246 episodes

Reconnect with the most powerful fuel of all – the fuel of loving your work. Best-selling author and award-winning designer David Kadavy helps you make it as a creative entrepreneur. Find your creative voice, cultivate the mindset you need to succeed, and be the first to capitalize on new opportunities to make a living making your art.

Every Thursday, David presents either a guest or his own learnings from his decade-plus career as a creative entrepreneur. Hear from titans of industry like former AOL CEO Steve Case. Hear from best-selling authors like Seth Godin and James Altucher. Hear from scientists, creators from dancers to a chef to a Hollywood set designer, and visionaries on the cutting edge of creative monetization – whether that's self publishing or blockchain technology.

Find out why Wall Street Journal best-selling author Jeff Goins says, "David is an underrated writer and thinker. In an age of instant publication, he puts time, effort and great thought into the content and work he shares with the world."

Find out why Basecamp CEO Jason Fried says David has "really good, deep questions, and original questions."

Subscribe to Love Your Work today so you never miss a dose of the inspiration and motivation you need to unleash the creator you already know you are, deep inside.

Love Your Work David Kadavy

    • Self-Improvement
    • 4.8, 179 Ratings

Reconnect with the most powerful fuel of all – the fuel of loving your work. Best-selling author and award-winning designer David Kadavy helps you make it as a creative entrepreneur. Find your creative voice, cultivate the mindset you need to succeed, and be the first to capitalize on new opportunities to make a living making your art.

Every Thursday, David presents either a guest or his own learnings from his decade-plus career as a creative entrepreneur. Hear from titans of industry like former AOL CEO Steve Case. Hear from best-selling authors like Seth Godin and James Altucher. Hear from scientists, creators from dancers to a chef to a Hollywood set designer, and visionaries on the cutting edge of creative monetization – whether that's self publishing or blockchain technology.

Find out why Wall Street Journal best-selling author Jeff Goins says, "David is an underrated writer and thinker. In an age of instant publication, he puts time, effort and great thought into the content and work he shares with the world."

Find out why Basecamp CEO Jason Fried says David has "really good, deep questions, and original questions."

Subscribe to Love Your Work today so you never miss a dose of the inspiration and motivation you need to unleash the creator you already know you are, deep inside.

    Complexity Creep & The Birthday Problem

    Complexity Creep & The Birthday Problem

    Here’s a brain teaser for you: Imagine we’ve got a room full of people. We’re trying to figure if any two people in the room have the same birthday.
    For us to reach a fifty-percent probability that there are two people in the room with the exact same birthday, how many people need to be in the room?
    I told you this was a brain teaser, so suffice to say that the answer -- to how many people need to be in a room for there to be a fifty-percent probability that two people have the exact same birthday -- is not what you would intuitively expect.
    The “birthday problem” tells a lot about how we fail to see hidden complexity For the sake of this puzzle, let’s assume there are no twins, no leap year birthdays, and there are no seasonal variations. No spike in birthdays nine months after Christmas or some big snowstorm.
    Most people start with a rough calculation like this: There’s 365 days in a year, so for there to be two people in the room with the same birthday, take 365, divide it by two -- you’ve got about 180, give or take. With 180 people in a room it seems you’d have about a fifty-percent chance that two of them have the same birthday.
    This intuitive calculation is wrong. It’s very wrong. If you had 180 people in a room, the chances that two of them will have the same birthday is damn close to 100%. Even if there were only 100 people in the room, rather than 180, the chances that two of them would have the same birthday would be 99.99997%.
    The actual answer is fun to know, but it also tells us a lot about our minds. It tells us a lot about how bad we are at understanding complexity. It tells us a lot about how complexity tends to get out of hand, and weigh us down, and cause us to stagnate. Complexity creep.
    If we know the answer to what is known as the birthday problem, maybe -- just maybe -- we can fight against complexity creep: That insidious tendency for us to make things more complex and more complex and more complex, until we find ourselves paralyzed.
    And there’s a flip side. If you can understand complexity creep -- if you can understand how things that seem simple are actually complex, you can also use that to your advantage.
    Each “one thing” interacts with every other thing So how do you actually find the answer to the birthday problem? Let me start by saying that if you have trouble following the next minute or so, don’t worry about it. That’s the point. Our brains aren’t wired to intuitively understand this.
    On a basic level, you wouldn’t just calculate based upon the total number of people in the room and the total number of potential birthdays.
    In actuality, you would calculate based upon potential interactions amongst the birthdays of every person within the room.
    Like this: If there’s only one person in the room, there’s a 365 out of 365 -- 100% -- chance that person does not share a birthday with another person in the room. There are no other people in the room, after all.
    Add a second person, and there’s a 364 out of 365 chance that person does not share a birthday with the first person in the room.
    With each person you add, you take away one from the numerator of that fraction. With the third person, instead of 364, it’s a 363 out of 365 chance that person does not share a birthday with either of the first two people in the room.
    So on and on, that numerator gets lower -- from 363 to 362 to 361 -- with each additional person in the room. So far, there’s five people in the room, and a 361 out of 365 chance that fifth person does not share a birthday with any of the other four people in that room.
    That’s a 98.9% chance of no match. A merely 1.1% chance that this fifth person shares a birthday with one of the other four people in the room.
    But wait. If there are five people in a room, the chances that any two of them share the same birthday is not

    • 11 min
    Time Worship

    Time Worship

    When I was working with Timeful -- the productivity app co-founded by behavioral scientist and Love Your Work guest, Dan Ariely -- we had a great feature. You could put todo items on your calendar.
    You could estimate how long a todo item was going to take, and then you could drag that todo item onto your calendar. It would be right there on the timeline, along with any other events you had planned for the day.
    This todo-items-on-calendar thing was a handy feature. It makes sense, really. Too many of us have a todo list a mile long. We know what we intend to do, but we have no idea when we’ll actually do those things.
    When Timeful built this feature, and I finally got to use it regularly, I made a discovery. We’re really bad at estimating time. It shouldn’t have been a surprise. Our vision is distorted by our “time worship.”
    Our perception of time is warped My own faulty time estimates went both ways. I might think it would take me less than fifteen minutes to respond to an email. I’d be shocked to discover that it took half an hour. I might think it would take an hour to draft a blog post, and I’d be pleasantly surprised to see I could do it in only ten minutes.
    Instinctively, we know that our perception of time is warped. We know the saying that “time flies when we’re having fun.” Our perception of time changes. It changes according to our mood, our personality, or the number of events that happen within a certain amount of time.
    But if our perception of time is so warped, why is time so important to us? Why do we treat time as if it’s the only thing that matters? Why do we practice “time worship?”
    The way we measure time is arbitrary It turns out, the way we measure time is pretty arbitrary. There’s nothing in the natural world that says that we should divide our days up by twenty-four hours, with sixty minutes in each of those hours, with sixty seconds in each of those minutes.
    Our heart may beat about sixty times a minute, but if we’re exercising, it could be 160 times a minute. We breathe about fourteen times a minute, but if we’re running, it might be forty times a minute.
    Aside from the rotation of the earth and the earth’s revolutions around the sun, there’s nothing about the natural world that says we need to measure the time the way we do.
    Dividing the day up into twenty-four hours, sixty minutes an hour, sixty seconds a minute -- that’s leftover from a 4,000-year-old Babylonian numbering system.
    And hours weren’t even originally a fixed length of time! Back in the days of sundials, hours were relative to the amount of daylight in the day. Hours in one season were shorter than hours in another season.
    It wasn’t even until the late 16^th^ century that there was a mechanical clock that kept track of sixty minutes in an hour. To measure seconds, we had to wait until a century later -- the 17^th^ century.
    Even the earth’s rotations are unreliable Yet even with this mechanical precision, the way we measure time doesn’t totally match up with the natural world. In an atomic clock, 9,192,631,770 cycles of radiation in the caesium-133 atom represents one second. The atomic clock uses this atom’s radiation to keep time, because it’s one of the most reproducible and stable things in all of nature. Certainly more reliable than grains of sand falling through an hourglass, or even the vibrations of a quartz crystal.
    But still, even with the help of one of the most reproducible and stable things in all of nature, the atomic clock is not perfect. We still have to add an extra second -- a “leap second” -- to our measurement of time. We add a leap second eight times a decade.
    It’s hard to match mechanical or even atomic precision to time, in part, because even the thing that time is based upon isn’t perfect. There are tiny, portions of a millisecond, difference

    • 13 min
    Clock Time Event Time

    Clock Time Event Time

    Before I moved to Colombia, I lived several “mini lives” in Medellín. I came and lived here for a few months. I escaped the very worst portion of the Chicago winters.
    There was a phenomenon I experienced every time I came here, which taught me a lot about how I think about time. It always happened right around the three week mark.
    Getting used to a slower pace of life The pace of life in Medellín is different from the pace of life in Chicago. It’s slower. People talk slower, people walk slower. That thing where you stand on the right side of the escalator so people can pass on the left -- yeah, people don’t really do that here. They stand wherever they like. It’s usually not a problem. It’s rare that anyone climbs up the escalator while it’s moving, anyway.
    Whenever I came on a trip to Medellín, the same thing happened: The first week, the slower pace of life was refreshing. The second week, as I was trying to get into a routine, it started to get annoying. The third week, some incident would occur, and I would -- I’m not proud to say -- lose my shit.
    A comedy of errors The last time I went through this transition, it was a concert malfunction. I showed up to the theater to see a concert, and the gates were locked. A chulito wrapper rolled by in the wind, like a tumbleweed. Nobody was around, except a stray cat.
    Is it the wrong day? I confirmed on the website: The concert is today, at this time, at this place. So where is everybody?
    As I walked around the building, looking for another entrance, I saw a security guard. He told me the concert was cancelled. Something broken on the ceiling of the theater.
    This was especially aggravating because of everything I had gone through to get these tickets. My foreign credit card didn’t work on the ticket website, so I had to go to a physical ticket kiosk. But then the girl working the kiosk said the system was down. So I came back the next day, and the system was also down. No, it wasn’t “still” down -- it was just down “again.” So I waited in a nearby chair in the mall for forty-five minutes. Then I finally got my tickets.
    And now the concert is cancelled. I go to the ticket booth at the theater to get my money back. But they tell me I can’t do that here -- I have to go to a special kiosk, across town. Oh, and I can’t do it today -- they won’t be ready to process my refund until tomorrow.
    I take the afternoon off to go get my refund. After standing in line for half an hour, they tell me they can’t process my refund on my foreign credit card. I have to fill out a form, which they’ll mail to the home office in Bogotá. I should get my refund within ten days.
    I’m always wary that I’m an immigrant living in another country -- that sometimes the way they do things in that country makes no sense to me. I never want to come off as the “impatient gringo.” But at this point, I become the impatient gringo. I demand my money back, and recount the whole experience to the clerk. In my perturbed state, my Spanish is even more embarrassingly broken.
    I give in, fill out the form, and leave the ticket kiosk -- without my money. And I’ve been through this enough times to know what’s coming.
    Out on the sidewalk, in an instant, as if a switch were flipped in my brain, I go from steaming with anger, to calm as a clam. Months worth of pent-up tension melts away from the muscles in my neck and back. I feel relaxed -- almost high.
    Flipping the “temporal switch” I call this moment the “temporal switch.” I’ve talked to other expats about this phenomenon, and they report something similar. That when you first come to Medellín, it takes awhile to get into the rhythm of life here. But once you’re in that rhythm, you’re more relaxed, more laid back. You’re even happier.
    You might wonder what my concert catastrophe has to do with th

    • 12 min
    How to Have a Thought

    How to Have a Thought

    Maya Angelou was right, “People will forget what you said...but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
    Because I don’t remember what this woman said to me, but I do remember how I felt: Attacked.
    My heart was racing. I had two options: Lash out and defend my position, or excuse myself from the conversation.
    My brain hastily searched for the best way out: Slip into the kitchen to get another drink? Go to the bathroom? Awkwardly appeal to my need to mingle?
    But then I realized something: I felt attacked, but she wasn’t attacking me. She wasn’t even disagreeing with me. She had merely asked a question.
    Don’t be other people. Be a thinking person. Only now, years later, do I understand why I felt so threatened. I had met a thinking person.
    Oscar Wilde said it well,
    Most people are other people. Their thoughts are some one else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. -Oscar Wilde
    Forgive the quotation, but it accurately describes who I was. I was someone else. Whatever I had said to that woman at that cocktail party, it wasn’t a thought. It was someone else’s opinion.
    And I was encountering someone who was not someone else. She was herself. She was someone who didn’t speak in pre-programmed sound bites. Someone who didn’t merely parrot the latest news headline or social media meme. Someone who listened to what you said, asked questions about it, and expected a response. Someone who, in good faith, assumed I, too, was a thinking person.
    Since that day, I have endeavored to become a thinking person. I’ll never truly master thinking. If I thought I could master thinking, that wouldn’t be very thinking-person-like of me.
    But once in awhile, I do have a genuine thought. Some people agree with me. Because I’ve tried to become a thinking person, I was proud when an Amazon reviewer of my latest book called me “a very original thinker,” and when best-selling author Jeff Goins called me “an underrated thinker.” (Though it would be nice to be an appropriately-rated thinker.)
    So, I humbly submit to you the way I think about thinking. How to have a thought.
    There are four keys to having an original thought:
    Read widely (not the same shit as everyone else) Stop having opinions (stop defending your “beliefs”) Stop wanting to be liked (start being intellectually honest) Write regularly (explore what you really think) In sum, assume nothing, question everything.
    https://twitter.com/kadavy/status/1217900835503558656
    Now, a little more about each of these points.
    1. Read widely (not the same shit as everyone else) Haruki Marakami said,
    If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking. -Haruki Marakami
    The same way you are what you eat, you also are what you read. This is a little counterintuitive, because, in trying to become a thinking person, we’re trying not to have all of our thoughts be mere re-hashings of something we’ve read.
    Don’t think of reading as a way to put thoughts into your brain. Think of reading as a way of trying on someone else’s brain for a little while.
    This is why a book is such a bargain: Someone spends their whole life thinking. They write all of that down. Now for ten bucks you get a lifetime worth of thinking, sewn into a costume you can try on for a few hours.
    Charles Scribner, Jr. said, “Reading is a means of thinking with another person’s mind; it forces you to stretch your own.” With a book, you can try on someone else’s thoughts, and see how they feel. You can question those thoughts, and compare them to your own thoughts.
    Sometimes a book completely reorganizes the way you process the world. Other times, you just get one or two good ideas.
    But to have original thoughts, you can’t be reading the same thing everyone else is reading. This is

    • 16 min
    Device Divorce

    Device Divorce

    When it came time for me to choose a college, I had no idea what I was doing. For reasons I still can’t explain, I chose to go to The University of Nebraska at Kearney. At least until I recognized my mistake.
    Kearney is a town in the middle of Nebraska. I grew up in Omaha, a city on the east edge of Nebraska. You may laugh, thinking, What’s the difference? It’s a flyover state. But to most of my classmates, I was a “city slicker.”
    So, I regularly made the drive. Two and a half hours down I-80. Two and a half hours at eighty-miles-an-hour, with a steady stream of semi trucks passing by.
    Each time a truck passed, the powerful winds blowing across the plains of the oxymoronically-named Platte River Valley would disappear. Those winds, blocked by the massive eighteen-wheeler, once it passed, would then reappear with more force than ever, sending my little Honda Accord swerving.
    I couldn’t swerve too far. My tires were firmly embedded in grooves. Grooves like wagon tracks on the Oregon Trail I-80 follows. Grooves pressed into the concrete by the tires of those heavy semi trucks.
    I made this drive -- often over a mixture of ice and snow and gravel and salt -- to leave a city. A city with plenty of educational options, and arrive in a cow town where one of the main forms of entertainment for my classmates -- and I’m not exaggerating here -- was hunting raccoons.
    Path dependency: Your future depends on it One time, I missed the exit for Kearney. This was especially frustrating, because I-80 exists mostly for big trucks to drive through Nebraska. It’s not so much for the sparse scattering of people living in Nebraska to get from point A to point B. Which means, there aren’t a lot of exits.
    So, if you missed the exit for Kearney, that added a bunch of time onto the end of what was already a long trip. You had to drive another twelve miles past your destination, get off the interstate and turn around and get back on the interstate and drive back another twelve miles. So we’re talking an extra twenty minutes tacked onto a two-and-a-half-hour drive, if you missed that exit.
    It was the kind of mistake that you only made once. And it was a good lesson in path dependency. The concept of path dependency states that once you go down one path, it’s difficult or impossible to go down another path. You’ve passed the fork in the road.
    Our lives are full of path dependencies. If you eat a bunch of donuts in the afternoon, you won’t have room for a healthy dinner. If you go to one party, you can’t go to another. A single moment can be the difference between dying young, or living another fifty years. Matters of life and death are the ultimate path dependency.
    In other words, path dependency is really, really important. It’s important to making decisions, and it’s important to designing your behavior.
    One area of life where path dependency has a big impact is with the devices that we use. Take your mobile phone, for example. Think of your mobile phone as like I-80, running through central Nebraska. Once you get on the interstate, once you touch your phone, at what exit will you get off?
    There’s Facebook Parkway, or there’s Kindle Boulevard. There’s Meditation Timer Square, or there’s Twitter Plaza. There’s Instagram Alley, or there’s Scrivener Circle.
    Like any interstate, once you get off at an exit, it takes some time to get back on the road. If you miss an exit, or take the wrong exit, it will take you a little longer to get where you’re going.
    You can get to the same place through multiple paths There are often multiple ways to get to your destination. I remember one time, I drove home from college on an old highway, instead of the interstate. This seemed outrageously adventurous at the time. The highway is slower, it’s more narrow, it cuts through towns. Part of me wondered if I’d e

    • 13 min
    I Thought I Had Time Management All Figured Out, Then I Tried to Write a Book

    I Thought I Had Time Management All Figured Out, Then I Tried to Write a Book

    I used to be a time management enthusiast. I say “used to be,” because time management eventually stopped working for me.
    How I became an accidental author It all started with an email. It was the kind of email that would trip up most spam filters. I wasn’t being offered millions of dollars from an offshore bank account, true love, nor improved performance in bed. I was being offered a book deal.
    I had never thought of myself as a writer. In fact, I downright hated writing as a kid. I remember reading about how Stephen King said that when he was a kid, he was “on fire” to write. I remember saying to myself, That makes no sense! Who on Earth would enjoy writing?
    I had never thought of myself as a writer, but I had fantasized about being an author. I guess that means I didn’t think so much about writing, but I liked the idea of having written.
    As I considered taking this book deal, I talked to everyone I knew who had written a book. They all warned me that writing a book is extremely hard work, with little chance of success. One author simply said, You’ll want to die!
    But, I figured, how hard can it be? So, I signed my first literary contract.
    How I tried to write a book, when I didn’t know how to write a book I didn’t have any idea how to write a book, so I did it the only way I could think of: through brute force time management. I simply needed to find enough time to write this book.
    So, I used every time management technique I could think of. I put writing sessions on my calendar. I developed a morning routine that would get me writing first thing in the morning. I “time boxed” to try to limit the time I would spend on parts of the project. I fired my clients, I outsourced my meal preparation, I cancelled dates and turned down party invitations. I did everything I could to focus all of my time on writing my book.
    But it still wasn’t enough. I spent most of my day hunched over a keyboard. I felt actual physical pain in my stomach. It felt as if rigor mortis had taken over my fingers, as I struggled to write even a single sentence.
    Sure, I had the time to write my book, but I wasn’t getting anything done.
    My case of writers’ block was so bad that, a few weeks after signing my book deal, I accepted a last-minute invitation to go on a retreat to Costa Rica. With a signed contract in my file drawer and a deadline breathing down my neck, it wasn’t the most logical thing to do with my time. But I desperately hoped that a change of scenery would work some kind of magic on my writer’s block.
    But a few days into the trip, I still had nothing. Zero! Zilch! My contract said that if I didn’t have my manuscript twenty-five percent done within a few weeks, the deal was off. So, unless a miracle happened, I would write a check to the publisher to return my advance, and I would humiliatingly face my friends, family, and readers to tell them I had failed.
    Does that sound like a lot of pressure? It was.
    The chance encounter that changed the way I thought about writing productivity I wanted to feel sorry for myself, by myself, so I went for a walk. I was dragging my feet down the gravel road in Costa Rica, with my head hung down. How could I be so foolish?, I asked myself.
    Not only had I signed a contract to write a 50,000-word book, with little writing experience under my belt, I had wasted time and money going on this retreat.
    Just then, I heard someone call out. I looked up, and saw a man on the next road over waving big in my direction, with his entire arm, ¡¿Como estááááás?!
    I had noticed this man earlier in my walk. He was gripping onto the simple wires of a fence, leaning back in ecstasy, singing to himself. I had felt vaguely embarrassed for him, assuming he didn’t know someone else was around.
    I looked behind me, trying to figure out who he was waving at. But there was no o

    • 10 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
179 Ratings

179 Ratings

Clarisse Gomez ,

Awesome Podcadst!!!

David, host of the Love Your Work podcast, highlights all good aspects and more in this can’t miss podcast! The host and expert guests offer insightful advice and information that is helpful to anyone that listens!

JoshCrist ,

Transformational!

This podcast has quickly become one of my favorites. When you spend time getting to listen to the same guests on multiple podcasts, you start to hear the interviews all blend together and experience largely the same stories. Not on Love Your Work! David does an incredible job of asking questions and creating the kind of space needed to have thoughtful discussions that get to a deeper level. I learn something I've never heard before every time I listen. Highly recommend subscribing to Love Your Work today!

RameshDon ,

Love it because of David & Guests are awesome too

This is one of those podcasts that makes you pause and think. Not just listen and go away. The insightful discussions are incredibly helpful. Thanx

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