Digital Detox with Andrew Wilkinson
Digital Detox with Andrew Wilkinson
Andrew Wilkinson: [00:00:00] And we’re all just regurgitating these memes over and over and over again. And actually having original thought is very unique. Right. And you don’t get that unless you’re spending time. Uh, actually having deep learning on something
Sahil Bloom: what’s going on, man. Thanks for, uh, taking the time to join.
Andrew Wilkinson: Yeah, it’s great to be here guys. So
Sahil Bloom: where are you right now? Are you at home? Are you traveling?
Andrew Wilkinson: I’m in my office, uh, in Victoria. So we, instead of having a really expensive office downtown, we actually bought a really beautiful house on a cliff in Victoria.
So I’m looking out at a, uh, amazing bay and it’s super sunny out and amazing. So yeah, I really don’t know why more people don’t use houses as, uh, offices.
Sahil Bloom: It’s probably gonna become more of a trend now, you know, in light of COVID and the flexibility, and honestly like Starlink. and being able to do high-quality work from literally anywhere in the world, as that continues [00:01:00] to expand.
I just imagine more people are gonna buy a ranch in Idaho and go build out an amazing office. And you can have like a few houses on the property where people come and live and you like have amazing people come in and out. I mean, it sounds like a dream. I don’t,
Andrew Wilkinson: I, I think it sounds like a dream, but I think it’s an oversimplification.
I think it’s like saying like, oh, I’ll have a baby and it’s gonna be awesome. Cuz it’s gonna have cute little feet and it’s gonna look like me and they’re not imagining 2:00 AM, wake-ups and shit. And in, in that instance, the 2:00 AM wake ups are you have to build fences and deal with all these logistics.
You’re in the middle of nowhere. You miss people. You want to go to a coffee shop. I know Greg, you like being kind of isolated sometimes, but I’m like, I need to be in a city.
Greg Isenberg: I, I thrive on isolation, thrive on it. Like I love to just, you know, in, uh, in my little town and, and in Quebec and I look out and there are 95 acres of just like nothing basically.
Um, for me, that’s the best in terms of like getting like hot, you know, [00:02:00] creative output
Andrew Wilkinson: is the best, like when you’re writing your manifesto, you mean?
Sahil Bloom: Yeah. When
Greg Isenberg: I’m writing my manifesto. Exactly. My memoirs.
Andrew Wilkinson: Yeah. Yeah. when are you sending out the packages? When do they start yeah.
Sahil Bloom: That’s when they get that in my head, I’ll look forward.
I’ll look forward to getting the FBI call to, to where it happens. Yeah.
Andrew Wilkinson: Ex exactly.
I do think, I mean, look, I, um, it’s balanced, right? Like I think I would enjoy being isolated and having that experience for maybe a month or a couple of months a year.
Um, but doing it full time and around the clock, I agree with you, Andrew. I think it would be, you know, it would drive me insane probably to not have the human connectivity, but look like one of the things, one of my first encounters with you, Andrew was a thread that you wrote on Twitter. I don’t know.
It’s probably close to a year ago now, or May or October of last year where you basically wrote about your experience of. Getting off the grid completely, both, you know, physically, but also from a technology perspective. And so I’m just, I’m curious, uh, what [00:06:00] precipitated that and to, to get a little bit of context around that for anyone that might not have seen
Andrew Wilkinson: it.
Sure. Yeah. I mean, so basically over COVID I just got into this habit of constantly being on Twitter, constantly checking my email as, as everyone else did, just constantly searching for, uh, entertainment on the internet and losing the kind of day to day touch points that I had of seeing friends and stuff, which calms your brain.
And so I got to this state by the end of July, where I was just waking up every single day and I was miserable. And the way I would describe the misery isn’t I wanna kill myself. I can’t get her to bed. It was, you know, like when you’re scrolling Netflix on a Friday night and you know, you wanna watch a movie, but there’s nothing that will scratch the it, right?
No, movie’s good. You keep stopping movies, starting new ones. You’re pissed for not choosing the right thing. That’s how my entire life felt. Nothing was satisfying. And so I didn’t know what was happening physiologically, but I just knew something was off. And so. I just basically went up to, we have a lake house and I just said, fuck it.
I’m [00:07:00] turning off all my devices. I’m cutting off everything. I’m putting up an auto responder. I told my assistant like, call me if there’s an emergency, but otherwise I don’t wanna hear from you. And, um, I did no music, no podcast, no device, no screens, um, no anything for a full month. And I just read books.
All I would do is go on my Kindle and read books and hang out with my kids and kind of occupy my time. And I didn’t know what happened. I didn’t really understand what I was doing, but effectively, um, in retrospect, I was doing a detox. This is like, when someone’s a drug addict or an alcoholic, you go and you go to rehab and you spend three to six weeks just not doing that thing.
And it kind of resets your cravings, your brain and your dopamine system. And so I got back after a month. And things that would’ve been very unsatisfying were very satisfying. So walking into a cafe and hearing music sounded like the greatest thing I’d ever heard listening to a [00:08:00] lecture on YouTube was like, you know, like glass of ice, water and hell.
Everything was just incredibly satisfying. And so I was kind of on a quest. I was going, why is, well, what did I do? Why did this work? What’s the science behind it. And I happened to listen to an interview that Andrew Huberman did with Dr. Anna Lemke, from Stanford, who specializes in addiction. And I listened to it only because I have an interest in opioid addiction.
I’d kind of researched the Sackler family and that whole story. So I thought maybe I’d learned something. And as I listened, I went, oh my God, like she was talking about how addiction is not just to drugs. It can be to anything that stimulates the dopamine reward system. So it can be eating a piece of chocolate.
It can be scrolling Instagram, listening to music, anything that fires you up and makes you feel motivated. And, um, the, the interesting thing they talked about was that there’s this kind of pleasure pain balance. So when you first do it, when you first eat the piece of [00:09:00] chocolate cake and you haven’t done that in a long time, it’s pure ecstasy.
It’s the best thing ever. But if you do it every week, it gets less satisfying. If you do it every day, it gets very unsatisfying. If you do it every hour, your body craves it and is in pain until it gets it. But then it’s not even doesn’t move the needle. Doesn’t make you feel good. You’re just constantly craving.
And so effectively what I realized was I was a drug addict for Twitter, for dopamine, and that I needed to detox. And frankly, I mean, Like anyone else, you go to rehab and you relapse. And I have now seven months later started to relapse, listen to podcasts, constantly listening to Spotify, you know, going on podcasts, going on Twitter a little bit.
But, um, I think it’s an important habit to build for yourself to create those spaces. So I decided every August, I’m just fully sabbatical, no devices. And, uh, we’ll see how that goes. I have a few,
Sahil Bloom: I have a few follow up questions on it. So first off, had you ever done something like [00:10:00] this? Like had you ever even done, you know, Greg kind of does like a one day per week detox, like a Sabbath, um, where he gets away from technology.
Had you ever done anything like this or was it the first time and you went cold Turkey for the month?
Andrew Wilkinson: I’d done it by accident. So I have a friend who lives, um, his family lives off the grid on a remote island in BC, and he took me there for three days and I remember feeling incredible. You know, it’s obviously very hard for the first, you know, day or so, but I remember feeling really incredible, but not knowing, not knowing what I’d done.
Um, but no, I mean, it was the first time in 20 years, I’d been without a device for more than 24 hours effectively. And did you
Sahil Bloom: experience similar to a drug addict who goes to rehab? Did you experience that the first 48 hours were like excruciating silence?
Andrew Wilkinson: Oh, yeah, I was furious. Like I was like, literally, you know, when you stand up and you’re tapping you, you go to the urinal and you’re tapping your pocket.
Oh, oh shit. I forgot my phone. That feeling of [00:11:00] desperation. What am I gonna do while I’m on the toilet? Or, you know, you need it constantly. Um, I had that every five seconds and my kids, you know, we, we have this lake house and there’s this little beach there. And so I’d sit there reading with my kids there.
And even the instinct of, I need to take a photo and text it to my friends, or I need to capture this moment. If I don’t capture this moment, I haven’t won or there’s something wrong. And removing that instinct, uh, was really, really helpful because, you know, do you wanna be present and remember it, or do you wanna just be taking photos of it and looking back at things you probably won’t even look at, right.
That urge to text your friends and tell them about something you’re doing is like the most bizarre thing. I
Greg Isenberg: think the, the scary thing about what’s happened. With social products, like, and I’ve worked on a lot of the large social products, the social products are gamified, but now basically all apps are being gamified.
Like Robin hood. Like I just logged into Robinhood this morning and like, I’m looking at like my net worth going up, [00:12:00] like crazy and going down like crazy like that, that gets your heart jumping. And it’s kind of happening to all spectrum of apps, which is pretty scary. I’m curious, you know, what your perspective is on that?
Andrew Wilkinson: Well, I think it’s, um, the, the genie outta the bottle. Right. And I think there will be people who are ethical, you know, the work that Tristan Harris does to try and coach some of these companies or up and coming companies to, um, use this stuff for good. There’s actually a company I’m investing in right now.
Um, I think it’s still stealth. So I won’t, I’ll be vague, but effectively what they’re trying to do, there are a bunch of very experienced people in the gaming industry. And they’re trying to use this same, um, dopamine pathway, um, and biology to harness it for good. So to teach kids things, um, to do it in a healthy way to kind of promote pro-social behavior and that kind of stuff.
And that’s very interesting to me, to me, these are these aren’t things that we should all swear off, [00:13:00] right? I think they they’re good. Dopamine is something that motivates us and moves us forward. But that said you don’t want to be, you don’t wanna feel your, a rat in a maze being drawn, you know, down, down a, you know, down a path you don’t want or understand.
Sahil Bloom: Let’s talk about that for something.
Greg Isenberg: Cause we talk Saha and I are constantly talking about this. Um, so I made fun of a bit in my, in my friend group because I’m like.
Sahil Bloom: The man for many reasons, for many reasons, many reasons, for many reasons, for one of them, one, one
Greg Isenberg: of them. Yeah. But one of them is, uh, that I’m like a man of moderation.
Like I’m, you know, if I’m going out, I’m only having one drink and I stick to it. And if I say I’m not, you know, checking technology for 24 hours, I’m not checking technology. Other people aren’t like that. And so how do you,
Sahil Bloom: like,
Greg Isenberg: how do we. For people who aren’t into [00:14:00] moderation or it’s very difficult for them.
What are some like ways for them to become more Mo you know,
Andrew Wilkinson: well, I’m, I’m very similar to you actually. So my, my friends would also, you know, when I was in my partying days, I would always go out and I’d only have three drinks. Right. It was always like, I will not drink, drink dinner, I’ll wait until we’re at a club and then I’ll drink three drinks, get buzzed, and then I’m going home by X time.
So I’m kind of similar to you. Um, the most effective thing is similar to what you do. If you’re an alcoholic, which is don’t expose yourself to environments people, um, et cetera, that will cause you to do that thing and then remove the stimuli from your home, from your office, et cetera. So. I’m very, um, they call this term self binding.
So the idea would be like, Hey, I, I want to eat healthy when I’m at home. Um, a I’m gonna remove all of the unhealthy snacks from my, my pantry. I’m gonna make it a real pain in the ass to get to it. Yeah, sure. I can go drive and get it, but that’s annoying. And then I’m gonna have alternatives. So for me, [00:15:00] for example, you know, for a while, I was like snacking on all these like shitty things at home.
I now have. Always have berries and I have pistachios and I have various things that I just substitute and I find when I’m craving something and I eat the healthy alternative, I don’t usually crave it afterwards. So that’s been my approach to it. Um, I also use screen time, very aggressively. So I have somebody else set my screen time passcode.
I totally limit my ability to look at news social media, um, for more than about two to three minutes a day. And that has really deprogrammed my brain. Like, you know, I don’t, I don’t naturally just go to Twitter when I’m on my phone. The problem is you search for a new thing. So it’s like, I might scroll my YouTube feed.
Um, I might go to the wall street journal. So I’m always trying to cut those, those pathways
Sahil Bloom: off. Yeah. It’s like environment hacking is kind of how I think of it generally is like, when, you know, you’re trying to create a, a pattern change like that. You need to hack your environment and so that your actual systems can, can [00:16:00] adapt and change.
Uh, like I I’ve always thought about. A combination of environment hacking and then just creating a new habit. Like I I’ve written about this recently of, um, basically this whole idea that we’ve lost the ability to, um, be alone and to be bored. And when I was a kid, I remember spending hours, like what I would typically define as bored, like wandering around, outside reading a book, you know, doing literally nothing.
And that was just, we didn’t have iPads. We didn’t have other things and maybe I didn’t have friends around. And so I was like outside and just walking around and my parents didn’t worry about where I was. And I think over time, we’ve just lost the ability to do that. And so I, I do like a 30 minutes a day, no matter what of, uh, I call it like creative boredom, but basically just like walking around, no music, no podcasts, no phone, whatever.
I carry around a little notebook, which I just like carry with me everywhere and will write down things that come into my head. And I find that. Those periods of boredom end up being when my best ideas actually strike. And it’s no surprise. I mean, it’s [00:17:00] no surprise to me that that’s the case, but it is quite interesting.
Andrew Wilkinson: Yeah, no, I think, um, I think it’s a very, um, it’s a very real problem. And I think I said this to you. We were doing a call maybe a month ago. There’s a great quote on this by blaze Pascal, which is all of man’s miseries arise from an inability to sit quietly in a room by oneself. Right? Think about it. You can’t just sit still.
You can’t have a moment of boredom. Um, one of the things I did after this dopamine fast was I said, you know, rule, I don’t listen to things when I. So I would just have these quiet contemplative 20 minute drives everywhere I go. I’ve now slipped, obviously, um, given I relapsed, but, um, I do think those sorts of things are really, really helpful and that experiencing boredom at some day time in your day is important.
The, the way I kind of think about it, I remember a therapist said to me, 10 years ago, she said, look, if you’re in elastic band and. Um, you know, [00:18:00] drugs, alcohol, um, stimuli, that’s you pulling up on the elastic band, right? But the cost is gonna be whatever the equal reaction is on the other side. So an up, let’s say that you’re a zero as a baseline and you go to eight, you know, you do some MDMA and you go to eight.
Well, you’re gonna go negative eight for the next couple days. After that, you’re gonna pay for it in the same vein. If you are a zero and you just allow yourself to be bored and that’s a negative two or a negative three, probably for the next week, you might have a rebound that you’re gonna be a plus three plus four.
So there’s this idea of paying, you know, buying yourself happiness, um, or selling yourself, future sadness.
Sahil Bloom: I think of it as like reducing the amplitude. Like if you’re a wave. You know, the amplitude of the wave is like the distance from the baseline that it swings. And, you know, people, we all know people who are like this, you know, wild swings up and down, above and below the baseline.
And I’ve always found that the most impressive people in the world, like find a way to just reduce the amplitude. Like they never get too high, they never get too low [00:19:00] and they have these like sort everyone has waves, right? It’s going to happen. You’re gonna have things that spark happiness things that spark joy, et cetera.
And you’re gonna have downward swings, but being able to like squeeze that into a tighter band is a real skill. Um, and it’s something that I think needs to be honed. Ha have you guys heard of, um, it’s toe his concept of the noise bottleneck? No. So it’s pretty interesting. And it relates to all of this. So basically he has this concept called the noise bottleneck, which basically says that.
We assume that consuming more leads to, uh, more information, more knowledge, et cetera. So you like, you know, if you’re gonna watch the news for 30 minutes, uh, that’s great. But if you watch it for five hours, that’s even better. Cuz you just consume so much more information and you got more, um, insight, knowledge, et cetera.
And it accumulates in compounds. His whole theory is that it’s actually, um, it’s actually, uh, a paradox basically where. By consuming more information. The noise to signal [00:20:00] ratio actually increases by bringing more and more in. And so your actual insight and knowledge goes down from consuming more. And so you need to be aware with certain things of consuming more and more actually leading to, uh, an inverse relationship in terms of your growth and progress.
I think it applies. So he talked about it in the context of news. I think it applies so broadly to different things that we’re consuming, where like more and more actually leads to this massive bottleneck that is contrary to what you would believe. But all of a sudden you’re like, oh my God, I know nothing.
Even though I just consumed. This
Andrew Wilkinson: is, this is the fascinating thing is you end up with cocktail party knowledge, right? So if you read the New York times wall street journal, every day, I’ll be at a cocktail party. And I can sound very smart for about two minutes on any topic, but I cannot go in depth, right?
I have no I’m an inch deep and a mile wide. and I, what I try and focus on the, I find the times where I’m actually learning the most, I’m focused on long narratives of a single story. Um, and I’m looking at stuff that’s happened [00:21:00] five or 10 years ago where you have full context and knowledge. Um, I think looking at day to day news is like looking at a stock ticker and going, oh my God, it’s up 1%.
It’s down 2%. It’s not that meaningful. And what I’ve noticed as I’ve stripped news outta my day to day life, for the most part, um, is that people will still tell me, right. I will know if there’s a nuclear bomb that goes off somewhere in the world, or, you know, the Twitter merger with Elon Musk. I know all the details because friends text me and talk about it.
Um, I don’t need to be sitting there scanning my stock portfolio of news constantly and look watching the tickers. Um, so I really just try and focus on long form. Longer narrative and kind of rear looking. I just don’t think there’s any upside in looking at what’s happening in the moment,
Sahil Bloom: the cocktail party knowledge point.
There’s a great paper if you haven’t read it. Um, I think it’s Dan Lou, um, on this whole thing of cocktail party knowledge and incidentally, the people that have cocktail party knowledge, he kind of ties to like [00:22:00] cocktail party ideas. Basically the people that have that surface level of insight on something are also the most likely to be actively proposing solutions to problems that they don’t understand in any level of depth.
Um, and it’s like this fascinating phenomenon. You go to cocktail party in San Francisco, everyone there will like talk to you and wax, you know, wax poetic about how they would fix, you know, all of the deep challenges of San Francisco politic. A lot more challenging than that. You have like surface level knowledge, it’s easy to propose
Andrew Wilkinson: solutions.
Well, it’s also not original knowledge, right? It hasn’t come from contemplation. It’s come from regurgitation where I don’t know if you’ve had this happen, but there’s often these big podcasts where I’ll hear someone that gets interviewed and it’s very much in the zeitgeist. So as somebody that everybody knows, everyone listening to the same podcast, and then I’ll be sitting with a friend and he’ll say something very interesting and insightful, and I’ll go, wait a minute.
I heard this on Tim Ferris and I heard X person say it. Right. And this is the thing we’re all just regurgitating these memes over and over and over again. And actually having original thought is very [00:23:00] unique. Right. And you don’t get that unless you’re spending time. Uh, actually having deep learning on something.
Sahil Bloom: Is that why
Greg Isenberg: like, is that why you, one of the reasons you live in Victoria, like to a lot of, especially the Americans listening, they don’t even know where Victoria is. Probably there’s like, oh yeah, maybe it’s it’s in Canada or maybe it’s in the west coast. Or maybe it’s like near Vancouver, but for the most part, I think it’s safe to say they don’t even know where it is.
And I know you were, you know, making lots of trips to San Francisco. Um, when you were growing your business, were you ever tempted to, to move to San Francisco where, you know, the center of a lot of the technology noise were, was.
Andrew Wilkinson: I, I think, um, it’s difficult. What is the Galilean relativity? It’s hard to understand a system when you’re part of it.
And I think having distance from it actually gave me a lot of context and made me realize that the things that those people wanted were not that important to me. And I was able to. Be [00:24:00] somewhat of an original, um, because I was here, I wasn’t getting caught up in all the Meetic desire of, you know, these people raised from Sequoia.
That’s how I measure my worth as a person. Therefore I need to go raise from Sequoia and move to San Francisco and BNY C. Um, so I think it saved me and I don’t think I’d have a profitable at scale business today if I had moved to San Francisco. Um, did I ever get tempted by it? Absolutely. Was I intoxicated by the excitement of being there?
Yes. Um, you know, was it. Contrast when I would go down there and talk to people who were fired up in the startup world. Yes. Like I, we didn’t, I didn’t have that, uh, in Victoria, but what I ended up doing is just having a really great network of people who I’d talked to on the phone and text. Um, you know, just like today, like we’re all interconnected.
We were still 10 years ago. Um, so I think that the nice thing about Victoria and for those that don’t know, Victoria is a, uh, about a 300,000 person city on the west coast of Canada, [00:25:00] uh, on Vancouver island. So I’m. 30 minute flight from Seattle, 30 minute flight from Vancouver, Canada. And, um, there’s something really nice about not needing to be a multi-billionaire right.
You can actually in, if you’re in Victoria, if you can get a couple million bucks together, you can basically have the best life of anyone in town. And, um, there’s just not this endless ladder of achievement. And so I felt like I won the game 10 years ago. And from that point on, it was like, okay, now I can think about, you know, higher pursuits or whatever I wanna focus on.
Whereas if I’d been in the, in San Francisco, I mean, I’ve got friends that are worth 200, 300, 500 million, and they’re still striving cuz they’re not worth a billion. Uh, I had one guy he’s worth $2 billion and he goes, uh, oh, you know, this person’s so rich. And it was someone with $20 billion. And I said like, what, like what can they do that you can’t?
And the guy goes kind of quiet and glassy eyed for a second and he just goes [00:26:00] super yacht. And it’s just like, what? Like who cares? This is crazy. Yeah. I mean,
Sahil Bloom: you bring up an interesting point on like the game you called it, the game, you know, I think of it as like the meta game. Like what, what is the game that we are all playing?
And is it a game that you want to be playing too? And should you opt out of the game that you’ve been told you were gonna play? I spent. The first seven years of my career in private equity, which is very much that game that you just said right there. Right. It’s like, you know, unless you’re a billionaire fund manager, you’re nothing.
And, um, you know, the, the wealthy partners that have made 50 million are still working 70, 80 hours a week because they’re like, wow, that guy has made a billion or a few hundred million and we gotta raise bigger funds and I’m still stressed and I’m not, you know, spending time with kids or whatever it is.
Um, and I always just thought it was, I like, at some point I came to the realization that I was on that treadmill and thinking like, okay, did I get, uh, bigger bonus this year than last year? And what did that person’s but why did they get more than me and why didn’t like, I put in more work, [00:27:00] whatever, like you start having these weird, weird pathways of thoughts.
And I remember having this one conversation that triggered it for me, where. One of the, uh, one of the people, um, at another firm was, was talking about one of the partners of that firm and saying how, oh, he’s the laziest guy ever. Uh, and like that he, he worked so little and made all this money and like, it’s, it’s so stupid.
And like they were saying it in a derogatory way. And I said to the guy, I was like, wait, doesn’t that just mean that he won the game? Like he won the game. He made more money than everyone else by working way less. That sounds like an awesome thing. Um, but there was this glorification of like the hours work associated with getting there that just felt out of whack me.
So I just realized like, man, what is the game that we’re all playing and why aren’t we playing.
Andrew Wilkinson: totally. It’s it’s insane. And I, I mean, I don’t know if you guys have read, uh, wanting by Luke Harding or familiar with Meetic desire. Are you guys familiar so [00:28:00] effectively, just high level you want what the people around you want?
Right. So if you’re a comedian, you want a Netflix special. If you’re a musician you want, might want a Grammy. Um, you know, if you are a, um, professional baker, you wanna win. Great British bakeoff right. Like you just have these different desires. And the, the concern I have whenever I’m competing in a game is I end up wanting the things that everyone else wants.
So here we all are with nice hair, right? We’re all gonna play the hair competition game. Make sure we always have nice hair. If I lose my hair, I will literally think I’m gonna die. And I’ve lost all my worth. Have I? No, I probably look fine bald. Hopefully I don’t have any weird moles under there, but you know, at the end of the day, it’s like, I’m fine, but I’ve defined what happiness is, but it’s not intrinsic happiness.
It’s totally external. Um, and it can be any metric, right? You talk to people and they’re like, what plane do you have? Right. And, and, and it. What like that people just [00:29:00] have crazy metrics that they value happiness on. And at the end of the day, none of these things actually move the needle. What moves the needle is doing things that you intrinsically want, where you would do it, even if nobody was watching and you couldn’t post it on social media.
Right. So the prob.
Sahil Bloom: I mean, it just changes, right? Like Greg, you and I have talked about that. Like, you, you, you get to the thing that you thought was where you were gonna get to, and then your number just changes. And I’ve known so many people who were like, oh, when I make 15 million, I’m done, I’m just gonna quit.
And then they make 15 million and then they’re like, well, if I just got 50, fifty’ the number where like, I’ll just quit. And then they get to 50 and it’s 150. And no matter what, the future that you’re working towards just changes the number just changes. I mean, it’s the hedonic treadmill, right? It’s like this whole idea that we just adapt and happiness above a hundred thousand dollars is like scientifically proven to not fundamentally change above a hundred thousand a year where you can like, basically get all the baseline things that you need in life and to take care of your family.
At that point. The [00:30:00] only thing that changes happiness is big changes. So like you get the second house and all of a sudden you’re like, oh, sick. I got a second house. I’m a baller. This is great. And then a week later you’re bitching about how it’s hard to maintain. And it’s just the way it works. You like, you know, I got this house in, in New York when we moved here and I was so happy.
I was like, man, this place is amazing. And then literally like a couple weeks later, I was, I found myself in my own head complaining about, you know, having to maintain, like, it has a pool. I was like, oh man, this pool is a pain in that. I was like, oh, two weeks later, I was so happy about having this house.
And it was like, my dream come true. And you just find a way to adapt to it.
Andrew Wilkinson: Um, well this is and makes also just accepting that misery is the human condition, right? That’s the baseline, that’s zero. Right. And you’re always gonna go back there. You’re gonna overanalyze anything you have. Right. And there’s tools that can slightly increase that to a one or a two.
But at the end of the day, you will be miserable in some way at all times. And that’s okay. And accepting that I actually have an iPhone reminder every day and it just [00:31:00] says being bored or sad is okay. Right. Like it’s like. It almost. And it goes back to that model. I was talking about before, when I experience it, I go, I’m, I’m buying myself future happiness, right?
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You must go to D R I N K L M N [00:34:00] t.com/happens to take advantage of this special offer. Try element. You won’t regret it. Yeah. So how do you build slow? Like for both of you, I mean, this is a question for both of you guys, because I’m my wiring, as Greg knows. And we have a lot of conversations about this just as friends.
Cause I’ve learned a lot from him on this front is like, my wiring is balls to the wall for lack of a better way to put it. Like, I just want to go put my head down and run through a wallet, whatever it is I’m doing. And it drives me insane sometimes because I take on way too much. I’m not good at saying no to things.
Um, I chase every opportunity rather than being deliberate about the best opportunities to really take on and the ones that are gonna optimize my situation and happiness. It leads me down a lot of bad pass you guys. I perceive, you know, both you Andrew with tiny capital, which I want to hear you explain more about and Greg with, you know, everything that you’re working on now, I think are both really deliberate about what you take on what you say no to.
And I’m just curious H how you’ve developed that instinct [00:35:00] and what advice you’d give to people that are trying to kind of get off a treadmill and make that.
Andrew Wilkinson: Well, I mean, I’ve been doing this for 17 years and I’d say the first seven years were me literally, any business idea. I had no idea how to filter out good and bad.
I would just do it. And it would drive my team insane. I would throw a spaghetti all over the wall and nothing would stick and I would pursue all these stupid business ideas. Uh, I’d say yes to everything and have shiny object syndrome. And after a very long time of doing that, I realized that it didn’t make me happy.
And that I was basically the guy walking into the gym and trying to bench press 300 pounds on day one. Um, so over time I just learned that makes me unhappy. And I started learning the skills of saying no and, um, filtering out, you know, the bad ideas. Um, so for me personally, I just had to learn it over time.
It just took time. And I went through all that same stuff of being miserable, being overscheduled, you know, saying [00:36:00] yes, too much, starting dumb businesses, everything. Um, so that, for me, it’s just, the only way I seem to be able to learn is to stick forks and electrical sockets and figure it out
Sahil Bloom: for me.
Greg Isenberg: I would say it comes natural to me.
I remember in the third grade I got glasses. Um, I had to wear glasses. My mom bought me these, they were Ralph Lauren and glasses that were designer and they’re really expensive. And, you know, I don’t know if we, you know, I didn’t come from a poor family, but like, it was a lot of money for, for, to, to, to sort of spend on it.
And I remember we went on a class trip the next day to Quebec city and we’re, we’re on this boat and it’s like, you know, me and my three best friends and we’re kind of on the railing, just kind of looking around at the city and all of a sudden I can feel my glasses falling down. And I just remember everything kind of like stopped.
And like my, my glasses were falling down and I had just told the story to my friends how these like were [00:37:00] expensive and I kind of felt bad about it and like, . I was like, in my mind, I was like, no, you know, and you know, I, and all of a sudden, like glasses hit, hit the ocean. And I just remember thinking to myself, I could either be upset about this or just accept it for what it is.
Like, I’m not gonna jump into the ocean. Like I’m not, you know, it’s freezing in there and it’s, it’s gone. Right. So I think like naturally I’ve always had that just built in. I will say though, when I moved to San Francisco, um, unlike you, Andrew, like I, you know, grew up in Montreal and the weird thing about Canada is you’re kind of like, you’re so close right to America.
Like Montreal is a it’s 40 miles. It’s a 40 actually it’s a 40 minute drive to the New York state border. So you’re so close. You’re looking at like the center of the center of the world, New York, you know, New York city. And, but you’re not there. So I moved to San Francisco cuz I was [00:38:00] like, all right, I want to be in it.
And I got caught up with the noise and why I go, like, why I think it’s important that people have a Victoria or have a, you know, my small town in Quebec, um, is because it’s important to kind of spend a few minutes, months, weeks, whatever it is to just sort of sending yourself and be like, what really matters to me.
Andrew Wilkinson: Well, and this is,
Sahil Bloom: but how do you, I, I mean to that, this is to that like broader point. How do you avoid the like comparison trap? Because like for Andrew or for you, Greg, if you’re gonna do things slow and feel really fulfilled from doing that personally and, and individually, I think that’s amazing and a great thing.
And you’re gonna com you know, you can compound wealth over the long term with something like tiny and you’re building, and you’re trying to build something enduring and sustainable and lasting, but the challenge I’ve always faced. And I think that a lot of young people face is you’re constantly hit with this barrage of like, [00:39:00] To your point earlier, Andrew, so and so raised from Sequoia at a billion after launching the company, you know, two weeks ago, uh, paradigm investing at a billion for some new crypto thing that my friend started, you know, so, and so made Forbes 20 under 20, whatever the, you know, latest accolade is that Forbes charges for, uh, to, uh, to put people in, uh, no offense to, well, actually I guess, offense to Forbes, uh, and, uh, you know, how do you avoid that aspect of it?
Andrew Wilkinson: Well, I think, um, two things, one, I realized what it meant. So I’ve always thought that raising money, um, at first I’d be impressed. I’d go, oh, wow. You know, Sequoia invested a billion dollar valuation, the a hundred million dollars you go, oh wow. Did they sell their stock? They got a hundred million windfall.
And it’s like, no, no, no, no. Like Sequoia who are like the most intense. MFS in the world, just join the board. They’re gonna hold a gun to that. Person’s head and say, you need to grow your company 300% a year. You need to spend as much money as possible to go there. And that CEO’s life is shit. [00:40:00] That’s the equivalent of somebody saying I’m going out.
I’m putting myself into personal debt and I’m getting, uh, credit cards at 30% annualized interest, right. To me, I’m just like, oh no, I don’t want that once I knew what it was. So that was fine. Um, and the cool thing about what I did and I’m sure Greg has had the same experience is my business metal lab was selling pick X is to gold miners in Silicon valley.
So we would provide the services to help them build their business design development, et cetera. and we didn’t take the risk. So whether the company fails or not, we are not risking alongside of them. And I got to be a fly on the wall in a lot of these board meetings and conversations and see the tremendous stress and misery that these founders render.
And then I would compare it to my life and I’d go, sure. You know, my company’s not worth a hundred million dollars, but I’m making 500 K a year, couple million bucks a year, living a great life in Victoria. No, this is pretty good. Number two was once I understood compounding and I could do basic [00:41:00] math, I realized that I was gonna be way wealthier than any of the people that I knew.
Even the people who had billion dollar companies, because I just knew that if I was compounding my capital and reinvesting, you know, 80% of what I made, eventually the numbers would get huge. And I kept, I built a spreadsheet where I was like, okay, in 2010, where will I be at in 20 15, 20, 20, 20, 25. And when I started noticing that I was actually following the trend line, I was like, okay, this compounding stuff works.
And it felt like, um, the tortoise and the hair, right. You’re just slowly chugging along the hair is running like a maniac and getting exhausted. And I’m just slowly compounding at, you know, 25% a year. Um, and now I, you know, when I see someone who. Got more money or whatever it is. I just go, okay, well, if I just keep compounding, you know, I’ll be good.
Sahil Bloom: of perception from reality that you mentioned is such an important one. And I. Candidly. It’s just like, there’s an information gap. There’s probably a business in just like providing [00:42:00] more open insight and information around the way these things work. Like I thought I just watched, um, the new WeWork docu or, um, series the with, uh, with Jared Leto and, and Hathaway, which if people haven’t seen it’s on apple TV, it’s pretty exceptional.
I thought it was really, really well done and very cringe just as cringe as you hope it to be. Um, but one of the things I thought was interesting, I watched it with my wife. She doesn’t understand, you know, the way startups and funding work. And it led to a lot of interesting discussions where like, at the very end of the show, you know, there’s spoiler alert, I suppose.
There’s this scene where like, I think it’s Jamie diamond is talking to Adam Newman to basically convince him to step down as CEO. And Adam’s like, I’m never gonna go out. I, you know, I won’t do it. And Jamie diamond is like, well, here’s how it’s gonna play out. WeWork is going to run out of cash. The company is going to go bankrupt.
We’ve loaned you 380 million against your shares in that company that are gonna be worth zero. You still have to pay us back for that. And so you, you just ran this 44 billion company or hero of the world are [00:43:00] literally going to be financially ruined for the rest of your life. And people, I mean, it was so shocking to my wife.
She was like, wait, but they have that apartment and the house in the Hamptons and they have all that stuff. And I was like, no, they don’t like, you know, it’s not their, it’s like you’re renting somebody from somebody totally at the end of the day, if you’re borrowing the money to do that. Um, but that perception and reality gap around startup funding, uh, you know, raising the round from tiger, raising the round from Sequoia, whatever it is and you’ve made it, um, is such a big one.
I find, especially during bull markets, I learned
Greg Isenberg: totally a really great tip around this, um, from our friend Julian Smith, um, or this concept is called, uh, I think you called it the personal board of advisors. So, uh, every week Julian and I used to meet at 7:00 AM. We used to have these Monday morning meetings called the punch you in the face meeting.
I think no one wants to meet for coffee at 7:00 AM, especially in Montreal when it’s like minus 40 in the winter time and [00:44:00] we’d go, and it’s one of the first things he taught me and he said, Greg, it’s really important to have a board of advisors in your head. And he’s like, who’s on your board of advisors.
And I started thinking about it. And at first I was kind of like Elon Musk type people and Jack Dorsey. Um, but eventually what I’d grown to realize is it’s important to have these yeah. A more balanced board. So I was like my grandfather, my mom, you know, Andrew Sahi like, and maybe one Elon Musk. And now when I make decisions like, Hey, should I go on this podcast?
Or, Hey, should I buy this business? I ask myself. What would each of these individual people on my imaginary board of advisors in my head say to this, and that’s been like one of the biggest keys for me to like, make decisions that are more true to myself.
Andrew Wilkinson: I love that. I think one of the biggest problems is that everybody hypothetically wants to be [00:45:00] Elon Musk.
They want the celebrity and the glamor and the, the genius of it. But if you’ve read interviews with Elon Musk, you can see that the guy is very, I think probably troubled and has a very difficult life, very exciting life. Um, very true to himself. Um, glad he exists. But when I look at his life, I go, oh my God, I, you know, I could never do that.
I think it would make me incredibly miserable. Um, and that’s the thing is finding people who you believe are. Not only authentically happy, but similar to you. So one of the errors that I made was in 2012, I, uh, or sorry, 2014, I sold a business, was sitting on a bunch of cash, started reading about investing and read about buffet and Munger.
And it blew my mind. Uh, you know, I, I loved it. I started worshiping these two guys and I started copying everything. So literally structured our business, operated the exact same way they do. Um, you know, everything I could do. And I thought what I would want was their [00:46:00] life and their life is they sit on their ass and they read 10, 10 Ks and books all day.
and I tried that for a while and I hated it. I realized that I’m still entrepreneurial. I’m extroverted. Um, I would say, you know, maybe those guys are a little bit on the spectrum. They just wanna absorb data. Um, you know, that’s not me. And so if you worship someone, I think you can learn a lot from them, but you don’t necessarily want their lie, let their life.
And I am still trying to find that person, like who, who do I wanna be when I grow up? And I think it’s so helpful to just be like, yeah, my grandpa, I really like my grandpa, you know, what would he say? Right. Versus trying to be Elon Musk. I’ve always thought
Sahil Bloom: to that exact point. I’ve always thought one of the most helpful, um, sort of like hypotheticals that I’ve played out in my own mind is, uh, take two different people.
One person, uh, extraordinarily wealthy, you know, has made 200 plus million dollars, but is like, sort of known as [00:47:00] kind of an asshole, like a scumbag people don’t wanna spend time with him or her. Um, Don’t like the person, you know, sort of known as like a shady operator, just generally like super rich can afford literally anything in the world.
The money’s good, but uh, not really like someone that you people want to hang out with or spend time with, or, or not someone that is well respected on the other end of the spectrum, a, um, a person who has very little money or like not a ton of money, enough to be good and healthy and pay for things, but not rich, you know, a million dollar net worth $500,000 net worth can live in a city, but not lavishly wealthy by any means.
But. Is extraordinarily well respected, smart people, just flock to the person, wanna spend tons of time with them. Um, you know, want to ask for their advice, perspectives, ideas, brainstorms, et cetera, always sought out. Where do you exist on that spectrum of who you would want to be? And I think it’s a spectrum.
I don’t think it’s one or the other. I always ask the question as a hypothetical one or the other, cuz [00:48:00] it’s interesting to figure out which side you more closely align to. Um, and for me personally, I would much rather be the latter. I would much rather be because what I care about most deeply is not money actually, or fame or any of those things.
It’s getting to spend time with smart people. And that is what I find the most energy from is like things like this, where I get to sit here and for a job, I get to talk to two really smart people. And that is insane to me. And it’s a massive privilege, but that realization for me has clarified a lot of things because then it means that I don’t want to chase money for the sake of money.
I want to do things that are gonna get me in rooms with really smart people. And I want to do interesting things that maybe attract smart people into my orbit and do things, you know, the right way. Hopefully quote unquote, that allow me to be the type of person that smart people flock to as. Do
Andrew Wilkinson: you guys know?
Uh, there’s this friend of mine, Nick gray. Have you ever heard
Sahil Bloom: of this guy? Oh yeah, for sure.
Greg Isenberg: I’m uh, Nick here, let’s give Nick a, a quick shoutout
Sahil Bloom: because I have right over here,
Andrew Wilkinson: dude. I have [00:49:00] that too. I, what? This got bound and printed. Okay. So, so Nick is somebody that I’ve been following for probably 15 years.
I would, there’s all these people in New York who I was friends with on Tumblr. And so. Um, for years, I kind of just passively followed him really interesting guy. Uh, actually at one point stayed in his apartment while he was away. And I’ve just kept track of this guy for a long time. And he started, what’s called Nick Gray’s friends newsletter, and he sends this out, I think, every month.
And it’s basically just, here’s all the interesting shit I’ve done. Right. So it could be, Hey guys, I bought a Tesla. Here’s me video reviewing it. Hey guys, I learned the perfect way to do a ketlebell swing. Hey guys, here’s my breakfast routine. Um, and he’s, he’s actually just written a book, um, that I don’t know if he’s cool with us talking about, but basically it’s a, I’ll just broad strokes.
It’s a very good, well written book on how to socialize, how to build meaningful connections with others. And one of the things I’ve found is that the richest [00:50:00] people are, do not necessarily have the richest lives, right. In fact, Great wealth often isolates, you know, they have security teams, they don’t trust people.
People are always pitching them. Um, the most interesting people are the ones that actually find creative ways to use small amounts of money to live a really great life. And this is thing I’ve thought a lot about recently of like, what are the things that have actually made me happier? And for example, one of them is I just host lunches.
I host lunches, I rent out a restaurant. I have a whole bunch of interesting friends come. I put out down name tags and get people together. And I love connecting people and being around smart people, that’s it right. To me, that’s the ultimate way to use money to be happy, but that is not something that’s expensive.
Right? You don’t need to be a billionaire to do that. Right. And then you think about like, well, if you’re a billionaire, what would the version of that be? Okay, we’re gonna fly to the Galapagos islands on my G six mm-hmm and we’re gonna stay in a crazy fancy hotel. Well, maybe that’s worse because everyone feels indebted to you and they’re awkward about it.
And there’s all this status. Like I, I [00:51:00] think wealth just in many ways just makes that stuff worse.
Sahil Bloom: So a
Greg Isenberg: couple weeks ago on the pod, I was saying my inspiration of the week was Mike Posner. Who’s super, you know, he, he ran across America and he almost, he got bit by rattlesnake and I just thought he’s really cool.
My recent obsession is Tom Green’s,
Sahil Bloom: YouTube channel, Tom green, Tom green is a comedian Canadian. I remember him. Of course. I remember him from way back the, he used to do the songs, right? Mm-hmm he did songs.
Greg Isenberg: Uh, he, he had a TV show in Canada, I think in the nineties where he’d basically stop people in Ottawa and just like, kind of just say goofy stuff and, and it was filmed and then he moved, oh, he was
Sahil Bloom: Freddy got fingered.
Yeah, he did
Greg Isenberg: exactly. Then he moved to LA. He had a, a few movies did really well. Um, he was actually one of the OG podcasters. Like Joe Rogan actually was like attributes Tom [00:52:00] green to getting into podcasting. um, so he was in that scene and then when COVID hit, he got a van, uh, and he drove across America.
This is, seems like a theme and he landed somewhere outside Ottawa. And he bought a, a, uh, I don’t know, a bunch of acres, um, in the middle of nowhere. And he has this YouTube channel where he basically it’s him and his dog, and they’ve got a barn and he’s discovering animals and he’s having fun. And I will tell you, this guy just looks like the happiest guy on the planet.
Tom green is a happy guy. Like Tom green is a thousand times more happy than Elon
Andrew Wilkinson: Musk. Mm-hmm. Well, and this is the thing is how do you find five Tom greens to hang out with, right? Or how do you, so this, this is one other thing is like, we’re all hanging out. We’re all [00:53:00] interesting people we’re talking about business and life.
And some of that stuff. How do you meet the people that are not in your own bubble? Cause we all exist in the same bubble. I mean, Sathi, we talked for 10 minutes and we were like, we knew like 30 people in common, even though we’ve never met, right. This is a very incestuous, a small world, but there’s fascinating people in every, every industry, um, that have day jobs that are just, you know, they, they work normal lives.
They are artists, they’re musicians, whatever. How do you find those people? How do you bring them into your life and how do you create new interests that are unique? Because the struggle I’ve had. For 10 years, all I’ve read is business, right? So like I’ve started reading fiction over the last six months or so, which has been great, but I just need to deprogram my brain from consuming the same things and doing the same things over and over and over again.
Sahil Bloom: Okay. So
Greg Isenberg: I, I have a tip here and the tip is, hang out with old people, period.
Sahil Bloom: I
Greg Isenberg: spent, you know, you know what I did from 6:00 AM to 7:00 AM today, I was in a hot tub [00:54:00] with a 97 year old man who was in the military and was telling me about, you know, Vietnam and was telling me about, you know, multiple wars and who was just like telling me about family and, and, and, you know, I don’t know what he has done.
Like he’s pro like, besides from that, I don’t know. Maybe he went and created a billion dollar company. I don’t know, but like, probably not. He’s probably just an old guy who like served in the military. and I don’t think, well, we do a good enough job spending time with older people and the way to do it is go to public settings.
Like I also don’t think we do, like, we spend a lot of our time in private settings, you know, Soho house, this or whatever, you know, these like private settings or like high end restaurants and stuff like that. And we don’t spend enough time, like go to your public pool, like go to your public
Sahil Bloom: park. It doesn’t have to be in a hot tub that you hang out with old people though, right?
It doesn’t have to, although it
Greg Isenberg: is more
Andrew Wilkinson: enjoyable. the other, the other two [00:55:00] things I’ve been doing recently that have been really interesting. So with my existing friends, um, one, I do this thing. Um, I basically do a Y P forum with six guys and I’ve been doing it for 15 years and I have a few of them. So I do one a week and it sounds like it’s business, but it’s really not.
We almost always end up just talking about personal stuff, family life. And you learn so much more about someone than if you were just friends. Some of these people, if I was friends with them for 15 years, I would never hear this stuff. So that that’s been good. The other thing I started doing recently is using structured conversations.
So I will sit down with a friend and I’ll bring a pack of cards and the cards will just be random, deep questions. And it’s fascinating. There’s people I’ve known for 20 plus years and I’ll hear, hear all these stories about their life or their family that I never, never, would’ve got. Um, you can buy those at, I think it’s school of life.com.
Um, there’s, they’re just incredible. Um, but I am trying to crack this right. And reading Nick’s book was fascinating. Um, not enough people talk about the [00:56:00] tactics of having an interesting life. Well, it’s, it’s
Sahil Bloom: also just about being interested. Like it’s so easy to go through your own life thinking about like, who can benefit me and having this like transactional mindset, whether or not you.
Are truly transactional. A lot of us have a transactional mindset. So you get into an Uber and you’re like, I’m going to a meeting, you know, with some important person. And the whole time you’re in the Uber, you’re thinking about whatever the important person is and what you’re trying to, you know, whatever deal or whatever trade you’re trying to make with them.
And you lose sight of the fact that the Uber driver might have a really interesting life story. And if you just ask them like, Hey, you know, how’s your day going? Like what’s been, you know, causing you headaches. Like what’s interesting, whatever you end up having this amazing conversation like Greg with the old guy in the hot, like, if you didn’t say hello and ask about his life, you’d never learn all these interesting things.
I’ve often thought about it in the context of like going to bars alone. I think personally. Every single person should have at least one dinner by themselves per month. Just like go out [00:57:00] by yourself and sit at a bar, talk to the bartender, talk to random people sitting there. It’s weird in America. People will look at you and be like, why are you talking to me?
But in most cultures in the world, it’s like super normal and great that you’re talking to your neighbor and people around you. And so it’s, it’s something that needs to adapt in American culture. And it’s actually coastal American culture. If you go to the Midwest and you go to like a local bar, everyone wants to talk and people are super friendly.
So I think it’s something about like coastal culture. You’re supposed to like, keep your head down and do whatever, you know, whatever it is you’re up to. I’ve often dreamed. And I think I will do this at some point in my life of taking. Two three weeks or maybe even a month and driving around to different parts of the country and just like staying in random places and doing a night or two and just going to like the local dive bar and the local pizza shop and just sitting and talking to random people and like maybe documenting it, maybe not, but I like read a book.
Uh, that someone did that and it was, it was more, it was written about trying to [00:58:00] understand how Trump won and they went and like drove across America and all these different places and did this. Um, but I would do it with no, you know, political business, whatever aims. It would just be interesting to go talk and meet all these people from different settings, understand how they’re wired, what, you know, what interests them, what concerns them, all of that.
Um, but it all comes down to being actually interested.
Andrew Wilkinson: Well, the, the problem also, we have this breakdown in our society where you, people used to be much more religious I’m, I’m not religious I’m, you know, atheist agnostic, but you used to go to church and church was this, you know, central place where you connect with a whole wide variety of different people.
And you’d go, you know, into the you’d go shopping at the market, you’d see people. And now we’ve just, we have these very insular lives and we’ve lost that friction. And in my twenties, I would go to bars all the time. Right. I would go out drinking. I’d make random friends. I would do all those things as I had kids and marriage and everything else.
It’s amazing how those things slip away and you have to create new rituals. To create [00:59:00] that stuff. Um, I have this idea for a party or cocktail party or something, but effectively you invite, you choose six, very interesting, unique friends who, you know enough, but not super well. And you say I’m hosting a party, I’ll handle everything.
Um, everybody gets to invite six friends, three male, three female. They just have to be interesting. And you end up with this mix of people. And like, I wanna do stuff like that. I just wanna do these hacks to meet people. I wouldn’t otherwise know, because otherwise you end up in this very sad state where, you know, in your thirties and forties, your friends dwindle down to this core group and you know, it’s lovely, but you’re just not getting new people in.
I like that. Yeah.
Sahil Bloom: And you end up, I like that a lot. I think,
Greg Isenberg: uh, the one thing I just want to add to that is I think a lot about the importance of public spaces and how cities are designed. And I’m worried that over the last 30 years we’ve had. A lot less public spaces. And I’ll give you [01:00:00] an example. So at least in America or north America.
So I remember as a kid going to the public pool and I’d go to the public pool and like the community was there and I’d meet other kids. And the, and like all parents were there and we used to hang out over time. Over the years, I noticed less and less people used to go to the public pool, started asking why, why turns out?
Like people started creating pools in their own backyards. They wanted private pools. And then the, the, the trend became like the privatization of these like public goods. So I, I worry about that a bit. Like I want to give, I think it’s important that we invest in our public spaces so that it isn’t just like cocktail parties and houses and also public
Sahil Bloom: events.
What do you guys think about, you know, what it’s, I, I think it’s brilliant. It also all relates to one of my favorite, um, Have you guys, do you know who Jonathan height hate? H a I [01:01:00] D T he’s like an amazing writer author. He writes for the Atlantic now. Um, and he had, you know, he like this general piece that he wrote that was really well known around like.
Basically, uh, how we’ve become so fearful. And, and this was about American society, but we became so fearful about our kids. And I think it ties to this Greg of like privatizing everything, because we suddenly got scared that our kids couldn’t be out. Like, no, you couldn’t go to the public pool on your own.
I mean, when I was a kid, I used to just walk to. At the pool and like meet my friends there. And I was probably like eight or 10 or something. I would just go, I didn’t have a cell phone. Like my parents didn’t know where I was. I was just gone during the day. And then I would come back and there wasn’t this intrinsic fear.
And then all of a sudden news cycles start changing about like child abductions and cell phones are hitting you with all this stuff. And now every kid needs a cell phone by age sevens so that they can be tracked and monitored at all times. Like, you know, you put a baby monitor on your kid that has like a heart sensor and all.
Yeah. It’s just like insane, insane [01:02:00] proliferation of like tracking and fear of what’s gonna happen if we’re just out in a, out in the open. And so I think part of it, Greg, is that like we’ve developed this fear of public spaces. So we brought everything back in into these private spaces where like, oh, the, the town pool’s not safe because my kid can’t walk there.
So I’m gonna have a pool here and he can have his friends here, but sudden. You lose your independence, you lose the, uh, the exploration that was so transformative to how we thought and grew and developed as kids. And that scares the shit outta me, like raising a, a child now. Totally.
Andrew Wilkinson: I had, I, I remember like really key moments of independence where my parents would be like, okay, you wanna go to the computer store?
Like go downtown. There’s a payphone here. Call us when you get there and we’ll see you in four hours. Right. And I would go off and I would just feel so confident and independent, and I never had any problems. Um, and I think that today that would be seen as kind of insane. And I think it’s because we’ve been watching all these movies where every time you see an old man at the park, he’s a pedophile and he is gonna ABUC [01:03:00] your children.
And there’s pattern matching. I’ve found myself do this, right. I’ll be at the park, see some old guy reading and go. Is that, you know, is that a creep? And it’s kind of like optimizing your life around a jet engine, falling outta the sky and killing you because that’s how likely that is to occur. Right?
It’s like the odds of being in a terrorist attack or something else are, are just so much higher. It’s not even worth thinking about almost. You’re more likely to be your kid’s more likely to die in the pool in your backyard or falling down the stairs than any of those, you know, kind of silly fears.
Sahil Bloom: Yeah. I think if you mapped the things that people are afraid of versus the things that are actually risky, it would be absurd. There was like the whole stat, um, post nine 11 where, um, plane flight, like no one took plane flights cuz everyone was scared of another terrorist attack. And so people stopped flying and the miles driven that year went through the roof because everyone started driving places and the number of additional traffic accidents and deaths that happened from those additional miles driven was like [01:04:00] far in excess of the number of people that had died in nine 11.
And it’s not to, you know, make light of it. But it’s an amazing fact of like the human inability to weigh and balance risks like that. Where way more people died from nine 11 as an indirect result of people being scared, all of a sudden, because of the news cycle around what terrorist attacks had done to the world.
Andrew Wilkinson: It’s crazy. Crazy. And you know, at the same time, even like Nick, uh, I remember Nick and this guy that Greg and I know invited me to a party in New York and I was freaking, I didn’t end up going. I was, I was busy, but I was scared to go. Right. The idea of going to this party where I don’t know anyone, and there’s all this social anxiety, that’s how, you know, insular we’ve become.
Right. I’m an, I’m an extrovert. I love meeting people and I was like, terrified to go to this party. I
Sahil Bloom: just had a conversation with, um, you guys know Tim urban. Um, I just had a conversation with him about this exact thing of how he was like, I love being alone, but I was on this trip and I was like the fifth wheel with, there were [01:05:00] these random groups.
And suddenly I noticed myself being all like self-conscious that they were looking at me and it started pissing him off that he was feeling that way. Like he realized he was feeling that way. It started annoying him, that he was feeling that way. And like, we it’s it’s the spotlight effect is the name of the bias where we assume everyone’s looking at us.
Um, constantly the reality is. No one really cares about you. Everyone’s just thinking about themselves.
Andrew Wilkinson: Well, and they, if they have a bad time with you, they will assume they said something stupid. It’s not cuz you were stupid or whatever it is. Right. That’s the craziest realization. So
Sahil Bloom: true. So true. Um, well man, look, this was, um, this was so much fun and so much like wider arranging and uh, and, and, and personal than, than I had expected it to get a very, very interesting conversation.
I’m glad we got to have it. And again, to the, uh, to the point of me feeling privilege, I am constantly astounded that I get to have these conversations, quote, unquote, for a living. So thank you so much for, for taking the time and joining us, man. Yeah,
Andrew Wilkinson: that was awesome, guys. That was really fun.
Sahil Bloom: Thanks man.
And [01:06:00] we need to link to Nick Gray’s, uh, newsletter. I just, I just subscribed to it, but Nick it’s Nick gray.net, uh, is the, is the website. I just subscribed to my friend’s newsletter. Um, and uh, people can, uh, people can check it out and hopefully learn from it as much as you guys have.
Andrew Wilkinson: awesome. Cool guys.
That was fun. Thanks so
Sahil Bloom: much for listening to today’s episode. If you have any questions that you want featured in a future episode, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Leave us a review at apple or Spotify to help us grow the reach of this podcast until next time we will see you soon. Just don’t just that same
Andrew Wilkinson: misery lover company T cup.