He doesn't have Twitter. And he barely uses the internet.
I've compiled my favorite 5 MENTAL MODELS of his below.
He's achieved more WIDTH across disciplines in 43 years than most could in 100 lives
His obsession with DEPTH over WIDTH.
His life is the testimony to deep work and singular focus.
He spends 5-10 years of his life dedicated to each craft
Most just play countless games
Instead, Josh insists on having only 3 pieces on the board - King & Pawn vs King
He drills micro positions until he understands them from first principles
Waitzkin's theory is that once you've understood one thing so deeply in the discipline - you understand the principles
You can then copy & paste them
He then identifies what level 1 of that video game is (e.g. Guillotine in BJJ)
He doesn't start level 2 until he understands the principles of level 1 at a fundamental level
He continuously expands his circles of competence
1. Unconscious incompetence - "I don't know how bad I am"
2. Conscious incompetence - "This sucks. I know how bad I am"
3. Conscious competence - "I can do this if I focus"
4. Unconscious competence - "I don't remember the last 10 minutes of driving my car"
The feedback says you suck
So the ego comes up with numerous reasons to quit
Waitzkin defeats this stage early on by deeply understanding level 1 before moving on to level 2
There's so much complexity at level 100
We don't feel like we're progressing + understanding it
Conscious incompetence hits us
So we quit
A combination of:
1. Being busy
2. The embarrassment of conscious incompetence
We shut down the learning process after driving
Waitzkin is the polar opposite
Waitzkin argues that we internalise an external locus of control in our childhood
The first way is our parent's language around the weather:
"It's bad weather. We can't go outside!"
"It's good weather. We can go outside!"
Josh flips this on its head.
He insists he and his young son NEVER miss a single storm, rain, or snow.
They always go outside and have fun together in it.
Contrast this with the misery that sits in most households when it's grey, wet and cold outside
Josh uses the weather as a tool to teach his son about having an internal locus of control
And if they weren't dirty, he would actively encourage them to eye gouge and go for his groin
He wanted to be prepared to keep his composure in the worst possible conditions
"Most people in high-stress, decision-making industries are always operating at this kind of simmering six, as opposed to the undulation between deep relaxation and being at a 10." - Waitzkin
👆 This is the best critique of hustle culture
In order to switch ON intensely, you need to switch OFF intensely
If you never switch off, you can never truly turn it on
You end up burnt out and fatigued
He states that he saw Marcelo deeply asleep 5 minutes before his world championship bout
He woke up, turned it up to a 10 and won the competition
He wasn't sat there burning adrenaline at a 6
He gets them to undulate between every few minutes:
A. 10/10 - Full out sprint
B. 0/10 - Complete relaxation
1. You perform better
2. Life is more fun
3. You're less likely to die of an early death
Reminds me of @naval's advice to his younger self:
"Relax. You’ll live longer *and* perform better."
📈 Float tanks, sauna's and 'Think Weeks' are just the tip of the iceberg
The false dichotomy people make is that you can't grind if you relax
The evidence shows that you can grind harder
"I find that most great thinkers are slicing through complexity like a knife through butter.
And then they arrive in an area of stuckness and they’ll spend a long time on that stuckness." - Waitzkin
1. Waitzkin looks at an area of complexity at the end of the day
2. He identifies the most important question he needs to within it
4. He wakes up first thing and journals on the question before any input
He says using this formula he's managed to get "AHA" breakthroughs daily
The mind is completely switched off and the subconscious is free to bubble away
One of the best comics of our generation - Jerrod Carmichael - says he takes 35-minute showers because of it!
"It’s not just what were our false constructs 20 years ago... but what are the common root structures to my current constructs and my false constructs 20 years ago?" - Waitzkin
He also wants to understand the gap between making the mistake and avoiding it
E.g. If you could've prevented a mistake by speaking to 5 experts beforehand - how can I ensure I speak to 5 experts moving forward?
E.g. What mistake am I in the process of making that could be prevented by speaking to 5 experts?
"I didn't know before but I know it today"
Waitzkin tells the story of Tai Chi expert who had been training for decades who said:
"When I had been studying for 1 year I thought I knew what I was doing..."
After 4 years of studying , I realised my 2-year self was wrong. But now I understand
After 8 years of studying, I realised my 4 year self was wrong. But now I understand"
The same way you look back at yourself 5 years ago and laugh
You will almost definitely look back at yourself 5 years from now and laugh