problems. The only way to actually get peace on the inside is by giving up this idea of problems.
“As you’re going about your daily business (hopefully, there’s some nature) and you’re not talking to anybody else, you practice learning to accept the moment you’re in without making judgments. You don’t think, “Oh, there’s a homeless guy over there, better cross the street” or look at someone running by and say, “He’s out of shape, and I’m in better shape than him.” If I saw a guy with a bad hair day, I would at first think “Haha, he has a bad hair day.” Well, why am I laughing at him to make me feel better about myself? And why am I trying to make me feel better about my own hair? Because I’m losing my hair, and I’m afraid it’s going to go away.
You don’t make any decisions. You don’t judge anything. You just accept everything.”
Buddhists look at your brain, your consciousness, as a multilayered mechanism. There’s a core-base, kernel-level OS running. Then, there are applications running on top.
Always go back to the awareness level of OS, which is always calm, always peaceful, and generally happy and content. Try to stay in awareness mode and not activate the monkey mind, which is always worried, frightened, and anxious. it serves a purpose, but try not to activate the monkey mind until you need it.
What is the meaning and purpose of life?
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Once you have ideas, you want to put your ideas to work. If you do that, you can start creating value. When we create value, we generate income.
During the pandemic for example, most restaurant owners had to focus on other ideas to generate income. Building wealth is not easy. We need a constant supply of ideas.
It is anything that will increase your wealth without personal labor.
Assets that don't generate cash, but might increase in value.
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The best athletes and entrepreneurs aren’t focused on being the best; they’re focused on constant self-improvement.
Concentrating on the process is best for both performance and mental health. It lifts off your shoulders a huge burden, so you can concentrate on the things you can control.
Knowledge is always evolving and advancing — if you want to evolve and advance with it, you need to keep an open mind.
And to keep an open mind, leave your ego at the door.
Many of us buy lots of books that go unread and causes us guilt, but that’s a habit that many successful people have they believe they are better off for it.
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It costs you money and time, but it may pay for itself by changing your life for the better. It’s an experiment. And the more “smart” experiments you perform, the more likely you are to find a breakthrough experiment that changes everything.
Inherent in being a good experimenter is being OK with the losses. Therefore, remember that every time you purchase a book that turns out to be a dud, you are just one step closer to a book that will change your life.