Tools of Titans
by Tim Farriss
I got this book a couple of weeks ago but it makes the list for my top books of the year. I’ve only read the first 100 pages or so (less than 1/3 of the book). The book is divided up into three sections: Health, Wealth, Wisdom. The book is a compilation of 200+ interviews. Each chapter is maybe 2-4 pages and packed with 5-10 insights.
In the introduction Tim relates a story about a philosopher who was out of money and out of food. When asked what he was going to do about it the philosopher responded: I can think, I can wait, I can fast.
The first quarter of 2016 started out very slow for us as a company. We chose to fast. We didn’t have enough revenue to pay ourselves for about two months. We could wait. We deferred everything that wasn’t necessary. We’ll cook at home. We’ll keep driving and fixing our Saab with 300,000+ miles on it. We could think. Lucky launched our first cold email and phone call campaign. We reconnected with past clients. We grew our network. We didn’t have to go into debt and we didn’t miss a payment to our crew.
Health is a topic that I don’t naturally read about. I spend 90% of my time reading about business, leadership, human behavior, sports, and economics. But often it’s a good mental exercise to learn outside of your habit loop. So I started with Health.
First insight, think of your health in terms of “training” not “fitness.” Being fit is a vanity concept that also associated with the word “diet.” Dieting by common definition is temporary. But if you think of it as “training” and eating to train. You’ve reframed the concept of health as an internal engine that drives your life forward, not just an outside way to look better.
Second, small daily habits are key. I’ve added 5 minutes to the beginning and end of my day that set me up for success. In the morning I do a specific set of stretches to fight the poor posture and muscle shortening in hips and back that sitting all day leads to (Spiderman and Cat-Cow). In the evening foam roller legs, back, feet to loosen me up before bed.
By making health a priority at the beginning and ending of the day, I’ve found it helps give me a positive outlook on life and gives me a big boost in feeling accomplished and in control of the rest of my day.
“Rough layouts sell the idea better than polished ones.” — Paul Arden
In a creative business like ours it’s tempting to delay, delay, delay before pitching concepts. But roughs are natural invitations for others to collaborate and imagine the final product alongside you.
Tim Ferris Show: “17 Questions” Episode
This episode can be a great goal setting exercise for the new year. During a 9-hour car ride Lucky and I stopped the podcast after each question and talked through how we could apply the question to our business or personal lives.
Asking yourself absurd questions are powerful: If you had only 2 hours per week to work on your business what would you do? It forces you to cut out all the fat and clearly define what’s important.
Another that I found particularly insightful: What’s the least crowded channel? If you’re like us, e-mail is the most crowded channel that we use to communicate, both inside our team and outside with prospects and clients. So why are we using it? It’s the least scary channel to reach out on and you can shift blame to another person if there’s no response by telling yourself that it’s their fault if they didn’t reply. For us the least crowded channel is connecting in person with our prospects in their office.
Are you chasing field mice or antelopes? A lion can easily kill and eat field mouse. But if a lion only kills field mice he’ll use more energy killing the mouse than he’ll get from eating it. A lion on a diet of field mice will starve to death. It takes a lot more effort and time for a lion to kill an antelope, but antelopes keep the lion fed for a long time. If we want to hit our production goals in 2017 should we try and fill Pathfinder Film’s 36 production slots with “field mice” or should we go after 7-8 “antelopes” instead?