Naval Ravikant Quote "Work like a lion. Not a cow"

EP 8: Naval Ravikant Quote “Work like a lion. Not a cow”

In this episode of the Merkol Podcast, we analyzed the famous Naval Ravikant Quote, which goes:

“Work like a lion. Not a cow.”

Naval Ravikant quote
Naval Ravikant Quote "Work like a lion. Not a cow"
Naval Ravikant Quote “Work like a lion. Not a cow”

Who is Naval Ravikant?

Naval was born in New Delhi, India in 1974. His parents took Naval and his brother and moved to the United States when Naval was just 9 years old.

He grew up in a poor neighborhood in Queens, New York. Money was a constant problem discussed at his home.

The first thing people think of to solve money problems is to get a good college degree with which you can go get that high paying job with which you can eradicate all your monetary problems.

This is exactly what Naval did. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1995 and went on to work at Boston consulting group for a few years before he moved to Silicon Valley for good.

In 1999, Naval went on to build, Epinions, along with multiple co-founders. One of them was Nirav Tolla who was an ex-yahoo employee. You can guess the business from the name, it is opinions but on the internet, E-opinions = Epinions. It is like a forefather to Yelp.

Naval and Nirav clashed over ideas on how to improve and develop the company. The venture capital firm that was part of Epinions sided with Nirav and Naval eventually quit the company in 2003.

Later on, it was known that Naval had been backstabbed by Nirav who plotted to effectively devalue Naval’s stake in the company. You can read the full story on Ecommerce Times.

Since he was fucked by VC’s, he wanted to help other founders not to undergo the same heartbreak he underwent. He then started Venture Hacks which was filled with content explaining unknown/hidden terms in the term sheet.

A term sheet is what is signed before anyone invests in a company. A little side note is that a term sheet is not when things are going well, it is used when things aren’t going well. It was welcomed by the people and he then founded Angel list, a platform to help founders to get their dream funded.

Currently, Naval’s podcast is on fire, his take on life, wealth, and other important aspects of life are very profound and makes you take a step back and evaluate your own life’s course

Here is one tweetstorm from Naval Ravikant that everyone must read:

For people looking for a simple answer to who is Naval Ravikant?

Naval is a self-made multi-millionaire, entrepreneur, investor, adviser, influencer, and now, as I recently found out, a passionate cryptocurrency enthusiast.

Here is also a video of him on the Joe Rogan podcast which has so many fans:

What does Naval Ravikant’s quote mean?

Naval’s quote on work is essential to workers of this age. It explains how people should work. Gone are the days where almost everyone went to factories working jobs which involved a huge amount of monotonous work every day for a good 8 hours.

This type of work format is still encouraged/followed everywhere, even by companies that primarily deal with software.

In the industrial age, production would stop if people are not in factories. Since the work was not creative, it made sense to allocate a portion of time a day for this labor work, and then the people can get their evenings and weekends off to pursue other interests if they want.

This is just like the cow. It just sits and eats grass all day. Doesn’t have a care in the world, just doing this for hours at end and then at the end of the day it just sleeps, just to wake up to do the same thing again.

This is more or less similar to workers of the industrial age, which explains the second part of the quote as Naval is asking us not to work like cows in this digital age. Let me explain why.

A person working in software does not necessarily need to code from 9 AM – 5 PM and refrains himself from coding even when he feels like it at maybe 8 PM. He can work at any time, at any place in the world, and still, get work done on time.

This is the power of the internet which companies have failed to explore before but were forced to adopt during the coronavirus pandemic. COVID has accelerated remote work which made software companies realize the power of the internet.

Then the question becomes how should we work?

How should we work?

Even in the age of the internet, people are expected to work at fixed schedules like factory workers. Everything is the same except the fact that people now do very few monotonous tasks and even those few are getting abolished with each passing day.

What are these monotonous works getting replace with? Creative work.

Coding is predominantly creative work. You don’t type the same lines of code every day. You need to think and try to make your code efficient.

Marketing is another field where there is a lot of creative processes are involved. You don’t design the same poster or write the same ad copy every day.

Since a lot of creative work is involved, you need to understand when your brain is working at its peak. No one’s brain works at its peak all 8 hours of the allocated work time every day.

There are a lot of downtimes involved, but at certain times your brain gets into a burst of creativity where you get into a workflow in which you can complete the work in 2-3 hours for which 8 hours had been allocated.

This is in sync with how the lion functions. It doesn’t keep hunting for 8 hours a day. It sits, rests, looks around and when it spots a gazelle, it then sprints, pounces, attacks, gets the job done. Then it eats what it has won and then gets back to resting waiting for the next opportunity to sprint and win.

The Lion King Lol GIF

This explains the first part of Naval’s quote – Work like a lion.

Be a lion!


Everyone needs to adopt Naval Ravikant’s framework, you need to be self-aware to know which times of the day are your peak times and do your most creative work there.

The rest of the time can be used for documentation or other mundane tasks. If you do not have any monotonous tasks then use the extra time you get to rejuvenate yourselves.

Hope you enjoyed this article. If you did not agree with what I have mentioned or if you have anything extra to add to this article then please do share it in the comments section below. Let’s learn together.


I have recorded a podcast on the same quote. But it is in Tamil. If you know the language then please do listen to this. Do let me know if you like it. Here is the link:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *