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  1. David Perell 81 min
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    David Perell
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    • deephdave
      Top reader of all timeScout
      4 years ago

      Excellent read! What’s something from Peter Thiel that you disagree with?

      From a distance, we see a mirage of progress. From up-close, once we remove the smartphone screens in front of us, we feel the reality of struggle and stagnation.

      Competition distracts us from things that are more important, meaningful, or valuable. We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.

      “The shortest distance between two points is reliably a straight line. If your dreams are apparent to you, pursue them. Creating optionality and buying lottery tickets are not weigh stations on the road to pursuing your dreamy outcomes. They are dangerous diversions that will change you.” — Mihir Desai

      Thiel encourages people to ask themselves: “How do I become less competitive in order that I can become more successful?”

      Here’s how Thiel would respond to my imitative instincts: Be careful who you copy. If you’re going to follow a role model, find one who you won’t compete with. Don’t look to your peers for answers. Find somebody in a different stage of life who you admire and respect. They should be somebody who defied the status quo and took an independent path. In life, you have two options: (1) you can dispassionately accept the universe for what it is, or (2) you can put your dent in it. But you can’t do both.

      Let the flame of Definite Optimism burn away the Mimetic virus. Use the Internet to curate your environment, so you can be hyper-mimetic towards the rare few who are anti-mimetic. Copy the people who don’t copy people. Take risks. Build a differentiated skillset. Pursue timeless wisdom, not intellectual fashions. Be skeptical of convention, and don’t let it double as a shortcut to the truth. Work on problems that nobody else is working on, especially if you’re uniquely capable of solving them. And ultimately, ask the questions you’re not supposed to ask, so you can find the answers you’re not supposed to find.