The Almanack of Naval Ravikant

A Guide to Wealth and Happiness
Eric Jorgenson

Part I: Wealth

Building Wealth

Making money is not a thing you do—it’s a skill you learn.

Understand How Wealth Is Created

If you don’t know yet what you should work on, the most important thing is to figure it out.

How to Get Rich (Without Getting Lucky):
  • 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.
  • Understand ethical wealth creation is possible. If you secretly despise wealth, it will elude you.
  • Ignore people playing status games. They gain status by attacking people playing wealth creation games.
  • You’re not going to get rich renting out your time. You must own equity—a piece of a business—to gain your financial freedom.
  • You will get rich by giving society what it wants but does not yet know how to get. At scale.
  • Pick an industry where you can play long-term games with long-term people.
  • The internet has massively broadened the possible space of careers. Most people haven’t figured this out yet.
  • Play iterated games. All the returns in life, whether in wealth, relationships, or knowledge, come from compound interest.
  • Pick business partners with high intelligence, energy, and, above all, integrity.
  • Learn to sell. Learn to build. If you can do both, you will be unstoppable.
  • Arm yourself with specific knowledge, accountability, and leverage.
  • Specific knowledge is knowledge you cannot be trained for. If society can train you, it can train someone else and replace you.
  • Specific knowledge is found by pursuing your genuine curiosity and passion rather than whatever is hot right now.
  • Building specific knowledge will feel like play to you but will look like work to others.
  • 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.
  • Embrace accountability, and take business risks under your own name. Society will reward you with responsibility, equity, and leverage.
“Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand, and I will move the earth.”
  • Fortunes require leverage. Business leverage comes from capital, people, and products with no marginal cost of replication (code and media).
  • Capital means money. To raise money, apply your specific knowledge with accountability and show resulting good judgment.
  • Labor means people working for you. It’s the oldest and most fought-over form of leverage. Labor leverage will impress your parents, but don’t waste your life chasing
  • Capital and labor are permissioned leverage. Everyone is chasing capital, but someone has to give it to you. Everyone is trying to lead, but someone has to follow you.
  • Code and media are permissionless leverage. They’re the leverage behind the newly rich. You can create software and media that works for you while you sleep.
  • An army of robots is freely available—it’s just packed in data centers for heat and space efficiency. Use it.
  • If you can’t code, write books and blogs, record videos and podcasts.
  • Leverage is a force multiplier for your judgment.
  • Judgment requires experience but can be built faster by learning foundational skills.
  • There is no skill called “business.” Avoid business magazines and business classes.
  • Study microeconomics, game theory, psychology, persuasion, ethics, mathematics, and computers.
  • Reading is faster than listening. Doing is faster than watching.
  • You should be too busy to “do coffee” while still keeping an uncluttered calendar.
  • Set and enforce an aspirational personal hourly rate. If fixing a problem will save less than your hourly rate, ignore it. If outsourcing a task will cost less than your hourly rate, outsource it.
  • Work as hard as you can. Even though who you work with and what you work on are more important than how hard you work.
  • Become the best in the world at what you do. Keep redefining what you do until this is true.
  • There are no get-rich-quick schemes. Those are just someone else getting rich off you.
  • Apply specific knowledge, with leverage, and eventually you will get what you deserve.
  • When you’re finally wealthy, you’ll realize it wasn’t what you were seeking in the first place. But that is for another day. [11]
  • Summary: Productize Yourself

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.

When you meet someone who is a natural at sales, you just know they’re amazing. They’re really good at what they do. That is a form of specific knowledge.

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.

No one can compete with you on being you. Most of life is a search for who and what needs you the most.

If you’re not 100 percent into it, somebody else who is 100 percent into it will outperform you.

“Escape competition through authenticity.”

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 nine to twelve 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.

Knowing how to be persuasive when speaking is far more important than being an expert digital marketer or click optimizer.

Foundations are key. It’s much better to be at 9/10 or 10/10 on foundations than to try and get super deep into things.

Take On Accountability

So, accountability is a double-edged thing. It allows you to take credit when things go well and to bear the brunt of the failure when things go badly.

In the old days, the captain was expected to go down with the ship. ... The risk here would be you would probably be the last one to get your capital back out. You’d be the last one to get paid for your time. The time that you put in, the capital you put into the company, these are at risk.

There’s not really that much to fear in terms of failure, and so people should take on a lot more accountability than they do.

Build or Buy Equity in a Business

Without ownership, your inputs are very closely tied to your outputs.

Owning equity in a company basically means you own the upside. When you own debt, you own guaranteed revenue streams and you own the downside.

Find a Position of Leverage

Knowledge only you know or only a small set of people knows is going to come out of your passions and your hobbies, oddly enough.

The year I generated the most wealth for myself was actually the year I worked the least hard and cared the least about the future. I was mostly doing things for the sheer fun of it.

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 are waiting for your moment when something emerges in the world, they need a skill set, and you’re uniquely qualified. You build your brand in the meantime on Twitter, on YouTube, and by giving away free work.

One form of leverage is labor—other humans working for you. It is the oldest form of leverage, and actually not a great one in the modern world.

Money is good as a form of leverage. It means every time you make a decision, you multiply it with money. Capital is a trickier form of leverage to use.

The final form of leverage is brand new—the most democratic form. It is: “products with no marginal cost of replication.” This includes books, media, movies, and code.

Probably the most interesting thing to keep in mind about new forms of leverage is they are permissionless. They don’t require somebody else’s permission for you to use them or succeed.

Whenever you can in life, optimize for independence rather than pay.

As a worker, you want to be as leveraged as possible so you have a huge impact without as much time or physical effort.

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.

When you do just the actual work itself, you’ll be far more productive, far more efficient. You’ll work when you feel like it—when you’re high-energy—and you won’t be trying to struggle through when you’re low energy. You’ll gain your time back.

Forty hour work weeks are a relic of the Industrial Age. Knowledge workers function like athletes—train and sprint, then rest and reassess.

The higher the creativity component of a profession, the more likely it is to have disconnected inputs and outputs. If you’re looking at professions where your inputs and your outputs are highly connected, it’s going to be very hard to create wealth and make wealth for yourself in that process.

If you want to be part of a great tech company, then you need to be able to SELL or BUILD. If you don’t do either, learn.

Get Paid for Your Judgment

I would love to be paid purely for my judgment, not for any work. I want a robot, capital, or computer to do the work, but I want to be paid for my judgment.

Imagine someone comes along who demonstrably has slightly better judgment. They’re right 85 percent of the time instead of 75 percent. You will pay them $50 million, $100 million, $200 million, whatever it takes, because 10 percent better judgment steering a $100 billion ship is very valuable. CEOs are highly paid because of their leverage. Small differences in judgment and capability really get amplified.

We waste our time with short-term thinking and busywork. Warren Buffett spends a year deciding and a day acting. That act lasts decades.

Prioritize and Focus

Even then, it has been a slow and steady struggle. I haven’t made money in my life in one giant payout. It has always been a whole bunch of small things piling up. It’s more about consistently creating wealth by creating businesses, creating opportunities, and creating investments.

Value your time at an hourly rate, and ruthlessly spend to save time at that rate. You will never be worth more than you think you’re worth.

No one is going to value you more than you value yourself. You just have to set a very high personal hourly rate and you have to stick to it.

I would argue with my girlfriends, and even today it’s my wife, “I don’t do that. That’s not a problem that I solve.” I still argue that with my mother when she hands me little to-do’s. I just don’t do that. I would rather hire you an assistant. This was true even when I didn’t have money.

That even includes things like cooking. You may want to eat your healthy home cooked meals, but if you can outsource it, do that instead.

Like I said, for myself, even before I had money, for the longest time I used $5,000 an hour. And if you extrapolate that out into what it looks like as an annual salary, it’s multiple millions of dollars per year.

If you get into a relative mindset, you’re always going to hate people who do better than you, you’re always going to be jealous or envious of them. ... Humans are wired to feel what the other person deep down inside feels. You have to get out of a relative mindset.

Literally, being anti-wealth will prevent you from becoming wealthy, because you will not have the right mindset for it, you won’t have the right spirit, and you won’t be dealing with people on the right level.

But at the same time, many of them, deep down, believe they can’t make money. They don’t want any wealth creation to happen. So, they attack the whole enterprise by saying, “Well, making money is evil. You shouldn’t do it.”

Wealth creation is an evolutionarily recent positive-sum game. Status is an old zero-sum game. Those attacking wealth creation are often just seeking status.

We spend very little time deciding which relationship to get into. We spend so much time in a job, but we spend so little time deciding which job to get into. Choosing what city to live in can almost completely determine the trajectory of your life, but we spend so little time trying to figure out what city to live in.

If you’re going to live in a city for ten years, if you’re going to be in a job for five years, if you’re in a relationship for a decade, you should be spending one to two years deciding these things.

Find Work That Feels Like Play

I would rather be a failed entrepreneur than someone who never tried. Because even a failed entrepreneur has the skill set to make it on their own.

But if anything, creating businesses and making money are now more of an “art.” [74] ... I can create a new business within three months: raise the money, assemble a team, and launch it. It’s fun for me. It’s really cool to see what can I put together. It makes money almost as a side effect. Creating businesses is the game I became good at. It’s just my motivation has shifted from being goal-oriented to being artistic. Ironically, I think I’m much better at it now.

I’m always “working.” It looks like work to others, but it feels like play to me. And that’s how I know no one can compete with me on it. Because I’m just playing, for sixteen hours a day.

I think the best way to stay away from this constant love of money is to not upgrade your lifestyle as you make money.

Another thing that helps: I value freedom above everything else. All kinds of freedom: freedom to do what I want, freedom from things I don’t want to do, freedom from my own emotions or things that may disturb my peace. For me, freedom is my number one value.

The most successful class of people in Silicon Valley on a consistent basis are either the venture capitalists (because they are diversified and control what used to be a scarce resource) or people who are very good at identifying companies that have just hit product/market fit.

Some of the most successful people I’ve seen in Silicon Valley had breakouts very early in their careers. They got promoted to VP, director, or CEO, or started a company that did well fairly early. If you’re not getting promoted through the ranks, it gets a lot harder to catch up later in life. It’s good to be in a smaller company early because there’s less of an infrastructure to prevent early promotion.

It’s good to be in a smaller company early because there’s less of an infrastructure to prevent early promotion.

For someone who is early in their career (and maybe even later), the single most important thing about a company is the alumni network you’re going to build.

How to Get Lucky

Four types of luck:

  • Blind luck – one just gets lucky because something completely out of their control happened.
  • Luck through persistence, hard work, hustle, and motion. This is when you’re running around creating opportunities.
  • Become very good at spotting luck. If you are very skilled in a field, you will notice when a lucky break happens in your field, and other people who aren’t attuned to it won’t notice.
  • The last kind of luck is the weirdest, hardest kind, where you build a unique character, a unique brand, a unique mindset, which causes luck to find you.

To put it another way:

  • Hope luck finds you.
  • Hustle until you stumble into it.
  • Prepare the mind and be sensitive to chances others miss.
  • Become the best at what you do.

Build your character in a certain way, then your character becomes your destiny.

In a long-term game, it’s positive sum. We’re all baking the pie together. We’re trying to make it as big as possible. And in a short-term game, we’re cutting up the pie.

I think business networking is a complete waste of time. ... Trying to build business relationships well in advance of doing business is a complete waste of time. I have a much more comfortable philosophy: “Be a maker who makes something interesting people want. Show your craft, practice your craft, and the right people will eventually find you.”

Be Patient

One thing I figured out later in life is generally (at least in the tech business in Silicon Valley), great people have great outcomes. You just have to be patient.

Apply specific knowledge with leverage and eventually, you will get what you deserve.

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.

Most of the time, the person you have to become to make money is a high-anxiety, high-stress, hard-working, competitive person. When you have done that for twenty, thirty, forty, fifty years, and you suddenly make money, you can’t turn it off. You’ve trained yourself to be a high-anxiety person. Then, you have to learn how to be happy.

Let’s get you rich first. I’m very practical about it because, you know, Buddha was a prince. He started off really rich, then he got to go off in the woods.

Building Judgment

If you want to make the maximum amount of money possible, if you want to get rich over your life in a deterministically predictable way, stay on the bleeding edge of trends and study technology, design, and art—become really good at something.

My definition of wisdom is knowing the long-term consequences of your actions. Wisdom applied to external problems is judgment.

In an age of leverage, one correct decision can win everything. Without hard work, you’ll develop neither judgment nor leverage.

Picking the direction you’re heading in for every decision is far, far more important than how much force you apply.

How to Think Clearly

“Clear thinker” is a better compliment than “smart.”

Basically, if someone is using a lot of fancy words and a lot of big concepts, they probably don’t know what they’re talking about. I think the smartest people can explain things to a child. If you can’t explain it to a child, then you don’t know it. It’s a common saying and it’s very true.

Basically, if someone is using a lot of fancy words and a lot of big concepts, they probably don’t know what they’re talking about. I think the smartest people can explain things to a child.

Richard Feynman very famously does this in “Six Easy Pieces,” one of his early physics lectures. He basically explains mathematics in three pages. He starts from the number line—counting—and then he goes all the way up to precalculus.

The really smart thinkers are clear thinkers. They understand the basics at a very, very fundamental level. 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.

The number one thing clouding us from being able to see reality is we have preconceived notions of the way it should be.

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 more desire I have for something to work out a certain way, the less likely I am to see the truth.

It’s actually really important to have empty space. If you don’t have a day or two every week in your calendar where you’re not always in meetings, and you’re not always busy, then you’re not going to be able to think.

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.

A contrarian isn’t one who always objects—that’s a conformist of a different sort. A contrarian reasons independently from the ground up and resists pressure to conform.

Cynicism is easy. Mimicry is easy. Optimistic contrarians are the rarest breed.

Shed Your Identity to See Reality
“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”
—Buddhist saying

Any belief you took in a package (ex. Democrat, Catholic, American) is suspect and should be re-evaluated from base principles.

We each have a contrarian belief society rejects. But the more our own identity and local tribe reject it, the more real it likely is.

Facebook redesigns. Twitter redesigns. Personalities, careers, and teams also need redesigns. There are no permanent solutions in a dynamic system.

Learn the Skills of Decision-Making

Almost all biases are time-saving heuristics. For important decisions, discard memory and identity, and focus on the problem.

Theoretical physicist Richard Feynman famously said, “You should never, ever fool anybody, and you are the easiest person to fool.” The moment you tell somebody something dishonest, you’ve lied to yourself. Then you’ll start believing your own lie, which will disconnect you from reality and take you down the wrong road.

I would combine radical honesty with an old rule Warren Buffett has, which is praise specifically, criticize generally.

I think people have a hard time understanding a fundamental fact of leverage. If I manage $1 billion and I’m right 10 percent more often than somebody else, my decision-making creates $100 million worth of value on a judgment call.

The more you know, the less you diversify.

Collect Mental Models

The best mental models I have found came through evolution, game theory, and Charlie Munger. Charlie

I basically load my head full of mental models. I use my tweets and other people’s tweets as maxims that help compress my own learnings and recall them. The brain space is finite—you have finite neurons—so you can almost think of these as pointers, addresses, or mnemonics to help you remember deep-seated principles where you have the underlying experience to back it up. ... Mental models are really just compact ways for you to recall your own knowledge.

I think being successful is just about not making mistakes. It’s not about having correct judgment. It’s about avoiding incorrect judgments.

To me, the principal-agent problem is the single most fundamental problem in microeconomics. If you do not understand the principal-agent problem, you will not know how to navigate your way through the world. ... It’s a very simple concept. 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.

Least understood, but the most important principle for anyone claiming “science” on their side—falsifiability.

If You Can’t Decide, the Answer Is No.

If I’m faced with a difficult choice, such as: Should I marry this person? Should I take this job? Should I buy this house? Should I move to this city? Should I go into business with this person? If you cannot decide, the answer is no. And the reason is, modern society is full of options. There are tons and tons of options.

Note: Similar to the Derek Sivers rule - hell yeah or no

If you find yourself creating a spreadsheet for a decision with a list of yes’s and no’s, pros and cons, checks and balances, why this is good or bad...forget it. If you cannot decide, the answer is no.

If you have two choices to make, and they’re relatively equal choices, take the path more difficult and more painful in the short term.

As you know, most of the gains in life come from suffering in the short term so you can get paid in the long term.

If I am reading a book and I’m getting confused, it is just like working out and the muscle getting sore or tired, except now my brain is being overwhelmed. In the long run I’m getting smarter because I’m absorbing new concepts from working at the limit or edge of my capability. So you generally want to lean into things with short-term pain, but long-term gain.

Read a lot—just read. Reading science, math, and philosophy one hour per day will likely put you at the upper echelon of human success within seven years.

I think I always loved to read because I’m actually an antisocial introvert. I was lost in the world of words and ideas from an early age.

You almost have to read the stuff you’re reading, because you’re into it. You don’t need any other reason.

These days, I find myself rereading as much (or more) as I do reading. A tweet from @illacertus said, “I don’t want to read everything. I just want to read the 100 great books over and over again.”

Reading a book isn’t a race—the better the book, the more slowly it should be absorbed.

“As long as I have a book in my hand, I don’t feel like I’m wasting time.”
—Charlie Munger

Don’t believe in delayed gratification when there are an infinite number of books out there to read. There are so many great books. The number of books completed is a vanity metric. As you know more, you leave more books unfinished. Focus on new concepts with predictive power.

The number of books completed is a vanity metric. As you know more, you leave more books unfinished. Focus on new concepts with predictive power.

If they wrote it to make money, don’t read it.

Explain what you learned to someone else. Teaching forces learning.

Note: Also known as the Feynman technique. It's a very powerful way to learn.

Study logic and math, because once you’ve mastered them, you won’t fear any book. No book in the library should scare you. Whether it’s a math, physics, electrical engineering, sociology, or economics book. You should be able to take any book down off the shelf and read it.

It’s better to be really great at arithmetic and geometry than to be deep into advanced mathematics. I would read microeconomics all day long—Microeconomics 101. Another way to do this is to read originals and read classics. If you’re interested in evolution, read Charles Darwin. Don’t begin with Richard Dawkins (even though I think he’s great). Read him later; read Darwin first.

It’s better to be really great at arithmetic and geometry than to be deep into advanced mathematics. I would read microeconomics all day long—Microeconomics 101.

Another way to do this is to read originals and read classics. If you’re interested in evolution, read Charles Darwin.

I came up with this hack where I started treating books as throwaway blog posts or bite-sized tweets or posts. I felt no obligation to finish any book. Now, when someone mentions a book to me, I buy it. At any given time, I’m reading somewhere between ten and twenty books.

When solving problems: the older the problem, the older the solution. ... If you’re talking about an old problem like how to keep your body healthy, how to stay calm and peaceful, what kinds of value systems are good, how you raise a family, and those kinds of things, the older solutions are probably better.

A calm mind, a fit body, and a house full of love. These things cannot be bought. They must be earned.

Part II: Happiness

The three big ones in life are wealth, health, and happiness. We pursue them in that order, but their importance is reverse.

Learning Happiness

Maybe happiness is not something you inherit or even choose, but a highly personal skill that can be learned, like fitness or nutrition.

Today, I believe happiness is really a default state. Happiness is there when you remove the sense of something missing in your life.

Every positive thought even has a seed of a negative thought within it and vice versa, which is why a lot of greatness in life comes out of suffering. You have to view the negative before you can aspire to and appreciate the positive.

I’ve also come to believe in the complete and utter insignificance of the self, and I think that helps a lot.

Real happiness only comes as a side-effect of peace. Most of it is going to come from acceptance, not from changing your external environment.

I don’t get involved in politics. I don’t hang around unhappy people. I really value my time on this earth. I read philosophy. I meditate. I hang around with happy people. And it works.

Happiness Requires Presence

I just don’t believe in anything from my past. Anything. No memories. No regrets. No people. No trips. Nothing. A lot of our unhappiness comes from comparing things from the past to the present.

There’s a great definition I read: “Enlightenment is the space between your thoughts.” It means enlightenment isn’t something you achieve after thirty years sitting on a mountaintop. It’s something you can achieve moment to moment, and you can be enlightened to a certain percent every single day.

Success Does Not Earn Happiness

Happiness is being satisfied with what you have. Success comes from dissatisfaction. Choose.

This led me to the conclusion, which seems trite, that happiness is internal. That conclusion set me on a path of working more on my internal self and realizing all real success is internal and has very little to do with external circumstances. One has to do the external thing anyway. We’re biologically hard-wired.

Those are the people who have such internal mental and self-control and self-awareness, they need nothing from anybody else.

There’s a line from Blaise Pascal I read. Basically, it says: “All of man’s troubles arise because he cannot sit in a room quietly by himself.” If you could just sit for thirty minutes and be happy, you are successful.

Envy Is the Enemy of Happiness

One day, I realized with all these people I was jealous of, I couldn’t just choose little aspects of their life. I couldn’t say I want his body, I want her money, I want his personality. ... Once I came to that realization, jealousy faded away because I don’t want to be anybody else. I’m perfectly happy being me.

Happiness Is Built by Habits

If you can’t see yourself working with someone for life, don’t work with them for a day.

I think dropping caffeine made me happier. It makes me more of a stable person. I think working out every day made me happier. If you have peace of body, it’s easier to have peace of mind.

Tell your friends you’re a happy person. Then, you’ll be forced to conform to it. You’ll have a consistency bias. You have to live up to it. Your friends will expect you to be a happy person. Recover time and happiness by minimizing your use of these three smartphone apps: phone, calendar, and alarm clock.

Choosing to Be Yourself

Your goal in life is to find the people, business, project, or art that needs you the most. There is something out there just for you. What you don’t want to do is build checklists and decision frameworks built on what other people are doing. You’re never going to be them. You’ll never be good at being somebody else.

Choosing to Build Yourself

To have peace of mind, you have to have peace of body first. This taught me the power of habits. I started realizing it’s all about habits. At any given time, I’m either trying to pick up a good habit or discard a previous bad habit.

As Nivi said, inspiration is perishable. When you have inspiration, act on it right then and there.

Choosing to Grow Yourself

The current environment programs the brain, but the clever brain can choose its upcoming environment.

How do you personally learn about new subjects? Mostly, I just stay on the basics. Even when I learn physics or science, I stick to the basics. I read concepts for fun. I’m more likely to do something that has arithmetic in it than calculus.

I’m not religious, but I’m spiritual. To me, that is the most devotional thing that I could do, to study the laws of the Universe.

I think almost everything that people read these days is designed for social approval. I know people who have read one hundred regurgitated books on evolution and they’ve never read Darwin.

Absolutely. I think that’s why the smartest and the most successful people I know started out as losers. If you view yourself as a loser, as someone who was cast out by society and has no role in normal society, then you will do your own thing and you’re much more likely to find a winning path. It helps to start out by saying, “I’m never going to be popular.

If you had to pass down to your kids one or two principles, what would they be? Number one: read. Read everything you can.

Related to the skill of reading are the skills of mathematics and persuasion. Both skills help you to navigate through the real world. Having the skill of persuasion is important because if you can influence your fellow human beings, you can get a lot done.

Choosing to Free Yourself

My old definition was “freedom to.” Freedom to do anything I want. Freedom to do whatever I feel like, whenever I feel like. Now, the freedom I’m looking for is internal freedom. It’s “freedom from.” Freedom from reaction. Freedom from feeling angry. Freedom from being sad. Freedom from being forced to do things.

Courage isn’t charging into a machine gun nest. Courage is not caring what other people think.

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.

Once you’ve truly controlled your own fate, for better or for worse, you’ll never let anyone else tell you what to do. [11] A taste of freedom can make you unemployable.

A busy mind accelerates the passage of subjective time.

The modern struggle: Lone individuals summoning inhuman willpower, fasting, meditating, and exercising... Up against armies of scientists and statisticians weaponizing abundant food, screens, and medicine into junk food, clickbait news, infinite porn, endless games, and addictive drugs.


Live By Your Values

Honesty is a core value. By honesty, I mean I want to be able to just be me. I never want to be in an environment or around people where I have to watch what I say.

Before you can lie to another, you must first lie to yourself.

Another example of a foundational value: I don’t believe in any short-term thinking or dealing.

Another: I don’t believe in anger anymore. Anger was good when I was young and full of testosterone, but now I like the Buddhist saying, “Anger is a hot coal you hold in your hand while waiting to throw it at somebody.”

“To find a worthy mate, be worthy of a worthy mate.”
Charlie Munger

The moment you have a child, it’s this really weird thing, but it answers the meaning-of-life, purpose-of-life, question. All of a sudden, the most important thing in the Universe moves from being in your body into the child’s body.

Rational Buddhism

The older the question, the older the answers.

Rational Buddhism, to me, means understanding the internal work Buddhism espouses to make yourself happier, better off, more present and in control of your emotions—being a better human being.

How do you define wisdom? Understanding the long-term consequences of your actions.

© 2023 Mike Fiorillo
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