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Michael Gardon

  • Writer's pictureMichael Gardon

10 Lessons From A Legend Who Broke The Mold - The Break Issue 60

Updated: Mar 13

#60 Charlie Munger Passed Last Week. He Will Be Missed.

Last week the world lost a legend. Charlie Munger passed away at the age of 99. Charlie was (and still is) deeply influential on me. If you’ve taken my course, ​Advantage Mapping Foundations​, you’ve seen and heard from Charlie.

I’ve learned more about life and reality from studying this man than I did in all of my schooling, easily.

In honor of his passing, here are 10 key lessons from a life well lived.

But first, A big announcement!

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When you do, you'll also get a free 1:1 call with me ($400 value)!

Join this community if you never want to get caught with your pants down!

Back to the Newsletter --> 10 Lessons On Living From Charlie Munger

1.Be Your Own

"Mimicking the herd invites regression to the mean"

It’s the easiest way to be average, but don’t mistake average with safe - it’s distinctly not.

Every person needs to cultivate the ability to think critically, and make decisions under uncertainty. That’s where the payoff is.

Seeking “certainty” from everyone around you is just faux confidence. Build the courage to stand on your own.

This is as true for investing as it is for happiness.

2. Success Listens To Curiosity

"Another thing that I found is an intense interest of the subject is indispensable if you are really going to excel. I could force myself to be fairly good in a lot of things, but I couldn’t be really good in anything where I didn’t have an intense interest."

We forget about our interests and curiosities and settle for practical, but exploring our interests is the path to become interesting (and fulfilled and happy and at peace).

That’s why Curiosity isn’t just a nice to have, its actually a huge Advantage we can use to build a better career for ourselves.

In fact, Curiosity is one of 8 Areas of Advantage we explore in our ​UnBREAKable Community​ that help people navigate career uncertainty and take bold steps toward their vision of the future.

3. You Don’t Live In Whooville

"I think that one should recognize reality even when one doesn’t like it; indeed, especially when one doesn’t like it."

Step 1 of making better risk based decisions is simply acknowledging reality. People who get blindsided by a negative event and thrown into turmoil tend to live in a place where they think nothing bad can ever happen - they live in Whooville, if you’re familiar with Dr. Seuss.

Can you get fired?

Would your life get turned upside down if you didn’t get your next paycheck?

Pull your head out of the sand, look at reality and make a plan.

4. To Get What You Want, You Have To Be Who You Want

"How to find a good spouse? The best single way is to deserve a good spouse...To get what you want, you have to deserve what you want."

You can’t hope to attract a set of values that you aren’t already embracing.

You can’t teach a child a set of values that you aren’t walking.

You can’t get freedom, by being a slave to your job.

You can’t get respect without being respectful.

You can’t gain confidence by being timid.

You can’t get rich by being safe.

Become what you want, first.

5. When You Don’t Know What You Want, Invert

"All I want to know is where I’m going to die, so I’ll never go there."

Inversion is a simple yet profound problem solving technique is to think about the problem backwards.

  • What outcomes do you want to avoid?

  • What actions lead to those undesired outcomes?

  • How can you steer clear of these pitfalls?

In the ​UnBREAKable Community​ we teach folks how to tackle the complex problem of “I don’t know what I want” by first starting with “what do I not want?”

6. Achieving True Riches Takes Time

"The desire to get rich fast is pretty dangerous."

Everything worthwhile takes time. There are no hacks or magic bullets.

Whether it’s:

  • Deep and lasting relationships

  • Physical fitness and well-being

  • Mental health and mindfulness

  • Financial success

Understand that true wealth in any of these aspects doesn’t happen overnight.

It requires patience and persistence.

Keep your focus on the long-term, stay committed, and embrace the journey to attain these valuable riches.

7. Never Compound The First Problem

"Generally speaking, envy, resentment, revenge, and self-pity are disastrous modes of thought...Life will have terrible blows, horrible blows, unfair blows, it doesn’t matter. Some people recover and others don’t. There I think the attitude of Epictetus is the best. He thought that every mischance in life was an opportunity to behave well. Every mischance in life was an opportunity to learn something and that your duty was not to be immersed in self-pity, but to utilize the terrible blow in a constructive fashion. That is a very good idea."

In 1953, Charlie Munger faced unimaginable challenges, including the loss of his son, divorce, and financial hardship. However, he understood a powerful concept for building resilience: Never compound the problem.

We can’t control what life throws at us, but we can control our reactions and how we deal with the first problem so we don’t make it worse.

8. Cultivate Real Knowledge

"The first rule is that you can’t really know anything if you just remember isolated facts and try and bang ’em back. If the facts don’t hang together on a latticework of theory, you don’t have them in a usable form...You may have noticed students who just try to remember and pound back what is remembered. Well, they fail in school and in life. You’ve got to hang experience on a latticework of models in your head."

Unfortunately our entire education system rewards facts and rote memorization, but the real world rewards wisdom and judgement.

Those come from hanging knowledge on a construct of how the world works.

Strive to see interconnections between disparate topics that operate on similar principles.

Embrace depth and connection. Understand second order effects, and surround yourself with individuals who share this commitment to true wisdom.

9. Some Things Just Shouldn’t Be Done

"I just try to avoid being stupid. I have a way of handling a lot of problems—I put them in what I call my ‘too hard pile,’ and just leave them there. I’m not trying to succeed in my too hard pile."

Our world gives us an instant window in to every influencer with the newest way to do x, y or z.

  • Crypto

  • Diets

  • Stock trading

  • Real estate

  • Passive income

  • Writing online

When we see others “succeeding” with these things, we are enticed to do them to. But if we’re not set up for those things, and we have no Advantages in doing them, we have below average odds of succeeding.

Don’t waste your time. Just throw them on the Too Hard pile and put your time and energy into areas you have a distinct Advantage.

This is what we teach in our ​community​ and in my Advantage Mapping Course (which is free for annual community members).

Use the ‘Too Hard’ Pile as a tool to avoid unnecessary complications. Whether in fitness, finance, or nutrition, prioritize simplicity over complexity. Keep it simple and consistent.

10. The Power Of Incentives

"You get what you reward for.”

And you give what you are rewarded for. Think about this in the context of your job, and ask if the rewards you get are aligned with the life you want.

I almost guarantee there is a mismatch, yet you rationalize, compromise and settle. Year by year, you get less of what you want, while your employer keeps getting what they want. Dangling the carrot in front of you, just out of reach.

The wrong incentives compound over a lifetime.The way to break them, is to get clear on what you want, and start rewarding yourself for it. Don't rely on a corporation or anyone else to do it for you.

In Conclusion I encourage you to learn more about Charlie and his magnificent life. He will forever hold an outsized influence on how I operate not only in business, but how I continue to build toward a life well lived.

Thank you, Charlie. I’m forever grateful.

You made it to the end, so if any of this resonated with you, I'd love to see you as a member of ​The Break Community​. It will be one of the best decisions you will make, and don't forget to use the code THEBREAK100OFF.

Here’s to breaking your old habits and becoming the best version of yourself!



P.S. ​My Advantage Map Coaching Program​ is all about systematically building a "high odds" path to your version of success. In order to build high odds we first need to break our low odds habits and scripts about work. This is hard work, but I personally guarantee you will find your path that aligns who you are with what you do. I'd love to hear from you.


Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

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Resources To Make Your BREAK

  • Curated Job Board​: I teamed up with Pallet to create a tech focused, remote first board. I’d love it if you joined 20+ followers. Maybe, just maybe you’ll find your next big opportunity here.

  • Career Quiz: Take the Advantage Mapping step of learning how you're wired and for what roles!

  • Recommended Reading​: My list of must reads to BREAK your view of the world and what's possible for you.

  • Side Hustle Database: Over 200+ ideas to bring out your creative side as you explore your path. Maybe it will end up being your BREAK!

  • LinkedIn Headline Analyzer: See how your LinkedIn headline stacks up and how you can improve it to attract better opportunities.

The Latest Conversation on THE BREAK Pod

Our conversation today revolves around life-changing moments and the remarkable power of personal transformation. Get ready to be inspired as we introduce our guest, Justin Brey, who has a remarkable story to share.

On December 19th, 2020, Justin faced a life-altering decision. He had driven out to the mountains with a suicide note, ready to end it all. But at that pivotal moment, a text message from his brother-in-law changed the course of his life forever. We'll delve into the details of that message and how it had a profound impact on Justin's perspective.

Justin's story is a testament to the strength of the human spirit. It's not just about hitting rock bottom; it's about finding the courage to climb back up. We'll take a deep dive into his journey, discussing the struggles he faced, the battle with addiction, and the arduous path to healing. This conversation may get intense at times, but it's filled with hidden gems and valuable lessons that can inspire all of us.

Before we embark on this compelling dialogue, I encourage you to connect with Justin Brey on various social media platforms. Follow his journey and gain insights from his experiences – it's time well spent.

Now, let's journey into the world of personal transformation, resilience, and the profound impact of discovering one's purpose in life. Join me in this eye-opening conversation with Justin Brey on The Break podcast.

You made it to the end! Hopefully you learned something about breaking your career today! If so, please share this with someone you care about.

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