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A conversation with Naval Ravikant

Naval Ravikant is an entrepreneur, angel investor, philosopher and bibliophile. He's a modern philosopher with timeless wisdom, and in this episode he explains how to live a full happy life, free of distractions and worries.

Updated on May 21

Key Smash Notes In This Episode


Probably not. Naval has been spending time working on himself, and although he's made a special exception to appear on this podcast as a way to help out a brand-new podcaster, and part of the New Zealand fellowship program, it is unlikely he is going to be doing any more of these in the near future.

If you want to hear more of Naval, he's got his own podcast, linked below.


Wisdom is understanding long term consequences of your actions.

Whether that's in sports or medicine or life or love or investing or technology or business, if you understand the long term consequence of your actions and you behave for a good long term outcome, then you will naturally appear wise because you would be forward-looking.


If you think for yourself, you should be able to figure everything out for yourself from what the "first principles." When you don't know something, you should be able to admit it honestly, rather than rely upon authorities to give you the answer.


Nothing that you chase will ever make you happy.

You may think that by getting to a certain outcome or a milestone will make you happy, but when you get there, you will get a short-term boost, and then go back to being unhappy.

To be happy, you have to be happy with self.


A lot of your own unhappiness is driven by your self image, and what you do to preserve it.

Realize that you have this self image of yourself, how you see yourself in your mind's eye when you think of yourself, honest or dependable, capable or not, quiet or funny or whatever it.

That image is what you are trying to live up to, and that image is also what allows society to hold you hostage because if you're not living up to your self image, that's a leash around your neck.


Pick self-improvement path that is easiest for you to follow, something that you love. It will be easier for you to do without feeling guilty. Do more of that. It's simple.

Whatever feels like "work" is going to make you unhappy, so find things that feel like hobbies, something you actually enjoy, and figure out how to have those things work for you.


Legacy is what people that don't know you will think about you, after you are dead.

Do your best work, and do it for yourself and nobody else, that's all that matters.


Your only power in life is to inspire other people, and the only way you could inspire them is by living the most genuine and authentic life to yourself possible.


The notion of how to save the world is different for everone.

One person might want to fight carbon emissions by reducing number of cars. Meanwhile, the other person will want to enable efficient agriculture, by increasing supply of the farm machinery in the short term. Both will be saving the world, while fighting each other.

Everyone thinks they're a good person. Everyone's fighting for somebody else, for a cause or religion or a person or a family member or a legacy or a loved one or something.

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

Instead of fighting, build your own garden, clear your own mind, and attend to your own household before you go out and try and fix the world.


Where you choose to live is crazy important. It determines who you're going to spend time with, the colleagues, lovers and friends. It determines whether you are going to spend more time earning, your health, how much you exercise, what you eat ...etc. It will determine and shape your values. Where you choose to live is an insanely important decision that has huge repercussions on so many things in life.

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