3 min read

5 Lessons from Nat Eliason

5 Lessons from Nat Eliason

Nat isn't scribbling words; he's wrestling with life's big, messy questions—how to live meaningfully, the murky depths of knowledge, our love-hate dance with technology, and making sense of this loud, chaotic world. With a pen as his sword, he cuts through the noise, from the financial wild west in "Crypto Confidential" to the philosophical trenches of existence, making him the kind of writer you can't just read; you experience.

The Great Shampoo Exodus: Inspired by Nat, I embarked on a 'no-poo' journey, ditching the shampoo and embracing my hair's natural oils. It sounded nuts, right? Like opting out of a societal norm that's as expected as putting on pants. I'm a twice-a-day shower kind of person, yet I've opted to cut the chemicals where it counts. Don't worry, I haven't gone off the deep end—I still stick to deodorant and soap, but shampoo and conditioner? They're no longer part of the routine.

The Power of Controversial Content: There's a golden rule I've adopted, especially after seeing Nat Eliason's fearless approach: if there's a whisper in your mind hesitating, "Maybe I shouldn't write about that," that's exactly what you need to dive into.

In a sea of safe, sanitized content, having the guts to voice a bold opinion sets you apart. This heuristic isn't just about being controversial for the sake of it; it's about challenging the status quo and enriching the discourse. It's a reminder that in the quest for engaging content, the riskier path often leads to the most rewarding destinations.

The Great Knife Skills Mirage: Enamored with the idea of slicing like a seasoned chef, I used to dream of deftly maneuvering the blade through an array of vegetables, channeling my inner Anthony Bourdain. Yet, Nat Eliason's recounting of advice from Myles Snider served as a reality check on my culinary aspirations:

“Chefs have to learn these crazy knife skills while they’re staging because they might spend hours cutting vegetables every day. You spend, what, ten to twenty minutes a week cutting things? Basic knife skills are gonna be fine for you.”

This insight, gleaned from Nat's encounter, wasn't just about relinquishing my dream of knife mastery; it was a broader epiphany about the pursuit of perfection and constant productivity in areas of life where the return simply doesn't justify the obsession. It's a perspective shift that's since made me reevaluate not just how I chop an onion, but how I prioritize my efforts across the board, focusing on what truly moves the needle in my life.

Escaping the Echo Chamber: I saw the trap of today's information deluge—news, social media, trending books—all creating a chorus of identical voices. It's like being on an assembly line, cranking out the same black Model Ts as everyone else.

To foster originality, Nat advocates a cleanse: cut the outrage, the trivial, the fluff. It's not just about being selective; it's about freeing your mind to wander beyond the beaten path. Embracing this, I've learned to sidestep the echo chamber, seeking out diverse and timeless sources of inspiration. This shift not only diversified my thoughts but made me question the impact of my digital diet on my creativity.

Choosing Sobriety: A Clearer Path Forward: Taking a leaf out of Nat Eliason's book, I've embarked on my own journey into sobriety. On Christmas day, I made the decision to stop drinking for an entire year. It wasn't about battling demons, but rather noticing the subtle toll it took on my wellbeing, even with just a casual drink or two each night.

The idea might seem drastic to some, but there's a simplicity in abstinence that moderation lacks—no debates, no bargaining. Two months into this experiment, and I'm already reaping the benefits, feeling sharper and more in tune with myself. The path feels less like sacrifice and more like liberation.

You can find more of his stuff on his website. I particularly love his newsletters and book reviews.