Ep. 258: Godel’s Deep Life Stack

Transcription for the video titled "Ep. 258: Godel’s Deep Life Stack".

1970-01-01T06:14:11.000Z

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)

is the genius of Kurt Gurdle, like the genius of a lot of great thinkers who have made a big impact throughout history, required structure, and intentional thinking about how do I approach my life? I'm Cal Newport, and this is Deep Questions. The show about living and working deeply in a distracted world. So I'm up here in the Deep Work HQ North in Hanover, New Hampshire, joined in the Deep Work HQ South by my producer, Jesse. Jesse, how's it going down there? What is the weather I am missing in Washington, D.C. right now? Yesterday, it was 90 degrees with high, high humidity. Well, I'm not going to say I missed that too much. I think the high tomorrow is 78. We did have some humidity up here with this unstable system of rain, but that's past, and I forgot what low humidity New England summer is like, spoiler alert. It is very good. So I thought I would just check in briefly. Okay, what have I learned so far, living up here in New England in this very scenic college town of Hanover, where Dartmouth College is, living right off campus on Occam Pond and this cool house they put us up in, where I am right now looking past the camera and out a large arched window onto a pond with pine trees beyond it. So the question is, and this is a question I had coming into this experience, how much is location going to make a difference? Will I really feel when in the day, you know, the actual work is work, writing is on the same computer screen as it is in D.C. I'm in a classroom just like I would be in D.C. I'm in an office sometimes just like I would be in D.C. Does the location around where the work happening being different? Am I finding that that actually makes a difference? And I think my report is yes. I think it has made a notable difference. There's a few attributes. I was taking notes on this earlier today. There's a few attributes about this new location that I think has been demonstrably impactful on the mindset when it comes to me doing work. I think A, the calmness. And by calmness I just mean lack of people. In D.C. is a big city, there's a lot of people in D.C. If you go anywhere there's going to be a lot of people you're driving through. If the place is worth going to, the parking lot's going to be full. If you have to get on the beltway, it doesn't matter if it's 3 a.m. on Christmas. For some reason there's a lot of people driving on that road which is fine because you do appreciate that energy. But I am noticing this escape from that actually is having an impact on my mood. There's a certain calmness I'm noticing that the mind has when it's not constantly seeing other people around or constantly feeling crowded. And there's a lot more nature up here. And this too seems to be having a positive impact on my professional mindset. This house where they put us up in here on the pond is right down the road from what used to be the golf course which they closed down. So that's now a park surrounded by woods and you can walk or trail run through these woods at 2 minutes down the road. So every day you can be in the woods or walking across rolling fields. You know how it goes Jesse when these golf courses they stop keeping them like a golf course really tightly mowed. They begin to look like St. Andrews, they begin to look like those old Scottish style courses with the higher grasses. Yeah a lot of cool fescue. A lot of cool fescue is exactly. I hear that word so often as I'm walking around people just saying like look at this fescue. This is very Scottish, very Scottish fescue. So it's a well fescued park. Anyways that seems to also be having a calming and focusing mindset as well. So I think it's a successful, this part of my experiment of bringing the family up to New England, seeing what it's like to be there for an extended period of time during the summer. I would say so far that experiment is successful. If I was to try to now imagine my ideal summer setup. So take the best of what I'm seeing here and combine it with other things I'm missing. I think probably what I would do in a world where just money was accessible and not a problem and anything is possible. I think probably what I would do from just what would be the best working environment status would be probably have a house. I like this general latitude is fine. Probably a little bit more remote. I think the house itself being remote could be a really interesting final twist. I really love the town here, but I live in a really cool small town already. So it's not that different. So I already can just walk into a really cool small town and know the people at the coffee shop. And so I love that, but I don't necessarily need to simulate that if I'm away for the summer. So I was thinking if I was really creating my ideal summer situation, this type of region, but maybe up in the hills or the mountains a little bit more. A property that was just big enough that you could have a trail. So you have a trail you could walk on with your coffee just to get the thinking going, but not being too far from civilization. One month, the six weeks starting in July, put those together. I think it would be an ideal deep work accelerator. So if you have a really cool property that you've been thinking, I really like to just get rid of this really cheap. I don't like money. So I just want to sell this much cheaper than it's worth. And it's up here and it's in the hills and it has its own trail on it or something. Let me know because I do think there's a reason why so many writers who have this type of flexibility in their schedule do not want to sell this much cheaper than it's worth. So I would say, Jesse, so far so good. When we build our compound up here though, we're going to have a high end podcasting studio. Because that's the one thing I miss is I don't have my high end podcasting studio. Actually, there's not a high capacity podcasting studio. And two, the nearest iMac size movement that I've been thinking about is the most important thing to do. Actually, it's two things I miss. There's not a high capacity podcasting studio. And two, the nearest iMac size movie screen is an hour and a half away from here. Oh, really? And we have Oppenheimer comes out today, Chris Nolan. I would love to see that. I'm probably going to end up seeing this at the Nugget Theatre, which is fine. I remember it fondly. It's down that I can walk to it. I remember going there fondly as a college student. But let's just say the screens in the Nugget Theatre are not exactly like the AFI Theatre where they'll actually have a 70 millimeter projector near my house in Silver Springs. So that's the one issue. You do not come up here to be a cinephile. Not a lot of good movie opportunities nearby. But I think we could put up with that. We could put up with that. One of the requests is I think you should put a putting green in the backyard of the podcasting studio. This request is coming from Jay Miller, just anonymously. Jay Miller. It didn't work on my three footers. Yeah, a little chip and putt the backyard of the studio. Yeah, that's the key. What I learned is that means, though, by the way, the studio, this property would have to be in Vermont. Because Vermont has way more fiber, high speed fiber than New Hampshire. New Hampshire is way behind Vermont on high speed internet. So I'm enjoying being in New Hampshire now. No offense to New Hampshire rights. But just for the sake of our podcast studio slash putting green slash deep work north, we're going to have to probably do that in Vermont. So anyways, I want to talk a little bit about the today's show. So for the deep dive, I'm going to go into something that a listener sent me that I thought was so cool that I thought we have to discuss this on the show. So we'll get into that in a second. We'll do some questions after that that are vaguely related. Just as a spoiler alert for later in the show, I have heard your request and I will check in later in the show on my remarkable two tablet. So if you an update on how things are going with my remarkable two, what my review is so far. So we have all that going in the show. So let's start with the deep dive. What I want to do is actually highlight some scans that were sent to me from a lister named Alex Sander from Serbia.


Personal Development: Structure, Goals, And Ideal Lifestyle

How do geniuses structure their life? (08:30)

And these scans came from a book that I'm going to actually bring on the screen. For those who are watching at youtube.com/countyportmedia, this is episode 258. So if you're watching, you can look there, go to the deeplife.com and look for episode 258. I'm going to bring up on the screen for those who are watching a book that these scans I want to discuss are from. All right, so this book is, I'll read it in the English, is the philosophical notebooks of the famous logician and mathematician Kurt Gerdle. So this was translated into English by Merlin Carl. So it's his Gerdle's notebooks. His personal notebooks, they've been translated multi-volume and you can actually go through and see the type of things that Kurt Gerdle was writing. This listener, Alexander sent me some really interesting pages excerpted from these notebooks that all focus on we can think of as the deep life, time management, life management. The thoughts Gerdle was having about how to structure his life, make best use of his time, push his life in the right direction. So that's really cool to see a true genius, we have a snapshot on how he was thinking about structuring his life to make it as deep as effective as possible. Now, if you don't know who Kurt Gerdle is, what you need to know is he's a 20th century logician and mathematician, did a lot of his work when he was young, and this would have been like the 1930s, died in the 1970s. He's probably best known for his incompleteness theorems. These were considered very important. John von Neumann called this at some point one of the most important things that was ever done in logic. He's been compared to Aristotle in terms of other comparable figures in terms of their impact on the study of logic. The incompleteness theorems are beautiful and mathematically insightful and basically what they show. I won't get into too much nerdy detail here, but basically what he proved was any sufficiently complicated system of logic, so of axioms and inferences, is going to have statements that you can express that are true, but cannot be proved true using that system. So this was the notion of incompleteness theorems is that there was no, this is a big deal because at the time, motivated by the challenge set forth by the German mathematician David Hilbert, there is this idea that we can just create, we can reduce all of mathematical knowledge, everything is true or not true to a finite system of axioms and inferences from which everything true can be generated and girl came in and said no, every sufficiently complicated system, be it math or any typological system, is going to be incomplete. It can't fully describe everything about itself that's true and he did it in a really cool way and I don't want to get too much into the nerd weeds here. I teach this sometimes in my graduate class, but basically what he did was he embedded whatever system you give him that's sufficiently complex. He showed how to embed certain logical statements into that system and I'm really bastardizing this a little bit, but in essence he showed you give me a sufficiently complex system, I can basically embed a statement that says something like this statement is false. Now not exactly that of course, but one of these sort of self recursive self referential statement that was impossible to prove one way or the other. It was a big simplification, but it was a really cool feed of logic and it showed this whole program of unifying all logical truths with one system was never going to happen. If you were into that at the time, if you were Bertrand Russell in the 1920s or 30s, this was like a bomb going off. And then he came to the US, he was at the Institute for Advanced Studies, he had some issues later in life, interesting guy Turing Medham, he was there at the same time as Einstein and von Neumann. So anyways, this is all to say Kurt Gurdell is a very smart guy. And we have in his notebooks how he was thinking about structuring his life and work. So I'm going to load up some of these pages and I'll read them out loud and put them on the screen and we can react to them. Alright, so here's the first page I want to load here from his notebook. Let's see, no interesting. One second here. By the way, people are watching, interesting. Okay, if people are watching here, they're seeing me try to learn how the screen sharing works. So let me share a different screen here. This is fascinating audio, I'm sure for everyone who's listening. Let's see here, there we go. Alright, so I want to start, there we go, this is what I want to start with. Alright, I'm learning how this works, Jesse. This is not our normal setup. So what people don't know is that our normal setup usually, Jesse can manipulate what's on the screen or not using a switcher and in our deep work HQ North, I'm doing this manually. Okay, so here's what I have on the screen now. This is a table of contents for the notebook from which we're pulling more of these notes. So we get a sense of the type of things Gurdell cared about. So the content of this notebook, he labeled this notebook as you'll see on the screen, time management. And then under time management, here are these scales he has. For each day separately, for each week precisely, roughly for several months. Now let's stop right there because what we immediately see, and I didn't know this, this is the first time this week that I've seen these notebooks from Gurdell, he was exactly thinking about what we call multi-scale productivity. On this podcast. He was exactly thinking about, okay, you need to manage your time on the day, on the week, and on the several months, or what we would call a semester or quarterly scale. So Kurt Gurdell back 100 years ago was actually thinking this exact same way. Now he adds a little bit more. If we look at this outline, he says also, time management should also be thought about for the next year. The highest objectives to be reached. So he has daily, weekly, monthly, annually. And then his final subsection for this notebook is labeled, what should I do and how should I do it? That is, how should I behave with regard to certain matters and situations, parentheses, maxims. So we can think of that as discipline. So this is the structure of the way he's thinking about managing himself in his time. Multi-scale planning from day, week to month to year, which again is very congruent with what we talk about. You know, I talk about once a year at your birthday sort of working out your vision for the year and then he moves down the time scales. And then he has something like daily disciplines. So that's what he has here. That's what he has here. That says contents. Let's look at some of the actual content now. Let's look at once he looks at these questions, what are some of the things he comes up with? So I'm going to load first. I'm looking through a couple options here. These are out of order. So this is interesting. All right, here we go. All right, so here is a random page from this time management notebook. And he says, "General principle, better to plan less and actually carry it out." So don't try to schedule too much. It's better to have a realistic schedule. He then sketches in words, if you're looking at this on the screen, a particular time block plan. I'm going to skip from the time block plan that he is describing in words here. I'm going to skip to one that he actually drew a diagram from. So let's see what one of these time block plans actually looks like. So I'll put this up on the screen here. We've seen he has blocked off various times. So before noon, he has continuum lectures, Princeton, comma, Notre Dame. So this is 9 to 1 o'clock working on these lectures. Princeton, Notre Dame. 1 to 2 o'clock. Lunch. 2 to 3 or 4 o'clock. Male, budget, life plan. 4 to 5 o'clock. Stroll. And then he has for Monday and Wednesdays 2 o'clock errands. Below that he says, "In spare time, theology, read mathematical papers, continue own work, resume time management on a small scale." So what we're seeing here, which is pretty cool, is that Girdle is coming up with a time block template. He's saying, "roughly, this is what I should be doing." I think this was a plan for a particular week. He's like, "Most days I should be working in the morning on this until I get the lunch, then do tasks in the afternoon, have an evening stroll. On two days out of the week, there's, instead I'll do errands starting at 2 o'clock and that might take longer." So what I love about this is that this is so contemporary. I mean, this is the way we talk about it. If you're controlling your time, figuring out when do I want to do work, looking at the whole plan, "Oh, I'm going to do errands on these two days. Let me get my hard work done in the mornings. What am I working on hard this week while I'm working on these lectures in that particular case?" No, she has general heuristics. Okay, what should I do if I have free time outside of this? Well, here's the things where my attention should be shared. So what we're seeing there is a real intentionality in how he's thinking about his schedule. All right, here's another one I wanted to show you here, another notebook page. So here, okay, this is a label program. He says, "And he's instructing himself here." It's from 1937. "Draw up a preliminary program for next week, once or twice per week, in particular how much time has to be spent on various disciplines." I can just focus in on that one part there because here we have him clearly talking about his weekly planning discipline. "Once or twice a week, figure out your plan for the week." So why is he saying twice a week because he's saying fix it. So you make a plan for your week made by Wednesday, you're off your plan, so update that plan. So we see here a real commitment to weekly planning in addition to what we've seen before with some more daily time-block planning. I mean, this is stuff that productivity nerds like us can really geek out on. We get a couple more general things as well, which I find interesting. Some remarks and some plans about directing his life more generally. So consider, for example, this page, I'm putting up there. He labels this remark. And here's what he says, "The microstructure of my mental state is that I do not properly focus my attention on anything, but rather already looked to the next thing while dealing with another. One of the reasons I am slow by nature, but do not carry out my mental work with natural slowness. Why?" So here we have Kirk Girdle, Certified Genius, complaining about the same sort of things that most of us who have an intellectual job do, I can't keep my focus. I wander on to think about something else. I need to be working slowly, but my mental work is jumping around too fast. My mind is quickly moving. This is him writing in the 1930s, so could you imagine if he had email and Twitter to actually look at as well. I think it's so interesting to see these great minds are struggling with the same issues. And again, this is something we've talked about. To focus intensely on something abstract, like logic or writing or strategy, is not a natural behavior for the human brain. It is something that we have to really deploy quite a bit of artifice to do successfully. And here we're seeing this. So take out of the equation, even modern distractions, this great mind, working at the peak of his powers, and he is struggling to corral his brain. How do I keep focused on the thing I'm doing? I need to work slowly, this stuff is hard, but my brain wants to move ahead fastly. It's always, as he says here, looking ahead to the next thing while dealing with another. So these issues are timeless, and these issues around distraction are not something that is just new to our era. Here's another cool general life insight he has. He labels this "maximum." More haste, less speed. One should take one's time with everything, to everything at one's own pace. If a decision is to be announced in a letter, better to give a preliminary answer to be polite. Deciding and acting are two different things. Alright, so there's a couple interesting things going on here. One seems to me a slow productivity commitment, more haste, less speed. So don't procrastinate. This is what I'm reading this. More haste, don't procrastinate, don't put things off, but don't actually rush the thing you're doing. So give things the time it requires. One should take one's time with everything. But do the things that need to happen. Maybe this is how I'm reading this maxim. I think it's a maxim that puts a lot into it. Now his second example here, if a decision is to be announced in a letter, better to give a preliminary answer, deciding and acting are two very different things. So again, what I interpret there is very practical. We're getting very practical here. He's saying if there's something you need to do that's really complicated or time consuming, you want to take your time to do it. You want to give it the time it requires. So maybe just answer someone and say, "Hey, I will do this. Don't worry. I will do this so that you're being polite, but take your time to actually do it." More hay, less speech. You don't want to procrastinate. You don't want to put things off needlessly. Tell some if you're going to do something to commit to doing it, but when it comes time to actually executing, take the time it requires. Slow and steady. So a lot being packed into some of these maxim here. All right, let's see. I think I have one more that I thought was interesting. All right, another maxim. Again, all from Kurt Girdle's notebooks. All right, here's what he writes here. "To achieve certain abstract parentheses, mental spiritual things, one needs to adhere to a certain purely external parentheses, physical rules. For example, get up at a certain time. Sit down at your desk to do work. Do not lie down. Have a notebook and scratch paper and pencils in front of you. Come up with time management every evening. Take a long a note when going out and take it out and look at it after any errand. Spend a certain amount of time on something even when and he goes on from there. So what he's saying here, which again is as a point we've stumbled across ourselves on this show more than once, is disciplines. To make practice on these sort of abstract goals, have daily disciplines that you just do that move you towards those abstract goals. Have the physical to support the mental and the spiritual. Don't just think about how I want to be a great thinker. Have a discipline of when I get up, when I go to my desk. What is on my desk? All the materials is right there. Have a plan. Make a plan for what exactly you're going to do with your time each evening for the day that follows next. So he has this very, again, rich, philosophically rich idea being packed into a small amount of text here. The structured physical unlocks the less structured, more impressive, mental and spiritual. The other thing I want to point out about this is the way that time management as a term. A very early occurrence of the term time management is very interesting. I have in my personal library collections one of the earliest business books to actually talk about time management. I have a first edition of it on a display case up in my library and it's from the 1950s. This is being written in the 1930s. Notice back then, I don't know if this is just standard or just the way he's using here, but notice time management is being used differently here. So it's being used almost like a noun. Come up with time management every evening. So the term there is being used like a scheduler plan. Come up with a time management, like a time schedule. Whereas it became a verb. So by the 1950s, time management is something you do. I practice time management. It could also become an adjective. I have a time management system, but it's interesting just to see this here as a noun. Come up with a time management, not practice time management. So anyways, these are just some random excerpts that Alexander pulled out from those notebooks. And the summarize when I'm taking away from this is the genius of Kurt Gurdle, like the genius of a lot of great thinkers who have made a big impact throughout history required structure and intentional thinking about how do I approach my life? How do I make use of my time? How do I make sure my activities are actually supporting what matters? And he had a lot of ideas and a lot of those ideas correspond with what we talked about on this show. He was a believer. It's clear here in multi-scale planning. He planned his time on many different levels. He was a believer in disciplines, having these regular disciplines that you do automatically, but help you make progress over time on the bigger, less, more abstract things that are important in your life. But broader than any of those specifics or the particular congruence between his ideas and what we talked about on this show is just the grappling with it. We have all this energy that's being expended out into the entropic universe. And the key is how do we aim that? How do we harness that and aim that? And the people who end up really doing interesting things with this potential tend to be people who do grapple quite a bit with how best do I make use of this energy. And it's a complicated question. Girdle is a smart guy and he's wrangling with it and making notes to himself and expressing frustrations, coming up with plans, probably changing these plans. It's easy to look at those type of activities and say, "Why are you fiddling with all this productivity? You have such an optimization mindset or whatever it is, whatever the critiques are." But ultimately, some degree of this wrangling is necessary if you actually want to create value out of what's going on between your ears. To take thought matter and make it into something interesting. So for that, I think this was a great example that even the great thinkers we think about is just wandering and being brilliant and it just comes to them automatically.


Cal talks about Better Help and 80,000 hours (27:00)

They're wrangling with the same stuff the rest of us are wrangling with. So Alexander from Serbia, thank you for passing along that particular notebook. I'll probably have to buy a copy of those English translations of those notebooks. That might be cool to have in the HQ or my library at home. But that was a lot of fun to see that. Was the time management every evening? Is that equivalent of your shutdown essentially? That might be an interesting way of thinking about it. Yeah, sit down and make a plan for the next day. Could be his shutdown routine. I didn't put him in here. There's some other time block plans in here where he talks about the evenings. And he definitely had a system for his evenings. His evenings were all spent. I should have put one of those in. A lot of his evening plans were focused on a Dell. This person named a Dell, who I'm assuming is his wife. I should probably go look that up. So that's what he was talking about. He was talking about time management for what he does in the evening, not the next day. Well, no, no. I think what he was saying there was make a plan for the next day in the evening so that you can hit the ground. Okay. He does have elsewhere in the notebooks a lot of thought about spending time with his wife and going for a walk and doing this and what time is going to go to sleep. And so I think he did think a lot about that time outside. So those plans did seem to have an implicit transition. I feel like in the notebook, you know, my work is done by five. And then I'm really thinking about what I want to do with my time and my family else after work is over. So he clearly gave that a lot of thought as well. This is why maybe I should be keeping all my notebooks because maybe one day we can have the trans cows collection, cow philosophical notebooks. It would be less interesting. But maybe one day people could look at my time management strategies and wonder. Anyway, so I want to go on and do some questions that are vaguely related. Just in general, the questions I pulled out for today are vaguely related to just systematically planning how you manage your time and your life. So I think it's a very important thing to do with this general sense of what Gertel was trying to do. Before I get to that though, I want to mention some of the sponsors to make this show possible. In particular, this show is sponsored by BetterHelp. Now, I think Kurt Gertel was an interesting example to use before we got to this ad because sort of famously later in life, we have access to our health with mental health. What Gertel did not have access to, which we have access to today in our modern world, is professionals who can actually help us with our mental health. When there is patterns in our thinking that I've moved to a direction that is adding more hardship than good to our life, there are experts who can help you figure out what's going on and come up with strategies to gain back control of the cognitive aspect of your life and really aiming your life in the direction that you want it to go. There are probably no bigger obstacles to the dream of making your life deep than really struggling with what's going on between your ears. Now, this is where BetterHelp enters the scene because if you're thinking about starting therapy, BetterHelp is a great way to do this. Here's why. It's entirely online. It's designed to be convenient, flexible, and suited to your schedule. You just fill out a brief questionnaire and you'll get matched with a licensed therapist. And if it's not quite the right fit, you can switch therapist any time for no additional charge. So if there's some struggle that's going on in your life right now that's really causing some issues, really holding you back, talk to a therapist. And use BetterHelp to get into this because it's the easiest, most convenient, flexible way to actually enter into getting some professional assistance on getting this part of your life working properly. So let therapy be your map with BetterHelp. Visit BetterHelp.com/deepquestions. That's BetterHelp. H-E-L-P.com/deepquestions. Don't forget the /deepquestions as it will get you 10% off your first month. That's BetterHelp.h eelp.com/deepquestions. By talking about deep questions, I also want to talk about our friends at 80,000 hours. So 80,000 hours is a nonprofit that aims to help people have a positive impact with their career. So look, we've been talking about in this show how do you structure your life in a way that is intentional and deep. And one of the things you might care about is taking the thing you probably spend the most of your waking hours doing, which is your job, and aiming that to have as much positive impact as possible. This is what 80,000 hours helps people do. Now, this number is not arbitrary. Where does 80,000 hours come from? You work 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year for 40 years. That multiplies out to 80,000 hours. So the whole point is how do you take those 80,000 hours effort and make sure that you are getting the most impact out of them. 80,000 hours will help you do that. They've spent the last 10 years conducting research alongside academics at Oxford University to figure out how to do this. I have known these guys at 80,000 hours since the early days of this nonprofit getting started. This is back when I was writing about career satisfaction was so good they can't ignore you and we had huge overlap in the ways we were thinking about things. So I've known the 80,000 hour people for probably a decade now. So I can tell you from a personal perspective, they really align with the way I think about jobs. They push really away from this mindset of just there's one job you're meant to do and follow your passion and have this much more instrumental, cow Newport style vision for deploying your job towards certain ends, tweaking the attributes of your jobs, being more systematic when you think about how your job fits into your bigger goals. So they really are on board with the type of things I think about. So if you go to 80,000 hours.org you will find all of their research, you will find all of their guides about forming a high impact career. They also have a podcast where they host unusually in-depth conversations with experts on the world's most pressing problems. They really get some smart people on there. Check out the David Chalmers interview on artificial consciousness. If you're interested in AI, you have to listen to that one and they have a job board. They have a curated and costly updated list of hundreds of active job openings that they think might have a particularly big impact. So 80,000 hours we are on the same wavelength here when it comes to how to think about jobs and the way we actually think about things. So I'm going to suggest you go over to 80,000 hours.org. That way they'll know you came from me. Everything there is free. It's a nonprofit. They only want to aim to help you out. So go check it out at 80,000 hours.org/deep. If you're there, join their newsletter. You might as well because they will send you a free copy of their in-depth research led career guide that's 80,000 hours, the number.org/deep. All right, Jesse. Let's go deep now on some questions.


How do I follow through on the projects I start? (34:42)

We will now put on our Kurt Girdle hat and try to figure out how we too can systematically structure our life to, if not solve the incompleteness theorems, at least do something worthwhile. Who's our first question today? All right, first question is from Rito. Rito says, "Outside of work, I keep jumping from one thing to another without gaining much progress. I start with a lot of excitement and when the rubber hits the road, after a short while, I lose interest and jump to another thing because that's exciting. How do I keep doing what I start?" Well, Rito, this is a very common issue, so I'm glad you brought it up. There's nothing unusual that you're struggling with this. The fact that we're talking about projects outside of work makes this problem even more acute because when you're working on a project, of course, for your job, there's a real natural incentive to keep going, which is, "My boss wants me to do this." And if I don't do this, it's going to be a problem and I don't want it to be a problem because they give me money for this job and I need the money to live. In work, motivation can be much easier. For projects outside of work, the type of things we talk about in so many of the deep life buckets we tackle on this show, motivation gets harder. So I have a couple things to suggest for you here. First, I'm going to say let's get smarter about how you choose these non-professional projects, especially if you are having trouble right now following through. I'm going to suggest you move to smaller projects that are more tractable. You understand how to accomplish them and what it means to finish them and is not that far away. Three weeks I can be done. Two weeks I can do this. This is something I'm going to do this weekend. And you want to focus on projects early on that have a tangible, immediate benefit. It's going to take me a week when I'm done. I will have built this thing. I will have finished this running route. I will have started this new workout routine. Whatever it is, it's a very tangible. I've done it. Here's the benefit. What I'm going to suggest here is that at first you want to stack these smaller, more self-contained projects on top of each other to make progress in a direction you care about as opposed to as an alternative trying to come up with just one massive project. If there's an area of your life, you say, "I want to get really into making DIY making with printers and laser cutters or this or that." You could set some big project of, "Okay, I'm going to go rent the space and build a big lab and get really good at making things and be like Adam Savage and his cave." But that's a huge project. If you're already struggling with non-professional motivation, that's going to peter out. It seems endless. It's difficult to get stuck. What you want to do instead is stack smaller projects. I want to buy these two very specific pieces of supplies and build this thing. It's going to take me a week. This weekend I'm going to go to the garage and I want to clear out a corner. I'm going to set up this desk and buy a task light and make a small little space in there. Okay, that's tractable. That's done. Now I'm going to build this more elaborate project. It's going to take me another week. If you're doing these smaller self-contained projects that you can push through and finish pretty quickly and they're stacking up to push you continually in the direction of what you more broadly want to accomplish, like in this example to be someone who has DIY making as a bigger part of their life. You're stacking smaller tractable projects, not trying to take on giant projects. You could see the same thing when fitness, you could say, "Okay, I want to look like Chris Pratt in Jurassic World. My boys and I watched that last night." That's a huge goal. That's very difficult to do. It's three hours a day of training. You're probably not going to get there and you'll lose interest in it. That's too broad. What you could do is take the first step towards getting into better shape. This is what I want to do is, I don't know, I want to have a cardiovascular habit. I'm going to research and buy the right shoes and get a route and get some baseline time for that route and have a thing up on the wall where I keep track of what my times are. You do that after a week. You're like, "Okay, I've done that thing. Now I know how to run. I have the ability to run. I can keep track of my route times." That's just a step in the right direction. It's okay, I'm going to buy this particular type of fitness equipment and see if I can do one week of this program. I have a routine for this. These are smaller things that, again, can stack and move you in the right direction. Once you have these smaller projects, you're stacking smaller projects, deploy pre-schedule time and daily disciplines to help make it automatic. If you fall back on, "Am I in the mood to run today? Am I in the mood to work in my DIY project today?" Too often the answer is going to be no. You want that time when you're doing your weekly plan to be pre-scheduled. Put it on your calendar. This is when I do it. It's possible to make something special around it. I'm coming home from work early. I'm taking an extended lunch hour. I'm going into work late this day so that I can get this run in or work on this project. You're especially protecting the time. Not putting it into whatever drugs happen to be available. Daily disciplines are great. If it's like, "This is just what I do. I exercise. I go for a run right after work every day. I come in the door, change, do that." That's really when my day is over and I'm back home for my family. Daily disciplines plus pre-schedule time. Don't leave it up to your own motivation in the moment. Here's the thing, Rideau. If you do this for a while, as we talked about two episodes ago, or maybe this was even last episode, your sense of yourself will change. In particular, your sense of yourself as a disciplined person who can make consistent progress on a hard project. That sense of yourself will develop. Discipline is not, we've talked about this before on the show. Discipline is not an approach you can decide to take. It's not an attribute you can turn off and on. I think I should be more disciplined. It's an identity. It's something you feel about yourself. I'm a disciplined person or I'm not. The only way to develop that identity is to actually make progress on completing things. You make things that you can tractably complete. You schedule that time in your calendar. You do daily disciplines. Do this for six months. You're going to find yourself in the future saying, "You know what? I don't need to break it up so much." I see myself as someone who can take on and follow through on big projects. That will get easier. Anyways, great question, Rideau. I do appreciate that. I will suggest you, Chris Pratt was muscular in that movie. That was my main takeaway. Yeah, were you following his workout or was that somebody else? That was someone else. I was doing... Oh, that was Thor, right? Thor. Chris Henson. Yeah, that was worth it. I did his program. I got his app, CINNER. I did go through, it was three or four months. He had a program for you could do with dumbbells only, so I liked to home Jim. I finished it up here because I have membership with the Jim. I did go through that program. I liked it. Here's the thing. It's not what he's doing. There looked a lot harder. The other thing I found out about doing the weird stuff for the movies is so much of that is diet too. Thor, himsworth, talked about this. The amount of food... They're adding 40 pounds of muscle. It's like a huge amount of food they have to eat. At the same time that they're doing super intense working out to develop muscle, but they have to eat a huge amount of food to actually just literally have the mass that they put in there. At the same time, they're also cutting. They're cutting body fat while consuming just huge amounts of boring food. It doesn't sound fun. I'm sure those guys that have to do those roles are like, "Oh my God." Six months of this... I digress. Let's do another question. What do we got? Next question is from Lily. "I noticed Cal bringing more focus on the issue of setting up one's environment and was wondering if he thinks that environment is something we should think of as a bucket like craft or contemplation.


Is creating a deep environment one of the deep life buckets? (42:44)

Or is it more like a major project?" Clearly, I happen to think about environment being up here in the Deep Work HQ North. As we talked about in the opening of the show, I have been finding being in this different, quieter, more natural location that's different than my normal routines as I predict is making a big impact. I do think it does support clear thinking. I do think it does support more insight. I do think it does support a sense of cognitive recharge. Yes, I'm as Lily's pointing out, a big believer in environment. I don't think we don't think enough about it. It does fit into our contemplation of the deep life. I think it fits more neatly when we switch to the deep life stack. We've been shifting from this conception of the deep life on the show as just being made up of buckets that you address. We've instead changed to this notion of the deep life as being a stack with different layers that build on each other. You work your way through and establish each layer until you get to the top and you can iterate and go back through again and again. That's the iterative process of forming the deep life. In our deep life stack, what's the top most layer? It's the vision layer. It's the layer in which you plan for the remarkable. Below this, you have all the other things that help you get there and also just give you a strong foundation in your life. Remember, you start with discipline, reestablishing discipline. Then you move on to values. Here is my code. Here is how I live my life in good times and bad. Here is the rituals that I have in my life to help keep me constantly reconnected to the core elements of that code. It just helps me live and understand that. On top of that, depending on which version of the stack we have, you either go right to Calm where you control your time and obligations for Calm, or you can add in, which I've been doing more recently in my thinking, a service layer serving people around you. You want to make sure that you're connecting to other people and leading other people and serving other people because that's at the core of our species. Then you get the Calm layer. We are finding Calm by controlling your time and obligations. Now you have the breathing room to actually do things. You have the breathing room to actually have insight. On top of all of that is planned for the remarkable, the vision layer. In that layer is where you take a particular target and say, "I want to push this part of my life to something more remarkable." I'm building off all these other layers below. I'm much more well suited to do that. I'm much more well suited to understand what's important to me and I'm much more well suited to succeed with the goal of pushing a part of my life to be more remarkable. Overhauling parts of your environment would be one of these types of projects you would do at that top layer. At this time, you're constantly coming back to this top layer and as you iterate and say, "What's another part of my life I want to push towards being remarkable?" That's where I think that happens. It might mean, "Okay, as I'm working on my top layer, I'm going to take a portion of my house and I'm going to completely change it to be much more dramatic as a place for doing work." Or it could be something much broader like, "I want a deep work HQ North. I want property that I go to for six weeks a year and how am I going to make that happen? I have to start thinking through. It would be really remarkable how am I going to make that happen?" I think with the deep life stack, these type of things make more sense. The place you're going to spend your most time once you've really got these other layers locked in is going to be that top layer, where you're systematically taking parts of your life that are important to you and making it more remarkable. Things about your job, things about your fitness, things about intense leisure, very serious leisure habits. You haven't things like the spaces you're in. I'll say, Jesse, for example, I've been motivated, I think this academic year, I have a couple spaces in mind back in D.C. where I want to start doing some work. I think one of them is I want to do another update to the HQ. Let's keep pushing this thing. I think the office of the HQ, I think we could make that cooler. I'm thinking about the desks we have in there are a little rickety. Let's get some more. What if we got some really solid, maybe just custom built wood all the way around the room that you could just thunk down on that thing and it's not this shaky thing? There's nothing on the walls there. I want to cover the one more. We should hang that one picture. We have this great piece of artwork that the grandkids of the artist is an artist whose work hangs in MoMA. We have this great piece of artwork that she was taking a circuit schematics in the 1950s and 60s and building abstract artworks out of them. We have a great frame piece of artwork her grandkids sent us and we just have to hang it. I want to put a whole peg board on the wall across from the 3D printer, like in a workshop, from which you can hang tools and all the different stuff that's being used in the maker portion of the office. We have tools and things hanging off the wall there. That'd be cool. I think it'd be cool. The desk idea is good too. Yeah, get real all the way around the room. Kind of really cool, custom. It's really solid. You can just have one chair and just be rolling. Here's the monitor. You can go over to the printers and stuff and go over to the workbench side and have task lights. I want to make that room really cool. I have that type of thought in mind. I'm continuing to work on some of the spaces in my house. I'm thinking about it. I think space is cool. When I'm planning for the remarkable, I want to have more focus on spaces. I think we need an on-air light outside our studio. It's a small thing. I think that would be cool. Yeah, that would be cool. Yeah, just turn that thing on. All right, let's keep rolling. What do we got? Next question is from Annal. In the show, you talk about lifestyle-centric career planning. This fully resonates with my way of thinking about life. I see it as the best way to building a life you want to have.


How do I find examples of my ideal lifestyle? (48:53)

How do I find examples of the lifestyles I desire? Another good question. Obviously, with lifestyle-centric career planning, what we're talking about with that is that you begin by fixing the vision of your ideal lifestyle, and then you work backwards to figure out, practically speaking, how do I get as close as possible to that lifestyle image? The key thing in this planning is the lifestyle is not just career. It's all aspects of your life. What type of place do you live? Are you on a mountain? Are you in a small town? Are you in a high-rise in the city and going to coffee shops where there's a vibrant discussion? Or is it more you're going for walks in the woods? Is it your near family? They're all coming over, and it's like in the opening of that old NBC show "Parenthood" with sort of lights, café lights hanging in this yard, and people are sitting around picnic tables. Like, what are you imagining? What is resonating? You're surfing out in the waves each morning, or it's more of a master's of the universe type. I'm controlling these businesses, we're making moves and breaking things, and I have all these people who are working under me. All these type of visions. So you're making this concrete tactile vision of a lifestyle that really resonates, and then you figure out, "Okay, how do I get there?" And a big part of that answer is going to be the job portion. Well, okay, how am I going to, for this location, what type of job would have there, what flexibility do I need, what level do I need to be at? So it really helps you make career decisions pragmatically, but other things as well. What am I doing with the rest of my time? How am I structuring my life? Where am I living? Location decisions. So that's lifestyle centric planning. And of course the hard part is how do you figure out that lifestyle? And I think the issue here is it sounds like you're looking for perhaps an individual to be the exemplar of everything you're looking for. Of this guy, I want to be Kurt Gerdle. And so let me just try to mimic everything he has in his lifestyle. That sometimes works and it's great if it does. What I think is more common is that you're going to pick and choose aspects of lifestyles from different people that you're going to then put together into your own image. So what you're really looking for is you want to encounter real life case studies of real people. And they could be people you know or they could be famous people or people you see on YouTube or you watch a documentary about or read about in books. And you've listened for this sense of resonance. It's a really clear feeling where there's something about this person you're seeing in a video or in a book that just feels right. And then what you want to figure out is what exactly about what I'm looking at here is causing that sense of resonance. And I would say this you have a place to write this down. Everyone should have a notebook that's dedicated to just their life, the quest for a deeper life. This was you know for me famously my mole skins. I'm now doing this in my remarkable which we'll talk about later. But you should have a notebook dedicated to this where you can keep track of these notes. And over time you'll see certain things will come up again and again. This book, this documentary, this person I met in all cases that resonated with me because of this one aspect of their lives. You'll see that thing show up again and again. So you say great this should be a part of my ideal lifestyle. And you have to keep in mind sometimes these examples will be unusual. Right that the broader details of these examples that are spurring resonance might be completely foreign to anything you might want to do. Like let me just give you a very concrete example. A lot of my listeners have sent me links to the documentary, "Giro Dreams of Sushi". It's a great documentary about this I think he's a three star Michelin chef. It's a sushi master. And his restaurant is in a subway station in Tokyo. There's nothing fancy. But his entire life is just obsessively mastering the art of doing sushi at the highest possible level. And people travel from all around the world to try to come to this small restaurant and sit at the counter inside a subway station. Now that resonated for example with a lot of my listeners not because they want to be sushi chefs. Not because they want to work long hours in a subway station. What was resonating? Craft. They were sensing look this person is really focused on mastering a craft and out of that is getting significant personal satisfaction. That is an element you can pull out of that example that you can then apply to your lifestyle vision. I want to be working on something be really good at something and have a craft that can really take some pride in. That's a really good insight and it came from an unlikely place. It's like I for whatever reason find various residences when I watch things about the big wave surfer layered Hamilton. I have no interest in being a big wave surfer. I don't trust going into the ocean. I don't trust making myself in the shark food. I don't even like going in boats. But there's this aspects about the intentionality especially where he lives on the old pineapple plantation in Maui or Kauai. I don't remember exactly where it is. There's just aspects of his life that resonated about a sort of intentionality and location really mattering. He also has a sort of dedication to his work as being a source of interestingness and challenge and not just as trying to climb some type of ladder. He did not go the professional surfing route and did this own thing. There's real lessons there that resonate with me even though I don't wear board shorts. I don't live in Hawaii and I have terrified of the ocean essentially. So what I'm trying to say here is you're deconstructing things that cause sense of resonance to figure out what the small elements are and you write this all down. You do that long enough. A pretty clear image will arise if these are the things that matter to me and then the fun part comes. The planning for the remarkable part where you begin shaping your life towards those things. Now you have some actual direction. Layered Hamilton. Do you know him at all? Have you seen any of his stuff Jesse? Yeah, he's been on fairs a couple of times so I've listened to some of the episodes with his wife. I have this coffee creamer that I occasionally use. I like that creamer. Yeah, I like it at times. I had the turmeric one for a while. Talk about branding. That's entirely something. Why did I buy that brand? It just layered. Imagine him with his in Maui with the tree trunk legs. We're going to go invent some new thing to serve some cool way. I just want in. What are you selling? Yeah, that's great. That's pure sort of the Olympic athlete on the Wheaties box marketing. I'm here for that. I still have it. I've got to use it again. I haven't used it in a while. He's an interesting guy. He lives full speed. He does a lot of those workouts in the pool with dumbbells at the bottom. Yeah, he invented that pool. I've seen it for sure. I forgot what it's called. I just did a whole new way of working out. Yeah, just terrible but awesome. Yeah, when you work out underwater. Just such a certain thing to do. Yeah, but if you heard there's actually some NBA players got into it, right, because they could, you could really practice vertical leap and jumping and stuff like this with no impact on your legs. And so coming off of injury, you could actually do a lot of training. But he's basically a crazy person. He's just, what Jesse is describing here is what you would think. He's in the bottom of a swimming pool in Malibu with heavy weights exercising. Underwater. Because there's no resistance, so like you can do, I don't know. He also has brought, he got really into saunas and ice baths, right? Yeah, seems to be right now. And so he brought this terrible piece of exercise equipment. So people are saying, look, I'm going to sit in the sauna for 20 minutes and this is so hard. So he went the one up everyone. So he brought in one of these attack bike things. Have you seen these? It's like a salt bike. Yeah, which is a very hard cardio workout, right? It's like impossible. Use your arms and legs. So he brought an assault bike into the sauna. So he said, I'm not just going to sit in the sauna. I'm going to do the hardest possible cardio exercise in the sauna. He wears oven mitts because the handlebars are too hot. They could burn his hands. So he's wearing oven mitts. Oven mitts in a sauna doing the hardest possible exercise before getting into an ice bath afterwards. He's a crazy man. He's a crazy man. And what I've learned about all that stuff and the saunas and the ice baths and all the craziness is, you know, it's not so much about like what exactly can we measure some particular physiological effect. I just think for these elite level athletes and training, they need discipline and challenge. I think this is partially why really extreme sauna ice bath challenge have worked our ways in the routine. A lot of these people are just looking for discipline and challenges and moving their body through more. I think it's as much psychological as probably it is physiological. Yeah. Yeah. But maybe we'll need to get, so I'm adding this to the list for our property for the HQ North. So we have professional podcast. And it's salt bike or a sauna. Sauna ice bath, no salt bike. You can have a swing pull up here. So we're not going to do underwater weightlifting. And then we have your putting green. So we're making the list is growing. I would love that. That's what Hamilton had, by the way, speaking of Deep Work HQ North is he has this, I don't know if you still have, he probably does. He bought this cool property near that wave he made famous, Jaws, Piappi or whatever it's called. He bought this whole pineapple plantation near where this giant wave was that he sort of helped innovate big wave riding on. And he just does all these projects in the off season. He has all this equipment and back hose and ATVs and because he gets bored. You know, there's this huge property with all these vehicles. They're always like kind of doing cool stuff while they're waiting for the waves to come. Yeah. The Deep Work HQ North is going to be like a much less physically fit version of that. So instead of like ATV to dig a trench, we'll be, you know, strolling to read a book by like a little bench, but whatever. A lot of things going on. All right. Enough distance. Let's keep rolling. What do we got next? All right. Next question is from Anna. I have worked very hard to get my current job by removing, to get to my current job by removing distractions and focusing on rare and valuable skills. Because I'm good at time management, I can now realistically work about 20 hours a week and do more than enough to keep my boss happy. Recently, I've been presented with the chance to move to a late stage startup where I'd be more stimulated in terms of role, but would need to work a lot more hours. I'm sort of bored of my current job, but I have a lot of free time. I could spend on other things should I switch jobs.


Should I switch jobs I’m bored (but effective)? (01:00:20)

Well, first of all, there's a case study aspect to this embedded, which is for those who look at the type of time and task management strategies we talk about sometimes on this show and see them as somehow ways to do more work. Who will cast a multi-scale planning and task capture, these type of things we talk about for the calm layer of the deep life stack and say, well, that's just about optimization and you're just turning your own life. And then you're just turning yourself into a machine of profits to do ever more work. This shows you the counterpoint. Because this is the other thing you can do. When you can control what's on your plate, you can decide what you want to do with that. And yes, it is possible to say, like, I do sometimes to my regret and say, great, now I can fit four jobs and to nine to five instead of one. That's one thing you can do, and I've done that at times, but you can also do what Anna did and say, great, I work, it takes me about 20 hours a week and everyone thinks I'm a superstar. That is the flip side of controlling your time and obligations is you actually get control over the workload. You have knobs you can turn. Now, let's get to Anna's particular point. She's so good at this that she's bored. Right? She's working 20 hours. It doesn't really have anything else going on. And saying, should I go to another job, this is going to be much more time. It's going to be much more intensive. It's going to take much more hours. She elaborated. We didn't put it all in here. But she elaborated more about what that new job would be like. There'd be new skills to pick up and she would have to prove herself. So late-stage startups is definitely a place where you just need to demonstrate energy and value. No 20 hours. That's going to be not 20 hour weeks there. It's going to be 60 hour weeks. So should she switch jobs? Well, Anna, the issue with this is going to come down to is your lifestyle vision. This is where having clarity on this is what I want my lifestyle to be like. All aspects work and non-work is going to be really important. Because getting that straight is going to give you clarity about, okay, what role does my career play here? So if you go through this vision and you're saying, okay, where I want to be in this vision, and I could be here in three years, is one where maybe it involves your starting a family or your writing novels or you want to live in nature and be able to spend long times hiking or surfing or something like this, then you would say, great, I'm bored right now with this 20 hour week job. But this is the right foundation for this lifestyle image that I'm trying to get towards. Let me keep that and now it would be systematic right now in the other parts of my life moving me towards that, setting me up for the move, setting me up for learning the skill, changing from, you know, in person to remote. You have work to do now. This is the right engine professionally. Let me work towards getting towards this lifestyle image. On the other hand, maybe when you do this lifestyle center career plan and you're thinking, like, I'm bored. And the image I have in mind of where I'd like my lifestyle to be is one where I'm more into thicker things. And I'm plugged into, I've seen her current job. We cut this out for length, but she's working as a chief of staff for a more well-known figure. So maybe she's thinking, that well-known figure. That life is what I'm looking for. You know, like you've had a successful company, that was really hard, but now you're doing some investing and maybe you have a vision of I'm oscillating back and forth between just sitting back and investing and then building up companies from scratch to make an impact. And I want to live into thicker things and be on stage with a thousand people as I give a talk out. And I've learned like maybe that's the image that resonates. Then it's really clear. Yeah, I got to leave this 20-hour week job and go to the late stage star. Up and crush it over there. I got to figure out how to really make myself known, orient my whole life there about using all of my time management skills and just be a superstar. And I have to, I'm going to put up with that for two years, really hard because I think I'm going to be able to jump from there to do in my own startup. And you could have a whole different vision. Your lifestyle is what matters here. The lifestyle vision you're aiming towards is what allows you to make all of these decisions. In the absence of that bigger picture vision that really resonates, the decisions become arbitrary. You'll focus in on one thing. I don't know, I'm bored right now. I don't want to be bored. And then six months later you're stressed out of your mind working until 11 every night because people wonder why the light's off if you're not there. And they, why did I do this? Like I solved the boredom problem and created a whole other problem. You know, other parts of my life are falling apart, right? So we don't want to be making knee jerk or arbitrary decisions. And again, having that ideal lifestyle that you're looking towards is really helpful. Now if you're struggling to do that, there's a couple of things you can do. There's the advice we just gave before in a previous question. Look for things to resonate. Figure out what parts you can resonate. Write that all down and see what emerges. This is also where working through the full deep life stack matters. So part of the value of moving through the deep life stack before you get to this final slayer where you make these big changes, where you change your career, where you pursue big projects. One of the reasons why you go through all these layers is that it prepares you for better identifying these visions that matter. When you become a, establish your discipline. When you figure out what your values, your code, and you have rituals that connect you deeply and intuitively to the things that really matter that you build your life on top of. When you're serving other people on a regular basis, when you have control, which you probably already have of your time and obligations, it's much easier than to say with confidence, this matters, this doesn't, this is important to me. There's a core calmness and clarity that comes from that. So get that lifestyle image really clear, move through all the deep life stack layers and start keeping a notebook of what resonates if you don't have that lifestyle image, and then use that to make your decisions. Do not allow this to be a knee jerk decision. Alright, so what I want to do now is, I'm going to jump forward to talk about my own experience with my newest gadget, the JUR, which is my remarkable two tablet. Before we get there, I just want to mention another one of the sponsors that makes this show possible, and that is our friends at Element LMT. Now Element is, I've mentioned this before, this is a product that was an early sponsor of the show, and I liked it so much that I was just using it in the years since then. And so when they came back and said they wanted to sponsor again, I said, "Well, I'm glad because I already own it, because I've been using this product already." Now what it is is an electrolyte drink mix. There's everything you need and nothing you don't, so it has lots of salt, especially if you're sweating, which if you live in DC means basically all the time.


Promotional Content

Cal talks about LMNT and Henson Shaving (01:07:02)

But no sugar. So you have this science-backed electrolyte ratio, 1000 milligrams sodium, 200 milligrams potassium, 60 milligrams magnesium, without sugar, without coloring, without artificial ingredients, no gluten, no filter, no BS. So you have the ability to keep up with electrolyte needs, even if you're keto or low-carb or paleo, or just don't want all of the weirdness that's in typical other sports drinks. So this is the way I use it is when I exercise, I put elements in my water afterwards, because I sweat a lot because it's roughly, and again, I'm looking at the National Weather Service here, a billion percent humidity and terribly hot. That is the forecast in DC, basically from June through September, stupidly hot and humid, I think is the official term. If I go hiking for a long walk, I'm going to drink it. If I wake up feeling dehydrated, which often happens, you know, I didn't get enough, I probably just didn't drink enough last night, put element in the water. You can feel it that it's giving you something you need, and it tastes great, but doesn't have all that junk in it. What I do is I titrate. So if I just had a real sweaty workout, I'll do a full packet, but maybe it's just the morning, and I'm just feeling a little dried out, I might put half a packet into the water, so I'll sort of titrate with the water. Anyways, I've tried a lot of different electrolyte mixes. I get as a sweater, I need these. And this is the one, this is by far my favorite. So right now, Element is offering a free sample pack with any purchase. That's eight single serving packets free with any element order. This is a great way to try all eight flavors or share element with a salty friend. Get yours at drinkelement.com/deep. This deal is only available through my link. You must go to d-r-i-n-k-l-m-n-t.com/deep. And notice you're trying to totally risk free. If you don't like it, you can just share it with a friend. An element will give you your money back. No questions asked. You have nothing to lose. That's drinkelement.l-m-n-t.com/deep. Jesse, when I ran out of the element I brought with me up here, I bought and I regret this. I bought this at a supermarket. It's like, "Oh, here's an electrolyte thing." And it's like tablets. I'm like, "I'll put this in my water." It's the worst thing. Because you put an outlet in your water bottle, right? And the idea is this competitor, I won't say its name. And you're like, "Great, that'll give me electrolytes." It takes like 10 minutes for this thing to dissolve like AlkaSeltzer. It just sits there in your water bottle so you can't drink your water. So you finish your workout. You're super sweaty. And you put one of these tablets in the water. I guess I'm just going to stare at my ice water for 10 minutes before the electrolytes. Who invented this thing? Anyways, the point is, I really missed my element. I was like, "Okay, I got to get back to my element. I need to just throw in that packet and get the job done." But I also want to talk about our good friends at Henson Shaving. This is the razor that I use. Okay, so what's going on with Henson? This is a family-owned aerospace parts manufacturer. This is someone who was making precision parts for the International Space Station, for the Mars Rover, who brought their experience with doing incredibly precise engineering to the problem of getting a good shave. So a Henson razor is this beautifully milled piece of aluminum into which you just put a standard 10-cent safety razor blade. And you screw it on, and it's precisely milled so that you have just .0013 inches of blade extending past either side of the razor. What this means is when you shave, you're not going to get the diving board effect, where the blade goes up and down. That's what caused nicks. That's what caused clogs. You instead get this really clean shave. And you get it without having to have 15 different razors and some plastic monstrosity that you bought at the drugstore, because if you have one really well manufactured, if your razor is really well manufactured, you just need one blade to get a good shave. So this actually makes this an affordable way to get a good shave because you pay more upfront for the razor, but then you're just using these super cheap-to-buy blades. So it doesn't take long before the upkeep of your Henson is significantly cheaper than if you're using a subscription service and significantly cheaper than if you're trying to buy the big plastic-packed blades at the drugstore. It is what I use. I love the shave. I also love how this thing works. And as someone who cares about technology, I love nothing more than just a really well-built thing that solves a problem well and does so efficiently. So it's time to say, "No to subscriptions." And yes, to a razor that will last you a lifetime, visit hensonshaving.com/cal to pick the razor for you and use code "cal" and you will get two years worth of blades free. So the way you do this is just to add the two-year supply of blades to your cart and then when you type in "cal" as your promo code, the price of those blades will drop to zero. That's 100 free blades when you head to HEN, S-O-N, S-H-A-V-I-N-G.com/cal and use that code "cal".


End Section: Cal Reactions

Cal Reacts (01:12:19)

Alright, Jesse, the fans have been asking, I'm going to load up the website here. They've been asking about my experience with my remarkable two-tablet. I'm going to load it up. Yes, they have. Now let's see here. I'm loading up the website here. So for those who are watching, again, this is CalNup... YouTube.com/CalNuportMedia. This is Episode 258 or at the deeplife.com, Episode 258. Let's load up this homepage for those who are watching. So if you remember, alright, meet remarkable, the paper tablet. Alright, and as we watch this video before, we see a very well-dressed, contemplative woman holding her remarkable. Here's some pictures of it as close to paper as it gets. So as you can see in this image here, the remarkable for those who don't know is a electronic notebook. It's a one page that you can write on. It's a Kindle-style E-ink, so you write on this page and you see what you're writing like handwriting. I'm showing some of this on the screen right now. And you can have endless pages, essentially, and endless notebooks. All in this one thing you hold, all of it being backed up to the cloud as well. Alright, so what has my experience been with the remarkable? The headline is, "I really like it. I'm really liking my remarkable too, and here is why. I had a lot of notebooks in my life because I have so many different things I do. These each had their own notebooks. So I had a notebook, for example, for my moleskin, for keeping track of just my general life thoughts that pursue to have a deeper life, right? I would have notebooks for theory. I'm working on computer science papers. I need notebooks to work on ideas, mathematical equations, this or that. I would have multiple notebooks like this. I would have notebooks for planning around the business, the media company we run here. So thinking through what's our strategy, what's happening, what's our vision for the future. I would have notebooks to keep track of my specific, what's the specific strategic plan I'm working on for a particular part of my life. I want to keep notes on it. I'll have a notebook for that as well. I'd have notebooks for book ideas, and then a notebook for each particular book I was working on. Then just a scratch notebook because I need to just keep track of ideas. I'm at a meeting. I'm sketching out a plan. A lot of different notebooks were in my life. I was constantly grabbing different notebooks and using some for other purposes. The remarkable solved that problem. I just have a lot of notebooks. I counted. There's nine I've started so far. They're all on the same device. I can use a stylist, go over selecting a notebook I want, start taking notes. It's just there. If I want to do something else, I can switch over to that notebook and it's right there. I've really been enjoying that. It really has been solving the problem. Basically, the only paper notebook that this has not replaced is time block planning. I tried this. I was like, "I wonder if I could just build time block planning or a mark?" I didn't like it. That was the one place where I wanted spiral binding like the new time block planner has. I wanted something tactile that I could write in and see next to me and lie flat next to me and work on throughout the day as I was working on other things. That's the only real paper notebook that's left in my life right now is my time block planner. I really do need that to be analog and with me in all places. I've had no problem moving my work notebooks, by planning notebooks, even my moleskid notebooks. All that's worked well moving to the remarkable. I talk a little bit about how I function with it. The writing, I think is great. It took me a little while to get used to it. Like what's the right pressure? I used the fine liner at narrow. But once I got used to it, it really for me feels very much like a notebook writing on paper. My handwriting is the same as writing on paper. It's really identical. I really like that experience. I've learned to use the highlighter a lot as well. I like that I can highlight to emphasize things. I can highlight text. Just from an operational point, that's been great. It has endless scrolling. You can make your page. You can scroll it down as long as you need. Then you can add pages. If a particular page you want to put more on it, you can just keep writing longer and longer. It's very easy just to jump to a new page. One thing I found myself doing is editing notebooks, which I can't do with paper notebooks. But I do like to do this here. For example, I have a notebook where I'm working on the deep life stack. The idea is around the deep life stack and my particular iteration through the deep life stack right now. One of the things I did was I had an early version of it on a new page, a better version of it, and a couple of pages with a lot of notes on it. In that case, I actually went back and deleted some of the older pages and consolidated and rewrote. Here's the right way to do the stack right now. I've tried a bunch of versions. I deleted those and added a page and rewrote it right. I'm finding myself doing that sometimes with planning notebooks, is going back and deleting pages and resummarizing them as I get better ideas around it. That's an interesting twist. I didn't expect myself to do. The backing up features work great. The way it works is you have an app on your computer that if you open it, it mimics exactly the navigation of your remarkable. If you go to any of the notebooks in that navigation, all of your pages, you can just read it all on your computer and you can export any of those pages to PDF. I've done that sometimes to print some things. When you go on the desktop, can you go in there and type in there? No. All you can do is see backups and you can read what you wrote in the notebook. You're not typing a remarkable either, right? Or is it all just right? Well, I'll get to that in a second because you can and I'll tell you my experience with that. The way that app works, the desktop app works, it just shows you it's a backup of all of your notes. The main useful thing for that is A, if you lose your remarkable, you have all your notes. If you buy a new remarkable, I'm sure you can transfer it over. But you can print those things. Now, I haven't used these features yet though, though it's activated. It does now have integration with Google Drive and with Dropbox. You can bring files, I haven't done this yet, but I want to do more of this. You can bring PDFs onto the remarkable, read them on the remarkable, mark them up on the remarkable. This is a place where you can be more interactive as you can hook up a particular folder on the remarkable with, let's say, a Dropbox folder. Now, if you just put a document, like a PDF file into that Dropbox folder, it will automatically appear on your remarkable. If on your remarkable, you annotate it, an annotated version of the document shows up in your Dropbox folder. That's kind of cool, same with Google Drive as well. That's kind of cool. If you're, for example, need to edit some papers or something, you can just throw papers or articles into a Dropbox and then you're on a train somewhere. They've all synced up on your remarkable, so you can read them and mark them up. Then later, all that annotation is re-synchronized back up with your Dropbox. At home on your computer, you can print things out with the marks and stuff like that. I think that's a nice feature. Really, the thing is, we're going to talk about shortcomings. I have three things to mention. This really is about using the notebook. You can see the stuff you did on your computer, but you're not really supposed to be. It doesn't go back and forth. You can't update things on your computer and have that show up on your remarkable. If you annotate a PDF file that syncs back to your Dropbox, it's going to be a new version of the file with the annotations. It's its own proprietary world of marking and drawing and stuff like that, that the computer doesn't speak. I got the fancy folio that has this really cool built-in keyboard, so you can type on it. It's actually the case can become a surface thing where a keyboard comes out and it's up like a screen. You can type on it. I'm not been using it. I used it a little bit, but the typing experience is not great because you don't have a lot of control over where the text is going to go. You can't do much with the text once it's on there. At any time you want on a remarkable page, you can put in a text cursor and type on an on-screen keyboard or with the built-in keyboard. I don't like doing it because I don't really know how to move the text around. There's weird things about deleting the text. What I've been doing is really dealing with handwriting. I'm just saying this is my paper notebook. I just have 20 paper notebooks in one form. That's how I've been using it. I have not been using the typing because it's not a word processor. It's like the text is going right over here and you can't do anything with it once you type it. It makes me nervous. I don't know if I would pay for the keyboard folio. If you do, you would have to have a better use case for it. That's the third downside. The third downside is just really expensive. Once you buy the remarkable, you buy the fancy folio, you buy the nicer stylus for it. I was in $500 plus, which is a lot of money. I could justify it because I talk about it on the show and it fits the type of things we do. It is really expensive. That would be the other downside. But in the end, so far, I've been doing this for a couple months now. As a replacement for my stack of random notebooks, it has been successful. I think I'm probably capturing more notes than I otherwise would. I love the experience of using it. As long as I think of it as just these are notebooks that I write in with a pen. That's it. I don't care too much about the computer integration. I don't try to do writing on it. I just think of it as notebooks. I've been very happy with the experience. I love single-purpose application gadgets. Things that do one thing and they do that one thing really well. There's no distraction when you're on there. There's no internet when you're on there. This is me writing in a notebook. I'll count myself as a remarkable two fan. But with those caveats, it's just for writing and it's expensive. It's expensive as all get out. Can you carry it around in your pocket? No, it's the size of a normal 8.5 x 11 piece of paper. I guess my only question is before when you had that life notebook for the moleskins that you carry around your pocket, how do you capture those thoughts? I didn't care. You could put a moleskin in your pocket, but I want it. You would have a big thing in your pocket. Oh, it was a bigger one. For some reason I thought it was a little one. It was a little one, but the little ones I don't like having in my pocket still. It fits in your pocket, but it's weird to have, you know, it's like having a big wallet in your pocket still. I want to walk around with that in my pocket. I don't like having things in my pocket. My moleskin was small, but I kept it in my bag. It would be in the front pocket of my backpack. So this thing's just -- yeah, this is the size of a composition notebook. It's a size of a normal piece of paper and maybe a half inch thick. It's heavy, which I actually kind of like about it. It's actually kind of heavy. It's very substantial. So that hasn't been a problem because I want it moleskin in my pocket. I would always moleskin in my bag anyway. So now I just throw this thing, throw this thing into my bag. That's the other downside. These are small things. The stylus like maggots onto the side, which is cool. So it just sticks onto it, but you can't put in your bag that way because it'll get knocked off. Maybe injured. So like you keep the stylus separate. In my backpack, it'll be with my pins and the thing will be in the back. These are minor points. But I'm a big fan. I think it's a beautifully engineered product. For notebook heads, if you keep a lot of notebooks, you know, worth considering. We messed up that we should have asked them to be a sponsor, Jesse, because I had to give it a really good endorsement. We should do more of that. Find things I love and then work backwards and ask the people to be like, you really need a sponsor. I discovered a lot of things I love from sponsors, approaches in us. That would be cool. We should tell them remarkable. Like, look, I love your thing so you should be our sponsor. And also we need 20 remarkable. I want to just give them out like candy. Oh, well. All right. Well, speaking of remarkable, I should probably go take some notes, which is my way of saying we should probably wrap up this episode. So thank you everyone for listening. Remember, if you like what you heard, you will like what you can see. You can watch these full episodes and clips at youtube.com/countnewportmedia. We'll be back next work with another new episode filmed right up here in the Deep Work HQ North. And until 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.