Discover more from Unfiltered by Tim Denning
Twelve Quotes from Philosopher Dan Koe That’ll Alter Your Brain Chemistry (Guaranteed)
And re-engineer your thoughts into opportunities
This instalment of Unfiltered is free for everyone. I send this email weekly. If you would also like to receive it, join the 84,000+ other smart people who absolutely love it today.
👉 If you enjoy reading this post, feel free to share it with friends! Or feel free to click the ❤️ button on this post so more people can discover it on Substack 🙏
Many people dismissed Dan Koe as a fitness bro.
What makes Dan unique is he found a way to fuse philosophy, spirituality, and business together in a way no one has done before.
His ideas are timeless rather than based on the present. That’s because his library of books is mostly from decades, and even centuries ago. He reads what no one else reads so he can think and write what no one else does.
Right now he has one of the fastest growing audiences on the internet. His personal brand is a cult.
I’ve read everything he’s ever written so you don’t have to, including his upcoming book called The Art Of Focus, which left me speechless. Dan doesn’t just spread ideas. He alters people’s brain chemistry (no joke).
These curated quotes from Dan Koe will re-engineer your thoughts into opportunities.
1. “Force yourself into uncomfortable situations so you don't end up being 50 years old with the emotional maturity of a 15 year old.”
Let’s start with a slap in the face.
Humans love comfort and routines. The self-care movement taught us to become obsessed with feeling good.
Turn the heater on, wear slippers to keep your feet warm, eat sugary foods to reward yourself, watch Netflix because you’ve earned it. It’s one giant lie.
Struggle is where your rebirth begins.
When I look back on all the things I’m grateful for in life, every one of them is attached to a major struggle. In the moment the struggle felt like crap. But after I got past it, the struggle became the catalyst for all the great stuff that followed.
I use the term adult babies to describe those who refuse to accept discomfort and struggle. They want the world to be fair and for people to care about their suffering.
So they drown in self-pity and get ignored. This leads them to a vicious cycle of more suffering. They become dead in the head.
There’s no way to avoid struggle and discomfort. The human experience is centered around it. So you can either choose a struggle or one will find you.
Struggle feels good because it leads to growth.
“If you don't choose a struggle, you will be assigned one.” – Dan Koe
2. "Ancient Romans and Greeks, Steve Jobs, Charles Darwin attribute their success to surprisingly low work times accompanied by an abundance of restful activities like long walks.”
Dan works a maximum of 4 hours a day.
Critics think he’s lazy as f*ck. What they miss is, the industrial machine handed out fake badges for years to those who worked long hours.
Trading enormous amounts of time seemed cool, until smart people started asking “But what are the outcomes of that time?”
That’s where sh*t hit the fan.
Most time-traders achieve very little. They work so damn hard but they don’t know why. To top it off, they’re drowning in distraction so the work defaults to low quality jargon an AI could probably take over in a year.
What Dan taught me is the key to high quality work is creativity. So we need to design our workday to maximize and exploit our creativity, not time.
Once creativity thrives everything else gets better. And the value goes up, which means the pay goes up. When there’s more money the need to work becomes even less. This all boils down to:
Learn to focus. Become obsessed with getting rid of distractions.
Make sure maximum creativity is your #1 goal.
“You can slice 8 hours of work into 3 if you learn to focus.” – Dan Koe
3. "Nothing happens, then everything happens."
This is one of my all-time favorite quotes.
It describes that weird feeling where you’re working away at a goal and it feels like nothing is happening – like it’s been that way forever.
Then suddenly the hard work pays off & enormous progress happens out of nowhere.
The problem is most people quit before they pass the threshold of participation required for something to happen. What matters are your daily habits backed by systems – and that you iterate on them with internal and external feedback.
Everything else is noise. Progress will happen if you have the right mindset and are patient enough to show up for enough consecutive days to create a breakthrough.
4. “Normalize not having an opinion on things you don’t understand.”
Social media has made it trendy to be opinionated.
It’s led to nasty culture wars and absolute-takes on hot topics. The problem is it misses the nuance. If you don’t understand something it’s okay to just observe and take time to form an opinion.
Or have no opinion at all.
I don’t have an opinion on the latest political topics because I’m not interested in it and don’t understand the basics of how the system works. So I don’t lean right or left. And I don’t subscribe to “this horse is either black or white.”
It’s better with topics you don’t understand to operate in the grey. “Some of what this side says is good, and some isn’t. And vice-versa.”
We don’t need to be geniuses in everything.
The 1990s obsession with trivia is wrong. And the idea IQ equals any form of success is even more wrong.
The need to be right is the real epidemic.
5. “The meaningful dopamine you reap from pattern recognition in studying different perspectives is a sign that you are heading in the right direction.”
One of the greatest challenges you can set yourself is to recognize patterns.
Once you start to see patterns, life doesn’t look so complex. You realize it’s the same set of beliefs and frameworks that drive most things.
That’s why I love to study people I disagree with.
The patterns they reveal are easier to see. And as Dan points out, the dopamine you get from seeing more patterns in life is addictive. Follow positive dopamine signs.
6. "Our ancestors were entrepreneurs, and history is repeating itself."
The world of work is changing.
The traditional employee model of 9-5 doesn’t work for the employer or the employee. Employers need on-demand skilled people.
Employees need the ability to earn an income from their value, not a set salary that doesn’t keep up with inflation and sees them get the raw end of the deal.
That’s why outcome-based work is thriving. It’s why contractors, freelancers, and one-person businesses are everywhere.
Dan opened my eyes to the fact that entrepreneurship was how most people earned a living in ancient times. And it’s making a massive comeback. The differences between entrepreneurship and employment are actually quite subtle.
Most of us are technically one-person businesses already with a single customer (an employer). It’s more the responsibilities and the number of customers a person has that is changing. With more customers you’re exposed to more ways of working and different types of problems.
The change to one-person businesses will promote autonomy and results, rather than servitude and clocking in and clocking out as a kind of circus performance.
Embrace this new way of working.
7. “Advice is not starting”
Advice is like an a$$hole – everyone has one.
The key to productivity is to get off zero and conduct some experiments. It’s to throw some mud at the wall and see what sticks. It’s to notice how you work and what you like doing so you can make smarter life decisions.
The temptation is to drown in advice. It’s to seek people’s approval and try to find some proven path that has a guarantee. But there are none.
The only guarantee in life is you will die.
So quit overthinking and start mini projects. Progress reveals the path forward. It tells you more than some random advice from a guru who is nothing like you and who can only share 2% of their actual success story which skips over all the nuance.
8. “Knowledge not found in schools is the source of money not found in employment.”
The school system fails so many people.
It puts them into jobs they hate and makes them replaceable. It makes us all in competition with each other to see who can memorize out of date lessons the best.
But the knowledge that makes money on the internet (the future) isn’t found in a traditional classroom. You don’t learn proper skills in school to do with sales, coding, investing, networking in DMs, LinkedIn, writing on social media, or selling eCommerce products.
School teaches facts. You learn from teachers who do it as a job but aren’t necessarily a practitioner in the lessons they share.
Go outside of the education system to find real money. Learn from people already doing what you want to do. Learn from people who are ten steps ahead instead of those who are 10,0000 steps ahead.
9. “Being too smart makes you dumb because you analyze your way out of lessons birthed from action.
Being too dumb makes you smart because you learn from the mistakes that came from not caring about the risk.”
There’s a famous quote that goes…
"The A students work for the B students. The C students run the businesses and the D students dedicate the building."
The lesson here is being book smart isn’t the same as being street smart. Intellectuals often get so trapped in their own heads by all their brilliant ideas that they can’t communicate or use to influence other humans.
A former family friend has two PhDs. He’s a boy genius. But he ended up failing at life because he couldn’t understand normal people. Technically he could build a business that gets humans to Mars and makes him a billion dollars.
But he won’t.
Intelligence is your ability to learn from your own mistakes. Intelligence is being able to take action. Intelligence is being able to see risks and find ways to deal with them.
Don’t become an A student.
"The source of learning is struggle, not memorization.” – Dan Koe
10. “You don't need a day off when your work is what you'd be doing on your day off.”
When I worked in banking people bitched and moaned about their jobs.
They couldn’t wait for a public holiday or the weekend to escape. One guy, Frank, used to brag about how many long service leave days he’d racked up. Like it made him a millionaire or something.
I talk to those same people still … and they think I’m crazy.
I work through public holidays and have no interest in escaping the work I GET to do. They think I’m an alien. But as Dan said, I just do the work right now that I’d be doing if I had the day off or were sitting on a beach in Bali.
This should be everyone’s goal in life.
Stop working to live. Instead, live to work. The internet is the bridge from a job to work you could be doing that’s based on your interests.
11. “The same work you’re doing for someone else could (probably) be done on your own business, but with 10x the returns (and 10x the free time).”
An employer underpays you (by design).
Not because they’re evil, no. They do it because they need to make a profit, so paying you less than your value is how it happens. Call it capitalism if you will.
Once you understand that the construct of a business isn’t the same anymore, and that you already are a business … it changes everything.
12. “Society runs on people not knowing what they want out of life.”
Let’s finish here.
One of Dan Koe’s biggest frustrations is that people lack purpose in life. They don’t know what they want to do because school and college don’t set us up to find out.
So we take the default path. Or we take the path offered by our parents that’s often out of date and based on what their generation did.
If more people had purpose in the world, we wouldn’t have many of the problems we have.
A lack of purpose leads to boredom, painful plateaus, and even addiction.
So, dear reader, of all the problems you can solve, a lack of purpose is the one that has the highest ROI for you.
Don’t follow the sheep off a cliff. Get off the mindless path.
Become mindful and present of where you’re headed and what you’re passionate about. Then create a purpose bigger than yourself and go execute on it.
PS - My online course, LinkedIn Mastery is open for a limited time.
It's a course that helps you ENJOY LinkedIn, and spend as little time as possible on the underrated platform to get maximum results.
Whether you're a creator, employee, freelancer, or business owner, you'll want to look at this.
(The course won't be open this time next week, so take a look now)