Naval Ravikant On Avoiding Bad Luck

Seven quotes from Naval Ravikant on “How to Get Rich (Without Getting Lucky)” inverted as advice on how to avoid bad luck.

Naval Ravikant on how to avoid bad luckNaval Ravikant On Avoiding Bad Luck

Earlier this year Naval Ravikant posted a tweet stream of tweets on the theme of “How to Get Rich (Without Getting Lucky)“I thought I would pick a few and invert them as advice on how to avoid “bad luck”

“It is remarkable how much long-term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent.”
Charlie Munger

What feels like bad luck is often the result of poor choices that made you less resilient and more prone to risk and random negative fluctuations.

Via Negativa

  1. Naval Ravikant: “Work as hard as you can. Even though who you work with and what you work on are more important than how hard you work.”
    Via Negativa: Only work on projects that promise you can “make money while you sleep” or offer “the lazy man’s way to riches.”
  2. Naval Ravikant: “Pick an industry where you can play long term games with long term people.”
    Via Negativa: Avoid focus on short term gains with people you don’t want a long term association with. If you are putting up with a team to get your “fuck you money” or to make a quick score before you go on to what you really want to do, reconsider your approach.
  3. Naval Ravikant: “Play iterated games. All the returns in life, whether in wealth, relationships, or knowledge, come from compound interest.”
    Via Negativa: The first time you experience a setback move on to something else. Don’t practice — it if doesn’t come naturally don’t pursue it.
  4. Naval Ravikant: “Pick business partners with high intelligence, energy, and, above all, integrity.”
    Via Negativa: Partner with folks who want to make a lot of money fast and don’t mind cutting a lot of corners.  Don’t work with folks who may challenge you or have different ideas.
  5. Naval Ravikant: “Learn to sell. Learn to build. If you can do both, you will be unstoppable.”
    Via Negativa: Hustle, skip the line and focus on sharing your ideas with enough people; eventually someone smart enough will “get it” just from your description of the idea.
  6. Naval Ravikant: “Embrace accountability, and take business risks under your own name. Society will reward you with responsibility, equity, and leverage.”
    Via Negativa: Take the money and run: promise customers what they want to hear can get the money up front. Don’t do anything where you have to take blame if things go wrong.
  7. Naval Ravikant: “There are no get rich quick schemes. That’s just someone else getting rich off you.”
    Via Negativa: Always look for the shortcut; be guided by the claims someone makes for their accomplishments as a reason to listen to them. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth: embrace a winning system wholeheartedly so that you don’t lose your chance for a quick win.

“It is the negative that’s used by the pros, those selected by evolution: chess grandmasters usually win by not losing; people become rich by not going bust (particularly when others do); religions are mostly about interdicts; the learning of life is about what to avoid. You reduce most of your personal risks of accident thanks to a small number of measures.”
Nicholas Nassim Taleb in Anti-Fragile

Specific Knowledge

8 of Naval Ravikant tweets apply directly or indirectly to specific knowledge:

  1. Arm yourself with specific knowledge, accountability, and leverage.
  2. Specific knowledge is knowledge that you cannot be trained for. If society can train you, it can train someone else, and replace you.
  3. Specific knowledge is found by pursuing your genuine curiosity and passion rather than whatever is hot right now.
  4. Building specific knowledge will feel like play to you but will look like work to others.
  5. When specific knowledge is taught, it’s through apprenticeships, not schools.
  6. Specific knowledge is often highly technical or creative. It cannot be outsourced or automated.
  7. Apply specific knowledge, with leverage, and eventually you will get what you deserve.
  8. Become the best in the world at what you do. Keep redefining what you do until this is true.

Specific knowledge is only applicable within a narrow domain. The temptation is to focus on the large opportunity without regard to your own talents, inspiration, or interest. Specific knowledge is normally curated by a community of practice and requires a team to develop and master.

“There is a beautiful angel in that block of marble, and I am going to find it? All I have to do is to knock off the outside pieces of marble, and be very careful not to cut into the angel with my chisel. In a month or so you will see how beautiful it is.””
George Frederick Pentecost in “The Angel in the Marble

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Photo Credit Kris Krug “Naval Ravikant — Launch Conference, San Francisco (Feb-22-2011)


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