Martin talks to TA McCann about how to live to 200

My friend TA McCann just started a new podcast, How to Live to 200.  I was one of his first guests.  We talk about how I got sucked into the Biohacking world, some of the quantified ways I have gotten younger over the last year, and a few peeks into the crystal ball on upgrades coming down the pipe for the rest of us.

DO THIS: Stoic tasks to fill the time

Today from Daily Stoic, came a list of tasks which I am finding useful.  When you have half an hour, pick up one of these and do it.  It will build character.

[*] Throw away or give away stuff you have but don’t use anymore.

[*] Skip a meal. You’ll be fine. Remember what hunger feels like.

[*] See if you can go an hour without talking.

[*] Wear your worst clothes out. See how little anyone cares.

[*] Don’t read. Don’t do anything. Just sit there.

[*] Throw a rock up in the air. Watch it go up and watch it go down. (This is a metaphor.)

[*] Find something you’re not good at and practice being better at it. Write with your non-dominant hand, etc.

[*] If today was your last day on earth, who would you thank? Thank them. Who would you apologize to? Apologize to them. Who would you cherish? Cherish them.

[*] Take a walk.

[*] Think of the worst thing someone has ever done to you. Now say to yourself, “I forgive you.”

[*] Step outside tonight and just look up at the stars.

DO THIS: Remember purpose

 

As I have been reminded many times of the importance of purpose and taking agency over the decisions in my life, I see it again in a Harvard Business School instructor comment about HBS Graduates:

“I can guarantee you that not a single one of them graduated with the deliberate strategy of getting divorced and raising children who would become estranged from them.  And yet a shocking number of them implemented that strategy.”

So a bunch of really really smart people had their lives turn out different than they planned or even intended or even dreamed of. It is not a matter of resources or smarts.

“The reason? They didn’t keep the purpose of their lives front and center as they decided how to spend their time, talents, and energy.”

Now this brings up two points.

  1. did these people KNOW, or are they aware of the “Purpose” of their lives?  Or was their purpose just at odds with the family and kids?
  2. Did they understand the amount of Agency they had in their own lives?

Agency and Purpose are intertwined.  And Purpose comes in different forms.  What has happened in my own life that led to my divorce was that the Purpose toward which I spent the vast majority of my time, talent, and energy (career and money) ended up in opposition to the Purpose of getting married and sharing my life with my wife.  I didn’t realize that until it was too late.  In fact, I thought I was doing it all right.  Grow up, get married, then make lots of $$ to take care of the family and give them all the opportunities in life.  Put my needs behind the needs of the family for money.  But the balance got off.  And half my money left with half my heart. It is a common story.  One that can be avoided with more awareness of a couple things.

  1. What is the purpose toward which 90-95% of your time, talent, and energy is going.
  2. Is that in alignment with your my long term goals?
  3. Am I exercising the Agency that I do have to choose the purpose that I am supporting with the time, talent and energy?

In the past I have gotten into trouble when:

  1. I have not stopped to ask the above three questions
  2. I have not recognized the amount of Agency I do have and exercised the Agency. I have let others decide for me.

 

DO THIS: Remember the impermanence of even MASSIVE investments

A couple weeks ago I went to China.  Of all the amazing things and people I saw and met there, one of the most striking things for me was The Great Wall.  On the ride out there my eager guide was telling me all sorts of stories about rulers and clans and infighting and this guy built X many KM of the wall and that guy built Y KM.  It all sounded like bees buzzing until she said she said: “at one point ruler XYZ had 1/5 of the entire population of China working on the wall, over 1,000,000 people and over 300,000 troops.”  Wait, What?  20% of the entire country on one project?  Building one technology?  And that technology is now falling down and completely obsolete?  20% of the national resources on something today totally useless.  Wow.  A couple thoughts came up:

  1.  There is NOTHING today that you could get 20% of Americans to work on all together.  Ok, in China that 20% was basically slaves, but I am even thinking of any common project that we could all voluntarily agree on is in the national interest.  Could we get 20% of us to do anything?  Unlikely.
  2. That is a massive investment in technology, in this case, defensive technology, that served for a time and is not completely and utterly useless.  Literally falling down and of no use other than tourism.  All those resources and dead people, thousands of years of effort.  Now obsolete.  How many of our current massive investments will be obsolete even that much sooner?  What massive efforts am I making today that will be useless even 10 years from now?
  3. Man, the command and control economy has some benefits.

Now when I think if the Great Wall, I think about technological change and investment.  How massive investments in technology can become useless.  How the timing must be right.  China likely got their money’s worth out of that technology.  But it is no longer useful.  Everything has a useful life.  No investment lasts forever.

DO THIS: Rules for Sons…

Saw a friend post this.  All good Rules I aspire to remember and follow (except the handkerchief thing).

RULES FOR SONS:

1. Never shake a man’s hand sitting down.
2. Don’t enter a pool by the stairs.
3. The man at the BBQ Grill is the closest thing to a king.
4. In a negotiation, never make the first offer.
5. Request the late check-out.
6. When entrusted with a secret, keep it.
7. Hold your heroes to a higher standard.
8. Return a borrowed car with a full tank of gas.
9. Play with passion or not at all…
10. When shaking hands, grip firmly and look them in the eye.
11. Don’t let a wishbone grow where a backbone should be.
12. If you need music on the beach, you’re missing the point.
13. Carry two handkerchiefs. The one in your back pocket is for you. The one in your breast pocket is for her.
14. You marry the girl, you marry her family.
15. Be like a duck. Remain calm on the surface and paddle like crazy underneath.
16. Experience the serenity of traveling alone.
17. Never be afraid to ask out the best looking girl in the room.
18. Never turn down a breath mint.
19. A sport coat is worth 1000 words.
20. Try writing your own eulogy. Never stop revising.
21. Thank a veteran. Then make it up to him.
22. Eat lunch with the new kid.
23. After writing an angry email, read it carefully. Then delete it.
24. Ask your mom to play. She won’t let you win.
25. Manners maketh the man.
26. Give credit. Take the blame.
27. Stand up to Bullies. Protect those bullied.
28. Write down your dreams.
29. Always protect your siblings (and teammates).
30. Be confident and humble at the same time.
31. Call and visit your parents often. They miss you.