I enjoyed this book.
Here are my favorite passages from this self-development book by Derek Sivers called Hell Yeah or No: What’s Worth Doing.
“We do so many things for the attention, to feel important or praised. But what if you had so much attention and so much praise that you couldn’t possibly want any more? What would you do then? What would you stop doing?”
“We do so many things for the money, whether we need it or not. But what if you had so much money that you couldn’t possibly want any more? What would you do then? What would you stop doing?”
“And then if you stopped doing all these things you’re doing just for the money or the attention, what would be left? Who would you be if you didn’t do these things? If you were completely satiated, then what? After an understandable period of relaxing, what would you pursue?”
“But something felt wrong. After a day of talking, I was often exhausted and unfulfilled. Two hours spent with one person who wants to “pick my brain” is two hours I could have spent making something that could be useful to the whole world, including that one person.”
“So there’s the trade-off. When I’m local-focused, I may be useful to my community, but I’m not being as useful to the rest of the world. So I’m finally admitting: I’m not local.”
“Actions, not words, reveal our real values.”
“I said, “You can’t ignore what I’m saying. I know myself well. I’m telling you what’s important to me.” He said, “Yes, I can ignore what you’re saying and just look at your actions. Our actions always reveal our real values.”
“He said, “If they really wanted to do it, they would have done it. You’ve been talking about this new company idea since 2008, but never launched it. Looking at your actions, and knowing you, I’d say that you don’t really want to start another company. You actually prefer the simple life you have now, focused on learning, writing, and playing with your kid. No matter what you say, your actions reveal the truth.”
“Wow. Yep. He was right. I had been fooling myself for years, telling myself I wanted to do this, but my actions proved otherwise. Yes, I wanted it a little bit, but I wanted something else more. Now I’ve been sharing this thought with friends who talk about wanting something, but aren’t making it happen. Each time, they have the same reaction I did. No matter what you tell the world or tell yourself, your actions reveal your real values. Your actions show you what you actually want. There are two smart reactions to this: Stop lying to yourself, and admit your real priorities. Start doing what you say you want to do, and see if it’s really true.”
“One way to get famous is to let others make more money, while you take the spotlight. I learned this while living in Los Angeles, when I got to know some famous Hollywood actors and realized they’re not as rich as you’d think. The richest people in Hollywood are the ones you’ve never heard of, because they’ve optimized their careers for money. They know that others are willing to take less money in return for more fame, so they profit from the other side of that deal.”
“Maybe the most important thing to you is learning, or creating, or giving. Maybe it’s how many people’s lives you can influence. Maybe it’s how deeply you can influence just a few people’s lives.”
“If you want freedom, then own a business but delegate all the work. You won’t be learning or creating or giving as much as you could with a different strategy, but that’s OK. You know freedom is what you’re after.”
“You have to know your preferences well because no matter what you do, someone will tell you you’re wrong.”
“If you expect criticism in advance and take pride in your unusual stance, you can bash on with a smile, being who you want to be. Then every time they say you’re wrong, that’s a sign you’re doing it right.”
“So look around at those existing ideas in the world. You can imitate them and still be offering something valuable and unique.”
“So the conclusion is this: Public comments are just feedback on something you made. They’re worth reading to see how this thing has been perceived. You can even take it as feedback on the public image you’ve created. All people know is what you’ve chosen to show them. So if your public persona is coming across wrong, try tweaking it. Never forget that the public you is not you.”
“All of my Singaporean friends live with their parents. Even pretty successful ones, even married ones, even up to age thirty-five, live in their parents’ homes. When I told a friend that I left home at seventeen, she was horrified. She said, “Isn’t that insulting to your parents? Weren’t they devastated?” Then I noticed my local American culture again. I had heard that Americans emphasize individualism, rebellion, and personal expression, but I couldn’t really see it until I was outside of it.”
“My culture isn’t in the center. It’s off on the edge, like one petal in a flower, like they all are. Not right or wrong — just one of many options. So I’m just a fish who didn’t know he was in water. And in some aspect of your life, you probably are, too.”
“Both mindsets are necessary. You need a present-focus to enjoy life. But too much present-focus can prevent the deeper happiness of achievement. (I call this “shallow happy” versus “deep happy”.) I wish all of this was part of a common understanding, the way we understand when extroverts want to go out for excitement, and introverts want to stay home with a book.”
“You know I’m going for the metaphor here: Social media comments Distracting environments Discouraging family members Your email inbox.”
“I rebel against anything that feels like addiction. When I hear myself saying “I need this,” I want to challenge that dependency and prove my independence.”
“A lot of people get into bad life situations this way. A homeowner buys a house at the top end of their budget. A romantic falls for someone who’s already in a relationship. Later they complain about how they’re so in debt, or their sweetheart is cheating. Before you start something, think of the ways it could end. Sometimes the smart choice is to say no to the whole game.”
“5. Do all the necessary stuff When I’m upset, I don’t feel like doing anything but wallowing in it. But despite feeling that way, I brush my teeth, make healthy meals, take the kid out to play, do the dishes, pay the bills, take my vitamins, clean up, and go to bed early. These tasks are so mundane, but they help me to feel on top of things. When everyday responsibilities are done, my mind is less distracted. When I ask, “What’s wrong right now?” — and I see this clean house, paid bills, and happy child — I can answer “nothing!”
“Kimo’s high expectations set a new pace for me. He taught me that “the standard pace is for chumps” — that the system is designed so anyone can keep up. If you’re more driven than most people, you can do way more than anyone expects. And this principle applies to all of life, not just school.”
“When I was twenty-two, I quit my job and spent five months alone in a house on a remote part of the Oregon coast. Practicing, writing, recording, exercising, and learning. No internet. No TV. No phone. No people. I drove into the city only once a month to see friends and family. The rest of the time, I was completely disconnected. In those five months, I wrote and recorded over fifty songs, made huge improvements in my musicianship, read twenty books, and got into the best physical shape of my life.”
“Every business wants to get you addicted to their infinite updates, pings, chats, messages, and news. But if what you want out of life is to create, then those are your obstacles. People often ask me what they can do to be more successful. I say disconnect. Even if just for a few hours. Unplug. Turn off your phone and Wi-Fi. Focus. Write. Practice. Create. That’s what’s rare and valuable these days.”
“The metaphor is easy to understand, but hard to remember in regular life. If you catch yourself burning with envy or resentment, think like the bronze medalist, not the silver. Change your focus. Instead of comparing up to the next-higher situation, compare down to the next-lower one.”
“For funnier thoughts on this, search the web for Louis C.K.’s “everything is amazing and nobody is happy” and Jerry Seinfeld’s “silver medal” routines.”
“There are always more than two options People sometimes ask my help in making big decisions. They’re usually trying to decide between two options. But that’s not a decision — that’s a self-created dilemma! You have to remember that there are always more than two options.”
“The solution is to think long term. Do just one thing for a few years, then another for a few years, then another. You may have heard this story: Buridan’s donkey is standing halfway between a pile of hay and a bucket of water. It keeps looking left and right, trying to decide between hay and water. Unable to decide, it eventually dies of hunger and thirst. A donkey can’t think of the future. If he could, he’d clearly realize that he could first drink the water, then go eat the hay. Don’t be a donkey. You can do everything you want to do. You just need foresight and patience.”
“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year, and underestimate what they can do in ten years. Think long term. Use the future. Don’t be short sighted. Don’t be a donkey.”
“When someone upsets you, it’s human nature to feel it’s their fault. But one day I tried thinking of everything as my fault. I created the environment that made them feel they had to lie. I mistook their neutral behavior as betrayal. I made it more appealing for them to disappear than to communicate.”
“It felt so good to think it was all my fault! This is way better than forgiving. When you forgive, you’re still assuming that they’re wrong and you’re the victim. But to decide it’s your fault feels amazing! Now you weren’t wronged. People were just playing their part in the situation you helped create.”
“What power! Now you’re the person who made things happen, made a mistake, and can learn from it. Now you’re in control and there’s nothing to complain about.”
“Eventually, I had an epiphany. I actually love being wrong, even though it cracks my confidence, because that’s the only time I learn. I actually love being lost, even though it fuels fears, because that’s when I go somewhere unexpected.”
“So maybe what’s obvious to me is amazing to someone else?”
“Are you holding back something that seems too obvious to share?
“They look for “passive income” instead of focusing on doing something that’s really valuable to others
“Each half of your life becomes a remedy for the other. You get paid stability for part of your day, but then need creative time for expression. So you push yourself creatively, expose your vulnerable art to the public, feel the frustration of rejection and apathy, and then long for some stability again. Each half is a remedy for the other.”
“Your main obstacle to this amazing life will be self-control. You’ll need good time management to stop addictions like social media and video-watching, and make your art your main relaxing activity. You’ll need good mind management to not think of your job after you leave the office.”
One professor had the winning idea: Don’t make any walkways this year. At the end of the year, look where the grass has worn away. That shows where the students are walking. Then just pave those paths.
“So when should you make decisions? When you have the most information, when you’re at your smartest: as late as possible.”
“Don’t start a business until people are asking you to When you bake a cake, you need to do first things first. You need to get the ingredients before you turn on the oven. You need to bake it before you frost it and slice it.”
“And now, my point: The reason I’m finally writing about this is because I realized that I’m doing all these things for myself as much as for him. By cultivating his long attention span, I’m cultivating my own. By entering his world, I’m letting go of my own, like meditation.”
“By broadening his inputs, I’m broadening my own. I thought I was being selfless. But actually, like most things we consider selfless, they benefit me as much as him.
“Yesterday I procrastinated, tinkered, and wasted time, doing nothing of any value. Then this morning, I found out that one of my best friends died yesterday. He was out on a bike ride on a quiet street when a car swerved into the bike lane, killing him instantly. We shared my online music account. I see he had just downloaded the entire Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young catalog yesterday before he left on his ride. I’ve been crying off and on all morning, thinking about what we do with our time — what’s worthy and what’s a waste. Time really is limited. We can’t pretend it’s not. Time spent doing one thing is time spent not doing something else. It’s so easy to waste time doing stuff that’s not important, not really fun, and not useful to anyone, not even yourself.”
“I spent this morning thinking about what doesn’t matter and what does. For me, writing is about the most worthy thing I can do with my time. I love how the distributed word is eternal — that every day I get emails from strangers thanking me for things I wrote years ago that helped them today. I love how those things will continue to help people long after I’m gone.”
“Unlearning Things I learned in the past are now wrong. Times have changed. Beliefs that were true are now false. They were based on old limitations that are now gone.”
“The solution is deliberate unlearning. Doubt what I know. Stop the habit of thinking I know it. Require current proof that it’s still true today. Otherwise, let it go.”
“There are no smart people or stupid people, just people being smart or being stupid.”
“The mirror: It’s about you, not them.”
“New arrivals in a culture often notice what the locals don’t. (Fish don’t know they’re in water.) Don’t think of yourself as visiting. Say that you’ve moved here, and mean it. Commit. Immerse. Go native. Form deep friendships with locals. Ask lots of questions. Ask people to explain and show you how things are done. When they state a fact, ask how they know. When they state an opinion, ask for examples.”
“At first, their values and methods will feel wrong. You’ll feel the urge to tell them how their lives or ideas could be better — more like what you know. But try to understand a perspective where they are right and you are wrong. Eventually, you’ll realize that your beliefs were not correct — they were just the local culture of where you grew up. You’re a product of your environment.”
“Don’t focus on the example itself. Use it as a metaphor, and apply the lesson to my situation.”
“You think you made the change, but it’s not accounting for: a lifetime of doing it the other way, the environment that made you that way, and the pressure from friends to stay that way.”
“At twenty-nine, I had done it. After fifteen years of practice, and about a thousand live shows, I was finally a good singer, at least by my own standards. You can judge for yourself at sive.rs/music, where my old recordings are at the bottom, and new recordings are at the top.”
“If you think love needs to look like Romeo and Juliet, you’ll overlook a great relationship that grows slowly.”
“Instead, just notice what excites you and what scares you on a small moment-to-moment level.”
“Fear is just a form of excitement, and you know you should do what excites you. Best of all, once you do something that scared you, you’re not scared of it anymore! As you go through life, doing everything that scares you, you fear less and less in the world.”
Purpose: I create an empowering context for curious and hungry people looking for fulfillment, experiences, and creativity. We do this by developing their growth mindset, introducing self-love, and powerful group experiences. It results in people with strong boundaries, resilient mental health, and practical life skills
People leave with the ability to land their dream job, have autonomy and flexibility with their lifestyle, travel the world, and create from their heart and soul.
Davidson was once broke, insecure, low-confidence, and frustrated by doing all the wrong activities. Addicted to drugs, validation, and wallowing in self-pity. No relationship to family, and at the mercy of other people’s suggestions and opinions.
It was hell.
After spending $100k hiring different coaches, traveling the world doing workshops around the world, reading>1000 books, and through curiosity, have created the most effective system to remove people from that situation. My life’s work is to bring joy and abundance to people who as on a similar path as I was and bring back the joy and abundance of their life.
Through shared experiences and storytelling, I inspire and model behaviors that lead to a richer, more fulfilled life full of joy, experiences, passion, and ecstasy from the richness of relationships and being able to experience the depths of the human experience.