David speaks with Eric Jorgenson, the CEO of Scribe Media. He also has a rolling fund investing in pre-seed and seed-stage tech companies, and is the author of two books: The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness; and The Anthology of Balaji.
They talked about:
🤓 Working smarter, not harder
🚀 How leverage helps achieve success
⚠️ Risks of leverage
🍀 The four types of luck
💰 Relationship between wealth and happiness
😊 Happiness as a skill
This is just one part of a longer conversation, and it's the third part. You can listen to the earlier episode here:
Part 1: 🎙️Upgrade your thinking with Eric Jorgenson (Episode 73)
Part 2: 🎙️Techno-optimism and The Anthology of Balaji with Eric Jorgenson (Episode 76)
🎙 Listen in your favourite podcast player
🎧 Listen on Spotify:
📹 Watch on Youtube:
👤 Connect with Eric:
Twitter: @EricJorgenson | https://twitter.com/EricJorgenson
Website: Scribe Media | https://scribemedia.com/
Books: The Anthology of Balaji | https://amzn.to/45UjFqe
The Almanack of Naval Ravikant | https://amzn.to/47g7ncy
📄 Show notes:
0:00 | Intro
02:03 | Working smarter, not harder
07:09 | How leverage helps achieve success
10:31 | Risks of leverage
17:44 | The four types of luck
21:50 | Relationship between wealth and happiness
30:58 | Happiness as a skill
🗣 Mentioned in the show:
Naval Ravikant | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naval_Ravikant
Balaji Srinivasan | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balaji_Srinivasan
Steve Jobs | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Jobs
Oprah Winfrey | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oprah_Winfrey
J. K. Rowling | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._K._Rowling
The Joe Rogan Experience | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Joe_Rogan_Experience
Warren Buffett | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_Buffett
Paul Graham | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Graham_(programmer)
Superlinear returns | http://www.paulgraham.com/superlinear.html
Elon Musk | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elon_Musk
Building a Mountain of Levers | https://www.ejorgenson.com/leverage
Six Degrees of Separation | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_degrees_of_separation
Luke Burgis | https://lukeburgis.com/
Wanting | https://amzn.to/3v3iub0
Buy the Future while it's Cheap | https://theknowledge.io/the-fine-balance-between-short-term-long-term-planning/
Alexander Graham Bell | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Graham_Bell
Charlie Munger | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Munger
David Kadavy | https://theknowledge.io/davidkadavy/
René Girard | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/René_Girard
AngelList | https://www.angellist.com/
Lex Fridman | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lex_Fridman
Jared Kushner | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jared_Kushner
Tim Ferriss show | https://tim.blog/podcast/
👨🏾💻 About David Elikwu:
David Elikwu FRSA is a serial entrepreneur, strategist, and writer. David is the founder of The Knowledge, a platform helping people think deeper and work smarter.
🌐 Website: https://www.davidelikwu.com
📽️ Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/davidelikwu
📸 Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/delikwu/
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🎙️ Podcast: http://plnk.to/theknowledge
📖 EBook: https://delikwu.gumroad.com/l/manual
My Online Course
🖥️ Career Hyperdrive: https://maven.com/theknowledge/career-hyperdrive
Career Hyperdrive is a live, cohort-based course that helps people find their competitive advantage, gain clarity around their goals and build a future-proof set of mental frameworks so they can live an extraordinary life doing work they love.
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The Knowledge is a weekly newsletter for people who want to get more out of life. It's full of insights from psychology, philosophy, productivity, and business, all designed to help you think deeper and work smarter.
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[00:00:00] Eric Jorgenson: I think Naval's guidance which again came from the old millennia of literature that he's read is just like, work on the skill of being happy and peaceful in the moment. And it is a skill, you know, that you can train that voice in your head to have positive reactions to believe that you're lucky, to have the identity of being happy, to tie all the things that we've been talking to together. It's possible to change that. And it is something to aspire to if it increases, the quality of your life and every present moment for the rest of it. Like that's a skill, that's a talent is an effort worth making.
This week I'm sharing part of my conversation with Eric Jorgensen, who is the CEO of Scribe Media. Eric also happens to be an angel investor, an entrepreneur, and he has a rolling fund investing in pre seed and seed stage tech companies.
Eric's written two incredible and highly recommended books, The Almanac of Naval Ravikant, which has sold over a million copies. And then finally, he's just released his second book, The Anthology of Balaji.
So in this conversation you're going to hear us talking about a lot of Naval's ideas. We're going to talk about the idea of working smarter and not harder, the four types of leverage, asymmetry and exponential returns, the relationship between wealth and happiness. Then we talk about luck and serendipity and how to create opportunities and generate luck for yourself. And then finally we talk about happiness as a skill.
And all of these are really interesting topics, I think you're going to hear us, both myself and Eric, and the spirit of Naval coming at these topics from various angles, and I think we had a very spirited discussion, which a lot of people are going to find extremely useful.
So, you can get the full show notes, the transcripts, and read my newsletter at theknowledge.io. And you can find Eric online on Twitter, @EricJorgensen.
Now, if you love this episode, please do share it with a friend, and don't forget to leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts because it helps us tremendously to find other listeners just like you.
[00:02:03] David Elikwu: The two concepts that Naval writes a lot about that I wanted to ask you about is one with picking what to do and where to apply your skills. I think the quote that he used is something like, you know, it's a bit like choosing what kind of prison you want to be in because as an entrepreneur, when you build a startup, the thing that you pick, you're gonna be spending lots of hours, lots of days, lots of years digging deep, working on something.
[00:02:25] David Elikwu: And then the other concept is leverage. And again, I think with both of these, they are frame breaking things in a sense, right? With leverage, there's a concept of how you are taught or how you are expected to think of work and your relationship to work, and what does it look like to work hard? What does it look like to build a business? And very often people can immediately just run off on that script. But actually what Naval kind of asks us to do through a lot of the stuff he talks about is just reinvestigating our relationship to the work that we're doing and how can we actually apply leverage to change our relationship with that work?
[00:02:56] David Elikwu: First of all, to be happier and also to be wealthier. So I'll let you go.
[00:03:00] Eric Jorgenson: And to just be more effective, I think, right? Like I think it's a, it is the next evolution of something that everyone's heard a million times is like, work smarter, not harder. It's like, sure. How? Like, tell me the steps. Like what does working smarter look like in different contexts, right?
[00:03:16] Eric Jorgenson: And he says right off the bat, you know, if you want to get rich, you'll have to work hard, but if you're not working hard on the right things, you can work hard your whole life and never have the outcome that you want. And the delta, the difference between the two is leverage. Like are you working with leverage? Are you working on building leverage? Are you working in a situation where you already have it? And there's a lot of different types of leverage. And what I'm using the mental model here, I don't mean financial leverage. I don't mean leverage to turn to mean like control over someone. I mean, the simple machine of a lever. You know, if there's an 800 pound rock, you probably can't pick up that rock. But if you have a 20 foot long pole, you can move it, no problem. And that as a mental model extends to a lot of other things. If you work hard today, but you don't have a computer like you know, especially as a knowledge worker, you're gonna have a tough time if you're trying to do everything by hand. If you're using a typewriter, if you are a laborer, like the, the simple example I use, and I'll can use a more advanced one later, but to just to give you an example, like a lumberjack without an axe can spend all day working and maybe end up with a cord of wood. Lumberjack with an axe might do five cords. A lumberjack with a chainsaw might do 10 cords. Lumberjack with a tractor might do 20. If he's got help and a tractor and a truck, he could do a hundred and get it all sold and delivered, right? And so those are just increasing forms of leverage. And Naval has a great more complex example where he takes you all the way through in the real estate industry, actually all the way up through like unskilled day labor, like hand me that brick, you know, $5 an hour minimum wage up through, hey, I know a skilled trade. Hey, I know how to manage people. Hey, I know how to talk to a customer. I know how to assemble a loan and create a business and create like pull the financial aspects into it. Hey, I know how to build a much bigger team. Hey, I know how to incorporate technology so that I'm now building like a tech enabled company. And it's really, there's, it breaks down into four simple types of leverage, which are products, tools, people, and capital.
[00:05:06] Eric Jorgenson: And I can give you a short definition of each of them, but it basically boils down to how competent you are at using each one of those and how you combine them, right? So if you see somebody at the head of a big organization who knows how to manage people, who knows how to manage capital, who knows the right tools for the job, who knows how to externalize their knowledge into products, whether that's, you know, a podcast or a computer program or a book or something like that you know, they're using all the available levers, all the available methods of scaling up their impact. And they've recruited the reputation to have people happy to follow those instructions or offer that capital or work for them or execute their directions, or sell them the tools, let them borrow the tools. So all of those are, you know, you'll find you rise to the level of your competence across all of those different things. And some people have different tastes or different blind spots or different levels of competence at each one of those. But if you want to have a greater outcome for each hour or each day that you work, it probably involves accruing more leverage. So increasing your capacity or talent or the amount of firepower, the amount of leverage you have at your disposal at any given time.
[00:06:13] Eric Jorgenson: And it, once I internalize this idea through working on this book, it totally changed my relationship to my work. I don't wake up every morning and try to like figure out how to work as hard as I can. I do work, I work insanely hard, but I spend so much time reorienting constantly asking myself like, am I working on getting more leverage? Is the work that I'm doing increasing my output tomorrow or next week or next month or next year? Is that snowball growing or am I just on a treadmill here? And that, that really helps me prioritize, you know, there's always gonna be something to do, there's always a next action to take. And the more opportunities you have coming at you, the harder it is to say no to things or to put that really important like high leverage task at the top of your list.
[00:06:55] Eric Jorgenson: And, you know, sometimes even let some small fires burn while you, while you get that done. 'Cause you know that that's where in the next 10x, the next 100x is gonna come from, is that one thing. That's never the most urgent thing, but over the long run, it's the most important.
[00:07:09] David Elikwu: Sure that makes sense. And I wonder if you could speak to maybe how asymmetry plays into this. I think there was a Steves Jobs quote, which was around this idea that, some flavor of, you know, simply by being two times better, you can get 10x the results, right? And so it's not just that these things compound linearly, but sometimes they can also compound exponentially.
[00:07:28] Eric Jorgenson: Yeah absolutely. Which is a very counterintuitive thing. You know, we are not, we're not evolved to understand, you know, that one action can have a million x return and one action can have a 2x return. And, you know, I empathize with people who sometimes see the world as unfair and like, why should that person have a hundred million followers? Why should that person have a hundred million dollars? The truth of those situations when you start to see the world through a lens of leverage is that society has slowly, over the years voted, you know, for the competence of that person. They chose to follow them, they chose to buy their products, they chose to give them their dollars to invest.
[00:08:02] Eric Jorgenson: And more often than not, you'll find that those people are incredibly talented and, you know, whether you have the ego control to admit that to yourself. Like you know, Joe Rogan reaches a lot of people. Oprah reaches a lot of people. JK Rowling reaches a lot of people, like, love them or hate them or any of their work. Like a lot of people have chosen to welcome them into their lives. And with the tools available to speak to the leverage piece, there's no limit to how many people can listen to the Joe Rogan podcast at the same time. A hundred years ago, it would've been really difficult to distribute to that many people that often.
[00:08:35] Eric Jorgenson: And so we're seeing, you know, living in this age of kind of zero marginal cost digital products, we're seeing incredible leverage and a global economy and a highly fluid one. You see people like Warren Buffett, there's really extreme outcomes and that, back to the idea of sort of equal opportunities, not equal outcomes. You see those extreme outliers and to some extent you just gotta respect the craft that goes into them and the leverage that accrues to those people. And you don't have to become Warren Buffett to like, do a hundred x better than you did, you know, last year, over the next couple years. You just have to adjust where you put your effort slightly and how you think about that.
[00:09:09] Eric Jorgenson: And leverage is your friend, you know, like more often than not, it's often involves taking on a little risk sometimes. But you can do that in wise, sort of bite by bite, step by step ways to change your career or change your outcome, change the ratio. The fundamental idea is to change the ratio of your inputs to outputs. That's how I think of it at the highest, at the very highest level. And you can do that either direction, right? You can say, I'm still gonna work 10 hours a day, but I want a 100x the output or you can say, I'm happy with my output, like I'm earning enough money, I'm happy with my family, but I wanna spend less time at work. I want to achieve the same outcome with 1/10th of the input. And that's a perfectly fine way to go about it too. And then you just start, you know, looking for tools, products, people, and capital that can help you achieve that.
[00:09:50] Eric Jorgenson: You know, I don't know that he ever uses the word directly, but that's basically what the four hour work week was about, right? Like, how can I keep my job and do way less work? Or how can I build a business that I don't have to work that hard on, but still has the outcome that I want it to? And then, you know, how do you combine the tools, the products, the people and the capital, and gather the know-how, and learn how to put all those pieces together and run a process so that the machine works for you.
[00:10:14] Eric Jorgenson: I think it's a very healthy mindset shift. It'll show you a lot of things in the world that you might not appreciate, just to get the mindset, even if you don't, you know, you don't have to go start a company. You don't have to try to hack your job. You don't have to do anything differently, but you'll just understand the world a little better I think with that mental model of leverage kind of installed in your brain.
[00:10:31] David Elikwu: Yeah, there's a question that to ask you which is maybe somewhere at the intersection of experience as an investor and also as you know, someone that's built businesses before and being a CEO now, which very much just connects these concepts of asymmetry, leverage, and also ergodicity. And this was something that, it was a little qualm that I had with one of Paul Graham's recent essays and for context. So one of the things that I do when I'm reading, and I think a lot of people should do this and maybe we'll talk about this later, is you know, I try to like wrestle and have a dialogue with, with what I'm reading.
[00:11:02] David Elikwu: And so it's actually harder to do this with Paul Graham's pieces 'cause writes so clearly. But what I usually do is, as I'm reading it, I will rewrite almost like almost sentenced by sentence, but more so claim by claim. So every time they say something, I try and write what's the simplification of the claim they just made or the thing they just said. And so I was kind of going through his essay and I say that to
[00:11:22] Eric Jorgenson: You're a wise man.
[00:11:24] Eric Jorgenson: That's how, that's how Franklin learned his, his craft man. Yeah, it's just taking an essay and, trying to rephrase it. Yeah.
[00:11:30] David Elikwu: Yeah. But I think it's also useful for me 'cause it helps me get a ton of newsletter ideas and funnily enough, so even in preparing for this podcast, I was listening to all your previous podcast appearances. But like as you say things, I will interject and I'll write what I think and you know, I will disagree with you but it's in own mind and that helps to give me ideas of other things I can go off and write about.
[00:11:49] David Elikwu: So anyway, all of that background to say that Paul Graham recently wrote an essay about super linear returns and essentially it's just this idea, pretty much like we were saying, it's a bit like, you know, exponential or asymmetric returns where you put in a bit of effort and the returns that you get from that are more than proportional to the effort that you put in, which is obviously what you're looking for, this is great.
[00:12:08] David Elikwu: But the issue that I had with two of the analogies or two of the examples that he used, one being startups and one being like warfare. It's not so much an issue, but it's, it's a question for you.
[00:12:19] David Elikwu: The pushback on those two examples is that they are also like asymmetric in the wrong way. So they do compound exponentially. So his train of logic was essentially applying things that use the Matthew principle. So you know, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. So each success begets the next success. And so, for example, if you were in ancient times waging war, every time you conquer new land, that new land, you can graze it, you can feed your people, your men get strong. And so just naturally there is a process that conquering more land allows you to conquer more land.
[00:12:51] David Elikwu: And the same with startups. You know, growing your startup allows you to grow your startup. The more success you have, the more success you can get. But the issue with both of those examples is that, that is true, but they can also be very asymmetric the returns that you get.
[00:13:03] David Elikwu: So at any point, Like, it's almost with a startup it's like rolling dice, like it is double or nothing. You can continue to expand exponentially, but at some point you can just contract a hundred percent you know, very quick or very slow. And the same with warfare, right? You know, each bit of land you acquire allows you to continue acquiring more land and all the competence that you get a hundred percent compounds. But at some point you might lose a battle and at that point you are wiped out.
[00:13:27] David Elikwu: And I wanted to get your thoughts on, as an investor and as a CEO, applying this concept of leverage, where we want to get leverage and we want to get it asymmetric things where the returns we can get can be higher than what we put into it. But with venture capital as an example. It's a non ergotic system, which means that like the returns for an individual are not the same as the returns for the system. So as an individual founder or a CEO. Your business is your life like that is, that's your bet right now. A hundred percent into this thing. If it wins, it wins. If it loses, it loses. As an investor, as a VC, I am placing a hundred betts on a hundred different companies, and all I need is for one to do a 100x. It doesn't matter if lot go to zero, if one does a 100x, I return the fund and I'm actually back to, you know, I've broken even or I've even made a great profit. And yeah, so I just wanted to get your thoughts on how you marry those different concepts.
[00:14:20] Eric Jorgenson: Yeah. I think the summary of my course on leverage. At the end there's 10 like principles that's like, if you want to just to carry this away, print it out, put it on your thing. And one of the last ones is, Live by the Lever. Die by the lever. It is, you know, levers are not without risk. You know, especially as you're accountable, like you're increasing your exposure to risk with each successive one.
[00:14:40] Eric Jorgenson: And I mean, I think you make a great point. I thought you were almost about to say, you know, the old Warren Buffet, like never multiply by zero. If you keep rolling those dice and there's a zero on them, like eventually that's gonna go badly. Entrepreneurs dance with risk constantly in a lot of different ways, and I prefer to think of them as like risk managers than risk takers. Certainly I am not, like, I'm not a risk on type of person. Like I am not Elon Musk, I've not like put my net worth down many times on the table with high odds of failure. I respect the hell out of them, I'm so glad that he did it. It's good for humanity. That is not the way my genes are wired. I do seek leverage and I do employ it where I can. But I'm very aware that, you know, back to the visual of, you have a 20 pound or a 20 foot lever and you're trying to lift an 800 pound rock. If you get that thing off the ground and it comes back down and you're standing on the other side, it's gonna launch you into space and it's gonna hurt you. And if you're gonna try to wield a very long lever, that thing can come back to bite you quick. Let's say you've built a huge audience you know, you're very famous, you've got 10 million followers and you say some dumb shit, you're gonna get canceled immediately. You're gonna be in a ton of headlines. Like that is a dangerous place to be if you run a huge company and things start to go poorly. There's gonna be a long line of people that are very eager to oust you and take your spot if you take on a huge amount of debt and try to get some financial leverage out, like that is a risky situation to be in.
[00:15:59] Eric Jorgenson: More leverage is not always good. And if you don't have the confidence and the practice to wield the levers that are at hand you can get very hurt. So I always encourage people to kind of be, be very mindful and take a stepwise fashion. And that's why I mentioned from the very beginning, like the competence to handle the leverage that you have, you want to grow, the course is called Building a Mountain of Levers, and I visualize myself and my work as sitting at my desk surrounded by levers in every direction. You know, one is a, an email list or a Twitter following. One is an investment fund. One's a podcast, like there's a bunch of different version, you know, one's chat GPT, one's my team at Scribe, like some are books. And every day I am trying to either extend some of the levers or add a lever or just get better at, better organized, better able to use them. But I don't want levers that are longer than I'm capable of handling 'cause I know that they will come back and hurt me. So I do kind of try to constantly balance, you know my skill, the levers that I have, the length of them, the number of them, and just visualize that and know that I always have control over them, not them have control over me.
[00:17:05] Eric Jorgenson: And there's people with different appetites of risk and different levels of competence and different you know, preferences for speed and how much time they wanna put into building different kinds of levers. And you know, there's, there's no magic formula. But there's just like a level of comfort for each individual person that's up to them to choose.
[00:17:19] Eric Jorgenson: But it's clear that Warren Buffett did not, it was not awarded, you know, a $10 billion fund when he was 28. I've got the poster up in my house, the slow compounding growth of his assets. He earned his way very slowly towards managing a hundred billion dollar company. I actually think it's closer to a trillion now. I can't remember. It's a very big number. Maybe it's a, maybe his net worth is approaching a hundred billion. But it's a very big number and it's slowly earned over time.
[00:17:44] Eric Jorgenson: And I think the wise does did not wish themselves into situations that they're not prepared for, right? Like that's the Anakin Skywalker problem. Like I want to know that I've earned my way into that, you know, into that chair whenever I sit in it. And that it's not going to consume me or hurt the people around me, and that I'm able to handle the responsibility that's being given to me. I think that's something everyone should be paying attention to. Yeah, that makes a lot sense. And I guess the, the counterpart to skill is also luck. And I think in all of the examples that we mentioned, you know, Warren Buffet, Naval, et cetera, you see so many examples of where they're able to benefit from luck. But the luck was generated by the work they did beforehand.
[00:19:12] David Elikwu: And I think it was Naval that I've heard him talking before about like the four types of luck. So I wondered if that's could expand on.
[00:19:18] Eric Jorgenson: Yeah,
the first is a sort of like hustle luck. Like just get out there and start knocking on doors and see what happens. No, I'm sorry. That's the second kind.
[00:19:19] Eric Jorgenson: The first kind is blind luck, where you're just walking down the street and you find a $20 bill.
[00:19:23] Eric Jorgenson: The second is grind luck or hustle luck where you're like aimlessly just like generating activity.
[00:19:28] Eric Jorgenson: The third is cultivated. I'm getting the nomenclature wrong here. The third is like a cultivated luck. And the fourth is where which is like a very, sorry. Cultivated luck is a very intentional sort way to kind of attract it like you're creating, you're increasing your surface area.
[00:19:46] Eric Jorgenson: The fourth is the version where you are so singularly unique that you almost can't help but have luck happen to you. Like luck becomes your destiny.
[00:19:56] Eric Jorgenson: And the like, I hate to keep coming back to Warren Buffett as an example, but it's a more concrete. Naval uses the example of like, if you are the diver who can dive deeper than anybody else and someone finds a you know, buried treasure at the bottom of the ocean, they have to come to you. 'Cause you are so unique and so skilled that like, that luck was going to end up on your doorstep eventually. The version that's Warren Buffet is like his balance sheet was so strong and his reputation was so good that when the US banking system collapsed, who else can they call to save it both reputationally and financially, but Warren Buffett, right?
[00:20:25] Eric Jorgenson: So that is a very, and I don't know how many billions of dollars he made off that, but he spent 60 years positioning himself to be the only person in the world who could take that call, right? And luck became his destiny.
[00:20:36] Eric Jorgenson: And so I think there's, you know, everybody, it is popular to say like, oh, they, they got lucky. And to criticize people or use that to detract from their success because they got lucky is not to say, one, it's not to say they haven't survived their share of bad luck. You know, there's plenty of those people have had mistakes. It's also not to say that they didn't deserve that luck, right? Like there's something when you call someone else lucky and just say like that they didn't earn it. And I think you can absolutely earn luck. You can increase your surface area, you can create more opportunities for yourself. Like to disdain others who got lucky, whether they earned it or not is a little bit of, it's just like a hater mentality, right? Like it is another one of Naval's things is like, if you secretly despise wealth, it will allude you.
[00:21:16] Eric Jorgenson: So like celebrate the lucky, believe that you're lucky. Manifest that luck. Like lean into it. To believe you're lucky is also to believe you're happy. Like there's something optimistic about it. Like tell yourself you're lucky and you will become so like that's something to affirm and to attract in your life, I think. You know, and back to where we started in this conversation about identity, like if you believe that you're a lucky person, you see things that happen to you as lucky, you'll become more lucky and then more luck will happen to you. And that is a beautiful, like golden shimmering snowball of beautiful things as you want to continue. So, you know, pet it and stroke it and thank it, and like, make it part of you and let it continue.
[00:21:50] David Elikwu: Yeah, this is another NPC script, which is people hating luck and the idea people getting lucky. And it's so funny, just exactly like what you were saying. I think luck is fundamentally important and everyone, the joke is that everyone should want to be lucky and everyone should do their best to like manifest luck through whatever means necessary, right? Do enough work that luck comes to you.
[00:22:10] David Elikwu: A really good example is, you know, there was a talk that I think I gave a number of years ago, but i don't know, it was at some big company and how I got that talk was I wrote a newsletter and I was doing a course and I took some of the ideas that I've written about in the newsletter, and I taught it on the course. And then as I was teaching it on the course, I had some more ideas about it. So I went back and I wrote another post about it. And someone read that post and they worked at this big company and they said, I should come and speak to their, to their London office. And so like, oh, great, I got lucky, you know, someone reached out to me out of nowhere and offered me this opportunity. But absolutely none of that happened if I hadn't done all of this work that led up to it beforehand. So it's a, you know, freak thing out of nowhere, but it's a result of the luck that you've intentionally curated.
[00:22:54] Eric Jorgenson: And you did probably a hundred other things that added to that surface area. And you never knew which of the a hundred was gonna pay off. But you knew that if you increase your surface area and awareness and that something somehow would, and like it's beautiful and that, you know, maybe that's kind of type two, like hustle luck turning into type three luck and then somebody from that audience carries you forward.
[00:23:14] Eric Jorgenson: And like, I do think it's a progression and you can continue to kind of invest in that.
[00:23:18] David Elikwu: Yeah, exactly. Does Naval say anything about the concepts of like, shots on goal? So the analog or the connection that I was thinking about was starting from luck.
[00:23:28] David Elikwu: Okay, have you heard of Six Degrees of Separation? Something people mention a lot. So that phrase comes from a study, I think it was Zimbardo at Stanford, but they did this study. I they sent letters to people that lived in the South and they said, okay, here's a package. Can you get this package to a named stockbroker in Boston? Obviously you don't know someone in Boston. The aim is that you should just try and send to you know that might know this person in Boston. And the result of the study that it took six steps, like they had to pass it on six times before it reached the person, someone that they didn't know, but simply by passing on to whoever they thought was most likely it reached them, so that's where that comes from.
[00:24:09] David Elikwu: But there was a replication of that in the UK where they also added luck as a variable. So one group of people had self-identified as lucky, and one group of people self-identified as unlucky. They did the exact same experiments. Send them these packages. You have to deliver it to, let's say Amy, who is a, an event planner in Chelmsford. Okay, fine. So you send everyone these packages and you track, okay. How long does it take to get there? What proportion of these packages get there? I think it's something like 60% of those packages. I think the overall proportion might have been less than the original experiment, but then you split it by, okay, what proportion of those people were the lucky people and what proportion of the people that thought they were unlucky.
[00:24:49] David Elikwu: I can't remember the exact numbers, but a massive proportion of the people that already identified as unlucky people, they never even sent the package. Like it didn't even leave leave the house so they just, they just assumed, look, I'm, look, do you think I know someone called Emily that is an event planner in Chelmsford? Why would I even do that? They just didn't even send the package. So the bulk of the overall 60% came from the people that thought they were lucky just sending the package anyway.
[00:25:15] David Elikwu: And that is just a really good example, like what you were saying you know, the self-belief that you have for yourself of, okay. What relationship do I have with luck? Is this something that I actually want to invite into my life? Like, am I looking for luck? Am I trying to be lucky? Am I proactively gonna try and do things that that bring about luck? Or am I gonna shy away from it and ugh, you know, I wanna work for things Like if I don't know someone that is called Emily in Chelmsford, I'm not gonna bother, you know, wasting my time doing all of that. And you can see that the impact that that has at the end.
[00:25:44] Eric Jorgenson: Yeah. That is the most incredible, incredibly revealing and summarizing concept of those two mindsets. Like, I love that punchline so much. That's so good. You gotta believe that it could work out for you, it's such a self-fulfilling thing. That's so interesting,
[00:25:57] David Elikwu: Yeah, a hundred percent. So we've talked a lot about the, the success side of things and the wealth side of things, but I know that you've even mentioned, I think that a lot of your friends reading the book probably revisit the wealth side more than the happiness side. And first of all, I'd love to know why you think that is? Especially because, you know, if you do read the happiness side, it probably reveals some of the, some of the answers for you as well.
[00:26:17] Eric Jorgenson: I think that's so funny. Yeah, that's been true, I think all the way through the book. All the way through the journey of creating it all the way through, you know, that's probably where the highlights lie. That's probably where it's just, people retrace it so much more often. I think it's such a, it's just such a human thing, you know?
[00:26:33] Eric Jorgenson: A perfect example of like revealed preference, express preference. You know, you say you want one thing, you know someone very credible just told you that it's not the thing that you're really chasing, but you still work for it. Like some inertia, some mimetics, some just kind of raw human desire. Like, I don't judge it. I just find it funny and I think it's an interesting fact to share with people just to like, hold up a mirror to everybody and including myself, right? Like, I wonder to what extent it's an age thing. Like is it just because this book is mostly read by younger people who are more, more acutely worried about building their wealth while they're young or building their career before they get married or whatever it is. And, you know, if me and all my friends are reading this book when we're 60, which I hope we are, maybe we're focused on the second half and we're a little more enlightened. But maybe not and that would be okay too, you know I don't know. I just, I just find it a, a funny observation more than anything else.
[00:27:23] David Elikwu: Yeah, I think what it ties to in my mind is another naval quote, which was something about, about desire where Naval says something like, desire is
[00:27:34] Eric Jorgenson: Desires of contract you make to be unhappy until you get what you want.
[00:27:37] David Elikwu: Exactly. it. So thank you for helping me out of that hole.
[00:27:42] David Elikwu: But no, that's, that's exactly it, right? And I think wealth is something people desire. It's something we want, it's something people lust after. Happiness is transient in a sense. And oh, another Naval quote I think is something like peace is happiness in motion and happiness is peace at rest. Something like that. And again, it's ?
[00:28:01] Eric Jorgenson: Yeah. You nailed that one.
[00:28:02] David Elikwu: we are, there we go. So I got, I got something I'm passing the test just about.
[00:28:07] David Elikwu: But yeah, like when we're in pursuit of something, of things we desire and, and you know what Luke Burgis talks about in book Wanting aligns with this as well, is that, you know, chasing the wealth can hinder us from finding the happiness because happiness is not a destination. And I think Naval has something to say about that as well. But it's this idea that a lot of people look past because a lot of people see happiness is the place they trying to reach and wealth or whatever tool they have at their disposal is the route to get there. Like if I had the wealth, I would have thing. If I got this, I would have that.
[00:28:41] Eric Jorgenson: Yeah. It's a very interesting thing and it's, it is a trade off. That's what I love so much about Naval's perspective and, and this book, you know, there's a lot of books about money and there's a lot of books about happiness, but there's not that many that examine the deep relationship between the two of them at a little bit of a, like, philosophical level.
[00:28:55] Eric Jorgenson: And the trade-off you make and it's worth examining for each individual desire is, is it easier to achieve this desire or to get rid of the desire? And you see some people you know, join a monk brotherhood and renounce all physical possessions. And that is an extreme of one direction of, I'm gonna work on getting rid of every desire and I'm gonna achieve happiness by eliminating desires rather than achieving them.
[00:29:17] Eric Jorgenson: That's an extreme. I have not walked that path. you know, there are accounts of people achieving it. I'm sure there are probably some dissatisfied monks who chase, you know, a state of emptiness that they may never, may never achieve, I don't know.
[00:29:29] Eric Jorgenson: And on the other side, you have people who are spend their entire lives relentlessly chasing material desires. And certainly some of those people end up never happy and never fulfilled either. I bet there's some people with yachts who are pretty fucking happy. You know, like, I wanted a yacht. I got a yacht, I'm enjoying it, I'm great and it all scales. Like anybody who's achieved the state where they want less than they have like is in a good spot that is really the state that you want. And back to again, where we began the conversation about, you know, you are trying to be in a state where you are happy with where you are and trying to grow at the same time, is it possible to have goals without desires? Is it possible to have motion or growth without desires?
[00:30:07] Eric Jorgenson: You can be grateful for what you have and where you are and still growing at the same time and be like, would be cool to have that, but I don't need it to be happy. I'm happy in this moment. And remembering, you know, yeah, it's true that happiness is fleeting. But so are the possessions, you know, and so is, so is the sense of success at achieving a goal like it all passes.
[00:30:26] Eric Jorgenson: And so I think Naval's guidance which again came from all the old millennia of literature that he's read is just like, work on the skill of being happy and peaceful in the moment. And it is a skill, you know, that you can train that voice in your head to have positive reactions to believe that you're lucky, to have the identity of being happy, to tie all the things that we've been talking to together. Possible to change that. And it is something to aspire to if it increases, you know, the quality of your life and every present moment for the rest of it. Like that's a skill, that's a talent is an effort worth making.
[00:30:58] David Elikwu: Yeah, I think that was probably one of the biggest insights or unlocks for me. And frame breaks like we referred to earlier, right? Because I have, and it might be another immigrant NPC motion, but like, you know, just like hustling and grinding. Okay, achieve one thing, achieve the next thing, et cetera.
[00:31:15] David Elikwu: And happiness is almost this thing that postpone and maybe you eventually get there someday, but just realizing, you know, happiness is not a state, it's a skill. Also unlocks like often the immediate next question might be something like, and I think we talked about some favor of this before. Okay, that's really easy for him to say he's rich. He's already made millions of millions of dollars. Of course, might be able to find happiness. I mean, simultaneously, you also see loads of millionaires that can never find happiness and actually making the millions enable them to realize how miserable they had been all along and continue to be.
[00:31:45] David Elikwu: And I think that is also, maybe that's, that's part of it, right? Where very often people think that happiness is on the other side of creating the wealth and then you create the wealth and you realize, oh, actually that wasn't it. And it's not this, I have no idea what it is. If having all this money didn't me happy, I have no idea I'm gonna find it.
[00:32:02] Eric Jorgenson: That's a good Naval's, you know, there's always a Naval line. Money only solves your money problems, you know, and I think that's a, it's a good thing to remember early on, like as you're chasing the money, cause back to our point on, everybody reads the wealth section over and over again. Like, you're probably not gonna stop chasing the money. If you can, great. But like it also helps to know while you're chasing it, maybe this is only ever gonna solve 20% of my problems, maybe it be 30% of my problems. I still have to work on being fit. You know, I still have to work on being healthy. You can't outsource your workout no matter how much money you have. You can't outsource your, the quality of your personal relationships.
[00:32:35] Eric Jorgenson: So don't over index so hard on chasing material wealth for a decade of your life and let the rest of your life fall apart. Because you know from the beginning that it's never gonna solve all your problems. That it's not a panacea. It's not gonna cure everything in your life. It's not gonna give you a peaceful internal state.
[00:32:52] Eric Jorgenson: It's not gonna give you happy relationships or respect or love. It's not gonna make you healthy. It's gonna solve some of your money problems. And maybe the safety that it provides is gonna make it a little easier to solve some of those other problems. But if you multiply it by zero, like it's gonna be hard to undo 10 years of damage that you spent chasing the wrong thing.
[00:33:09] Eric Jorgenson: Just know what you're doing and why you're doing it and what it's actually gonna get. And be wise, anticipate the future consequences of your current behavior and see what those outcomes might be. And be sure that the price you're paying is for something that you want to get.
[00:33:21] David Elikwu: Yeah. I wonder how spending all this time digging into this stuff has the way that you set goals for your life, both as a, a CEO, as a husband, as a investor and particularly, okay, so one thing I would push back on that you just said was that you can't delegate your, your health.
[00:33:37] David Elikwu: And I think, okay, so this is something I was also writing about not a long but a hundred percent think you can, like you absolutely can, but it's the opposite of the way that most people would think.
[00:33:46] David Elikwu: You have to delegate your health from your future self to your present self, right? Because by time you are having to live with the consequences of your future health decisions. You are not gonna like it. And very often it's also ergodic in that, you know, you can very easily reach a point where the losses are irrecoverable. You can't actually go back and suddenly put on a ton of muscle and suddenly, you know, undo 10 years of bad eating. Like you have to delegate all that responsibility to yourself to today so that you can to your future self, can get to do all those things later.
[00:34:15] David Elikwu: And the context in which I was writing about was I think the title was Just Buy the Future while it's Cheap. And I was just using a bunch of examples of lots of startups. Google, I think they first tried to sell for, maybe it was like 750,000 and they got rejected. They tried to sell to a company called Excite, which you may or may not have heard of.
[00:34:31] David Elikwu: Most people were
[00:34:32] Eric Jorgenson: Yeah. Naval used to work there.
[00:34:34] David Elikwu: Oh, okay. They were, yeah,
[00:34:35] Eric Jorgenson: one of his first jobs. Yeah.
[00:34:37] David Elikwu: But a lot of people may never know what that company is. 'cause it's not, it's not around, right. know, they tried to sell to Excite, they got rejected. They tried to sell for a different number. They got rejected. That's Google. This is like a trillion dollar company. One of the biggest companies in the world. The same thing with Facebook, Facebook tried to sell to MySpace for $1 million. MySpace? Where's MySpace? You haven't heard of MySpace in, in like 20 years and again and again. You know, Tencent tried to sell for a hundred thousand dollars. You have so many of of all these startups that tried to sell. Oh, my favorite one was Western Union. Do you know what, you know, Western Union?
[00:35:09] Eric Jorgenson: Mm-Hmm.
[00:35:10] David Elikwu: They had the opportunity to buy the telephone Alexander Graham Bell, when he invented tried to sell it to them, and they were like, oh, what use could we have this little toy? You know? Well, what? What are we gonna do with this? We have a million miles of telegraph cables, a million miles telegraph cables. Like, now you only hear of that in like old movies with Benedict Cumberbatch, right? No one talks about telegraphs, but they could have owned phones and now like what do they do? Money transfers or something, you know?
[00:35:37] David Elikwu: And again, it's just this concept that in many areas of our life, you can actually buy the future while it's cheap. Like, if you knew how valuable it was gonna be later on, you would've invested in it earlier. And this is maybe a form of like time leverage, right. The more time you invest in something now, the longer you get to reap the benefits later on.
[00:35:53] Eric Jorgenson: Yeah. I like that Frame a lot. Buy the future while it's cheap.
[00:35:56] David Elikwu: Thank you so much for tuning in. Please do stay tuned for more. Don't forget to rate, review and subscribe. It really helps the podcast and follow me on Twitter feel free to shoot me any thoughts. See you next time.