Tim Ferris – known for the 4 hour work week recently wrote to a bunch of successful people he admired. He asked them 11 questions:
- What is the book or books you’ve given most as a gift and why?
- What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life?
- How has failure set you up for later success?
- What would you write on a giant billboard?
- What is the most worthwhile investment you’ve ever made?
- What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love?
- In the last five years what new belief, habit or behaviour has most improved your life?
- What advice would you give to college student about to enter the real world?
- What bad recommendations to you hear in your area of expertise?
- What have you become better at saying no to and how?
- When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused what do you do?
140 people sent back replies and the hefty book he’s just released contains them all. It can be bought here. I think the book will work differently for different people and we’ll each take out own nuggets from it, but the points that really struck me are here…
10 books to add to your reading list
- Sam Barondes – Making Sense of People – useful mental models to explain what makes people tick.
- Viktor Frankl’s – Man’s Search for Meaning
- Christopher Alexander – A pattern Language
- Chungliang Al Huang – Thinking Body, Dancing Mind
- Bob Richards – Heart of a Champion
- Gary Mack – Mind Gym
- John Wooden – Wooden: A lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the court.
- George Leonard – Mastery
- Charlie Munger – Charlie’s Almanack
- Don Migual Ruiz – The Four Agreements
9 giant billboard phrases
- Bozoma Saint John – Be the change you want to see in the world.
- Richa Chadha – “Be so good they can’t ignore you”.
- It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case you fail by default (JK Rowling)
- Bear Grylls – Storms make us stronger.
- Fedor Holz – Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right (Henry Ford)
- Peter Guber – Don’t let the weight of fear weigh down the joy of curiosity.
- Sarah Elizabeth Lewis – Keep the main thing the main thing.
- Dr Jim Loehr – To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children….to leave the world a bit better…to know even one live has breathed easier because you have lived; this is to have succeeded.
- Daniel Negreanu – To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing. (Elbert Hubbard)
8 great pieces of advice
- Make sure you have something in your diary every day that you are looking forward to.
- Andrew Ross Sorkin – Persistence matters more than talent.
- Marie Forleo – Pursue every project, idea or industry that genuinely lights you up, regardless of how unrelated each idea is, or how unrealistic a long-term career in that field might seem now. You’ll connect the dots later.
- Jason Fried – Time and attention are very different things. They are your most precious resources. You always have less attention than time. Full attention I where you do your best work. Protect and preserve it.
- Daniel Ek – Good things come to those who work their arses off and never give up.
- Darren Aronofsky – Most of the game is about persistence. Keep the vision clear in your head and every day refuse all obstacles to get to the goal.
- Strauss Zelnick – Figure out what success means to you – and make sure your choices are in service of those goals
- Linda Rottenberg – don’t keep too many doors open – it can lead to paralysis or self-deception.
7 ways to turn down requests or invitations
- Kyle Maynard – rate any requests or invitations on a scale of 1-10 but you are not allowed to give a 7. Then it becomes clear whether you actually want to do something or not. A 7 is an obligation to do it. 8 or above is a want. 6 or below is not going to happen.
- Neil Strauss – I ask myself if I’m saying yes out of guilt or fear. If so then I give a polite no.
- Annie Duke – I always imagine it is the day after an event and I’m asking myself if the travel was worth it. If it was I’ll say yes. If not, no.
- Gary Vaynerchuk – I need a healthy balance of 20% yeses to things that seem dumb because I believe in serendipity.
- Tim O’Reilly & Esther Dyson – Would I say yes to this if it was on Tuesday. Because if it gets to Tuesday and you think ‘why on earth did I say yes’ then you should have said no.
- Sam Harris – I say no to more or less everything. I realised I was being given a choice between working on my own projects and spending time with my family or working for someone else (usually for free)
- Drew Houston – you don’t owe anyone lengthy explanations and you don’t have to respond to every email. Brief one-line responses like ‘I can’t make it but thanks for thinking of me’ are enough.
6 habits to copy
- Greg Norman – Brushing my teeth while standing on one leg – It is great for your core, legs and stabilisation.
- Sarah Elizabeth Lewis- Taking privacy very seriously when working on creative work. Going off social media as this stops me worrying about what others might think of some unusual idea your pondering and you give it a chance to grow and mature.
- Muneeb Ali – I ask myself ‘when I am old how much would I be willing to pay to travel back in time and relive the moment that I’m experiencing right now. That simple question puts everything in perspective and makes you grateful for the experience you are having right now.
- Ben Silberman – Keeping a gratitude journal. If you build up a habit of writing things down your brain is constantly looking for those thing and you feel happier.
- Dr Jim Loehr – Daily journaling. Quantifying behaviour raises awareness and as a consequence habit acquisition times are typically accelerated.
- Robert Rodriguez – On a task I need to focus on I sit down with two notebooks. One for the task and one for distractions. I set my timer for 20 minutes. Every time I find myself getting distracted with something else I could do I write it down on the distractions notebook and go back to the task. Any incoming missile goes on the distractions notebook and I go back to focusing on the task.
5 ways to reflect on failure
- Arianna Huffington – Failure is not the opposite of success but a steppingstone to success.
- David Lynch – a real good failure gives a person tremendous freedom. You can’t fall further down so there is nowhere to go but up. There is nothing left to lose.
- Marc Benioff – I look at every failure as a learning experience and try to spend time with my failures. I stew on them for a while until I pick out some nugget from them that I can take forward. I learnt that if I’m upset about something I should spend time asking myself “what could I learn” because another opportunity is going to come in the future and I will be better able to re-execute it.
- Dr Jim Loehr – Failure will happen and failure is an opportunity to build resilience, to practice forgiveness of self and others and to gain wisdom.
- Kristen Ulmer – Fear is not a sign of personal weakness but a natural state of discomfort that occurs when you are out of your comfort zone. It is there to sabotage you but to help you come alive, be more focused and to get a heightened state of excitement and awareness.
4 ways to find your focus
- Jesse Williams- I ask myself: “What would you do if you if you weren’t afraid.”
- Neil Strauss – Overwhelmed is about mentally managing what’s coming from outside yourself, unfocused is about mentally managing what’s going on inside. What works for both is stepping away from work for a while.
- Andrew Ross Sorkin – I always think ‘Would it help?’ When something happens and you start to think about if you should be worried you then think ‘would it help’.
- Ingvar Kamprad – You can do so much in ten minutes. Ten minutes, once gone are gone for good. Divide your life into ten-minute units and sacrifice as few of them as possible in meaningless activity.
3 ways to solve a problem
- Jocko Willink – Prioritise and execute. Take a step back. Detach from the mayhem, look at the situation. Assess the problems task or issues, choose the one which will have the biggest impact. Execute a plan based on that.
- Tom Peters – MBWA – Manage by wandering around. Talk to people. Be in touch. Learn from everyone.
- Ed Coan – I tend to break it down, put it down on paper, then look at it half hour later. All of those smaller things don’t look like such a big deal.
2 bad recommendations
- Rick Rubin – When people give you advice they are giving it to you based on their skills, experience and perspectives. Often people are telling you about their journey, and your journey will be different. So feel free to ignore lots of advice.
- Dr Jim Loehr – We advise people to stay away from stress but protection from stress serves only to erode my capacity to handle it. Stress exposure is the stimulus for all growth and growth actually occurs during episodes of recovery.
1 worthwhile investment
- Dr Brene Brown – Spending 55 minutes defining a problem and then the final five minutes fixing it. The more time you spend defining the problem the better you will fix it. SO invest in problem identification.