Tim Ferriss’ newest books Tools of Titans talks about the tactics, routines and habits of billionaires, icons and world-class performers. Here are my top 7 ideas from the book.
The Small Things Are the Big Things
Everything you do on the micro level will reflect on the macro level as well. You have to do things consistently and unconditionally. This way you’ll always stay on your path to glory and can be assured that you’ll perform at your peak when it matters most.
Naval Admiral William McRaven, who was the head of Joint Special Operations Command during the Osama bin Laden raid, commencement in his retirement speech: “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.” (Click to Tweet)
That’s the idea here – the small things ARE the big things because we are what we repeatedly do. Our actions define us and it’s our moment to moment decisions that will determine our success.
Nearly 80% of the interviewees in the book have some sort of a mindfulness practice. But meditation is difficult. Here’s an awesome idea from Chade-Meng Tan – Google employee #107 – that will help you to meditate better and also navigate through life with ease.
Just Note Gone – train the mind to notice that something previously experienced is no more. At the end of a breath notice that the breath is over. Gone. Sound fades away, notice when it is over. At the end of an experience of emotion – joy, anger, sadness – notice it is over. Gone. In situations of discomfort or pain, you can concentrate on the fact that each sensory experience will pass. It’s Gone.
Remembering this and acknowledging it can help you go through other challenges as well. Knowing that this too shall pass gives you micro-relief because “the pain may last for a minute or an hour, but the feeling of regret will haunt you for a lifetime.”
Improve Tools at the Top of the Funnel
Optimize the things that have a cascading effect on your results. Noah Kagan says to look for technical bottlenecks that affect nearly everything you do on a computer. What are the things, if broken or slow make your to-do list useless and you unable to take action?
Here are two things you can implement right away:
- Increase the speed of your mouse. Go into Settings of Systems Preferences and double your current speed. This takes less than 30 seconds to do but will make you a lot faster.
- Invest in the best router you can afford and get a faster Internet connection.
I would also like to add this principle to your own personal skills as well.
- Learn to read faster while still comprehending the information.
- Increase neuroplasticity to improve your intelligence and thinking
- Use quality nutrition and establish a fat-burning metabolism for more energy
- Become more disciplined and less influenced by outside events
- It can also be something like having Lasik surgery like Noah did
Inviting Mara to Tea
Tara Brach, Ph.D. is one of the leading Buddhist thinkers in the Western world.
One of her favorite stories about the Buddha talks shows the power of a wakeful and friendly heart. The night before his enlightenment, the Buddha fought a great battle with the Demon God Mara, who attacked Siddhartha Gautama with everything he had: lust, greed, anger, doubt. Having failed, Mara left in disarray.
**The night before his enlightenment, the Buddha fought a great battle with the Demon God Mara, who attacked Siddhartha Gautama with everything he had: lust, greed, anger, doubt. Having failed, Mara left in disarray.
However, that was only a temporary discouragement. After the Buddha had become deeply revered throughout India, Mara continued to make unexpected appearances.
Instead of ignoring Mara or driving him away, the Buddha would calmly acknowledge his presence, saying, “I see you, Mara.” He would then invite him for tea and serve him as an honored guest. They would drink tea, sit on cushions and talk. Mara would stay for a while and then go, but Buddha stayed free and undisturbed the entire time.**
Whenever Mara visits us, in the form of afflictive emotions, fear or worries, we can say, “I see you, Mara,” and realize that they’re a part of the human condition. By accepting these experiences, we can offer Mara tea while still maintaining our calm centeredness. Look fear into the eyes and don’t be distraught by it, feel it, allow it to overtake you, and then do it anyway.
Change All Assumptions
Bryan Johnson is one of the world-changing entrepreneurs that funds investors and scientists who aim to benefit humanity by rewriting the operating systems of life.
One of his main principles is ‘change all assumptions,’ which is closely related to learned helplessness. He uses a story about 5 monkeys.
“There are 5 monkeys in a room, and there is a basket of bananas at the top of a ladder. The monkeys, of course, want to climb the ladder to get the bananas, but every time one tries, they are all sprayed with cold water.
After a few times of being sprayed by cold water, the monkeys learn to not climb up the ladder to get the bananas…The experimenters then take one monkey out and put a new monkey in, and the new monkey sees a banana. He thinks, ‘Hey, I’m going to grab myself a banana,’ but when he tries to go up the ladder, the other monkeys grab him and pull him back…
The experimenters eventually systematically pull every monkey out, and now you have five new monkeys. Any time a new monkey comes in and tries to climb the ladder, they grab the monkey and pull it back, but none of the five have ever been sprayed by cold water.”
The monkeys simply follow certain activities because that’s what everyone else around them is doing as well. That’s how culture works as well, I believe. We shouldn’t follow bullshit rules and traditions if they’ve lost all their applicability and validity in the modern world.
What past limitations are you carrying as baggage? Where are you afraid of getting sprayed with water, even though it’s never happened? Oftentimes, everything you want is a mere inch outside of your comfort zone. Test it.
Failure is Not Durable
Failure is not durable. There’s a key to success in every failure.
Robert Rodriguez created an initial movie called Four rooms, which bombed completely, like flat to the ground. In the ashes of that failure, he discovered 2 new movie ideas – Spy Kids and Sin City, which both turned out to be major hits.
“You can go back and you can look at it and go, ‘Oh, that wasn’t a failure. That was a key moment in my development that I needed to take, and I can trust my instinct. I really can.’”
‘What if you developed such prophetic skills in advance. Another guest in the book, Jane McGonigal said it as well: “I’ve learned an important trick: to develop foresight, you need to practice hindsight.”
Think of your failures as stepping stones to your success as they’re happening right now in the present moment. When the shit hits the fan, look at the situation already from the perspective of what you can take away from it and implement immediately. Failure is not durable, just feedback.
“Good” by Jocko Willink
How to deal with setbacks, failures, delays, defeat or other disasters? There is one word to deal with all those situations, and that is: “good.”
When things are going bad, there’s going to be some good that will come from it.
- Oh, mission got canceled? Good. We can focus on another one.
- Didn’t get the new high-speed gear we wanted? Good. We can keep it simple.
- Didn’t get promoted? Good. More time to get better.
- Didn’t get the job you wanted? Good. Go out, gain more experience, and build a better résumé.
- Got injured? Good. Needed a break from training.
- Got beat? Good. We learned.
- Unexpected problems? Good. We have the opportunity to figure out a solution.
A positive attitude will not solve problems but neither will dwelling on the problem. Accept reality, but focus on the solution.
Take that issue, take that setback and turn it into something good. Go forward.
“If you can say the word “good”, guess what? It means you’re still alive. It means you’re still breathing. And if you’re still breathing, that means you’ve still got some fight left in you. So get up, dust off, reload, recalibrate, re-engage, and go out on the attack.” (GOOD – Click to Tweet)
And that, right there, is as good as it gets.
More Ideas from Tools of Titans
These are my top 7 ideas from Tools of Titans, but there are just so much more gold nuggets in the book. I’ve already created many blog posts and videos about them, so make sure to check them out.
Stay Good. Stay Empowered!