Last Lecture Series: “How to Live an Asymmetric Life,” Graham Weaver | Summary and Q&A

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July 18, 2023
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Stanford Graduate School of Business
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Last Lecture Series: “How to Live an Asymmetric Life,” Graham Weaver

TL;DR

Take risks, embrace challenges, and write your own story to live an extraordinary life of growth and success.

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Key Insights

  • 🥺 Losing half of a major investment led the speaker to question his approach to investing and life, ultimately leading to a transformative change in his mindset.
  • 🖐️ Playing it safe and avoiding failure may seem practical, but it limits potential growth and success.
  • 🥺 Doing hard things and embracing challenges leads to personal and professional growth.
  • 🥺 Passion and purpose are essential for leading a fulfilling life.
  • 🍉 Long-term commitment is necessary to achieve extraordinary results.
  • 🥺 Writing your own story and setting ambitious goals can lead to unexpected and remarkable outcomes.
  • 🥸 Fear often disguises itself as practicality or self-preservation, and courage is required to overcome it.

Transcript

[CROSSTALK] Change the world. [MUSIC] >> [APPLAUSE] >> 20 years ago, I'm in this meeting. I mean, there's this huge conference table that seats 20 people and I'm the only one there. I'm in the 29th floor in the financial district. There's this window I can see the entire bay and Alcatraz and everything. And again, I'm about your age at this time. I... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What was the speaker's biggest career setback and how did it impact him?

The speaker's biggest setback was losing half of his largest investor's money. It shook his confidence and forced him to reconsider his approach to investing, leading to a transformation in both his investing and personal life.

Q: How does the speaker define an "asymmetric life"?

An asymmetric life is one where individuals take risks, embrace challenges, and pursue their passions with the aim of achieving unconventional and exceptional outcomes.

Q: What are the four principles the speaker shares for living an asymmetric life?

The four principles are: do hard things, pursue your passion, commit for the long term, and write your own story. These principles encourage individuals to embrace challenges, follow their dreams, persevere through adversity, and take charge of their own destinies.

Q: How does the speaker recommend overcoming fear and embracing challenges?

The speaker advises individuals to recognize that fear is often disguised as practicality or the desire to protect oneself. By acknowledging and pushing past fear, individuals can embark on the path to growth and success. The speaker encourages individuals to do hard things, face their fears, and take risks in order to achieve their desired outcomes.

Q: What was the speaker's biggest career setback and how did it impact him?

The speaker's biggest setback was losing half of his largest investor's money. It shook his confidence and forced him to reconsider his approach to investing, leading to a transformation in both his investing and personal life.

More Insights

  • Losing half of a major investment led the speaker to question his approach to investing and life, ultimately leading to a transformative change in his mindset.

  • Playing it safe and avoiding failure may seem practical, but it limits potential growth and success.

  • Doing hard things and embracing challenges leads to personal and professional growth.

  • Passion and purpose are essential for leading a fulfilling life.

  • Long-term commitment is necessary to achieve extraordinary results.

  • Writing your own story and setting ambitious goals can lead to unexpected and remarkable outcomes.

  • Fear often disguises itself as practicality or self-preservation, and courage is required to overcome it.

  • An asymmetric life is characterized by taking risks, embracing challenges, and pursuing personal and professional growth.

Summary

In this video, Graham Weaver shares his personal journey and the lessons he has learned about investing and living an asymmetric life. He emphasizes the importance of doing hard things, pursuing one's passion, committing for the long-term, and writing one's own story. These principles, he believes, can help individuals achieve extraordinary success and fulfillment.

Questions & Answers

Q: What was the worst day of Graham Weaver's career?

The worst day of Graham Weaver's career was when he had to tell his largest investor, Joe, that his investment in Graham's firm was down 50%. This was a personal investment for Joe, and Graham could see the energy drain out of him as he struggled to be positive.

Q: What were the two rules Graham thought he knew about investing?

The two rules Graham thought he knew about investing were: rule one, don't lose money, and rule two, never forget rule one. He spent all his time trying to protect his downside and not lose, but he later learned that this approach was misguided.

Q: How did Graham's perspective on investing shift?

Graham's perspective on investing shifted when he realized that no matter what you do in life, there will always be downside. Instead of focusing solely on minimizing losses, he started focusing on the upside and the potential for large outcomes. He learned to assume success and look for investments with asymmetric risk-reward profiles.

Q: What is the key to great investing according to Graham?

According to Graham, the key to great investing is asymmetry. It is about looking for investments that offer the possibility of a significant upside relative to the risk taken. By stacking criteria that increase the likelihood of a big outcome, investors can play for much larger returns.

Q: How does Graham apply the principles of asymmetry in his personal life?

Graham applies the principles of asymmetry in his personal life by taking risks and pursuing his passions. He learned to do hard things and not settle for mediocrity. By doing what excites him and committing for the long-term, he believes he can have an infinite life with joy, energy, and fulfillment.

Q: What does Graham mean by "do hard things"?

"Do hard things" is about embracing challenges and pushing oneself beyond comfort zones. Graham believes that life is not meant to be easy and that true happiness and growth come from overcoming difficulties. By doing hard things, individuals discover their true capabilities and potential.

Q: Why does Graham emphasize the importance of doing one's thing?

Graham emphasizes the importance of doing one's thing because he believes that everyone has a unique purpose and passion. He encourages individuals to pursue what excites them and aligns with their values and strengths. By doing their thing, people can find fulfillment and make a meaningful impact.

Q: Why does Graham stress the need to commit for decades?

Graham stresses the need to commit for decades because true mastery and exceptional results take time. He emphasizes the power of compounding efforts and continuous improvement over the long-term. By staying committed and continuously developing one's skills and abilities, individuals can achieve extraordinary success.

Q: How can individuals write their story?

Individuals can write their story by envisioning the future they desire and taking intentional actions to make it a reality. It starts with setting big, aspirational goals and visualizing what success looks like. By removing the limitations of "how" and focusing on the dream, individuals can attract the right people, opportunities, and resources to fulfill their story.

Q: How does Graham believe fear can hinder individuals?

Graham believes that fear is the biggest obstacle individuals face. Fear disguises itself as practicality, help, and protection, and it often leads to complacency and the avoidance of risk. He encourages individuals to confront their fears and take bold actions, as everything they desire lies beyond fear's grip.

Takeaways

Living an asymmetric life requires embracing challenge and doing hard things. It involves pursuing one's passion and committing for the long-term. By writing their own story, individuals can overcome fear and unlock their full potential. Success comes not from playing it safe, but from taking calculated risks and pursuing greatness. So, don't be afraid to dream big, take action, and create a life that is truly extraordinary.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The speaker recounts a pivotal moment in his career when he lost half of his largest investor's money, leading him to reevaluate his approach to investing and life.

  • He shares four principles for leading an asymmetric life: do hard things, pursue your passion, commit for the long term, and write your own story.

  • The speaker emphasizes the importance of taking risks, facing fear, and prioritizing growth and innovation in order to achieve extraordinary results.

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