As a student at school I couldn’t stand them. And yet, here we are 15 years later on a Sunday and I’m writing one for the latest book I read.
At least Mr Pitfield would be proud.
Alas, having just consumed Tim Ferriss’ latest beast of a book, where he asked the same 11 questions to over 100 of the world’s elite, I felt compelled to share some of the wisdom.
The sheer size and weight of this badboy might tempt you to use it as a doorstop, and it isn’t the sort of book you can pickup and read cover to cover. I mean it’s quite literally the same 11 questions asked to over 100 people, and then printed as a book.
But you pick it up, read a handful of the responses, and then put it down and leave it for a couple of days and let it percolate.
At least this is what I did for the last month, leaving me with these 7 key takeaways:
1. “Busy is a decision” – Debbie Millman
Debbie suggests the excuse “I’m too busy” is lazy and inauthentic. I loved this. Translated, it means that the thing that we’re saying no to is not important enough because if it were, we’d make the time for it rather than use time as an excuse.
Being busy has become a badge of honour that people like to attach to themselves as a sign of importance. I’ve ranted about this once before, so will spare you all this time. Consider yourselves lucky… Unless you clicked on the above link.
2.“Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life” – Jerzy Gregorek
According to the book, Jerzy is some sort of Polish powerlifter. But frankly, I don’t care what he does when dropping quotes like this.
This one made me lean back in my rocking chair, take a puff of my imaginary pipe and stare out the window, blowing gently as my thoughts swirled through a non-existent tobacco haze.
The translation from my birds eye view: while it’s easier to avoid difficult choices in life, like leaving a job or dealing with a potential conflict, this will more often than not lead to dissatisfaction and a “hard” life.
3. “Burnout is not the price you must pay for success” – Ariana Huffington
Another quote after my own heart, and this from the creator of the Huffington Post.
She believes strongly in a life of balance and a focus on well being, not burning the candle at both ends. “Science tells us… when we prioritize our well-being, our performance goes up across the board”.
Science guys. Science.
(On a related note, another mentor in the book, Jerome Jarre, offers this gem: “when 99% of your life is work, you are either bad at what you do, or off balance. Neither you should be proud of”).
4. Facil! – Robert Rodriguez
This Spanish word for “easy” might just become part of my everyday vernacular*. Rodriguez explains he adds it to the end of a sentence when he’s setting himself, or his team a seemingly impossible task as a way to empower them.
“I like the idea of setting impossible challenges, and, with one word, making it seem doable.”
*Yes, I just used the word vernacular. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do since starting this blog. In fact, it may have been the sole reason for starting…
5. This quote
The fundamental cause of trouble is that in the modern world, the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt” – Bertrand Russell
I mean… When you take a step back… Look at some of the happenings in the world… Could there be a more accurate quote for right now?
6. “It all begins with that voice no-one else hears” – Tim Ferriss
The concept of self-talk, mindset and that little voice inside your head comes up a lot throughout this book and I felt this quote summed it up nicely.
Whether it’s the voice of fear or doubt or the voice that says “hell yeah, I can”, it all starts in that
little big brain of yours.
7. Ferriss can turn ANYTHING into digestible, insightful and marketable content
I mean anything.
A handful of the elite who declined his offer to answer the questions and be part of the book STILL ended up in the book… As examples of “how to say no”.