When I first started to write my review for Tools of Titans, I treated it like any other book review I’ve done. I began by giving an overview of the book, wrote about what I liked and didn’t like, and the key takeaways for my readers. Through this process I realized that the ordinary style wouldn’t work for Tools of Titans, because Tools of Titans is not an ordinary book. Most books have one central idea, and provide hundreds of pages of examples and reinforcement to make sure the idea sticks. This is why author/marketer/blogger Seth Godin says he reads books until he gets the “joke” and then stops. The beauty of Tools of Titans is that every page contains information that most books would make you read hundreds of pages to get. I was constantly pulling out my notepad to write down an idea I wanted to implement into my life. Instead of an ordinary “here’s what worked and what didn’t work” review, I decided to write about the ideas from the book I’ve implemented into my life.
For some background Tools of Titans is the latest book by best-selling author Tim Ferriss. It contains “The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers”. Tim runs a successful podcast where he interviews some of the most recognizable names in the world, ranging from Jaime Foxx to Chris Sacca. Tools of Titans is essentially the most important information from each podcast episode organized into book form. Tim also includes non-profile chapters like “5 Morning Rituals that Help Me Win the Day” and “How to Win Your Freedom”, where he writes a long-form post about different topics.
Without further ado, here’s the ideas from Tools of Titans that I’ve implemented into my daily routine.
5 Minute Journal
“Once we get those muddy, maddening, confusing thoughts [nebulous worries, jitters, and preoccupations] on the page, we face our day with clearer eyes” – Julia Cameron
Keeping a daily journal is a practice that has interested me, but I’ve never had the motivation to follow up. A resource Tim recommends is the 5 Minute Journal, which you can buy for $22 if you want a hardback copy, or buy the $5 app. I purchased the app after reading about Tim’s morning journal and have been using it every day since. Every morning when you wake up the app gives you a quote for the day, reminds you to write down three things you are grateful for, three things you want to accomplish that day, and a daily affirmation. Before you go to bed you get a reminder to write down three amazing things that happened that day, and how you could have made the day better. This app has improved my life because I have begun to notice patterns in my days. If too many days in a row I wrote that I could have improved my day by using less electronics, I’ll make it a goal my next day to use less, and then track my success. It will also train your brain to look for gratefulness throughout your day, I’ve become more aware of where my happiness comes from. I can’t recommend this app (or journal) enough, an amazing investment.
“The ice bath is greatest of all. It’s just magic – sauna, ice, back and forth. By the end of the fourth, or fifth, or sixth round of being in an ice tub, there is nothing in the world that bothers you.” – Rick Rubin
A common theme among podcast guest was a daily cold-water plunge. Many guest alternated between a sauna and ice-bath, but the easiest way to reap the benefits is by submerging yourself in cold water for 30-60 seconds. This is something Tony Robbins does every morning as part of his priming technique (which he uses instead of meditation). A quick google will show you the benefits of a cold shower include a better immune system, softer hair and skin, increased fat loss, and a rapid change in physiology to wake you up. Curious, I decided to take the 30 Day Cold Shower Challenge. I’m about 8 days into the challenge and based off the nature of the stated benefits, I can’t tell if anything has changed. If nothing else, it will wake you up in the morning, and allow you to flex your will-power. Give it a shot and see if you have what it takes.
Open and Curious (Instead of Passionate)
“A lot people say, Find your passion. I think passion comes from a combination of being open and curious, and of really going all-in when you find something that you’re interested in.” – Sam Kass
This advice stuck with me as a graduating senior. College students are constantly told to “follow your passion”, and “chase your dreams”. To me, passion isn’t something that can only be applied to one area of your life. What do you do when you have multiple passions? Or don’t know where your passion lies? The answer is to be open and curious. If you have tunnel vision and don’t open yourself up to new opportunities, you could be missing out on something far greater than what you thought you were passionate about at the time. In the next few years of my career I’m going to hone in on this advice, staying open and curious to any opportunities that come my way. It’s also something we can add to our daily lives, be open and curious to new ideas that come your way, we don’t have to live every day the same.
Steve Jobs said it best “If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.” I urge all my readers to not worry too much if you don’t know where your passion lies, stay open, and take the opportunity when it comes.
Stargazing as Meditation
“When you are struggling with just about anything, look up. Just ponder the night sky for a minute and realize that we’re all on the same planet at the same time. As far as we can tell, we’re the only planet with life like ours on it anywhere nearby. Then you start looking at the stars, and you realize that the light hitting your eye is ancient, [some of the] stars that you’re seeing, they no longer exist by the time that the light gets to you.” – BJ Miller
Of all the greatness that lies within Tools of Titans, that piece by BJ Miller might be the most important. By being born humans we’ve already won the lottery, we have NOTHING to complain about. Optimizing our days for greater efficiency is worthwhile, but at the end of the day we need to realize how small our problems are. Another podcast guest mentioned how we have entire civilizations like the Mayans and Sumerians that all we remember is their name. Think about that, an entire civilization shrunk down to one name. As disheartening as it seems to say, no one will remember us. The test you failed, the time you were embarrassed, all will be forgotten. Whenever you start to stress just think about the stars and remember how small you are. We don’t know what’s on the other side of life, but with how small our existence is, why spend it being anything other than yourself, and doing anything other than enjoying it.
I Wish For Them To Be Happy / I Love You
“All other things being equal, to increase your happiness, all you have to do is randomly wish for somebody else to be happy. That is all. It basically takes no time and no effort” – Meng Tan
“And I think ultimately, sometimes when we judge other people, it’s just a way to not look at ourselves; a way to feel superior or sanctimonious or whatever. My trauma therapist said every time you meet someone, just in your head say, ‘I love you’ before you have a conversation with them, and that conversation is going to go a lot better.” – Whitney Cummings
If you’re in a room with other people right now, try this exercise. Find 2 people in the room, look at them, and just think in your mind that you wish for them to be happy. It takes 10 seconds and you’ll notice you feel a lot better after doing it. Often we look at others and judge, we don’t look at them and wish for their happiness. This is another exercise that if done enough will train your brain to start thinking of others happiness first.
And the next time you interact with a stranger, as crazy as it sounds just think “I love you” in your head before the interaction. It will go a lot different than if the first thing you think is “why is he/she wearing that” or “I don’t want to be bothered right now”. It’s a surreal experiences telling yourself you love a stranger before you even meet them. I’ve applied both of these exercises to my daily life and my mood has definitely elevated in those moments.
I’ll Be In My Bed Tonight
“I had a phrase I kept repeating in my head over and over again, which was, ‘Tonight, I will be in my bed. Tonight, I will be in my bed. Tonight, I will be in my bed.’… It was something I repeated to remind me that the pain of what I was going through was temporary and that, no matter what, at the end of that day, I would be in my bed that night.” – Chris Sacca
This winter break I’ve been working as a server at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. During the week between Christmas and New Years Eve the hotel was 97% full and our restaurant was packed on a nightly basis. One night we were under staffed and those who were working were getting it handed to us. In midst of all the chaos I thought of the quote by Chris Sacca and realized, “I’ll be in my bed tonight”. No matter how mad guest get, no matter how tired or hungry I am, I’m going to be laying in my bed tonight. I immediately shifted out of this chaotic state into a calm, more able to handle the tasks in front of me. The next time you begin to stress, just remind yourself, you’ll be in your bed that night, and take a deep breathe.
Tim states at the beginning of the book that the most common theme across all podcast guest was a daily practice of meditation or mindfulness (over 80% of the guest). That stat should not be skipped over, we have some of the brightest minds in all industries and we now know what they have in common. Thanks to a mentor in my internship last summer I’ve begun my meditation/mindfulness practice and read up on the topic over the past 6 months. I will be making a full length post on how to get started on your meditation journey but I’ll leave you all with the one tip a lot of podcast guest recommended, Headspace. Headspace is an app that provides guided meditation sessions and mindfulness training. It begins with a 10 day trial to give you a sense of what to expect from the year long subscription. It’s a nice service for those who don’t know where to get started with meditation and need some guidance. Definitely download the app and try the 10 day trial, it could start you down a great path.
Creating Your Own Graduate Program
While this last topic isn’t going to be something you implement tomorrow, it’s definitely a topic for discussion. Anyone who knows me knows I have an increasingly negative opinion of post-secondary education and all its faults. The college system is not progressing at a fast enough pace to match its price. This is why Tim Ferriss recommends “creating your own graduate program” Instead of spending the 100-200k dollars it would take to get your MBA, how could you spend that money to get real world experience at the same cost. For him it was investing, he spent his MBA tuition money on investing in companies and learning more about the start-up scene. The beauty of this is 1) he got real experience he couldn’t get in a textbook, and 2) he had the opportunity to make money instead of spending it on tuition. He gives examples of how to bypass the system, don’t pay for a Master of Arts in Creative Writing, join a writers group and take Mondays off to write a novel or screenplay. If you can negotiate that deal for say a $12,000 pay cut from your 9-5 job, you’re still working while getting actual writing experience at a fraction of the cost. He emphasizes “action instead of theory”. This is a route I could see more and more students taking. Refusing to spend the money on theory, instead using it on the real world.
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