Life lesson from Naval Ravikant

I’m a Naval Ravikant fanboy. I’ve obsessively listened to pretty much every podcast Naval has been on, and I’ve heard them several times. His podcast with Tim FerrissJames Altucher, and The knowledge project is just brilliant. His live periscope was just so full of profound, and thoughtful insights(transcript).

He’s like a modern sage, his words so full of wisdom, delivered with perfect tone and composure. I can’t get enough of it. There’s one of his teachings that has profoundly impacted my life, and I wish I had implemented it sooner. Radical Honesty.

A fit body, a calm mind, a house full of love. These things cannot be bought — they must be earned

-Naval Ravikant

Naval talks about Honesty as one of his core fundamental principles. We take honesty for granted and use it as a commodity when convenient. In his conversation with Tim Ferriss, Tim recalls meeting Naval for the first time at a fundraiser and Naval pointing out that the Tim was dressed like a “Gay Banker.” For an obsessive people pleaser like me, that seems ludicrous. I would never ever say something to someone that might even remotely makes them uncomfortable. I have several layers of thought filters that only let out thoughts that may please the other person. Although it’s a good strategy for the short term, in the long run, it’s detrimental.

Sam Harris in his book “Lying” talks about how even a simple white lie can fundamentally alter one’s brain and makes it harder to tell the truth in the future. Constant filtering is not only disingenuous but also taxing on our minds. It takes an extra mental effort to think about what needs be said and what you allow yourself to say. The constitution may grant us the right to free speech, but most often our own mind restricts us from speaking honestly. I’ve been practicing radical honesty for the past 6 months, and it has been the best decision of my life.

Here are 5 things i noticed by implementing radical honesty in my life:

  1. Liberation: There are few things more liberating than the freedom to speak your mind.
  2. Detachment from external validation: When you try to be a people pleaser, you are always looking for validation from others. Hoping you say something that they’ll agree with and like you instead of saying what’s on your mind. Radical honesty lets you talk freely without caring about what others think.
  3. Faster flow of thoughts: Having an extra filter slows down your thinking. Because first, you formulate your opinions, then modify them to make it such that the other person will like it. With radical honesty, there’s no added workload on your brain, and your thoughts flow freely.
  4. Reflexive: Overtime your thoughts become reflexive. You just say the first thing on your mind. It’s harder to lie because lies need thought and effort. Becoming a reflexive truth teller is a great feeling.
  5. People respond better: Who would you trust? A person who never says anything remotely controversial or a person who speaks his mind? Yes, you may piss off a few people now and then, but in my experience, most people start trusting you more and like you better.

Radical honesty takes effort especially if you have conditioned yourself to lie and omit the truth in order to please others. But trust me, it’s the best thing you’ll do for yourself. If there’s one thing you want to implement to change your life, then it’s radical honesty. Don’t take it from me. Take it from Naval Himself.

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