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John Lam's Blog


I'm traveling and just got some time to myself to write down a bunch of stuff that I've learned listening to podcasts during over 1000 miles driving in a car.

Types of ProcrastinationπŸ”—

From the wisdom of Tim Urban:

  • Type 1 procrastination is what you do when there is a deadline present. The panic monster will eventually awaken as when the deadline is imminent which will chase away the instant gratification monkey.

  • Type 2 procrastination is what you do when there isn't a deadline present. This type of procrastination is really, really bad because the panic monster will never awaken to snap you back to your senses. There really isn't a good solution to this kind of procrastination.

Types of FunπŸ”—

From the wisdom of Kate Courtney:

  • Type 1 fun is fun while you are doing it.
  • Type 2 fun is fun when you are finished doing it.
  • Type 3 fun is never fun

Tim Urban and long form writingπŸ”—

The Tim Ferris interview with Tim Urban reveals a bit about how Tim (Urban) learns things. His long-form posts are him teaching himself what he's learned about a topic in hopes that it will help past Tim learn that topic more effectively. He really is just writing for himself:

Yeah. So, it’s pretty simple for me. First of all, I do this kind of weird thing where I assume that my audience is I picture like a stadium full of me. So, it’s narcistic fantasy. No, but it’s just – I’m just writing for – I’m writing the exact post that I would be thrilled to get.

Some tidbits:

  • On a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is a world class expert, he starts at a 2 and continues learning until he gets to about a 5 or a 6. Then he writes the post. This sometimes takes him 3 hours, sometimes 3 days, sometimes 3 months(!)

  • He starts with general sources of information like Wikipedia on a topic. He then starts writing down questions (which can be expressed as concepts) and opens a new browser window for each question. Then he CTRL+clicks the Google results for each question. Then he sits down to read. He doesn't try to filter at this point - he just reads and starts forming an impression for each question.

Elon Musk is a Nerdy David GogginsπŸ”—

After listening to back-to-back interviews and books during my long drives, it occurred to me that they are both intense, driven men that have overcome many obstacles during their lives. Different things for sure, but things that many would think are impossible. Some of the things that they did look stupid to outsiders, but I'm convinced that they share the same mindset when it comes to overcoming obstacles in their lives.

Here's an interesting example:

  • David Goggins ran a 24 hour race and completing 101 miles in ~18 hours with zero specific race preparation
  • Elon Musk started a rocket company and burned through nearly his entire PayPal fortune in doing so. A friend even sent him a video compilation of failed rocket launches to try and convince him to not start SpaceX in the first place.

While the impact of those things are quite different, I think the meta impact of those things are quite similar. They both could inspire others to realize that things are not as impossible as what others think - you are capable of more than what you are capable of. They will also inspire different kinds of people as well. I don't think anyone will use SpaceX as motivation to become a Navy SEAL any more than I think anyone will use Goggins' accomplishments to create the next SpaceX.

I highly recommend listening to the Audible version of Can't Hurt Me. In it, you'll hear the book as narrated by his writer, Adam Skolnick. But at key moments in the story, they will cut away to a "podcast format" where David gives additional commentary and context to the story at that point in time. It's a really effective format that I wish others would copy in their audiobooks.