17 Questions: 14-17
This one is counterintuitively helpful for productivity: "Could it be that everything is fine and complete as is?" Maybe you're all just totally fine (class laughs). Don't need to freak out and like, smash your head against a brick wall trying to beat everyone. I've found this paradoxically extremely helpful because, and in my Five-Minute Journal which I've mentioned earlier, for instance one of my prompts, it asks you, well it says, "I am ..." and you put down affirmations. And you may think affirmations are super cheesy, if you could go back and listen to my podcast with Scott Adams, he would credit a lot of what he's done to these affirmations. But mine is, "I am unrushed." And feeling rushed is very different from doing things quickly. You can do things quickly and feel calm about it. If you feel rushed, generally mistakes are made and you end up hunting field mice. So when I'm very stressed out, I try to remind myself that, if you're sitting in this room right now, life's pretty g...
ood. Just like, globally speaking, right? I mean you make more than $65,000 a year, you're in the global 1%, right? So everyone's here, we don't have bombs flying overhead; we're in a good place. So could it be that everything is fine and complete as is? If I end up getting into this Type A pro and con list, to-do list overwhelm, then I try to schedule a time to consider this. And one way I do that is, every Sunday in my calendar I have Steve Jobs's Stanford commencement speech scheduled, in my calendar. If it's not on your calendar, by the way, it's not real. Any of these principles, tactics, et cetera, if it's not in the calendar, it's just in one ear out the other. It's just passive ingestion that's not going to do very much. All right, number 15; this is probably the question, along with these last three are probably the questions that I'm asking the most myself right now. All right, this one is really profound, and I didn't come up with this; I don't know where I came across it. "What would this look like if it were easy?" So for any project that you have, any goal, any relationship, what would this look like if it were easy? I find personally, I am prone to complication, to adding. Add, add, add more, more, more. And that a very high percentage of the stress that I experience is self-induced. If not all of it. But a very, very high percentage. And for Tools of Titans for instance, this question appears in the book, which is kind of meta because during the book writing, and during the book launch, I constantly asked, almost on a daily basis, "What would this look like if this were easy? "What would this look like if this were easy?" If I had to write this book in a week, what would it look like? Of course I'm not going to write it in a week, but just to fracture how I was thinking about it, what would I do, if I had to write it in a week, gun against the head, what would I do? Okay, I'd do this, this, and this. Out of that list of 10 ludicrous things, nine are complete nonsense, but that one actually, there is a seed there that I could use to make this a lot easier. What would this look like if it were easier? It's the first book I enjoyed writing; it's also the first launch that has been as effective as it was and as low stress as it was, a combination of the two. And I should add that 80-20 principle, when you're doing an 80-20 analysis, so the 20% of activities, and these numbers are not exact, but roughly, 20% of the activities and so on that produce 80% of the results that you want, if you have two tasks or two to-dos and you're trying to decide between them, do the easier one. If they seem of equal weight, or if you're unsure and they're kind of tied, do the easier one. Next, I'm not going to spend a ton of time on this, but, "How can I throw money at this problem?" How can I waste money to improve my quality of life? I grew up in a very frugal family. My parents never made more than 50 grand a year combined. And very frugal. And there are benefits to being cost-effective, but it's very easy to be, at least it's very for me to be, penny-wise and pound-foolish. And Dan Sullivan, who's the creator of something called "Strategic Coach," who I've met a number of times, a lot of my friends credit that particular program with saving their sanity, serial entrepreneurs, says "If you have enough money to solve the problem, "you don't have a problem." (class laughs) It seems funny but it's very hard I think, when you reach even a very small degree, a modicum of success, to put aside sometimes the bootstrapping mentality that got you there. It's not always virtuous to bootstrap everything. Does that make sense? You have limited cognitive capacity, so if you can solve the problem with money, that saves you time. Money is renewable; time is not. So that's a trade you should make all day long. So the last one is not a question, it's more of a mantra, and this is something I think about a lot. It's, "No hurry, no pause." Okay, so what does that mean? "No hurry, no pause" is a line that is taken from something called Breema, which is a type of bodywork and meditation that was introduced to me by Jenny Sauer-Klein. Jenny Sauer-Klein is the co-founder of something called "AcroYoga," which some of you may know I'm kind of obsessed with. A lot of it in this area too, if you guys are interested. "No pause no hurry" is really just medication in language that I use to not rush. You remember I said "I am unrushed"? When I rush my quality of life suffers, and I get counterintuitively less done. So "No hurry, no pause" just means to calmly put one foot after the other. And this is also a close cousin of another one, which you may prefer. I like both and I use both. And this is from a friend of mine who's a Navy Seal, and they use this a lot in training, and that is, "Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast." Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast. There are a lot of good military expressions that can be used in business, for instance. There's another one, which is, "Two is one and one is none." That means have a backup. So if you're the sole decision-maker in your company, one is none; you're going to get sick and your company's going to take a major hit. So you need to have processes in place. "Two is one and one is none." So, "No hurry, no pause" is I think a good place to end my portion of this one-directional program, and then we'll go into a more interactive flow, because achievement doesn't matter if you can't enjoy any of it. And if you can't enjoy and pause at points, it's a pyrrhic victory. So I've come to realize this in the last few years especially that goals are easy for driven people; that's just how you're hard-wired. But if you're constantly future-focused and planning, that's anxiety; if you're past-focused that's depression. And you do need something in the middle, which is this appreciation, which you can cultivate in many different ways. So, no hurry, no pause. Thank you very much! (class applauds loudly)
If changing one thing could make life easier, what would that be? Some might say, “If only I had an assistant, then I could manage my calendar” or “If I started my own company, I would have the freedom I’ve always wanted.”
Tim Ferriss, bestselling author of recent #1 New York Times bestseller Tools of Titans and The 4-Hour Workweek, asks the key unexpected questions to uncover all the small changes that add up to better habits, routines, and systems to make life easier.
Join Tim Ferriss for a short exercise on how to be ten times more productive. He’ll show you how to do it and speak to how he did the same for himself. Chase Jarvis, CEO of CreativeLive, will join the conversation. They’ll discuss their routines and Tim’s new book Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers.