Kapil Gupta: Conquering the Mind

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what's interesting about talking to you couple is that you're not for everybody in fact it's quite the opposite the things you think about and the way you speak really only applies to a very small set of people this discussion is going to be unique in multiple ways and one of those is that it's just not going to make sense for most people it doesn't mean that you should try and have it make sense to you it's not something to aspire to it's not some graduate level course it just doesn't have interest for most

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people but again it's not advanced it's just different another way in which this differs is that i'm nervous to have this conversation and normally i'm not that nervous about podcasts or conversations in fact i'm very confident about them in this case i'm a little nervous because all the questions that i want to ask you and all the things that i want to discuss with you are intensely personal if i'm not genuinely interested in the answer then i'm not really asking the proper question i'm just

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showing off for the audience i've been working with you couple for years now i forget how long actually it's been quite a while and i'm not proud of that it's actually a failure right because whatever i need to figure out i should have figured out by now why do we still have to keep going over the same old ground but the territory that you're walking or the things that you're interested in and your take on them is so unique that it takes time to even just understand the vocabulary and the grammar of how you speak and how you think and how you behave and how you view the world

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there are a couple of key words we can start with i'm going to start with the hardest one it's hard because it's the most unique it's a word that you use over and over and i don't think other people really understand what you're saying even i still barely understand what you're saying i have some concept of it but it's a mental shift that is so important that i think it's really important to understand and to examine carefully what you mean before we get into the rest and that word is prescriptions let's talk about prescriptions prescriptions are how-to's

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they are hacks and they are techniques and methods various methodologies to get somewhere when you talk about something from the standpoint of a mechanical behavior turning on a computer riding a bicycle prescriptions are useful the problem is that whenever you venture into the realm of art in any form be it in business or sports or even in the setting of finding peace in your life or freedom or arriving at enlightenment or all of these so-called spiritual pursuits those things cannot be prescriptionized

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if you attempt to prescriptionize them what happens is the prescription becomes the new god you begin to try to live up to the prescription in the beginning you had a place to go i want to go to x then you introduce an intermediary the prescription this is how you get to x then what will happen is that your mind will begin to focus upon the intermediary and it will enter into a deal which it never signed up for that deal is that for the rest of your life you will attempt to satisfy the intermediary in all domains you have many people who

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do great things the buddha attained enlightenment you have michael jordan and tiger woods doing amazing things in golf and elon musk and various individuals who do great things in business and even yourself if you take what those people did and you write a book and said that these people did x if you follow that you will not become them you will not i've found business biographies to be useless for building a great business they're good for inspiration i can read steve jobs bio and be

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inspired but i can't be steve jobs and if i want to be amazing at something then i have to find my own way there for mechanical things how to's work but when you're trying to operate at the top of a field or when you're trying to do something creative how to's don't work beyond the most extreme basics when you're first starting something it is actually a mechanical endeavor you're just figuring out how to drive a car but when you're trying to figure out how to race around a track faster than anyone else then all coaches and techniques and prescriptions have to fall by the

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wayside and you are at the edge of the art that's correct now the problem is conditioning when there's only been one loudspeaker in a person's ear for his entire life then that is his norm and that is the only language that he knows that paradigm of how to is so embedded inside the culture it is so deeply embedded inside the cortex of the human brain that the idea of omitting it or the idea of even challenging its existence is completely off the wall it is so otherworldly and antithetical

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that it takes years to even get to the point where the idea of prescriptions being a impediment to whatever you seek begins to dawn people consider you to be a spiritual guy on twitter and in my understanding you're not like that at all spirituality is a pointless word it's about utility is something useful does it get you where you want to go you're always talking about extreme performance and that's why your brand is say the performance it's a seeking performance essentially and seeking the truth that gets you to

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the highest performance in all things whether it's business or sports or peace of mind this drive towards utility reality truth performance they somehow wander into spirituality people interpret them in spiritual ways but it feels like spirituality is so cluttered with nonsense that it gets lost your model makes sense if one realizes that it's designed to go after extreme performance if you want to be the best in the world at anything you cannot follow prescription if you want to be okay at it then sure you can follow a prescription if you want to learn how to lose a pound

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a month and get in decent shape then you can follow a calorie counting worksheet but if you want to be a shredded bodybuilder or an olympic athlete you're not going to get there through how-to's you're going to have to create and forge your own path that is unique to you would that be a good way of putting it well what i will add to that is that one does not have to want to become the greatest in the world if you look at the lives of human beings there is intense struggle the guy who works three jobs doesn't want to work three jobs he may not want to become tiger woods

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but he wants to be beyond being forced to work three jobs what keeps him working three jobs is prescriptions the futility of prescriptions does not just harm one who wants to become world class it gravely harms the one who simply doesn't want to struggle the way i think about it in the business world is that hard work has very little to do with effectiveness the grocery store owner or the person working at a restaurant might work 60 80 hours a week

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and that might be all elon musk is working but elon's making a lot more money because of his specific knowledge knowledge that cannot be taught but can be learned on the job if you have a strong enough desire because elon is doing the right things he is far more effective in earning power and the right things at least in business can't be taught because it's a moving target it can only give very vague principles that inspire people to head in the right direction but i can't teach you how to make money

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or trade the stock market it's like when people ask you for stock tips no one who's any good at stock trading gives actionable investment advice in a public forum because all the details are too hard to convey i can always tell people who ask for stock tips they're not really serious about investing people who ask for book recommendations aren't really serious about reading people who ask what business should i build aren't really serious about entrepreneurship people who say what career path should i take they're not really

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serious about their career when someone's asking for a how-to and anything they aren't actually that serious about it if they were truly serious about it they would figure it out but then that leaves the paradoxical question well how do i figure it out take the person who quote made it and became world class in whatever he did if he went back and retraced his steps and did everything again the same way but this time he did it by mimicking himself he would fail even he wouldn't be able to do it

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what has to be understood is that where greatness comes from it's a very murky affair it is non-linear it is unpredictable perhaps nature and the universe set it up this way that you have to jump in and once you jump in the soup and you're being bombarded through all sides and you live in confusion and you have no idea which way is up if the obsession is there then what happens is through some messy process you find a way you see light at the end of the tunnel you forge a path through the jungle that

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was not done according to a how you were flailing the entire time so there was no how to flail when you come out through the tunnel and someone asks you how you did it you have no idea the thing that's almost laughable is when you ask a great athlete can you show me how you did that they won't come on and say i have no idea they will provide you with some semblance of an answer which is a non-answer and what they will do is because there's a gun point to their head and their backs against a wall they will create the highlights when the

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human being who watches that follows the highlights he misses and the reason that he misses is because it's all the small things i can't watch roger federer play tennis and swing the rocket the same way nor will any description from him on how to swing the rocket get me to swing it the right way then we go to intellectual efforts we start asking warren buffett why he invests in a company and there he can try and create a mental construct as to how he thinks and how he invests in the company but there are just as many details to warren buffett's activities

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when he decides what to invest in and how he lives his life and how he thinks as there are to roger federer's body running around a tennis court hitting a ball the details are not transmissible they're not copyable you can be inspired to try it yourself but without that sincerity that obsession you won't get there not only are the details not transmissible the details are not even knowable ah so warren and roger don't even know it themselves absolutely not no great artist knows the things that you do

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greatest are the things that you know not how you do them i would argue that you're not even there when you do them you're not consciously thinking about it i find that when i'm speaking i do best when i'm not thinking about what i'm going to say and i don't even hear what i'm going to say until it comes out of my mouth you become as surprised as the audience as to what you're going to say that is just pure what does pure mean pure is not morality and pure is not good there's not good and bad that's a whole other topic itself that's

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actually the next topic i want to get into that's another set of assumptions that everybody has that to understand you have to be left by the wayside what we're doing here is we're trying to focus on what is true and that means we're going to speak as honestly as possible which means we're going to be vulnerable which means we're going to say things that are socially unacceptable and we're going to say things that are potentially surprising and it's very difficult to speak truth in a public forum and why is that

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because there's an internal dialogue which says that a person wants the audience to understand there's definitely that there's also a piece of it that society is a set of collective lies that we all believe in so we can get along it allows us to establish lowest common denominator consensus so we don't all kill each other and we can cooperate but there are these shared fictions that we have to maintain for that society to function which is fine there's a cost to that and the cost is borne by the individual it all comes back to dna not genetic dna dna in one's

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sensibilities the way that he is wired and for some people's dna what society thinks is almost an insult if we don't discuss truth here then what's the point of having a conversation if there's any compulsion that the audience should understand and it doesn't mean that i go out of my way to try to be arcane and abstract but it isn't about anyone understanding it's about speaking the truth now that we've established that prescriptions don't work and that we're here to discover the truth and we're looking past good and bad and

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right or wrong and we're just trying to figure out the answer let's pick the first thing that we're going to dive into freedom what does freedom mean to you freedom is freedom from the mind the only reason that any human being is not free is because of his mind it is the mind which creates his tortures it is the mind which creates his anxieties it is the mind which creates his conflicts it is the mind which creates his rules all that he is confined by all that he is imprisoned by is the mind

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not anything else when i was young i wanted freedom but i wanted freedom in the sense of i didn't want to be trapped in the house i wanted to be able to live where i wanted i wanted to be able to make money i wanted to have a girlfriend i wanted to go to a place where i could do whatever i wanted whenever i wanted that's what i wanted in my mind freedom was just getting away from physical constraints material constraints i got all that stuff i traveled with the whole world i ate all the food i made all the money i got all the things that i wanted in

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life yet the quality of my life did not change that much the quality of my moment-to-moment experience didn't change that much that's because i hadn't changed that much my internal experience was still very much the same every time i got something i wanted the next thing and wanted the next thing and one of the next thing all the same pains and tortures and miseries were still there maybe some were better obviously it's better to be rich than to be poor it's better to be healthy than to be sick

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but beyond a certain point my baseline level of peace had not changed that much then i started making the transition to what you're talking about realizing that a lot of these traps were in my mind but you're just jumped all the way you're saying no it's all from the mind from the very beginning yes any freedom that leads to the desire for more freedom is not freedom if there's a bleed you don't clean the tributary vessels you want to look at the source of the bleed even if it took someone 30 years to learn the source of the bleed

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to learn the truth about what freedom really was it would be far more effective to begin that journey at this very second as opposed to doing it piecemeal because that'll take 900 years it is not abstract to say that freedom comes from the mind what it is is revelatory the belief is that anxiety and fears and pain arise from circumstance that they arise from other people as long as that belief is invested inside of someone he will spend his life trying to change circumstance

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and that will be a monumental waste of life and you only get one so quite frankly there isn't enough time to go piecemeal it is far better to not understand than it is to go piecemeal because then you're going down a tributary and that tributary leads to other tributaries very soon you're way off course what we're really talking about here is that all of the problems that we struggle with we tend to externalize we tend to solve them in the external world and there are certain ones that are

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practical in the external world do i have food do i have shelter those kinds of things but beyond a certain basic level a lot of the problems we're trying to solve in the external world are actually internal problems and even if we manage to solve the current manifestation in the external world the new problem will just pop up tomorrow in the external world everyone's looking for truth whether they profess to look for truth or not and the evidence for that is that everyone is looking for a way out of their problems if they weren't then there wouldn't be

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14 000 prescriptions on every single corner from spirituality to self-help the very fact that those things exist and the very fact that they are populated by millions means that there's an enormous appetite for relief from problems this relates back to prescriptions no human being actually wants to be told what to do there's something within a human being which rejects the idea of being told what to do quite frankly even when you do give prescriptions

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most don't follow it and they will beg you for years to get the prescription and when you give it they won't do it people look at that and say see you've been given the prescription you didn't follow it that's your fault no it's not the fault is believing that that's what they really wanted it's not no one wants prescriptions freedom really is what everyone is looking for it is just that they've been sold many lines they've been sold many lies that it's about meditating and it's about practicing

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mindfulness and it's about doing all these things and none of those things are wrong it's all about the question if your question is i like to feel better for 20 minutes a day it gives me a sense of peace what can i do there's nothing wrong with that if the question is i really want to have peace in my life i don't want to have problems every single day my entire life is spent putting out fires i don't want that anymore that's a different question then those prescriptions are invalid for that so what is the most important

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question i would begin with the one that's most acute for a given individual now broadly speaking everyone's problem is problems anxiety fear concern worry conflict confusion this persistent non-specific anxiety is probably the single most common human condition that most people are trying to get away from yeah and the naive version is i have anxiety because i don't have enough money so i need to go make more money then the slightly more sophisticated version is boy i wish i could just get over the

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anxiety of feeling like i don't have enough because practically speaking i have enough but at some reason i'm still anxious so i'd love to get rid of that anxiety what's the next level after that it's a more fundamental level the next level is zero the idea that someone should get rid of anxiety is the problem the problem is not how do i get rid of anxiety the way is actually to learn where anxiety comes from the people who have conquered anxiety are the ones who had a clear understanding of what it is and where it

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came from the solution to a problem is never the solution it's always the problem the solution to any problem lies squarely deep within the problem there are not two things there's only one everyone is taught to look for solutions and they believe that the solution is independent of the problem but ingeniously nature has hidden the problem inside the solution and maybe it did it because it wanted human beings to look inside the problem the definition of the problem is the key can we go through a specific

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example absolutely so in the case of anxiety a person asks how do i get rid of anxiety their problem isn't that they have anxiety the problem is that their anxiety will never end as long as they look for a solution to it well if i don't find a solution then i'm always going to have anxiety that's correct the solution is to go backwards is to look what actually is this anxiety put a name on it when does it arise what part of your body does it arise in in what situations does it arise know the face of anxiety not run from it

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like a boogie man this is something that's been solved on an individual basis there's no solving it is simply the understanding the solution to any problem lies diving deep into the problem the answer lies in the anxiety every single thing that i say is fraught with peril because the prescription givers have hijacked the english language they've already attached an image to every single word that i use when i say that you have to look into the anxiety where that will go is thanks to the

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spiritual jargon what they'll say is i must face my anxiety no no you don't oh that means that i must watch my thoughts no no you don't why because if you do that you'll be doing so prescriptively you'll simply become an automaton who sits there and watches his thoughts and then you will say i've watched my thoughts nothing changed i went into the anxiety i faced it and nothing changed the prescription is so subtle that any attempt to follow it removes you from the solution even as

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you're listening to my words it isn't about finding out what i'm telling you to do it is about understanding and through understanding you can take your destiny in your own hands and even when i say that i don't mean to motivate you by telling you that you can take your destiny into your own hands forgive me a thousand apologies i have no interest in motivating you because if i motivate you then you will get raw raw and say yes i too will do that now and you'll fail it is about very quiet very serious

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examination of what actually is being said never just listen to the words people send me all these messages saying what is we mean no prescriptions you see that's a prescription don't follow prescriptions it's not about prescriptions go into the source of why it was being said for yourself it is never about the words it's where they come from this is what makes these conversations so difficult even inspiring other people is hard because if they're inspired inspiration doesn't last it fades it's

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like reading inspirational quotes or motivational posters you spike up and then you crash back down there are times where i've actually inspired people to go and start a business and i regret it because if they're not inspired naturally they're not going to sustain it for a long period of time without me around well it isn't about them i would say that the only real problem would not be whether their inspiration is sustained the real problem would be if there's a desire to inspire them that's the non-starter

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i desire in my part to inspire them that's right there is no other that's another one i can't say two words without it being a whole other thing but let's get into it there is no other i've said life is a single player game you're just competing against yourself but you're mostly arguing having conflict with admiring looking at yourself you're born alone you die alone how you interpret things as purely through you how you view the world is purely through you that's what i mean by it perhaps you mean something deeper than that there is no other means that there's no

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problem outside of yourself and that all conflict is self-conflict these things in which pain arises from a circumstance aren't really caused by the circumstance the circumstance does not cause pain it reveals it if someone's intention is that i wanted to inspire him that's a problem if the intention is that i didn't care to inspire him or not then that's not a problem the problem arises in the individual because if he tried to inspire then that came from a place of ego ego isn't bad

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but if a person tries to inspire someone they're really trying to attain significance in their own mind that isn't bad either the problem is it creates problems that's the quote madness if you did not care whether you inspired or not then you'd be free and freedom isn't good either it's just that freedom does not create problems so a simple example if i'm on twitter and i send out a tweet and i do it to get compliments i get a whole bunch of compliments i like those i go and i click like on all the compliments

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then i get a few insults and the insults sting and i feel bad it only takes one insult to cancel out dozens of compliments mood wise just the way the human mind is built after you've done this for a long enough time you realize that it's because i'm liking the compliments that the insults hit me they're hitting some deep fear that they might be true if someone calls me a hippopotamus i don't care it's not real but if someone says oh you're trying to play fake guru that might hurt because sometimes i am trying to do that and so if it reveals something about me

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some conflict and some pain that already existed then it hurts just by understanding how compliments puff me up i can realize that insults bring me back down and the freedom comes from realizing that it's not good or bad i can continue to make that trade but at least now i'm aware why i feel bad when i see an insult all of that would circle back to do you really want to know are you the type of individual who really wants to know and understand where these things come from because you have a longing for getting over that for good

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one doesn't necessarily have to go through the understanding it's helpful to have these kinds of illusions because that's how we function society you could argue society conditioned us that way so that we could be functional in normal society but as you understand more of these things one of the interesting things i've noticed is as you peel the onion it has to be done genuinely otherwise it's not real otherwise just another pleasure chase even genuine isn't a rule there's no need to be genuine that isn't good like humility it isn't good to be humble

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nothing is good yeah if i'm engaging in self-improvement and i'm feeling good about it then my mind will eventually be occupied with this new image of being the guy who's good at self-improvement and i've just created another trap for myself it's all a shell game that's exactly right one thing i've noticed is that one of the ways in which i know that i am finding truths out is that problem is solved for good that's exactly right i don't have to revisit that same problem again because that problem is solved for good both my internal state and my external

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state quote unquote improve they change improve is a big word so the more they change internally i'm quieter and externally my life is less complicated you have brought up a seminal point which is it is not about the journey it absolutely is about the destination you want to get to the point where you don't have it anymore you aren't looking for treatments you're looking for a cure there is a destination it isn't about spending the next 90 years getting assaulted and then feeling

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better getting assaulted and putting tiger bomb on it it is about wanting to get over it destinations and journeys that's another lie it's not about journeys it's about destinations now destinations require journeys but everything that you do in your life is defined by the destination the moment that you leave your house every single day you have a destination and the destination creates the avenue this is one of those social lies where everyone says about the journey the journey is the reward yeah the journey is the thing that you're actually on that's

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where you are right now but if you don't get to a destination you sort of wasted your time well if there was no destination no one would begin any journey if there was no compulsion to arrive anywhere then nobody wouldn't begin any kind of journey at all it is just that most people's destination is the prescription wearing the orange colored robe and then sitting in front of the incense and having the self-image that i'm a yogi and that i am meditating and i am doing all the spiritual things and that becomes a

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destination in itself that i have achieved that self-image where i view myself that way so what is a worthy destination oh there is no worthy it is not about enforcing rules there are no rules rules are to be avoided at all costs if one is sincere because wherever there's a rule there's insincerity it's like stoicism it's a rule it can't go anywhere it's more self-image creation everything begins with the truth what is the truth the truth is that in a human being's life he has problems that's the truth in a human being's life he has specific problems

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some problems that are more acute for him than for his neighbor his most acute problems are his living reality they're not abstract they're not spiritual they are in his face and he lives in that every single day that is where to begin so one begins very concretely with one's own problems there are real problems that everybody faces and if you have a genuine desire to solve these problems once and for all the way to do them is not to follow some routine or build up some image of the person who solves problems

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it's to examine them for the truth no matter how unpopular or how untransmissible or unexplainable it might be and if you look for the truth and you find it you'll know you've found it when you've solved the problem and if we go back to zero for a second zero is the understanding that problems can be solved forever society believes in journeys society believes in endless treatments forever practice practice practice practice practice forever when the whole game has been set up to practice forever then

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there is no conclusion there is no arrival of anything there's a way for people to see that if you look at how we think about spirituality and solving problems internally it is considered to be oh i'm just going to work on it forever i'm going to go see a therapist forever i'm going to meditate forever i'm going to read forever i'm going to talk to a counselor or to a coach forever i'm going to work on it i'm on the path i'm on the journey but if you go into very practical things like making money nobody says i'm going to work forever no

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they're like i want to make a pile of money right if i'm starting a company i want the company to be successful i want the company to go public or to get acquired or generate so much cash flow that while i'm still alive i can spend that cash in the money making contacts we're extremely practical we want to make that money while we're still young enough and alive enough to spend it but in the internal context we get all spiritual and start talking about maybe the next life maybe in heaven or in hell or in my reincarnated life or

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i'm just going to keep doing my self-work and my self-improvement until the day i die and it's considered acceptable to never arrive at destination there's a very simple truth as to how to arrive at getting over your problems without having to lift a finger you got my ears it's all about exposure if a person sat on his couch for the next 50 years his internal environment from his mind to his brain everything within him is a direct resonance it's like a tuning fork it responds to the inputs same as a

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microphone if that human is exposed to truth on a regular basis his ears don't even have to hear it consciously something inside of him will internalize that truth and that will become his new norm a human being becomes his environment and that is why it's absolutely critical to savagely and surgically arrange one's environment in a way that is in accordance with where he wants to go no one does that if a person is exposed to truth on a regular basis

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not prescription it's got to be straight truth then that becomes his norm that becomes the way that he thinks his brain begins to rewire itself there isn't a single amount of work that needs to be done there isn't a single amount of psychotherapy that needs to be done no medications the human body treats itself it all depends upon the input it is all about one thing and one thing only exposure you become that which you are most consistently exposed to

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in a modern context the people who are very interested in truth and in conquering the mind and internal freedom tend to coalesce on reading the same books thinking about the same things listen the same podcast talking the same people and even though prescriptions don't work and no book is going to make you conquer the mind and listening to any podcast is not going to give you internal freedom eventually at some point it does soak in you're attracted to what you want to be and as you immerse yourself in it you have no choice but to become that over

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time it's like in wealth creation if you want to start a company you go to silicon valley or you go to a pool of entrepreneurs you spend enough time around them you hang around the tech business long enough and you'll be in the tech business you hang around a bunch of techies you'll be talking tech all day so we're naturally drawn to certain things and if we can immerse ourselves in them it creates inevitability to the future and to take it to the next level it's about titrating that environment because any environment from silicon

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valley to anywhere else while it has the benefits it will also have the detriments it's about titrating out all that is not wanted and titrating in all that is it can very much be fine-tuned like a buffet i want to talk to you about a specific issue i've noticed with myself i've known this for a while but it's just really bad i don't fully understand why it persists even though i see it every time i am figuring something out for myself and i'm going down a good path of figuring it out as an example i was reading something recently

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it was resonating with me and every time i read a sentence then i would get into thought about what that meant how that applied i would have my own interpretation it was going well naturally i found myself in my mind's eye lecturing it to other people teaching it to other people this invariably happens with me as soon as i start figuring something out or understanding it i start turning it into a tweet or a podcast or some lecture tell other people and i see this over and over again in my

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mind why is it that i keep converting everything into an instruction for somebody else why does it not feel real unless i'm teaching someone else why does that matter so there's two things that are wrong with that one is of course a social thing which is you should be humble and figure things out for yourself and why are you trying to tell everybody what to do that's the societal inflicted one i care less about that the one i care more about is you can't give

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society the raw truth on almost anything the moment you have to turn it into something in your mind that is being taught to others you're actually weakening it you're introducing falsehoods and caveats you're not facing the raw truth necessarily but that doesn't matter because the greatest desire always wins and if the desire to share it and to turn it into a teaching is there it's there if you genuinely want to get over that then the quickest way there is guess what to allow yourself to teach it because any suppression is regression

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it's just more self-conflict it's another should and it's slowing things down yeah so just go right through it don't even go through it just understand that if you do then you do the very fact that you caught yourself doing it is enough there's no need to do any more when fire burns as long as it's allowed to burn it'll eventually burn out i do not want to engage in self-conflict i'm now very aware of that when two parts of my mind start fighting each other there is this tendency that we all have to

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favor one versus the other oh this is the good part this is the bad part this is the angel and this is the devil the shoulds and the shouldn'ts are pure poison never try to reel your mind in give it free reign your greatest weapon is the understanding and the awareness of where it's going not watching your thoughts like a mechanical automaton it is just the understanding that you know where the mind is going and that you do see yourself doing this that sight itself has already poked a hole

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in that behavior let's talk about using the mind to understand the mind because this is where spirituality gets very confusing some people believe that you're failing if your mind is even running they're trying to suppress the mind others believe that there's a right way the mind should work in a wrong way the mind should work the right mind should suppress the wrong mind that's a classic call it the christian or muslim or jewish view which is these are good thoughts and those are bad thoughts then there's the

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self-inquiry nature which is i think a little bit what you're saying which is the mind can be used to understand the mind but not necessarily interfere with it it all depends upon where do you want to go without that there is no conversation and the reason why all these philosophies exist is because that question hasn't been asked right they're trying to accomplish different things everyone dives into the prescription everyone's impetus for entering the game is the should and the good and the bad

37:80-38:30

and the should not that's the impetus the impetus has to be where do you want to go because the answer to that question will create the path so let's say i choose freedom okay if someone truly wants freedom then the truth behind that is freedom from the mind the idea of trying to understand the mind with the mind that's intellectual it's irrelevant that's just a mind-created phenomenon understanding is at a certain place and we're not going to label it with any anatomy we're not going to call it mine there is

38:30-38:83

a capacity to understand and whether that's one part mind or two parts mind or zero parts mind it's irrelevant that'll just take you on another path forget it the understanding will come from a certain place it's almost like sincerity and genuineness and seriousness creates its own organ so freedom comes from the understanding of where things come from not the conscious attempt to end them at least for me the problem is oh i'm more free than i used to be so i'm making progress looking for progress is essentially

38:83-39:28

looking for pleasure it is the pleasure of self-image which says i'm in a better place now than i was before and that's why i get excited when i get some progress it is not about prescriptionizing and turning it into a rule that pleasure is bad that isn't truth truth is the understanding that the pursuit of all things in a human being's life are motivated by pleasure there's nothing wrong with that nothing wrong with it at all it's a motivator but is it effective

39:28-39:82

if you're trying to get to freedom no it's a different path and it isn't a wrong one pleasure you will always be on the lookout for when the ship will come in as long as one is always on the lookout for when the ship will come in his attention will necessarily be on the horizon so it's hard for me to have freedom when i'm recording little gains and i'm creating this image around this person who is recording gains and getting better that traps me that image i'm always thinking about that i'm always experiencing that pleasure

39:82-40:28

then there are setbacks so if i suddenly get angry or unhappy or i don't have my freedom for a moment or i think i'm not don't have my freedom that pleasure gets withdrawn and i'm truly unfree i'm trapped again yes that is the game of the mind you're back in the mind that's why freedom really is beyond the mind it is freedom from the mind what you have just described is a game of the mind you know whatever game that is whether it's a spiritual game or a materialistic game doesn't matter as long as the mind has you captured playing a certain game it's fine

Key Themes, Chapters & Summary

Broader Key Themes:

  • Critique of Prescriptive Solutions

  • Subjectivity of Life Experience

  • Pursuit of Internal Freedom

  • Importance of Self-Knowledge

  • Rethinking Problem-Solving Approaches

  • The Journey Towards Truth and Self-Understanding


Chapters:

  • Introduction: The Fallacy of Prescriptions

  • Life as a Single Player Game: Subjectivity and Perception

  • Exploring the Depths of Internal Freedom

  • The Crucial Role of Self-Knowledge

  • Challenging Traditional Problem-Solving

  • Conclusion: In Search of Truth and Self Mastery


Summary

In "Kapil Gupta: Conquering the Mind," a podcast featuring Naval Ravikant's conversation with Kapil Gupta, a range of profound and complex themes are explored with a structured, descriptive, and well-researched approach. This dialogue delves into the intricacies of personal development, the nature of the mind, and the pursuit of truth and freedom, offering deep insights into the philosophical and practical aspects of these concepts.


The Illusion of Prescriptions

The podcast opens with a discussion on the concept of 'prescriptions' - the common how-to's and methods that people often seek for solutions in various aspects of life. Gupta critiques this approach, especially in areas of personal growth and spiritual pursuit, arguing that such prescriptive methods can become hindrances rather than aids, leading to a reliance on intermediary steps rather than direct experience and understanding.


Personal Philosophy and the Nature of Freedom

The conversation then shifts to Ravikant's personal philosophy, particularly his interpretation of life as a 'single player game'. This perspective views life's experiences and interpretations as highly subjective, emphasizing the importance of individual perception in shaping one's reality. Gupta adds depth to this idea by discussing the concept of freedom, not just in a physical or material sense, but as liberation from the constraints of one's own mind.


The Role of Knowledge and Internal Exploration

The importance of knowledge and self-exploration is a recurring theme. Gupta stresses the need to move beyond external solutions and societal prescriptions to a deeper understanding of oneself and one's mind. This approach involves a sincere, non-prescriptive exploration of personal issues and anxieties, challenging conventional wisdom and societal norms.


Challenging Conventional Approaches to Problem-Solving

A significant portion of the podcast is dedicated to challenging conventional approaches to problem-solving, particularly the tendency to externalize problems and seek solutions in the material world. Gupta argues that many problems thought to be external are, in fact, manifestations of internal conflicts. He advocates for a more introspective approach, where understanding the root causes of one's anxieties and conflicts takes precedence over seeking external fixes.


Conclusion: The Search for Truth and Self-Understanding

In conclusion, the podcast "Kapil Gupta: Conquering the Mind" presents a compelling narrative on the journey towards self-understanding and the pursuit of truth. Through their engaging and thought-provoking conversation, Ravikant and Gupta offer insights into the complexities of the human mind and the path to personal freedom, challenging listeners to reevaluate their perspectives on knowledge, freedom, and the nature of the self.


Through this structured and insightful dialogue, the podcast not only explores complex philosophical concepts but also encourages listeners to seek a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them.