Transcribe your podcast

The basics here, which is the title of the first chapter of your book. It feels like the first chapter really introduces some of the inspiration behind why you wrote the book. You talk a lot about your wife and the illusions that you live under. What are the illusions that you live under or you lived under?


Again, let's think about the bigger picture first. Everything that you haven't visited and investigated and arrived at a competent, confident conviction that this is your own view is probably an illusion, which is quite striking because for a man like me, who spends a lot of his time reflecting, we're submerged in illusions. Everything from the value of a branded bag all the way to what the TV is telling us, what the government is supposed to do, and all of that stuff. Unless you've reflected on it and said, Okay, I'm being told this. I'm behaving this way, which might be contradicting what I have been told, but I'm feeling that way, which might be a third contradiction. Where is my reality? It's safe to assume that this was an illusion. A big part of that little voice in your head is an admission of all of the mistakes I made using that machine in my life. Not all, but many, not even many, but many mistakes that I have made using this machine. Not all of them. There are many more mistakes. One, I think the biggest of them, was a conviction in my early years that my kids were a burden.


My family was a responsibility, which does happen when they come to life when you're very young. I had Ali when I was 25. I just turned 26 and I got married when I was 25. Basically, you start to feel responsible. You start to prioritize work. You start to go out in that treadmill, the hedonic treadmill, and just run, run, run, run, run. The pressure that you put on yourself when you do that makes you start to think, Okay, they are the reason why I'm working so hard. They are the reason why I'm stressed. When in reality, if you had asked them, they would have said, Papa, just come play with us. We don't want more than what we have. It's me losing context and running like crazy that made me think that way. The basics of the challenges we have with our brains is that we believe what our brains tell us. When my brain tell me they are the burden, they are the challenge, my whole being responds to that. My whole being starts to behave that way. I think what the reality that we miss when we do those things becomes what you have seen in the, if you like the movie Inception, when his wife had that thought, We're waiting for a train, basically, that kept playing in her head over and over and over that convinced her that this is not the real world, that they are in a dream and that the way to go out of it is to die.


That actually to committing suicide. And the opening of the movie that my favorite movie line of all time is What is the most resilient parasite? The most resilient parasite is not a bacteria, it's not a virus. It is a thought that you implant deep in your brain and believe in it over and over and over through your life. It shapes everything. It shapes everything. Interestingly, without you even knowing why you're doing what you're doing is because of that thought, because of that belief, because of that ideology. People do the weirdest things. I have a very, very dear friend who is a brilliant engineer, brilliant engineer who had that thought in his head, he's now in his early 60s, that if I tell my ideas to a businessman, he's going to steal it. Every startup he ever attempted, he wanted to be the engineer and the CEO. As a result, everything he started to fail. Even though the ideas and the engineering, the rigor was incredible, but he just couldn't get that idea out of his mind. You can go all the way to people who have ideas that lead to wars or to destruction or to terrorist acts or whatever, it's just one idea seeded deep enough in our head that really leads us to become who we are.


Digging out that idea and finding it, that's the basic. The basic is to find those thoughts and how you can deal with them so that you eradicate them so that you can actually live true to who you are, not the thoughts that have been implanted in your brain.


How does one go about even knowing where to start that search for those limiting or imprisoning thoughts that have become the satellite navigation of our lives?


It's a moment of truth. It's a moment of honesty. I think you started with that very... I can't believe I spoke about that, about the very personal question about my relationship choices. But that's a moment of truth. It's not that I don't want someone in my life, but it's that if that someone contradicts priority A, then priority A is actually what I stand for. You get those by comparing what you're thinking to what you actually do and what you actually feel. It's a very interesting exercise. If you're coherent in something, if you say, I am vegan, for example, okay, if you identify yourself as vegan, but you crave eating animal protein and you feel that you're pressured, then you're not a vegan. You could be a striving vegan, you're trying to be vegan. You could be an ideologist vegan. You want you believe in the ideology of veganism, but you're not. Don't call yourself I'm a vegan. You can then change that thought and say, I want to be vegan. That's a different thought than I am vegan. You can apply that to everything, to every part of your life. I am in that partnership.


I love her and I want to stay with her forever. But I'm looking at every other woman and I feel that I am in jail. Okay, great. Have that conversation with yourself. Have that conversation with yourself because what you're feeling is contradicting, what you're doing is contradicting what you're thinking.


So much of my life is filled with contradicting. Absolutely. What does that say? I'm thinking about, I say that I want to be in a committed relationship, but then what I do is work all the time and want to work all the time and choose work all the time. What does that mean?


What does that mean?


You can tell me on camera. I'm not going.


To cry. Look, you're not alone. All of us are. It's not on one topic. It's on every topic. Okay. As I always talk about, there are three compartments in our brains. One compartment is what I call compartment one, which are things that are true and we know are true. The other is compartment three, which are things that are not true and we know they're not true. The majority of what's happening inside us is what I call compartment two, which are things that are undecided. We either don't know them or we know that they're not aligned, but we can live with them for now. We don't prioritize them. What matters is not solving them. What matters is marking them as compartment two. If you mark them as compartment two in your head, you go like, Okay, hold on, this topic is unresolved. It's not within my priority today, but I need to come back to that topic. Just like my choice of relationships. It takes a long time and a lot of experimenting after my separation with my wife, to try and get to a point where I actually know that I'm going to put in the time and investigate where I am in life.


Throughout that time, I acknowledge to myself and I say, This is compartment two. I don't know what I want. I don't. The point is, so many of those exist. If you live assuming that it's compartment one, you're completely messed up, because your actions are not matching your feelings and your feelings are not matching your thoughts. You're not complete, you're not full, you're not settled. That idea of equilibrium, most people, the easiest way to imagine it visually is to imagine a pendulum. If your life is in equilibrium, it's in total balance, that total balance is the point at which minimal effort is needed to live. If you're in balance, you're not struggling. Just like the pendulum, the pendulum, when it's at equilibrium point, you literally need zero force to keep it in the equilibrium point forever. You don't have to apply any force to it. You want to push it a little bit to the right, you have to apply a force and keep that force for as long as you want it to stay within that place. That's what we do with our lives all the time. That our nature, our balance, our equilibrium is not exactly how we're living, and so we're constantly applying effort.


We're constantly trying to be in a place that is not our natural place to be. We want to be there, so we apply the effort. Is there anything wrong with that? Absolutely not, because life is cyclical and life is all compromises as we start. But the trick is to say, when I am in that place, I am aware that this place is not my natural tendency, and I am okay with that because that place gives me A, B and C. There is a utility to that place. At the same time, I want to tell myself openly that I'm heading from that place to that point of equilibrium. That could be by saying in the next seven years, I'm not going to do anything about it, but in seven years time, I'm going to start to head in that equilibrium. Or you could say, I'm going to take a step every day for the next seven years, whichever way you want. And or you, by the way, or you can also tell yourself, I don't care. I know it's not my equilibrium, but I'm going to do it anyway because that's what I believe in. I think that's very much the state I'm in.


If you ask me, I'd like to be in 50% of the year doing absolutely nothing with someone I absolutely love, with a very simple life, but that's not my life every day. I know that to be true, and I will do it for a while to go, because I have assigned myself something that I believe requires that effort. The other thing that humans do most of us is we leave a lot of pendulum out of equilibrium. It's actually quite easy to tell yourself, Look, my number one pendulum is my work. I'm going to put that in equilibrium. Then my second pendulum in importance is relationship, or to reverse them if you want. The third is my impact. The fourth is my friendships, the fifth is my health and so on. Then the game is if you want your work to actually benefit, put the others in equilibrium or acknowledge to yourself that they're not, but don't complain about it, don't feel bad about it. If you do that, you manage to then simply focus yourself on the one that is your most priority, and then life is in an interesting way linear that way. In physics, basically, instead of the parallel processing of trying to fix all of them at the same time, you're simply saying, I'm going to process them in series.


I'm going to fix this work element, pendulum, first. And when it's done, I'll fix the next one. And then when it's done, I'll fix the next one. It's a constant journey. You're not alone. I'm exactly like you, constantly searching and constantly reflecting and investigating and finding that equilibrium.