"If You Want To SUCCEED In Life, DEVELOP THESE SKILLS!" Yuval Noah Harari & Jay Shetty | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled ""If You Want To SUCCEED In Life, DEVELOP THESE SKILLS!" Yuval Noah Harari & Jay Shetty".
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In that moment in the supermarket that I stand and I see these two brands and how to choose, I choose this brand, the Mystery of the Universe. It isn't the Mystery of the Universe. We know today a lot about what's really happening in your brain, in your mind, when you make this choice and it's increasingly becoming easier and easier to manipulate these choices. Thank you everyone for coming back to On Purpose, the number one health podcast in the whole world. Thank you for making us the number one podcast in the world. It means so much to me. I'm so grateful for all your love, all your engagement and most importantly for choosing education, for choosing enlightenment, for choosing empowerment over everything else in the world. You're taking out your time right now, whether you're walking your dog, you're at the gym, you're commuting to and from work. Thank you for taking this time to invest in yourself. Now today's guest is someone that I've been looking forward to for such a long time. So I'm so happy. I'm so excited that he's finally here. His name is Yuval Harari. You've probably seen it in every bookstore in the world. If you travel at all or if you ever walk into shop, you will have seen it. His amazing international best-selling books, Sapiens, Homodaeus and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. He's also a two-time winner of the Polonsky Prize, which he won in 2009 and 2012 for his originality and creativity. And today we get to dive into his incredible mind and find all of these insights that he shared. Yuval, thank you so much for being here today. It's great to be here. I'm grateful that you're learning the opportunity. No, I'm so excited. I genuinely was so looking forward to this discussion because it's not only about the success of your books. What you've been speaking about in your books have dipped into so many different parts of mainstream culture. And I love that how I think I like you has been able to do that in today's incredible world. So congratulations for everything that you've done. And I'm hoping this is the start of a new relationship for us as well. But I'm going to get straight into it. And I want to start off talking a bit about happiness, because happiness is a big theme for my audience.
Life Skills And Societal Perspective
Happiness over time expectations (02:14)
It's something that my audience cares a lot about. And I picked out something that I wanted to read that you say in your book. And you say, one of the chapters in your 21 Lessons for 21st Century is, "Happiness equals reality minus expectations." All right. Happiness equals reality minus expectations. And I want to dive into that. Because I want to ask you, how should we set expectations? We all have expectations. I have expectations doing this podcast. I have expectations. When I'm thinking about, when you think about anyone investing in their job, they have expectations. When someone starts a relationship, they have expectations. What is your take on how we should form set and create our expectations for happiness? Oh, that's a big one to start with. Yeah, definitely. I think that we need to relax control a bit. I mean, not to set yourself, these should be my expectations. The first step is actually to familiarize yourself with what you already expect and with the internal processes that have generated these expectations. Because usually we know almost most of us know extremely little about really what's going on inside us and about what forms our opinions, our desires, our expectations. There is a general tendency to identify with whatever pops up in your mind. And we are encouraged a lot by our culture and by the key ideologies of the age, whether it's liberal democracy, whether it's capitalism, consumerism, to just identify with our inner voice, with our, I mean, all these slogans that just do what feels good, just connect to your heart and all these things. And people mistake it to mean, just identify, just look inside you and the first thing that comes up, identify with that. And my advice would be to really take the time to explore what is happening inside you and where do all these things really come from. So much of our expectations and our desires, they don't reflect any inner truth self. They reflect a million manipulations done on us either by external forces or even by internal forces that we know so little about. So before we reach the point, when like we write ourselves the list of items, this is my agenda for life, this is my expectation from life, take time, a long time to first of all, familiarize with yourself with what is actually happening inside. Yeah, absolutely. I think your spot and I completely agree with you. I was sharing with you earlier that I was training to become an investment banker and working business growing up. And then I got to a point where I looked at that and I was like, is that even me? Like, why do I even want to do that? And I realized because in the part of society that I grew up in, that was the most glorified role. So the people that I was surrounded by had made that seem as the peak role or job that someone in our society could attain. And so actually it wasn't my goal or dream. It was just the dreams and goals of people around me. Is that what you're referring to about how we, there are a million ways in which we're forming our dreams and goals? Yeah, that's part of it. Yeah. And you know, that's a very old story. Throughout human history, you're always influenced by your friends, your family, the culture around. And much of what people took to be their innermost desires and expectations, it actually came from outside. Today, it's even more extreme because we are increasingly acquiring technologies that enable external agents, whether corporations or government or whatnot, to really hack the human mind and hack the human brain and manipulate us in ways which were never possible before, which makes it even more urgent than ever to really get to know yourself. You know, the advice, know yourself, it's the oldest advice in the book. You go back thousands of years, you meet Socrates or Buddha or Confucius, this is what they'll tell you, get to know yourself. It's a more important thing in life. But there is something new today. What's new today is that for the first time in history, you have real competition. If in the time of Buddha, you didn't make the effort to know yourself, nah, I'm too busy. So you missed enlightenment. But you didn't, you didn't face any competition out there because the kings and the aristocracy and the merchants in the time of Buddha, they couldn't get in your head. But today, you have real competition. You may not have the time to get to know yourself because you're too busy. I'm too busy with the family, with the work, with whatever. But there are people who have the time and the money to get to know you. That's their business, to really get to know you. Their entire business model is based on that. Or their entire political model is based on that. So you now really have competition from these corporations and governments. It's a very simple equation or a very simple idea. If they get to know you a little better than you know yourself, game over, they can manipulate and control you. And you will not even realize it because the easiest people to manipulate are the people who believe in free will. The people who believe that their thoughts and desires and expectations, they reflect some authentic inner self. And they don't question, is this really the case? Right, right, right. So how much does that person have free will?
Free will (08:19)
How much do you think a person does have free will? I would say as a first approximation, extremely little. I mean, I don't run too deeply into the argument about the theoretical possibility of free will. If you want, we can go there. I want to go wherever you are. But as a first approximation, I would say that even if you believe that free will is possible theoretically in some situations, you should at least acknowledge that 99% of decisions don't reflect your free will. They reflect something else. So I don't mind even considering the philosophical point. Let's say that there is free will, but free will is not something you have. Free will is something you need to struggle for. And the wrong idea about free will is that I have free will. Any thought that pops in my mind, any desire that I have, this is my free will. So it is sacred and it represents something sublime. And this is nonsense. That is, this is not the case. Maybe if you work really, very hard, you would reach a point when at least some of the decisions in your life will reflect freedom. But it's not something you can just take for granted. Now, there are a lot of forces in the world which encourage us to have this simplistic idea that anything that pops in the mind is the reflection of my free will. It comes most notably in the economics sphere from the whole consumerist and capitalist system, which it's built on the premise that the customer is always right. When you talk to the big corporations or to some business magnets and you ask them about their practices and about problematic things they do, the final line of defense is always the customer is always right. Yes, we are doing these things, but the customers are buying it and the customers are the number one authority. This is their free will. If the customers want it, who are we or who is you to tell the customer that they are wrong, are you some big brother that knows better than them? So this is like the final line of defense. The customer is always right. And this is based in a way on the idea of free will, that the will of the customer represents this sublime force that manifests itself through your desires. Like, I want this brand of conflicts. Oh, amazing. That's human free will in action. The mystery of the universe manifests itself. Like in that moment in the supermarket that I stand and I see these two brands and how to choose, I choose this brand, the mystery of the universe. It isn't the mystery of the universe. We know today a lot about what really happening in your brain, in your mind, when you make this choice and it's increasingly becoming easier and easier to manipulate these choices. And again, the easiest people to manipulate are those who think that when they choose this brand in the supermarket, they are exercising their free will. Absolutely, absolutely. And it's interesting you say that before I go into the question I'm taking off a tangent was how some of the biggest creators and inventors in the world have not thought customer first. So when you think of people like Steve Jobs or even Henry Ford, I think it was Henry Ford who said that if I asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses. Right? And so he said, I didn't ask people what they wanted. And Steve Jobs would often say that too as well that you are creating, because the audience doesn't actually know what they want. But so some of the most powerful inventors have actually gone the opposite way. But in regards to that point that you're making there at the end, then what does one do? And I agree with you, you're saying that the person who becomes the most fooled or deluded is the one who believes that they have the most choice and free will. So what do we do? What does an individual do in that scenario in this crazy information filled world where I was saying that the other day that before we were targeted by billboards, which was only if you drove, and then it was the television, which again, you had to own one, and you only spent a few hours a day.
How to deal with information-overload? (12:22)
And then it was the internet, which you still needed a computer and a dial up connection. And now it's all the time, right? So what does one do when they're being bombarded with all of that information? Take time off is that the best advice I can give, you know, that the first take time off. It's extremely important during the day, during the month, during the year. I don't believe in, I mean, I don't think we can or should completely disconnect. I mean, we are now having this conversation where you hope that millions of people will see it. I have nothing against, you know, social media on the internet. They have done wonderful things for humankind. I don't know, I met my husband online in a dating site. So yes, so I've, some of my best friends are applications. So I have nothing like inherently against them, but not all the time. The first thing is just take time off. Then you ask yourself, what do I do in this time off? So I would say different things probably work best for different people. Like I meditate, I do vivasana meditation, other people, they do different kinds of meditations. Some people find that out is much more effective way for them to explore the inner reality. For some people, it could be sports or going hiking in nature, many things. But I would say two things in general about all these things. Whatever works for you, do it quickly, because you don't have much time. I mean, there is this race going on. As we now talk, there are these corporations and governments that are busy trying to hack you. And you need to stay a few steps ahead of them. So that's one thing, which was never the case before or was less the case. And the other thing is it won't be so much fun. I mean, some people have this idea that a journey of inner exploration is a fun journey. Oh, I'll discover all these amazing things about myself and what a good person I am. And I will have these wonderful experiences of bliss and peacefulness and oneness with the universe. And sometimes it happens. I don't say it never happens. But a lot of that is painful experiences, it's boring experiences. Like you have like to go through a desert of boredom. And one of the, I think, biggest obstacles for people today in the world of the 21st century, I don't know how it was 2000 years ago. But today, I would say that the inability to deal with boredom is one of our greatest weaknesses. And in almost any meaningful journey, you have to go through boredom, whether it's your traveling son or a country and you have to spend some time in the airport, or whether it's you're having a conversation with somebody. I find for my experience that if you're in a conversation that doesn't allow space for boredom, it will never reach anywhere. Interesting. Like if you meet, I now travel around the world. And I mean, this is very powerful and famous and influential people. And the problem with powerful and famous and influential people, they don't have time. So if you get an hour with this person, then every minute should count. And boredom is the scariest thing, because if the conversation becomes boring, it's over. I don't have time for this nonsense. I have to run this company. I have to run this country. I, boredom, you go both somebody else with that. And then what you find is that you're forced all the time to all the time think, what's the most interesting and important thing I can say. And then you reach, you usually reach out for the things you've already said a million times before, and you know they're effective. And both of you find yourself just exchanging these slogans. And you never reach anywhere new. And to reach someplace new in a conversation, like you need to go somewhere and nobody really knows what they're talking about and you wandering around, and you realize, oh, it's not going anywhere, and you come back and you wasted 20 minutes on something which was in the end, it was nothing. And you can't do it when you meet the president or whatever. But the most interesting conversations I had in life, it was like this long conversation when much of it was quite boring. So and it's the same when you go to explore yourself. Like, I don't know, it's not necessarily an imitation, even, like you want to go to your sport. So, okay, you start outgoing a hike, and you start going and after three hours you feel thirsty and it's hot and it's inconvenient and there is nothing to see and you say, forget that. I'll go back and watch some movies. And you'll never reach the interesting parts of the journey, either the geographical journey or the kind of inner journey of exploration, if you don't allow yourself, if you don't have the discipline to go through this boring and sometimes painful and sometimes scary bits. I love that. I'm so glad you brought that up. I think it's such a brilliant point.
Our inability to deal with boredom is our greatest weakness. (18:14)
I think you're so right because as soon as you put the pressure of performance on, whether that's the pressure of performance through time, like when we know we have a time limit, like you were saying when you're meeting influential people and you've got like 30 minutes to say something profound or you've got like 40 minutes to prove that you have more knowledge or wisdom or whatever it is. And so sometimes times are pressure. Sometimes the pressure is not time, but the pressure is the people at the table. It's like, you know that everyone's powerful at the table. And so the pressure is, oh my God, I know he's smart and she's smart. So what do I have to say? And I think you're spot on that in those times, our lateral brain completely switches off, the logical brain switches on. And we just say stuff we already know. And you don't have moments of brilliance and you don't have a moment that sparks unique thought. You don't get into flow state, for example, you can't generate anything new. I think that's so true. And I have to say, in my training as a monk, which I loved and was an incredible part of my life, a lot of it was just discipline and doing the same thing over and over and over again in the beginning. And what you said, walking across that desert of boredom to then find a breakthrough. And it's almost just like that painful 99% to experience that 1% a bliss. Yeah, in the movie, it always gets condensed into this fast wreck one minute or two minutes. Like, I don't know, you have your that training looks skywalker. So in the movie, it just got condensed into these two minutes. You get the point, let's move on nothing. And it was probably very, I don't know, it's fiction, of course. But probably a lot of it was just, you know, this tedious thing that you have to go through through with. Absolutely. Are you bored right now? Right now? No. All right, we're going to get bored for a bit, guys. We've got to get bored for a bit so that you, well, you know, get some space. No, I think that's a great point. I think becoming okay with boredom is such a useful skill. And I think you're spot on that in the journey of self exploration or any journey.
The cure to boredom relies on meditation. (20:16)
I just came now from Silicon Valley. And what we just said is the greatest heresy possible in California in 2019, in LA in 2019, in San Francisco in 2019, to say, let's just give some space to boredom. There is nothing more radical and subversive than I just saw that Reed Hastings some time ago said that Netflix's biggest enemy, like he was asked who is the biggest competitor of Netflix. And the answer was sleep. So true. It's not Hulu. It's not any of the other. It's sleep. That's our biggest competitor. So, you know, boredom, if people could get along with boredom, you know, entire industries will crash. Which is collapse. Yeah, no, it's so true. And the instant gratification industry, the instant excitement industry is thriving off that we know that. That's obvious. There's a let's start here the boring movement. Yeah, let's start the boring movement here. I love it. This is the boring podcast. We're going to call it that I love it. No, and it's true. I read a study that 80% of us pull out our phone in a crowd just to not feel lonely, right? Like not even to do anything. Just when we're walking through a crowd, we pull out our phone just so that we feel like we're doing something. And that pressure of always wanting to do something. Just so high. No, I love that. I think that's such great advice. Find time this weekend to be bored, right? Be okay with boredom. Do you have it? Have you and I don't expect you to have an answer. I'm just exploring it because I love the point you brought up. Do you have any ways of becoming more okay with boredom or letting there be moments in a conversation? Like, I'm sure when you went out on your first date with your husband when you met through online dating. I mean, was there any boredom there? Or were you like having to say stuff? Did you allow space for boredom? Because it's pressure when you date someone, right? I don't remember that it was boring. But yeah, there is definitely a lot of pressure in those situations to be charismatic, to be, you know, to be attractive, to... Yeah, not to bore the other person. It's the worst thing you can do. It was so boring. It's difficult. I mean, I don't want to give like a single recipe. No, no, no. I do it, you know, what's my meditation practice. So you really familiarize. I mean, boredom is an abstract idea. What does it actually mean? What it actually means is our particular sensations in the body. It's not an abstract. And when you actually observe, I mean, you see that they are extremely unpleasant. Like when you're bored, we tend to think about boredom as something like nothing happens. But actually, a lot of things are happening. There is a lot. It's not, you know, it's not like severe pain. It's actually a more subtle kind of pain in throughout your body, which many people find far more intolerable than the heroic severe pain that, you know, again, I'll take an example just for meditation because I'm more familiar with it. But I know that a lot of people, when they sit for meditation and there is a strong pain, it's quite easy for them to deal with that. They are actually even enjoying it, in a way, because they feel I'm doing something very important now. I'm getting over this pain, no pain, no gain. Wonderful. Fanny is good. And then when boredom comes, it immediately breaks them. They can't deal with it because it's, again, it's a very unpleasant feeling in the body. It's not abstract. But part of it, you don't feel heroic. You don't feel you're doing something important. You're feeling that you're wasting your time, that you're so little and insignificant and especially people who say come to whatever practice it is. Again, it couldn't even be out. Like you are learning to paint. And now I'm Picasso. I'm doing this great work of art and I'm having this this artistic crisis. That's wonderful. But if you're just bored, you don't know how to deal with it. It's for most people, I think it's actually more difficult to deal with this subtle pain of boredom than with the heroic pain of some great crisis. Absolutely. I think it's for me, when I'm bored, I use it as space to breathe properly. That's what I do. I'm just in a gap or I'm in a moment where I'm bored right now. And it's so easy to do the habit of picking out my phone. I've noticed myself do that over and over again. Whenever I'm bored or there's a gap, I just take on my phone without any purpose, without any intention, without any goal. For me, I've stopped doing that and using that as a moment to breathe. There is actually something, when you pick up the phone, what actually happens in your body is that there is a little excitement. Maybe I get some email, maybe I got some like to my Facebook whatever. And so the moment you pick up the phone, there is a rush, a small rush of excitement in the body. And actually, this is what makes it so addictive. People are addicted, not actually to the phone. People are addicted to the small rushes of excitement that they can get dozens of times a day every time they pick up the phone to see what's there. And those pleasure centers keep decreasing. Yeah, so we have to do it again and again and again. We have to accelerate to keep up, because that pleasure center is depleting every time. And I think that's what we don't realize, is that the more you do it, the harder it becomes to experience that feeling again. Because you've just dropped it lower and lower and lower. Amazing. Okay, we started the boredom movement today on this day 26th April 2019, Yuval and Jay, the boredom movement, the boredom podcast. Okay, the second thing I really wanted to dive into apart from happiness with you, which leads nicely to this, because I think this boredom experience also slightly links to what I wanted to go to, which is education. You speak a lot about education. I've made a ton of videos about education and the education system and my challenges to it. Just yesterday, I was talking to people about how like when we were educated, we were taught to believe we had to be good at everything. We were taught that you had to get an average grade at this and an average grade at that and an average grade at that. And you have to be equally good at history and science and math and English. And a lot of the videos that I've made on these topics have been shared a lot. So one of the videos I made on this topic has 367 million views on one video. It's been shared like 8 million times or something crazy like that. And it's because we feel this pressure through our education. Now, I believe that the ideal education system should have a head, a heart and a hand, a head for critical thinking, a heart to understand, to experience, and then a hand to give, to serve, to make a difference. And you talk in your chapter about the four Cs of critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. Yeah, that's not my idea. It's like the experts in the field, they're increasingly talking about these four Cs. Absolutely. So tell me about your thoughts on the education system and why you got fascinated with that and how you think that's impacted some of our mistakes we make now. My interest with the education system comes, I mean, I am in the education system.
The biggest issue with the education system as of today (27:34)
I am a professor at the university. So it's part of my life. But now it's mostly from thinking about the coming revolutions, especially in the job market, that again, when we knew unique situation in human history, when for the first time, we have no idea how the job market would look like in 20 or 30 years. That was never before the case in history. I mean, there are always things you couldn't predict about the world 30 years from now. You know, political revolutions, wars, plagues, economic crisis, nobody could ever predict that. But at least about the basic skills that humans will need in 30 years in order to get a good job and in order to support themselves and get along in life, we always had quite a good understanding of that. So if you lived a thousand years ago in the Middle Ages in some small village, and so people didn't know who would be the king in 30 years. People didn't know there might be a plague or an earthquake. Who knows? But they knew what they needed to teach their kids, if they were to have a reasonable life in 30 years, you need to know how to plant rice and how to take the goats herding and how to make cheese and how to make bread and how to build the house and all these. And today, we just have no idea what people will, what skills will people will need in the job market in 2050. Anybody who tells you, I know how the job market would look like in 2050 and what skills will be needed is deluding either you or also themselves. The only thing we know is that it will be a completely different job market because of the amazing advances in AI and machine learning and also in bioengineering. So more and more jobs will be replaced by machines and computers and robots. Some jobs will be transformed and new jobs will appear. Now, I don't think we are facing a situation, no more jobs in the world. There will be new jobs. The big question is going, I mean, actually it took big questions. One big question is about training and retraining. There will be new jobs will people have the skills necessary for these kinds of jobs. Previously, when machines replaced humans, for instance, in agriculture, so machines replaced humans in low-skilled jobs, in farms, but a lot of new low-skilled jobs were created in factories like the tractor replaced you on the farm. So you moved to Detroit to work in forward-school operation to build a tractor. And the new job was usually a relatively low-skilled job. So within a couple of weeks, perhaps two, three months, you could transform a farm worker into a worker in a tractor factory. But today, when you look to the future, so people say, yes, there will not be any more jobs for truck drivers because you have self-driving trucks. And there will not be a lot of jobs for people producing shirts in textile factories and things like that.
Will new jobs outpace the loss of old ones? (30:53)
But there will be new jobs in the creative industries, whether in art or whether in science or in interacting with people. But the problem is, these new kind of jobs will require high skills. So it won't be so easy to take an unemployed textile worker at age 40 and transform her into a software engineer that creates virtual reality games. And what makes it even worse is the huge gap between different countries. I think that in a country like the US, which is bound to reap much of the benefits of the coming AI revolution, because California, along with China, is one of the centers of this revolution, there will be immense new wealth created, at least in some parts of the United States. So I don't worry for the Americans. But when I look at other parts of the world, countries which depend almost entirely on cheap manual labor, say just south of the border, you go to Mexico, you go to El Salvador, to Honduras, to South America, what will happen there? When we are not educating the young people today in Honduras or in Colombia to be software engineers. So even if there are a lot of new jobs in California for software engineers, this is not going to help the kids who are growing up today in Honduras or Colombia. So what will they do? And we have no answer. And that's actually my biggest worry about the education system now is from a global perspective, the huge gap that is opening between different countries in the face of the coming AI revolution. If you were in charge of the education system south of the border, what were the things you'd be thinking about at least?
To bring up migrant workers' skills, let them loose (32:53)
I need money. Okay. But if you had the money, what would you be thinking about? Money is not a never an issue really. Oh, it is. North of the border, even north of the border, it's an issue. But south of the border, it's you know, you go to Brazil and we are just going to Brazil in a few months. And you have people coming to Brazil with all these ideas about we should teach kids this and we should teach kids that. And the local people come and say, we don't even have schools. I mean, where do you want us to put the net sense money? That you know, I mean, in some places, you have the schools run in a shift system. Like, because you just don't have the facilities. So some kids learn from eight o'clock in the morning to two in the afternoon, they go home and other shifts come. And another shifts come at night because they just don't and you know, this is some things you can't just throw money at. You need more than that. But the basic infrastructure, basically the first thing you need is money. Okay. And but they're yeah. So looking at it from that perspective, my hope is that there are people who believe in those communities and want to invest in them. Oh, yeah, I hope so. And again, the main thing is that we need a global thinking on this on this, because in the last few decades, what we've seen is a reduction in global inequality. Global inequality was extremely high in the early 20th century, when you had a few industrial powers colonizing the rest of the world. So say, Britain dominating India and much of Africa and much of the Middle East. And the disparity was enormous. And then in the last few decades, the gap wasn't completely closed. But India and Britain are now far, far closer than they were 50 years ago or 100 years ago. So we have seen a reduction in global inequality. But now we are on the verge of a new burst of growing inequality, just like the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century. This is what created initially the gap between Britain and India. So now you have the AI revolution concentrated in just a few countries, the USA and China leading the race. You have a few other countries which joined the race. Most countries are far behind. And the economic consequences will be enormous. So the danger is that what we've seen a century ago will come back. And then it's not just a question, I say, of people in Brazil, rich people in Brazil, caring about poor people in Brazil and investing in their education and healthcare and so forth. There won't be enough resources in Brazil, maybe not Brazil, but some other countries. So we need global thinking on that. Otherwise, it will be a rerun of the Industrial Revolution with these enormous gaps between a few countries that dominate the world and most of humanity, which is far, far behind. Absolutely. No, I agree. And I guess my thinking from where I'm always coming from is just to me, the global thinking always needs to be towards how we create more meaningful careers, how we create more meaningful jobs, how we create opportunities for people to be better engaged.
Don't wait, push the United States back to the leader's seat (36:10)
Because that's what's going to create a happier, more peaceful, more cohesive world. It's almost like, otherwise, there's a rerun in culture of you slot people in to jobs they don't want to do that aren't good for their health mentally or physically. That then leads to another repercussion of that person being dissatisfied. And then that reruns. Do you think that where you do you think having met some of the most influential people on the planet, do you feel that that's the dial, that's the compass that we're trying to get to? Or do you think that's just for the most influential people? Yeah. Most of them are too busy with the immediate crisis. Right. I mean, part of the problem, and these are little goals back to what we discussed earlier about Baudrom and things like that, that are over excited. And I mean, I can understand them. I mean, I'm lucky. I don't have a country to run. I don't have a multi-billion corporation to run. Yeah. So I can allow myself the time to, you know, just read a book or just go for a walk or go for military, take a invitation retreat. They can't. And part of the issue, they can't or they won't. They really can't. I mean, they have so much on their plate. They have all these immediate crises. And like we had just the case in France with the protests against Emmanuel Macron. And one of the things that the protesters told him, and I'm not judging who is right, who is wrong. I don't understand French politics well enough. I was just struck by what they said that because he, the initial cause was that he wanted to impose a new tax on fuel in order to partly in order to combat climate change. And this caused a huge backlash. And some of the protesters told the president, you're thinking about what will happen 20 years from now. We are thinking about the end of the month. We don't have money for the end of the month. We don't care about 20 years from now. And that's a real issue. It's in it is easy. And I talk a lot about the need to we need to do something about climate change. But then a simplistic answer. Okay, let's just put money on tax on fuel. And if this tax hurts disproportionately, poor people, then this is not a good solution. So now he has this crisis on his hands and he can't just, okay, okay, I'll just go on this long two months retreat and I'll do meditation. I do I'll hike in the Alps and I'll inform myself about climate change. And he doesn't have the time. He has that. He has Brexit. He has the EU elections. He has the crisis in Libya. He has the relations with China. And by the time you reach this influential place, you really don't have the luxury to think slow and broad. And that's a huge, huge problem for the system. And again, I don't have like these easy solutions. Part of the idea of, you know, addressing the general public, like what you are doing here and not just going and talking with a few presidents and CEOs is to realize that yes, they are very influential people. But they are also extremely limited by their position of power and by the enormous pressures on them from different directions. So even for the influential people, it would be easier to do something on climate change if you have tens of millions of people saying that this is the number one priority and that they are willing to make some painful sacrifices for that. And it's the same with the kind of global educational crisis that I hope that more and more people around the world understand that, the consequences of this crisis, we will see them only in 20 years. When the people today in Indonesia and Nigeria and Brazil who are now in kindergarten, when they will be 30 and 40, this is when the full force of the crisis will hit. But if we wait until they are 40 to do something about it, it's too late. We need to think what we are teaching youngsters today in order to solve the coming crisis of 2050. Absolutely. Yeah. And I think that's a very good analysis of this situation because I appreciate that there is no quick solution, there is no easy recipe. And when I'm listening to you talk, there's parts of me that are thinking, it's the way we've constructed these roles of influence that these people don't have the time and space and the boredom to be able to actually do their jobs properly. Like we've not created these roles efficiently and effectively. And at the same time, the responsibility on each and every one of us listening and watching right now to actually become change makers ourselves, to be someone who takes responsibility for action, to be a part of the solution, to actually step up and say, no, this is a priority and we need to go in that direction. I think that is, even though it's not a quick recipe, I think it's a good wake up call. I think it's a good wake up call that can make us all aware that we can't just wait for this to be solved from the top because that's not really going to happen. Especially assuming that a lot of our viewers and listeners are in the United States, then America is still the most powerful country in the world, economically, militarily, politically. So Americans can do more than the citizens of any other country. And there is still this expectation that America will be the leader of the world. In recent years, it's been going in the opposite direction, that it's really, I think that's very unfortunate, it's abdicating. Willingly abdicating its role as leader of the world. For decades, you know, both from the right and left Republicans, Democrats, what was common to all the spectrum of American political system was that they intentionally saw themselves as the leaders of at least the free world. And then in the last few years, America commented and says, "No, we don't want this job anymore." For us, America first, we need to first of all think about ourselves and our own interests. And nobody wants to follow a leader whose motto is "Me first." So the rest of the world, I mean, is now, you know, some countries are trying to step up and fill the vacuum. So in climate change, now China is becoming kind of or tries to depict itself as the leader of the world in trying to combat climate change. But then in other areas, it's definitely not like that. So we, in this moment of real crisis in human history, we find the world without a leader. And this, again, this is something that people in the US can do more about than in any other place because still, the US is kind of the almost natural leader for humanity because it is still the most powerful country in the world. Other countries, of course, have to step in. And it would be good to have a world which is less unipolar when we can't just trust a single country to do everything all the time. Definitely. But there is still a huge disparity in powers between the different parts of the world. That's still the case. Yeah, definitely. But I do like that point you made there, even though it's a subtle point, is that ultimately, if we live in that belief that this country is the most powerful and they're going to solve everything, then we also kind of just de-abilitate ourselves. And we just go, "Oh, well, if they're not going in the right direction or wait for them to go in the right direction," and actually, what we all need to do, in my opinion, is pull our socks up and get stuck in because there's no... I'm not a big fan of the victim mentality or the mentality of waiting for someone else to solve a crisis. It's like if your house is on fire, you don't wait for your mom or your dad to fix it, you get involved too, right? And so if we believe that there's a crisis, or even if we don't believe there's a crisis, but we believe things are not going in the right direction, I would want everyone from every country, whether it's India, whether it's Australia, whether it's across Europe, to step in and take action. In that sense, actually, the one good thing that comes out, or could come out of the current retreat of the United States from the position as leader of the world, is that it kind of forces other countries and other people to step in. And I hope this will happen. Yeah. Good. We have the same hope. We have the same hope. I love this. Okay, great. So we've kind of gone from happiness and insight to global macro viewpoints. I want to go back inwards again. And this is actually from a couple of days ago. I read somewhere that when Tim Cook was speaking at the time 100 summit, an event that happened this week, he was speaking about how if you're spending more time looking at a screen than in someone else's eyes, then... You have a problem. You have a problem. And we have a problem. You're getting things wrong. And I know... That's a good line. Yeah, it's a very good line. And you also said that it's so much easier now to connect with your cousin in Switzerland than it is with your husband, because he's always looking at his phone at breakfast. You did write that down. It is out there. You did say it. So walk me through that addiction. We spoke a bit about the excitement we get from the phone, the addiction we have from the phone.
How to deal with difficult people through the phone (46:32)
But how have you seen people overcome that? Yeah, I mean, part of it is also that when you connect with somebody through a phone or through a screen, again, it's easier to deal with the problematic stuff, because you can just shut the phone once it becomes problematic. And with a real person, you can't do that. So it's like real relationships, forces. Again, it's like the bottom thing. They force you to deal with the difficult issues. And part of the attraction of all these online communities and online relationships and virtual relationships is that once a difficulty arises, you can just immediately disappear. Like you can unfriend your Facebook friends in a way that you can't unneighbor your real neighbors. If you live in a house and they're just that this annoying family just moved in and the kids are making a lot of noise in the middle of the night and you can't just say, "Okay, I'll press a button and they'll disappear from my life." Can you imagine that? Eject. Unneighbor. It doesn't work like it. So you have, so you need to develop these social skills. "Okay, what do I do? Okay, I'll go there and I knock on the door with a cake or something and I'll try to have a nice conversation and I'll somehow make them understand that I need to sleep and they should keep their kids more quiet or something." But it forces you to develop these social skills. And that's extremely important and we are losing these skills. I mean, the more time, again, you spend watching screens and watching eyes is you are in this sense kind of downgrading some of our human abilities. I've just seen this wonderful presentation by Tristan Harris, or is this tech philosopher from Silicon Valley and he just had this wonderful presentation about how technology is basically downgrading humans, downgrading human skills like what to do when you have a problem with your neighbors. Right. So actually, instead of technology upgrading us, it's downgrading our human skills. Yeah, we upgrade our phones all the time, but inadvertently, it downgrades a lot of our social and personal skills. Yeah. And which ones are you think are the biggest ones that we're losing? So one of them is deleting our neighbors and I completely agree with you. What are the other ones that we're losing out on that we can be aware of? So anyone who's listening and watching right now, how can they become more aware of the types of skills we're losing? Because sometimes I don't think it's as obvious to us because everyone's on their phone, our careers are now digital. Yeah. We just talked about AI and the rise of technology in every area of our lives, whether it's work, health, like your dentist now wants to use a toothbrush that can notify them when something goes wrong in your tooth, right? Yeah. So it's like all parts of our lives are becoming automated and systemic. So how can we become more aware of the skills we're losing, or which ones are those top skills that we're losing? Well, many of the top skills are our social of dealing with other people. So another example, which is now actually gets a lot of attention and there is a lot of talk about this is all the issue of filter bubbles, okay?
The ONE CRITICAL Skill We Are Losing Today (49:52)
That people kind of lock them or even inadvertently the algorithms, the Facebook algorithm, the Twitter algorithm, the YouTube algorithm that gets to know us increasingly show us videos or articles or opinions, which are aligned with our own opinions. And we think that the entire world thinks like me. Like, I don't know, I'm a Democrat and I don't know any Republicans and I never see any Republican videos and then when the Trump wins the election, I can't understand how could it be that we now know Republicans. So who voted for him? It's all the people not in your filter bubble voted for him. And what we are losing is the ability to engage with opinions, with people who think differently from us. Now, one crude way of trying to fix that, that at least some corporations like Facebook tried to do is every now and then show you an article from the different side of the political spectrum. But this didn't work because it only made people even more angry because it wasn't in a situation when you can really engage with the people behind it. Like, you have this, your view in the world and you read something from another perspective and you become very angry, what are these stupid people who think like that? And it actually made things even worse. Now, again, a century ago, if you lived in some small town, then the situation was such that you all the time encountered people who think differently from you because the community was made of, you know, of different and of different viewpoints. And you had to develop these skills of how to engage with and how to cooperate. And part of what technology is doing is that it downgrades these skills and it makes life easier. And it's all these things which are difficult and uncomfortable to do, like having a real conversation with somebody who thinks differently. And it's, you know, it's just so much easier just to talk with the people who think like me. Totally. Absolutely. Yeah. And it's that principle of like non-judgment, being able to view, observe, and entertainer thought without judging it. Yeah. And that becomes extremely hard right now. There was a great study by MIT where they showed two people's networks and he was looking at their online network and saying which one is more creative and impactful and innovative. And it was employee A and it was employee B and their Twitter networks. And they found that when you know the same people who know the same people who know you back, you end up being less creative, less innovative, and come up with less interesting ideas because you don't have that challenging of thoughts. And so I love that one of your solutions to that or one of your recommendations, at least that I gained from the book was this beautiful, colored quality of humility of being the openness that we have towards other people's views and not this kind of deep religious belief about the truth of our views and how we're always right. I love that. Let's dive into humility. First of all, I'm fascinated that you brought humility because humility is probably my favorite quality in the world. I find it the most endearing thing in the world when I meet someone who has it, especially someone who's very accomplished. And my favorite story about humility, and I'm sure you know this, but I'm sharing it for anyone who's listening and watching right now, is from Benjamin Franklin and he is 13 precepts.
Benjamin Franklin story (53:24)
So Benjamin Franklin had 12 precepts, 12 things that he wanted to live during his life that he wanted to aspire for. And once one of his friends said that you're getting a bit egotistic about these things, you're pretty good at it. So he added the 13th one. And then when he was dying, supposedly the story goes that he was asked which one he didn't achieve. And he said it was the 13th one. And they said which one was the 13th one, he said humility. He said that was the one that he didn't achieve in his lifetime. So humility. And another thing that I think about monks in the Buddhist tradition or Hindu tradition, whatever the monk cuts from his other vices, he adds to his ego, to his pride. Overcome this, I overcome that. Exactly, exactly. As soon as we feel we've achieved something, yeah, it becomes a step on the other side of ego. Absolutely, I completely agree. So I love humility, I'm fascinated by it. What's your definition of humility? And how do we start increasing humility in our lives in a positive way? Well, I mean, in the book, it's more again in the more political and historical context. And the idea is don't think you're at the center of the world. And this is actually again in the book, it's more about collective humility, the humility of groups, of political parties, of nations, of religions. One of the curious things to see as a historian is that everybody thinks they are the most important thing in the world. Even you wouldn't believe these tiny tribes or insignificant nations, they somehow manage to kind of turn the whole history around so they turn out to be the most important thing. Anyway, if you think that if the Chinese think they are the most important in the world, then okay, I can understand it to some extent. But then you go say to Israel and you find this tiny nation utterly convinced that we are the most important thing in the world, the entire world revolves just around us. And it was always like that, that we invented any everything. I use the example of Israel as Jews because it's not so nice to criticize other nations and other people, it's easier when you criticize your own. But this is not meant as a kind of anti-Jewish or anti-Israeli thing. Whatever your nationality religion is, now after you finish watching this, do this exercise on your group. And you know, in almost any invention you would mention, they would say, we invented it first. There is even a story that Jews invented yoga. Would you believe that? The posters of Yoga, I'm in Jerusalem, when I was a student, I went to... I was definitely... I went to study Yoga with this teacher in Jerusalem. And on the first class, he explained to the students, you know that lots of people think that Yoga comes from India, but no, no, no, no. Actually, Yoga was invented by Abraham and the posters of Yoga actually reflect the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, the other, the bad, the gimme, the the, and people, and you know, I quit after this first class. This is not a person I would be studying Yoga from, but you have people seriously believing that.
Religious And Ethnic Commentary
The idea Israel is the most important religious group (56:36)
And when you look at the great span of human history, it should be obvious that nobody is at the center. Yes, almost every nation or religion contributed something, but most things, if you had to live your life based only on the inventions and creations of people from your nation, you would have a very miserable life, you'll probably be dead. I mean, if you have to eat only the things that were domesticated by your direct ancestors, like, I don't know, Italians, you must now stop eating tomatoes because tomatoes were domesticated in Mexico and not by Italians. And Indians, forget about these chili peppers. No more chili peppers for you. Chili peppers were also domesticated by Mexicans. And Mexicans don't put yourself too high because you like your steaks and hamburgers, they, there were no cows in America before Columbus and no horses. They came from the old world and so forth and so on and so on. And it's just not just food, it's everything. So really understanding how interconnected the whole humanity is.
Your people contributed some things but dont let it go to your head (58:13)
And that yes, your people contributed something, but it's a small thing. It's not the whole thing. And it's most important, I think, in the field of morality because again, I mean, in Israel, there is this very strong belief. We invented morality. Before the Jews, there was no ethics in the world. We invented it and the entire world owes us this huge debt of gratitude because all the morality in the world came from the Jews. And this, you know, this is absolute nonsense. I mean, even monkeys have morality, even animals, it goes, it's millions of years ago, it's in evolution, some at least social rules of do and don't do. And hunter-gatherers tens of thousands of years ago had ethics long before they knew anything about the Bible. People in India, in China, in Australia had extremely wonderful ethical systems in many ways, much better than anything that came out of the Judeo-Christian tradition long before they knew anything about the Bible. So, yes, Jews contributed some things, but don't let it go to your head. You are not so important. What a beautiful message to end on that message. I love that message. I think it's incredible. If we all looked at our wardrobes, our kitchens, our refrigerators, our homes, our cars, we noticed that it was inspired by the globe. It was never one or the other. It was never just one place, one country, or one region. I think it's such a beautiful message. I have so many more questions. I want to ask you, I hope we're going to do this again on nationalism, competition, and a billion other things. But we end every interview with what we call the final five quick fire rapid fire questions. So, these are one to three word answers, one sentence. Three words. One sentence maximum. So, this is number one. What is the biggest mistake we make as humans? One word, three words, one sentence. Max. Under estimate our stupidity. Nice. I love it. Okay. Question number two. What is the best advice you've ever received? Observe your breath. Nice. Number three. What is the worst advice you've ever received? Just follow your heart. Nice. Okay. Number four. What's the one thing you want to learn this year? Or you're trying to learn this year? How the other side is thinking is thinking. Nice. I like that. Awesome. And number five, if you could get everyone in the world to practice one thing for 30 days, what would it be? I want to hear my invitation because it's not going to work. Well, humility. I love it. You are incredible. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast. I really enjoyed it. I'm hoping I got bored at one point, because otherwise, this won't live up to your standards. But we started the boredom movement today. I hope we're going to keep in touch.
Final Five (01:01:12)
I hope we're going to be friends. And I'm just so grateful that you took the time to do this. Thank you so much. All the best for all the incredible work you're doing. I'm excited to see how your incredible mind and thoughts seep its way into our entertainment world as well, and continue to help us make education more accessible and relevant. So thank you so much. Yeah. Thank you. Yeah. Thank you so much. Great. Thank you, everyone, for watching. Make sure you subscribe to the show if you haven't already. Share this on Instagram as well. Remember, I'm always looking for your insights, the quotes that you took away. Feel free to share them on Instagram as well. Thank you so much for being here and being an incredible audience. See you guys soon. If you want even more videos just like this one, make sure you subscribe and click on the boxes over here. I'm also excited to let you know that you can now get my book Think Like A Monk from ThinkLikeAMonkBook.com. Check below in the description to make sure you order today.