Over the past two weeks I started and finished reading Tim Ferris' new book "The Tools of Titans"**
Reading is an understatement, it felt more like rushing through it. I was addicted and couldn't put it down. Essentially the book reads like 20 short books and it's easy to skip back and forth. The book is a collection of wisdom shared not only by Tim Ferris, but also by his podcast guests. I got the book on my Kindle and even considered getting the hard copy in addition because it was so good. In this article I like to share some of my favorite take aways from the book with the hope it might motivated you to read it too.
1. The difference between a dream and a goal
There is this part in the book:
"The coach said, ‘Okay. Is that a dream or a goal? Because there’s a difference."
Essentially it's about the difference of a dream and a goal. A dream is a romantic idea of something we like to have, a fantasy. A goal is something we actively try to achieve, there is a plan behind. It's a good reminder to take the things we have in our heads and define them the right way. Are the dreams we have really just dreams? Or should they be goals? If yes, how can I accomplish these goals?
“The quality of your life is the quality of your questions.” Questions determine your focus. Most people—and I’m certainly guilty of this at times—spend their lives focusing on negativity (e.g., “How could he say that to me?!”) and therefore the wrong priorities."
This quote by Tony Robbins reminded me of some of my "Anti-Resolutions" I wrote down earlier this year. I can personally confirm that I feel so much better myself when focusing on the right questions rather than feeling offended by the random words of others. It's easy to focus on the negative, but we're not doing ourselves a favor with it. Feeling upset often feels like a complete waste of time to me.
3. The value of selective ignorance
"After Working at a Newspaper “You’re basically told, ‘Find the thing that’s going to scare people the most and write about it.’... It’s like every day is Halloween at the newspaper. I avoid newspapers.”
An interesting quote by James Altucher. I've stopped reading the news about a year ago, it's an on and off relationship. But every time I get soaked into the news I feel like shit again, and rarely anything productive comes out of it. I like to avoid newspapers and news sites myself. I'm not ignoring what's happening in the world, but you might be surprised how good you feel if you don't read the news for one month.
4. On Anxious people
“When people seem like they are mean, they’re almost never mean. They’re anxious.”
I loved this statement and I can easily see how that applies to even myself. It's an interesting perspective when you deal with people who are mean to you, simply ask the question: "What are they afraid of?" - And when you are the mean person, ask yourself, what are you afraid of?
The answer often is simpler than we might think.
5. You always have three options
“In any situation in life, you only have three options. You can change it, you can accept it, or you can leave it."
Making the right or wrong decision here is what matters. It can save you tons of money, or even years of headache. Change it, accept it, or leave it.
6. What matters
"It doesn’t matter how many people don’t get it. What matters is how many people do."
There will always be people who don't get it. Don't chase them, but focus on the people who get it, who understand you. It's a classic mistake that we're always too focused on the negative part, the people who don't get it.
You could write a book and have 100 people love it, but 3 people hate it. If you measure your success by the people who hate it and don't get it, you're not doing anyone a favor. Focus on the 97 people who get it and write the next book for them. And even if it's the other way around, focus on those who get it.
7. On overthinking & suffering
Two quotes I liked a lot here:
“I am an old man and I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” —Mark Twain
“He who suffers before it is necessary suffers more than is necessary.” —Seneca
Especially the second one really resonated with me. I'm a good example for overthinking and suffering inside well before anything has even happened.
8. On dealing with online trolls
These two little questions from Kevin Rose really put things into perspective for me. Essentially, when dealing with trolls or haters online, ask yourself the following two questions:
“Do people you respect or care about leave hateful comments on the Internet?”
“Do you really want to engage with people who have infinite time on their hands?”
In most cases the answer is simple, it's a big NO. I hope the same applies to you.
9. Ask the dumb questions
Great general life advice: Ask the dumb questions everyone else is too afraid to ask. In a lot of cases great things will happen.
I'm myself someone who loves to ask dumb questions and I can tell you I've gotten into trouble a lot because of it. But the thing I learned so far is that if you ask dumb questions and people make fun of you or feel offended, it's usually only people who have nothing value able to contribute. The smarter the people around you, the more likely they will appreciate the dumb questions you ask. It's a risky game, but one I like to play.
10. Be so good they can't ignore you
I was so happy to find similar pieces about this in the book as well. This has been one of my guiding principles since I started out as a designer. I'm not sure where I read it first online, but I remember I had it set as a desktop wallpaper around the year 2003.
It sounds a little like cheesy advice, but it's true. If you're so good that they can't ignore you, you are doing something right. And it doesn't matter if people like or hate you, if they can't ignore you, you're on the right track. ___ And these 10 take aways are not even close to what you find in Tim Ferris' book. If you like that kind of stuff, go and order it for your Kindle or get a hard copy **
**In the spirit of full disclosure, this article contains one or more affiliate links, which means that I may get a small commissions if you decide to purchase anything from Amazon. Of course, I only recommend products & services that I use and love myself, so I know you’ll be in good hands.
Hi, I'm Tobias, a German designer living in New York. I'm the author of this blog, nice to meet you!