032: Science, Coding, Working For Tesla, Business, Happiness, Habits, Money, Consciousness & More, All In One Extraordinary Conversation With Michael Zupecki

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Hello ladies & gentlemen and welcome to episode 31 of the WPNP! Plenty happening, plenty of learning, evolving, growing and most importantly perspective. This has been a fun journey in the first half of 2019! Plenty of work on the new venture MindAim, complemented by this podcast and the wonderful, intelligent and brilliant guests that I am fortunate to interview.

And today my friends is no exception. Even though we grew up in the same area, we didn’t really cross paths until recently. About 6 months ago and I had the pleasure of being introduced to Michael Zupecki by our good mutual friend Sid Umesh (WPNP episode number #). Michael and I had an extraordinary hour long conversation. He just has one of those minds. He brings a big game from the science side of things. His perspective, knowledge and guesses of the unknown are both brilliant and fascinating. When we got together for this a few months ago now, we just let it run and 3 hours later we decided to wrap it up.

We covered so much. It was awesome. If you’re thinking to yourself ‘Wes there is no chance I’m sticking round for 3 hours’ I would say reconsider that, followed by ‘Okay I’ll just send you to my two favourite bits’. The first is around the 37 minute mark where Michael delivers the most incredible explanation of how our habits work and why we get stuck with them that I’ve ever heard. The second bit to listen to is the final 5 minutes where Michael shares with us his explanation of what he thinks consciousness is.

Michael is an entrepreneur and has a heap of excellent advice for those looking to or already starting out in business. He has also been an employee for many organisations, including Tesla, and has a bunch of gold advice there too. Michael just knows a lot about a lot.

All I can say is: Ladies and gentlemen, sit back and enjoy this conversation with Michael Zupecki.


Join us at the next MindAim Conference where many of our Podcast guests present live! CLICK HERE for more information plus free tickets to our next event!


My Biggest Take-Aways

  • Pronounce your T’s! Covering this has really helped me since pronounce my words better
  • ‘Long enough to have a kid is where I draw the line if I hate doing something, because otherwise it might impregnate me with too much negativity for the rest of my life’
  • I keep hearing more and more of just how much of a powerful skill programming is
  • Do what you’re afraid of because that’s where the growth is going to be
  • ‘I’m certain that the uncertainty is certainly serving me’
  • Pick the right narrative for your situation or circumstance. It’s malleable. It’s so important to see the balance in everything.
  • A healthy mind has a reading list larger than it will survive to get through. Your eyes should be bigger than your stomach when it comes to learning.
  • A habit is a strategy. Our brain takes a quarter of our energy. To conserve energy our brain runs learning habits on autopilot. Listen to the explanation, it’s incredible (35:35)
  • It may not make sense now, but it will (Steve Jobs once took Calligraphy class)
  • ‘You are the same as everything all at once’
  • ‘We are not on this earth, we are of this earth’
  • ‘Every atom in your body has changed every 7 years on average, therefore any memory you have from ore than 7 years ago, you weren’t there for’
  • ‘Well if I am, then so is everything else. So everything is the same thing’
  • The beauty of nature is not in the atoms themselves, it’s in the way that they’re put together’ – Carl Sagan
  • ‘When you were born, you woke up having never gone to sleep. So what would it be like to go to sleep and never wake up’  – Alan Watts on death
  • ‘CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is thinking about things and reframing them. This can shut down an overactive amygdala’.
  • ‘The very essence of how you know you’re alive, when you can actually step back and   alive is being able to step back and look at your own thoughts. That’s when you’re being aware. If by contrast you just responded to them, are you alive? Are you aware?’
  • ‘It’s a fine line between emotions being fun and you being a total slave to them’
  • ‘That’s just the way I am’ If you think that, then you’re right, however you can change that at ANY time.
  • ‘To use consumerism to try to make yourself happy is like having a shot of alcohol. It’s really intense, quick, you don’t taste it fully and it may even burn a bit afterwards. At the time it seems like a good idea, but if you do too much of it you’re left feeling empty and sick. However the experience drinking wine and learning about wine, is a journey that will never complete. That’s what we should be focussing on, things that have us growing indefinitely’
  • ‘The one person that you’re going to spend your life with is you, so if you’re not happy with yourself, there’s a problem’
  • ‘When you say you’ve got to find yourself, conceptually you start treating yourself as a single object, and you start to objectify what you should be and then you create this gap between what you think you should be and what you’re not and that creates anxiety, and then you go looking for it in the physical world. The people that come back from those experiences always talk about the internal realisation’
  • ‘Social media apps have all become a single column slot machine. What’s on the screen is not as interesting as what might just be under it. You’re scrolling for things that you can’t even see yet’
  • ‘Boredom is a precursor to creativity. If you don’t allow yourself to get bored, what ideas don’t exist in this world because of that?’
  • ‘The brain is a universe rendering machine. It sucks in stuff and it projects out a reality. The more you know, the richer and more colourful that reality and you won’t know until you arrive’
  • ‘We talk to ourselves in words. If you only knew 10 words, your thoughts are limited in what you can think to yourself. The words you know, the more tools you have to solve problems’
  • ‘School doesn’t take on the position of salesman of knowledge, they take on the position of repository of knowledge. The best teachers are not only repository of knowledge, but they’re so passionate about it that they sell you on how amazing it is to know this stuff. They have taught the ability to self-teach for life’
  • ‘The limits of my words are the limits of my world’
  • ’People are how we treat them’ Limiting beliefs are learned through their environment.
  • ‘If you only ever measure yourself with a short ruler, you’ll never measure up’
  • ‘The Wright Brothers never read the published papers on flight being impossible’
  • ‘For everything that happens, get something out of it. You have to. Or what else? There’s just so much crap otherwise’
  • ‘Once you get core competency, do everything you can to lock yourself into a situation that demands it of you and you’ll get better at it much faster.
  • ‘If you want a job as a programmer for example, build core competency then find a job’
  • ‘Say yes’
  • ‘Don’t rely on willpower, lock yourself in’
  • ‘If you’re in an environment where the traits you have cause problems, them they’re problems; but if you find a way to put yourself into a job or profession where those things are what’s needed, all of a sudden you’re being rewarded for it’
  • ‘If you call someone a genius, you are saying that you could never do that. You are divorcing yourself of being similar to them.’
  • ‘If you spend your whole life looking up, you’ll get a sore neck. It’s not worth it’
  • Best lesson from How To Win Friends And Influence People: ‘Using someone’s name helps build rapport. A person’s name is the most important sound in their life’
  • ‘Something weird happens when you start tracking your money and you just have more left over’
  • ‘Making your start-up look bigger than it is with ‘fake’ employees and email addresses works. (Tim Ferriss wrote about doing this in the Four Hour Work Week too!)
  • ‘Three months is the threshold to develop a new habit’


Show Notes

4:40 The story from the beginning
16:25 Working for Tesla
20:20 The ultimatum
29:10 Meditation
34:50 A powerful explanation on habits
39:15 A Steve Jobs quote leads us deep
47:00 ‘We are not on this earth, we are of this earth’
52:30 The luckiest people in the world
55:40 How does this deep understanding help you deal with life’s hurdles?
1:15:30 Money and Happiness
1:25:20 Measuring your smartphone usage plus other technology
1:39:10 Boredom is a precursor to creativity and the importance of learning and language
1:47:30 Going through Michael’s Social Media Posts
1:51:35 On limiting beliefs ’People are how we treat them’
2:01:20 Science


2:04:00 The Big 5

  1. Deciding to go back to uni later in life (24), not because it’s not something intrinsically that everyone has to do, but there was information that I wanted to learn that I couldn’t get on my own.
  2. Reading The Singularity Is Near by Ray Kurzweil
  3. Choosing to write computer code (because I was afraid of it). This has allowed Michael to become a freelancer
  4. Deciding to start a business. Not just to make money or be free, it was also to deal with conflict. I was conflict averse, and I new that if I started a business, I’d end up in a lot of difficult situations.
  5. Getting arrested. I learned that I have a tendency to get bored if I am not stimulated and so I need to point that in productive directions.


2:13:05 What are some inner areas that hold you back or have held you back and how have you been able to overcome them?

Constant internal criticism


2:19:25 What is your favourite quote?

‘The only constant is change’

‘For some reason I can’t be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can’t be what you ought to be until what I am ought to be, and that is the interconnected nature of reality’ – Martin Luther King Jr

‘Somewhere something incredible is waiting to be known’ – Carl Sagan

It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with questions longer – Albert Einstein


2:23:40 What are the best books you’ve read and/or resources that you’ve got the most from or would most recommend?

  • The Singularity Is Near by Ray Kurzweil
  • A Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan
  • The Magic Of Reality by Richard Dawkins
  • How To Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  • The New Human Rights Movement by Peter Joseph
  • Behave by Dr Robert Sapolsky
  • Waking Up by Sam Harris
  • Bullshit Jobs by David Graeber


2:29:35 Best Movies, TV Shows & Documentaries?

  • Back to the Future Trilogy
  • Interstellar
  • Finding Nemo
  • Moon
  • Zeitgeist 2 & 3
  • Home
  • Chef’s Table
  • Cosmos (both)
  • Anything by Louis Theroux
  • Human


2:31:50 What are your predictions for your industry in the next 5 to 10 years?

Difficult to tell. In the web programming space, it’s a bit of a mess. Everyone’s adding new stuff all the time and it’s overwhelming. Everyone wants you to use their thing and there’s a million things to do one job.

The internet of things to make things smart objects.

Every year we add more data that we had in total up to the renaissance


2:34:40 Did you achieve your goals that you set yourself over the last 12 months?

Yes and more than I thought which was a first


2:39:00 What goals have you set yourself over the next 12 months? Are there any that you’re willing share with us that we could help by keeping you accountable?

Stay consistent and don’t deviate. Keep learning and double my salary.

Grow the side business consistently

To be at least on track to writing a book on homeless people – To tell their stories to try and humanise them

Have a second side business – building and finishing an application


2:41:35 Who are you looking to connect with?

Anyone that wants to build things that have real value

Anyone in the medical software industry

Anyone with a good chunk of capital and the balls to do something fun


2:44:45 Where can our listeners reach you?




2:45:40 What is consciousness?

Bottom line – I don’t know

It seems to be an emergent property of the brain


Join us at the next MindAim Conference where many of our Podcast guests present live! CLICK HERE for more information plus free tickets to our next event!

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