notes on life
This is a compilation of very valuable lessons that I’ve learned throughout my life. It might be a bunch of useless shit that only works for me, but it may help someone.
Last updated in Summer 2020
I tried to put more important things near the top. They’re meant to be read individually and focused on over a period of time. Read one or a couple, really really really focus on this “idea” or “advice” for your next week or months, make it habit, part of your natural thought process.
Some things I elaborated too much on, I need to trim down fluff when I finish this project.
Being over elaborated cuts credibility, adds corniness
Very much a work in progress,
here you go...
The most important skill is doing everything that makes you uncomfortable. Going head on into discomfort. These are the times you grow and learn the MOST (extreme progress is found in discomfort)
or maybe it’s being self aware. Aware of the menu of options and decisions you have in life, and who put them there. Why does it make sense to do anything? Why does it make sense to care about the things you don’t have control over?
Go headfirst into everything, go somewhere where you know as little as possible without feeling too threatened, this is where you learn and grow fastest
Listen to #357 of Tim Ferriss’ podcast to elaborate on this
Basically, you learn to face discomfort little by little
Use the notes app, it clears mental baggage, increases mental capacity
Instead of 40% of your mind thinking about what you have to do today, as soon as you get a thought, write it down
Make a todo list for your entire day
Your mind opens up, is allowed to focus on meaningful thoughts, rather than recollection
consume a fuck ton of tim ferriss’ content
if you’re scared to chase your dreams and worry about other people’s opinions, follow Gary Vee’s content
you are the sum of your 5 closest friends/people/online personalities you surround yourself with
Surround yourself with people who only inspire and interest you, aligned goals is important in every part of life
self awareness might be the most important skill to hone in on
be dead honest with yourself, if you’re shit, youre shit, if youre amazing youre amazing, (get better if youre shit)
Always always always question what you’re doing, where you’re headed, why you are doing what you’re doing. Is it convention? Does it make basic basic sense? Have you deconstructed from the ground up?
Spend a lot of time learning from those that are significantly better than you, online, interviews, conversation, etc
In business, friendships everything, find out how you can mutually benefit. Align yourself with them, so you’re building each other up. You accomplish more than either one could have done individually in total. The benefit compounds.
connections are second most important: everyone likes you if you smile and are attractive but smiling can get you 80% of the way there. Just smile very very often, endorphins flow and people want to talk to you more. You build valuable connections this way
Give without expecting, people will want to help you afterwards. You will be repaid in time, many times over. Give give give, expect nothing. You won’t ever get let down, you will build extremely valuable relationships.
use instagram DMs to make connections/friends/build your network, or: any tool that is at its ideal time (music distribution, video as a platform, etc.)
ideal time: startup/entreprenuership lingo
why is right now the ideal time to launch your product or business?
what is going on in the market or tools that enables your thing to excel best at this exact time and no other in history
why do you have a unique advantage
for me: content is so easily distributable, there are no gatekeepers, people are so valuable, but in the social media age, getting ahold of them is so easy. building these connections is so easy. that is why instagram DMs will be the most valuable asset to my entire career.
also learning about start up thinking, purpose of life (making the world better), self introspection into what I really want out of life and what I can accomplish given my skillset
other helpful things: poker you learn probabilities and how the world actually works
know that when people say you are the sole determiner of your life, its actually true, no bull shit
know to do things no one else is doing. take initiative. go the route no one is taking. DM the manager or the friend of the manager of the act you want to shoot for. sneak in a camera for the show you wanna shoot for but didn’t get a pass. Fake that youre on a music publication and get that press pass. more on this later.
Time will always be the most valuable asset
Live so that you would be content with your life if you died at any moment
At the very least you know you were trying your hardest to achieve your dreams
A helpful framework for all thinking is to minimize possible regrets
Everything seems a lot
Until you get that first step done and do it
Seriously, looking up at the project/goal before you seems impossible every single time. Taking that first step is everything, as corny as it sounds. If you can help it, just do it without thinking about it, once you’re done with the first step, rest will fall into place.
No ones opinion matters except yours, but everyone says this. It’s hard to realize or logic around it. Maybe I’ll try here: (refine later)
Everyone will die. Do you want to finish life and do you want to live according to everyone else’s idea of what they want you to be? No one wants you to succeed except the 3 people that do. Listen to them.
Maybe it’s hard to reason, but once you do let go of others opinions, each day gives you a bit more proof that fuck yeah you’re cool as shit, everyone else is lame as fuck and you’re the god damn best in the world. If you can’t think this, work until you can.
Do everything now, never do anything later
Productivity is a snowball you set at some point in the day. Wake up at the first alarm (after 8 hours of sleep) then the snowball builds earliest. Decide to make your bed after snoozing? Smaller snowball. You get the idea.
If you got it, you’ll get it. It’s just a matter of time.
Really… you’re fucking the coolest person in the room at all times. You can learn something from anyone, but you’re the coolest person in the room. Realize that.
Depend on your systems and not your will power:
Have work to do? Wash your bedsheets so you can’t sleep. Want to lose weight? Build accountability systems and stakes to get you to eat healthy, to work out. Want to make it big in the creative industry? Set yourself up, move to LA, surround yourself with people making beautiful art. Don’t rely on your own drive and will power and work ethic, make everything else work for you. Set up and being in the right place at the right time is everything.
One productivity system that helps is making every task as small as possible:
I need to work out for an hour -> I need to get in my car to drive to the gym or I need to work out for only 5 minutes then I’ll go home
Power of inertia: once you’re going, its a lot harder to stop, so you just finish your whole 1 hour work out anyway.
You don’t have to do anything in life
Make your own fucking path
Why do you have to go to college?
Why do you need to major in this or get a job in that?
People are amazed by how much the greatest in the world can achieve in a year. Like holy shit you’ve done so much in a year
But you never think of yourself in the same temporal framework. like damn. If I start now, think of the compounding interest that’ll accumulate in a year if I work on this a bit each day. A year from now you will be great, at anything you want to do. Just stay busy. Stay smart busy.
Actionable tactic: work on something meaningfully for just 5 minutes a day, bump up the time gradually. If 5 minutes is too much, start with 30 seconds a day. Doing this work compounds. You will put yourself ahead of 90% of the people with the same goal.
Think of all the shit you could’ve accomplished if you started a year ago, now do that this year.
Everything does happen for a reason don’t question the bad shit
Don’t ever ever judge
Open your mind to all the “weirdo” shit in life, it keeps things colorful, it makes your life more worth living, cheesy but it gets you to a deeper understanding of the human experience. Embrace everything that comes your way
Look into stoic philosophy: fuck everything bad thats happened, fuck everything that you can’t change, focus all energy on things you can, on becoming the greatest in the world or making the world and exponentially better place to be.
The key to continually becoming cooler or better as a person is constant redefinition of yourself. You can’t hold on to anything about yourself or how people that know you now think about you. My most formative moments have always been when I’ve surrounded myself with total strangers, and redefined who I am, who I wanted to be all along. Build yourself so that you can do this with the same people. Constant redefinition and radical change/adjustment is how anything grows the fastest.
Work on projects that, even if they fail, you gain valuable relationships or knowledge out of it
Concrete example: my friend is interviewing top talent (Travis Scott, 6lack) as part of a new media venture
If it fails, he still has those contacts, the valuable information, those relationships.
Watch “Productivity tips from Tim Ferriss”because I don’t want to type that sentiment out.
Cheesy title but effective information
Interviewing is a great way to access people, their knowledge, and mindset that are way higher caliber than you.
Also, non-profits if you’re thinking professionally
What is your Instagram of your discipline, I met all my people thru there. This works better for creative people, find your version if instagram doesn’t work for you. Find access to high quality people, hack your way into their life. Be likeable
Smile always. This was the key to most of my early social and self esteem issues. Smile at all times, to the point where people think something wrong with you. Literally my friend AJ, smiles for 90% of his life. Literally. Doors open up, people remember you, people like seeing you. You’re happy. You become happy even if you weren’t before. Your mind becomes more childish, creative.
You need a good capacity to know what’s out of your control and what is in your control:
If you fail, if the joke wasn’t funny, if the date failed, oh well. What can you do now? Work toward a goal and don’t dwell on a stumble. Don’t give a fuck about anything out of your control
Get really good at optimizing time whether it be batching or prioritizing or turning off distractions
College is really just you cementing what you really are, what’s inside you, forming and shaping yourself
Like before college you walk around to pose as if you’re the shit, you’re cool you walk with swagger and nonchalance but at the end of college it’s like... that’s who you are, not who you’re trying to be
If you ever aren’t busy find ways to build yourself
E.g. emailing local photo studios or firms or creatives to learn from them
If it sounds stupid, it can still be right
if it sounds stupid, but its coming from someone smart, it’s probably right
The key to being successful is 80% thinking about what to work on
20% is actually doing the work, doing it is doing it and there’s no substitute to doing it
80% why am I doing this work 20% doing this work
Great habit to get into is meditating every morning. I do this as much as I can. It focuses in your day and your life. It makes sure you work on things intentionally, live intentionally. Don’t just wake up and follow the routine, float through life. I do 10 minutes: 5 thinking about where I’m going in life. 5 thinking about what I need to do today to make significant progress on my life goal.
Do things that are always advancing your current capital
Ex: reaching out to studios that do interesting work to gain that connection and network effect
Tim Ferriss at SXSW: “give me anything, a corner, a hallway, a cancellation”
He said this to one of the event organizers. Last minute they had a sponsor showcase fall through, he got this event, he blew up
this is the grind you need
If you ever aren’t busy find ways to build yourself
Eg emailing local photo studios or firms or creatives to learn from them
never be chilling on instagram, almost never, instead of trying to avoid instagram, try to find opportunities to build yourself - framing exercise
Why can’t you achieve your 10 year goals in 6 months? - Peter Thiel
No seriously why? people don’t ever have a good answer for this.
Read zero to one by Peter Thiel
- Defines what it means to create value in this world, gives you purpose in life
Seek richer and richer information
e.g. : TechCrunch articles to textbook to field expert to cutting edge researcher
e.g. : ted talks to Gary Vee to Freakonomics to Tim Ferriss