1 Big idea to think about

  • When making your life more effortless, systems are more important than effort. Systems allow you to produce results over and over. And once you establish your system,  you can optimize it to make it easier to achieve excellence.

2 ways you can apply this

  • Select one essential thing in your life (e.g., a good night’s sleep) and build a routine around it (e.g., Begin preparing for bed at a designated time).
  • Find a way to automate the routine (e.g., download an app on your phone that reminds you when your bedtime routine should begin).

3 Questions to ask

  • How can I create routines for what‘s essential in my life?
  • How can I automate these routines and turn them into systems?
  • How can I optimize these systems to achieve better results?

Key Moments From The Show 

  • Finding the permission to live differently (4:53)
  • The importance of creating systems (8:00)
  • The Rhythm of Existence Document (9:31)
  • The sub rhythms of the Rhythm of Existence (14:29)
  • How to gamify the core areas of your life (18:37)
  • Maintaining balance through optimization (23:22)
  • Prioritizing trade-offs (25:53)
  • Strengthening your relationships through optimization (30:11)
  • Designing your living system (35:36)
  • Creating the life you desire (40:25)

Connect with Rob Dyrdek

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Greg McKeown, Rob Dyrdek

Greg McKeown  0:04  

Come with me on an exploration of self discovery. On this podcast, we decipher what really matters as we unravel the chaos of day to day work, to learn how to build an essential life. 


Welcome back to the What’s Essential podcast. I am your fully British, mostly essentialist host, Greg McKeown. And I am so pleased to have you here for this episode. It’s going to be with Rob Dyrdek. And I’m going to get to who that is in just a moment. 


But let me just back up for some context. My biggest takeaway and writing effortless was the idea that systems are more important than effort, which isn’t to say that effort isn’t important. It’s that how you put your effort into play, determines what your return on effort will be. Most of us have a sort of linear relationship with effort and results, you put in the effort today, you get the reward today, if you don’t put the effort in today, you don’t get the reward today, that’s linear results. But residual results are completely different. That’s when you say, I’m going to use my effort today to build a system that produces results for me. And as you improve that system, tweak it and edit it over time that produces results for you, and therefore allows you to elevate your life to a higher and higher point of contribution. And the thing that I was almost embarrassed about when I wrote effortless, was to discover the ratio of my life how much of my effort went into just getting rewards today, one time rewards let’s say. And after writing effortless, I became convinced that what I needed to do was change the ratio. 


And Rob Dyrdek, Rob Dyrdek is famous for lots of things. He’s a professional skateboarder. He’s also a reality star with shows like robbing big Rob Dyrdek fantasy factory, and also an hilariously funny ridiculousness. But none of that does it justice at all. I come away from every conversation with Rob changed. I get the clearest view of talking with almost anyone in my life. For what it takes to get to a completely new level of contribution. You will leave today’s episode having learned how to create a rhythm of experience document. That’s a tool different I would say to anything you’ve seen before. And it has the power to change your life. I’m building mine now. Robin spired. Me to build it. And that’s what we’re going to cover in today’s episode. So let’s get to it. Rob Dyrdek. Welcome to the What’s Essential podcast. Thank you. It is great to be with you. We were first introduced by Brent Montgomery. And he sent you I think essentialism and effortless. Tell me first of all, just a little bit about what that did in your mind.


Rob Dyrdek  3:09  

Yeah, you know, I think when he you know, because obviously, he’s a big fan of yours, considering your connection in business. And, you know, we had always sort of shared philosophies and different aspects of sharing the way that I operate. And he said, You got to read this book, you know, and to me, there’s always these great tools that if you’re someone that’s constantly growing and evolving, you get shared another philosophy that then almost kind of brings clarity what you are already feeling. And again, I that was a essentialism for me and then and then I’m like, boy, but you know, even back then it’s like, well, what happens when you’re only doing the essential and you’re, you’re pushed up to the top right? It’s then effortless was right behind it, because it is the book started with like, you know, your jam, like and then that’s effortless. And then I realized, like, man, like the way that I drive everything to automation, and then the optimization, my whole existence is driving to this effortless existence. Right? So I think that’s where, you know, I connected with your philosophy on a practical side as it as it was related to how I run my life as a whole, you know?


Greg McKeown  4:23  

So after you and I first connected, I sent a note to Brent the basically said something like this, I said, Rob’s not really human. You don’t you don’t really meet Rob, you experience Him. That was my sense of when we talked, the intensity that you bring to whatever you do, is really remarkable to me. And I want to get to some specific things that you do that we talked about, but first, I want to just reference something and it may be this is funny for you or maybe it’s serious for you, I don’t know but you are on record as having said, so I was sort of saying, as a, you’re not really human, but you are on record as having said, I am part alien. I truly believe that I believe I’ve been abducted. And I’m some form of an extra terrestrial race. Maybe that was a joke at the moment part of the crazy. But talk to me about that.


Rob Dyrdek  5:17  

Well, look, there was this gentleman who was abducted by aliens. That’s from the Howard Stern Show, who we had on fantasy factory who was like basically explaining to me that you are alien. And you are this extraordinary being if you understood who you really were, it would blow even your mind. And I’ll, it was always funny to me. I’m the guy who wants purchased the hyperdimensional resonator, which is a time machine off a guy in Nebraska. And then years later, I tried to bring him on one of my television shows to talk about it, right, like I’m talking to you, I know what you are. And I’m like, what he’s like, you’re an alien. And I’m like, what, so it has been validated on a handful of different occasions where random people have expressed to me that I may, in fact, have some alien blood.


Greg McKeown  6:09  

And for you, even if we just put it aside is symbolic. There’s something about that, that still powerful for you, I can tell that it is it’s like somehow it names for you, or gives you permission to live differently. 


Rob Dyrdek  6:23  

Who I am is unexplainable, and sort of the normal way that life works, right, the evolution, the growth, the expansion, the development of a way of living in a mind that I wouldn’t even have thought possible. You know, when you get to a state where you begin to evolve and grow beyond your wildest dreams, right, you then begin to have the ability to control reality, because you get better and better at deciding what you want to do and achieving it no matter what that is, you begin to feel like you are controlling the universe in it, at least in the sense of your own universe. And then you can’t help but be filled with gratitude and all that all the stuff that you set out and had a vision for actually was realized. And your way of life has been realized. You certainly take pride and feeling like you are living like a one on one existence.


Greg McKeown  7:19  

I am a strong believer in a simple principle, which is that everything is created twice, once emotionally, mentally, even maybe spiritually, and then a second time physically. And I think what you just described is the extraordinary ability that that idea gives you did you say My goodness, at one time, it was just an idea. And then I’ve seen this unbelievable thing actually happen, and be manifest and be creative. And it changes everything. Because then it says not only is that something to be grateful for but it’s also like, Well, what else could be created? That’s what I sense when I hear you talking about it.


Rob Dyrdek  7:59  

Yeah. And look, it goes a little bit deeper, right, because it’s not a goal. It is a life. And when I began to see my life is all these sort of interconnected systems. And then I design those systems. And each of those systems had goals and ambitions. And then as I got better and better and started drawing closer and closer to those goals associated with these different parts of my life, then the energy started to build, the harmony started to build the Law of Attraction kicks in all this opportunity begins to fulfill the vision. And then what happens when you get closer and closer, you can see further and further because you begin to see more clearer you begin to to have the bigger ideas that you can see of what’s possible that you couldn’t see before, then you doubt we’re basically in this perpetual state of evolution and growth that basically feeds your energy and passion to basically push to see what’s possible, right? And for me, it transitioned from self preservation to generational preservation to where it’s like, wow, how can I affect the next 500 years of the dyrdek family, instead of just affecting my children and or affecting my way of life in this lifetime. That’s the the other side of when you find that harmony, and life’s potential reveals itself to you by having deep clarity on what you want to achieve, and then growing towards achieving it. And that’s what I’ve done.


Greg McKeown  9:30  

I want to get to a document that you have created you call this the rhythm of existence. Can you just first of all describe what it is? From your point of view?


Rob Dyrdek  9:39  

Yeah, I think simply put, it’s like the operating system for my life. It has every aspect of how my life operates, and then all the documents associated with it. It’s built to basically drive all aspects of my life to automation, right? And because at the end of the day, you’ve got to get things to automation before You can begin to optimize them. Because optimization is where the extraordinary happens, you know, now I’ve just applied that to all aspects of my life. And first, it starts with designing time. Right then then I’ve gamified, my mental health have gamified my physical health, right? I’ve systematized like my financial systems and structure, how I operate, my daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly schedules, like how I integrate my family, my nannies, my diet, all of these things into this moving system that can be operated by a Chief of Staff and assistants, and then all my co president, all the people that work for me, because I decided I would design a fully integrated life that included both my business and my family and my well being. And that document basically represents how that system operates together.


Greg McKeown  10:59  

Yeah, and and again, this is the difference between setting goals only, versus build systems, and how those systems interplay and automating those systems so that you can not just live life, but look at your life and look at the machine and look at the the ecosystem of your life and keep designing and tweaking it just like you said, optimization happens after automation. But I want to go through a few pieces of this document. Okay, first of all, what does it have in it, the overview has your purpose statement, it has your four sub rhythms, work life, health, and sleep, you have a section for definitions, principles, framework rules and success criteria. That’s just the overview of the document. Let’s just start with the top I mean, what do you include? 


Rob Dyrdek  11:49  

When you think about purpose,it’s about living a high energy, effortless existence, right? Because at the end of the day, you you have a limited amount of capacity. And that capacity is drained by decision making stress, bad sleep not eating, right, we think that all these things kind of live separately in like, Oh, we’re going to try to take care of ourselves, oh, we’re going to try to be less stressed and be more grateful. But in fact, you know, if you really want to live like that on a consistent basis, all of these moving parts that are in this document, make up sort of the system that allows you to be able to operate at a really high level that gives you the clarity to manage your time, manage your mind, share, manage your capacity, manage your energy and your health. Look, even the qualitative side of it is really built to give you insight to yourself to make sure that you’re optimizing even the system properly. Because the more you optimize it, the more energy you get back. And you know, there was a book written in 1910 called The Science of Getting Rich and old Wallace D. Wattles. You know, talks about, like, evolution happens with a free mind, meaning when you have mindshare, and you just don’t realize how much steals from your mind share, and actually pulls from your capacity. And for me, like, this document was built in 2015. It took me five years, because before I could fully operate it, and the last year and a half has been really optimizing it right? Because it’s like a really complex thing that you have to grow into, and get better and better at operating it over time.


Greg McKeown  13:37  

There’s an engineering term, and the term is dynamic equilibrium. That’s what I think you are going for in this document, right? It’s an ongoing evolution, but it’s about trying to get all the pieces to work together.


Rob Dyrdek  13:52  

Love that. Love that and think about it changes every year, I continue to evolve. I have kids now I have you know, it’s like like in and I even, you know really look to my wife and how she’s feeling and how we’re evolving. Do I need to put another body in? Do I need to automate something like you just constantly keep adding to it? Because you’re driving back down to your center, which is minimizing how much effort you need to output to live a fulfilling, happy, harmonious life, right like and that’s constantly evolving and requires you to be constantly adaptive. 


Greg McKeown  14:29  

This phrase rhythm of existence has four sub rhythms work is part of the rhythm, life, health sleep on a scale of one to 10 in health. How’re you doing on that right now?


Rob Dyrdek  14:41  

You know, my health is a little bit more complicated, right? Because I’m been on this journey of reengineering. My entire biomechanics to where I have flawless neuro muscular and skeletal alignment, too deep to get into here. What I have Do want to tell you is I’ve had 12, bad days in 2021. And the most fascinating aspect of using qualitative data as it relates to zero to 10. How do you feel right now about your health? Well, I’ve tracked zero to 10, how I feel about my life, my work and my health every day for the last six years, right. And in 2020, it was the first year that I finally collected an entire year of data. And at the end of that year, I averaged and if you total them up between the zero to 10, between life work and health, there’s a total score of 30. I averaged and 18.2 for the year. And then every day I tracked it, I get up at five that I Brain Train, did I get in the gym? Did I meditate? Did I eat clean? Did I not drink. And for the year, my my percentage that I did that was 56%. It was so obvious in the data that like Man, look at this, when you were really committed to your health side, look at the qualitative numbers, right. And so I made the commitment in 2021, that I’m going to average above 20. And I was going to do that by averaging above 80%, in my quality on my quantitative stuff, I was going to get up at five Brain Train, meditate, get in the gym, eat clean and not drink 80% of the year, I ended up doing it 92% of the entire year, many of the months at full 100%. My average for the year is 21.4. And so when I looked back at how much I accomplished this year, how balanced I was, but ultimately, I have proof in numbers of the quality of my life was the highest it’s ever been. And so when I I had a bad day where I scored a 16, two weeks ago, and I thought to myself, Man, when’s the last time I scored a 16. And I went back and through the entire year, I had two sixteenths and I had 1017 for the whole year. And I and I’m like, wow, I only had 12 Bad days in this entire year. And then when I went back to my 2020 data, I averaged to 16. In October, I had months that I averaged 17, I had months where I averaged what today would be considered a bad day and an entire year.


Greg McKeown  17:39  

This is a level of precision. Normally, when I asked somebody, how are you doing in health, zero to 10, they offer one number nobody offers? Well, over the last six years, you know, I’ve averaged 18.2. And then this year, I’ve been at 21.3 and 12. Bad days in one year. I mean, like nobody’s doing that. Right. And and it might seem overwhelming to people but but the whole point of the of this system is to reduce the stress and the pressure and the burden. You just got a better machine that’s running, rather than I’m just trying harder than anybody else alive. It’s the system that you’ve been building that really works. What are you using to gather this data?


Rob Dyrdek  18:26  

Every time I describe it and show people that I do it? It like makes them tired? Because it’s just like, how could anybody? When do you have the time to do all this? For me, since I developed it on my own, and it doesn’t really exist. I had somebody write me the script for my Google calendar. So I essentially every day get up, put in how much I slept. Then I rate my sleep zero to 10. I then rate how motivated I am that day, right? So I want to track how motivated I am. And then I go back to the previous day and go through the core four, Did I did I meditate? Did I get up at five? Did I eat clean? Did I get in the gym? Right? Then I give my score for how I feel about my life work and health and of course,


Greg McKeown  19:11  

Just into your calendar, you just put it into just into


Rob Dyrdek  19:14  

my calendar, right? And then Yep, then my I asked my wife every day how she feels about our relationship zero to 10. Right? Because even that now, the beauty of qualitative data between you and your wife is you now you always have to have the conversation about like, in my case, because I’m more of a robot, her feelings, right? So I’m always like aware of her state, which allows me to be a better husband and be more aware of her energy rather than than constantly. You know, this high energy everything’s amazing life can contact somebody who’s feeling empty, you know what I mean? So all of that data goes straight into my Google account. calendar, then it all gets pulled into a Google spreadsheet. So I get to look at it every month, every day, you know, it’s like, I’m, like, motivated by the gamification of my discipline, you know. And so it’s like, it stops being from wanting a pizza, it stops me from like, I’m just tired, I need a glass of wine, there’s just these moments, these moments of weakness are the hardest to break, especially depending on where you’re at, from a stress level. And I’ve found as I’ve cleared out so much in my life and gotten to this highly optimized state, that I still carry these certain triggers that have been with me my whole life. And one is when I feel stuck, when I feel stuck, I just want to drink and eat pizza. You know, and it’s and but now it’s so hyper aware, when I get stuck, and then have that feeling. It’s like, oh, look at that trigger. Look at that trigger. You know, it’s like, you begin to be able to seal them.


Greg McKeown  20:56  

Yeah, a lot of us don’t have a reason not to do these things. When the trigger happens, you go, Okay, well, you just go along with it. This game, the gamification of your life around what’s essential to you, it’s helping you to go in that moment. Okay, now I have a reason not to, I want to put in my score, I want to be able to say, today was great. 


Rob Dyrdek  21:19  

According to my own criteria, you know, what happens if you have two glasses of wine and a pizza, you know, that it brings, it slows your brain function down, it brings your motivation down, which gives like a lapse of a few days, if my energy shifts, because I decided to go out on a on a Saturday night and boost it up. It’s like, I get to see the ripple effect into the entire week. Right. And so it’s like when you become so sensitive to basically the the ramifications of your decisions, it also becomes easier to not do them. Right, you get there. After you’ve optimized the system, I had to design it first, then I had to learn how to do it get fully committed, then then I had to, like get better at it. And then I began to optimize it. So I could get more and more efficient, more and more consistent, then it finally basically has this acceleration, you know, adequate, it’s almost like blasting through, you know, the atmosphere where you need a certain amount of acceleration. Like once you get beyond that, now it becomes effortless and intuitive, by your natural ability, where before you were fighting to be consistent and fight these triggers. Now it’s almost the opposite, where there’s so few and far between. And then it’s like, Okay, do you really want a pizza? No, right. But sometimes you do it just for enjoyment. And then you have three responsible slices, and the early afternoon, knowing that you’re going to like intermittent fast in the evening in the pizza doesn’t affect you whatsoever.


Greg McKeown  22:54  

This idea of not just living life, but learning from living, you’re just taking that to a really high level, where you’re constantly paying attention adjusting, and then not just putting the pressure on your mental exertion to remember what you’re observing. You’ve just built a system to be able to pour that data into it, so that you can learn fast from the experiences that you’re having.


Rob Dyrdek  23:21  

Right, and you almost get really good at optimization. So you’re constantly nuancing And when you feel stuck when you feel the rhythm get tight, you know, because what happened to me this year was I didn’t account for that. Okay, I’m was finally doing press and interviews again, I launched six companies this year, I shot 250 episodes of television this year, I launched my foundation this year, I’ve shot 35 episodes of my podcast this year, I’m all of the I launched a consumer feedback group called the machinists that are consumer collaborators inside my venture studio, like I hired, you know, seven or eight new people you’re talking about, like this excessive amount of work. Now, keep in mind, I did all of that with only 30% of my time, because I would never compromise my balance, right? I would never compromise the time with my wife, the time with my family in what I ran into now, was that capacity issue, where I would not compromise my balance. So I had to start making mega trade offs, right. But the trade off was not going to be at the expense of my balance. It was going to be at the expense of what I could do in the allotted time that I worked. And that forced me to really recognize capacity, and then drive everything into hiring a bunch of new bodies and fast track everything from automation to optimization, to pull back from that capacity in order to allow myself To get back into a more comfortable rhythm, because even though I was fully balanced in my health, and my family and my work and all these, these sort of essential balances that we think of, I still had pressure on that 30% Because I had packed it so tight, I didn’t take on anything else and drove everything to automation release that pressure, restructured my schedule with my executive team restructured the org chart of my business to a flat org chart, and only now set meetings inside the remaining three days of the week that I a lot for work.


Greg McKeown  25:33  

It’s very interesting. I’ve taken a day now Wednesdays where I don’t schedule any appointments. And I’m amazed at the value of that day to me to be able to just to do things to actually do deep thinking to not be so reactive, even with great things. You use the term mega trade offs. What’s a mega trade off, you’ve made this year?


Rob Dyrdek  25:52  

I’ve tried not to get to the point of the mega trade off, right? Because I never trade it off for my family time or my health time. I stayed more committed to it than ever, you know what I mean in because in the past, what would I do? What’s the first trade off? You make? Always health? That’s always health. It’s always meditation. It’s always the gym. And then what’s the first thing what’s the easiest thing to go when you’re exhausted all day diet, right? Like you just want to sit and veg and be out of it right? And so to me, by getting so good leaving balance, I was jammed in that capacity. Now, what are my trade offs? My trade offs are, I’m going to push the book I want to do out a year I was offered a business television show that I stopped my trade off was no longer inside my life. But it’s inside my allotted time that I would be willing to do for business, I have so much clarity in all aspects of my life, especially my financial design, finances will always put pressure on you unless you design a way where they don’t. And I did that by by creating a plan in 2015 that I was going to push all of my net earnings into cash, distributing non correlated real estate,


Greg McKeown  27:11  

Okay, so just other aspects really quickly as part of your rhythm of existence. You go through the principles that you want to run your rhythm of existence by, you want them to be predictable, adaptable, balanced and relentless. You go through framework rules. Each of these things, intention measurement, a triaging time allocation, energy allocation, 360 Review cadence, I mean, each of these have definitions and specificity, success criteria. You know, that’s all part one. Part two, is the rhythm of existence actors and roles, what your role is, what your chief of staff role is, what your executive assistant does, what your personal assistant does, what your DM team does. And underneath there, so that’s part two. Part three is tools and resource management, Google Drive, Google Sheets, Google doc calendar, Gmail, Dropbox goes through various living documents, the hot sheet, the living dock, weekly activity management weekly haircut to maintain a low maintenance and clean appearance. Like that’s the level of specificity it goes to. Do you have someone just come to you, is this an obvious question? How do you make the weekly haircut effortless?


Rob Dyrdek  28:29  

Yeah. So someone comes to my house every Friday at 930,


Greg McKeown  28:33  

Every Friday at 930? So every single week, you get your hair cut?


Rob Dyrdek  28:36  

It’s one thing now you never have to think about. You don’t I mean, it’s like, it doesn’t matter you’re going out, you know? And because it’s like, what do you do otherwise, like, oh, it’s been a while now you’re now you’re worried about it. Now it’s taking mindshare, then you got to schedule it. There’s all these things. It’s like, it’s a perfect example of as many of those things that you can do. release you from mindshare give you more freedom, you know,


Greg McKeown  28:57  

100% You’ve got a weekly date night, dinner, date night and movie, you know, set same time every week. So that’s to date nights a week. That’s what you’re describing there, isn’t it?


Rob Dyrdek  29:07  

I do Thursday, movie night, Wednesday, breakfast day date. I do. Sunday sushi night. I do Tuesday night talk night. I do Thursday, we meet with all of our assistants. And we have a family living document hot sheet that we go through every aspect of the family. We walk through my calendar for the month to make sure we’re on the same page. All of this, it just it started with like, hey, let’s have to date nights a week, then then it’s like, okay, that’s not enough. And all of this optimization with this relationship, all of this. When she’s down, I’ll still clear a day and take her to the movies in the afternoon. I’m still incredibly adaptive inside this rhythm that becomes as intuitive and normal to the whole system. But I don’t I’m not rigid with it. Right? Like I will still allow flexibility depending on how I’m feeling or How my wife’s feeling. Because at the end of the day, it’s still about making sure and protecting the energy of the house and the family above everything.


Greg McKeown  30:09  

So there’s two parts when I listened to all of this. I see on the one side, I could imagine wives everywhere listening to this going, well, I’d quite like if my husband had time for breakfast with me once a week scheduled to date night, sushi night, you know, talk night and so on that, that part of them would welcome this. There’s another side that I could see many people listening to this going back to your comment about it seeming exhausting feeling like his issue, really the center of it? Or is this machine? You know, owning it? How is your relationship with Bree right now?


Rob Dyrdek  30:49  

Yeah, I mean, look, I have an extraordinary relationship with my wife, you know, and I’d like to say like, she’s never even, like, really made me mad. Like, this entire optimization is based off of like, managing her emotions and feelings and making sure that she’s always feeling in, in in the best place and feeling the best about about her life and our life together. In look, it’s been created based off of her needs, and it’d be like, she, we feel like we don’t even like talk, okay, let’s, you want to make Tuesdays, and we don’t watch any TV and always make a talk at night. Like, okay, perfect. This is over, you know, going on seven years of marriage, where I just keep optimized, you got to think another thing that I refer to it as tuning a Ferrari. But I also, we also have a therapist come to the house every other week. So it’s like, now we have a neutral party, even though we have this extraordinary relationship that I literally I put on as the most precious thing in my life, because I know how rare this type of love is. And I’m, I’m going to defend its purity at all costs, right? I put it above everything. And but we still bring in a neutral party. So that like you can have these conversations that like, there’s just some conversations that even though you’re so close, and have such a great relationship, that you just can’t have without some sort of support system between you that has allowed, which in turn continues to keep the energy of your home and your relationship. Constantly being like, like taking care of right and well asking her to get the score each day. She gives me ones and zeros all the time. Like if I like and it’s like and it’ll be like, you know, it’ll be something like so nuanced, but I never question why she feels the way she feels. And that’s what I think is probably the greatest growth gift that I was able to give her at this age and this level of optimization that don’t don’t bother arguing with her about how she feels, just help understand why she feels that way and try to not make her feel that way again. And if you just think about that, fundamentally, that’s what’s allowed our relationship to grow so strong, and and stroke. So good. Over the years, we’ve been married,


Greg McKeown  33:16  

Brees giving you a score of one or two on a 10 point scale on what scale,


Rob Dyrdek  33:21  

Yes on a 10 point scale. She gave me a zero, she gave me a zero. And I had we had to rewrite this to get you know, I want to say that we got I got the zero because I’m like she had been traveling and came back the next day. And I was in my normal day rhythm. And then I stopped and watched football instead of working on a Sunday. And to her she had been gone for two days. And rather than spend time with her and she felt like I chose football over her. So I can be like what you’re going two days like you know, it’s like I don’t you know, like I there’s no reason to argue it. I just I’m in it’s in. So what did I do to optimize it? I told my assistant, okay, from every now on when she’s out of town, this is now the third time where when she’s gotten back, she’s felt like all of us didn’t miss her. And so I’m like from now on when she’s out of town, let’s go through it on the calendar. And make sure that like I take her to lunch that day and make sure that we do a family activity so that we don’t otherwise if we try to just live our normal lives when she comes back. It’s then she’s going to feel like we didn’t even miss her. And again, Nuance feel it make the change added to the system that week with my assistant, we go through it and lay out on what I’m going to do on Sunday when she comes back and people could say that’s crazy. But that’s what I want to continue to do to have this highly amazing, beautiful relationship with my wife.


Greg McKeown  34:57  

If I had Bree on what would she say about all of this? 


Rob Dyrdek  35:01  

Here’s what she would tell you. I know how much he absolutely loves and puts his family first and how committed he is to our relationship and our love and our lives. That’s what she would tell you, right? Because at the end of the day, the system’s irrelevant, right, because the system falls away and is in the background, it seems like the system’s driving everything. But it’s not because the system was designed, it was automated, it was optimized, and now it’s intuitive. It’s just the rhythm and the flow of life. So it doesn’t feel like it’s even in her world, you know, what well, and


Greg McKeown  35:36  

Something I want to say about that is that everybody has a complex system right now. And the results, they’re getting people listening to this the results that you’re getting in your relationship with your spouse, with your children, you know, with your health, with your sleep with your life, I mean, you have a system already, and it’s highly complex. And it’s highly interdependent, and interrelated. And so it’s not like building a system like Rob is created, it suddenly is more burdensome, it’s just more by design, it’s more deliberate, instead of this complex system being created by default. And so in a sense, I can see how both systems really become quite invisible over time. It’s just whether that system is built in your favor, or around the relationships that matter most, or whether they’re built in some other form. Without such purpose. Am I getting that? Right?


Rob Dyrdek  36:37  

Hallelujah, it is the cornerstone of my entire philosophy that is the machine mindset, right? It is this idea that you are a living system, whether you like it or not, you cannot change one part of your life without changing all of it. Yeah, it’s just the reality that people think they can just go to the gym and be healthier, oh, I’m going to spend more time with my wife, and then my relationships going to be good. It is like if you do not have the harmony and all of your life systems, then master your life systems, then grow your life systems and optimize them to have the output of what the highest quality of life possible. Because the output of your system is essentially the quality of your life. And some people just build a system that is so out of balance, and so lacks that has so much just like wobbly dysfunction in it, that they they literally no longer believe it is possible to find true happiness or a high quality of life. So they just spend a lifetime hunting pockets of happiness in between being in a constant state of Drudge. 


Greg McKeown  37:51  

That’s it, right? Essentialism is an ecosystem or nothing. You know, it’s it’s all about all the interrelated pieces. It’s a living organism. And so how to keep tending to it, it’s more like a garden than a single goal. Okay, go get that what is that?


Rob Dyrdek  38:07  

Everybody has the exact same goal. It is to live a high quality, effortless, happy, harmonious existence, we all seek the same thing, true happiness on but the problem is, it seems so elusive and complex, and we dabble in it. And, and never seek to design what would actually achieve that for us. And that’s what I did in 2015. I defined what my ideal life would be. And then I designed all the parts of it. And then I grew into it. And guess what I live it. And it took me five years to get there. And when I got here, it’s like, wow, you are overwhelmed with gratitude, you are overwhelmed with ambition and motivation. Because guess what, I can now see so much further than I ever thought possible. Once I reached my ideal life, in my ideal life keeps evolving. And because here’s the thing, too, you don’t you don’t go straight to a goal, you expand into a goal. And here’s the other aspect of and have a goal. You You can put a couple milestones to your big achievement, but it reveals itself about a third of a way through a third of a way through when you’re really hoping to achieve something you finally see everything you actually have to do to achieve it. And at that point, most people either quit or they buck they get extra motivated because now there’s the clarity that’s needed to achieve it but you expand into life and life reveals itself. But I’m telling you is living proof when you design all those systems and around growing into the ideal version of yourself. and life and then you do it. Boy you are you are truly living an alien like existence. 


Greg McKeown  40:11  

And then your way to bring that about when I think of people watching ridiculousness. I just don’t see anybody connecting the dots back to the conversation we’ve just had.


Rob Dyrdek  40:23  

Yeah, I mean, look, you know, the beauty of life is you get to continually evolve and make it whatever you desire. Right. And, and I, in the process of choosing to do that, I’ve actually began to put together a philosophy of how to create any life that you desire that I believe, you know, 20 years from now will be my great legacy. And people won’t even think about the fact that I shot 250 episodes of television this year, and have the number one cable television show buy consumed minutes with 55 billion minutes consumed this year, all be it with 4% of my time, in an entire year, because I tracked it, they would never connect it. But it’s the beauty of life is that I continue to evolve and have no paradigms on what is possible for me, which in turn will allow me to be a great sort of inspirational person to look at have truly anything is possible if this kid quit high school at 16 in Ohio and became a professional skateboarder then went on to be this television star. And then this super successful venture capitalists and entrepreneur and really, at the end of the day, his greatest achievement is the pure happiness and Heaven on Earth that he created with his life. Anything is possible.


Greg McKeown  42:00  

That is beautiful. That’s what’s essential. Thank you so much for being on the show. Rob.


Rob Dyrdek  42:06  

Great love being here.


Greg McKeown  42:11  

Well, we’ve come to that time again, the end of the show. Thank you for listening. Thank you for investing in you in protecting the asset that is you if you found today’s episode to be of any value. And seriously, how could you not find value listening to rob and the intensity and clarity of the systems that he has built in his life? Well, if you have, please write a review on Apple podcasts. The first five people who write a review of this episode will receive a signed copy of effortless, make it easier to do what matters most. All you have to do is send a photo of your review to info at Greg mcewen.com. That’s ai n fo at GRE G MC K EOW n.com. As I was trying to summarize for myself what I learned from this conversation with Rob, I was able to think about it in terms of four stages for creating an extraordinary lifestyle. These are the stages one orientation. That is what’s essential, you know, the heart of the matter for this podcast. Number two is organization. That’s what’s the routine. Three is automation. Or in other words, what’s the system that you’re using, and for his optimization, that’s the 1% tweaks to the system over time. It’s a bit of a mouthful, but you get the idea each stage builds on each other. Well, take a deep breath. Enjoy today. Enjoy this week. And we’ll see you next week for another exciting guest on the Watts essential podcast.


Transcribed by https://otter.ai


Greg McKeown


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