Full Length Episode | #174 | February 17, 2022

Transcription for the video titled "Full Length Episode | #174 | February 17, 2022".


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Cal's intro (00:00)

I'm Cal Newport and this is Deep Questions, episode 174. I'm here in my Deep Work HQ, joined by my producer, Jesse. Jesse, something I am supposed to do and I always forget to do, so I'm gonna do it today, is tell people, and I may not say the right things here, but tell people if you like the podcast, consider leaving a review so that people who are interested in the show can see that people like it and if you listen but don't subscribe, subscribe, am I, these are the right things to ask people to do? - Yeah, people should definitely subscribe to our podcast. - All right, there we go. I used to tell my listeners, I would only do this once a month and then I just forgot to do it all together. So here we go. This is how you know I'm not a digital media native. So yeah, do that, I think it's helpful. - Might as well tell people about your YouTube channel too. - Yeah, okay, as long as we're doing this, yeah, the YouTube channel has the videos of every question, asked it has videos of the full episodes, it has videos of every segment we do so you can save, refer to, and share all of that. So go check that out and YouTube something you can subscribe to too, right? - Yeah. - Okay. But what does that do, does that matter? Like with the podcast, subscribing makes sense to me because then it means like they'll see all the new episodes. I don't know what it means to subscribe on YouTube. What happens? - When you subscribe on YouTube and you get notifications which you'd be all about getting notifications on your phone. - That's exactly what I want people to do. Is there a feed? Like if you subscribe to some channels and you go to youtube.com, is it like, oh here's like new videos from people you subscribe to? - I don't get any notifications on any of my, including YouTube, so, but you just, if you're at the channel you can go in, you can see some, but people do get notifications, they get notified when a new video comes up. - No, does it help trick YouTube into like telling more people about your videos, if more people are subscribed? Is there like some sort of stuff like that going on? - Yeah, probably, yeah. - Like comments, subscribers, views, likes. - Yeah. - All that stuff. - Yeah, all right, well, like do those things, don't do those things, I don't know. I'm terrible at this, guys, here's what I do. I get in front of the mic and I answer your questions, and so, you know, subscribe to things, leave a review for the podcast that people know you like it, and I won't bother you about this again for a while.

Discussions And Personal Reflections

Behind the Curtain (02:34)

All right, so new segment, we wanna try something new. So back in the early days of this podcast, back when it was just me all by myself, I used to do a segment where I would give updates about what was going on in the life of Cal Newport. So I'm a very private person, but I would, on things, I was comfortable talking about give a little bit of insight into what was going on into my life. A little bit weird doing these segments because it's myself basically just talking about myself, but now it occurred to me, now that we have Jesse here, we could rejuvenate this segment, which I call behind the curtain, since, well, we are in a room surrounded by curtains, so it's like what happens outside of this room, a segment called behind the curtain where Jesse will be the proxy for you, my audience, and Jesse will ask me some questions about what's going on in my life. I have not seen these questions ahead of time, so these are new to me, and Jesse, let me make it clear, if I don't like them, you're fired. So let's just put that on the table. - Take that $250,000 a month and combine your truck. - I am gonna spend that on YouTube subscriptions. Is that how that works? - Can I spend money on YouTube subscriptions? - One thing you can do on YouTube is you can subscribe to YouTube Premium, and you don't get the ads, and you get the music, it's actually only like $9 a month, I do it, it's unbelievable. - I should probably do that too. - You save so much time when you have to watch ads, and it just goes right to the video. - All right, so do YouTube Premium. All right, do YouTube Premium subscribe? Leave reviews, I don't know, smoke signals, send me encouraging telegrams, so I know what's going on right to your congressman, and say I like what Cal Newport is doing. Send cards to your network executives, I don't know. I don't know, guys, I'm terrible at that. All right, Jesse, behind the curtain, you have some questions for me about what's going on in my life. All right, I think I'm ready for it. - All right, so I got a bunch of questions here, so I'm just gonna fire a couple off, and we'll see how it goes. Can you give any updates on your ziddle casting experiment? - All right, you're fired. Next, let's move on. - The reason why I asked is 'cause I remember you had the interview with the fellow back over the summertime, and I was actually, I was in a cool place, I was on a jog in Scotland, on like a golf trip, and I was doing that jog like in the morning, and I heard this, and I was like, "This sounds cool." And then I was in a cool place, too, like near the beach, like in this like, you know, nature area. But anyway, so I remember that, and then you've talked about it a few times, like one in a no. - Well, it's a timely question, 'cause I was talking to Shreeny recently. So one of the ideas, I was talking to Shreeny, I was like, "Man, I should just have you call in to the show." And we could do like a ziddle casting back and forth, like just like a 10 minute, 50 minute thing. So I think we could technically do that, right? Like we could have him call in on Zoom or something, 'cause he lives in Colorado, so he's not be able to get here easily. But we could have him call in on Zoom, and like we could just do a ziddle casting, 'cause he has a lot of thoughts. - Yeah. - But he has a lot of thoughts on what I've been saying, and he thinks like I'm missing out on some of the value. So I think that'd be cool. We got it back and forth. In my own life, I haven't made any big steps forward. I mean, I'm still in the place where I want Rome, the tool Rome, to be the primary place in which I'm capturing most notes that are the exception of CS research, which requires math notation, it's a whole separate thing. But writing ideas and book ideas and article ideas and all that, I want that all to be in Rome, roughly index in a ziddle cast in style, where there's a central index, but then also bi-directional links. And I haven't really upgraded that yet because I've been slammed, which is his own issue I'm having in my life right now. It's self-enforced, self-imposed, but pretty brutal these past months with my workload. And to me, that's something you do when you have some time. So I'm thinking as the spring gives way towards summer, my schedule opens up, I want zettl cast in style system, basically capturing the place where I capture most of my ideas because I have a lot of ideas. And so we'll see. And so we'll have Shrinion and he can help me out. And fill it up. - And then you also just read that book, you know, back in January, right? - Yeah, I mean, that book, How to Take Smart Notes, is what really introduced me to Zettl cast in. And I was a cool book and I liked it. And I recommend it actually. And the listener sent it to me just out of the blue. So I'll report back, but maybe what I'll do, here's what I'll do is like when I have time, I'll have Shrinion and heaven be my guru. Like let's just 15 minutes walk me through. Let me ask you my highly technical questions about how to get this right. And then I'll go try it out. So I remain intrigued by Zettl cast. And I have heard from a lot of people, however, that agree with my central complaint that Zettl cast can't do thinking for you. It can't write articles for you. It's not, in almost any position, this idea that you're just going to wander through your Zettl cast in system and come out on the other side with an article or a book or an academic paper is just not how that works. But it's a really cool way to probably organize a lot of thoughts that aren't easily put into some sort of hierarchical categories. - Okay. Moving on, kind of related and talking about lifestyle centric planning, which you discussed quite a bit. For your own life, do you think you're close? - I think changes are looming. I think changes are looming that would get me closer. So I've done extreme lifestyle centric career planning. I mean, it's why I'm a professor and not in tech startups or venture capital or something like this. It's why I write books, very autonomous and interesting income stream and very interesting to me. It's why we live in Tacoma Park. That was very much a lifestyle centric career planning, very explicit planning process of where do we want to live and why we want to live there. Right now, I would say the main obstacle between where I am right now and the very clear lifestyle. And I got to say, I have this written up very clearly in my strategic plans documents. I mean, I know the bullet points of what goes into the lifestyle that I'm working backwards to try to get in place. Right now, I still have too much on my plate. And so the old joke on the podcast is I have 17 jobs, but like I need seven instead of 17. So that's I think the next evolution to come is it's to be a full time this and a full time that and a full time that like three or four multiple things. It's just the volume of work is too much. My ideal lifestyle is slower and way more autonomous. Less things, high stakes, like, hey, deliver a book, deliver like a really good New Yorker piece. So high stakes, but you have nothing on your calendar tomorrow. You know, it's up to you. You got to figure this out. You need to make this work done. So I'm working on that. There's some early stage visions we're working on right now to about community investment. Getting a little bit more involved in the Coma Park. Maybe we need having some more, you know, I don't want to get too much into it, but some sort of commercial presence here. We want to be. So there's a lot of thoughts we have about being more integrated into what's going on in our town, which I think is interesting too. So it's an ongoing process. Right now I have too much, in the moment I have way too much, but strategic. So I took on a lot of extra work because it's going to help. I think it's important what I'm, the thing I'm doing is short live and I think it's important and I think it's also going to maybe be important for my, the lifestyle I want down the line, but right now I'm just being crushed by it. So I'm definitely in a mode right now where I'm thinking through what I want to want to want to get there. Because right now I'm just being crushed with overload. Yeah, you've seen it, you've seen it. You know, I'm kind of in and out right now. Like it is, there's too much going on. Having too much is just not good. Now I'm doing it on purpose. And for a temporary amount of time, it's an initiative at Georgetown. I think it's very important, but it brings with it a lot of work. I probably should have aggressively slowed down other things to compensate, but I didn't. I added it on top of the stuff that was working just fine. And now it doesn't add up and work just fine. And it's too much stuff and it's organized because I'm very organized. So it's not like I'm disorganized and I have the, technically I have the time for it. The issue is, and this is a core idea of slow productivity. When there's too much on your plate, no matter, even if you do have the time to get it done, you're super organized. It still short circuits everything. It stresses you out and it's not healthy. So it's a good kind of kicking the butt right now to be like, okay, once I finish this, I really got to get pretty aggressive again at pursuing the lifestyle I have in mind. - Makes sense. Kind of going with a broader question here, you've discussed the book 4,000 Weeks that you read recently, you told Tim Ferris about, I haven't read it yet, but I will. And generally, do you find that time goes by very fast? - Yes, yeah, I mean, it depends on, it depends on what's going on. These type of seasons, like winter, where there's a lot going on, it's this and this and this and this, like this day's basketball and this day I teach. And so you have this sort of, a very regular schedule that's, each day is different than the one before, but it's regular each time. I always feel like time goes very fast during those seasons. And then when you're in like the summer, and there's not a schedule like that, and it's much more autonomous, I feel like time moves much slower. So summer feels like a long time to me. Usually winter feels very fast. Like, oh, we're in February already, we're in mid-February already. I mean, I don't mind it because winter's not the best time anyways, but winter's fast. - And then so does that lead to like, broader thoughts about getting older and stuff like that and not being able to do certain things or not really for you? - Yeah, we'd ask the 4,000 weeks things. I'll tell you, I definitely started thinking about that with 40 looming, right? 'Cause there's a lot of things, especially if you're looking at bigger types of achievements. There's a lot of things where you say, if that's not happened by 40, that's not on your list. This is like a key Oliver Bergman thing. Like I think about this with writing. Like I've been a successful writer. There's writers that are a lot more successful. You would think, yeah, you're where you're gonna be. Like you've taken your swings. You've been doing this since you were 20 years old. You've written seven books. Like you've taken your swings and it's gone well. But if you were gonna be absolute top of the market writer, you'd be an absolute top of the market writer. Like same thing with computer science. Like you've done good computer science, but if you're gonna be like a breakout brain in that world, it would have been a breakout brain in that world. You've been doing this for a long time. And I never really, in the 30s, you still feel like you're working on things. 40 feels like, yeah, this is where these are my levels. So how do we build a life around it? And that might be overly pessimistic, but that's kind of an Oliver Bergman point, which I like. It's making sense. There is one key exception to that though. So I've gone down a Taylor Serradin rabbit hole. You know this guy? - No. - Okay, so he was an actor. And he, so he was an actor, probably best known for being on Sons of Anarchy on FX. - The main character? - I don't know the show. - I've seen the show. I've seen the whole show. - Yeah, he's like a lantern jod. - Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. He's, yeah, mine all. - Okay, so he's like a big character in that. Anyways, but he grew up on a ranch, right? Like he came out of, and he owns a ranch, come up out of a ranch. In his, so after the age of 40, he said, "I'm gonna screenwrite." And he was gonna do Neo-Westerns, which is like the new type of Western. I think the Cohen Brothers kind of helped usher this in with no country for old men. So Neo-Westerns, they take place in our modern world. And some of the issues are not, there's like a bandant coming to town. It's like the economic hardships of whatever. And so he's like, "Great, I'm just gonna like start writing these type of things." And he wrote, Sicario, Hell and High Water, and then Wind River. Just like rattled off these like great movies, started writing in his 40s. His second movie was Oscar nominated for best screenplay. Wind River, he directed, like just kind of came out of nowhere, he just had such a clear vision. And then he did the show Yellowstone, which has become a huge, a huge phenomenon. So then he did the show Yellowstone, and then there's a spin-off, and they're doing another spin-off. And he's part of, I don't know if we talked about this on the show, but in Yellowstone, there's this huge ranch in Texas, a real ranch called the 66, 66, 4/6s. And it's huge. I think it's over 100,000 acres. It's like six times the size of Chicago. And he's part of a group that just bought it. And they're gonna, and they have a spin-off of the show that like takes place on that ranch. And he's like a horse wrangler. So like, often in this show Yellowstone, he's a character of the show. And he's always just doing crazy things on horses. And all the horses in the show are his horses. Anyways, he started all that after 40, and just sort of redefined the genre. So you never know. And what I'm saying is I think we need a ranch. We should broadcast, we should broadcast from a ranch. Yeah, it would be episode one, but guys, I'm reporting from my ranch episode two. You'd be like, it would be you. You'd be like, I have sad news. - Counts 40 miles in the other direction on a horse and his cabin riding some poetry. - No, I was gonna say more, Cal has been killed. He has been trampled by, trampled by his snake-bitten body was trampled by horses, and then dragged by cattle through barbed wire, because there's no idea what he's doing. And also the ranch is on fire. That's what would happen. Yes, I worry about that stuff. I don't know if I worry about it, I think about it. And I never thought about that before until I realized I was gonna turn 40 this year. - Interesting. - Yeah, and then I was like, oh my God, I guess this is like, I'm no longer like the hungry upstart thinking, like what am I gonna, what's the thing I'm gonna do? Where am I gonna break out? But also I'm pretty happy with where I am. So that's not bad, but it's definitely an adjustment. - You want another question? - Let's do one more. - All right, final question. You talk a lot about training like an athlete. Are there any athletes that you closely follow, that you like that resonate with you? Based on like their training resident, like what they do, what they're all about? - Well, our manshures are, yeah. You know a little bit of something about his training regime, right? But he's a beast, right? - Yeah, absolutely. - I mean obsessed. - Yeah, he was able to, he was obsessed and was able to keep his career going. I mean, the deal he just signed with the Mets, he's old man, younger than us, but he's old. That's a big deal, that's a lot of money. Yeah, that's all training and competitive. That's competitive fire right there. Just that like, lasers, yeah. So I like that, I follow him. I like the maxhures are of, that's incredibly narrow here. I'm like the maxhures are a podcast that are in a Q&A format. And that deal mainly with questions about like work and productivity and are taped in Maryland. I'm like the maxhures are of that. All right. - Take it. - All right, so there we go. So this is a listener calls thing. I think, thanks for the questions Jesse. So there you go, a little insight into what's going on in my life. It's useful. If you have questions you want Jesse to ask me, you can send them to jessie@calnewport.com. This is a listener calls episode. We have some listener calls, but we have to first pay the bills. Those type of ranches that we are going to buy imminently don't pay for themselves. So let's talk about a couple sponsors. I want to talk first about my body tutor. All right. Now Jesse you've heard me talk about this before and maybe this would be a good model for us for actually like productivity tutoring or something because like what they're doing here is pretty smart. It's fitness and health online coaching. They get a coach. They come up with a plan for you what you're eating, how you're exercising. You talk to them every day. You check in, here's how it's going. And they get back to you every single day. Like hey, good work or focus on this or worry about this. Oh, you had a question about this. Let me give you some answers to it. So you have the consistency of a coach with the convenience and the economic efficiency of that coach being entirely online. I think this is a really good idea and it gives you something to do. If you're like I want to get in better shape, I want to get my health together. I don't want to just randomly go at it. Sign up for my body tutor. Get one of these tutors. I mean, we could do this, Jesse. We should do this with like my work tutor or something like that. And you would check in online with me, right? Every day you fill out a survey about all the work you would do. And I would leave a voice message in which I would just say work deeper. And then-- - You did another job. - The issue is I don't have enough to do. So I'm going to tell Adam Gilbert, who I've known for a long time, who runs this, who runs my body tutor. I'm going to tell Adam Gilbert, you need to add a deep work tutoring service is just me saying work deeper and add that to your offerings. So here's a deal with my body tutor. If you go to mybodytutor.com, that's T-U-T-O-R, and you tell them that you came from deep questions, and you can just, Adam looks at every single person who comes in. I mean, he gives you his personal phone number, cell phone number when you sign up. So this is not some anonymous Peloton type nonsense. This is personal. If you tell him, hey, I came from deep questions, he will give you $50 off your first month. So that's mybodytutor.com. Mention deep questions and get $50 off. All right, so Jesse, as long as we are getting our listeners in the fantastic shape so that we can recruit them to come work on our ranch and save me from being trampled. Let's talk about athletic greens. Athletic greens is a powder that includes 75 high quality vitamins, minerals, whole food source, super foods, probiotics, and the thing I'm always bothering Jesse about adaptogens. I'm always like, "Hey man, how's your adaptogens going?" You got all the stuff you need in a powder. You take it once a day, you put it in 12 ounces of water, I add two ice cubes, 'cause I like it cold. Shake it up, drink it once a day. The reason why I take athletic greens is because it is all they do is this one product. They say we again and again relentlessly keep upgrading this one product to have the very best sourced materials in it. The whole point is that you don't have to worry, am I getting the right stuff? Am I getting the best stuff? I've talked to athletic greens directly. They walk me through how this whole works. I trust them. I literally use it every day. It's a powder. And the only thing that's not in the powder is the vitamin D because it's not, again, they obsess about what's gonna work. Vitamin D doesn't work well in powder forms. You add a couple drops to it for the vitamin D. And I take it every morning, 'cause I don't wanna have to worry, am I having enough of this nutrient? Do I have enough of this vitamin? Take the athletic greens. They also have travel packs, which is great when you travel. So it's one serving, wherever you are, you just throw it into some. You throw it into some water. So I am fans of athletic greens. They're not just a sponsor. I actually use it. Your adaptogen's okay, Jesse. I was worried about you today. - They're deep. - Yeah, and they deep. 'Cause I was like, you look like your adaptogen deprived. I'm not sure about this. I'm worried about it. I'm gonna bring some athletic greens in the studio and force you to take some before every episode so that you're on top of your game. So let me give you a call to action here. Right now it's time to reclaim your health and arm your immune system with convenient daily nutrition, especially heading into flu and cold season. Yes, trust me, we're there. I have three kids. I know all about this. It's just one scoop in a cup of water every day. That's it. No need for a million different pills and supplements to look out for your health. Jesse, I would say the reason why you need to take athletic greens, by the way, is that if you ever got near my family, I have three young kids that are just germ factories. You're not around kids a lot. I think you would quite literally just die. Like if they came in here right now, you'd be like, "Oh, it's nice to meet you." And then you would just die. Just your immune system would be like, "Forget COVID, man. "These kids are swarming in germs." This is why I got to take it every single day, because, man, my immune system is at war every day in the winter. So to make it easy, athletic greens is going to give you free one year supply of immune supporting vitamin D and five free travel packs with your first purchase. All you have to do is visit athleticgreens.com/deep. Again, that is athleticgreens.com/deep to take ownership over your health and pick up the ultimate daily nutritional insurance.

Finding the counter argument (24:31)

All right, Jesse, let's do some calls. Who do we have on the old call docket today? - Okay, our first call is from Mark. He's like you, he's a professor in DC, and he has a question about finding the opposing views when you're dealing with certain topics. - Hi, Cal. My name is Mark, and I'm also a professor at an R1 university in the DC area. My question for you is the following. Often on your show, you'll discuss this idea of building up the Socratic dialectic, as you call it, or finding the best thinkers or writers or speakers from opposing viewpoints on a given topic. My question is the following. If you want to explore a given topic, but perhaps you're not as familiar with the topic enough to know who the key thinkers are on that topic, how would you go about the specific mechanics of identifying who the best speakers were for that specific topic? For example, let's say I wanted to understand the causes of the Baltic war. It's not a topic I'm typically familiar with. How would I go about finding the two or three best thinkers or speakers on that, given that I have no knowledge of that area? 'Cause this is sort of the curse of knowledge situation where if I know who the best thinkers are, I'm probably already knowledgeable enough about the field to understand what the key points are, but if I'm just entering something for the first time, it's actually quite difficult to do what you're describing. Thank you for your time. - Good question, Mark. Let me start by just underlining the bigger picture method that Mark was talking about here. So it's one of the big points I've been making on this show since the beginning is when it comes to having an interesting, thriving, resilient, but also authentic and value producing intellectual life, you have to be very worried about or wary of intellectual groupism. And this is where you say, I just wanna be told what I'm supposed to think about something, who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. Your mind knows that you are being subservient when you do that and it's not happy with yourself. It's not a approach to intellectual life that is sustainable, it makes you feel bad about yourself. And it brings you into weird, tribal places. It's also, by the way, the dominant mode of intellectual discourse on social media. So be aware if you are wandering through the waters of Twitter, you're wandering through the waters of, I don't know what people use these days, Instagram. So my alternative, and by my, I mean, this goes back to the very early days of systematic thinking about thinking, is the Socratic dielectric method. If you wanna understand something better, listen to really good thinkers on multiple sides of it. In that collision, you see what resonates, you get more insight, you get a more nuanced, rooted understanding of that topic, one that you can actually base real action on and feel good about it. If by contrast, you just do intellectual groupism, your mind often is not gonna really trust your stance because you know you're just following a crowd. So it's not a good foundation for action. You don't feel confident taking action, real action based off it. So then you end up just doing very little about a cause, maybe like tweeting about it or yelling at people, or like getting mad at your cousin or something like this. And nothing really happened. So there's this irony of intellectual groupism is that often people think this is the key to changing the world. If we could just get people to just be on our side and don't question it and attack the other side, then we'll change this issue. But actually what you do is you defang people's actual activist impulses and very little action is taken because they don't trust the intellectual foundation of what they believe. They just vaguely think you're on their team and don't wanna get yelled at. So encounter real argument, real argument on both sides. You will not be tricked. Your deep moral intuitions will not be tricked because you read a particularly clever national review or Mother Jones article. It's not gonna trick you. It's gonna make your beliefs stronger and more nuanced. It's actually gonna make you a better advocate for what you believe in. So how do you find these things? Well, for really specific issues like the Baltic war, you know, something that's kind of niche, you don't have to find from scratch the best thinker. You just have to find someone who knows about it and ask them who the best thinker is. That's almost always the right way to do it. Like, oh, here's a professor who wrote an article about the Baltic war. That's why I'm thinking about it. I read this article. Let me talk to this person. Like, hey, what are like the definitive books on this? Who are the definitive thinkers on it? What are the different sides of this? You can do that for almost any topic. Find someone who knows about the topic and then ask them who they think the best thinkers are. Now, if there's already a clear tribal divide on the topic, just find a reasonable person who seems to be roughly speaking on one side, find a reasonable person who roughly speaking seems to be on the other side and say what are the best articles or books about this topic? Then you're gonna get those two opposing viewpoints to read them both, let them collide. You were gonna have the more nuanced understanding. All right, so Mark, I appreciate the question 'cause it gives me a chance to go back to that general thinking. There's actually a name I heard for that approach to intellectual life, especially like culturally relevant intellectual life. It was a name that was coined by a former doctor who is now a full-time podcaster, YouTuber, who talks about medical issues. And he goes by, and this name is not gonna make you feel better about what I'm about to tell you here, but he goes by the name Z-Dog with two Gs MD. That's how you can find them on YouTube, Z-Dog MD. I don't know what his actual real name is. Really funny guy, really smart guy, really funny broadcaster. But he coined this term, alt middle. And I kinda like this terminology, right? So alt middle is basically an approach where instead of partaking in intellectual groupism, where you say, where's my tribe, what do we believe? Send me the memo, great, who can I tweet at? You approach topics one by one and say, let me get into this, if it's interesting or relevant to me and I have the time, let me look at people on both sides of it and come up with my own take on it. And then, and this is critical, be willing to change that take if I get better information down the line. That hold that position with some empathy and with some contingency. I might not quite be right here, this is a complicated topic. And so I'm gonna hold that with some contingency and I'm gonna be relatively empathetic to people on other sides, other people aren't evil. And that is what he calls the alt middle approach. It really emerged because he's a doctor. He does a lot of sort of COVID-centric type communication. He's sort of a COVID-centric. So one of these people that's very plugged in and mainstream on COVID and understands the science, but also is alarmed by both sides. Alarmed, for example, by really extreme anti-vaccination type of discussion, also alarmed by really extreme, we need to lock down the kids and put them in underwater cages because there's a guy who lives six states over who was once a compromised type thinking. And so through COVID-centricism, he has evolved this idea, but I think it should apply to all of intellectual life, alt middle. So Z-Dog, I appreciate that terminology. Mark, I appreciate you bringing this up. Find people who seem reasonable, ask them who the best is, read on both sides of the topic, think for yourself, hold ideas with some contingencies, be empathetic to the other side and trust your moral intuitions. You're not gonna be tricked into believing something bad. Your views are gonna get more nuanced, your beliefs are gonna get stronger, your ability and motivation to actually make change in the world, which is what actually matters, is actually gonna be improved when you encounter the very best thinkers on all sides of an issue. All right, so thanks Mark. Jesse, I showed you Z-Dogs. - Yeah. - I showed you one of his videos, I guess his studio looks very nice. I'm jealous. So what is it that makes that look nice? - It's like a lighting, but I don't know, it's like a big studio and it's in soft focus or something. - Yeah, it kinda looks like a really nice yoga studio. - Yeah. Not enough, he has like a nice camera, I mean, pretty nice cameras, maybe he doesn't even nice your camera, but they're good looking videos. He's also a funny guy. I like him. Z-Dog MD. That's such a like, the first name I came up with when I, I bet if we asked him, is like I signed up for YouTube on a whim 20 years ago. It was like the first name that came to mind when you're stuck with it, such. It's like when you end up with like your email address is like in syncfan24@aol.com. And you're kind of stuck with it because like all your family, that's the one they know to use. I wonder if that's where Z-Dog came from.

Solid activities for a gap year (33:42)

All right, what do we got next? - All right, the next question's from Drew. He's in a gap year and he has a question on what activities he should pursue. Hey, Gao, loving the show. I'm Drew from the Philippines and I'm currently in a gap year before college. I've applied to elite universities in the US and I'm pretty confident I'll get into it at this one of them, hopefully. But in the meantime, I'm trying to make the most of my time during my gap year. My country is still in the dying thralls with the pandemic, so going outside is still a bit restricted. So I've started developing a lifetime habit of reading books at a more frequent level. I'm averaging of this one or two nonfiction books per week by employing your method of making it a default activity. And it's been a working effortless day so far. I have approximately 10 months before college and by the end of my gap year, I want to come out of it becoming the best possible version that an 18 year old that needs capable of actualizing. What activities should I pursue and what kind of mindset should I employ going forward? Thanks, Gao. So given that you're somewhat physically stuck, that's going to change the way we think about this gap year. Because often gap years is built around experiences. You go to interesting places, you meet interesting people, which I think is really important, but now you're going to be limited there. I think what I'm going to advise is that you actually develop a curriculum. So instead of just, which by the way is great, but instead of just encountering and reading a lot of books, let's have a curriculum that has maybe three goals that you're going to make consistent effort towards. So you might have a curriculum for reading. I'm trying to get through these particular books and I'm going to read these secondary sources about each of these books to try to fill in a particular subject matter that I want to know a lot about. And I don't care about the detail so much here as it is just doing some sort of consistent intellectual exploration. I mean, for example, I'll give you an example for my life. When I first came down to Washington, D.C. to take a professorship at Georgetown, this is before we had kids. So I had a lot of free time on my hand. My wife worked a normal person job. Professorship's not a normal job. So she had to actually go to work for normal hours and I did it, that was a first year professor. I did a self-imposed curriculum. I had come across this book, a book of philosophy called All Things Shining, my Dreyfus and Kelly. And it was an interesting book. It was, went back through the classics and extracted ideas from the classics about the sacred and finding meaning in life. We actually talked about this recently in my appearance on the Tim Ferriss podcast. I guess Tim tried to read it and he didn't actually like it much. And the reason Tim didn't like it is he said, "I didn't know all the references. "I hadn't read Eschilis. "I hadn't read Dante." And so what I did, so I said, "Here's what I'm going to do. "I'm going to use All Things Shining "because it's talking about all these books "and drawing interesting lessons about them. "And as it gets to each of those books "that it references, I'm going to stop and read that." So I'm going to go, I started with the Odyssey because they started with the classical heroic Greeks and I read the Odyssey and then I read Eschilis and then I read Dante and I read Augustine. And so I followed this book and I would read the things and then read them, talk about it, then read the next things and read what they talked about. It was like an organized curriculum and it was actually really interesting to go through these and the book ended up with David Foster Wallace. We went from Homer, the David Foster Wallace and there was an organized reflection here as the book went on. So do something like that. Just think of the habit of, "I can on myself autonomously dive into an intellectual pool "and make sense of it just because I want to." And there's a lot of different topics you can do this on. If you want to steer this, you might consider subscribing to the great courses and let one of the great courses, you pick a topic from there and let that course, actually watch the lectures and then read the books, like actually follow a great course if you want a little bit more structure. So that should be part of your curriculum, some sort of focused intellectual exploration where you learn to just love doing focused intellectual explorations. The second thing in your curriculum should have you building or creating something. And I don't know if it's physical, if it's digital, if it's written, if it's code, but it's just you're building and honing a skill and creating things, making intentions manifest concretely in the world. Just to get in the habit while you have the time of developing a skill and creating things, to be able to actually add new things into the world. I think that's quite fulfilling. And then the third part of the curriculum I would add is something physical. Getting really good shape. Not that you need to be in really good shape to go to college in America, but just that it's an outlet for the energy. It will calm intellectual anxieties and it's self-mastery and efficacy. I'm the type of guy that can structure my time and get after it. I'm getting in really good shape. It just makes you feel like you have control over your own life so that when you get there, when you get to college, you have all this confidence. I can control my life and create something here that's really interesting. And I'm not at just the whims of, oh my God, my classes and I'm stressed and I'm just drinking all night. Like you feel like you're actually in control. So I would do those three things. That's my three-part curriculum I would suggest for your semi-homebound gap year. The fourth thing I'm gonna say, which is not part of the curriculum, but this is just a substrate. You need to socialize and connect as much as the Philippine pandemic restrictions allow. You need to connect to other people. You need to sacrifice on behalf of other people. You need to be a leader in your community and among people you know. That's just gonna be the foundation that stops you from going crazy. If you're allowed to see people outside, see people outside. If you're not allowed to do that, then you know, do it virtually until you can. But as soon as you can do that, like be around people, see people, communicate with people, help people, bring stuff to people who need help. Make the social aspect of your life really amplified. And this is not about your gap year. This is about you're going through a period of pandemic restrictions that we all went through before. And it's the thing that you have to push over the top to counteract the isolating negative impacts of pandemic restrictions. And so I just want you to see that as medicine. That is your, I don't wanna get anxious in the press medicine for this very specific circumstance. It is I'm gonna become more socially engaged and sacrifice more time and attention on behalf of other people than I ever have before in my life. And that's just your daily medicine. All right. So Drew, hopefully things will calm down there soon. Hopefully you'll find your way to a nice school soon and really enjoy that. But in the meantime, that is my prescription. It's kind of weird just to imagine there's still, I mean, I guess it's true, but there's places where you're dealing with lockdown type things. - Yeah. - Yeah. I mean, I think we've been done with those here for a while. I think the populace basically just said, "You gotta find a better way." You gotta find a way. Though I don't know where we live. You see it every time you come here, compared to where you live. Montgomery County, Maryland is not exactly chill. Chilled out about the virus. - Yeah, I mean, I'm Virginia, but it's only seven miles away is different. - Yeah, interesting times, but hey, we can go outside. So feel bad for Drew. - When you were doing that all thing shining project, how long did it take you to do all the, read all the books and everything? - I don't remember. Semester maybe? More? I mean, I don't know if I read everyone, maybe I skipped a couple. But I just remember doing it for a lot of that academic year. And then I do other things and I'll come back to it. Yeah, it's vague memory, but I have all those books still. And I remember, by the way, I remember so much from that, that it was very useful. Like I have all these references now and these understandings of all these different books. I know these cultural references was actually a pretty cool experience actually. That's what I should have told Tim on the podcast. So Tim was saying he tried to read it, but found it really academic, which it kind of is if you haven't read the books, you're like, what the hell are they talking about? So I probably shouldn't have suggested that Tim, like go back and try the book again, but read the books along with the writers. And so long time fans will recognize the reference because I talk about it in deep work.

Jugging lots of hobbies (42:15)

So that's where that original reference came back. All right, who do we got? - Next up, we have Shane McGrath. I'm pretty sure he's submitted a question before and he's basically got a lot of jobs. He's doing a lot of juggling and he's got a specific question about that. - Hi, Cal. My name is Shane and I work as an operations analyst in the medical device field. I'm a big fan of your work and credit the embrace of deep work principles as a catalyst for my last two promotions. So I first and foremost just want to express my utmost gratitude to your work and I look forward to your future work as well. What I want to ask you is your advice and strategies for shifting gears between multiple domains. I have several interests including writing, learning to code, investing, data analysis, cooking and playing guitar, which I all tend to. They all feel rewarding in different ways and I guess I just operate as a right-brained guy who loves to throw coals in the fire. Assuming I keep this juggling act going, do you have any tips or strategies that help to shift gears between work and different domains? When I write, it seems like the optimal state is quite different than when I'm coding in JavaScript, for example, they just seem to hit different. I just wonder how I could do a better job with managing this juggling act I'm in the middle of. Much appreciated, Cal. Thanks a lot. - Well, I mean, Shane, my advice here is if you're struggling juggling lots of balls, the best solution is to take out a bunch of the balls. That's much easier than trying to learn how do I juggle five balls. That's hard to do. Two balls is easier. So instead of trying to figure out how to juggle five balls, you could get rid of three. And that's what I think is the issue here. That's too many things. That's too many things. I think the overhead of having that many things is probably counterbalancing a lot of the value. So if we want to see what's a more reasonable load, and we're talking here, these are all sort of out of work leisure type pursuits, there's a few different things. If we're looking through the different deep life buckets, there's a few different things that are pulling at your time, especially outside of work. I mean, first of all, there's the community bucket. I mean, serving your family, serving your friends, being a leader in your community, enjoying and saving times with people you care about. Like that actually needs a lot of time. That's a default. So that's already taking up a lot of time. We have constitution. You got to take care of your body. It's the best way also of keeping anxiety low, especially during difficult times. And it keeps you with more options for doing things with your life going forward. And that takes time. So now we don't have a ton of time left. Then you want to throw in there, if we want to have the celebration bucket or under contemplation, you want to throw in there just having high quality present leisure experiences. Just really enjoying a movie, really enjoying a dinner, really enjoying a sunset while you're out for a walk and that type of just present gratitude generating moment. Now we're really getting down to a small amount of free time, which honestly, I think the right load there is there's a primary hobby that you work on over time. So you get the satisfaction of mastery and of developing a really refined taste in one area. So if you get really good at guitar, you don't just get the benefit of the mastery of playing your guitar well, you get the benefit of really being able to appreciate and understand other good guitar players. So it's a gift that keeps on giving. And then maybe have a secondary hobby that you're messing around with. I'm learning how to cook this season. And then I'm really busy and I'm doing no secondary thing. And then I'm messing around with code. I'm gonna make like a video game for my kids. And then I'm doing nothing because I'm busy. And you have that secondary slot. I honestly think that's really what people more or less have time for. And my worry is if you try to have five different leisure activities, there's other core deep life areas like community, like constitution, like just present celebration, you're gonna get squeezed out. And that's to your detriment. And the overhead of just switching back and forth between these things are gonna make you more anxious than you get benefit from them. So I'm not sure if that's the answer you wanna hear, but that's the answer I am gonna give right now is if you do less, this might sound paradoxical, but if you do less, you're actually going to experience more good things in your life. All right, thanks, Shane. All right, how are we doing here? How many total questions we're gonna try to do today? - We have two more questions, two or three more questions depending on what you're feeling. - All right. Well, let's do one more. And then we might check in with our sponsors and do another. - Okay. - So the next question is from, it's about lifestyle planning and there's some struggles to stay disciplined. So we'll hear what it does. - Hi, Cal. This is Ina. And besides being a homemaker, I learn languages autonomously and aspire to have my own language school.

Staying disciplined to keep motivated (47:13)

My question has to do with rituals and motivation. I have done life-centric career planning as you recommend and truly believe that at least for the current season of my life, I have chosen adequate goals towards the future I desire. Nevertheless, I find that some days I really do struggle to stay disciplined and to show up in the morning and get to work. Thinking back on advice you've given on this podcast, there are at least two ways I can approach this. One is to automate the process with a specific when, what, where and how, so that I can let the power of habit take control. And the other is to seek a variety of awe-inspiring places to keep my brain interested and to jog my memory about why this work is important in the first place. Which of these options would you suggest for someone who still has to periodically drag herself to her desk? - That's a good question, Ina. So I think there's a few things that are relevant here and you hit on some of them. So my answer is gonna overlap pretty strongly with what you were just saying. Automation is key. And automation can mean multiple different things in this context. So as you hinted, automation could just mean, this is when, where and how I do this work. So I don't even have to think about it. I get back from the gym and then we have a desk put aside for bills. And that is when I do it right after the gym on Wednesdays and that's when I do the bills. And you know what, I always collect the bills from the mail and put them in a two process sorter on that desk so I know where they are. And you know what, I have stamps there and the envelopes there. So it's real easy to do. There is an actual boost you get from organization where you say, I built out a system for this. It's kind of fun to execute a system and see everything was here and it works really well. And then you're more likely to actually do the work. So you have that type of automation. The other type of automation is literally automating it. You know, I'm gonna have someone else do this. Especially when it comes to work, Household Admin work, I think Laura Vanderkamp has a good book about this, 162 hours. And she's a big advocate for this. Of, to the extent that you can afford it, this is where you should be putting a lot of your money is towards automating stuff in the house, getting Household Admin off of your plate. You have someone who does laundry, someone who does your yard work, the handyman who comes once a month and you have this list that grows and he just takes it and does those things around the house. And her point, which I think is a good one, is that is a super high return investment in money. And what happens instead is people often say, "Well, I technically could do these things, so I'd rather spend that money on, you know, something more fleeting or superficial." And it's actually what it got a lot more return in your life just to take those things off your plate. So literal automation, I think, is a priority to the extent that you could do it. The second thing to do here is reduction. So just taking things off your plate. Sometimes when you're not able to get started on things, just because you're overloaded, there's too much, your mind is exhausted, it knows it's not sustainable. So I'm not gonna do this, I'm sorry, I'm not gonna help on that committee. This is a bridge too far with like my exercise routine, whatever it is, reduction. So when your load is reasonable, it's easier to execute because you're playing with your wiring here. Your brain is very good at the things important. Let's set a plan, let's execute that plan, let's feel really good because we got the plan done. If you overload that part of your brain, it short circuits and you lose all of that evolutionarily optimized inducements to actually do the daily work that's important. We are wired to do daily stuff that's important for the survival of us and our families, right? So let's take advantage of those mechanisms, but you can't take advantage of those mechanisms if there's 75 things on your list. And then clarity would be my final suggestion and that is something you touched on before. Here's my vision, Lifestyle Center Career Planning, where we wanna be in five years, where we wanna be in 10 years, where we wanna be later this year. This is how everything fits in. These type of more mundane chores, we've really automated and structured and there's these other things I'm doing that's really fulfilling and we're saving up to do this. And you have this vision that this is all a part of that. You mentioned that as being important, you are right that that is important. You are building towards a vision that you believe in and think is important. You're working backwards from that positive goal is very important to keep things moving. So if you have kids, for example, there's a couple natural milestones to think about. There's a sort of young kid period, which is sort of a survival mode. There's a steady state period where you have grammar school aged kids and what you want life to be like there. Time with them, the role of work, where you live. Really thinking through what that experience is like. You have a really clear vision for, okay, when does the last kid leave the house? These are the changes that are happening then. I think it's a great time to have a more substantial change to your lifestyle. So you have these very clear visions that you're working backwards from, that you're working towards with your day-to-day efforts. And again, you're very right to point that out. So automate, reduce, clarify. Do those three things. That's what's needed to keep making progress in a disciplined fashion on the stuff that's annoying, but has to get done. That's how you avoid just being paralyzed by exhaustion and indecision and lack of motivation. All right, well, speaking of motivation, talk about a couple of sponsors that make this show possible. One thing I often lack motivation to do is go to a physical post office. We have one right down the street from us here in the Deep Work HQ and it is crowded. You have to wait in these long lines. It's a little bit depressing. This is where Stamps.com comes to the rescue. So with Stamps.com, you can print official postage right from your computer. So you can spend less time at the post office and more time running your business. It gives you access to all the post office and UPS shipping services you need. You can do it right from your computer. You print the postage, you stick it on, you schedule a pickup, no going to the post office, no waiting in line. And one of these rare business ideas that just simply makes sense. It barely even requires to be pitched because people get it, oh, instead of going to the post office, I print the postage at home, got it. What do we do? How do we sign up? Well, I'll tell you how to do that. You go to Stamps.com and you use the promo code DEAP. What you're going to get with that is a special offer that includes four week trial, free postage, and a digital scale with no long term commitments or contracts, you just go to Stamps.com, click the microphone at the top of the page and enter that code DEAP. Remember, whether you're sending invoices or side hustling with an Etsy shop or you're a full blown warehouse shipping out orders, Stamps.com is going to make your life easier. You're going to join over one million businesses that have been using Stamps.com for over 20 years. So go to Stamps.com and use that promo code DEAP. I also want to tell you about one of the original sponsors of the DEAP Questions podcast and that is Grammarly. Grammarly is a software product that works on all of the tools in which you do daily writing and all of the types of apps or programs you use to do this daily writing. And it helps you make your writing better. This is really important. We are here in this winter grind where it's emails all day and instant messages all day, work is work, the summer's far away, Christmas break was in the rear view mirror. All we're doing all day, it seems like seeing on our screens and communicating, you want that communication to be crystal clear so people will take you seriously, that you will be persuasive, so that you will have influence and respect within your company. Grammarly is how you make sure that you are doing this. So I don't know, Jesse, do you remember the old grammar checkers from the old days where it would just like underline the words and tell you like you misspelled there or something like that? Yeah. Well, I got to show you Grammarly Premium, because I've been working with it and I'm really impressed with what it can do. It's not just telling you you spelled there wrong. It can help you rewrite an entire sentence. It can tell you what the tone is on your email, right? Like, Jesse, I'm looking at this email that you're about to send here or something. And the tone here is that you sound like that you're coming in a van to carry away their corpse. You know, so you might want to adjust that tone to be a little bit more positive. Now, that's not actually one of the tones, but it can tell you like this is the tone, like it's super official, it's super, super friendly, colloquial, because you don't always know. You don't always know when you're writing how it's coming across. This program can actually tell you. It even has clarity suggestions. I like this one. Like it'll come in and say, "Hey, there's Steinbeck. This is my me voicing the grammar. It doesn't actually say this." But this is what I feel like when I use this one, I use this tool. "Hey, there's Steinbeck. This giant adjective, great. You're smart. I love it." But no one's going to know what the hell you're talking about. Like, it'd be much clearer if you just use this word, which actually captures what you're trying to say better. Grammarly actually does that. So it's really powerful now. It's like having an editor who sits over your shoulder and helps you actually write clearly. So get through those emails and your work quicker by keeping it concise, confident, and effective with Grammarly. Go to Grammarly.com/deep to sign up for a free account. When you're ready to upgrade to Grammarly Premium, you'll get 20% off for being a listener of my podcast. That's 20% off at g-r-a-m-m-a-r-l-y.com/deep. I'll tell you, Jesse, we need something like that for most academic departments. It's like professors, we're all weird and live in bubbles, and we have 10 years, so no one ever -- our jobs are in jeopardy, and we get weird in our email communication. And there's always that one professor in every department that has to send out an incredibly aggrieved and upset email about everything. Like, you can say whatever. FYI, we have a new water cooler, because the other one broke. And you will get this long email almost immediately that is like, "In this day and age to have a water cooler because, you know, my uncle was killed by a water cooler, and I don't like the way that water cooler looked at me, and I think it's an anti-Semitic water cooler, and also we shouldn't use the word "water," and, you know, just mad about everything. We need like a Grammarly.com plugin that sits on every academic email server that just comes back and says, "Don't send this, you sound like a crazy person." Everyone's going to think you're a crazy person. And it just flash. Just crazy person detection, because every department has someone who's just been in their head too long, and they just are, I just imagine, in a dark room with their -- somehow it's a typewriter hooked up to the email and all that works, just like, "I'll show them." Then you need a Grammarly.com detector that's like, "People are going to think you are literally insane." That's what we need. All right. What are we doing here? Let's do one more call. I think we got time for one more call. Okay. Sounds good. This question is from Cameron. He's in college.

Thoughts On The Metaverse

Cal's thoughts on the Metaverse (58:57)

He has a question about your thoughts on the metaverse, from Meta. Hi, Cal. College student here. What are your thoughts on the metaverse that Meta is currently trying to build? How do you think that it's going to affect society? Thank you. Well, there's a few things going on here. One, why is Facebook doing this? And in part, it's because, as I've been predicting for a few years now, the age of social media monopoly platforms has begun its descent. We just didn't realize it. Now we're starting to see it. Facebook posted one of their first reductions in active user minutes and their stock lost something like $150 billion. The biggest and absolute value single one day drop of a company's valuation ever. So people are leaving Facebook. People are leaving Instagram. There's this era in which there's six platforms you have to use. You can't communicate. You're completely out of it. That's all dissolving into a world of much more niche social media. And I've talked about before why this has happened. I talked about this on Lex Friedman's podcast, for example, when the detail on this. The issue is the network effect, the main network effect that these platforms had that made them monopolies was everyone you know is using them. And so when their main promise was you're going to update people on what you're up to and see what people you know are up to, that network effect dominates. If I need a place to go to see what people I know are up to and they're all on this one platform, no competitor will succeed. I have to go to Facebook. That was the foundation on which they built their massive user base. They then got spooked because they saw Twitter come out of nowhere and have a lot of success with this algorithmic curated timeline feature. And so the main social media companies, namely Facebook and Instagram and then Facebook eventually bought Instagram said, well, what we're going to do instead is say these platforms are not about connecting with people you know. It's about distraction and entertainment. We will select articles and posts and things that are generating a lot of engagement and we'll put them in an infinite scroll news feed. And you could just click on that F on your phone when you're bored and there'll be something there that's going to press your buttons and it's a good distraction. That was the beginning of the end for these platforms. Yes, when you already had 1.3 billion people on these platforms, they were going to use it more in the short term because that's more interesting than seeing what your cousin's up to. But in the long term, now there's no reason to be on Facebook if I want to be entertained. Yeah, that's entertaining. But so are podcast. So are shows on the streaming services. So are books. You know, so are any other number, any other number of other services where it could care less if my cousin uses it. And that's exactly what happened to Facebook is like, yes, that was more entertaining for their existing users. But over time, their users were saying, I don't really want to see Facebook news feeds. I want to watch, you know, Yellowstone over on Paramount and listen to a podcast on some niche topic I'm really interested in. This is entertaining, but other things are even more entertaining. So they're starting to lose users. And so what we get instead is the rise of much more fractured social media where the experience is, okay, if we're going to do distraction, let's just do distraction. And that was TikTok's play. TikTok said, okay, if this is just about scrolling things and being distracted, let's just plug that matrix cable straight into the back of your spine. Let's get rid of the hole like my cousins on here and I have a wall and I'm just connecting to people to get rid of all of that. And let's just like hone in like a laser beam on by just the absolute most in the moment dopamine hijacking attention generating style of content. And don't even worry about where it comes from. We'll just show you things one after another. If that's our game here, then let's just purify that. And that's what TikTok is doing. And that's why it's sort of eating the lunch of the other social media platforms because it's saying forget this, like I want to connect to people I know stuff. However, that is a world in which the obligation to be on these platforms completely dissolves. And I don't mean to rant too much about this, but Cameron, I think about this a lot. Five years ago, when I would say in public, I don't use social media. I don't use Facebook. People were aghast. Like this is crazy. How can you survive in our society without it? That's where everyone is. That's how you know what's going on. That's where all the cultural trends are. That's where all the news is. That's how you get business. In an age of TikTok, no one cares anymore if you're not using it because it's just purified dopamine distraction. So if you say, hey, I don't have a TikTok account, no one's like, how do you survive? Like, yeah, I know it's weird. You know, it's fun, but there's no expectation that you would use it. And that's actually way more healthy relationship with these tools. And so what we're going to get is TikTok 2.0 and 3.0, all sorts of different services that directly press buttons in very specific types of ways. A clubhouse was like this. It was doing something else very specific. It was very interesting. None of which have any network effect requirements. I don't need my cousin and my friends from high school and my grandfather to be on TikTok for it to be useful in its promise to me. It's promised to me is like we're going to show you these videos and there's going to be a cat on it and it's going to be entertaining. And so once you got rid of the network effects, this whole thing is just going to fragment into lots of different sources of entertainment. Some different than others, some much more base, some much more high end. It doesn't matter. And no one will be expected to use any one of these things. And it's not a weirdness if you don't use any one of these things. And that's actually a much better, healthier world. This more long tail niche social media type world that's less about connection and more about distraction is fine. And that's where we're going. And you can't be a $700 billion a year social media company anymore once we get to that world. And that's what Facebook sees. And that's why they're trying to shift away from it. All right. So that's the whole background for what's going on. I think the particular meta vision that we see now, which tends to be focused on social life occurring in virtual reality, that's a smokescreen. That's not the big headline. The big headline with these technologies is going to be the dissipation of the personal electronics industry. I was talking to some people in the industry about this when I was doing a New Yorker piece last fall about people who work in virtual reality. This Cameron is the trend that is much more powerful and the trend works as follows. Once augmented reality glasses get to a certain level of quality. And once we have sufficient high speed internet, wherever we need to be, we're very close to that. There will be no need to own any other consumer electronics beyond those glasses. If I want to use a computer, I don't buy a computer from Apple. There is a instance in some Amazon virtualization cloud somewhere of my computer running in a giant server farm. And my AR glasses will create a screen wherever I want in the environment in front of me. And there is a screen of whatever size I want. And there I work on my computer. If I need to use my phone, I do not need to own an iPhone or an Android phone. I have my glasses on. I can just pull my hands down. And there is the list of my contacts and I can see who's texting me. I don't need a separate phone. If I want to watch TV, I do not need a 65 inch TV. I can make a 65 inch TV show up wherever I want in my house. And it can be in a position where I see it through my AR goggles, but everyone else in my house sees it in the exact same position. We can't tell the difference between that screen being there in real life or not. There's no need to actually buy your own TVs. That is the huge game changer that is coming. The virtualization of computation into the cloud and the replacement of interfaces with augmented reality goggles. Many companies disappear once that happens. What's the Foxconn plant, Apple's Foxconn plant going to do when there's no iPhones to produce? There's no iMacs to produce. What are they going to do? That's going to go out of business. What Samsung going to do when high-end Android phones and large screen TVs don't need to exist? It's going to disappear. It's going to be a huge change to the digital electronics industry. And guess what? All of the major players are investing huge amounts of money to make sure that they are not going to lose in that game of musical chairs. Yes, Facebook talks about META. Facebook is also caring a lot about this future of virtualized consumer electronics. They are spending a lot of money on guess what? Their own pair of these augmented reality glasses. Apple is putting a ton of money into this as well because it is existential for Apple. Apple is a trillion dollar company that will disappear and no longer exist if they don't win the fight to be the people who produce the best glasses that virtualize all this because you don't produce iPhones in a world of augmented reality. Amazon and Google are betting big on both. Google is betting big on the glasses front. They're doing that with Magic Leap, which they put well over a billion dollars into. Amazon is trying to be the back-end computation. So if we don't actually have a phone, if we don't actually have a computer, where does that computation happen? Amazon is saying we'll do it. We're not just virtualizing computation. We're virtualizing hardware. We can make anything you want happen in our servers and we'll just beam the screen to wherever you are. So Cameron, that is the big trend. That is going to be the trend that's going to completely up in our industry. Not as Mark Zuckerberg videos would seem to imply us playing cards in virtual reality in a space station with some of our friends. That's not that interesting to me. The thing that's going to up into our world is all interfaces are virtual. All computation happens on Amazon servers. And 80% of the major digital electronics company that exists today don't no longer exist in any way that we anywhere like how we see them today. That's what I would keep my eyes on. Not being in one of these weird virtual reality space stations and, you know, doing Facebook with avatars or something like this. Interesting stuff could happen there, but that's not where my eye is right now. All right, well, speaking of where my eyes right now, I think we've run a little long, so we should probably wrap up this week's episode. Thank you to everyone who called in. If you go to Cal Newport.com/podcast, you can get instructions on how you too can submit your own listener calls. Videos of this episode and every question discussed are available on our YouTube page. There's a link in the show notes. If you like what you heard, you'll like what you read on my long standing weekly email newsletter. You can sign up for that at Cal Newport.com. We'll be back on Monday and until then, as always, stay deep.

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