Full Length Episode | #175 | February 21, 2022
Transcription for the video titled "Full Length Episode | #175 | February 21, 2022".
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Cal's intro (00:00)
I'm Cal Newport and this is Deep Questions, episode 175. I'm here in my Deep Work HQ, joined by my producer, Jesse. We are fortunate you are able to make it in today. This is an early Sunday morning and it is snowing outside, so I'm sure it was, Tretcher is going for you to get here, but the truck made it. - Truck made it, yep, didn't have to use four wheel drive. - I don't want to alarm Deep Questions listeners, but as I walked over to the studio today, there was up to and including a quarter inch of snow on grassy surfaces. - And that like shuts down the DC area 'cause they're afraid of snow. - A little bit, yeah. No, I believe the official, and I have the official rules here is that if there's more than two inches of snow in the DC area and looking at the city rules here, they just declare a purge. There's just no law. You can just, sounds reasonable. Each of your neighbors use burning cars to barricade your neighborhood. That's two inches of snow, that's what happens. No, but we made it today. We made it in, we're recording this early, so I am going on a trip, so we're actually recording this quite a bit earlier than normal. This is actually just a peek behind a curtain. Just a couple days after we were in the studio recording episodes, 173, 174. So we're doing some back-to-back recording, get a couple into can. So we're gonna have to talk sort of generically about the Super Bowl winners. Man, that team really did well. I'll tell you what, if there's some places where there's good talent, there's talent in Ohio and California, both have a lot of talent. I was really impressed of how the one guy was throwing the ball, and then that other guy caught it, and then that team got a commiserate number of points, and then that helped that team actually have the ultimate victory in the game. So that's my timely Super Bowl chatter. - Sounds reasonable to me, that sounds good. Joe Burrow, go Joe Burrow. - Yeah, Joe Burrow. I'm such a non-sports guy, I don't know who Joe Burrow is. - Joe Burrow is the starting quarterback for the Bengals, and he's an absolute stud. - Oh, this is the guy that they got with their, they went all in on like, we just need to rebuild in a quarterback with like a high draft pick or something, and were they traded for him or something? - No, the Bengals got him with the number one pick. He went to LSU, won a national championship, and then he tore his ACL last year, bad, but he's come back. - He's back in it. Well, I mean, I think what this means is like, you and I should do terrible sports radio talk. Like a whole premise is we go deep on sports that I know very little about, so it's just a lot of me asking, well, who is that and what does that work? And then we take in collars, and with every collar, I'll just say, you know, I don't know what you're talking about. I'm sorry, and then we just go to the next collar. I think this would be great. We figured it out, we've cracked it, we've cracked away. 'Cause there's that sports YouTuber guy that just, McAfee, who just got-- - Yeah, Pat McAfee. - Like all of the dollars in the world for his podcast? - 33 million a year. - 33 million a year. - He's also on serious. - All right, so we're gonna use the Pat McAfee style approach here. Justin and I are going to exclusively talk about sports. He's like shirtless and like stands up and yells and stuff, right? - He wears a tank top. He's a funny guy. He's also on, Med Dog comes on right after him. Med Dog's like my hero. They're completely different, but they're, you know, compatible. - All right, well, I think it's gonna be great, especially for our foreign listeners. I will be wearing a tank top, yelling about sports. I do not understand and telling callers that I have no idea what athlete they're talking about. - Except for the Nat. You know what's going on. - I'll talk Nat's, man. I'll talk Nat's all day. There is a Nat's podcast in the area. Mark Zuckerman from Massin Co-hosted. It's called Nat's Chat. We gotta do some synergy here. You know, if they ever allow the play baseball again, we gotta get some synergy. I'm gonna have Zuckerman in here. We're gonna do an hour long episode. We're gonna get deep on the Nat's. I'm gonna record a podcast once from inside Nat's Park. We're gonna figure that out. - Oh yeah. - Those are gonna come together. - Yeah.
Community Support, Personal Growth, & Career Questions
Core Idea: the Deep Life (04:21)
- All of our energy is going into that. But not this morning. This morning, I wanna put some energy into doing yet another core idea video. Again, we've been racking these up. 10 to 15 minute videos where I'm touching on the big ideas I come back to again and again. So you have something to reference, the save and the share when you're interested in these ideas. So I wanted to do another one of those today. This is a core idea on a topic that actually was almost born on this podcast. It was born as roughly the same time as this podcast and that is the deep life. So let's go deep about what we mean when we talk about the deep life. Now, I wanna start with the background. Where did this come from, this terminology come from? It's all about the beginning of the pandemic. It's all about spring of 2020. This is when I began first on my email newsletter and then soon after on this podcast, coining the term the deep life and talking about it. Now, what was it about that period that made this general type of topic really relevant? There's three things that went on. So when the pandemic hit and there was those stay at home orders, there was definite disruption in people's routines, which is important when you're in a routine, you're used to going from this to this to this. I'm in this job, I wanna get this promotion. Where do we wanna move? What's my next vacation gonna be? It's very difficult to get some distance for critical self-reflection when you're just rolling all systems go. So a lot of people, myself included, got interested in notions like the deep life when those routines were disrupted. I think the early pandemic also did a good job for a lot of people of highlighting both the negative and the potential positive of their lives. It helped highlight, well, what is it that I don't really like, but I've been avoiding? You know, I don't really like this condo I live in in this sort of annoying neighborhood in this city and what I'm forced to have to spend all my time here. And I didn't have the normal escapes of, you know, let me go to the movies and a bar and weekend trips. It really made it clear, I don't really like where I live or having to spend all this time on Zoom with your colleagues, realizing, you know, there's excitement about commuting into my nice building downtown, but I don't really like these people, right? So there's negatives that were highlighted by the disruption of the pandemic. There's also positives, being home a lot, being around your family more, being outside more, getting separation from having to drive into your office. So people also saw positives they weren't used to before. And I think most importantly, things got very disrupted, especially in the coastal places where we had mitigations that lasted for a very long time. Schools were closed, jobs had completely different configurations, people moved to completely different locations temporarily, like let me go live with my parents in Colorado instead of being in suburban DC. And it showed a lot of people that actually really different stuff is possible. You can do something different than what you have been doing and it's not gonna fall apart. It's not as risky or scary as you once thought. So we had these three, these forces come together and people are stepping back and saying, I don't know, I wanna rethink my life. I don't know that I wanted just get back to what I was doing before as quickly as possible and let's just keep rolling. So that was the context in which we began talking about the deep life. Now the issue was once we started talking about it, is that this is a timeless topic and one that is universal many, many people have these reflections on what a life will live this like and what they want out of their life. It's one of the oldest, most cliched topics that we have. But it's a difficult topic to actually get good, pragmatic advice on. This is what we quickly realized is we scanned the landscape of pragmatic or aspirational literature on this topic is that there's three things you would come across. One purely inspirational information. Like here is a story of a person who did something and just something about what they did hits me like, "Ah, that's cool, I wanna do that." You read Wilf and again's barbarian days, you're like, "Man, there's just something about him roaming the world surfing and just something about that feels interesting and resonant." This is just generic inspiration. The other type of literature that was common addressing this topic would be hyper focused on one aspect of your life. So we've all seen this, you hyper focus in on one aspect of your life. It's gonna be self-acceptance or it's gonna be intense like fitness health routine or it's gonna be job. I'm gonna get out of this job and run a company and I want advice specifically about doing it. So there's a lot of very specific advice but it just shoots like a laser beam on just one topic. Or we get that genre of book where you have someone who says, "Okay, I'm gonna try to improve my life and write about it." And it's self-deprecating, right? And typically in the genre of books, the person has a child or a wife that's rolling their eyes at his efforts and it's kind of bumbling. And in the end, he learned some good lessons and makes some small changes but it's basically back to the same normal life you had before. So there's that genre too. Like I'm gonna go out there and change my life and they try all these things. It's kind of kooky and they meet kooky characters and the main character's wife rolls their eyes at the bumbling guy and in the end they're like, well, I have a better, you know, in the end, I'm now doing some meditation and Emma vegan. And so like some changes have been made but they're basically back to where they were before because you don't wanna stick your head out too much because people might push back. So we didn't have a lot to draw on. And so the thought I had at this point early in the pandemic is what's gets specific? Let's give this aspiration a name. Let's give it a definition. Let's come up with specific steps you can do to try to achieve it. Let's be super specific. Let's not just be vaguely inspirational. Let's not just hyper focus on one aspect of your life and let's not do this sort of weak saw self-deprecating memoir type thing. Let's just get after it. Now, of course, this is quixotic. There's nothing more complex and ambiguous in trying to build a life of meeting, a wonderful philosopher's in theology of trying to tackle this for a century. So of course, what we're going to do is not gonna be comprehensive, but I have found it's often useful to put a stake in the ground. Let's put a stake in the ground and get specific, something you can go towards, see what works, see what doesn't, and let that be a starting point for trying to get where you wanna go. Specificity is useful even when it's not comprehensive. That is one of the big guiding lights of my advice. Let's introduce this term, the deep life. Let's give a name to this generic aspiration a lot of people felt, especially during those early months of the pandemic. Then we give it a definition. So what do we mean by the deep life? How about this for definition? It is a life lived in radical alignment with your values. Let's be specific about it, radical alignment with your values. All of the parts of this definition matter. So alignment with your values means you're focusing on things that are very important to you and not wasting too much time on things that aren't. Radical means in at least some of these areas you have made really big head turning shifts or transformation in your life to pursue those values. So not just small but big. You have to have both parts of those if you wanna capture that thing that we intuitively are attracted to, that intuitive notion of the deep life that we know it when we see it. If you just do the alignment with the values part without the radical, what do you end up with? Nothing bad, but also nothing phenomenal. What you end up with is, you know, hey, I tuned up parts of my life. It's like the character at the end of those sort of weak sauce, nonfiction memoirs. You have like slightly better health habits and you've joined a reading group and you're trying to walk more regularly and you meditate. And it's good, right? Like you've added things in your life to be more in a line with your values. If you're not doing that as bad, it's better than doing nothing. But you're not going to watch a documentary about someone who has taken up a meditation habit and tries to walk more and be like, man, that's what I want. That guy's got it all figured out, right? It's not touching you deep. The radical piece is important too because if you just do the radical without thinking about all the things that are important to you and aligning with things that are important to you, you get this burst of satisfaction because just making disruptive changes is exciting in itself and then it dies off. Years ago, I read this book that had a great example of that. It was a book that was called Made by Hand. The author was Mark Froenfelder. Now Mark Froenfelder went on to become the editor or co-editor of Make Magazine. So he became a big player in the DIY maker space movement but he wrote this memoir. And I remember reading it years ago and for some reason I remember being at San Francisco in the airport. So I don't know what trip this was. But they opened that book with him and his wife and they had some young kids at the time doing radical without the alignment to values. They're like, we just need to do something different, right? We feel this urge to live a deep life. And what they did was they moved to an island in the South Pacific, just in the middle of nowhere. I think it was like Ratonga or somewhere like this 'cause they're like, let's just be bold and do something completely new. It was miserable. It turns out you can't school your kids. There's all sorts of insects and things that are stinging you. There's very bad medical care and they felt really weird and guilty about being there year round because it's an impoverished place and why were you guys coming here from San Francisco and they just hated it and they moved back. That was a radical change that wasn't built upon a very clear understanding of promoting things that are very valuable to you. So you gotta have both the radical and the alignment with values. You do those two things. Together you get something like the deep life. So let me give a concrete case study. This is someone I know. I didn't ask them if I could use them as an example. So could I try to be a little bit vague about details and I'm actually changing a few of the details here. But this is roughly a true story, someone I actually know. All right, so I have a friend, long time friends who until recently they were living in suburban DC out in Virginia, sort of suburbs of DC outside of the beltway. So kind of relatively far out suburbs. Now it's a husband wife with two kids and they had a third kid around this time. He did video production for hire and some of his own projects and would do some freelance copywriting. He's a sort of overly educated guy, good writer. We do freelance copywriting for corporate public relations firms. Writing press releases and stuff like that. And then she had a wellness business online. I'm pretty time consuming. This wasn't like goop. It wasn't going to be $100 million whatever. But it brought in good money, but it was also complicated in time consuming. And they lived in the suburb out in Virginia where it was very expensive. They did not particularly like their neighbors. They didn't mind them. But these like creative type people and the neighbors were all just dual income government employees who were living in that neighborhood because it clipped like a good school district. And just driving like we just want our kids to like get good grades. And just like commuter suburb, everyone's commuting in and out. You know, it wasn't that inspiring. He had a we work to do his film production. All you could afford was like a we work space that was shared and you kind of drive into the city to do it. Like this was their situation. And they were living in the suburb because one of their big interests was alternative education. And there was a particular alternative school that was kind of around there. So they could send their daughter there and he wanted he needed to be near a city. And so they were kind of trying to figure this all out. Okay, pandemic hits. Third kid comes along like, all right, enough of this. We want the deep life. Like if not now, when? And here's what they did. They moved to a plot of land. It was 20 plus acres near the James River outside of Richmond, Virginia. They bought land, has fields, forest and riverfront. Not nice land, right? This is not nice mansions or giant second homes, but there's like modest home there, fields, forest on the river, but also close to Richmond, 20 minute drive. Okay, so they go out there, they buy that land. It's cheap relative to anything in DC. It's cheaper than the starting house they could buy anywhere in DC, which they were also looking at. So this is not, oh, we have a lot of money. This is actually much cheaper to buy land outside of Virginia than to buy a house in the DC area. They just had their third kid. He stopped in the copywriting. She put that company on hold, because it was causing a lot of headaches. They're gonna put their energy into their kids. They're gonna homeschool their kids, 'cause again, they're really interested in alternative education. And they built this whole curriculum surrounding their land. And a lot of their kids experience was gonna be helping to clear this land and build, they're building these sort of cool yurt style buildings on the land and she got very involved in starting up a homeschooling cooperative. So these other families that the kids would be doing things with and so they were going all in on being able to build that lifestyle. And he rented because everything's cheap and richmen compared to DC. There's a really nice office space in downtown Richmond and the arts district. It has like a balcony and he brought someone with him from DC and now he sort of can work in this new up and coming district of the city. And he does his video production and they live much cheaper. They're here in Richmond so they can kind of afford to not bring as much money. And they built this whole different life that's very intentional. And it's deep, there's a radical component to it. They're living in the woods on land and homeschooling their kids. But it's all coming from alignment with things that are really important to them. Slowing down, alternative education, being around their family outside of like normal rat race, suburban type living, but also connection to arts and the cities and creativity, which he has with what he's doing in the arts district. They shifted towards a deep life. That is that definition in action. So how do you do this yourself? Well, over the months we worked out some specific strategies you could try. And most of the strategies that I talk about with the deep life start with identify the different areas of your life that are important to you. The deep life does not work if you neglect parts of your own existence that are important. If you get too myopic, it's all about my work. It's all about my religion. It's all about my family. If you get too myopic, it doesn't work. So you have to identify, let's start with this, listen out what the different areas are. For whatever reason, when we began talking about this on the podcast, we began to use the terminology buckets to describe these areas. We say, what are the deep life buckets? What are the areas of your life that are important to you? This list should be personalized. But as a starting point, we often talk about, for sake of example, we'll talk about craft being one of these buckets. So that's the things you produce or your work, but also other types of high quality leisure type activities where you literally create things in the world community. It's your family, that's your friends, and that's the people that live around you. Dedication to that, constitution, that's your health, that's your fitness, contemplation, that's philosophy, ethics, and theology. So the part of that Aristotelian deep thinking about what makes humans humans and the life well lived, that's the key part for most people. We sometimes add a fifth bucket in these discussions, which we, to be a literative would call celebration, which is that commitment to, with presence and gratitude, just enjoying things about the world. You're really in the craft beer and being able to be at that craft brewery, overlooking the valley, enjoying a new brew that you really understand why it's really good and just having deep appreciation of that. You're really into music and being at that show and really just being able to appreciate that artist. So celebration is a big part of it for a lot of people as well. So you have your buckets, whatever they are. You have these different buckets and the deep life has to respect all of them. That's step one. Step two, as part of our deep life strategy, is let's warm up by developing a key stone habit in each of the buckets. So something you do every day when you write down that you did it, that is relevant to that bucket and signals to yourself, I take this part of my life seriously and I am willing to do non-required activity on a daily basis to support this piece of my life. These should not be completely onerous or complicated because you won't do them, but they should also not be trivial. You have to walk that line. It's tractable but meaningful. They're simple, but you do them every day. Now this warm up is about teaching yourself that you care about different parts of your life, teaching yourself that you are the type of person who does optional activity on a regular basis in pursuit of a greater good in your life. A lot of people need that warm up and it's something I think that has missed in a lot of self-help or advice type writing that we jump right into, just do this, this and this. Most people don't even have the practice yet with what does it feel like to say, shoot, I gotta go do this and it's kind of a pain, but then I get the satisfaction knowing that I did this thing anyways, even though it was a pain and you say, wow, I'm willing to do things that are a pain if I think they're important to me and I think that's a key first step. Next, once you have all those keystone habits going, pump is primed, you dedicate four to six weeks to each of your buckets. And when it's the turn of a particular bucket, you spend that time saying, now let me do a more significant overhaul of that part of my life and this is an alignment overhaul. So what you're trying to do is clear out of your life stuff that's not that valuable that's related to that topic or that actively gets into way of the things you care about in that topic while adding in place more things, a small number of things that are very important or valuable related to that. So when it comes to constitution, you're going through and really overhauling how you eat, integrating a fitness habit deeply into your daily routine, maybe you start training for something. So you take each element, so I'm gonna do a real overhaul there, clear out the distraction, pump up the thing that creates the value, pump up the things that creates the value. Do this for each of the buckets. Now at this point, you're really humming because two things have happened. One, you do really think about yourself as someone who can take optional action towards things that are important. And two, you've been doing non-trivial action towards all of these areas of your life that matter and it is in that action that you get the real self insight. It's in the fact that you spent a month focusing on just this part of your life and now I've lived the next four months with that part of your life being emphasized that you begin to gain real insight about what's important to you and what's not in that area, what matters, what doesn't, what opportunities out there are lurking. You're not just staring blindly at, I don't know, maybe I should live on a farm, maybe I should move to Ratonga. You're starting to figure out what really matters, you get this nuanced understanding of yourself. Now we're ready for the final step of the transformation towards the deep life, which is engaging the radical. Now let's make some radical changes. We're leaving that suburb of DC and moving to the James River in Richmond. Now you're primed for that. If you start with that, you end up on the island in the South Pacific picking lice out of your kid's hair, worried about there being no doctors and say we made a big mistake. But you do the keystone followed by the overhauls. Now you're coming from a place of confidence and self-awareness. And now you say, okay, what could we do that would be a radical shift that would further align us with these values I now much better understand. And here the best way to do it is lifestyle centric work backwards from various visions. You have to iterate through these various visions of a lifestyle. Lifestyles that are radically changed from where you are now. And you have to evaluate these potential new lifestyles in terms of their impact on all of the buckets. What you're looking for is a lifestyle that has some sort of radical change that gets you there, but it enhances all of your buckets. Not just we're going to an island in South Pacific because it seems big, but what's it gonna do to community? What's it gonna do to constitution? What's it gonna do to contemplation? What's it gonna do to celebration? You think about this whole new lifestyle and you try to find one that, okay, this is tractable. We can afford this. And if we do this right, this change is going to pump up some of these things we really care about very clearly into a big level. And it's not gonna get in the way of the other things. It's not gonna take one of these away. It's not when we move to the South Pacific. I mean, we never see our friends. We never see our family. We have no connection to our community. It's not gonna get in the way of any of these. And that is how you make the decision about doing something radical. So it's after a lot of work and practice and training. And then you try to make that shift. And then you repeat. And then you do these overhauls again. This is an annual thing probably. You go through your buckets. How's it going? What do we need to tune up? Every few years you might step back and say, do we need another type of radical shift here? You're not afraid of it because now you're not doing it randomly. Now the radical is not reactionary. It comes from a place of informed self-awareness. It comes from a place of confidence and practice. And so that is my attempt to make this vague but deeply aspirational idea that I want the type of life that when someone sees it, they say, whoa, I want that. I want that in my life and I wanna get there in a way that's systematic. And this is the best strategy that at least on this podcast, we've been able to come up with so far. Fixed the word, fixed the definition. Fixed the areas of your life. Keystone habit, overhaul, lifestyle centric, evaluation of different radical shifts to find one that might work and then take that radical shift. That's how you get to the deep life. It doesn't happen tomorrow, but it doesn't take two years. So if you are feeling that yearning, at least consider setting down this particular path.
Headspace and Blinkist (26:43)
All right, and that's what we have for today's core idea. Now I've got a good list of questions I wanna get into today. As normal, we have a group of questions on deep work and questions on the deep life. As always, before we jump into that, we should probably pay the bills. Talk about a couple of the sponsors that make this show possible. So I wanna start by talking about headspace. You have probably heard about headspace. This is a guided meditation app. So it's an app where you can select from a very large library of guided meditations and then you hear them straight in your ears and that meditation brings you through, you follow it right there to get those benefits. I mean, this is the time where this becomes relevant. I don't know about you, but the new year is over. We're in the depth of the winter. It's snowing outside. Jesse's truck barely made it through the quarter inch of snow on the grassy surfaces today. Like this is the type of time where you're in your head and you're anxious and things are bleak, is when you need to take your mental health seriously and headspace can really help you there. Look, we all say fine when we don't need it. People say, "How are you?" And we say, "I don't know, I'm just fine," but that's not really an emotion. We just say that even if we feel anger, sadness, or nerves or anxiety, this is where something like headspace can help. It is scientifically proven to help you manage your feelings and mental health. There's one study that came out recently that showed that just two weeks of using headspace can reduce your stress by 14%. You can use headspace meditations to relieve stress and anxiety, to sleep better, to improve your focus. They call themselves an everyday dose of mindfulness for real life. Jesse, I'm not sure if you know this, but headspace I found this when I was working with the app recently has guided meditations for focus. So like I wanna get into a mode of concentration on something hard I have to do, right? Like I have to write an article. You can do a guided meditation for focus. And there's the music there and it gets you locked in. And I talk a lot about Deep Work Ritual, so that's not a bad one to throw into it, into your mix there 'cause they know what they're doing. - Yeah, for sure. - So here's what we can offer. However you're feeling, if you try headspace, we can get you, let's see what we, one month three, look at that, that's pretty good. One month three, all right. So however you're feeling, try headspace at headspace.com/questions. It's that slash questions that's gonna get you one month three of their entire mindfulness library. This is the best headspace offer available. So go to headspace.com/questions today. That's headspace.com/questions. Let's also talk about Blinkist. I am a Blinkist believer. This is another one of the long time advertisers for the Deep Work podcast. With Blinkist, you get access to short summaries. So we're talking 10 to 15 minute summaries of thousands of best selling and important nonfiction books. So if you wanna know the main idea from a best selling nonfiction book, you can listen or read the Blink, if you're a Blinkist subscriber, and get right to the chase, what are the big ideas? Is it good time to be thinking about that? It's the new year. We wanna get off to a good start. We wanna infuse our life with inspiring or interesting or very useful ideas. Blinkist can help you get there. Now, Jesse, I've told you about this before, but like the way I like to use Blinkist is to figure out what books I wanna read or not. So if there's a topic I wanna know about, I'll read the blinks of all the related books, learn the lay of the land, learn the main ideas, and decide, oh, is there one of those books I actually wanna do buy and read in more detail. So you add Blinkist to a reading habit, and I think you supercharge your reading habit. So it works pretty well. Like for example, technology and future, that's a category they have that I spend a lot of time on my own work looking at. If you're interested in, you've all Harari, maybe you read Sapiens, and you said, oh, I know he has this new book, "Como Deos," and this other book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, blinks of both of those books are right there. You could jump in right away and say, what exactly is going on in "Como Deos?" Oh, I see, now should I buy this or not? Incredible useful. I actually read the "Como Deos" blink, that was useful. Irresistible's on there. Good friend of mine, Adam Alter, author of "irresistible." It's a great book about the mechanics of digital addiction. So we hear about this all the time, read the blink of "irresistible," get the basics. Oh, I know what I'm talking about. And if it hits you right, now I know I need to buy this book and read more of it. Anyways, if you're into the reading life, Blinkist is a good idea. Be a bad sign if the blink for your book was somehow longer, more comprehensive than your book itself, or if it was just like, or if the blink, this would be the thing I'd be worried about. The blink for my book was like two sentences long. Like we tried to condense this, and this is what this whole thing is about. So you want a long blink, like you want your book to have a meaty blink, because that means you wrote a meaty book. I think that's what it comes down to. I haven't looked at my blinks. I think all my main books are blinked. I haven't looked at my own blinks, though. I probably should. - Yeah, you probably should check them out. - Yeah, yeah. See what the people are thinking. Hopefully when you read the blinks of my books, you will say, "I gotta own this thing." And not just own this thing, I need four copies. That's the right reaction when you read a blink of one of my books. I need to buy multiple copies of this book. - You've actually been getting a lot of questions about like the counter-argument to stuff, so blinkus would be a good way to dive into that, too. - Yeah, because this is a discussion we've had on the show about expose yourself to alternative points of view to the strength in your understanding of a topic. Blinkist is perfect for that. Like, look, I'm not gonna go read six books, just because like my cousin was talking about something and I wanna understand it better, but I can do six blinks, you know, no problem this week. And now I really understand something better. - Yeah, it's a good point. - Right now, Blinkist has a special offer, just for our audience. If you go to blinkus.com/deep, you can start a free seven day trial and then get 25% off of Blinkist Premium Membership. And that's Blinkist spelled B-L-I-N-K-I-S-T, blinkus.com/deep to get 25% off in a seven day free trial. That's blinkus.com/deep. All right, I think it's time that we do some questions. So I got some questions here, and we'll start as always with some questions about deep work.
Does time blocking work with ADHD? (33:32)
Our first query comes from Jack. Jack asked, "Any tips for time blocking "for those of us in ADHD land?" Well, Jack, I hear a lot from people with ADHD and they talk about the various habits I talk about, which ones work well, which ones don't, which ones need to be adjusted. And the thing I hear most consistently about time blocking is that it's a double-edged sword. So time blocking for those in ADHD land is actually really, really useful in the sense that having clarity about, I'm doing this, that I'm doing that, and then I'm doing this. I mean, committed to that habit can be a really good target aim or for your attention and make it less likely that you fall onto a rabbit hole as compared to, let's say, a list reactive approach where after each task, you say, "Let me just look at my inboxes and calendars "and think about what I want to do next." If you're in that mode and you're combining that with ADHD, it's very difficult to make, let's say, difficult, persistent progress on things that need to get done, because there's so many shining objects pulling at you. The double-edged sword of time blocking in this context is you can't over block it. You can't overdo it. If you try to build one of these heroic time blocks schedules that's 10 hours long with 15 different precision blocks, it's really asking a lot from anybody to stay so on task and so focused and deny the lack, the cognitive energy draining the distractions pulling us. That's hard for anybody, but if ADHD, that becomes almost impossible. So you need to rely on blocks while at the same time not blocking too much. Bigger blocks, break blocks, and not trying to squeeze too much precision work into any one day. So that's why it seems to be a double-edged sword. You're kind of screwed if you don't do anything like that, but you're also setting yourself up for failure if you go overboard with the method.
How should I approach my PhD? (35:26)
So, hope you find that useful. All right, moving on, we got a question here from Andrew. Andrew says, "I'm starting a PhD. "How would you approach a PhD "knowing what you know now regarding deep work, et cetera?" Andrew, assuming you're looking for an academic job, assuming that's why you're doing a PhD, care a lot more about the research topic right now. When you're very new, you've got to think, where is there heat right now just beginning to emerge in my field? And I want to be working on something like that with the best possible people who are helping develop that field. I underestimated this, I would say, in my PhD program. I didn't think about it. I just said, I'll deal with the job market when I deal with the job market, but really what you want to be doing, if your goal is to get an academic job, is to say, I want to align myself with someone who's doing something very hot right now. Because here's what's going to happen when I enter the job market. They're going to say, we want whatever your advisor's name is. And then the responsible people, well, she's not available, she already has a job. They'll say, all right, well, can we get basically like a clone of this person who also knows how to do that work? Like, great, who is her student? Let's get that person instead. That's where the really good job offers come from. That's what opens up options. So care a lot about what research you're working on, and then get in the habit of working on research every single day. I'm going to suggest the first three hours of every day. The first three hours of every day, you're reading stuff relevant to a paper, or article, or essay you want to write, or you're directly writing a paper, article, or essay. So three hours a day every day, you're always doing work. That adds up. Produce, produce, produce, okay? So align yourself with the hottest topic you can, someone who's doing great work on a field that's emerging really makes such a difference. We really underplay topic. Research topic is so important on the job market. It's not just here's a generic talent. It's like we're hiring for this topic, and then B, three hours, three hours every day. And also in your writing, don't do what I just did, which was enumerated one, followed by B. That's the type of stuff that's not going to go well in your article for whatever academic journal. - All right. - He's getting his PhD in film studies. - Yeah. - I was wondering what your thoughts on, you know, even on that film study kick with books and stuff. - Yeah. - Do a lot of people have PhDs in film studies? - No, but it's an apartment at a lot of universities, but not every university, right? So it's not as widespread as like English or something. But film studies is a great example. I mean, basically in film studies, you need to be aligning yourself with an emerging framework or critique that seems to have a lot of heat around it. That's what I would say. And then you need to start reading all that and writing in that as early as possible. Align yourself with someone who's doing really great work with that new framework or type of critique and master it. - Mm-hmm. - And you got to be doing reviews and essays like pretty early on. That's what I would say. - Yeah, film studies would be cool. Yeah, I read that textbook. It's complicated field man. - Yeah, that's why I was curious. - Yeah, it's all complicated. I mean, it's like any other field I think right now, so like whatever the, there's like theoretical frameworks that get popular and then they infuse lots of different fields. Like film studies is very susceptible to that. So whatever is big at the time. So if we were talking 15 years ago, you're gonna get a lot of sort of post-colonial theory or queer theory. And now there's like a lot more specifically post-modern critical theory subsets that are like really injecting themselves through film studies. So like probably what you should do in film studies is look to an emerging theoretical framework that's generating a lot of heat in another major field that hasn't yet made it to film studies or is just making it there and then be one of the people that helps usher it in. That's like a pretty sure path to academic jobs.
How can I meet other deep workers? (39:29)
- All right, Andrew. Let's move on here. Alex asks, "What's the best way to meet other deep workers? "I'm a freelance writer. "I make a living doing deep work. "I'd love to meet regularly with other people "who prioritize deep work "to compare notes, discuss goals, et cetera. "But I do not know where to find other people like this." Alex, there's a good question. I mean, I've been thinking about, I don't have an answer first of all. I don't have a great answer for you, but it gets me brainstorming. Maybe we should be involved in finding a better way of helping people do this. Like, I don't know, Jesse, what do you think about what would be good here? Like, let me tell you like a model that's interesting to me. Mr. Money Mustache, he'd add me. - I was thinking exactly. - Are you thinking about it? - Right. - Yeah, you're gonna, I had a fan, you're gonna mention that. - Yeah, so Justin and I have talked about this. But so Mr. Money Mustache, who blurb digital minimalism. So I met up when I was working on that book. He's a personal finance guy. Made a bunch of money with his personal finance website. He lives in Longmont, Colorado, and he bought just a building downtown in Longmont. And they renovated it and it's basically like a co-working space. But it's like a co-working space, but it's also a gym. They have like an outdoor gym and they have a lot of kegs there for these like evening talks. So they bring in people to talk about, I guess business and stuff like this. And they have talks and craft brewers and the neighborhood bringing kegs of beer. It's just created this whole physically located, physically cited community about, in this case, people who believe in his sort of, whatever it says, financial advice type philosophy. But like, should there be something like this for deep work? - I think people pay a small fee to go to this thing, like $50 a month or something like that. And you're like, it's a bit like some small application. You gotta live in the area. - Yeah. - Yeah. - But like co-working space that's like deep work focused? Not a bad idea actually. - If we had a building here in Tacoma Park where you could come in and I don't know what would make it deep work focused, I think I would probably pulling from the Unimodio machine, there would be the common space and then pods. Like you go into these pods to do deep work. It's not even like, oh, here's my office. No, that stuff can be out in the common space. You go into these pods to do deep work. And then there's like kind of a more social space. And then like another space is just for, I don't know. I don't know exactly how it would work, but that would be cool. That would be cool. It could something you could see happening more commonly across the country. So Alex, I'm just using this as a chance to brainstorm, but I think, you know, there's like a deep work meets we work play here. That could be cool. At a smaller scale, Jesse, like should we do an event you think at some point? - You had mentioned this early on in your podcast and-- - Yeah, I got lazy. - I was like, oh, definitely go to that. This is before I even, you know, started working here. But then, so I was definitely gonna go whenever you announced it. - Yeah, like that could be fun. I mean, it seems like a pain. That's why I didn't do it because I had no time. But if we had some help, it could be interesting. I don't know where we would do it. If we would do it here in Tacoma Park or do it somewhere where we had more room and just have a lot of people in the DC area who are into this stuff. Like let's all get together and just like-- - Go down near a Nat's game. - Go down near a Nat's game. Yeah. Yeah, do it in the dugout. It'd be awesome. But yeah, we could do it down there. We could do it here at the restaurant that the Deep Work HQ is over. I mean, I don't know how much space we have here. I don't even know how many people would come. - Probably a lot. - I'm trying to think my only benchmarks. I've done some book signings here in DC that were pretty popular. I did one for digital minimalism, at politics and prose. And we definitely standy-roamed only that place. And then when Scott Young was here, we did a joint one down on 8th Street at a bookstore down there. And we definitely, you know, standing room only that place. So I don't know. But we might get a good crowd. It's kind of hard to tell. All right, let's think about that. Yeah, 'cause I haven't seen people. I mean, I see people now. I do speak in events again and stuff like that. So I do see people, but that might be kind of cool. We get together like a lot of deep life, deep work, deep questions type people. We all get together and just meet. People can meet each other. Like, hey, here's some other people that, you know, people meet people. - People meet people. Yeah, deep, people meet with some people meet people. The problem is I'm like an introverted curmudgeon who is a myth and throat and say, I don't want to bother like talking to people. Sometimes I'm in that mood. And then other times like I want to meet all my listeners and readers and it just depends on like my mood for the day. Oh well, so Alex, we're working on it. All right, that's the long and the short of it. All right, let's move on here.
How can I improve Zoom meetings? (44:15)
Shane asks about effective and speedy Zoom meetings, contradiction in terms. I don't know if that's possible. Let's get some more details here. He's in some group. They had their first meeting with 12 members. And while the agenda was set and the reports were sent out part of the meeting, still took nearly two hours. And so Shane is frustrated with Zoom meetings. Yeah, look, here's the thing about meetings like that. First of all, the meetings with 12 people where everyone gets to just talk are a huge waste of time. So the idea is we have like a 12 person board and let's all just get together and kind of discuss things to figure things out. That's a huge waste of time. It's better to say, okay, there's one person who's gonna present this thing. And here's our proposal. And then we have like a 15 minute Q and A period and then a suggestion is gonna be made. So more structure there really matters. In general, having more processes for work before the meetings make a big deal. So the more you're trying to accomplish ad hoc and on the fly in the meeting itself, the more the meeting is gonna be dragged out and frustrating. And the more you say, this is our mechanisms for making decisions, the more that's in place ahead of time, the more focused and effective your meetings can be. So if there's some process ahead of time for, here are the motions being proposed and there will be a 10 minute discussion of the motion like at one meeting. Then there's gonna be a period of, I don't know, I'm just making this up, of like back and forth, whatever people are marking up with emails or thoughts and like a shared doc, how they feel about it. And then a concrete proposal is brought up for a vote at the next meeting. There's a 10 minute Q and A portion and then the vote happens on something specific. When I'm talking about here, like really clear processes for how things happen. Where part of the process is like, here's where discussion happens, this type of discussion on this piece for this long. That gets you a lot more control as opposed to, let's just figure this all out in the meeting. Once you're, once you have more than three people, that's not gonna go, that's not gonna go very well. The other thing that's really useful is to make everything concrete. Okay, we're talking about this topic in this meeting. Here's a shared screen where I'm taking notes if this conversation is going to conclude with a clear action item assigned to someone. So when people know that this is live ammo they're playing with, they're usually a lot more circumspect and careful about this. Let me just chime in and blow the eight. When it's like, here's the thing, we're trying to get to this person's gonna do this thing. Makes it more serious than if they think we're just time wasting. Let's all just talk about it and hopefully this dies away without me having to do more work. So it's like, okay, here's our goal. I'm gonna take notes on what people are saying. We're gonna clarify, okay, let me clarify. Then let me propose that these will be the next steps. What do we think about it? We changed it, great, Jack is gonna do it, move on. So be really clear. Everything you're discussing is wrapped up. It's written down, wrapped up, summarized and assigned. All right, zoom, effective and speedy zoom meeting. It's not a lot of those.
How do I shutdown while watching kids? (47:11)
I'll just do one more deep work question. We have one here from Heather. Heather asks, "How do I make a better transition "from working from home to after school with the kids?" So Heather says, "Pre-COVID, "my transition from a working mindset to mom mindset "was easy since there was a 30 minute commute "from the office to aftercare. "Now I permanently work from home "and there is no transition. "They get off the bus when school is out." She says in parentheses, "We nixed aftercare "since I am here, but is that a bad idea?" In parentheses. But I'm still getting a few things done during that hour, thoughts. All right, well, Heather, my specific thought for your situation is you should not have nixed the aftercare. Work is work. Don't let the fact that the work is happening at your home make you change the status of that work to be half work. Work slash, I'm also doing another job which is taking care of my kids after they get home from school. I mean, that's sort of equivalent of being like, "I work at this office job, "but for like two hours in the afternoon, "I'm also serving food in the cafeteria." Your boss says, "Well, you can't have both "those jobs at the same time, right?" Like, when you're here in the office, you can't also be serving food in the cafeteria. Like, this is your job here. But when we work from home, we blur those lines a lot more and we say, "Yeah, but I could do like childcare too, "and can I just mix it all together?" And it's very hard to do. This is why during the heat of the pandemic, when schools were closed and offices were closed, I kept describing the situation as a dumpster fire because it was impossible. When you ask people, "Do all your work "and do all the childcare and do that at the same time," it's like being the cafeteria worker at the same time that you're trying to be an accountant. It's impossible and we pretend like it's not. So my specific answer for you, Heather, is if at all possible financially, go back to exactly the same care set up you had pre-pandemic. And it sounds like the set up you had was after school, your kids went to aftercare, which brought them to the normal end of a standard nine to five workday and then you would pick them up. Go back to that aftercare. Yes, you're working at home, and who cares, your working till work is over and then you're shifting over to the mom mindset not trying to mix the two. So if that's possible, that's what I would suggest. Let me give a more general answer here about, I think a very good point, more generally, shutting down when you have a hazy boundary between work and non-work, which again is pretty common, especially in these work-from-home days. So you might have this hazy period. So let's say the aftercare thing doesn't work out. So you have this hazy period where you're kind of working and you're kind of doing something else and you recognize this and you don't schedule meetings and you know you're just gonna get a little bit done because you're also doing childcare. You have to find how to have a definitive shutdown that still works. So even if you're in this hazy period, have a definitive end to the hazy period. All right, now I'm doing my shutdown complete. Even though the last 90 minutes have been half shutdown, I have to get my kids going with their homework but then I have to return and answer emails and I have to get snacks and then I'm going back and sending out these reports. Even though that's back and forth and hazy have a clear shutdown at the end of that. Where you're like, now work is completely done. Now if possible, if you can have one that gets you out of your house and completely changes your state, I think that would be good. I don't know your marital situation but if you have, let's say a partner that's working, sounds like here, maybe they're working at an office, when they come back, that spells you to do a 30-minute transition. The really fully change your mindset. I think exercise is a good one here. I've been doing this some more, especially on my teaching days when I can't get exercise in earlier in the day. I'll do this when I'm with the kids in the afternoon. I'll set it up so maybe once working on their homework and once playing Minecraft and I'll let my youngest, I'll bring them down to the basement to where my exercise equipment is. Okay, you can watch this video here and then I'm gonna go in the garage and do evil things to a rowing machine. And it's a transition, even though I'm kind of watching the kids, the exercise is very different. It's very different than looking at a screen. And it really is a way of, okay, now I come out of that and I've physically changed my state and I come out of that not doing other types of work. So have a clear shutdown, even if that shutdown happens after a period of sort of hazy boundaries.
MunkPack and Just EGG (51:37)
All right, so let's wrap up questions about deep work. I wanna do a few quick questions about the deep life but before we get into it, I wanna talk about two more sponsors that makes this show possible. Jesse, these are both food related sponsors. So you can tell I'm getting hungry. Both food related sponsors that I actually really enjoy. So the first one is Monk Pack and that's Monk M-U-N-K. And I wanna talk in particular about Monk Pack, keto nut and seed bars. So these are granola bar style snack bars but instead of just being full of sugar and junk, they have one gram of sugar or less, two to three grams of net carbs and they're only 150 calories. Now they have that name keto in the title because they were originally designed for anyone following a keto lifestyle because they're so low on carbs. But they're a perfect snack for anyone who's trying to eat better or cut back on sugar and carbs without sacrificing taste. These are really good tasting bars. The key to me with granola bars is they can't be too hard. So these are soft, but they have nuts on them. So you get a bit of a crunch. I think they taste great. They have a lot of flavors, sea salt, dark chocolate, caramel, sea salt, peanut butter, dark chocolate. I'm a big sea salt dark chocolate fan. I mean, you eat that thing, at least in my case, you're hungry, it's in the afternoon. You don't wanna eat junk, but you need something. You've been podcasting all day. You've been stuck in the studio with Jesse. You gotta get some food. You Jesse insists on everything being keto friendly. Actually, Jesse just doesn't eat. Do I have that right? Here's Jesse's diet plan. I have this right. Like eat one meal every three days. Is that how it goes? - I just eat dinner. - You just eat dinner. Okay, so you're around Jesse all day. He makes me hungry, just seeing him. But you don't wanna eat junk. You grab one of these keto nut and seed bars. It tastes great. You feel like you're having a treat, but it doesn't have the junk in it. So I am a fan of this. I ate them all. So they sent me some and I went through them really quick. That's how I judge that I like your products. Like, okay, I am eating these things good. In addition to being keto friendly, they are gluten-free, plant-based, and non-GMO, no soy, no trans fat, sugar, alcohols, or artificial colors. So try it for yourself and you'll see, and we have a special deal for our listeners that will allow you to get 20% off your first purchase of any Monkpack product. And just visit Monkpack.com and enter the code DEEP at checkout. Monkpack is so confident in their product it's backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. So if you don't like it for any reason, they'll exchange their product or refund your money, whichever you prefer. So to get started, just go to Monkpack.com. Remember that's M-U-N-K-P-A-C-K.com. Select any product. And then enter that code DEEP at checkout to save 25% off your purchase. Monkpack, delicious, nutritious food. We can count on. We thank them for sponsoring the podcast. Another thing I wanna talk about food-wise another sponsor is just egg. I am an egg guy. I have eggs almost every day for breakfast. That's my thing, but that's also a lot of eggs. This is why I was excited to learn about just egg. Now this is a cholesterol-free plant-based egg that will give you the most decadent quiches of your life, the fluffiest scrambles and the easiest egg sandwiches of all times. It has about the same protein as a chicken egg but less saturated fat. And plus, just egg is packed with cholesterol-lowering, polyunsaturated fat. Chicken eggs wish they were this healthy, right? So because just eggs comes from plants, you're also helping to save our planets and that's nice if you're into the whole saving, the environment thing. So just eggs allows me, for example, to still have my routinized habit of eating eggs every morning without actually going through that many actual chicken eggs every week. I can throw just eggs into the mix and have a cholesterol-lowering plant-based alternative that still tastes roughly the same. Just eggs are so good, they might even convince Jesse to eat food more than once a week and before 6 p.m. or whatever. So like, what happens like, this is Super Bowl Sunday. So do you like, you go nuts on a night like tonight? - Today I'm definitely gonna eat wings and then some other good stuff, yeah. - But no food until then. - I mean, the game's on at 6.30 anyway, so. - Okay, yeah, yeah. So you're just gonna destroy some wings tonight. - Yeah, I'm gonna have wings, eat whatever I want and then-- - And then not eat again for seven days. - Yeah, might not eat tomorrow. - Tomorrow might be, you know, no eat. - All right, so don't be like Jesse, eat more regularly, substitute in some just eggs, show off the new cholesterol-free you by buying a bottle of just eggs today and doing the planet a solid at the same time, just eggs, really good eggs. All right, let's do some really good questions now. Now I'm gonna do a few here about the deep life. Let me find my questions, my goodness. You see how the sausage is made, guys? Oh, here we go. Here we go. I see.
How do I balance my personal and professional life? (57:02)
All right, we got ourselves some questions here. First one comes from Agnes McGiver, awesome name. You watch McGiver, we're the generation. - I've seen it in the past, yeah, for sure. - Guy was awesome. So Agnes McGiver, which is, I believe McGiver's aunt, I just said the name, like the aunt that, since I'm a birthday card. All right, Agnes McGiver says, "I've been applying deep work concepts and time blocking to both my personal and professional life. I'm ambitious in both. Do you recommend creating a clearly defined separation between the two? Do I use two time block planners? I catch myself wanting to open the time block planner and plan out my personal life. Agnes, I usually recommend do not fully time block your personal life if you're also time blocking your professional life because it's too much structure. You will eventually burn out. Time blocking is very artificial. All right, so when you're time blocking, it's not like you are rolling with our natural instincts of humans about how we approach our time. It is an artificial solution to the artificial load of diverse work tasks that we get poured on our plate. So it's not easy to do, but it works. It gets a lot done, it keeps things in control. It allows us to survive the day loose of tasks that stone at us in the modern work situation. In a perfect slow productivity enriched world, you might not need time blocking at all, but we need it today. But you don't wanna do something so difficult and so unnatural in every waking hour, you are gonna burn out. So go lighter in your personal time. I often just recommend sketching a plan. Into the day of the evening, what's going on? Well, is there any time specific things we need to remember? Let me jot that down. We're going to dinner. I have to pick something up from the store. And then you sketch out other things you wanna get done. Here's my plan for tonight. I wanna get some reading in later. I wanna watch this show. You kinda figure out a reasonable plan. You kinda jot it down. It's not planning out every minute. Here's the things that have to happen. Here's some things I wanna get done. Rough plan, do your best. Same thing for weekends. Well, I gotta go, we're going on this trip for most of Saturday, but I wanna get a walk in before. You just got sketching out a plan. So it's not a full time block plan, but it's not just winging it. It's somewhere in between. I think that's probably the right balance between the two.
How do I pick a major if I can’t follow my passion? (59:21)
All right, Samantha asks, "How do I pick a college major "if I shouldn't follow my passion/interest?" Well, so Samantha, this is where I can point again to my core idea videos. There is now a core idea video live on the YouTube page about my idea of not following your passion. So the background for this discussion can be found on that video. Everyone can go reference it to get the specific thoughts behind my ideas about passion and its role in career selection. And the thing you will notice if you go back and re-watch that video is that passions/interest is a problematic conjunction there, not the same thing. So the issue here is you're joining those two things together. Passion is the idea that you are wired for a particular pursuit or direction and that if you align yourself with that pursuit, you will be happy and fulfilled. And if you don't, you won't. It is a very high bar. There's one true thing you're supposed to be doing. Get it right or you're screwed. Interest is here's something that seems interesting to me. There can be many things that seem interesting to you and many things that don't. I think interest is a perfectly fine criteria to help select, let's say, a major. This major seems interesting to me. I like the opportunities that would open up if I did it well. Good, go for that. And what if there's five majors that pass that criteria then it doesn't really matter which one you choose. Passion is not the same as interest. Passion says there's one true thing. If you get it wrong, you're screwed. Interest is just a useful piece of information you can use in making a choice. So what I'm trying to do here is lower the bar. Lower the bar when it comes to selecting something like a major or selecting a career, lowering the bar from there's one right answer. If you get it wrong, you're screwed. Down to, there's a lot of reasonable pursuits on which you can build an enjoyable academic career on which you can build an enjoyable professional career. There's a lot of them. So give it a little bit of thought, but once you find something that's reasonable, go with it and don't overthink it. I think the straw man that you're setting up here, Samantha is throwing the bar out and say, no, it doesn't matter what you do. Just choose completely randomly. Film studies or computer science, I'll just throw a dart who cares. And I think that's nonsense, right? I think we have inclinations, we have interest, we have skills we've already built out in one area versus another. We like the lifestyles enabled by this path better than the lifestyles enabled by that path. Use all that information to make a selection, but just don't overthink it and be happy with the fact there might be a bunch of different choices that all satisfy those criteria. What really matters is what you do next. What you do once you actually made that choice. And the reason why this is important is that it was actually college majors was the original thing that got me interested in the topic of following your passion. It was the original thing that set me down the path to writing my book, so good they can't ignore you. Because what I was seeing when I was a graduate student writing advice for students is I kept hearing the same story again and again. Students at these elite schools like MIT would come time to choose their major. And they've been taught, follow your passion. So they believed there's one major on wire to do. The chorus of angels will start singing if I choose that right major. And if I get it wrong, it's gonna be bad. And here's what would happen. They would get to their junior year. The courses would get harder. Why did the courses get harder? Because they're in their junior year. This is when you have to take the upper level courses that depend on the intro courses as their prerequisites. Hard courses aren't super fun. The problem sets are difficult. It's frustrating. You can't get things right. They're difficult. You get worse grades on essays than you're used to. That's part of how this works. But because these students were taught, you have a one true passion in the course that angels will sing if you find it, they would take this hardness, this sense of, oh, I don't love this every day, as an indication that I must not have chosen the one true passion. How could this possibly be my one true passion if it's frustrating me and I don't love it? And know what they would do? They would switch their majors, late in the game. And it would be a problem because it's hard to start from scratch with a new major. And it was this epidemic of late stage major shifting that actually first got me interested in these topics of passion culture. I thought this was crazy. Like, what are you guys doing? Well, you can't switch your major this late. Like, you're gonna have to spend the next year year. You're gonna be scrambling. You're gonna be miserable. But they were so sure that passion was a thing. And passion means you'll love it. And they weren't loving it because, you know, the differential equations you're doing in your junior year in your physics major are pain. And they would switch and it would really be bad for them. It would really be negative. It would hurt their academic life. It would make them miserable in their personal life. And it didn't open up any new opportunities. And so that's what actually got me into this topic in the first place. So no, we're not wired to do one thing. But it doesn't mean we can do everything. So use reasonable criteria to make a choice. Have a reason why you choose something, but don't over sweat that reason. And don't be worried if more than one thing satisfies it. There's lots of path to a passionate, interesting life. You don't have to find the one true thing, but you do have to give it a little bit of thought.
Podcast Recap & Resource Guide
Is there a place where I can find all of the ideas from this podcast? (01:04:34)
All right, let's put in one more question here. Final question here comes from Leata. Leata said, "Is there a place where I can find "all of your insights from the podcast written down?" She says, "I often listen to your podcast "when walking to work, but can't keep stopping, "pulling out a notebook and writing your ideas down. "I know that many of your ideas appear in your books, "blog and New Yorker articles, but do they cover "all of your ideas? "If you espouse a new idea in the podcast, "you always write it down somewhere for future prosperity. "I'm thinking I might have to stop listening "to your podcast when walking, "and instead treat it like listening to a lecture, "i.e. sitting down at a desk and writing down notes." Well, no, there's not right now a place where every idea from the podcast is written down, but there's a few things I will suggest here. One, the big part of the YouTube page we launched, and I keep trying to make this point, is not about trying to build up a large YouTube audience. It's not about trying to be a YouTube influencer that is getting people to smash the subscribe button while doing giveaways on Minecraft videos. It's not the goal. The goal is to make the information from the podcast much more usable. So now the big ideas I talk about are gonna have a core idea video. You can go to the core idea playlist on YouTube and see in one place me talking about each of the big ideas on which I base a lot of my answers. So if you hear a particular answer, like where's that coming from? There's probably gonna be a core idea video where the foundational ideas are. There's deep dives on there. Usually when I'm working out an idea, I might try it a few time and answers, and at some point I'll do a deep dive on that idea. There's a playlist of just those deep dives. You can go and see those. If there's a particular question, you say, "Man, I'm walking and I hear this question," and that seems like a big idea. Well, there's gonna be a video of just that question. Within a couple days of that episode airing that you can find in bookmark. And you could just go and look at, go and look at the show notes, like, "Oh, what was that question called?" And you'll find it. It'll be posted pretty soon after it comes out. So I'm hoping the YouTube page will make it easier for people to begin pulling out. Like this will be the good archive of the information. Now in the portal launches, the standalone portal launches from which you can access all of the videos and podcast episodes without even having to go to YouTube, it is gonna include a dedicated page for every episode of the podcast. You're gonna see the show notes, the description of every question in that episode on that page. You were gonna be able to play it, share from that page. You're gonna see every video taken from that episode accessible in a horizontal carousel right there from that page. Once we're doing that, we might start adding more information to our show notes. So that will become a pretty good record as well. But we really are hoping that people can remix and gather their favorite questions, their favorite videos, et cetera. Now that they're all accessible, people can find them, they can put them into their own pages, they can put them into their own playlist. And we're really thinking this through. But the YouTube page was a major step towards making the information in this podcast way more accessible and findable and savable than it just being in the long form on audio. So we gotta start there, get used to the YouTube page, bookmark or save videos that are important to you, create your own playlist. That's probably the right way to begin collecting the things we talk about on the podcast that are of particular interest to you. All right, well, what's of interest to me right now is wrapping this up. We are short on time. So thank you everyone who sent in your questions. Remember to check out that YouTube page. See videos of all the questions and segments we talked about today as well as videos of the full episodes. If you like what you heard, you will like what you read on my long standing email newsletter. You can sign up for that at cal Newport.com. I'll be back on Thursday to listen or call episode. And until then, as always, stay deep.