Ep. 228: A World Without Busyness

Transcription for the video titled "Ep. 228: A World Without Busyness".

1970-01-01T02:35:01.000Z

Note: This transcription is split and grouped by topics and subtopics. You can navigate through the Table of Contents on the left. It's interactive. All paragraphs are timed to the original video. Click on the time (e.g., 01:53) to jump to the specific portion of the video.


Introduction

Cal's intro (00:00)

So that's what we lose in a normal schedule. A lot less deep work, a lot longer working hours, and just a lot more grinding organizational skill required even to just sort of get through the day, which is draining. And what do we gain from that? Less visible productive. In the sense of producing things that the world notices and would assess as being valuable. I'm Cal Newport, and this is Deep Questions, episode 228. This is the show where I answer questions for my audience and give advice about the challenge of cultivating a deep life in a world increasingly beset by distractions. Now I'm here as always in my deep work HQ. I'm joined by my producer, Jesse. Jesse, I just did the math. This episode's coming out what the day after Christmas? Yeah, it's our holiday episode. Holiday episode, we should have brought in Christmas lights. I had that idea, by the way. I was gonna decorate the HQ, and then I did it. What was my idea? I was gonna bring in some lights and do whatever, and then life happened. The last time we had props, we brought the skeleton. Yeah, so Halloween got a skeleton. We should have done this in Santa hats. I apologize, this is me dropping the ball. I honestly didn't really, I've lost track of time. We're sort of just barreling through December. My family, there's a lot going on. I'm dealing with each thing as we get there. So it didn't really occur to me. We're recording this a week in advance more or less that like, oh, this is actually the holiday episode. You know, I did a survey. You might be surprised by the answer. I surveyed our listeners to find out what holidays do they celebrate during this period? Number one response, best of us. Really? No. Made that up. I just wanted to air grievances later in the episode. I did not interview them on that. All right, we've got a good simple show today in honor of the holidays. One deep dive, which you will see is tangentially connected to the current season. Five questions, carefully selected, a mix of questions about the struggle to find more depth in your work and questions about finding more depth in your life outside of work. We got a good mix followed by our favorite final segment, Three Interesting Things. I have three interesting things sent to me from around the internet in recent weeks all about the struggle to live deeply. All right, that is the show. I wanted to mention a brief experiment going on over at the YouTube channel, youtube.com/calnewportmedia. In addition to the videos of this podcast, I launched an experimental video with friend of the show, an old friend of mine, comedian Jamie Kielstein. We did a pilot episode of a show we're calling Jamie and Cal Explained the internet. The short premise is, I don't use social media, so I know very little about what's happening on the internet. Jamie is, as you've heard from his interviews on this show, is working really hard to be disconnected from social media. So he also doesn't really know what's going on right now in the internet. So we are the two worst people in the world to ask to explain contemporary internet trends, and that is exactly what we do. So we take five trending ideas, memes, tweets, TikToks, et cetera from the week in the internet and we struggle to explain them. What's the idea behind the show? Well, hey, I just thought that'd be funny. Me trying to explain TikTok, but there's an underlying actual motivation here, which is when you are immersed in internet culture, it seems totalizing. This is the world, this is all that matters in the world. Everyone in the world is equally as invested in what's going on in this internet world, and that can be a problem because often what's happening in the internet culture can be distressing, it can be outraging, it can be depressing, it can be nerve wracking or anxiety producing. And so I think there's some benefit perhaps to see a show that others internet culture. So you have people from the outside struggling to understand it, and yeah, it's funny, but it also, I hope also sends the message of, look, a lot of this stuff is kind of arbitrary. This is not real life. This is not everything just happening in the world. It only feels that way if you're in it. Just look at these two idiots who don't know anything about it. See how mysterious this is to their eyes? That's what this looks like to most of the world. So hopefully there'll be some relief to be gained from those who feel too engaged in internet culture.


Casual Discourse And Omnipresent Themes

Deep Dive - A World Without Busyness? (04:49)

So that's a Jamie or Cal and Jamie explain to internet. It's an experiment. We might try a few episodes, see if we like it, see if you like it, but there is at least one up there if you wanna check it out. All right, and with that, I think we're ready to jump in. I wanna start with a deep dive. I'm gonna call this a world without busyness. It is inspired by the holiday break that especially in the American context, most workers get the week between Christmas and New Year's. So we have the holiday break just started when you're listening to this podcast. I wanna talk about the week before, the week before the holiday break. That is the week that I'm in right now as I record this. For me as for a lot of people, the week before this break is a really nice week of work. And the reason is is because it's 40% less busy than a typical work week. As people are getting ready for the holidays, people aren't starting new initiatives, people aren't scheduling as many meetings. This is particularly true in the academic context where I work, the semester is over, and people will wait 'til the New Year to really get things ramped up. So it's like an easier week. You're still working. But the work doesn't seem as onerous. So what I have here, I'm gonna switch to the tablet. So for those who are watching this on YouTube, you're gonna see me drawing on the screen here. I have a very crudely drawn calendar. Those who are listening, you can imagine this being expertly drafted with beautiful penmanship and straight lines. Those who are watching online know that's not the case. I have Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, just sort of blocked out here on this calendar. And what I wanted to do is roughly block out what my week looks like this week. And I have three categories here, deep work, admin, and appointment. So things that are sort of scheduled on the calendar that you have to go and go somewhere else. So this week, and I looked at my calendar this morning, so this is pretty accurate. Most mornings, Monday through Thursday, every morning this week, not most, every morning, I can just write in the morning. So I'm blocking that off for deep work. I'm only doing this if you're listening, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Friday, we're leaving to go visit my parents, so we're not doing any work at all, so we're gonna cross that off, no work on Friday. So we've got four days. Can do deep work every morning, working on writing. All right, most afternoons, I'm gonna put Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Plenty of time to do another deep work session. So I'm blocking that off on my calendar. And for me this week, that's gonna be largely, I'm working on a particular new proof or computer science paper, something I'm working on with some collaborators. All right, what about appointments? So these are scheduled things. Well, because it's a week before a break, it's pretty light. It's basically today. So I'm blocking off most of Monday, and most of my appointments today are what I'm doing right now. I'm podcasting, I'm at the studio, I'm podcasting some other things I wanna get done. And I'm gonna put a little sliver of deep work 'cause I do wanna finish, I told Jesse has a little more writing I wanna do because I had to cut it short this morning. All right, and then on most other days, there's a little bit of admin work. If I do 30 to 60 minutes, most of these on Tuesday, on Wednesday and Thursday, that is enough to keep on top of things that are coming via email, things of my calendar, things that need to get done. There's still a little detail that I have to get done. I have a doctoral student who's defending a dissertation pretty soon after the break, for example. There's some paperwork to be filed. There's a, the web designer working on an update to our website, I have a couple things to send her. So about 30 to 60 minutes on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Well, keep me very much on top of administrative work, email, request, et cetera. So here we have a calendar that if you're looking online, you'll see deep work every morning, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, sort of modest admin block, and then another deep work session the afternoon, spacing between plenty of breathing room, go for a walk, whatever. These days can all end at three or four o'clock, Mondays to one day where I have sort of appointments during the day after a morning deep work session, I'm not even working on Friday. And that's my holiday schedule. Now here's the thought experiment I want you to follow. What if this was my schedule every week? Right? What would happen to my observable productivity if I had more or less a schedule like this every week? Two deep work sessions a day, 30 to 60 minutes of admin, one day with appointments, and on a regular basis, maybe an entire day just taken off to do other things. I would argue that my visible productivity and the things that people at the scale of years would notice about me, which is books, academic articles, New Yorker articles, and this podcast. The big visible things that define my impact, that productivity would not only be preserved with this schedule, it would almost certainly be increased. More articles, books at a faster rate, higher quality probably for this podcast is because of the more than enough time to work on these things, consistency working on these things, more than enough time for the mind to refract and reconfigure between things, I would probably be more productive. I think a lot of people would have a similar conclusion that if they could take the pre-holiday week schedule and do that every week of the year, their observable and important productivity would not diminish if anything, it would probably increase. Now let's compare this to a normal week. Let's grab a week in mid-January. What goes wrong with this sort of pre-holiday week schedule I put down here? Well, there's two things that change. One, the number of appointments would rapidly increase. The idea that I just consolidated them for the half a day on one day would be unrealistic under my normal scheduling demands. So there would be, I would say three to four, at least three to four other non-trivial appointments scattered throughout these days. I would also say these admin blocks would have to double or sometimes triple in length. There's just way more things pulling out my attention that I have to do that are time consuming. So now maybe I need on average two hours a day of admin. So you expand the admin, you throw in a lot more of these appointments and maybe you can preserve, let's say like the morning deep work session, but what you really lose is two things. A, a lot of those afternoon deep work sessions go away and the length of your work day increases. When I'm in my normal schedule, the only way to actually make that all work is I have to also aggressively time block plan just to try to make every piece fit. I have to combine that with a weekly plan and a strategic plan to try to make everything fit in this holiday schedule that's on the, I drew on the screen. I don't even have to be that on my game, productivity speaking. It's a pretty simple schedule. I work, take my time, do some admin, go for a breather, do a little more work. I'm done. So that's what we lose in a normal schedule. A lot less deep work, a lot longer working hours and just a lot more grinding organizational skill required, even to just sort of get through the day, which is draining. And what do we gain from that? Less visible productivity. In the sense of producing things that the world notices and would assess as being valuable. That actually goes down. So in some sense, this is my question in this holiday period. And this is, I would say probably the question in knowledge work productivity. The one that we're not answering. The one that we're ignoring to instead focus on the minutia. Well, is Slack more efficient than email? What's our rules around setting up meetings? Are you a bullet journal person or a time block planner? As we look at the particular leaves on the trees, we're missing the outline of the whole forest. And this is the question that we're not asking, but I think we should. Why don't we have every week be like the week before the holiday break? What is preventing us from doing it? What would we have to change to make that the standard? And if we did, what are organizations or universities, our companies, our small entrepreneurial endeavors? Would they fall apart? Or would they actually become better at what they do? That's the question we should be asking. So I thought I would pose it to you, my audience, because you have a week to actually think about it. Is there a reason why you draw the morning blocks on the bottom? Yeah, that's an interesting question. That matches... I have kind of reversed it, haven't I? I just didn't know if there was some. Yeah, because on my time block planner, I go down. In Google Calendar, time also goes down. And yet in my mind, I think this is interesting. When I visualize my schedule in my mind, I think about time moving upwards. Yeah, so if you're watching this on the YouTube, you'll see an interesting artifact of the way my mind works. My mind visualizes schedules as time moving up. Yeah, you're climbing the ladder. You're climbing the ladder, you're piling things on top of each other. That's an interesting observation. Yeah, so maybe I'll label this. All right, for those who are watching, I'm going to add an expository label here. Let's do... I'll put like... 9am at the bottom. Mm-hmm. And then I'll make the very top here like 4pm. This is my ideal schedule. Now, I can't complain because I actually get to do this during the summer, every year. So I get my taste of this, so it's not just the week before. For most people, it's like, there's one or two weeks where this is true. I get this all summer, this schedule, and I love this schedule. So in the evenings, you'll like read or like before 9 o'clock, you'll read a little bit. Yeah, I mean, it's kids. Well, it's exercise kids, other stuff kids. Yeah, it's mainly... So it's family stuff. People would probably be curious about when you read your five books on that schedule. So typically, if I'm up, I'm reading in the morning, like this morning. I was up. So I read in the morning, I read in bed. And then, yeah, we do reading sessions in the evening. So now, if I usually, at least one of my books will be for work, like I need it for a New Yorker article or something like that. And because that's work, for those, I'll put aside time, hey, it's what I'm going to do in the afternoon. Yeah, I'm going to put aside an hour here, an hour there. We'll see. Do we talk about thriller December last week? We did, right? Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So hopefully people... This is your week. The week that you're off is the week to really make progress on thriller December. So hopefully, people are going well. I'm three thrillers deep now. I'm now reading. I added to my list, I went back, I aborted from one thriller. I'll talk about that when we do our reading roundup next month. I was like, okay, I got to get the bad taste out of my mouth. So I went back and I'm reading Robin Cook's original novel, Coma, from 1976, invented the medical... He says it invented the medical thriller genre. Like, Kim and Kriton might argue about that, but it's really good. It's really good. They haven't even got to the thriller reports yet. It's like third year med students at Boston Memorial Hospital. And there's two cases in a row of young, healthy patients going to for surgery, and something happens during the surgery, and they get brain dead.


Cal talks about Wren and Zocdoc (16:35)

And you're starting to realize... I think it... But so Cook gets into the details of all the science of how anesthesia works. And so it brings you into the hospital world. It's like ER in a book. Mm-hmm. You're starting to realize there's something going to foul here. I think someone's organs are being harvested. And it's cool. I'm enjoying it. All right. Anyways, thriller of December. You got one more week. Read. All right. We got a good collection of questions to dive into. Before we do, I want to briefly mention one of the sponsors that makes the Deep Questions podcast possible. That is our friends at Ren W-R-E-N, which is a startup that's making it easy for everyone to make a meaningful difference in the climate crisis. So the way the website works now is they're focused on monthly subscriptions, where you calculate your carbon footprint, then offset it by supporting awesome climate projects that plant trees protect rainforces and remove CO2 from the sky. So you can actually offset the carbon footprint that you are generating elsewhere in your life. Now, the idea behind this, why I think this is an interesting strategy, is that it lowers the barrier of entry to do something. And as we learn in almost any type of endeavor, the best way to do something big is to start with something small. You have to break that barrier. That step from I'm doing nothing to I'm doing something is the key step. And now once you're in the mindset of like, oh, I'm already doing something about this issue I care about, now you're more open to doing more things. It's the gateway drug into more effective action. Now, I think that's important, especially right now. Like one of the things I've noticed, if you'll excuse a little cultural commentary, especially in sort of a place like suburban DC, there's this list of sort of approved things you can do to help with something like climate change that tend to have big price tax, which is fine if you can do it. And I'm talking about like solar installations or buying expensive electric cars. And if you can do that, great. But for people who don't have that budget, it can make them be in a situation and they feel like, well, then I can't do anything. So I'm just going to tune that off. I can't afford a Tesla. So I guess this is not for me. That's why I like something like rent. It's an entry point where you don't have to buy a Tesla or cover your whole roof and solar panels to feel like at least you're starting. And you can break that seal. So I'm glad I think it's from a social psych perspective. It's an interesting idea. So sign up for rent is an easy way to do something meaningful about the climate crisis. So it's going to take all of us to end the climate crisis to your part today by signing up for rent go to rent.co/deep sign up and they will plant 10 extra trees in your name. That's w-r-e-n dot co slash deep start making a difference. I only mentioned the solar panels because my neighbor is putting them on today. I was hearing the hammering. That's why it's on my mind. He's got a great roof for it too. We have a terrible roof for solar panels. Really? You've seen my house. It's like straight up and then these Victorian weirdnesses. All angles or whatever. But my neighbor has like a big flat south facing fill that thing up. Electricity is going to flow. The rest of us will have to do is rent. I also want to talk about my friends at ZOC. ZOC is the only free app that lets you find and book doctors who are patient reviewed, take your insurance and are available when you need them that treat almost every condition under the sun. I don't know if you know this Jesse but people have been getting sick in recent years. Stuff going around. Do you know about this? Heard about it. Yeah. So people, especially younger people are saying I need a doctor and then wondering well how do I find a doctor? Like do I go to the yellow pages? Do I ask friends? You do but then you don't know like are they taking patients? Do they like this person? ZOC Doc makes it simple. It says okay here's doctors. What do you want to look for? Your area, this specialty, take this insurance has opening. Boom here's the list. Okay. Now let me look at patient reviews of each of these doctors to see what's going on. Does this one have a really long way? Does there something fishy? Is this one great? People love them. It just makes it easy to get signed up for the medical care that you need. As I've talked about before, I have now two different health care providers who use ZOC Doc, my primary care physician and my dentist. So in addition to helping me identify these providers, it also makes it simple to do, let's say the intake paperwork. I can check in online ahead of time. So it makes the experience great. So I'm a big ZOC Doc fan. 95% because of all the services they offer and the convenience it introduces, 5% because I like saying the name ZOC Doc. So go to zocdoc.com/deep and download the ZOC Doc app for free. Then find and book a top rated doctor today, many who will be available within 24 hours. That's z-o-c-d-o-c.com/deep. Zocdoc.com/deep. Now interestingly, I don't know if you know this, but the actor, the rock, also sponsors ZOC Doc on his podcast. And there the promo code is zocdoc.com/rock. Wait, we need one more. There's a, what's another, what's another rhyming? So there's a person I know who, he has a doc in rock port. There's a podcast about it. And it's about living by the water in rock port. And his ad for ZOC Doc is ZOC Doc.com/rockdoc. I could keep going.


In an era of Quiet Quitting is it easier to become a star? (22:17)

Doc Doc is a great company. All right, let's do some questions. All right, Jesse, what's our first question here? All right, first question is from Little Better Than Average. In the era of quiet quitting, the new normal is to just do the bare minimum. Does this mean that showing even a little bit of initiative and willingness to do more important work can now set you apart from others? I have two parts to my answer here. I mean, first, let me just address this idea that we're in an era of quiet quitting, where quiet quitting is so ubiquitous that it's just assumed that most people around you are doing this. That of course is nonsense. The thing about internet movements is that because they're leveraging the amplification effects of internet distributed and algorithmic curation, they have a way for those who are plugged into it. They have a way of making internet trends seeming universal. Everyone is doing this. Everyone is feeling this. We see this on topic after topic, right? Let's say you're plugged into Med Twitter during the COVID pandemic. Suddenly in your mind, all of these particular possible terrible things around COVID are happening everywhere. It's only by the grace of God you've survived being outside for 10 minutes because the internet makes these things seem totalizing. Let's say you're in political Twitter. You're really plugged into conservative Twitter. It makes it feel independent Twitter. It makes it feel like essentially 80% of the populace has been canceled. There's almost no one left and there's marauding bands of cancelers and you're a day away from it. Because it's total light. It makes it seem like this is happening everywhere. Well, same thing for a trend like quiet quitting. I'm sure the actual number of people who are, who would say I am doing this, I'm purposely pulling back is a relatively small percentage and has no real large effect on let's say the dynamics of your particular workplace. But the internet, if you're plugged into let's say TikTok makes it seem like everyone is doing this. So that's just a side commentary on internet movements. That's not to say by the way that it's not important. I think internet movements play a good signaling purpose. Like quiet quitting is important. It's not that, oh my God, everyone's doing this now. What's going to happen to the economy? Because of course, that's not what's happening. It's important says there's a real signal that's being amplified here. So there's an actual unease or dis-ease that this particular generation is having with work as they're trying to figure out the role of work in their life. That signal's important and it's important to amplify that signal. So that's where internet movements are important is that the amplify signals that might be meaningful to shifts happening in the culture. But we have to be careful because the tendency our human wiring is to receive it as if this thing is happening universally. So you can be worried about COVID without thinking that you're probably going to be the last person alive in your town. You can be worried about things like cancellation without also having to believe that you're like one day away from it and most universities have lost half of their faculty to canceling. So this is the tension of internet movements. They can amplify messages. But that amplification mechanism can deceive us in the feeling like these trends are way more universal than they really are. This is a bit of a divergence but just a little bit of internet culture chat. So what about this particular question though? If people are average, do I have to do just a little bit more to stand out? Yes, this is true. And we don't need quiet quitting for this to be an effective dynamic. This is something I've talked about for years, especially if you are entry level in a knowledge work setting, you do not have to be a superstar on a national scale to quickly get ahead. You have to just be a little bit better than the other young employees at your same employer. And that's not as hard as you think. And in particular, there's two things you can do that will almost always make you stand out. One, deliver. So people trust you not to drop the ball. If they ask you to do something, you do it and you get it done by the time you said it's going to get done. And they don't have to worry about bothering you and sending you follow up messages and saying, you know, sometimes Cal does this, sometimes Cal doesn't. They trust you're going to get things done. It's not that hard to do, but it's pretty rare. And that gets noticed. A quick test about whether or not you're succeeding on that particular property. Do the people you work for send lots of follow up emails or chats after they ask you something to do something like, hey, how is this going? Have you done this yet? If so, that means they don't really trust you. If they don't, then you're probably doing this right. Number two, exceed expectations. You don't need to be a perfectionist, but just when you get a task, think like, what do they really need here? What are they really looking for? Let me make sure I get them what's really going to help them. Like, what is the, why do they want me to pull out these quotes? Oh, they're trying to put together this marketing message. My boss is putting together this whatever. And so what would really make that succeed? Well, let me, let me pull out some better. Let me call up a client. I know what he needs. And so let me make sure that like, I'm really meeting those expectations. You don't have to be perfectionist. It's not like you're knocking out of the park. It's just that we know when Cal turned something in, it's going to be what we need. It's going to be good. It's not going to be, hey, I did the taskman. Why are you on my back? Like technically I put some quotes down, you know, like this guy did, this client did ask me where the bathroom is. That is technically a quote. Get off my back. Quiet quitting. I'm worth more than my labor. I'm a human being. Just meet the expectations you're looking for. You do these two things. In about one year, you're going to, your path is going to angle upwards much quicker. It's not hard, but it's rare. Of course, the question is why? Like why bother advancing quickly when you're new to a job? I mean, isn't that just playing into, you know, the sort of exploitative dynamic of capitalism or something like that? The reason is because when you advance quickly, you build career capital. Career capital is what gives you control over your career. Career capital is what's going to set you free. Career capital is what's going to allow you to decide what you want your work in life to be like. Mold it towards what resonates in a way from what doesn't. It is the only way to make your job work for you and not the other way around. The things that make great work great is appealing. It's in demand. You have to have something to offer in return. So if you don't like aspects of work, you don't like this thing or this boss or these hours, you can't complain your way out of it. You usually can't quit your way out of it, but you can career capital your way out of it. You become so good you can't be ignored. And then you use those skills as leverage and say, not today. Now I'm doing this. Now I'm doing that. I'm going over here. I'm freelancing. I'm renegotiating my contract. I'm going to this company that just specialize on this fully remote. And I only check in once a week. All of those type of things that you could use to take control of your career are returns on investment of career capital gathered by you being good and advancing quickly. This is the quickest way to get to career capital if you're new. Be reliable. Don't drop the ball. Deliver past expectations. Do those things for a year. Your trajectory goes fast. Just remember as you build your capital, don't wait too long to invest it. I actually have an article. It might be out by the time this comes out. I have a quiet quitting article I wrote for the New Yorker. That we were fact checking it and copying it. So I think it's ready. So it's probably a year in review style article. I don't know, but probably by the time you hear this podcast, all the quiet quitting article you can find it to New Yorker.


How do I resist my job’s demand for out-of-hours work? (29:59)

If not, then it'll be in the New Year or something. I've been thinking a lot about quiet quitting recently. All right. What's our next question? Next question is from York. I am a consultant expected to work on billable client projects from nine to five. My employer expects all other work to happen outside those hours. I've been trying to minimize these out of our obligations, but I definitely feel the pressure to give up more of my time. On a normal day, I am busy until 8.30 p.m. How do I reclaim my time? Well, this is the reality of your job and the reality of a lot of these billable hour jobs. So this is true of a lot of lawyer positions. Definitely true about a lot of high and consultancy positions. You're supposed to be billing client hours to a certain level. So you're actually pretty lucky that it's 40 hours a week in law, can be much higher. And then everything else has to happen outside of that. And the employer doesn't really care where you do it. Get that done, but you need to, we're going to track your billables. And then we have all this other stuff. York here who asked this question, he had sent us a longer elaboration. I mean, a lot of this stuff is internal focused. So he mentioned like doing an internal training about a new technology, setting up. It's like internal facing admin work. And all that's just like, hey, you get that done, but you can't reduce your billable hours. That's the reality of those jobs. So you're not going to be able to almost certainly not going to be able to just request your way out of it and just say, I want less billable hours. So I have time to do this other type of work, or I don't want to do other type of work, because they need to build all hours and that work has to get done. You have three options if you want to improve things. And these are based on experience I've had like watching people in these situations, different ways they've finagled this. So number one is you can build an internal practice. I've seen this both in consultancies and law firms. It's where you get a specialty that you do. And you essentially build a independent practice within the larger company that you work for. You say, I do this type of work. Usually it's you're gathering your own clients, you're dealing with those clients, you're building at a higher rate than other people because it's a specialty that you do. And you basically are hands off from the rest of the organization. Now in the sort of post COVID time, you might negotiate this with a, you're largely remote. Maybe you move the somewhere farther away. You only see that you're only in the office once a week. Like you're kind of detaching yourself from the day to day office culture. And you're more of like an independent contractor, even though you are a paid employee of that firm. I see this all the time. Like, look, I'm our media specialist. I'm our whatever retirement law specialist at the law firm. I bring in money. You're happy about it. I bring in work. I just go and do that. I report back once a month on how things are going to leave me alone. That's one option. And that gives you more control. Now you're kind of out of the normal stream of doing the other type of office work. And you're in more control of your hours. You can control that in, in makeup time if you need to. Option number two, quit your job and do the same work as a freelancer. This happens all the time in DC. Just you probably know people who have done this. In DC, this happens all the time where there's these really specialized kind of consulting positions, you know, procurement for whatever, USAID aid. And it's like a very specific expertise or whatever. And you're doing it for a consulting firm and you realize like, I could just contract with some clients directly. You can just do it hourly. I know some people who have done this and they actually make more money than they were making before. They have more control over their hours because who cares, right? It's their money. They can say, I don't, I work this much or that much. They can control how much they do. The internal admin stuff goes away. There's no internal trainings to organize when you work for yourself. It's harder and more stressful, right? So there's no free lunch. But if you have a very specialized expertise, there may be an opportunity for you to just do that directly with clients. And then you gain autonomy in exchange for a little bit more economic risk. The final option is get a different job. The reality of billable hours is this. It's what these jobs are like. So get a different job. But when you go to get a different job, this time be more careful about how you evaluate them. I'm assuming the way like many people who end up in these jobs, they end up there because of money or prestige. I'm looking for a job. This consultancy is offering this much money. Hey, that's impressive. That's a good salary. I feel validated. Let's do that. Or I went to law school. Here's the big firm. The big firms are the hard ones to get into. I got a big firm job. That's impressive in the eyes of the people I know from law school. I can pat myself on the back. That's how you end up in these jobs. You need better criteria. If you go back to find a different job, York, you need better criteria. And these criteria should base based in lifestyle, central career planning. What you want your life to be like in five years from now, 10 years from now, 15 years from now, have that vision, all aspects of your life, not just the general aspects of the professional. And then you're working backwards to find careers and other decisions that can move you towards there. So if this vision of your life doesn't have you plugged in and working till 8.30, then you're going to disqualify a job that's almost certainly going to require you to work till 8.30. And they maybe go for a different job. Oh, but this job doesn't pay as much. Okay, great. But this job is in, you know, Boise instead of suburban DC, the cost of living is half. It all works out. So you got to have a better criteria. If you're going back to the drawing board, this time be more careful about how you're selecting what job, what job you're going to do. All right, making progress here.


Should new writers use social media to get feedback? (35:45)

Our next, what do we got here is our next question. All right, next question from CK. I recently participated in an online writing course that used Twitter to distribute your writing among other writers. Writing blog posts doesn't reach anyone. This course's premise is that using social media lets you see what sticks. Do you agree? What do you suggest to a writer just starting out and looking for feedback? Yeah, it's a good question. So first of all, I looked up this course's website. So I don't actually want to use the name of this course. So Jesse, don't put the website up on the screen, but I have the website here. I have the website for the course. I'm trying to figure out what he's talking about, an online writing course that uses Twitter, because I need to understand what this, what CK means by wanting to be a writer. So I'm looking at this course now, and it says it's a cohort based course that focuses on the fundamentals of writing on the internet. Unlike other writing courses, you don't learn passively. You, it looks like they're using Twitter to create a sort of writing group. So you pass your writing around to other people. There's a few other things about this. All right, here's their sales pitch. Have you ever wanted to start writing online, but aren't sure the first step to take? Have you started writing online, but now if you'll stuck, you have plenty of ideas about struggle to put yourself out there. If any of these sound familiar, this course is for you. All right, here's a testimonial. I'm a lot more energized now than ever before. More creative and more clear for the first time ever. I feel excited to sit down for 45 minutes, completely interrupted and do nothing except think and write. So look, I'm reading this, Jesse, and this is not a knock on this course. I mean, it's a knock on me being sort of not plugged into internet culture. But what is this talking about? I've just read like 10 quotes and it's all like about, they just keep saying writing online, even a hard time writing online. This will help you get motivated to write online. The testimonial is like, I've never been more energized or write online. What does that mean right online? It's trying to get you to buy it. The course. Yeah. Yeah. That's it. It just wants you to buy the course. But, all right. Okay. Take a little sales page. All right, here's some more details. The biggest mistake early writers make publishing weekly blog post into the void. In the beginning, you think you know what you want to write about, and you think you know what people want to read, but newsflash, you don't, you need feedback and this thing helps you get feedback. So what is it that? What's the problem this is solving for people? Like when it's saying write online, do they mean like content marketing? Like I want to, I want to write online and make money off of it. Is it expression? Like I just want to write online and share my thoughts, but I want to have like, be able to have an audience of people who are listening to it. Is it people? I would assume it was more related to the first topic that you just brought up. So okay. So this is, because they're not talking about we're going to help you make money, but you think this is like content marketing. Although I would say more copywriting if it was the first topic that you talked about. So I have, so okay. That's the first problem, CK. And I think this is the issue. I mean, I'm not plugged into internet culture, but I don't understand what this course is trying to offer you, which tells me, I'm not quite sure what it is you're trying to go for. When you say, you want to be a writer and should social media be involved in you becoming a writer. I think what he's talking about, or she, I'm not sure what CK is, but they want to, you know, do it as a profession, get paid. Right. So here's my thoughts then. We have three, I'm going to, I'm going to give three possible interpretations of, including this one. This one I think is the right one. But let me give two other interpretations first, and then we'll go to the third interpretation for each of these interpretations of what this audience member might be wanting to do with writing. I'm going to have a quick thought. So one, if you want to write for fun, like you want to express yourself, and also like community building thing, you want to be around other people who write on the same topic. You're doing fantasy novels and you love fantasy novels. You want to be around other people who are trying to write fantasy novels. And it's, you like those people and you like writing. Then I think a writing group is great. I would recommend that in-person writing group, of which many exist, or an online writing group, where it's just, here's 15 people working on this and we all get together on Zoom. But it should be a group of people that you know, you get the know and you meet with regularly to work on your writing. That is a well established, that is a well established path in the world of writing. And a lot of people who write for fun do this. And it's like we get together and we pass around manuscripts. And you should definitely do that CK. So if you want to write for fun, get a real writing group that you can sustainably work with. I don't think social media has any role in that. But you don't, social media is not really relevant. You know, you're not trying to become Brandon Sanderson. You're not worried about audience building. So just get together with people and write. I think that's fantastic. The second interpretation is you want to be a professional writer. Maybe like a professional journalist or a professional novelist. All right. Well, there's well worn paths. I mean, you can't make up your own path there. If you want to be a professional writer, you need to study how professional writers get there, what skills they build, how they build them. Professional writers don't get there by kind of copywriting on the internet and spreading their name with social media. That's completely different. If you want to be a journalist, if you want to be a professional writer, I've talked about that. I've written about that. A hundred of the people written about it, face the reality of how those worlds actually work and then figure out if there's a reasonable entrance for you into those worlds. There's a lot of different answers to that question. None of those answers are going to be, you know, start a blog and promote it with Twitter. All right. The third thing, this is Jesse's interpretation, is that you want to make money online as a content marketer or producer of content online. That's his own thing. That's his own world. You know, typically, I don't know that world well, but I know it's somewhat well. I mean, typically the key to that world is you have to have a really clear thing that you're offering. That's interesting to people or solves a problem they have, that you are the right person to be writing about it. So you have some sort of bold demonstration of this makes me the right person, the right about it. And then you deliver that message in a very sort of compelling, easily graspable way. I would say, and you can correct me if I'm wrong here, Jesse, that tends to be now more days, much more visual. So like if you're trying to, like, let's say you're the, you're in like weightlifting. You're like the, plates. What's the guy? More plates, more dates. I don't know that guy's name, but I know you're talking about it. Yeah. Anyway, he's like, he's like a fitness influencer or something, right? It's bodybuilding or weightlifting, whatever. Yeah. That's more visual. So things are more like video or Instagram. I'm assuming this guy's like very strong. So there's like some bold demonstration, like why I'm the right person to talk about this. I don't think there's as much anymore people starting native with just blogs. I mean, I see that out there. People just trying to, you can tell they took some sort of content marketing course because they have some schedule with which they're posting these blog posts, but it really feels like it's pulling teeth. You know, it's just like, I got to write my Thursday post and it's, you know, there's like, what am I, why am I here for? Like, who are you, what are you offering? What's the unique take? So, I think a lot of this content marketing or influencer type side hustles tends to be more visual. It's going to be more video. It's going to be more Instagram, image type based. But the key there is the emphasis is not, I need a lot of feedback on my writing. Well, what you need there is a particular hook. I am talking about this thing. I have a message, a theory, a community, and my life is a compelling demonstration of this in action. And so it's almost like if that's your goal is to make money online by the production of content, I would put most of my energy right now into doing something really interesting and easily demonstrable online activity. That's where I'd put my energy. I'd be, you know, going on the adventure of writing across the country while doing whatever. I'd be getting in really good shape or learning to shoot the bow or learning the three languages in three months or whatever it is, right? Like actually work on developing yourself as an exemplar of some sort of really interesting thing. That's probably where you put your energy. And then you can figure out how do I deliver to some people in a compelling fashion. That's probably what's going to matter. But basically none of these interpretations we're talking about really say what you need to be doing is like sharing your writing on social media, at least as step one. So I don't know. People sometimes say I'm snobbish about this, Jesse, just because like I've been writing for a long time and I write books for the biggest publisher in the world. I write magazine articles for the New Yorker that I'm out of touch with what it's like to be becoming up. So it's possible I'm being a little bit snobbish about it. But like I'm not turning my nose at like influencer culture. I think that could be a powerful side hustle. It's just I don't think you get there by getting feedback on your blog. I think you get there by carrying the rock while you're on thinking of Cameron Haines. So that's the name? The bow hunter. And doing these incredible feats of endurance and strength that also videotape very well. And you can show him hitting the target from far away, carrying a rock up a hill and like Joe Rogan saw him do that. I'm like you have to come on my show. It's like doing that's my understanding of influencer culture. I mean, I don't understand that there's the whole obviously like TikTok influencer roles I don't understand. That's more about like how you literally look or something. I don't know. But the like YouTube, Twitter based, and now I can sell on a books or courses like you got to be doing something cool. So I was like focus on doing something cool. Hey, the side effect is you'll still have ended up doing something cool regardless of what happens with. Yeah. But it's almost like writing is not that important for that sort of making money producing content for the internet. Writing is not as important as it may be once was. No matter why. I mean, those great videos and stuff, they definitely write the scripts, you know. Oh yeah, they spend a lot of time on them. Yeah. Yeah. It's gross that they'll be like. But it's a different it's different. Like the YouTube idiom, like it's different than I'm trying to write like a 2000 word argumentative essay. Yeah. And then they edit them so heavily. They write the scripts when they edit edit edit until it's like so you don't for example have to have a very carefully crafted script because you're going to edit out 80% of it. And there's a whole art in that but I think that's an art and just you do it.


Should I use social media to promote my filmmaking website? (46:25)

You practice. Yeah. Yeah. All right. Let's move on. What's our. All right. Next question is from Flavio. I organize filmmaking workshops and produce my own films. I am developing a new website to sell my own content directly to my audience. It will include a blog newsletter and podcast. Should I use social media to help build an audience or just post on my site and let the audience grow organically? All right. This is good. It's a related question. So we're pairing two questions that are somewhat related. All right. So let's in Flavio or Flavio's case. He has like a an existing project that he wants to better promote. I think it is it is possible to use social media to promote a relevant project without massive net harms. But it's difficult. So I have some advice about if you want to try to do that, how to do it. First, I'm going to say treat your social media channels like almost a television channel. I have a very specific programming that I have thought through. Here's the content and the look and the schedule of this programming. Let's see how this season does. Like you're thinking about it almost like a television programmer. So in this case, Flavio's in filmmaking, just filmmaking courses produces his own film. So maybe when he's thinking about Instagram, it is these beautifully shot short videos all on the same topic. You can imagine it's all on cinematography and you have a demonstration, each one of these short videos. Here's what we do. It's one of these every two weeks and here's how it looks and we post it here and on YouTube. And it's like you're programming a television channel. Then stick to that schedule, use a computer to publish, have no interaction with the with your channel. You're not on there listening to DMs and answering responses. You're you're it's like the the executive at the Discovery Channel is they're putting the content out there and you know, for an audience to consume. I think that's the only sustainable way to do it. So you have this clarity of here's what we're doing and why and what it looks like in its regular. The audience can build expectations for this and you're not on there interacting. There is whole different levels of difficulty that this can span. From the very simplest, you can have a strategy, a channel strategy like Ryan Holiday, where it's a quote once a day, stoic quote once a day. He has a big list of them. Someone puts them on there. Very simple content, but very very clear what he's trying to do on the other end of the scale of difficulty. You could have something like Adam Savage's Tested.com. They do treat it like a television channel, but there's a series of different types of videos they produce. They're actually pretty high man hour production requirements, but you really know there's these Q&A's one day builds and experiences and they're sort of released on a semi regular schedule with a common look. And so you can have whole sorts of degrees of difficulty here, but the key is you're seeing it like I'm using these as channels. I'm putting this on Instagram much in the same way the Discovery channel might say, Oh, Comcast is going to carry our channel now. What you want to avoid if you're going to try the strategy is the Faustian bargain of I can build an audience. Like I can see the number tick up faster on one of these social media platforms. If I become a sort of Greek chorus commenter on the affairs of the world, that I am going to just react to things that are going on that are relevant to my particular world. I'm going to comment on things. I'm going to go back and forth with people, make takes see what gets picked up by other people and what doesn't. That's the fastest way to grow a Twitter following. Instagram following, but it is a Faustian bargain because what that will require. So if this is what you do, yes, your numbers will go up quicker, but what that requires is 10 to 30 typically post a day. So you're doing it constantly. And that sucks you into that world. And your entire world becomes this online world. And as anxiety producing and it's stressful and it saps your energy, it's incredibly distracting and it reduces your ability to do almost anything else. I also think those type of audiences don't translate into sales of the other things you're doing at nearly the same conversion rate as another type of audience. If you've built up an audience because you post the cinematography video, you know, every two weeks and it's beautifully done and informative, that is an audience that's going to convert at a high rate when you sell an online course about filmmaking. If you have a instead a big audience that's three times as big, but it's been built up because you're on their talking about the film industry all day long and getting involved in controversies and doing takes and sniping at people, that's not an audience that's going to convert very high to your filmmaking course. So yeah, maybe you have a hundred thousand followers instead of 30,000, but you get less conversions your online course than in the vision where you have this program channel mentality. So that's what I can suggest. If you were going to do a social media promotion strategy, treat it like a TV channel, program schedule specific content, theory behind it, thought behind it, execute, execute, execute, don't get involved in interactions, don't talk to people, don't try to build an audience because people are interested in your takes. That is a bet that I don't think is worth taking. I've been speaking of cinematography. I was rewatching The Revenant recently, which won just 2015, won the Oscar for Best Cinematography. It's like a miracle of cinematography. Is that what Anthony Hopkins? No, you're thinking of similar. That is a movie. There is an Anthony Hopkins movie where he's being chased by a bear. Yeah. The Revenant, he gets attacked by a bear and they leave him for dead. But when he's essentially completely immobilized from his injuries, he sees Tom Hardy kill his son. And then Tom Hardy leaves him for dead. And then he sort of emerges and the whole thing is him tracking him down. But it's a miracle of cinematography because it's all natural light. And it's almost entirely filmed except for some of the flashback sequences and dream sequences with wide-angle primate lenses. No telephoto, no zoomed in, not the only establishing shots of nature for the most part. I think they did the initial attack at the river boat in deep focus. That's different. But once they're out there, it's a prime wide-angle lens, usually below eye level, and is just in there, just up to the person's face and turn to cameras. They're looking up here. You're just in the world. And you can see so much detail because you're on the wide-angle lens. So they're using a good digital airflux camera. So it's good resolution still. And so it's like you're there. You're just natural light right among the people, right among the crowd. I'm impressed. That one, and then the director one, best director, and it was the year after he did Birdman. I got best director for that back. I mean, that's a flex. Birdman, Revenant, you flex, you drop the mic and then go do what you want to do. So I know I'm enjoying that. I'm very impressed. That is a diversion. I like diverting in the cinema when I can.


Am I too busy find new ideas? (54:05)

All right. People are probably tired from the holidays, but let's do one more question here. Okay. CT, how do I address my growing desire to make new friends and build a network outside my hometown connections when I'm already balancing a job and a side project of writing a novel? Well, okay. First of all, I'm not impressed. I mean, I'm impressed that you're writing a novel. I'm not impressed by the idea that this somehow is a unique obstacle to making friends. Lots of people have lots of things going on outside of work and so have friends, but it is hard to make new friends. Jesse, I'm going to ask you, you're like the most friendly person I know. You make friends with people just walking down the street. So let's pick your brain on this. What is Jesse's tips for finding and meeting people, interesting people? You just sort of live in a city. What do you do? One thing that you can do is you can meet a lot of community people at gyms or classes or stuff like that. Like activities. Yeah. Especially like group classes. Maybe consistently go to some of those and you meet a lot of regular people that do the same thing around the same times that you go. It's like when you started, how long did you start the like the new CrossFit box you've been going to? I started that gym in May. So if you met anybody? Yeah, I know a lot of people there. Not surprised. Yeah. Like a lot. And then, and like an interesting thing you do, which I think people don't always think of, but they should, is like you actually invest in a country club membership. Yeah. Which is not as bad as you might think. You work, you work me through the numbers at some point. But it's like there is multiple different social possibilities at all because there's all these different, there's different sports going on and tournaments. And I met one of your friends was Leah, right? Yeah. Who you met at the, you met at the club. And the way you explained that, there's like, that's actually like a really good investment. It's not far from your house. You can go to tennis, you work on golf, or you're going to play golf, then you get people to play golf. But these are all sports you end up playing with. You meet other people who are doing them. I think that was a really smart move that like someone like, you know, CT, you wouldn't normally think about it because people think like, well, that's, you know, it's for lawyers to network or something. Or like it feels like something that, like, you know, your parents in the 80s did or something. But it's actually very savvy. Like, there's a lot of activity, a huge return on that investment in terms of socialize, socialize, socializing, meeting people. Yeah. Me and a lot of people have those types of, you know, gyms and even classes, like say you took Spanish classes, like the local community college or something like that. Yeah. You can meet people like that. Before we had kids, my wife and I did some photography classes. Yeah. And some cooking classes. Do the community, I think it's a community college. It was something like that. Or is that the, maybe something like the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge. But yeah, we'd met people. Yeah. Like, oh, great. Then let's like go to a photo exhibit together or something like that. Yeah. And then especially in DC, I mean, go to a bunch of those, you know, go downtown, go to museums, go to like tours, go to stuff like that. Yeah. Sign up for these things. Yeah. Yeah. There's a lot of lectures. There's a lot of, yeah, a lot of shows. The more of those you go to, you probably recognize some familiar faces. So CTA, I think the idea here is invests a lot of energy into this. I think it's worth, and it doesn't take a lot of this is happening after hours. It's on weekends. It's not like it's every day. But it takes energy. You have to sign up for things and go places. And then once you meet people ask him to do things, like, there's a lot of energy in it. But it's absolutely worth doing because not only is it important to make new friends, but actually, I think the whole, the whole process of trying to do this is it's self really interesting activity. Like you're not going to be upset that like I've been going to a gym and I went to these lectures and I experimented with like photography and I had coffee with two or three different people and maybe I didn't really like those people. But I was interesting. I went to a new place like it's, it's activity and it's interesting and it's stimulating and it's new. And so even the, even the, the act of getting out there and trying to meet friends itself, it's interesting even before you actually like sift through and find the right friends.


Cal talks about Eight Sleep and Ladder (58:24)

You can volunteer. Volunteer. Yeah. I always thought about that. There's a trail around here. I used to hike more and it was closer to our old house and there was a group that maintained a trail. I was like, that'd be cool. Yeah. Like you would really get to know that trail well and like trail maintenance and get to spend time outside. So go for it, CT. I think Jesse and I both agree. Sign up for lots of things, do lots of things. All right. Well, the final segment I want to get to in today's show is the three interesting things before we get there. Let me briefly mention another one of the sponsors that makes the show possible. That's my, my personal nighttime savior or friends at eight sleep. Eight sleep offers the pod, the only sleep technology that dynamically cools and heats each side of your bed to maintain the optimal sleeping temperature for what your body needs. With the pod, you can start sleeping as cool as 55 degrees or as hot as 100 degrees Fahrenheit. So it is a cover you put on top of your mattress and you put your normal sheet on top of that. It hooks into a very quiet running box. You keep somewhere back behind your bed and it has these capillary systems so it can cool or heat what's going on in the bed. I have been pitching this. I have been doing this pitch to people, uh, IRL multiple occasions in the last few weeks. I have just made people one on one pitches why they should get an eight sleep. And because this is personal experience, controlling a temperature of the mattress makes such a big difference for sleep quality. So for me, I can keep it just a little bit cool and it makes a big difference for me. My bed's not cold. Instead, what the eight sleep is doing is pulling away all the extra heat I might generate. So it's, I don't get hot. All throughout the night, it feels like it feels when you first get into the bed when it's a little bit cool, kind of comfortable. It just keeps it there. So eight sleep, I'm telling from personal experience, really does improve the quality of your sleep. Crucially, you can control both sides of the bed separately. So if you're in bed with someone with different temperature needs, no worries, they can do their own thing. So eight sleep is now on the third generation, the pod three, which enables even more accurate sleep and health tracking with double the amount of sensor. So in addition to that precise control, it actually can figure out are you asleep or you not asleep in tracks metrics, it's all in an app. And then it shows you in the morning, here's what your sleep is like, here's how it's going. So if you're into the quantified life type of things, they're getting pretty good at that as well. So the pod is not magic, but it feels like it. Of the different things I endorse on the show, it's the thing I for sure use every single day, go to sleep on it every night. So go to eight sleep.com slash deep and save $150 on the pod. Eight sleep currently ships within the US, Canada, the UK select countries in the EU and Australia. That's eight sleep, eight sleep.com slash deep. Also want to talk about our friends at ladder. So this is a busy time of year. The holidays are happening. You're about to enter into the New Year's resolution crunch. Probably one of the things you have on that list or maybe one of the things you have on that list is it's time to finally get life insurance. You know you need life insurance to protect those who depend on you. You've probably been procrastinating. Now it's time to actually do it. And the way to do it is to use ladder. Ladders, a 100% digital, no doctors, no needles, no paperwork if you're applying for $3 million in coverage or less. Instead you just answer a few questions on a website and then it comes back and gives you quotes. So you need just a few minutes and a phone or a laptop to apply. Their smart algorithm works in real time and you'll find out if you're instantly approved. No hidden fees, cancel any time. Get a full refund if you change your mind in the first 30 days. Ladder policies are insured by insurers with long proven histories of paying claims. They're rated A and A plus by A and best. So you can trust them. It just makes the task of being life insurance simple. You go to ladderlife.com/deep, type type type, click click click. You're done. Take that off the list. Go on to the next thing, the next to your resolution. So go to ladderlife.com/deep today to see if you're instantly approved. That's L-A-D-D-E-R life.com/deep. Ladderlife.com/deep. All right, we're up to the last segment of our show. That's three interesting things. That's where I take three interesting things that readers have sent me to my interesting at calnewport.com email address from the world of the news and internet and media that are relevant to our goal of living a deep life.


On Teenage Luddites (01:02:59)

If you are watching on the YouTube channel, youtube.com/countuportmedia, you will see everything I'm talking about. If you're just listening, I'll narrate what's going on here. But in the three interesting things, I have visuals. The first interesting thing to talk about is an article by an up and coming brilliant young writer. The article is called On Teenage Luddites. It was published by me on my newsletter at calnewport.com on December 16th. This article, I just wanted to briefly mention it because it's reacting to a New York Times piece that essentially everybody sent me. The New York Times published this piece, and I have its exact title in here. Let me scroll here and find it. The exact title of this New York Times piece was "Luddite Teens Don't Want Your Likes." It was written by Alex Vadakul, who hung out with the Luddite Club, a group of Brooklyn high school students who have an informal organization dedicated to promoting a lifestyle self-liberation from social technology. I have a typo. Look at this. Litteration. No one has pointed out that typo to me yet, so no one's really reading. So the article, the New York Times article opens on a meeting of the club. It's being held on a dirt mound and prospect park. Some of the members are drawing in sketch pads or water coloring. They're reading books. One of the teenagers was reading both of theses, the constellation of philosophy, which is both impressive and hilarious. Someone else, and this is true, was whittling a stick. It's a group of teenagers that are like, "We don't want to be on our phones all day." The article goes on to talk to the founder of the group, a 17-year-old named Logan Lane, who said, "Although it was hard to recruit members, word is now spreading." They've heard of at least three different chapters that might be forming at other New York area high school. My point in this article, so my article on teenage luddites was responding to this New York Times article. And essentially, I was saying, "I told you so." In particular, I cited my article how back in 2019, when I was on tour for digital minimalism, I started to come across parents who were telling me stories about their teenagers quitting social media, and in some cases, handing in their smartphones for dumber phones as an act of authentic self-liberation, that it was a counter-cultural move to not use those tools. So they weren't slinking away from this and hoping they didn't lose all their friends. These were tales of teenagers who were trying to impress each other by saying, "Look, I don't use those things. They can't tell me what to do." And I have been arguing ever since then when I'm in interviews and people ask me with a solemn face, "Well, what about teens? Teens and technology?" They're a goner. I say, "I'm more optimistic because of those stories I heard from parents back when I was promoting digital minimalism." I was convinced that this will emerge, leaving social media, leaving the attention economy, will emerge as a counterculture, something that is cool or authentic among teenagers, and using these services will be seen as what's more old-fashioned. So I think teenagers were going to liberate themselves from these technologies. So here was my quote, "We don't need to convince teenagers to stop using their phones. We just need them to discover on their own just how uncool these online media conglomerates with their creepy geek overlords really are." I think what's really helped accelerate that has been the dethroning of the CEOs of these tech companies from being geek heroes to being, at least in the perspective of a lot of mainstream media, bond villains. So what could be less cool if you're a 17-year-old in Brooklyn than trying to support Mark Zuckerberg or trying to support Elon Musk? So I think this de-romatheization is already happening. So this article in The New York Times, I found and presented as a signal that my prediction of this countercultural movement is beginning to pick up speed. We're going to see more and more of this going forward. And the reason why a most more confident about this than they ever have been before is the following quote from Logan Lane, the founder of the Brooklyn-based Leonite Club. Lane said in that New York Times article, "My parents are so addicted.


Deep Work in Stocism (01:07:39)

My mom got on Twitter and I've seen it to her apart. I guess I like being offline because I get to feel a little superior to them." Zuckerberg is screwed. Musk is screwed. "Bite dance, the maker of TikTok is screwed. If kids start seeing, 'Hey, this is something my parents do and I get to feel superior to them by not being on my phone, they will walk over hot coals to do that.'" So I found that all to be quite positive. All right, interesting thing. Number two, it's a quote sent to me an email. So I have the whole email here. This was from Carl. I blacked out his actual email address, but I thought this was cool. He said, "Look, I just read this quote by the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius in his book, The Meditations." I'm jumping over some things here. It made me think, "Hey, wait a second. He's talking about deep work." So here is the Marcus Aurelius quote. This is from Book Two of the Meditations, Section Five. "Bermly, as a Roman and a man should think at all times how you can perform the task at hand with precise and genuine dignity, sympathy, independence, and justice, making yourself free from all other preoccupations." Well said Marcus Aurelius, one might assume he would not be a big fan of TikTok. So I like that. Make yourself free of all preoccupations so you can perform the task at hand with dignity, sympathy, and independence. Well said. All right, third, interesting thing. I thought we'd do a little bit of deep life, an injection of deep life aspiration in honor of the holiday season. We're all at home taking a week off work. Let's get our daydreaming muscles fired up here. So a listener sent me this article. Look at this picture, Jesse. All right, so for those who are listening, not watching, there is a picture of a cabin surrounded by snow laden evergreens with probably like a foot a half of snow on the cabin's roof.


Finding Inner Peace Through Maintenance

Finding the Deep Life in the Mountains (01:09:40)

And you can see mountains in the background. This is from Outside Magazine. Here's the title. "We left the city for a teeny cabin in a ski town. We don't regret a thing." I don't even have to read this article. I think we get the gist. It's a single mom and her daughter, tired of city life in Densver, got rid of most of their stuff, moving to a 110 year old cabin in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. They ski all the time. They're kind of in the middle of nowhere. It's beautiful and they love it. So there we go. This is the little injection of deep life aspiration serum straight into your veins. If this is resonating with you, just ask the question. What about this is resonating? That is how you support your own lifestyle center career planning. You begin to encounter stories like this that hit you in the right way. You try to figure out what about it hits you in the right way. You isolate that. You collect these isolated attributes, which you then put into your lifestyle vision. And then you get to use those to help shape or create your own version of what this author and a 14 year old daughter did. So that looks good to me. All right, everyone. I will let you get back to your Festivus feats of strength and airing of grievances. Hopefully your Festivus poll has been decorated well this year. I'll be back next week with another episode of the show and in 10 tell then as always, stay deep.


Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to Wisdom In a Nutshell.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.