Tools of Titans

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This past week, I picked up and read Tim Ferriss’ new book Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons and World-Class Performers.

The book has already shot to the top of the Best Sellers list (#4 on Amazon this morning and climbing).

I’m proud and honored that Tim featured me as one of the 100+ interviewed for his book.

In this blog, I’ve chosen to feature the tools and tips from five amazing people highlighted in Tim’s book, specifically: Tony Robbins, Peter Thiel, Marc Andreessen, Reid Hoffman and Seth Godin.

Those five titans offer the following five nuggets:

  1. Morning priming
  2. Not waiting to pursue your dreams
  3. Conviction without stubbornness
  4. Stimulating the subconscious mind
  5. Starting extremely small

All of these are ripe for your upcoming New Year’s resolutions. Congrats again to Tim on his book… Let’s dive in.

Morning Priming (Tony Robbins)

Tony Robbins introduced to me to morning priming years ago, and it has become a staple of my morning routine ever since. Upon waking, Tony immediately goes into his priming routine, which is intended to produce rapid change in his psychology and physiology. Tony says, “To me, if you want a primetime life, you’ve got to prime daily.” Priming with Tony’s method only takes around 10 minutes, and here are the three steps:

1.Expressing Gratitude (3 minutes): Tony describes this step as, “Feeling totally grateful for three things. I make sure that one of them is very, very simple: the wind on my face, the reflection of the clouds that I just saw. But don’t just think gratitude. I let the gratitude fill my soul, because when you’re grateful, we all know there’s no anger. It’s impossible to be angry and grateful simultaneously. When you’re grateful, there is no fear. You can’t be fearful and grateful simultaneously.”

2.Spiritual Exercise (3 minutes): Tony describes this step as, “Total focus on feeling the presence of God, if you will, however you want to language that for yourself. But this inner presence coming in, and feeling it heal everything in my body, in my mind, my emotions, my relationships, my finances. I see it as solving anything that needs to be solved. I experience the strengthening of my gratitude, of my conviction, of my passion…“

3.Three to Thrive (3 minutes): Tony describes this final step as, “Focusing on three things that I’m going to make happen, my ‘three to thrive.’ … See it as though it’s already been done, feel the emotions, etc.”

There is No Need to Wait (Peter Thiel)

Peter Thiel’s contrarian ideas have become gospel in Silicon Valley. He has been an advocate of dropping out of school in favor of entrepreneurship, and there have been tens of thousands of applications for his Thiel Fellowship since he launched it in 2011.

Here is Peter Thiel’s answer to the question, “What do you wish you had known about business 20 years ago?”

“If you go back 20 or 25 years, I wish I would have known that there was no need to wait. I went to college. I went to law school. I worked in law and banking, though not for terribly long. But not until I started PayPal did I fully realize that you don’t have to wait to start something. So if you’re planning to do something with your life, if you have a 10-year plan of how to get there, you should ask: Why can’t you do this in 6 months? Sometimes, you have to actually go through the complex 10-year trajectory. But it’s at least worth asking whether that’s the story you’re telling yourself, or whether that’s the reality.”

Strong Views, Loosely Held (Marc Andreessen)

This phrase was on Marc Andreessen’s Twitter bio for years. Marc’s explanation of this phrase in Tim Ferriss’ book is worth noting and internalizing for every entrepreneur:

“Most people go through life and never develop strong views on things, or specifically go along and buy into the consensus. One of the things I think want to look for as both a founder and as an investor is things that are out of consensus, something very much opposed to the conventional wisdom… Then, if you’re going to start a company around that, if you’re going to invest in that, you better have strong conviction because you’re making a very big bet of time or money or both. But what happens when the world changes? What happens when something else happens? That’s where “loosely held” comes in. People everywhere hate changing their minds, but you need to be able to adapt in light of new information.”

Give the Mind an Overnight Task (Reid Hoffman)

Reid Hoffman jots down problems in a notebook that he wants to his mind to work on overnight. This helps him ruminate over different ideas in his subconscious to start his next day primed with solutions. It was Thomas Edison who said, “Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious.” Here is Reid speaking on his tactic:

“What are the kinds of key things that might be constraints on a solution, or might be the attributes of a solution, and what are tools or assets I might have? … I actually think most of our thinking, of course is subconscious. Part of what I’m trying to do is allow the fact that we have this kind of relaxation, rejuvenation period in sleeping, to essentially possibly bubble up the thoughts and solutions to it.”

To Create Something Great, Start Extremely Small (Seth Godin)

Seth Godin has authored 18 best-selling books on the way ideas spread, marketing and strategic communication. His ideas on “starting small to go big” have impacted me across all my organizations and companies.

In the word of United States Army general Creighton Abrams, “When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time.” Here is Seth Godin on starting small:

“My suggestion is, whenever possible, ask yourself: What’s the smallest possible footprint I can get away with? What is the smallest possible project that is worth my time? What is the smallest group of people who I could make a difference for, or to? Because smallest is achievable. Smallest feels risky. Because if you pick smallest and you fail, now you have really screwed up… We want to pick big. Infinity is our friend. Infinity is safe. Infinity gives us a place to hide. So, I want to encourage people instead to look for the small. To be on one medium in a place where people can find you. To have one sort of interaction with one tribe, with one group where you don’t have a lot of lifeboats.”

As always, some of the most important learnings by the most brilliant people, are all about mindset.

So as you consider new mindsets for your 2017 New Year’s resolutions, here’s a summary of this blog: Prime every morning. Whatever you want to do with your life, do it now! Do it with strong convictions (loosely held). Set your mind to work on that goal while you sleep, and start with a small objective.

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