When the world can look at an individual and collectively say, “How in the hell does he do all that?” You know you are dealing with someone special. Tim Ferriss, the author, blogger, podcast host, TV host, world champion ballroom dancer, angel investor, advisor, and Chinese kickboxing champion shares his thoughts on creating a life that has allowed him to accomplish so much.
I have taken his interview on 30 Days of Genius with Chase Jarvis, extracted the information, and used it to answer common questions by readers just like you, who are looking to take their lives to the next level, or at least a different level than the one they are on.
How Do I Reach My Goals?
The first thing you need to ask yourself is, “Am I putting in the time?” It is so easy to make the “I don’t have time” excuse. If you don’t have time, there is no pressure to get off your butt and start producing, is there?
Without putting in the time you will never be able to reach any goal worth striving for.
To be clear, it is not finding time, it is making time. It’s not going to be handed to you.
Secondly, you need to ask yourself is, “Am I making this harder than it needs to be?”
People tend to focus on being busy as opposed to being productive. As long as you are moving you are moving in the right direction. Sound familiar? If you are not reflecting on your goals, and your actions to reach those goals, you may be moving, but it is most likely in a circle.
Do not put in more work than is necessary to accomplish the goal. I ask myself, what would it look like if it were easy? That helps me filter through my thoughts and actions to a more streamlined approach.
If you are having a hard time getting started at all, you are probably looking at the project as a whole, which is daunting and intimidating.
Give yourself smaller goals to reach each day. As long as those actions help you reach the larger goal, you are in good shape.
Writing a book? Have a quota of 2 pages a day. If you feel like writing more, go for it, but you have already had a successful writing day. The trick is to rig the game so you can win. The more you win, the more you do, the more you do, the more you get done. This will build more confidence, while at the same time build momentum for the overall project. Before you know it, you will have a book!
Obviously the book is just an example. Whatever your project is, if you are having trouble starting, work backwards, find the things you need to be doing at the beginning, then set low, highly achievable goals to reach every day that build towards the finished product. You will be blowing past your quotas in no time because you will be building up the momentum, your creativity, and the fire to get it done.
It all boils down to habits, and forming those habits. You need to have things in place in your life to help you form good habits. Routines are HUGE for me. Why get up every morning and reinvent the wheel? Have a system in place that puts you in the best mental and physical space to work. You will save time in the long run, have a clearer head, and get more done. Have a routine in the mornings and evenings. Make sure you are getting good sleep, it is the foundation of a productive day.
It sounds counter-intuitive, but the more crazy and neurotic you are, the more you need routines and structure. So get them in place ASAP.
“Productivity” Tricks For The Neurotic, Manic-Depressive, and Crazy (Like Me) — article
Practice systems thinking. Not every project needs to be a win, but it needs to add to the bigger picture. Make sure that the various aspects of the projects that you are working on are giving you skills, or a network, that you can use for the next project, and the bigger picture.
How Do I Become Successful?
Success is a state of mind.
What is your definition of success?
This is different for everyone, so I will give you some general advice.
Good work is the best SEO in the world. If your product or service sucks, then your marketing and advertising will only be letting EVERYONE know that you suck. Do good work. You need to be different, and you need to be better. Blending in will do you and your goals no good.
One very important way to be successful is to feel successful. Celebrate the small wins along the way. If you don’t enjoy them on the way up, you won’t be able to enjoy them at the top. I have a container called, The Jar Of Awesome. Cheesy name, but it comes in very handy on days when I am down. Every day I write down something I am grateful for that day, and I put it in the jar. If I have a day where I am not feeling so hot, or very confident, I can go back and reminisce about all the wonderful things that have happened to me. We tend to forget the good things along the way. This is an easy and effective way to remind ourselves when we need it most.
It is also important to practice mindfulness. If you are constantly thinking about the next thing, you are never enjoying the thing right in front of you. I use TM (transcendental meditation), but there are apps like Headspace and Calm that work wonderfully as well. This helps me stay present during the day, and react to things appropriately as opposed to emotionally. Being in the moment has huge benefits, especially if you are in high stress situations. Emotional decisions can be disastrous.
How Do I Continue To Get Better?
Try new things.
Give yourself the chance to see things with beginner’s eyes. The more you stretch your mind and learn
new things, the more you can bring back to what you already know. It will give you more perspective to add, which is growth an-and-of itself.
Put constraints on the things you produce. Get out of your comfort zone and you will continually grow. Once you learn to do a lot with little, you can do a lot with a lot. Constantly looking for new perspectives, new ways to attack problems will give you a bigger arsenal to work with later. Give yourself that freedom. Force growth.
Be creative. Don’t take things too seriously, it is a creative killer. Be absurd. Do things just for the hell of it (within reason of course).
“With a type-A personality it is easy to feel like if you are not burning the candle at both ends you are not doing a good job”
”Focus on your unique abilities, and work won’t feel hard or forced.”
“You are the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with”
Tim Ferriss Links
The Tim Ferriss ExperimentPractical Thoughts on Suicide — Article
Neil Gaman — Make Good Art — Speech
Chase Jarvis Links
iTunes Podcast Page