WISDOM – What habits or skills are the more important to live a successful life? Answers from Derek Sivers

This content is from a Tim Ferriss Radio Hour episode dedicated to individuals who achieved outstanding success. This corresponds to the Tim Ferriss Show #325. I highly recommend this podcast which has been an invaluable source of information and inspiration over the years.

As for Derek Sivers, @Sivers on Twitter, he is the founder of CDBaby, and accomplished Ted Speaker and an inspiring author.

Here is what Derek answers to the question: What habits or skills are more important to live a successful life?

1 – Managing your state and your emotional reactions and actions

2 – Knowing what people need in general and what you need in particular

3 – People skills: how to see things from the other’s person point of view and how to communicate from their point of view

4 – The ability to focus, learn, practice and apply what you learn

Discover more from Derek from his Ted Talks on Starting a movement:

WISDOM – Winning the day thanks to morning routines

Human are creatures of habits which means that what defines us is more likely to be what we do everyday than our major life achievements. That also fuels the idea that such achievements may be the result of the tiny steps we are taking each day. That’s the reason why I am so curious about the pattern that govern top performers’ life’s.

The outstanding work done by Tim Ferriss over the years, compiling insights from exemplary individuals life’s provides a bottomless set of data. Indeed, you would need more than 24 hours each day if you were to add everyone’s routines to yours. This post is about the routines that I tried and adopted (or left behind) to build my own set.

#1 – Meditation (10 – 20 min)
Daily morning meditation sets the frame for the day. As explored in a previous post, priming is a fundamental brain mechanism, based on scientific evidence and highlighted by Nobel Prize winer Daniel Kahneman. Human brain works in such a way that its reactions tend to be conditioned by the previous environment and stimulation it received. That means you have a simple tool to “trick” your brain into a positive mindset, simply by starting the day with positive thoughts. You can find detail about meditation practice here, and see how I frame my daily practice.

#2 – Make your bed (1 min)
Leveraging again on priming, a simple achievement paves the way for an achieving mind. I find this also gives a subtle nudge of satisfaction. It is also an action that is totally under your control, wherever you are. I moved in with my girlfriend, this was not always an option for me so I changed the routine to folding a towel to sit for my meditation. In practice this has the same effect.

#3 – Drink (5 min)
I have tried many types of morning drinks, any kind of strong tea, mate, coffee or fruit juice. No matter of what works for you, the hydration reflex helps to condition the body. I also appreciate the physical action of making the drink, starting the day by building up something healthy – I especially appreciate preparing morning drinks for my family members.

#4 – Yoga (10 min to 1 hour)
Whenever possible, I’ll start the day with a yoga session. Squeezing the Yoga session in the morning gives me the feeling of having already “won the day”. More about my yoga practice here.

#5 – Prioritize (5 to 10 minutes)
Once this routine is done, I dedicate a few minutes to set-up tasks and to-do lists for the day. I like to rank the importance of my tasks to ensure I can focus primary on what matters the most.

I try my best to keep my phone in flight mode until this routine is done. I find the feeling very different if for some reason I get to see a bunch of work emails, social media or news notification.

Keeping up with any routine is always difficult and it is normal to miss out on some of them on a regular basis. My best advice is to build up some time in the morning by getting up earlier, this will help you to win the day. Another observation: contrary to what I initially believed, I tend to miss out on my routines on the less busy days such as weekend or holiday, especially for the meditation part.

Let me know the routines that work for you!

HEALTH – Putting sleep back to the center, where it always belonged

I had to experience exhaustion to realize how sleep was probably one of my best partners in life. Although I was made aware as a kid by my mother of the fundamental role of sleep in the learning process, I recurrently shortened my nights as I started to work. It is only five years after graduating that I started to feel different and could not figure out what was wrong. Both my diet and my physical exercise being under control, I was not able to explain this recurring tiredness, often doubled by a feeling of irritation and slight lack of interest for the present moment.

Researching the cause of this discomfort I noted that I actually did not sleep much, neither during the week, as I was staying late at work or working out to try to reduce my stress level, nor during the weekend, as I was socializing to breath after exhausting weeks, wreaking up in the morning for physical exercise.

At this moment in time, I decided to start using a sleep tracker and it did not take long to get some data: I was barely getting an average of five and half hours, far too low for standards. Yet, this experience triggered even more stress as I did not manage to squeeze more sleep into my schedule. I removed my sleep tracker and carried on with my usual sleep pattern.

Only after I was lucky enough to read Ariana Huffington’s book, The Sleep Revolution, I started to associate good sleep pattern with performance. Reading that Jeff Bezos or Lebron James where sleeping in excess of eight hours a night opened my eyes. I had always thought that top performers would sleep three to five hours. This had a radical impact on me. I started to cut activities to free time to rest. The most impacted slot was the physical activity, followed by social gatherings. I made a point to sleep at least seven hours a night and when I finally reached that goal, increased to seven and a half (yes, I got back to wearing the sleep tracker).

This new sleep pattern helped to erase the tiredness and irritability. Despite less physical exercice, my stress level decreased and my blood pressure lowered. I also measured an increase in my work and physical performance.

I steel use a few gears to help me with my sleep goal, including a FitBit sleep tracker, lead my brain into sleeping mode with Lavender essential oil and occasionally a confortable eye mask.

WISDOM – Two TED Talks that had a significant influence on me

I am sure you are familiar with TED Talks and you probably saw quite a number already. Today I chose to highlight two talks that had a significant influence on me and that triggered some changes in the way I namely conduct my business.

Both talks help to empower you to do what feels right, for yourself and for others. They helped me to raise my voice, at several occasion, and to reframe the message I wanted to convey, in a way that was more accessible for my audience – in that specific case, colleagues and managers.

The first one is dedicated to the ability to speak up. Also I am a naturally outgoing person, I used to feel some difficulty to voice things that were directly concerning me as an individual. This talk helped me to build a frame to simplify the process and build up the message that is both authentic and efficient.

The second one tackles the question of your work’s value. That’s indeed a key question, regardless of your job and your industry. Thanks to this talk I was able to identify that I was contributing personally much more to the development of my business activity compared to what I traditionally imagined. By refraining this value, it unlock healthy discussions with my managers and open the way to some carrier progression.

I leave you with the two talks, please share you feedbacks in the comments or directly on Twitter!

How to speak up for yourself by Adam Galinsky

Know your worth, and then ask for it by Casey Brown

WISDOM – Keeping up with Asia news flow

Be it for personal interest, business or investment, Asia remains an important attention point for me. Yet, most traditional media tend to overlook or simplify their Asian coverage. To get into the bottom of the matter, it’s important to consider specific publications.

If you will want to stick to global media brand, I recommend you go through the Asia and China pages of the weekly The Economist. That shall enable you to stay on top of the news flow.

Another weekly, this one dedicated to Asia, has my preference: Nikkei Asian Review. This offers a pan-apac coverage for business and financial topics.

To deepen the understanding, I would recommend The Diplomat, a monthly geopolitical publication dedicated to Asia.

WISDOM – Learning Chinese, materials

To be completed

Podcasts

I like to use podcasts to practice languages hence I have looked for useful ones when it comes to Chinese

  • Talk Chineasy is my favorite one. This daily podcast helps to learn new vocabulary. The format is very short and it work by idea association, linking the works you are learning to some of the participants personal stories. This facilitates memorization.
  • Coffee Break Chinese is a very well build ressource. It’s based on dialogues in basic situations. It’s actually much more demanding than the previous one but will do the work if you are serious about learning actual Chinese conversations

MONEY – the only rule you need to know to get rich

I read countless books on Investment, Business or Entrepreneurship. Each successful individual has indeed a deeply personal and specific story, this is what makes the reading interesting. However, when it comes to Wealth Management or Wealth creation, there is a single golden rule: to get and remain rich, you need to buy assets.

I’ll borrow the definition of Asset from Robert Kiyosaki (if you never encountered this name, I recommend you get yourself a copy of Rich Dad, Poor Dad). An asset is something that puts money into your pocket, without requiring you to work. On the flip side, a liability is something that gets money out of your pocket while you sleep. See the difference?

An asset can indeed take many form. It can be stocks, real estate that you get a rental income from, a company, some intellectual property (such as a book) or even a YouTube channel.

Why your job is not an asset? When we work we trade our time against money, hence we are actively processing some tasks. That makes you somehow an asset for the company’s shareholders.

Studying rich people, you quickly realise that they direct a significant amount of their revenues to buying assets. Did you know that most of Bill Gates wealth for instance is not made of Microsoft shares or cash?

It does not matter if you have very little savings. The only rule you need to follow is actually to dedicate some amount of your revenue to buy assets. Over time, these assets will generate cash-flow (revenues) that will contribute to your financial freedom.

Let’s recap with that simple video from Robert Kiyosaki:

Read this post on passive income to get to know more about assets you can buy.