Been diving into the historical figures on @FoundersPodcast and it's striking how almost all of them have similar thoughtful reflections on work, and finding things that matter to them (including David)

These seem to be hidden in plain sight secrets. Some that stood out👇
Infinite games > finite

He mentions this Dee Hawk quote a lot

"Life is eternal, perpetual becoming, or it is nothing. Becoming is not a thing to be known, commanded, or controlled. It is a magnificent, mysterious odyssey to be experienced”

also "1000 more to go" love that
Henry Ford with a similar sentiment:

*Life, as I see it, is not a location, but a journey. Even the man who most feels himself “settled” is not settled—he is probably sagging back. Everything is in flux, and was meant to be. Life flows."
Exuberance / Passion

He Loves this Edwin Land quote and mentions it several times

"There's a rule they don't teach you at Harvard Business School. It is: If anything is worth doing, it's worth doing to excess."

You only laugh this off if you've never found work "worth doing"
Of course, things worth doing are hard to find

David shared this Emerson quote: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin** of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do"

Lesson: don't blindly DO
Willing to start over

When Edison's lab burned he told the NYT: "‘Although I am over 67 years old, I’ll start all over again tomorrow.’

"he stuck to his word and immediately began rebuilding the next morning without firing any of his employees.”
People on a mission dont struggle with quitting

Here's Ford

I had to choose between my job and my automobile. I chose the automobile, or rather I gave up the job, there was really nothing in the way of a choice...I quit my job on 8/15/1899, and went into the automobile business
Ford wanted to drive out "Drudgery":

"drudgery must be taken out of labour. It is not work that men object to, but the element of drudgery. **We must drive out drudgery wherever we find it**. We shall never be wholly civilized until we remove the treadmill from the daily job
More Ford on s

And thought when Money is ahead of work it undermines it:

"That thinking first of money instead of work brings on fear of failure and this fear blocks every avenue of business"
Once you find work worth doing you want it for others


"It’s tragic to see men and women wasting their lives in work that they hate or do badly. It’s never too late to find out that you’re doing something you don’t like, and are not very good at"
Ogilvy on breaks:

"On the other hand, I believe in lots of vacations. When one of my partners gets abrasive, its usually because he has worked too long without a vacation...the partners in a service business should be given sabbaticals to recharge their batteries"
More on fun & work from Ogilvy:

"Try to make working at Ogilvy & Mather fun. When people aren’t having any fun, they seldom produce good advertising. Kill grimness with laughter. Maintain an atmosphere of informality. Encourage exuberance. Get rid of sad dogs who spread gloom."
David shared this quote from George Lucas from 1971:

“being able to step out of whatever you’re in and move forward rather than being stuck in your little rut...People would give anything to quit their jobs. All they have to do is do it…They’re people in cages with open doors.”
Edward Thorp ep was fascinating

He scaled down his life as he became more famous:

From foreword by Nassim Taleb

"You can detect that the man is in control of his life. This explains why he looked younger the 2nd time I saw him, in 2016, than he did the first time, in 2005"
Thorp understood what drove him

"from childhood, I was intrigued by the power of abstract thinking...When I later saw how physics could predict roulette outcomes through the fog of chance, and mathematics could tip the odds in blackjack I was drawn into a lifetime of adventure"
A few things that seem to stand out in people that find a good relationship with work

1. exuberance & optimism
2. reframing of risk (normal jobs = risky)
3. great understanding of self
4. evangelism of being bolder
5. hunger to get better at things
6. curiosity about history
Rick Rubin episode was great. Rick is definitely a unique human.

One thing David points out is how devoted his parents were to helping him pursue the things he was passionate about

I resonated a lot with Rubin's reflections on "aiming for greatness"

if you're not, what's the point? just go swimming

but also it's a subtle balance between aiming high & staying loose day to day
Rubin really trusts his intuition

“Really, the key to it is doing what you believe in, as opposed to what you think is going to work. There were never any plans to make anything happen. I just did what I liked and believed in it, and luckily it all worked out.”
Rubin's story is the kind that is super interesting to me. He reveals the secret of finding work you like: do shit you uniquely care about.

You an try to copy-paste his approach of aiming at excellence but if you don't care it likely won't work
David also pointed to Rick's Idea of a Ruthless Edit.

I definitely want to try this for writing

1. Record 25 songs, the album will have 10
2. "What are 5-6 we can't live without?" => go beyond the "goal"/end state
3. What can we add that makes it better and not worse?

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Good insights on the nature of work from thoughtful people. The only thing harder than finding your own infinite game is not finding it.