It’s true. I’m a self-confessed Type-A personality. At the age of 6, I was hell-bent on winning the every colouring-in competition I could find. At 12, it was the national basketball league. At 18, it was the who could wear the best shade of fluoro eye shadow. And now at 27, it’s all about being the very best business owner I can possibly be.
So, I guess it comes as no surprise that I eat up self-help books more often than I eat breakfast itself. My latest devouring, was the epic compendium of recipes for high performance by Tim Ferriss. Tools of Titans comes in a rather juicy 650+ pages, and of course I loved every bit of it’s self-help goodness. Ferriss has selected nuggets of wisdom from high-achievers he has interviewed over the years and created a buffet of tips, tricks and tools on how to be an elite performer.
Ferriss has compiled these bite sized chunks of wisdom into a compelling read, perfect for those (like me), who don’t often read books start to finish, but rather digest pieces sporadically over time. I think I probably picked this book up about 100 times, all in different places, chapters and themes.
Below are ten truths that I learnt from reading this juicy gem.
- HARD WORK IS WASTED IF THERE’S NO VISION
“I am a big believer that if you have a clear vision of where you want to go, than the rest of it is much easier. Because you always know why you are training 5 hours a day, you always know why you are pushing and going through the pain barrier, and why you have to eat more, and why you have to struggle more, and why you have to be more disciplined… I felt that I could win it, and that was what I was there for. I wasn’t there to compete. I was there to win.”
– Taken from Arnie Schwarzenegger’s interview
- BUSYNESS IS OFTEN A FORM OF PROCRASTINATION FROM THE WORK THAT ACTUALLY MATTERS
“Being busy is a form of laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action. Being busy is most often used as a guise for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions.”
– Ferriss, the man himself
- FOCUS ON THE WORK THAT WILL ACTUALLY SEE YOU FULFILLING YOUR GOALS
“A lion is fully capable of capturing, killing, and eating a field mouse. But it turns out that the energy required to do so exceeds the caloric content of the mouse itself. So a lion that spent its day hunting and eating field mice would slowly starve to death. A lion can’t live on field mice. A lion needs antelope. Antelope are big animals. They take more speed and strength to capture and kill, and once killed, they provide a feast for the lion and her pride… So ask yourself at the end of the day, “Did I spend today chasing mice or hunting antelope?”
– Taken from Newt Gingrich’s interview
- IT’S ALL ABOUT THOSE HEART STRINGS
“Never forget that underneath all the math and the MBA bullshit talk, we are all still emotionally driven human beings. We want to attach ourselves to narratives. We don’t act because of equations. We follow our beliefs. We get behind leaders who stir our feelings. In the early days of your venture, if you find someone diving too deep into the numbers, that means they are struggling to find a reason to deeply care about you.”
– Taken from Chris Sacca’s interview
- IN THE EARLY STAGES, SAY YES TO EVERYTHING
“When you’re earlier in your career, I think the best strategy is to just say ‘yes’ to everything. Every little gig. You just never know what are the lottery tickets.”
– Taken from Derek Sivers’ interview (one of my favourite humans ever)
- BE VULNERABLE AND DON’T PRETEND TO KNOW IT ALL
“The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.”
– Taken from Neil Gaiman’s interview
- FAKE IT ‘TIL YOU MAKE IT, BABY
“I like to make promises that I’m not sure I can keep and then figure out how to keep them. I think you can will things into happening by just committing to them sometimes.”
– Taken from Sophia Amoruso’s interview (my pretend best friend, I love this woman)
- DO IT FOR THE RIGHT REASONS
“Any time I’m telling myself, ‘But I’m making so much money,’ that’s a warning sign that I’m doing the wrong thing.”
– Taken from B.J. Novak’s interview
- YOU’VE GOT TO MAKE A MESS TO MAKE PROGRESS
“It is essential to get lost and jam up your plans now and then. It’s a source of creativity and perspective.”
– Taken from Scott Belsky’s interview
- YOU ARE YOUR GREATEST WORK OF ART / YOU ARE ENTIRELY UP TO YOU
“You create yourself, instead of seeking to discover yourself. There is value in the latter, but it’s mostly past-tense. It’s a rearview mirror. Looking out the windshield is how you get where you want to go.”