FF 030 - Japan is the Future, the Power of Energy, and Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and Marie Curie use First-Principles to Change the World


Hello from Osaka, Kyoto, Mt. Inari, Himeji, Kobe, Onomichi, Mukoujima Island, and now Seoul, South Korea! (last week was JAM-PACKED with travel.)

I will be launching a new FREE (for a limited time) online course called: From Dropout to Entrepreneur - How to Find a Profitable Idea and Work on Your Side-Business Without Quitting Your Day Job, in about a month; if you're interested sign-up here.

Welcome to the 30th Edition of FRIDAY FAVORITES!

Check out this week's list of things I've learned, how I've implemented them, and what I'm enjoying or pondering.

If you're also on the adventurous pursuit of smart passive income it'll come in handy 😉.

All the best,
- Adrien
P.S. If you're new, sign-up here.
P.P.S: Don't know who I am? Look at this.

by Hector Garcia

by Hector Garcia

Your first thought may be that this book isn't business related, but, besides being an in-depth and interesting view of Japanese culture, it's actually an even better guide to what it would be like working in Japan. 

Particularly, it's peaked my interest in starting a branch of Echo Studio in Tokyo or Osaka because of how important business communities are in Japan. 

Japanese people value the company they work for so much they tend to introduce themselves to anyone and everyone with their name and the company they work for.  

In order to understand that complexity though, I would highly recommend reading the book because, even though it was published in 2012, it's still highly relevant.  

Living in Japan is like living in the future and the past, while also being transported to an entirely different world. One I would probably like to spend the rest of my days if I didn't feel the need to visit other countries.

2. What I Am Doing: Travelling through Japan

Osaka Shinto Shrine

Tokyo is in the race, Osaka is enjoying the ride.
— my thought on how the two cities contrast

Osaka is my new favorite city in the world! I could go on about it forever, but I'll share photos from the other Japanese cities I deeply enjoyed instead.

Beautiful pink lights at an Osakan Shinto Shrine at night

Fushimi Inari Gates

Sunset at Mukoujima Island (also saw a Japanese grandmother playing a game of "golf" except she wasn't holding a golf club, she was hurling a field hockey stick!)

The White Castle at Himeji 

Tokyo restaurant where I had the best beef (imported from Kobe) I've ever had in my life, until... actually having Kobe beef, by a Kobe chef, in Kobe.

Even more life-changing bowl of ramen because NOW ramen will never be the same. ¥1100 (also most effective hangover food)

Shinto Shrine on Mt. Inari (depicting a "Korok Seed" for those of you that are Breath of the Wild fans)

Scaled a wall after biking through Shimanami Kaido (a bike path connecting an archipelago of islands considered to be one of Japan's most beautiful National Parks)

A 90-year-old grandmother and her chef son STILL WORKING at the family restaurant in Kobe. This was the best beef ever. Period. I got along so well with the chef, he ended up bringing me to his favorite Izakaya (japanese bar) where we drank tons and tons of sake and shared local dishes to our hearts content. The kindness in Japanese people is totally unparalleled in my experience.

Sumo Tournament Stadium in Osaka

This interview was sooo interesting and taught/retaught me so much.

From artificial intelligence to virtual reality, to human longevity, and all sorts of musings in between, Tim's mind always fascinates me.

It was such an important reminder of thinking solely from First Principles (your personally verified experience / empirical evidence gathered through the scientific method) instead of Allegorical Knowledge (gathered through interacting with others or accepting other folk wisdom / man-made constructs). I'll develop this more below.

But first, if you haven't already, check out Tim Urban's Ted Talk below, it's one of my favorite.

4. What I Have Learned / Applied: So much. Japan has taught me more than I could have hoped for.

Mt. Inari Peak (one of the most peaceful places I've ever been to. Reminded me deeply of Cabo da Roça, in Sintra, Portugal and the valuable lessons I learned there.

Because I'd have to write a book to incorporate everything I learned here, I'll only share a brief version of one of the profound lessons.

In a previous issue, I spoke of the transformative experience I had at Cabo da Roça and how much it deeply influenced me to appreciate human creativity and the awe-inspiring beauty of nature.

Mt. Inari had a very similar effect. I arrived exhausted after multiple nights of going out and drinking with the Japanese locals. So, as one does, I found a rock in a zen garden near Fushimi Inari and fell asleep for one of the more rewardings naps I've ever had.

After waking up, I started my way up the mountain and, instead of listening to more interviews or books, totally disconnected from tech and just allowed the peaceful sounds of the birds, wind, and bamboo leaves crackling on the ground below me.

Mt. Inari is an extremely religious place, and normally that would be too much for me, but Shinto Shrines are so peaceful and welcoming that I had no feelings of overwhelm.

Shrine at the peak of Mt. Inari

In my experience, Shinto is actually more of a philosophy of life or organized thought, rather than an organized religion.  However, because I was deeply curious about the power prayer could have on someone's life based on listening to the case studies in How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie and Tim Ferriss's interview of Frank Blake (Executive Board Member and previous CEO of The Home Depot), I decided I would try it for myself at the highest Shinto Shrine on Mt. Inari.

The experience was really profound because instead of praying to another being, I was praying to "energy" in general. The energy of the universe, the energy of the nature directly around me, and my own energy. It's a bizarre reframe, but the effect was clear on a deeply psychological level. 

The reason prayer is so powerful for most people, based on Dale Carnegie's research, is because when people pray to an incomprehensible power external to their own, they embed all of their worries, mistakes, and shortcomings of sorts to that higher power. And by removing themselves from their personal responsibility, they get rid of their own preconceived limitations and their worries about the ways things happen because they no longer feel personally responsible.

It's a very interesting roundabout way of doing what Stoicism teaches its students to do in the first place.  Both empower the individual, one through the power of God or some higher power (e.g. energy), and one through the power of self (e.g. mental fortitude).

The combination of both, which is what I experimented with praying on the peak of Mt. Inari, is so powerful because it promotes self-reliance whenever possible, but also an extremely powerful reliance on an external source of power that is undefinable. Kind of like having a huge reserve of power for yourself even when you're at the "brink" of your mental or physical abilities. 

If any of you grew up reading or watching Naruto, a Japanese manga later turned into an animated series, I would compare it to the immense reserve of chakra Naruto holds within himself thanks to the Kyuubi (Nine-Tailed Fox, the most powerful of Shinto guardians) sealed within him.

So, if you find yourself unable to overcome your own set limitations all by yourself, you can ask a higher power no matter what religion, philosophy, or psychology you prescribe to.  For me it's energy.  

Now, understanding that and coupling it with the reminder of approaching everything from First Principles, I re-learned from Kevin Rose's interview of Tim Urban, empowered me by:

  • unleashing an enormous amount of energy (i.e. motivation)
  • and open-mindedness / child's mind: approaching everything as if it were the first time, and only internalizing lessons from empirical evidence rather than Allegorical Knowledge passed down through man-made constructs (e.g. society, opinions, folk-wisdom, etc.)

It makes everything seem possible, so my aspirations are now much more tangible and realizable than I've ever thought them to be. That's an extremely powerful outlook and mindset to have when approaching life and everything it can throw at you.

I'll end this rant by saying, it's an extremely personal and individualistic experience, but one I would love to see others experience and internalize.

5. Thought(s) I Am Pondering:

Why do I think the way I do?
How much am I being influenced by experiences that aren’t my own?
I have to remind myself to cut through the noise of other established constructs and approach everything with a child’s mind coupled by the scientific method.

Thanks for reading, have an awesome weekend! 😁

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