Legacy Is A Myth Ep 599



In a candid discussion, the host of a business-focused podcast shares his philosophy of optimistic nihilism and its practical application in entrepreneurship. He emphasizes the importance of managing emotions and making high-quality decisions to compound success over time. By accepting the impermanence of life and the eventual insignificance of individual achievements, he advocates for a perspective that diminishes stress and anxiety, allowing for better decision-making in business. He challenges the conventional views on legacy and inheritance, arguing that true value lies in education and the betterment of humanity, rather than material wealth or remembrance. Through a series of mental frameworks, the host navigates the emotional landscape of entrepreneurship, ultimately suggesting that our impact on the world is our true legacy, even if we are not personally remembered.

Summary Notes

Unprepared for Potential Energy

  • Handling potential energy without preparation can be harmful.
  • Potential energy should be earned and learned to be managed effectively.

And so if you give someone who's not prepared for a gob of potential energy that they did not earn or learn how to wield, it will ultimately burn them up and consume them.

This quote highlights the danger of possessing potential energy without the necessary preparation and understanding of how to use it responsibly.

Entrepreneurial Journey Documentation

  • The speaker wishes that prominent figures like Bezos, Musk, and Buffett had documented their entrepreneurial journeys.
  • Speaker is documenting their own journey with acquisition.com for others to learn from.

I always wish Bezos, Musk, and Buffett had documented their journey. So I'm doing it for the rest of us.

The speaker expresses regret that there isn't more documentation from successful entrepreneurs about their experiences and decides to fill that gap by sharing their own journey.

Acceptance of Being Forgotten

  • Many people are troubled by the idea of being forgotten.
  • The speaker's team debated whether to share this perspective due to potential disagreement.
  • The speaker believes in sharing their beliefs, regardless of how they are received.

No one will remember you. And that's a statement that bothers a lot of people.

The speaker acknowledges that the concept of being forgotten is unsettling to many, indicating its emotional impact.

Entrepreneurship and Emotion Management

  • Entrepreneurship involves managing emotions, anxiety, and stress.
  • High-quality decisions are crucial and result from a stable mental state.
  • The speaker practices optimistic nihilism to manage stress and make better business decisions.

And the reason I'm doing that is because I think one of hardest parts of entrepreneurship is managing emotions and managing anxiety and managing stress so that you can make higher quality decisions.

This quote explains the importance of emotional management in entrepreneurship for making high-quality decisions.

Optimistic Nihilism

  • Nihilism is often misunderstood as negative.
  • Optimistic nihilism is about not ascribing inherent meaning to things, which allows for personal interpretation.
  • This belief system helps the speaker to stress less and make better decisions.

And the set of beliefs that sits at the core of that is what I would consider optimistic nihilism.

The speaker defines their core belief system as optimistic nihilism, which influences their approach to stress and decision-making.

Significance and Insignificance

  • Recognizing one's own insignificance can be liberating.
  • The speaker uses this perspective to cope with failures and stress.
  • This view helps to contextualize problems on a universal scale.

And for me, reminding myself that I'm insignificant and in the long and eventual universal scale am irrelevant allows me to look at my failures and laugh a little bit.

The speaker finds comfort in the idea of insignificance, which helps them to deal with failures more light-heartedly.

Perspective on Problems

  • Problems are perceived as equal in magnitude, whether they are 'rich people problems' or 'poor people problems'.
  • Accepting the existence of problems without judgment can be beneficial.
  • The speaker believes in controlling the meaning ascribed to events.

They are still problems nonetheless. And so at least realizing that allows me to not judge the fact that I have problems as it being bad.

This quote suggests that problems are inherent to life, and the speaker chooses not to judge them negatively.

Creating and Destroying Meaning

  • The speaker believes in the power to ascribe their own meaning to events.
  • This ability to control meaning influences emotional responses and decision-making.
  • The speaker shares mental frameworks used to diffuse stress.

And so the core of all of these things that I have sits from the fact that I can create and destroy meaning as I see fit.

The speaker emphasizes the personal agency in defining the meaning of events, which forms the foundation of their mental frameworks for managing stress.

Mental Frameworks for Stressful Situations

  • The speaker does not believe in inherent meaning, comparing it to weather conditions.
  • Meaning is subjective and can be controlled to influence emotional responses.
  • Controlling meaning is a tool for better decision-making.

Number one is that I don't believe that things have inherent meaning. I see them much more like the weather meaning.

By equating the meaning of events to subjective interpretations of weather, the speaker illustrates their mental framework for managing stress and emotions.

Perspective on Significance and Legacy

  • The speaker challenges the common saying about the significance of problems by extending the time frame to 500 million years.
  • They argue that most individuals will be forgotten after death, much like our ancestors.
  • The speaker uses the example of Betty White to illustrate how even significant and public figures can be quickly forgotten.
  • The point is made that most people do not even know celebrities from other countries, implying a limited scope of who is remembered.
  • The speaker believes that the desire to be remembered is rooted in ego and can lead to unnecessary suffering.

if it's not going to matter in 500 million years, it shouldn't matter for 5 seconds. The speaker is suggesting an extreme long-term perspective on the significance of our problems or worries, implying that very few things are truly important when considering the vastness of time.

And so for you, it might be a bad day, but we are all going to eventually be forgotten. This quote emphasizes the inevitability of being forgotten and the transient nature of our problems in the grand scheme of history.

So Betty White was somebody who was really early on race integration. She was a golden gal, a huge, huge personality. The speaker is acknowledging Betty White's accomplishments and public persona, setting up the point that despite her significant life, she may still be forgotten.

And so how arrogant are we to think that now everyone on earth is going to remember us? This quote challenges the notion of personal legacy and suggests that it is arrogant to expect to be remembered by everyone after death.

The Illusion of Matter and the Concept of 'Deserve'

  • The speaker disagrees with the sentiment that 'you matter,' believing it sets people up for disappointment.
  • They argue that the belief in personal significance leads to entitlement and unmet expectations, which causes suffering.
  • The speaker suggests that suffering comes from unmet expectations, which can be mitigated by changing one's mindset rather than external conditions.
  • They illustrate this with examples of business competition, emphasizing the importance of perspective over ascribing meaning to events.

And I hate the word deserve because it sets an expectation that we are bound to not see fulfilled. The speaker expresses disdain for the concept of 'deserving' something, as it creates unrealistic expectations and can lead to disappointment.

And so if you see suffering as unmet expectations, you can either change the conditions or you can change the expectations. This quote introduces the idea that suffering can be addressed by altering one's expectations rather than trying to change external circumstances.

Temporal Perspective on Current Problems

  • The speaker offers a practical exercise to gain perspective on the significance of current problems by projecting three months into the future.
  • They encourage listeners to reflect on past worries that no longer affect them as evidence that current issues will likely become insignificant with time.
  • This approach is presented as a way to reduce the immediate emotional impact of problems.

Can you think of something that happened three months ago that bothered you? Does it bother you now? Probably not. The speaker is using a rhetorical question to make listeners realize that many past concerns are no longer relevant, suggesting that current concerns will also fade with time.

Call to Action for Podcast Support

  • The speaker mentions that they do not run ads or sell products on the podcast.
  • They request that listeners help spread the word about the podcast by leaving a review.
  • The speaker emphasizes that listener support can have a broader impact on helping other entrepreneurs.

The only ask that I can ever have of you guys is that you help me spread the word so we can help more entrepreneurs make more money, feed their families, make better products, and have better experiences for their employees and customers. This quote is a direct request for listeners to support the podcast, highlighting the potential positive impact on the entrepreneurial community.

Legacy Defined by Material Assets

  • The speaker introduces a personal anecdote about their ancestor who was a ruler in Iran.
  • They use this to discuss the concept of legacy, particularly in terms of material wealth and its ultimate insignificance.

my great great great grandfather was a ruler of the Kajar dynasty in Iran. This quote serves as a setup for a discussion on legacy, indicating that despite the speaker's ancestor's significant historical role, it has little bearing on the present.

Ancestral Legacy and Material Wealth

  • An individual's connection to their ancestors diminishes over generations.
  • Material assets are likely to be divided and squandered over time.
  • The speaker's great great grandfather was a king, but the speaker barely remembers his name or thinks about him.
  • The focus on material wealth as a legacy is questioned in favor of values and beliefs.

"Guy was a king, right? I don't even remember his name. And, yeah, and he conquered the fucking world. Or born into it doesn't really matter, right? He sat on the top of material wealth and power, and me, four or five generations later, don't even know his name."

This quote illustrates the speaker's point that the memory and significance of ancestors, including their material achievements, fade over generations.

Genetic Legacy

  • The dilution of genetic relatedness over generations is inevitable.
  • The speaker considers the idea of having children as a means to proliferate genes to be Darwinian.
  • The genetic connection to future generations becomes negligible, leading to the notion that one might as well care about all humanity today.

"Well, guess what happens is that five generations from now, you're one half to the fifth related to those people. They're 160 fourth you."

The quote explains the mathematical reduction of genetic relatedness over time, emphasizing the speaker's point that our direct descendants will eventually be only marginally related to us.

Inheritance and Its Impact

  • The timing of inheritance is crucial for it to be impactful.
  • Inheritances typically come too late to significantly affect the recipient's life.
  • Giving wealth to individuals who have not earned it can lead to negative behavioral changes.

"So the average person gets inheritance in their late 60s because their parents die in their late eighty s or whatever. And when that happens, they already are old and don't need the money."

The quote explains that inheritances are often received when individuals are less likely to benefit from them due to their stage in life.

Struggle and Character Development

  • Struggle is seen as beneficial for character development.
  • The speaker views money as potential energy that can be harmful if given to someone unprepared to manage it.

"And so I think we benefit from struggle on a character development perspective."

This quote asserts the speaker's belief that overcoming challenges is crucial for personal growth.

Law of Large Numbers

  • The speaker uses the law of large numbers to illustrate the normalcy of good and bad days.
  • Recognizing the randomness in life can help manage expectations and reactions to daily events.

"Like, if you have 365 days, you're going to have top 10% days and bottom 10% days with the exact same conditions."

The quote explains that experiencing a range of good and bad days is statistically normal and should not necessarily prompt drastic life changes.

Frame of the Veteran

  • The speaker introduces a coping mechanism called the "frame of the veteran" for dealing with adverse events.
  • Imagining that an unfortunate event has happened repeatedly in the past can diminish its perceived severity.

"And I will tell you the first time I ever used this because how ridiculous this is. So I got this new flannel... and it shrunk... And then I remembered the frame of veteran, and I was like, okay, what if every time I washed a flannel, it always became like this?"

The quote describes the speaker's personal application of the "frame of the veteran" to trivialize and cope with a minor mishap, highlighting its usefulness in gaining perspective.

Perception of Problems and Annoyances

  • Our reaction to problems is influenced by our expectations and past experiences.
  • Habituation to consistent problems can diminish their perceived impact.
  • By altering our expectations and reframing our past, we can change our emotional response to current problems.
  • The "frame of the veteran" is a mental tool to adjust expectations and reduce the perceived severity of problems.

"What would I think? I was like, I wouldn't think this is a big deal."

This quote illustrates the idea that if a problem is consistent and expected, it becomes normalized and is no longer seen as a significant issue.

"Because you're accustomed to it. You expected it."

The speaker is explaining that habitual experiences shape our expectations and influence our reactions to similar situations in the future.

"We can basically retroactively alter our expectations and project a fictitious past onto our present so that we can alter how we respond to it."

This quote emphasizes the ability to mentally reframe our experiences to change our current emotional responses to problems.

Problems as a Sign of Progress

  • Problems are an inevitable part of life and often indicate progress.
  • Solving one problem usually leads to another, creating a cycle of problems and solutions.
  • Rather than wishing for a problem-free life, it's more practical to choose which problems to tackle.
  • There are better and worse problems, and the goal should be to engage with better problems that we can solve.

"Problems are constant, and sometimes they are a sign of progress, because if you solve a problem, then you create another problem."

This quote conveys the idea that problems are not only unavoidable but also a sign that progress is being made as each solution leads to new challenges.

"Wishing to eliminate problems is in and of itself something that will create a permanent problem in your life."

Here, the speaker warns against the unrealistic desire for a life without problems, suggesting that such a wish is itself a problem.

The Concept of a Failure Resume

  • A failure resume is a tool to reflect on past failures and their lessons.
  • Acknowledging failures helps balance self-perception and prevents an inflated ego.
  • Recognizing survival through past failures can provide a sense of resilience and humor.
  • Success is possible despite numerous failures, and this perspective can be grounding and humbling.

"A lot of people like to make their resumes about their accomplishments. But what I think that does is it gives us an inflated mental image of ourselves."

The speaker suggests that focusing solely on accomplishments can lead to an unrealistic self-image, and that acknowledging failures can provide a more balanced perspective.

"I am still here."

This simple yet powerful statement serves as a reminder that despite past failures, the speaker has survived and continues to move forward.

"If it kills you, whatever this problem is, it won't matter because you'll be dead. And if it doesn't kill you, it means you can handle it."

The speaker uses this quote to highlight the resilience inherent in surviving problems, suggesting that one either overcomes the problem or, in the case of death, won't need to worry about it.

Legacy and Education

  • The speaker views education as the ultimate legacy to leave behind.
  • Leaving the human race better than one found it is seen as a meaningful purpose.
  • The speaker is motivated by the idea of contributing to human progress rather than seeking personal remembrance.
  • Acknowledging the impermanence of individual legacy can provide a sense of freedom and reduce the pressure of life's challenges.

"I believe that the only real legacy is leaving the human race better than you found it."

The speaker expresses the belief that improving the human condition is the most valuable legacy one can leave, rather than personal recognition.

"You can't say that you don't care about the opinion of others and yet care a lot about what people who aren't even alive yet will think about you while you are dead."

With this quote, the speaker challenges the inconsistency of disregarding others' opinions while being concerned about the opinions of future generations.

"Everything that we have right now... there are many past humans who live their entire lives to make one advancement, that other humans picked that baton up and moved the ball forward."

The speaker reflects on the cumulative nature of human progress and the importance of each individual's contributions, even if they are not personally remembered.

"The TLDR is that no one will remember you and that's okay."

This summarizing statement encapsulates the speaker's perspective on legacy and the insignificance of personal remembrance in the grand scheme of human progress.

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