It’s not really about hard work. You can work in a restaurant eighty hours a week, and you’re not going to get rich. Getting rich is about knowing what to do, who to do it with, and when to do it. It is much more about understanding than purely hard work. Yes, hard work matters, and you can’t skimp on it. But it has to be directed in the right way.
Seek wealth, not money or status. Wealth is having assets that earn while you sleep. Money is how we transfer time and wealth. Status is your place in the social hierarchy.
You will get rich by giving society what it wants but does not yet know how to get. At scale.
Play iterated games. All the returns in life, whether in wealth, relationships, or knowledge, come from compound interest.
Learn to sell. Learn to build. If you can do both, you will be unstoppable.
Specific knowledge is knowledge you cannot be trained for. If society can train you, it can train someone else and replace you.
When specific knowledge is taught, it’s through apprenticeships, not schools. ↓ Specific knowledge is often highly technical or creative. It cannot be outsourced or automated.
Fortunes require leverage. Business leverage comes from capital, people, and products with no marginal cost of replication (code and media).
Code and media are permission-less leverage. They’re the leverage behind the newly rich. You can create software and media that works for you while you sleep.
Become the best in the world at what you do. Keep redefining what you do until this is true.
Apply specific knowledge, with leverage, and eventually you will get what you deserve.
Society will pay you for creating things it wants. But society doesn’t yet know how to create those things, because if it did, they wouldn’t need you. They would already be stamped out.
Once something works, it’s no longer technology. Society always wants new things.
When I talk about specific knowledge, I mean figure out what you were doing as a kid or teenager almost effortlessly. Something you didn’t even consider a skill, but people around you noticed. Your mother or your best friend growing up would know.
Very often, specific knowledge is at the edge of knowledge. It’s also stuff that’s only now being figured out or is really hard to figure out. If you’re not 100 percent into it, somebody else who is 100 percent into it will outperform you. And they won’t just outperform you by a little bit—they’ll outperform you by a lot because now we’re operating the domain of ideas, compound interest really applies and leverage really applies.
The best jobs are neither decreed nor degreed. They are creative expressions of continuous learners in free markets.
You do need to be deep in something because otherwise you’ll be a mile wide and an inch deep and you won’t get what you want out of life. You can only achieve mastery in one or two things. It’s usually things you’re obsessed about.
The less you want something, the less you’re thinking about it, the less you’re obsessing over it, the more you’re going to do it in a natural way. The more you’re going to do it for yourself. You’re going to do it in a way you’re good at, and you’re going to stick with it. The people around you will see the quality of your work is higher.
Whenever you can in life, optimize for independence rather than pay. If you have independence and you’re accountable on your output, as opposed to your input—that’s the dream.
What you want in life is to be in control of your time. You want to get into a leveraged job where you control your own time and you’re tracked on the outputs. If you do something incredible to move the needle on the business, they have to pay you. Especially if they don’t know how you did it because it’s innate to your obsession or your skill or your innate abilities, they’re going to have to keep paying you to do it.
Forty hour work weeks are a relic of the Industrial Age. Knowledge workers function like athletes—train and sprint, then rest and reassess.
Judgment—especially demonstrated judgment, with high accountability and a clear track record—is critical.
We waste our time with short-term thinking and busywork. Warren Buffett spends a year deciding and a day acting. That act lasts decades.
Any end goal will just lead to another goal, lead to another goal. We just play games in life. When you grow up, you’re playing the school game, or you’re playing the social game. Then you’re playing the money game, and then you’re playing the status game. These games just have longer and longer and longer-lived horizons. At some point, at least I believe, these are all just games. These are games where the outcome really stops mattering once you see through the game.
Retirement is when you stop sacrificing today for an imaginary tomorrow. When today is complete, in and of itself, you’re retired.
Your real résumé is just a catalog of all your suffering. If I ask you to describe your real life to yourself, and you look back from your deathbed at the interesting things you’ve done, it’s all going to be around the sacrifices you made, the hard things you did.
You don’t get rich by spending your time to save money. You get rich by saving your time to make money.
My definition of wisdom is knowing the long-term consequences of your actions. Wisdom applied to external problems is judgment. They’re highly linked; knowing the long-term consequences of your actions and then making the right decision to capitalize on that.
I would rather understand the basics really well than memorize all kinds of complicated concepts I can’t stitch together and can’t rederive from the basics. If you can’t rederive concepts from the basics as you need them, you’re lost. You’re just memorizing.
The number one thing clouding us from being able to see reality is we have preconceived notions of the way it should be.
One definition of a moment of suffering is “the moment when you see things exactly the way they are.”
The good news is, the moment of suffering—when you’re in pain—is a moment of truth. It is a moment where you’re forced to embrace reality the way it actually is. Then, you can make meaningful change and progress. You can only make progress when you’re starting with the truth.
The hard thing 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 will be to see the reality.
What we wish to be true clouds our perception of what is true. Suffering is the moment when we can no longer deny reality.
It’s only after you’re bored you have the great ideas. It’s never going to be when you’re stressed, or busy, running around or rushed. Make the time.
It’s really important to be able to uncondition yourself, to be able to take your habits apart and say, “Okay, this is a habit I probably picked up when I was a toddler trying to get my parent’s attention. Now I’ve reinforced it and reinforced it, and I call it a part of my identity. Does it still serve me? Does it make me happier? Does it make me healthier? Does it make me accomplish whatever I set out to accomplish?”
Almost all biases are time-saving heuristics. For important decisions, discard memory and identity, and focus on the problem.
praise specifically, criticize generally.
A lousy way to do memory prediction is “X happened in the past, therefore X will happen in the future.” It’s too based on specific circumstances. What you want is principles. You want mental models.
The smaller the company, 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.
Crack open a basic math book, and make sure you are really good at multiplying, dividing, compounding, probability, and statistics.
happiness is not about positive thoughts. It’s not about negative thoughts. It’s about the absence of desire, especially the absence of desire for external things. The fewer desires I can have, the more I can accept the current state of things, the less my mind is moving,
Nature follows unbroken mathematical laws and a chain of cause and effect from the Big Bang to now. Everything is perfect exactly the way it is. It is only in our particular minds we are unhappy or not happy, and things are perfect or imperfect because of what we desire.
Happiness is what’s there when you remove the sense that something is missing in your life.
At any given time, when you’re walking down the streets, a very small percentage of your brain is focused on the present. The rest is planning the future or regretting the past. This keeps you from having an incredible experience. It’s keeping you from seeing the beauty in everything and for being grateful for where you are.
The idea you’re going to change something in the outside world, and that is going to bring you the peace, everlasting joy, and happiness you deserve, is a fundamental delusion we all suffer from,
Desire is a contract you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want.
When you’re young, you have time. You have health, but you have no money. When you’re middle-aged, you have money and you have health, but you have no time. When you’re old, you have money and you have time, but you have no health. So the trifecta is trying to get all three at once.
“All of man’s troubles arise because he cannot sit in a room quietly by himself.”
I think of happiness as an emergent property of peace. If you’re peaceful inside and out, that will eventually result in happiness.
Peace is happiness at rest, and happiness is peace in motion. 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.
The enemy of peace of mind is expectations drilled into you by society and other people.
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.
When we get something, we assume the world owes it to us. If you’re present, you’ll realize how many gifts and how much abundance there is around us at all times. That’s all you really need to do. I’m here now, and I have all these incredible things at my disposal.
Any moment where you’re not having a great time, when you’re not really happy, you’re not doing anyone any favors. It’s not like your unhappiness makes them better off somehow. All you’re doing is wasting this incredibly small and precious time you have on this Earth. Keeping death on the forefront and not denying it is very important.
All you should do is what you want to do. If you stop trying to figure out how to do things the way other people want you to do them, you get to listen to the little voice inside your head that wants to do things a certain way. Then, you get to be you.
An emotion is our evolved biology predicting the future impact of a current event. In modern settings, it’s usually exaggerated or wrong.
Your breath is one of the few places where your autonomic nervous system meets your voluntary nervous system. It’s involuntary, but you can also control it.
When your mind quiets, you stop taking everything around you for granted. You start to notice the details. You think, “Wow, I live in such a beautiful place. It’s so great that I have clothes, and I can go to Starbucks and get a coffee anytime. Look at these people—each one has a perfectly valid and complete life going on in their own heads.”
If you stop talking to yourself for even ten minutes, if you stop obsessing over your own story, you’ll realize we are really far up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and life is pretty good.
Insight meditation lets you run your brain in debug mode until you realize you’re just a subroutine in a larger program.
You are basically a bunch of DNA that reacted to environmental effects when you were younger. You recorded the good and bad experiences, and you use them to prejudge everything thrown against you. Then you’re using those experiences, constantly trying and predict and change the future.
When you really want to change, you just change. But most of us don’t really want to change—we don’t want to go through the pain just yet. At least recognize it, be aware of it, and give yourself a smaller change you can actually carry out.
inspiration is perishable.
Value your time. It is all you have. It’s more important than your money. It’s more important than your friends. It is more important than anything. Your time is all you have. Do not waste your time.
People who live far below their means enjoy a freedom that people busy upgrading their lifestyles can’t fathom.
A big habit I’m working on is trying to turn off my “monkey mind.” When we’re children, we’re pretty blank slates. We live very much in the moment. We essentially just react to our environment through our instincts. We live in what I would call the “real world.” Puberty is the onset of desire—the first time you really, really want something and you start long-range planning. You start thinking a lot, building an identity and an ego to get what you want.
If I disconnect what I’m thinking from what I’m saying, it creates multiple threads in my mind. I’m no longer in the moment—now I have to be future-planning or past-regretting every time I talk to somebody. Anyone around whom I can’t be fully honest, I don’t want to be around.
All benefits in life come from compound interest, whether in money, relationships, love, health, activities, or habits.
“Anger is a hot coal you hold in your hand while waiting to throw it at somebody.”