For the few readers who don’t already know, one of my favorite bloggers is Cal Newport. Cal just published a new book which tackles the question of what does it take to be remarkably successful and still have a remarkably enjoyable life.
I recently had a spoke with Cal talking about ideas such as:
- Why following your passions can be a trap
- The power of the “failed-simulation effect” in allowing remarkable accomplishments without agonizing effort.
- How doing less in an unusual way will actually achieve more
I recorded the conversation and you can listen to it here. It’s a bit over thirty minutes, but if you’ve enjoyed my latest articles about the pursuit of the ideal life and some of the unconventional strategies to reach it, I think it’s well worth the listening time.
Notes on the Conversation
Here are my notes from the conversation which you can also use as a guide when listening:
0:00 – I introduce Cal and his new book
3:05 – Cal and I discuss the “superstar” effect and how it impacts your life
5:20 – What counter signaling is, and why putting club president on your resume might make you look worse
7:15 – Why the rules of success change when your goal is to be world class
11:00 – We explain what the failed-simulation effect is, why it works (and why it’s underused)
19:00 – Cal attacks the dominant ideology that you need to “find your passion”
21:30 – Don’t follow your passion—build one in a field where you can win
23:30 – Take advantage of poorly defined competitive structures
25:10 – What the research actually says on how people find passions
28:00 – How to achieve more while doing way less work
31:20 – Being best in the class versus being best in the world
33:40 – Cal’s advice on being incredibly impressive (hint: it’s not by suffering now to win later)
How to Become a High-School Superstar
I highly recommend getting Cal’s book, where he goes into way more detail on his research into what makes people stand out and achieve more. You can pick up a copy here, and definitely check out Cal’s blog StudyHacks.