Life learnings from Naval Ravikant

I’m a big fan of Tim Ferriss’ interviews with successful people in different fields of life. I wrote about my thoughts after listening to his interview with investor Chris Sacca in an earlier post. Most recently, I listened to his interview with Naval Ravikant, the founder of AngelList.

Just like the interview with Chris Sacca, I think it’s worth listening to the full piece. While Chris’ interview focused more on lessons for investing in startups, Naval’s interview is more focused on life lessons in general.

My key insights from the interview were:

1. Desire is a contract to be unhappy until you get what you want: In order to get what you want, you have to want your state after you’ve achieved your goal more than your current state. This means that, on a relative basis, you need to believe that you’ll be happier in your future state than you are right now. So until you achieve your desire, you’re essentially accepting to be (relatively) unhappy.

2. You don’t have to finish books: Books are home to much more insightful content than the short tweets and articles that we’re used to consuming these days. However, we’ve been educated to believe that we need to finish reading each book that we’ve started. The large up front commitment required to read a book makes it difficult for us to start reading new books. Once we relax the assumption that we have to finish books that we start reading, we can enjoy the more informative content of books without losing time to finish a book after we’ve learned what we need to and our interest wanes. I’ve started applying this approach in the current books I’m reading and am enjoying the results.

3. There are three approaches to everything you face in life. You can either change it, leave, or accept it: This one is pretty self explanatory. Whenever a specific problem frustrates you, recognizing the three approaches you can take to the problem makes it much easier to handle. If it’s within your capacity to change and you believe it’s worth the effort to try changing it, you can attempt to do so. If you can’t change it or you don’t think it’s worth trying to change it, you can either leave or accept the situation.