Eric Brown • • 3 min read
21 Naval Ravikant Insights to Upgrade Your Mental Software
Naval Ravikant should be a household name.
Unfortunately, right now he’s a secret relic of the technology, cryptocurrency, and startup worlds. The modern-day sacred sage of the business and technological era.
Fortunately for us, Naval’s wisdom transcends any specific industry or topic, and lays a blanket of awareness over concepts like the self, systems thinking, constructing meaning, and thriving in life.
A hallmark of his witty ideology is how fundamental his understanding of these topics is. Most of the aphorisms attributed to Naval are undeniably pithy, cutting straight to the point with no extra fat on the side. This is an individual who has embraced first principles thinking and demonstrated to everyone that it is possible to start from this point in all areas of your life.
Listening to Naval speak is like getting a download right from the source, his words laying out the blueprint, the fundamental substructure, of the reality and systems that we exist within.
Now, armed with the processes and attitudes necessary for thriving as a sovereign being, Naval is single-handedly redefining what a Renaissance polymath can look like in today’s age.
We’ve gathered up just a micro-dose of ‘Navalism’ for you, a trailer to the movie of the mind. Naval will take you on a journey through business, relationships, meditation, first principles, physics, digital money, and much more, if only you are willing to drop your assumptions and embark on this journey.
Are you ready?
“A fit body, a calm mind, a house full of love. These things cannot be bought — they must be earned.”
“Desire is a contract that you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want.”
“A rational person can find peace by cultivating indifference to things outside of their control.”
“School, politics, sports, and games train us to compete against others. True rewards — wealth, knowledge, love, fitness, and equanimity — come from ignoring others and improving ourselves.”
“A busy mind accelerates the perceived passage of time. Buy more time by cultivating peace of mind.”
“The most important trick to be happy is to realize that happiness is a choice that you make and a skill that you develop. You choose to be happy, and then you work at it. It’s just like building muscles.”
“Forty hour workweeks are a relic of the Industrial Age. Knowledge workers function like athletes — train and sprint, then rest and reassess.”
“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.”
“Politics is sports writ large — pick a side, rally the tribe, exchange stories confirming bias, hurl insults and threats at the other side.”
“All the real benefits in life come from compound interest.”
“The secret to public speaking is to speak as if you were alone.”
“Sophisticated foods are bittersweet (wine, beer, coffee, chocolate). Addictive relationships are cooperative and competitive. Work becomes flow at the limits of ability. The flavor of life is on the edge.”
“The people who succeed are irrationally passionate about something.”
“Humans are basically habit machines… I think learning how to break habits is actually a very important meta skill and can serve you in life almost better than anything else.”
“Don’t do things that you know are morally wrong. Not because someone is watching, but because you are. Self-esteem is just the reputation that you have with yourself.”
“Reading (learning) is a meta-skill and can be traded for anything else.”
“All greatness comes from suffering.”
“Social media has degenerated into a deafening cacophony of groups signaling and repeating their shared myths.”
“I would define values, first of all, as a set of things that you will not compromise on. Foundational values to me are things that I’ve looked at very, very carefully about myself and I’ve deliberately chosen and said, “You know what, this is a habit. This is a way of life. I’m not going to compromise on it. I’m going to stay this way forever. I don’t want to live life any other way.”
“I don’t like to self-identify in almost any level anymore. That keeps me from having too many of these so-called stable beliefs.”
“Total honesty at all times. It’s almost always possible to be honest & positive.”