Tribe of Mentors - Tim Ferriss

tribe-of-mentors-tim-ferriss-book-cover.jpg

Rating: 8/10

Available atAmazon

ISBN: 1328994961

Related: Tools of Titans, The Tim Ferriss Show (podcast), The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss

Summary/High Level Thoughts

The format of this book is similar to Tools of Titans, but with even less detailed sections, for the most part.  This is no doubt partially due to the fact that Tim asked each person the same 11 questions, rather than having longer, in-depth conversations.

The 11 questions asked were: 

  1. What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life? 
  2. What purchase of $ 100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)? My readers love specifics like brand and model, where you found it, etc.
  3. How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a”favorite failure”of yours? 
  4. If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it — metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions — what would it say and why? It could be a few words or a paragraph. (If helpful, it can be someone else’s quote: Are there any quotes you think of often or live your life by?) 
  5. What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? (Could be an investment of money, time, energy, etc.) 
  6. What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love? 
  7. In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life? 
  8. What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the ”real world”? What advice should they ignore? 
  9. What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise? 
  10. In the last five years, what have you become better at saying no to (distractions, invitations, etc.)? What new realizations and/or approaches helped? Any other tips? 
  11. When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do? (If helpful: What questions do you ask yourself?)

I liked this book, though I didn’t find it as useful as Tools of Titans, and it’s not really comparable to the 4H series of books.

That said, it’s a good book to pick up and read a few interviews when you’re looking for some motivation or having trouble with a big question, and there are some trends that can be extracted.  

The largest takeaways I noticed were, in no particular order:

  • Sugar and carbs in general from grains, etc. are bad - cut out sugar, eat more raw, basic foods.
  • Prioritize sleep and fitness (naps are a great idea).
  • Be persistent.
  • Following your passion is fine, just make sure you are learning, growing, and learning how to learn, and you’ll be okay.
  • Focus on the micro and the macro will take care of itself - in other words, make the next five minutes great, then the day great, and eventually you’ll have a great life.
  • To change your mind, change your body: get outside, take a walk, get in the water, do some exercise, find some heat or cold.
  • Know yourself, and build your strengths - the Enneagram test is a good tool for identifying your personality traits.
  • Make tough decisions by putting yourself in the shoes of your older self, and going through the exercise of looking back on your decision.
  • Read and write every day.
  • Eliminate distractions as much as possible - this particularly includes social media and your phone, though in general you should aim to say no to opportunities that don’t align with your goals.  A good test for this is “if this were taking place on a Tuesday, would I want to go?” and reducing the commitments you have to things far in the future, as you won’t be able to predict whether you will want to go until closer.

Tim’s conclusion was also one of my favourite parts of the book:

  • "Based on everything I’ve seen, a simple recipe can work: focus on what’s in front of you, design great days to create a great life, and try not to make the same mistake twice. That’s it. Stop hitting net balls and try something else, perhaps even the opposite. If you really want extra credit, try not to be a dick, and you’ll be a Voltron - level superstar. 
  • The secret to winning any game lies in not trying too hard.
  • Feeling as though you are trying too hard indicates that your priorities, technique, focus, or mindfulness is off. Take it as a cue to reset, not to double down. And take comfort in the fact that, whenever in doubt, the answer is probably hidden in plain sight. 
  • What would this look like if it were easy? 
  • In a world where nobody really knows anything, you have the incredible freedom to continually reinvent yourself and forge new paths, no matter how strange. Embrace your weird self. 
  • There is no one right answer... only better questions. "

Favourite Quotes

  • "My obsession with sleep has improved my life immeasurably." - Samin Nosrat
  • "The genuine love for reading itself, when cultivated, is a superpower.” - Naval Ravikant
  • "In the vast majority of the professions and vocations, the people who succeed are not any cleverer than you.” - Matt Ridley
  • "There’s no conundrum that a 20-minute nap can’t help me unpack.” - Bozoma Saint John
  • "Ego is about who’s right. Truth is about what’s right.” - Mike Maples Jr.
  • “Make sure you have something every day you’re looking forward to.” - Soman Chainani
  • "“The difference between winning and losing is most often not quitting.” This famous line from Walt Disney on willpower cannot be more true when it comes to entrepreneurship.” - Max Levchin
  • "Ignore anyone who tells you to go for security over experience.” - Patton Oswalt
  • "The best skill is to be able to communicate efficiently both in writing and speaking.” - Lewis Cantley
  • “Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.” - Jerzy Gregorek
  • "If you are struggling to figure out where you are headed in life or what you are passionate about, pay attention to activities, ideas, and areas where you love the process, not just the results or the outcome.” - Amelia Boone
  • "Persistence matters more than talent.” - Andrew Ross Sorkin
  • "Above all, it’s the quality of your relationships that will determine the quality of your life.” - Esther Perel
  • "Macro patience, micro speed.” - Gary Vaynerchuk
  • "The secret to building a better future is to use technology to do things that were previously impossible.” - Tim O’Reilly
  • "In short, the best student wins, whether at age 21 or 51 or 101.” - Tom Peters
  • “…tenacity matters more than talent, and in life, that is certainly true.” - Bear Grylls
  • "Diet, exercise, and work ethic don’t hold a candle to how sleep can revolutionize the way you live, love, parent, and lead.” - Brené Brown
  • "Be polite, on time, and work really fucking hard until you are talented enough to be blunt, a little late, and take vacations and even then... be polite.” - Ashton Kutcher
  • "The more you divide your focus, the more each endeavor can suffer from your lack of attention.” - Eric Ripert
  • "Most of the game is about persistence. It is the most important trait.” - Darren Aronofsky
  • “Avoid sugar. Especially soda and juice. All other diet advice is noise.” - Bram Cohen
  • "I nap a lot. I try not to eat carbohydrates. I try to take three to four hours to myself every day. It’s not always possible. I try to work offline. I meditate sometimes.” - Ben Silbermann
  • "Work harder than everyone else.” - Jocko Willink
  • “The secret to winning any game lies in not trying too hard.” - Tim Ferriss
  • “What would this look like if it were easy?” - Tim Ferriss

Detailed Notes

Introduction

  • What would this look like if it were easy? is such a lovely and deceptively leveraged question. It’s easy to convince yourself that things need to be hard, that if you’re not redlining, you’re not trying hard enough. This leads us to look for paths of most resistance, often creating unnecessary hardship in the process.
  • Life punishes the vague wish and rewards the specific ask.
  • First, let us take a quick pass of the 11 questions. Some of them might seem trite or useless at first glance.... But lo ! Things are not always what they appear. 
  1. What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life? 
  2. What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)? My readers love specifics like brand and model, where you found it, etc.
  3. How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a”favorite failure”of yours? 
  4. If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it — metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions — what would it say and why? It could be a few words or a paragraph. (If helpful, it can be someone else’s quote: Are there any quotes you think of often or live your life by?) 
  5. What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? (Could be an investment of money, time, energy, etc.) 
  6. What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love? 
  7. In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life? 
  8. What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the ”real world”? What advice should they ignore? 
  9. What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise? 
  10. In the last five years, what have you become better at saying no to (distractions, invitations, etc.)? What new realizations and/or approaches helped? Any other tips? 
  11. When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do? (If helpful: What questions do you ask yourself?)
  • To me, proper sequencing is the secret sauce
  • It’s a short reminder that success can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations we are willing to have, and by the number of uncomfortable actions we are willing to take.

Quotes I’m Pondering

  • “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.”– Oscar Wilde
  • “Grudges are for those who insist that they are owed something; forgiveness, however, is for those who are substantial enough to move on.”– Criss Jami
  • “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”– Bill Gates
  • “Perfection is not when there is no more to add, but no more to take away.”– Antoine de Saint - Exupéry
  • “The things you own end up owning you.”– Chuck Palahniuk
  • “If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.” – James Cameron
  • “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”– Anaïs Nin
  • “Anger is often what pain looks like when it shows itself in public.”– Krista Tippett
  • “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”– Leonardo da Vinci
  • “All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast.”– John Gunther
  • “To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.”– Eleanor Roosevelt

Interviews

Samin Nosrat

  • I’ve learned to envision the ideal end to any project before I begin it now —
  • My obsession with sleep has improved my life immeasurably.
  • But the thing that will always get me unstuck is jumping into the ocean.
  • Nothing else resets me like the ocean.

Steven Pressfield

  • Who are you really? What do you really want? Get out there and fail and find out.
  • Real work and real satisfaction come from the opposite of what the web provides. They come from going deep into something — the book you’re writing, the album, the movie — and staying there for a long, long time.

Susan Cain

  • You should set up your life so that it is as comfortable and happy as possible — and so that it accommodates your creative work.

Kyle Maynard

  • The quote I’d put on that billboard belongs to my friend and former Navy SEAL, Richard Machowicz:”Not Dead, Can’t Quit.”
  • It’s my mantra during the toughest moments.
  • Thinking of what makes me happy doesn’t give me the same clarity as thinking about what gives me bliss.
  • For me, it’s the freedom I feel on top of a mountain or the breeze I feel laying on a catamaran net halfway around the world. Bliss is the highest peak of what brings you joy. If happiness is just above the status quo, bliss is what makes you feel most alive.

Terry Crews

  • Book: The Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel.

Debbie Millman

  • If we use busy as an excuse for not doing something what we are really, really saying is that it’s not a priority. Simply put: You don’t find the time to do something; you make the time to do things.

Naval Ravikant

  • The genuine love for reading itself, when cultivated, is a superpower.
  • The means of learning are abundant — it’s the desire to learn that’s scarce.
  • When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do? Memento mori —”remember that you have to die.”

Matt Ridley

  • In the vast majority of the professions and vocations, the people who succeed are not any cleverer than you.
  • And specialize — the great human achievement is to specialize as a producer of goods or services so that you can diversify as a consumer.

Bozoma Saint John

  • There’s no conundrum that a 20-minute nap can’t help me unpack.

Tim Urban

  • When it comes to my work ”yes” list, I think about what I might call the Epitaph Test. 
    • When I find myself with an opportunity, I ask myself whether I’d be happy if my epitaph had something to do with this project.
  • For my social life ”yes” list, a similar test could be called the Deathbed Test. We all hear about these studies where people on their deathbed reflect on what they regret most, and the cliché is that nobody ever says they regret spending more time in the office.
  • The Deathbed Test pushes me to do two things:
    • Make sure I’m dedicating my time to the right people with the question,”Is this someone I might be thinking about when I’m on my deathbed?”
    • Make sure I’m spending enough high - quality time with the people I care about most with the question,”If I were on my deathbed today, would I be happy with the amount of time I spent with this person?”

Graham Duncan

  • Product: SubPac M2 Wearable Physical Sound System
  • Book: Sam Barondes ’ book Making Sense of People
  • The model is called the”Big Five”or OCEAN: open - minded, conscientious, extroverted, agreeable, neurotic.
    • The killer combination is high open - minded, high conscientious, low neurotic.
  • Book: Robert Kegan’s book In Over Our Heads.
  • Book: Jennifer Garvey Berger’s book Changing on the Job.
  • The third mental model I find myself recommending lately is found not in a book, but on a slightly obscure website: workwithsource.com.
  • Product: FINIS swim paddles
  • Product: Cressi fins

Mike Maples Jr.

  • In general, whenever I feel things are moving too quickly, I find the right instinct is almost always to slow down and get my thoughts back in order.
  • Ego is about who’s right. Truth is about what’s right.

Soman Chainani

  • Advice I’d give: Make sure you have something every day you’re looking forward to.
  • Advice to ignore: A little part of me dies every time someone tells me they’ve taken a job as a ”steppingstone” to something else, when they clearly aren’t invested in it.

Jesse Williams

  • Transcendental Meditation: The David Lynch Foundation has made it so digestible
  • I tend to lose focus for one of two reasons: exhaustion or distraction.
  • The shower doesn’t have to be cold; the ceremony itself is kind of a reset button.

Dustin Moskovitz

  • Book: The Back Buddy by the Body Back Company 

Max Levchin

  • Book: The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov
  • “The difference between winning and losing is most often not quitting.” This famous line from Walt Disney on willpower cannot be more true when it comes to entrepreneurship.
  • [My advice is to] take risks, now. The advantages that college students and new grads have are their youth, drive, lack of significant responsibilities, and, importantly, lack of the creature comforts one acquires with time. Nothing to lose, everything to gain.
  • I started numerous companies in my early 20s only to see them all fail, but I never thought twice about starting the next one.
  • The advice to ignore (in certain situations) is to strive to become ”well-rounded”— to move from company to company, looking to pick up different types of experience every year or two, when starting out. That’s useful in the abstract, but if you find that strength of yours (as an individual contributor or a team leader) at a company whose mission you are truly passionate about, take a risk — commit and double down, and rise through the ranks.

Neil Strauss

  • In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life? 
    • Without a doubt, finding a healthy community here in Malibu to work out with. Before, I’d go to the gym to achieve a certain weight or muscle goal, and I never stuck with it. Now I show up to see my friends, and we always exercise outdoors: at the beach, in a pool, on a lawn. We almost always end with a sauna/ice session. It’s the highlight of the day.
  • It helped me realize that the secret to change and growth is not willpower, but positive community.
  • Product: So what’s helped me say no to distractions is the app Freedom (product) on my computer, which I’ve set to block the Internet 22 hours a day, and a Kitchen Safe [now called kSafe] (product), which is a timed safe I can drop my cell phone into.

Veronica Belmont

  • If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it, what would it say and why? I’ve only ever had one house motto: ”Fuck you, pay me.” After having been a freelancer for almost a decade, I’d seen every trick in the book when it came to people trying to get my work for free. Things like”exposure,”or”reaching new audiences,”or having a”great experience”are all well and good, but they don’t pay the rent or put food on the table. Know your worth.

Patton Oswalt

  • Embrace the suck for a while. Chances are your first job is going to stink and your living conditions won’t be much better.
  • Ignore anyone who tells you to go for security over experience.

Lewis Cantley

  • Book: Neal Stephenson is an incredible writer
  • Book: I have read everything Philip Kerr has written about the fictional Berlin policeman Bernie Gunther,
  • The best skill is to be able to communicate efficiently both in writing and speaking.
  • The two college courses that were probably most important for my career were a course in literature and composition and a course in logic (an advanced math course).
  • My message would be: ”Sugar is toxic.” Sugar and other natural or artificial sweeteners are among the most addictive agents in our environment.
  • “If you must play, decide on three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time.”– Chinese proverb

Jerzy Gregorek

  • “Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.”
  • Nothing truly meaningful or lasting has ever been created in a short period of time.
  • ”You have to do endurance cardio.”
  • Here are my 11 favorite poems to read when I am feeling depressed (11 is the master power number):
    1. "The Fish” by Elizabeth Bishop
    2. "Leaving One” by Ralph Angel”
    3. "A Cat in an Empty Apartment” by Wisława Szymborska
    4. “Apples” by Deborah Digges
    5. "Michiko Nogami (1946 – 1982)” by Jack Gilbert
    6. "Eating Alone” by Li - Young Lee
    7. "The Potter” by Peter Levitt
    8. "Black Dog, Red Dog” by Stephen Dobyns
    9. "The Word” by Mark Cox”Death”by Maurycy Szymel
    10. “This” by Czeslaw Milosz

Amelia Boone

  • Growth and gains come from periods of rest, yet “rest” has become a four - letter word for high performers, and that needs to change.
  • If you are struggling to figure out where you are headed in life or what you are passionate about, pay attention to activities, ideas, and areas where you love the process, not just the results or the outcome.
  • Look for something where you love the process, and the results will follow.
  • I’m risk - averse by nature, and in the last five years, I’ve learned how to run toward fear, instead of running away from it. My nature has always been to take the straight and narrow path, to take the path with fewer unknowns. But by forcing myself to face the unknown (e.g., Joe De Sena’s infamous”Death Race”) and embrace the uncomfortable, I’ve found that I actually thrive in it. So I now take fear and discomfort as a sign that I should be doing something. That’s where the magic happens.

Joel McHale

  • My advice for a college student who is about to enter the real world is not revelatory. You probably hear this all the time but I’m going to tell you anyway — again. Here it is: Pursue that dream or dreams that are planted in you already.
  • Don’t just do the thing that people expect you to do or go for the money.
  • On top of that — and just as important — help people who are less fortunate than you and help the planet.
  • Oh — and be a good wife / husband / mom / dad / friend.

Ben Stiller

  • Book: The Jaws Log is a book written by Carl Gottlieb, the screenwriter of the movie Jaws. It is a day - by - day account of the making of the movie. It is filled with the details of making a movie on location.
  • As I get older, I am trying to live fully in moments with the people I love and care about. I have spent a lot of years focusing on the next thing, and, in so doing, stressed about things that ultimately don’t matter or bring happiness. I keep trying to sort of”relax”into where I am now, whether it is where I want to be or not.
  • “A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.”– Henry David Thoreau

Anna Holmes

  • They should ignore any advice from anyone who purports to tell them what the future will look like. No one knows.

Andrew Ross Sorkin

  • “Things are never as good or as bad as they seem.”
  • Product: Earplugs for sleeping. I’ve tried them all. Hearos Xtreme Protection NRR33 work best and are the most comfortable.
  • Persistence matters more than talent.
  • I always think, "Would it help?” That is the pivotal question that I ask myself every day. If you put everything through that prism, it is a remarkably effective way to cut through the clutter.

Vitalik Buterin

  • A common rookie error that inexperienced leaders make is always agreeing with the last person they talked to;
  • A good general strategy is reasoning counterfactually: if someone tells you that X is true, ask yourself — 
    • (i) what would they say if X really is true, and 
    • (ii) what would they say if X is false? 
    • If the answer to (i) and (ii) is "they will say roughly what they just said now”
  • “Many a false step was made by standing still.”– Fortune cookie

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

  • It would say three words: "Live. Give. Forgive.” They are by far the most important things in life.
  • What is my ultimate destination? You have to look at that every time you feel overwhelmed. Remembering that destination will help you make the single most important distinction in life, which is to distinguish between an opportunity to be seized and a temptation to be resisted.

Julia Galef

  • Book: The books Superforecasting (by Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner) and How to Measure Anything (by Douglas W. Hubbard) have some good advice on how to improve your ability to make accurate predictions. And Decisive (by Chip Heath and Dan Heath) explains four of the biggest judgment errors (like framing your decision too narrowly, or letting temporary emotions cloud your judgment) and gives tips for combating them.
  • Fortunately, at some point in this process, I remember this principle: Uncertainty over expected value (EV) just gets folded into EV. So, if I know that one of option A or B is going to be great, and the other’s going to be a disaster, but I’m totally unsure which is which, then they have the same expected value.

Turia Pitt

  • Product: Brain.fm app
  • First, I listen to my gratitude playlist on Spotify, any song on the list.
  • Then, I think of three things that I’m genuinely grateful for. I’ve found the more specific the better.

Annie Duke

  • First, seek out dissenting opinions. Always try to find people who disagree with you, who can honestly and productively play devil’s advocate. Challenge yourself to truly listen to people who have differing ideas and opinions than you do. Stay out of political bubbles and echo chambers as much as possible.
  • The fact is that when two extreme opinions meet, the truth lies generally somewhere in the middle.
  • Poker has taught me to disconnect failure from outcomes. Just because I lose doesn’t mean I failed, and just because I won doesn’t mean I succeeded —not when you define success and failure around making good decisions that will win in the long run.

Esther Perel

  • Above all, it’s the quality of your relationships that will determine the quality of your life.
  • Always take the time to acknowledge people — and not just when you know you have something to gain. If you show interest in them, they will be interested in you. People react to kindness with kindness, to respect with respect.
  • The advice to ignore is "What is your five - year plan?”
  • In moments when you don’t believe in yourself, you need other people who believe in you.

Adam Robinson

  • I was still 95/5 on the introvert / extrovert scale. I very much enjoyed the company of other people, but only for brief periods, beyond which I’d reach overload and need to seclude myself to recharge.
  • Whereas in the past when I went outside and encountered others, I would invariably be lost in thought — now I am solely focused not inwardly, on my ideas, but outwardly, on connecting with others.
  • Book: was inspired shortly thereafter to write a book, An Invitation to the Great Game: A Parable of Love, Magic, and Everyday Miracles,
    • First, whenever possible, connect with others. 
    • Second, with enthusiasm, strive always to create fun and delight for others. 
    • And third, lean into each moment and encounter expecting magic — or miracles.
  • Product: HeartMath Inner Balance biofeedback monitor. It detects your heart’s minutest rhythms and sends a graph to your smartphone, facilitating HRV training.
  • Beyond a certain minimum amount, additional information only feeds — leaving aside the considerable cost of and delay occasioned in acquiring it — what psychologists call "confirmation bias.”
  • So, to return to investing, the second problem with trying to understand the world is that it is simply far too complex to grasp, and the more dogged our attempts to understand the world, the more we earnestly want to”explain”events and trends in it, the more we become attached to our resulting beliefs — which are always more or less mistaken — blinding us to the financial trends that are actually unfolding. Worse, we think we understand the world, giving investors a false sense of confidence, when in fact we always more or less misunderstand it.
  • I get endless delight covertly “ambushing” unsuspecting strangers with random acts of kindness.

Josh Waitzkin

  • Book: On the Road by Jack Kerouac: Opened up the ecstatic beauty of life’s little moments to me as a teenager. 
  • Book: Tao Te Ching, Gia - Fu Feng and Jane English translation: Inspired my study of softness and receptivity as a counterpoint to my mad passions. 
  • Book: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig: Inspired my cultivation of dynamic quality as a way of life. 
  • Book: Ernest Hemingway on Writing: The most potent little book of wisdom on the creative process that I have run into.
  • Do what you love, do it in a way that you love, and pour your heart and soul into every moment of it. Do not be subject to inertia. Challenge your assumptions and the assumptions of those around you as a way of life.
  • Advice they should ignore: Follow the beaten path. Avoid risk. Play it safe. Wear a suit.
  • A core operating principle is that there is no better investment than in my own learning process, and so I only engage in partnerships that will challenge and improve me. I am exponentially better when I am all in than when I am 99 percent in, so I only engage with what inspires me to be all in. And I only team with people I have love for, or who I believe I could have love for.
  • When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do? I change my physiology. If I am near waves, I go surf them. If not, a short, intense kettlebell workout, a bike ride, a swim, a cold shower or ice plunge, Wim Hof or heart rate variability breathing
  • It’s remarkable how the mind follows the body. Honestly, I think a lack of understanding or desire to understand that simple evolutionary reality is what inhibits so many people from rapidly improving their lives.

Ann Miura - Ko

  • First, if you love something enough, it is far easier to really commit to something. Through true commitment and hard work, you can out - prepare the competition.
  • Second, I learned that I alone know my personal capabilities better than anyone else. It is so difficult for people to measure grit, determination, hard work, and human potential. When given the chance, we can potentially see them more clearly than anyone else. We just need to make sure we listen and hear that inner voice.
  • Today my obsession for the very best pens (Muji 0.38mm gel pens and Pilot Juice Up 0.4 mm gel pens) and notebooks (Leuchtturm1917 Medium Hardcover)
  • I first tell students I encounter to spend the remainder of their time in college filling their minds with the best of the humanities their school has to offer.
  • Second, in the first month of starting to work in New York City, my manager at work dispensed free advice that he told me was deeply personal but profoundly important: Develop a philosophy of giving as soon as you enter the working world. He said that I should develop this philosophy when I had few obligations outside of the student debt I had taken on. He suggested that I commit to a percentage of my income and that I consistently donate that amount to charities of my choosing every year.

Jason Fried

  • Quotes:
    • “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”— Theodore Roosevelt
    • “In all affairs, it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.”— Bertrand Russell
    • “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”— Peter Drucker
    • “Don’t worry about people stealing an idea. If it’s original, you will have to ram it down their throats.”— Howard H. Aiken
    • “A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”— Oscar Wilde
    • “Whenever there is a hard job to be done, I assign it to a lazy man; he is sure to find an easy way of doing it.”— Walter Chrysler
    • “Lose an hour in the morning, chase it all day.”— a Yiddish saying, author unknown
  • What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? 
    • Every time I’ve given without any expectation of return. Money, time, energy, whatever.
  • Working out more frequently can cover up bad habits, but when you work out less frequently, everything else matters more.
  • Focus on your writing skills. It’s the one thing I’ve found that really helps people stand out. More and more communication is written today. Get great at presenting yourself with words, and words alone, and you’ll be far ahead of most.
  • Time and attention are very different things. They’re your most precious resources moving forward.
  • While people often say there’s not enough time, remember that you’ll always have less attention than time.
  • What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise? 
    • There are so many. "Scale.” No, don’t scale. Start small, stay as small as possible for as long as possible. Grow in control, not out of control.
    • “Raise capital to launch a software/services business.” No, bootstrap. As in life, we form business habits early on. If you raise money, you’ll get good at spending money. If you bootstrap, you’ll be forced to get good at making money.
    • “Fail early, and fail often.” No. What’s with the failure fetish in our industry? I don’t get it.
  • If the ask is more than a week away, I almost always say no, regardless of what is it. Exceptions include family things I need to attend, and a conference or two I really want to speak at, but other than that, if the”yes”would tie me to something further than a week or so out, it’s almost always a no.
  • I keep it simple and direct. Unless there are special circumstances, I always explain why and say something like, "Thanks for the invitation, but I just can’t commit to anything more than a day or so in advance. I need to keep my schedule open for me and the people I work with on a regular basis. Best bet is to hit me up a day or two before you wanted to get together. If I’m available we can set up a time.”
  • I’ve simply realized that the further out the yes, the more I regret the moment when it comes due.
  • I go for a walk. Preferably on a route I’ve never taken before. If it’s a routine route, I tend to ignore the surroundings and slip back into thinking about the stuff I’m unfocused on.

Arianna Huffington

  • Product: The $100 product that has most positively impacted my life in the last six months is the Thrive Global phone bed.
  • Nothing impairs the quality of your decisions faster than running on empty.

Gary Vaynerchuk

  • Macro patience, micro speed.
  • Everybody’s impatient at a macro, and just so patient at a micro, wasting your days worrying about years. I’m not worried about my years, because I’m squeezing the fuck out of my seconds, let alone my days. It’s going to work out.
  • In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life? 
    • My health regimen. Three years ago, I got much more serious about my health regimen. However, this is a great place to state the following: I have picked up zero energy from it. Zero. It’s just that it’s the right thing to do.
  • I do believe that most people reading this either go too far into one or the other extreme. They become super disciplined and say no to everything, and they think that’s the right use of time, or they’re just saying yes to everything and giving it no thought, no strategy.
  • When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do? I pretend that my family has died in a horrific accident. Honestly, that’s what I do. It’s probably weirder than a lot of people’s answers in this book, but it’s absolutely what drives me. I go to a very dark place, really feel it, feel that pain in my heart, and then realize no matter what I’m dealing with right now, that it’s not even in the same universe of something like that. Then I become grateful for losing that client, missing that opportunity, getting made fun of, etc.

Tim O’Reilly

  • In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life? 
    • When I roll out of bed, I do the plank for two minutes right off, followed by downward dog for the same, then a series of stretches. It gets my metabolism going, and makes me much more likely to start with a more vigorous bout of exercise.
  • In the last five years, what have you become better at saying no to? 
    • I have profited greatly from Esther Dyson’s advice about accepting speaking engagements: "Would I say yes if it were on Tuesday?” Because the day will come when it is on Tuesday, and you’ll be saying,”Damn, why did I say yes to that?”
  • But more important, the idea that we should focus on disruption rather than the new value that we can create is at the heart of the current economic malaise, income inequality, and political upheaval. The secret to building a better future is to use technology to do things that were previously impossible.
  • We equate being smart and being driven as the ways to get ahead. But sometimes, an attitude of alert watchfulness is far wiser and more effective. Learning to follow your nose, pulling on threads of curiosity or interest, may take you places that being driven will never lead you to.
  • It is this ability to wait quietly for the right moment, rather than rushing about aimlessly, that can lead even an ambitious success - hunter to capture the biggest game.

Tom Peters

  • Book: Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,
  • Book: Frank Partnoy’s Wait: The Art and Science of Delay, 
  • Book: Linda Kaplan-Thaler’s The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World with Kindness and The Power of Small: Why Little Things Make All the Difference, and Cathy O’Neil’s Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy.
  • What do you consider the number-one failing of CEOs? He said: "They don’t read enough.”
  • All sorts of people will give you this or that approach to your job. My advice is of a different sort: Good manners pay off big time.
  • Oh, and two other things: 
    • First, become a superstar, all - pro listener. How? Work on it. It does not come naturally. Read up on it. Practice it. Have a mentor grade you on it. 
    • Second: Read. Read. Read. Read.
  • In short, the best student wins, whether at age 21 or 51 or 101.
  • Think small. Do something super cool by the end of the day! I write about "excellence.” Most see excellence as some grand aspiration. Wrong. Dead wrong. My two cents: Excellence is the next five minutes or nothing at all. It’s the quality of your next five - minute conversation. It’s the quality of, yes, your next email. Forget the long term. Make the next five minutes rock!

Bear Grylls

  • It tells me that tenacity matters more than talent, and in life, that is certainly true.
  • Failure means struggle, and it is struggle that has always developed my strength.

Brené Brown

  • Book: The Dance of Anger by Harriet Lerner (so helpful for couples in that”I’m screaming and he’s / she’s shutting down” cycle) and her new book, Why Won’t You Apologize? (Turns out that most of us are pretty terrible apologizers — this really changed me.)
  • It feels uncomfortable to spend time and resources trying to figure out exactly what the problem is — we want to jump to fixing way too fast.
  • Sleep. Diet, exercise, and work ethic don’t hold a candle to how sleep can revolutionize the way you live, love, parent, and lead.
  • Always these questions: Sleep? Exercise? Healthy food? Am I resentful because I’m not setting or holding a boundary?
  • Key learning: Magical thinking is incredibly dangerous and will cost you more time, money, and energy than digging in ever will.

Mike D

  • Surfing: I am a lucky duck. I live in Malibu, California, with waves within walking distance. I spend a good amount of my time surfing with my kids all around the world, and it is worth every damn minute.
  • One thing I am so grateful to be able to model: I was always included in my parents ’ and their adult friends ’ conversations, and I try to practice the same with my kids, valuing their ideas and thoughts.

Esther Dyson

  • Book: Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir. An explanation of scarcity for rich intellectuals, showing how poor people do stupid things for lack of money, while rich people do stupid things for lack of time.
  • Book: From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds by Daniel C. Dennett. How consciousness arises, and how much it depends on a sense of past, present, and future (plus a lot of other interesting insights).
  • Always take jobs for which you are not qualified; that way you will inevitably learn something.
  • My tip: Ask yourself, ”Would you say yes if this were next Tuesday?” It’s so easy to commit to things that are weeks or months out, when your schedule still looks uncluttered.

Kevin Kelly

  • Book: The Ultimate Resource by Julian Simon: Another book whose influence took time to establish itself in my view. Simon’s clarifying insight — that mind and intelligence can overcome any physical limitations, and are therefore the only scarce resource — has become a big idea that colors much of what I look at today.
  • Whenever I am trying to decide whether to accept an invitation, I just pretend it is going to happen tomorrow morning. It is easy to say yes to something happening six months from now, but it has to be super fantastic to get me to go tomorrow morning.
  • Don’t try to find your passion. Instead master some skill, interest, or knowledge that others find valuable. It almost doesn’t matter what it is at the start. You don’t have to love it, you just have to be the best at it. Once you master it, you’ll be rewarded with new opportunities that will allow you to move away from tasks you dislike and toward those that you enjoy. If you continue to optimize your mastery, you’ll eventually arrive at your passion.

Ashton Kutcher

  • Book: Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari.
  • Be polite, on time, and work really fucking hard until you are talented enough to be blunt, a little late, and take vacations and even then... be polite.

Jérôme Jarre

  • Understanding Media by Marshall McLuhan.
  • “Make yourself proud.”

Fedor Holz

  • Product: Deuserband Original
  • Especially recently, I strongly realized the value of asking the right questions.
  • Specifically in conversations, really asking someone how they feel and why they think they behaved in a certain way gives you (and them) a very different perspective.

Eric Ripert

  • The more you divide your focus, the more each endeavor can suffer from your lack of attention.

Franklin Leonard

  • In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life? 
    • There are probably two: The absolute necessity of travel.
    • Over the last three years, I’ve tried to say yes to every travel opportunity presented to me for work and commit to spending at least a month outside of the U.S. during the year.
    • Trusting that I can weather most failures that might befall me. I lived the first 33 years of my life actively trying to avoid failure. 
    • More recently, I’ve worried less about failing and more about not risking failure enough, because I’m reasonably sure that there’s not a failure I can’t survive.
  • Try everything you think you might want to do professionally before accepting whatever backup plan you have in the back of your head but are very much hoping to avoid.

Peter Guber

  • “Don’t let the weight of fear weigh down the joy of curiosity.” Fear is really false evidence appearing real.
  • “Attitude puts aptitude on steroids.” Attitude is the soft stuff, but when the chips are down, as they so often are, it’s the soft stuff that often counts.
  • The seminal change in the business from then to now is that a young person should view the career pyramid differently rather than traditionally. Put the point at the bottom where you are now (at the start of your career) and conceive your future as an expanding opportunity horizon where you can move laterally across the spectrum in search of an ever - widening set of career opportunities. Reinvent yourself regularly. See your world as an ever - increasing set of realities and seize the day.

Steve Jurvetson

  • Book: Out of Control by Kevin Kelly. Introduction to the power of evolutionary algorithms and information networks inspired by biology.
  • Book: Age of Spiritual Machines by Ray Kurzweil.
  • Every industry on our planet is going to become an information business. Consider agriculture. If you ask a farmer in 20 years ’ time about how they compete, it will depend on how they use information, from satellite imagery driving robotic field optimization to the code in their seeds. It will have nothing to do with workmanship or labor. That will eventually percolate through every industry as IT innervates the economy.
  • In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life? The Whole30 diet. After the 30 - day cleanse, I have removed bread and [non – naturally occurring] sugar from my diet and have more energy than ever before, I sleep through the night, and I dropped back to my high school weight.
  • And now, having tasted synthetic meat, I believe it will accelerate the development of human morality,
  • But we can affect this progression. Professor Michael Merzenich at UCSF has found that neural plasticity does not disappear in adults. It just requires mental exercise. Use it or lose it. Bottom line: Embrace lifelong learning. Do something new. Physical exercise is repetitive; mental exercise is eclectic.

Tony Hawk

  • My advice is to remain steadfast in your values and product direction, especially when working with other companies. 
  • And if things blow up faster than you expected, keep control of your brand (or idea) no matter what.

Liv Boeree

  • Book: The Passion Trap: How to Right an Unbalanced Relationship by relationship therapist and psychologist Dean C. Delis.
  • Book: Map and Territory and How to Actually Change Your Mind by Eliezer Yudkowsky. These two books are hands - down the best insight into modern - day rational thinking I’ve ever read, written by (in my opinion) one of the greatest minds of our time.
  • Book/reading: Yudkowsky’s blog posts from the site LessWrong.com
  • Product: Blinkist — an app that condenses nonfiction books into 15 - minute reads.
  • What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? 
    • Learning about modern - day rationality — I’ve found it’s added value in all domains of my life.
    • A consequentialist believes that the moral value of an action purely depends on its outcome — the act itself doesn’t carry moral weight, all that matters is whether its consequences are good or bad overall.
    • However, in this age of readily available scientific data, we are now able to evaluate consequences of actions more accurately than ever before, and therefore should be more open to re - evaluating many of the ideological rules of thumb we still live by.
  • What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise? 
    • In poker, the most common error people make is overestimating their ability to read people —
    • Physical tells are far less consistent and reliable than we’re taught to believe, and to truly excel at the game it’s far more important to have a solid understanding of the mathematical theory behind the game.
  • When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do? What questions do you ask yourself? 
    • It’s essential to identify the root cause of that lost focus — am I just having a bad day, or is the task itself something I simply hate doing?
    • If it’s the latter, it’s probably relevant to investigate why I’m feeling so unmotivated. Given that I know the upsides of getting it done, feeling so icky about it might mean there’s more going on than I’d fully considered. It then helps to list those reasons to see if I can find a new way of getting the task done, avoiding the crappy parts entirely.
    • If that’s not possible, I can now at least do a more effective cost - benefit analysis and decide whether to continue at all. If I decide the payoff is still worth it, then the motivation will be more likely to come back by itself.

Anníe Mist þórisdóttir

  • Product: The Five - Minute Journal gives focus to each day.

Mark Bell

  • Book: Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk:
  • Book: 5/3/1 by Jim Wendler: Getting stronger can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it.
  • “Either you’re in, or you’re in the way.”

Ed Coan

  • Make it so that you know 100 percent everything is doable. When you start that routine, imagine how positive your mental outlook is. It’s huge.
  • For instance, it’s usually my procrastination and fear that has stopped me from doing things. I tend to think of [things] as a big whole and get overwhelmed. If I break it down, put it down on paper, then look at it a half hour later, all of those smaller things don’t seem like a big deal.
  • I’ve also taken a nap every day since I was a kid. I still try not to miss it. Usually it’s 45 minutes to an hour and ideally around 3:30 or 4 p.m.

Ray Dalio

  • A pocket notepad to jot down good ideas when they come to me.
  • What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the "real world”? 
    • Love looking at what you don’t know, your mistakes, and your weaknesses, because understanding them is essential for making the most of your life.

Jacqueline Novogratz

  • “Live the Questions,” which is a simple reminder to have the moral courage to live in the gray, sit with uncertainty but not in a passive way. Live the questions so that, one day, you will live yourself into the answers..

Brian Koppelman

  • Book: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
  • Book: The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
    • The Artist’s Way contains the single best tool for becoming unblocked that I have ever come across [ which is morning pages ]. If you have the sense, deep inside you, that you are running away from your true purpose, this book will help you break through.

Sarah Elizabeth Lewis

  • The most impactful kind of failures are "near wins” because of the propulsion we get from coming just shy of reaching a goal.

Steve Case

  • There are three things that have become conventional wisdom, especially in places like Silicon Valley, that worry me. First, the idea that naiveté is a competitive advantage.
    • This notion that ignorance is a strength is likely to lead to stumbles in a new era of innovation and disruption of major industries.
  • The second concern is the idea that it is better to do everything yourself — what some call a "full - stack” solution. There will be examples of this working, but going it alone will not work as well when it’s not just about the app. Partners will likely be needed and, indeed, could be pivotal.
  • And the third piece of bad advice is that it’s best to ignore regulations and just plow ahead.

Tommy Vietor

  • The smartest investment I’ve ever made was forgoing jobs that paid well for positions that gave me invaluable experiences.
  • My broke ass slept on an air mattress for two years. It came with me to three different states (North Carolina, Illinois, Iowa), and every morning it would end up half - deflated and my butt would be touching the ground. I overdrew my bank account countless times (thanks for all those overdraft fees, Bank of America !), but the experience was worth more than any paycheck then or since.

Muna Abu Sulayman

  • When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do? 
    • I have learned that when I overcommit, I lose focus and desire to do the work at hand. So this is why learning to say no is very important to me. Sometimes, however, loss of focus is a symptom of something else, that you really don’t care for your work. This needs a lot of reflection and discussions with mentors to figure out whether you need a break, a vacation, or a change of career.

Sam Harris

  • Having a podcast has allowed me to connect with a wide range of fascinating people whom I wouldn’t otherwise meet — and our conversations reach a much larger audience than my books ever will.
  • Don’t worry about what you’re going to do with the rest of your life. Just find a profitable and interesting use for the next three to five years.

Maurice Ashley

  • Greatness is not a final destination, but a series of small acts done daily in order to constantly rejuvenate and refresh our skills in a daily effort to become a better version of ourselves.

John Arnold

  • Ignore advice, especially early in one’s career. There is no universal path to success.
  • But for those whose time is a scarce resource, learning to say no to meetings is a necessary skill. Sitting through an unproductive meeting has huge opportunity costs. It seems obvious, but people struggle with equilibrating time and money.
  • There are many organizations that fret over small, direct expenses, yet have no misgivings about keeping superfluous staff tied up in a conference room for hours.
  • “A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days.” – Annie Dillard

Mr. Money Mustache

  • The most important one by far is realizing that the real measure of a good life is ”How happy and satisfied am I with my life right now?”
  • We all have our ups and downs, so your goal is simply to maximize your ”up” time and minimize those downs to as close to zero as possible. If you ask yourself this question at the end of a thoroughly great day, the answer is very often positive. After a horrible day (or a string of them), you’re more likely to say that life sucks. I came to realize that the key to a great life is simply having a bunch of great days. So you can think about it one day at a time.
  • And it turns out there are some pretty simple buttons you can press to give yourself a great day. 
    • Start by waking up from a good sleep, eating good food, leaving your phone / newspaper / computer behind, and simply writing down your plan for what will make the day great. 
    • Several hours of physical activity, some hard work, a chance to laugh with and help out other people — and you’re pretty much there.
  • Instead, rewind that story and think of it in terms of freedom: You are free for life once you have 25 to 30 times your annual spending locked up and working for you in low - fee index funds or other relatively boring investments.
  • If you save the standard 15 percent of your income, this freedom arrives roughly at age 65. If you can crank that up to 65 percent, you’re free just after your 30th birthday, and you often end up a lot happier in the process.
  • So the one - liner is: A high savings rate (or ”profit margin on life”) is by far the best strategy for a great and creative life, because it’s your ticket to freedom. Freedom is the fuel for creativity.

Nick Szabo

  • Book: Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, explains more about life (including human behavior and myself) than anything else I’ve read.
  • Everybody is striving after social proof — from a close friend’s adulation to online likes and upvotes. The less you need positive feedback on your ideas, the more original design regions you can explore, and the more creative and, in the long term, useful to society you will be. But it could be a very long time before people will love you (or even pay you) for it.

Jon Call

  • You’ll get much better results performing a stretch for one minute with three minutes of rest, repeated three times, rather than doing the same stretch for three minutes all at once.

Darren Aronofsky

  • What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the”real world”? Most of the game is about persistence. It is the most important trait. Sure, when you get an opportunity, you have to perform and you have to exceed beyond all expectations, but getting that chance is the hardest part. So keep the vision clear in your head and every day refuse all obstacles to get to the goal.
  • If you put ten people in a room and they have to choose an ice cream flavor, they’re gonna arrive at vanilla.
  • So resist temptations and advice to play to the middle. The best work always comes from pushing the edge.

Evan Williams

  • Be in a hurry to learn, not in a hurry to get validation. In a team environment, you will make a much better impression if it seems like you’re not at all worried about yourself. It’s okay to actually be worried about yourself — everyone is — just don’t seem like it. If you resist asking for too much, you will often get more.

Bram Cohen

  • “Avoid sugar. Especially soda and juice. All other diet advice is noise.”
  • One life lesson I’ve grudgingly come to accept is that it’s important not to work with crazy people.
  • If someone believes that all taxation is theft, or that a strictly vegan diet is healthier, they’re demonstrating such a serious lack of judgment that you should be very leery of trusting them to make major decisions.
  • In an interview situation, the thing you can look out for is flagrant narcissism. If a candidate tells you that you don’t need the position they’re interviewing for but a higher one, and you should hire them for that, or says that if you don’t hire them then you’re screwed, or harangues you about the business as if they’re an investor doing due diligence, then they’re playing obnoxious political games before they’ve even set foot in the door, and you should give them an immediate no.
  • Pick your early jobs based on what gets you the most valuable experience. If you want to be an entrepreneur, don’t dive directly into doing your venture but go get work at an early - stage startup to learn the ropes and get paid to make your early mistakes.
  • Only after getting the necessary experience and knowledge should you strike out on your own. This is what I did, and although the startups I worked at were mostly failures, I don’t think I could have succeeded at my own thing without that experience.

Chris Anderson

  • Many of us have bought into the cliché "pursue your passion.” For many, that is terrible advice. In your 20s, you may not really know what your best skills and opportunities are. It’s much better to pursue learning, personal discipline, growth. And to seek out connections with people across the planet. For a while, it’s just fine to follow and support someone else’s dream. In so doing, you will be building valuable relationships, valuable knowledge. And at some point your passion will come and whisper in your ear, ”I’m ready.”

Neil Gaiman

  • When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do? What questions do you ask yourself? 
    • Have I had enough sleep? Have I eaten? Would it be a good idea to go for a short walk? 
  • And once those have been answered, or fixed, if there’s an actual situation that’s overwhelming: 
    • Is there anything I can do to fix this? Is there anyone who actually has information or advice about this I can call and talk to? 
  • If it’s not actually a situation, just me being sad and moody and unfocused: How long has it been since I actually wrote something? Stop doing whatever else I am doing because it isn’t actually work, and go and write something. 
  • Book: the Paco books, from France [by Magali Le Huche]: Paco and the Orchestra, Paco and Jazz, Paco and Rock, Paco and Vivaldi, Paco and Mozart.... When you press down on an indicated spot in the books, a sound effect or music plays.

Michael Gervais

  • Book: Mind Gym by Gary Mack is a book that strips down the esoteric nature of applied sport psychology.

Kelly Slater

  • Book: The Tao of Health, Sex, and Longevity by Daniel Reid.

Katrín Tanja Davíðsdóttir

  • What is a favorite exercise (or a valuable one) that most CrossFitters or athletes neglect?
    • If you are asking about an exercise, I would say it is basic ”fitness.”It is hanging out around your lactic threshold for an extended period of time — it’s hard. But that’s where the magic happens. It’s not going guns blazing through a workout and it’s not ”talking pace.” It’s hanging out right where you might start dropping off soon but you can hold on.

Mathew Fraser

  • If you want to get better in the sport, you need to work on your specific weaknesses, not those of someone who is successful.

Adam Fisher

  • Be humble and self - aware. Ignore the concept of ”being yourself.” Of course this is literally true by definition, but it is a way to avoid self - improvement. Pursuing your passion is fine.
  • I strongly believe world - class performers need coaching. I suppose mentors function in this role for many, but coaches, in my opinion, are different. [Coaches] focus on you first. Mentors rightly focus on themselves first and you second. Lastly, a good coach builds regimens designed to make you better, [versus simply] providing advice, as a mentor would.
  • For me, it has been calendar architecture. I am a lion about it and expect everyone around me to respect it and help me with it. "Calendar architecture” is designing and implementing a repeatable schedule every day. As an introvert, this requires a lot of alone time, and everyone around me protects this in my day. It is also designed to keep my day from being filled up with”gristle.”

Aisha Tyler

  • I love that Jack Canfield quote, ”Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” If something terrifies me, I typically sprint flat - out toward it, and that has served me well, both professionally and personally.
  • My rowing workout varies. I was a competitive runner for many years, so my workout plans mirror a typical running weekly schedule: mid - distance 5K rows punctuated by short - distance 2K HIIT sprints, with a 10K long - distance row once or twice a week.
  • Nothing I like better than a perfectly organized space. It gives me an illogical amount of joy,
  • So I apply the Marie Kondo method: ”Discard [say no to] everything that does not spark joy.” This includes personal obligations. I’m working on it.

Laura R. Walker

  • Book: For New York City geeks — and I know a lot of them — I gave Nonstop Metropolis by Rebecca Solnit.
  • Book: For a great novel that I have read three times, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.
  • I often use the pen with a "smart” notebook (like the Rocketbook Everlast smart notebook) that can be reused.

Terry Laughlin

  • Book: Mastery by George Leonard.
  • A brief summary: Life is not designed to hand us success or satisfaction, but rather to present us with challenges that make us grow. Mastery is the mysterious process by which those challenges become progressively easier and more satisfying through practice. The key to that satisfaction is to reach the nirvana in which love of practice for its own sake (intrinsic) replaces the original goal (extrinsic) as our grail. The antithesis of mastery is the pursuit of quick fixes. 
  • My five steps to mastery: 
    1. Choose a worthy and meaningful challenge. 
    2. Seek a sensei or master teacher (like George Leonard) to help you establish the right path and priorities. 
    3. Practice diligently, always striving to hone key skills and to progress incrementally toward new levels of competence. 
    4. Love the plateau. All worthwhile progress occurs through brief, thrilling leaps forward followed by long stretches during which you feel you’re going nowhere. Though it seems as if we’re making no progress, we are turning new behaviors into habits. Learning continues at the cellular level... if you follow good practice principles. 
    5. Mastery is a journey, not a destination. True masters never believe they have attained mastery. There is always more to be learned and greater skill to be developed.
  • I read an op - ed in The New York Times that described a study of 10,000 West Point cadets who were followed for up to 14 years. They were asked as first - year cadets to describe their career goals. Those who cited goals intrinsic to being an outstanding officer — developing excellence as a leader and communicator, earning the respect of the troops under their command — went on at much higher rates to earn commissions as officers, extend their service beyond the five - year minimum, gain early promotion to higher ranks, and report a high degree of satisfaction with their Army service.
  • The same will apply in any field of endeavor. If your highest goal is incremental, patient, continual learning and development in critical skills and core competencies — and you allow recognition, promotions, and financial rewards to be a natural result of the excellence you attain at core competencies — you will be far more likely to experience success and satisfaction, and perhaps even attain eminence, in your field.

Marc Benioff

  • Book: One of the most powerful books in business I ever read was Managing, by the former head of ITT, Harold Geneen.

Marie Forleo

  • Learning and using a relationship communication tool called the Imago Dialogue, created by Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen LaKelly Hunt. It’s a structured way to talk with your spouse or significant other, especially when you’re fighting.
  • [My advice:] 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 now seem. You’ll connect the dots later. Work your fucking ass off and develop a reputation for going above and beyond in all situations. Do whatever it takes to earn enough money, so that you can go all in on experiences or learning opportunities that put you in close proximity to people you admire, because proximity is power. Show up in every moment like you’re meant to be there, because your energy precedes anything you could possibly say. 
  • Ignore the advice to specialize in one thing, unless you’re certain that’s how you want to roll. Ignore giving a shit about what other people think about your career choices or what you do for a living — especially if what you do for a living funds your career choices. Ignore the impulse to dial down your enthusiasm for fear it’ll be perceived as unprofessional. And especially for women, ignore societal and familial pressures to get married and have kids.
  • When it comes to building an online audience, a big mistake people make is trying to be everywhere at once.
  • Trying to crush it on every platform, especially if you’re a one - person show, is not a wise or sustainable use of your time, talent, or energy. Even if you have a team, I still recommend choosing one platform to focus on at first. Before committing to another content channel or social platform, ask yourself, why exactly do you want to be on this platform?

Drew Houston

  • Book: Poor Charlie’s Almanack is a good start. It describes how to make good decisions in any situation with a relatively limited mental toolkit: the big, enduring ideas of the fundamental academic disciplines. Virtually everyone is exposed to these concepts by high school, but few people truly master them or apply them in everyday life. In my experience, it’s this kind of essential, first - principles thinking that enables the unusual level of insight and conviction that sets the great founders apart from the merely good ones.
  • I’ve found the Enneagram to be incredibly helpful. At first glance it’s a personality typing tool like Myers - Briggs. There are nine Enneagram ”types” and every person has one dominant type. But I’ve found it to be much more useful and predictive of how people actually behave. At first I was skeptical, but after reading the description for my type I found it spookily accurate in pinpointing what makes me tick: what motivates me, what my natural strengths are, what my blind spots tend to be, and so on. It’s helped me tailor my role and leadership style to my strengths.
  • The most successful people I know are all obsessed with solving a problem that really matters to them.
  • The circle refers to the idea that you’re the average of your five closest friends. Make sure to put yourself in an environment that pulls the best out of you.
  • When I was 24, I came across a website that says most people live for about 30,000 days — and I was shocked to find that I was already 8,000 days down. So you have to make every day count.
  • A couple more tips: Schedule specific blocks of time in advance for your rocks so you don’t have to think about them. Don’t rely on wishful thinking (e.g.,”I’ll get that workout in when I have some downtime”); if you can’t see your rocks on your calendar, they might as well not exist. This is doubly important for things like sleep and exercise. If you don’t put those in first, no one will.
  • As far as actually saying no, I’ve learned you don’t owe anyone lengthy explanations, and you don’t have to respond to every email (particularly anything unsolicited). Brief, one - line responses like "I can’t make it but thank you for the invitation” or "Thanks for thinking of me — unfortunately my hands are full with [my company] so I can’t meet right now” are more than adequate.

Scott Belsky

  • More often than not, great opportunities look unattractive on the surface. What makes an opportunity great is upside.
  • I am always surprised by how lazy people are when making serious decisions about their careers.
  • Join a team not for what it is, but for what you think you can help it become. Be a “founder” in the sense that you’re willing to make something rather than just join something.
  • The only way to cultivate your own luck is to be more flexible (you’ll need to give up something for the right opportunity), humble (timing is out of your control), and gracious (when you see it, seize it !). Life’s greatest opportunities run on their own schedule, not yours.
  • My playlist reserved for writing / deep work periods includes:
    • "Everyday” by Carly Comando
    • "The Aviators” by Helen Jane Long
    • "Divenire” by Ludovico Einaudi
    • "Mad World” by Michael Andrews and Gary Jules
    • "Festival” by Sigur Rós
  • Number one: Every step in your early career must get you incrementally closer to whatever genuinely interests you. The most promising path to success is pursuing genuine interests and setting yourself up for the circumstantial relationships, collaborations, and experiences that will make all the difference in your life. A labor of love always pays off, just not how and when you expect. Set yourself up to succeed by taking new jobs and roles that get you closer to your interests. 
  • Number two: The greatest lessons you learn in the beginning of a career are about people — how to work with people, be managed by people, manage expectations with people, and lead other people. As such, the team you choose to join, and your boss, are huge factors in the value of a professional experience early in your career. Choose opportunities based on the quality of people you will get to work with.
  • The boldest transformations, are led by outsiders.
  • Perhaps the playbook to change an industry is to be naive enough at the start to question basic assumptions and then stay alive long enough to employ skills that are unique and advantageous in the space you seek to change. Perhaps naive excitement and pragmatic expertise are equally important traits at different times.
  • When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do? 
    • I whisper to myself, ”Scott, do your fucking job.” With all the drama around us and inside of us, it is too easy to get distracted or overthink a situation. It is too easy to rationalize why you’re too busy, or why you should wait to do something that just needs to get done. I opt for the no - bullshit approach. When I need to do something mundane, or when I need to do something especially difficult like deliver bad news or fire an employee, I just tell myself to stop screwing around and”do your fucking job.”I find that self - directive hard to argue with.

Tim McGraw

  • One of the questions I’m asked a lot is”What’s the single thing that most prevents success?” And to me, the answer is always focus [ or lack of focus ]. I believe focus is the key to everything.
  • First, I would do something called the ”bar complex.” It’s 12 barbell exercises done in a sequence. I do five rounds of the 12 exercises, starting with just the bar (45 pounds) and ten reps of each exercise. Each time I finish the circuit, I add five pounds to the bar and do two reps fewer than the round before it, so it looks like this: 
    • 10 reps x barbell (for each of the 12 exercises; same for the below) 
    • 8 reps x barbell + 5 lbs 
    • 6 reps x barbell + 10 lbs 
    • 4 reps x barbell + 15 lbs and (at heaviest) 
    • 2 reps x barbell + 20 lbs 
    • Then I reverse the whole process and come back down over five rounds, removing five pounds and adding two reps each round, finishing where I started: barbell x ten reps for each of the 12 exercises.
  • The second workout I would do is a pool workout that my trainer, Roger, taught me, which is a series of different, repetitive martial arts – based movements done in the water.

Muneeb Ali

  • In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life? 
    • Asking myself the question, ”When I’m old, how much would I be willing to pay to travel back in time and relive the moment that I’m experiencing right now?” If that moment is something like rocking my six - month - old daughter to sleep while she hugs me, then the answer is anything: I’d literally pay all the money I’d have in the bank at, say, age 70 to get a chance to relive that moment. This simple question just puts things in perspective and makes you grateful for the experience you’re having right now versus being lost in thoughts about the past or the future.
  • For me, the realization was that I can add more value by going deep on a few things rather than engaging with a broad set of activities. I’m a startup founder, and there is always something or other to do. Here are some approaches that have helped: 
    • I started saying no to all external meeting requests as a rule of thumb. External meetings should be initiated by me (doesn’t happen that often) and not initiated by others. 
    • Saying no to all involvements outside of my startup, such as being an advisor to some other startup or project, investing in or trading some cryptocurrency where I have domain expertise, etc. There is only one job / role that I can think about. No exceptions. L
    • etting other people on my team deal with external invitations, calls, meetings, events, etc. Build strong connections with your team and stay updated on things through them. In other words, the team members are a filter for all the invitations and distractions. Important stuff has a way of bubbling up and you won’t miss out.

Steven Pinker

  • Find a new topic or area or concern that has a small number of people you respect behind it, but which has not become a culture - wide fad or conventional wisdom. If it’s already common knowledge, it’s probably too late to make a major contribution. 
  • If you’re the only one excited, you may be deluding yourself. 
  • Ignore advice to simply follow your intuition or gut without thinking through whether the course of action is likely to be fruitful and rewarding. 
  • Focus on effectiveness — what your actions will actually accomplish — and not self - actualization or other ways of trying to feel good about yourself. 
  • Don’t think that the arts and verbal professions are the only respectable occupations (a common mindset of grandchildren of workers). The elites sneer at commerce as tawdry, but it’s what gives people what they want and need, and pays for everything else, including the luxury of art. 
  • Think about what you will add to the world. Some lucrative professions (e.g., ultra - high - tech finance) are dubious applications of human brainpower.
  • Book: 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein

Whitney Cummings

  • [One model that Whitney likes is the large weighted blanket from Weighted Blankets Plus LLC.]
  • Most likely, the problem won’t be around in a year, but my reputation of how I dealt with it will. As long as I can handle a situation with grace, I usually come out having won and don’t waste valuable time and energy feeling guilty or replaying it in my head.
  • It’s built up the muscle that focuses on what’s going well and how fortunate I am, which helps me be more productive, creative, and focused.
  • My advice would be to figure out some kind of charitable element to whatever endeavor you undertake, whether it’s a benevolent motive or a literal profit donation à la Blake Mycoskie.
  • Instead of striving to be a CEO or an entrepreneur, strive to be a hero. We need more of those.
  • What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
    • ”Network.” In creative fields, I think networking actually hurts you in most cases. Don’t waste your time socializing with people who you think can help you. Just get better, and opportunities will naturally present themselves once you deserve them. Only focus on things within your control. And if you don’t know what those things are, find someone who can tell you. Don’t network, just work.
  • Product: I use the Freedom app to cut down on social media time.

Rick Rubin

  • Book: The book I’ve gifted most is Stephen Mitchell’s translation of the Tao Te Ching: ancient Taoist wisdom applicable to anything.
  • Book: Another one is Jon Kabat - Zinn’s Wherever You Go, There You Are. It’s a wonderful book from 1994.
  • Product: Another item, probably a little more than $100, is the HumanCharger. The HumanCharger shoots light in your ears to help alleviate jet lag (other devices shine bright lights into your eyes, which can be uncomfortable and damaging to the eyes).
  • What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the ”real world”? What advice should they ignore? 
    • I would ignore most anything you learn in school and ignore all accepted standards. Free yourself to try anything. The best ideas are revolutionary. 
    • If you’re searching for wisdom, try to find it from people who’ve done it more than from people who teach it. Ask a lot of questions. 
    • In addition, focus on something you love, because you have a far greater chance of succeeding by doing something you love, and regardless of whether you succeed or not, your life will be better. So you can’t really lose by dedicating yourself to what you love. 
    • Also, work tirelessly. I feel very lucky and blessed in my life, and I know this is because I totally submerged myself in what I was doing. I spent my every waking hour, every day, enjoying it when I was doing it and truly living it. In a sense, it wasn’t a job because it was my whole life. In retrospect, I probably missed a lot of life because of it, but that’s the give and take. As I think about it, that might be what it takes to start something, but not necessarily to sustain it. So when you start something new, it’s okay to do it in an unsustainable way. Once you achieve it, then you can devote your time to figuring out how to sustain it. They’re two different playbooks.

Ryan Shea

  • Book: Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari 
  • Book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson 
  • Book: The Sovereign Individual by James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees - Mogg
  • When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do? I lift hard, go for a run, get a massage, read a book, or watch a movie. My workouts typically have three phases: 
    • First, I will do three or four sets of either bench press, squats, or deadlifts. For each set, I aim for six to ten reps ranging from 70 to 85 percent of my one - rep max. 
    • Then, I’ll do three or four supersets of either 
      • (a) 15 to 20 reps of pull - ups and dips, 
      • (b) ten reps of bicep curls and tricep extensions, or 
      • (c) ten reps of shoulder presses, lateral raises, and front raises. 
    • Last, I’ll do my core workout, which includes either 
      • (a) four sets of one - minute planks alternated with four sets of sit - ups, leg raises, suitcases, and bicycles or 
      • (b) one set each of sit - ups, planks, side planks, and ball knee tucks followed by three sets of side bends.
  • What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? In 2016, I started doing New Month Resolutions [as opposed to New Year Resolutions]. Here’s some of what I did: 
    • July: Daily reading 
    • August: No TV or movies 
    • September: No dairy 
    • October: No gluten 
    • November: Daily meditation 
    • December: No news or social media feeds
  • As you can see, a few of the months were elimination months and a few were daily behavior months.
  • So far, my favorite experiments have been no news or social media feeds, workouts every day, no TV or movies, reading every day, and waking up at 7:30 every morning.

Ben Silbermann

  • That’s been a good grounding force when doing projects, because a lot of things go wrong here and there, but if you just assume that anything worthwhile is going to take five to ten years, they don’t feel as severe.
  • Product: But I do want to get that culty Japanese journal that all the designers use, a Hobonichi Techo.
  • Absurdism provides a clear philosophy of failure: either the intention was absurd, the strategy was not reasonable, or it was reasonable but was not executed correctly.
  • It’s often hard to tell whether I’m trying to do the impossible, or whether there are reasonable behaviors that I haven’t yet thought of trying, or if I’m trying the right behavior but without enough skill.
  • If I become confident that my intention is absurd, then I give up. Deliberately, if I have to. If I think it’s not absurd, I’ll continue trying strategies I think might be reasonable, and I will practice the strategies I highly suspect are reasonable, if I really care about bearing out my intention.
  • Absurdism is not just a tool for helping people be reasonable. It is also a critique of rationalism. It says that there are contexts where having intentions is absurd. That sometimes rationality is absurd, and should therefore be abandoned. In these contexts, it doesn’t make sense to decide what to do or how to spend your time, if by that you mean "pick a goal that you want to achieve."
  • I nap a lot. I try not to eat carbohydrates. I try to take three to four hours to myself every day. It’s not always possible. I try to work offline. I meditate sometimes.

Peter Attia

  • Book: Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me) by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson 
  • Book: Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman ! by Richard P. Feynman
  • What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the ”real world”? What advice should they ignore? 
    • My advice: Be as genuine as you can. Don’t fake it. In my view, better to be a cold stiff than fake that you care. If you are genuinely interested in a subset of other people, even if that number is small, you will foster relationships that really matter. As we age, I believe, frivolous relationships in business and our personal life become less and less bearable, so only put energy into completely genuine interactions with other people.
    • A second piece of advice would be to seek out mentors constantly and without shame (and mentor others). This requires adhering to the above point, of course, but it highlights a vulnerability and asymmetry.
    • Always be a student and always be a teacher.
  • As for advice to ignore: Too often, I hear people effectively given advice that is consistent with sunk cost fallacies. I certainly heard it a lot. ”You’ve spent X years learning Y, you can’t just up and leave and now do Z,” they say. I think this is flawed advice because it weighs too heavily the time behind you, which can’t be changed, and largely discounts the time in front of you, which is completely malleable.

Steve Aoki

  • Product: The iMask Sleep Eye Mask
  • Book: The Singularity Is Near by Ray Kurzweil.

Jim Loehr

  • Ralph Waldo Emerson: ”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 life has breathed easier because you have lived; this is to have succeeded.”
  • The practice of daily journaling has been a remarkable tool in helping me navigate the storms of life and be my best self through it all. The daily ritual of self - reflected writing has produced priceless personal insights in my life. For me, daily writing heightens my personal awareness in a nearly magical way.
  • An important insight gained over several years was that anything that was quantified and tracked on a regular basis would invariably show improvement (sleep times, liquid intake, stretching frequency, nutritional habits, etc.).
  • Protection from stress serves only to erode my capacity [to handle it]. Stress exposure is the stimulus for all growth

Jocko Willink

  • As a leader, there is no one else to blame. Don’t make excuses. If I don’t take ownership of problems, I can’t solve them. That’s what a leader has to do: take ownership of the problems, the mistakes, and the shortfalls, and take ownership of creating and implementing solutions to get those problems solved.
  • Work harder than everyone else.
  • When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do? Prioritize and execute.
  • When things are going wrong, when multiple problems are occurring all at once, when things get overwhelming, you have to prioritize and execute.
  • Take a step back. Detach from the mayhem. Look at the situation and assess the multitude of problems, tasks, or issues. Choose the one that is going to have the biggest impact and execute on that.

Kristen Ulmer

  • What I should have done instead was realize that fear is not a sign of personal weakness, but rather a natural state of discomfort that occurs whenever you’re out of your comfort zone. It’s there not to sabotage you, but to help you come alive, be more focused, and put you into the present moment and a heightened state of excitement and awareness. If you push the fear away, the only version of fear available to you will be its crazy, irrational, or contorted version. If you’re willing to feel it, and merge with it, its energy and wisdom will appear.
  • Which is why you shouldn’t wait for crisis to happen before you take steps to go beyond what you’re capable of seeing on your own. Go to marriage counseling when your marriage is going great. What then becomes possible? Hire a fitness coach when you’re already in the best shape of your life. Bring in a marketing expert when your marketing department is already kicking ass. And watch next - level magic happen.
  • Book: My two favorite books are: The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson.
  • Friendships are supposed to support your growth, not hold you back. End the ones that hold you back, and be curious about what kind of people you’re drawn to next. I find whomever you’re attracted to today possesses whatever qualities in yourself you’re ready to nurture.
  • [Note from Tim: I asked Kristen how she broke up with her friends, exactly, and she sent a detailed four - page blueprint. Find it for free at tim.blog/kristen]
  • When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do? 
    • I honor those states by walking away from work and instead doing what seems like "nothing,” which is of course something (take a walk, stretch my body, watch a movie). I do these things for as long as it takes, whether a few hours or even a few days, until my motivation comes back. 
    • Honor your moods not by forcing a different reality, but by just letting them be.
  • Because my belief is that your relationship with fear is the most important relationship in your life, I now spend at least two minutes a day engaged in what I call a fear practice.
    • Especially first thing in the morning before I get out of bed, I do a body scan to assess my mood. I’m particularly interested in how much I feel fear (it’s always there, whether we’re willing to admit it or not), and where in my body it’s located.
    • Fear is a sense of discomfort in our bodies. It may show up in obvious ways as fear, stress, or anxiety (which are all pretty much the same thing), or maybe it will feel more like anger or sadness (which can be tied to fear, if fear is in the basement). If it seems like it’s in our minds, that’s because we’re not dealing with it emotionally but rather intellectually, which is never a good idea. I locate the feeling in my body — sometimes it’s in my jaw or shoulders, sometimes my forehead. Then I have a one - to two - minute, three - step process: 
  1. I spend about 15 to 30 seconds affirming that it’s natural to feel this discomfort. I may have a big talk coming up or a deadline. You are supposed to be scared when you’re doing big things — okay? Acknowledging this can be life - changing. 
  2. I spend the next 15 to 30 seconds being curious about what my current relationship is with that discomfort. If the anxiety seems out of proportion to the situation, or if it seems irrational in any way, that means I’ve been ignoring fear and thus it’s starting to speak louder or act out. If this is the case, I give it my full attention then, and ask what it’s been trying to say to me that I haven’t acknowledged (e.g., ”Write a new speech; the one you have sucks.” Or, ”You forgot to call your mother”). Being such a great advisor, I use this time with fear to juice its knowledge like you would juice an orange. 
  3. Then, I spend as long as it takes to feel it. Now, this is important: I don’t try to get rid of it. That is not what this is about, because that would be disrespectful to fear. The key is to feel the feeling by spending some time with it, like you would with your dog, friend, or lover. I usually do this for about 30 to 60 seconds. After which, fear, feeling acknowledged and heard, often dissipates.

Yuval Noah Harari

  • Book: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.
  • So what should you focus on? My best advice is to focus on personal resilience and emotional intelligence. 
    • Traditionally, life has been divided into two main parts: a period of learning followed by a period of working. 
    • In the first part of life you built a stable identity and acquired personal and professional skills; in the second part of life you relied on your identity and skills to navigate the world, earn a living, and contribute to society. 
    • By 2040, this traditional model will become obsolete, and the only way for humans to stay in the game will be to keep learning throughout their lives and to reinvent themselves again and again.
  • So you have no choice but to really get to know yourself better. Know who you are and what you really want from life. This is, of course, the oldest advice in the book: know thyself. But this advice has never been more urgent than in the 21st century.

Some Closing Thoughts

  • “Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued.... Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long - run — in the long - run, I say ! — success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it.”— Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
  • Book: I read a book called Mental Toughness Training for Sports by Dr. Jim Loehr.

THE DANGER OF BIG QUESTIONS

  • Most of the time, ”What should I do with my life?” is a terrible question. ”What should I do with this tennis serve?” “What should I do with this line at Starbucks?” “What should I do with this traffic jam?” “How should I respond to the anger I feel welling up in my chest?” These are better questions. 
  • Excellence is the next five minutes, improvement is the next five minutes, happiness is the next five minutes. 
  • This doesn’t mean you ignore planning. I encourage you to make huge, ambitious plans. Just remember that the big - beyond - belief things are accomplished when you deconstruct them into the smallest possible pieces and focus on each ”moment of impact,” one step at a time.
  • I’ve had a life full of doubts... mostly for no good reason. 
  • Broadly speaking, as good as it feels to have a plan, it’s even more freeing to realize that nearly no misstep can destroy you.

THE POWER BROKER

  • To paraphrase Jim: The power broker in your life is the voice that no one ever hears. How well you revisit the tone and content of your private voice is what determines the quality of your life. It is the master storyteller, and the stories we tell ourselves are our reality.
  • “LOVE THE PAIN” isn’t about self - flagellation. It’s a simple reminder that nearly all growth requires discomfort. Sometimes the discomfort is mild, like an uphill bike ride or swallowing your ego to listen more attentively. Other times, it’s far more painful, like lactic - threshold training or the emotional equivalent of having a bone reset. None of these stressors are lethal, and it’s the rare person who pursues them. The benefits or lack thereof depend on how you talk to yourself. Hence, "LOVE THE PAIN.”
  • Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Say you’re running and you think, "Man, this hurts, I can’t take it anymore.” The "hurt” part is an unavoidable reality, but whether or not you can stand anymore is up to the runner himself.
  • If you want to have more, do more, and be more, it all begins with the voice that no one else hears.

FORKING PATHS UPON FORKING PATHS

  • Based on everything I’ve seen, a simple recipe can work: focus on what’s in front of you, design great days to create a great life, and try not to make the same mistake twice. That’s it. Stop hitting net balls and try something else, perhaps even the opposite. If you really want extra credit, try not to be a dick, and you’ll be a Voltron - level superstar. 
  • The secret to winning any game lies in not trying too hard.
  • Feeling as though you are trying too hard indicates that your priorities, technique, focus, or mindfulness is off. Take it as a cue to reset, not to double down. And take comfort in the fact that, whenever in doubt, the answer is probably hidden in plain sight. 
  • What would this look like if it were easy? 
  • In a world where nobody really knows anything, you have the incredible freedom to continually reinvent yourself and forge new paths, no matter how strange. Embrace your weird self. 
  • There is no one right answer... only better questions. 
  • Take it easy, ya azizi, 
    • Tim