The Pleasure of the Universe

Hugh Jackman:

One of my favorite movies of all time and definitely my favorite quote from a movie of all time is from Chariots of Fire, which I loved as a kid. And Eric Liddell, who’s the religious runner who decides not to run on the Sabbath during the Olympics.

So there’s this great scene. He’s meant to be going off after the Olympics to do missionary work in China, handing out Bibles or something, and his sister’s talking to him, and he goes… She’s like, “You’ve got to throw away this silly running thing. We have really important work, God’s work, to do. Why are you doing this and spending time on this?” You know, basically, kind of accusing him of not following God’s will. And he just says—he looks at her and he says, “But I feel his pleasure when I run.” And I’ve always—somehow that line, it always makes me tear up just saying it. That’s what I feel onstage. There’s a kind of natural energy.

And what I keep saying to my kids actually: Don’t settle. Find that thing that resonates with you in that way, where you feel some kind of the pleasure of the universe, of consciousness. Like, there’s some joy where you feel you can do it longer. And in that way, it’s not such a Herculean effort.


That whatever that decision was, whatever that moment of clarity becomes, whatever gets you to that feeling of Eric Liddell on Chariots of Fire, “I feel His pleasure when I run,” for me, that was always, and I carry it today. Even though my feelings about religion are different than what they were when I was younger, the essence is the same, that there is some calling. As Joseph Campbell would talk about, “Follow your bliss.” There is some calling that is beyond the conscious brain’s strategizing of how to be happy and successful or meaningful in life. There’s something elemental and instinctual. And honing that, the people I admire the most really hone that ability in big decisions in their life and in… to small, day-to-day decisions.


And then I fall still and remind myself that this is all in service of something. I say a little—I say, “Om paramatmane namah,” which means, “I dedicate this show, or whatever it is, to the service of The Absolute”—there is something beyond the show, some reason we’re doing this. Same for your show. You know. There’s got to be a reason beyond just what the immediate thing is there, and that just connects me to that.

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A Difference in Priorities

Tim Ferriss:

So, what makes the difference? What separates the New Rich (NR), characterized by options, from the Deferrers (D), those who save it all for the end only to find that life has passed them by?

It begins at the beginning. The New Rich can be separated from the crowd based on their goals, which reflect very distinct priorities and life philosophies.

Note how subtle differences in wording completely change the necessary actions for fulfilling what at a glance appear to be similar goals. These are not limited to business owners. Even the first, as I will show later, applies to employees.

D: To work for yourself.
NR: To have others work for you.

D: To work when you want to.
NR: To prevent work for work’s sake, and to do the minimum necessary for maximum effect (“minimum effective load”).

D: To retire early or young.
NR: To distribute recovery periods and adventures (mini-retirements) throughout life on a regular basis and recognize that inactivity is not the goal. Doing that which excites you is.

D: To buy all the things you want to have.
NR: To do all the things you want to do, and be all the things you want to be. If this includes some tools and gadgets, so be it, but they are either means to an end or bonuses, not the focus.

D: To be the boss instead of the employee; to be in charge.
NR: To be neither the boss nor the employee, but the owner. To own the trains and have someone else ensure they run on time.

D: To make a ton of money.
NR: To make a ton of money with specific reasons and defined dreams to chase, timelines and steps included. What are you working for?

D: To have more.
NR: To have more quality and less clutter. To have huge financial reserves but recognize that most material wants are justifications for spending time on the things that don’t really matter, including buying things and preparing to buy things. You spent two weeks negotiating your new Infiniti with the dealership and got $10,000 off? That’s great. Does your life have a purpose? Are you contributing anything useful to this world, or just shuffling papers, banging on a keyboard, and coming home to a drunken existence on the weekends?

D: To reach the big pay-off, whether IPO, acquisition, retirement, or other pot of gold.
NR: To think big but ensure payday comes every day: cash flow first, big payday second.

D: To have freedom from doing that which you dislike.
NR: To have freedom from doing that which you dislike, but also the freedom and resolve to pursue your dreams without reverting to work for work’s sake (W4W). After years of repetitive work, you will often need to dig hard to find your passions, redefine your dreams, and revive hobbies that you let atrophy to near extinction. The goal is not to simply eliminate the bad, which does nothing more than leave you with a vacuum, but to pursue and experience the best in the world.

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No Need to Wait

Peter Thiel, in Tools of Titans:

If you go back 20 or 25 years, I wish I would have known that there was no need to wait. I went to college. I went to law school. I worked in law and banking, though not for terribly long. But not until I started PayPal did I fully realize that you don’t have to wait to start something. So if you’re planning to do something with your life, if you have a 10-year plan of how to get there, you should ask: Why can’t you do this in 6 months? Sometimes, you have to actually go through the complex, 10-year trajectory. But it’s at least worth asking whether that’s the story you’re telling yourself, or whether that’s the reality.

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Mapping Out Your Life

Chris Sacca:

Generally, what all of this comes down to is whether you are on offense or defense. I think that as you survey the challenges in your lives, it’s just: Which of those did you assign yourself, and which of those are you doing to please someone else? Your inbox is a to-do list to which anyone in the world can add an action item. I needed to get out of my inbox and back to my own to-do list.

Tim Ferriss:

Most of our waking hours, we feel as though we’re in a trench on the front lines with bullets whizzing past our heads. Through 20 minutes of consistent meditation, I can become the commander, looking out at the battlefield from a hilltop. I’m able to look at a map of the territory and make high-level decisions. “These guys shouldn’t even be fighting over here. What the hell is Regiment B doing over there? Call them out. We need more troops around the ridge. For objectives, we should be going after A, B, and C in that order. Ignore all the other so-called emergencies until those are handled. Great. Now, deep breath, and … execute.”

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Amplify Your Strengths

Chase Jarvis, in Tools of Titans:

Everything is a remix, but what is your version of the remix? Say I have a relationship with a bunch of celebrities, so I might be able to get a photograph of them that no one else could because they were on my couch playing Playstation. The point is thinking about, ‘What is the unique mojo that I bring, and how can I try and amplify that?” Amplify your strengths rather than fix your weaknesses.

If you’re not the best person at capturing something visually, but you’re a good storyteller, you have your visual art, then you have an incredible narrative to go with it. When you go into art galleries – and I don’t have the budget for it, but I’m a classical-type guy – you’ll see stuff on the wall for $10 million, and you can’t figure out what it is. You read the plaque next to it and you’re like, ‘That’s a damn good story. I see how they’re selling these things.’

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A Happiness Exercise

Chade-Meng Tan, in Tools of Titans:

In many of my public talks, I guide a very simple 10-second exercise. I tell the audience members to each identify two human beings in the room and just think, “I wish for this person to be happy, and I wish for that person to be happy.” That is it. I remind them to not do or say anything, just think⁠—this is an entirely thinking exercise. The entire exercise is just 10 seconds’ worth of thinking.

Everybody emerges from this exercise smiling, happier than 10 seconds before. This is the joy of loving-kindness. It turns out that being on the giving end of a kind thought is rewarding in and of itself… All other things being equal, to increase your happiness, all you have to do is randomly wish for somebody else to be happy. That is all. It basically takes no time and no effort.


During working hours or school hours, randomly identify two people who walk past you or who are standing or sitting around you. Secretly wish for them to be happy. Just think to yourself, “I wish for this person to be happy, and I wish for that person to be happy.” This is the entire practice. Don’t do anything; don’t say anything; just think. This is entirely a thinking exercise.

If you prefer, you can do this at any time of the day for any amount of time. You can also do it at any other place. If there is nobody present, you can bring someone to mind for the purpose of this exercise.

Tim Ferriss:

I tend to do a single 3- to 5- minute session at night, thinking of three people I want to be happy, often two current friends and one friend I haven’t seen in years.

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2018 Recap

It’s the last day of 2018 🙂

Take some time today to think of all your favorite memories from this year. Start from January, or work your way backwards. Remember and savor every good memory and good experience that you’ve had this year. Give thanks for it. Feel appreciation for all the good times you’ve had, the people you’ve met, the places you’ve been.


If you could just find the things that you adore, the things that feel the best to you, and just for a little while, give those things your undivided attention… everything that has been murky, everything that has been slow, everything that has clogged up will begin breaking free.


Every time you praise something, every time you appreciate something, every time you feel good about something, you are telling the Universe, “More of this, please. More of this, please.”


Here’s a technique from Tim Ferriss that you can use to welcome 2019:

I’m often asked about how I approach New Year’s resolutions. The truth is that I no longer approach them at all, even though I did for decades. Why the change? I have found “past year reviews” more informed, valuable, and actionable than half-blindly looking forward with broad resolutions.

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Bending the Rules of Reality

Tim Ferriss:

Reality is largely negotiable.

If you stress-test the boundaries and experiment with the “impossibles,” you’ll quickly discover that most limitations are a fragile collection of socially reinforced rules you can choose to break at any time.

What follows are 17 questions that have dramatically changed my life. Each one is time-stamped, as they entered the picture at precise moments.

Here are some of Tim’s questions:

  • What if I did the opposite for 48 hours?
  • What would I do / have / be if I had $10 million?
  • What if I could only subtract to solve problems?
  • What would this look like if it were easy?
  • If I could only work 2 hours per week on my business, what would I do?


For the last 5 years, I’ve asked myself, in effect, “What can I put in place so that I can go completely off the grid for 4 to 8 weeks?” To entrepreneurs who are feeling burned out, this is also the question I pose most often. Two weeks isn’t enough, as you can let fires erupt and then attempt to repair things when you return. Four to eight weeks (or more) doesn’t allow you to be a firefighter.

On lifestyle design:

The rules of reality can be bent. It just requires thinking in different terms.


Consider the question: What would you do, day-to-day, if you had $100 million in the bank? If still blocked, fill in the five “doing” spots with the following:

1 place to visit
1 thing to do before you die (a memory of a lifetime)
1 thing to do daily
1 thing to do weekly
1 thing you’ve always wanted to learn

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The Fly

James Cameron on problem-solving from a higher perspective:

I had an epiphany while I was writing Avatar. I was working down in New Zealand, and I was just having a… it was just impossible to solve some of the dramatic problems. I couldn’t solve it, I couldn’t fix the script. And I just walked away, I sat down outside.

There was a glass cover to the veranda, and I watched this big fly — he was trying to get out, and he was banging against the glass. He just kept hitting the glass, over and over and over, because that’s how his little chip was programmed: you go toward the light, you go toward the sky. And he couldn’t get to the sky. All he had to do was drop down, fly three feet sideways and come out, but he couldn’t process it.

And I thought, How often am I that fly? How often is there some higher level of perspective that I lack in my chip, that I’m missing, that is so simple — that some fourth-dimensional being could look at the problem and go, “Oh, you idiot, you just drop down, go over three feet, and you’re out!” But the fly couldn’t do it.

And I thought, “What am I not seeing?” And that’s when I went back to first principles. I looked at the whole thing from a higher level. I got out of the trenches, for that moment, and that’s how I solved the problem.

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Stay Hungry

Lewis Howes and Tony Robbins talk about success, hunger, and drive:

Howes: With all the tools you’ve learned, the wealth of information over 39 years … the strategies to help people overcome their challenges … if you had to strip them all away and you could only use one strategy, what would that be?

Robbins: I wouldn’t. Part of why I’m effective is cause I don’t buy that. I’m always looking for more strategies, cause one strategy will work for one person, not with another.

But philosophically… I would say that the capacity to strengthen and increase your hunger is the one common demoninator amongst the most successful people. Richard Branson’s a good friend of mine. Peter Guber, Steve Wynn… all these guys, they never lost their hunger.

Most people are hungry to achieve a certain amount, make a certain amount of money, and then they get comfortable and relax. Or to get a certain level of fitness, and then they relax. But you know, Richard is as driven today as when he was 16 years old. He’s on fire! And he’s 65 years old. Warren Buffett is 85 years old. He’s as driven today as when he began the journey.


There’s a lot of intelligent people that can’t fight their way out of a paper bag. Hunger is the ultimate driver. If you’re hungry, you can get the strategy, get the answer… if you can’t model it, you can find it.

Modeling would be the next best skill. Knowing that success leaves clues, why re-invent the wheel? … Why would I go learn by trial-and-error, and maybe take 10 or 20 years, when I could learn from somebody in a few weeks or a few months or a few hours something that could save me a decade.

That’s what it is. That’s why I read 700 books in the first seven years. If somebody takes 10 years of their life, they pour it into a book, and I can read that in an hour or two or three or four, why wouldn’t I?

Tony Robbins, on the Tim Ferriss podcast:

It’s fascinating to see that in every industry, in every sport, there are a few players that play at the highest level, and they have one thing above everyone else: hunger. It’s an unquenchable hunger. Every one of these people has that.


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