Executive Performance Books - 'Tools of Titans' (Part 3: Wise)

April 4, 2018

"What you seek is seeking you."

- Rumi

 

To round out Tim Ferriss' introspection into the tactics, routines and habits of the world's healthiest and wealthiest of humans, he finishes the book with his selection of 'Wise'.

 

And often the wisest people have the most interesting things to say (you know... since they are so wise.)

 

See Part 1: Healthy and Part 2: Wealthy here.

 

Sit back and enjoy the best passages from a chapter riddled with gold.

 

 

 

 

BJ Miller - Don't believe everything you think.

 

"At the end of life, you can let a lot of the rules that govern our daily lives fly out the window. Because you realise that we're walking around in systems in society, and much of what consumes our days is not some natural order. We're all navigating some superstructure that we humans created."

 

 

Maria Popova - Those who work much, do not work hard.

 

"Ours is a culture where we wear our ability to get by on very little sleep as a kind of badge of honour that symbolises work ethic, or toughness, or some other virtue - but really, it's a total profound failure of priorities and of self-respect."

 

 

Jocko Willink - Discipline equals freedom

 

You can use positive restraints to increased perceived free will and results. Freeform days might seem idyllic, but they are paralysing due to continual paradox of choice and decision fatigue. In contrast, something as simple as a pre-scheduled workout can act as scaffolding around which you can more effectively plan and execute your day. This gives you the feeling of freedom. You can only achieve freedom, from things like finance, sickness or time, through discipline.

 

Take extreme ownership of your world. Everything you do matters and is in your control. You can't blame your employee for a mistake. It's your fault they weren't educated or didn't have clearer instructions.

 

Being able to detach from a situation is critical as a leader. Learn to step back and observe. This allows you to see what is happening from an outside perspective and make better decisions.

 

 

Sebastian Junger - Success is programmed

 

We are programmed to succeed from a very early age. The hardest thing you're ever going to do in your life is fail at something, and if you don't start failing at things, you will not live a full life. You'll be cautious.

 

You have to be prepared to fail. The process of failure allows for growth to expand your capabilities.

 

 

Chris Fussell - Influential advice

 

You should have a running list of three people you're always watching: someone senior to you that you want to emulate, a peer who you think is better at the job than you are and who you respect, and someone subordinate who's doing the job you did - one, two or three years ago - better than you did it.

 

This gives you perspective to measure yourself off of, continuously learn and become exponentially better.

 

 

Sam Harris - Mindfulness and mental chatter

 

Mindfulness allows you to pay attention to sights, sounds and sensations, and even thoughts themselves, without being lost in thought.

 

We're so deeply conditioned to be lost in thought and to converse with ourselves from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep. It's just chatter in the mind and we aren't even aware of it. We talk to ourselves nonstop, and until you can break the spell and notice thoughts themselves as objects of consciousness passing away, you can't even pay attention to anything else with any clarity.

 

 

Tim Ferriss on Fear Setting 

 

"Named must your fear be before banish it you can."

- Yoda

 

Tim has a Q&A antidote to reduce your fear over a situation or course of action. Write - do not edit. Go for volume.

 

1. Define your nightmare, the absolute worst that can happen if you did what you are considering. What would be the permanent impact, if any, on a scale of 1-10?

 

2. What steps could you take to repair the damage or get things back under control?

 

3. What are the outcomes or benefits of more probable scenarios?

 

4. What are you putting off out of fear? (What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.)

 

5. What is it costing you - financially, emotionally, and physically - to postpone action?

 

6. What are you waiting for?

 

 

Alain De Botton - Offense versus defense

 

"The more you know what you really want, and where you're really going, the more what everybody else is doing starts to diminish."

 

When your path is ambiguous, that's when the voices of others, social media and other influences can become threatening.

 

 

Naval Ravikant - Happiness is a choice

 

"The most important trick to be happy is to realise that happiness is a choice that you make and a skill you develop. You choose to be happy, and then you work at it. It's just like building muscles."

 

"Tell your friends that you're a happier person. Then you'll be forced to conform to it. You'll have consistency bias. You have to live up to it as your friends will expect you to be happy."

 

"Desire is a contact you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want."

 

 

Josh Waitzkin - How to breed high quality

 

"End the work day on very high quality as it means you will be internalising high quality overnight. Hemingway had a practice of stopping his writing sessions mid-flow and mid-sentence. That way, he could pick it up again with quality and confidence."

 

The little things are the big things. How you do anything is how you do everything.

 

"When you're not cultivating quality, you're essentially cultivating sloppiness."

 

 

Some of Tim's life-changing questions

 

3. What would I do/have/be if I had $10 million?

 

11. What if I could only subtract to solve problems?

 

13. Am I hunting antelope or field mice? (Which one thing, if done, would render everything else easier or unnecessary?)

 

14. Could it be that everything is fine and complete as is?

 

15. What would this look like if it were easy?

 

16. How can I 'throw' money at a problem to improve the quality of my life?

 

 

Brian Koppelman - Set goals

 

"Is that a dream or a goal? If it isn't on the calendar, it isn't real.

 

 

Jocko Willink (yeah, again) - "Good"

 

He described a terrible situation to Tim and ended by simply saying, "Good."

 

"That's what you always say. When something is wrong or going bad, you say 'Good.'"

 

The idea is to not get frustrated or startled. Accept reality, but focus on the solution, something good. Go forward, and if you are part of a team, that attitude will spread throughout.

 

And, to round this off, if you can say "Good" to a situation, it means you're still breathing. You've still got some fight left. So get up, dust off and get after it. 

 

That, right there, is about as good as it gets.

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