My Responses to Tim Ferriss’ “Tribe of Mentors” Questions

This week, I am going to take a swipe at answering the questions from Tim Ferriss’ book, Tribe of Mentors. These are questions distilled and honed from his interviewing many peak performers on his podcast. AND, just to be clear, Tim Ferriss did not ask me these questions. I thought they were interesting in and of themselves and decided to dedicate a post to them.

What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?

I haven’t really gifted many books. But I’m trying to change that. As far as books that have greatly influenced me, I have three. Rich Dad,Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki is a really good book for helping you to realize that what you weren’t taught in school about money can hurt you, or at the minimum, make you struggle to achieve your dreams and goals. Depending on your personality, it may rub you the wrong way, but it speaks volumes of truth about making money. The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber provides excellent advice on how to systematize a business so it can run smoothly and grow. And, finally, The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. I really like because it provides you with principles to lead your life by. Mainly, set up a low-input business to pay for your needs, don’t kill yourself working as a trade-off for retiring at a later age, when there is a good chance that you will be too old or sickly to enjoy it. It fosters the idea of continuous “mini-retirements” throughout your life. And most importantly, with all the free time you create, do something important, do something you care about, do something to impact the world in a good way.

What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)? My readers love specifics like brand and model, where you found it, etc.

A couple of things I’ve bought have made a positive impact…one is a set of wireless earbuds. I generally have issues with wired earbuds catching on stuff as I walk around or do work, so these are pretty neat in that they do not hang down very far past my neck. The other is a battery pack to charge my phone throughout the day. Depending on what I am doing, sometimes my phone will run down quicker than others. Having the battery pack available to boost it up is nice. Plus,it has enough power to charge the phone twice.

How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure” of yours?

I don’t really have a favorite failure,because there are too many to choose from! I have many failures, that if they would not have happened,I would not be where I am today. So I guess all of my failures are my favorites? Or better yet,the only real failure is the ones you do not learn from.

If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it — metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions — what would it say and why? It could be a few words or a paragraph. (If helpful, it can be someone else’s quote: Are there any quotes you think of often or live your life by?)

If you don’t like something in your life, then do something to change it! If you can’t change it, then don’t waste time worrying about it.

What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? (Could be an investment of money, time, energy, etc.)

So far, I would have to say that the most worthwhile investment I have made is buying a door manufacturing company with some friends. To date, it has been a trying experience and has strained some of the friendships,but i have learned more about operating a business in the past 14 months than I have in most of my career working in the Oil and Gas industry.

What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love?

I tend to approach ideas/tasks/goals with lots of technical detail. For example, as a group, my partners and I decided to build a tool for tracking product shipments and invoicing on a per-order basis to allow forecasting estimated revenue. I visualized a quasi-CRM system with lots of inputs that would return lots of information, but what we really needed was just a spreadsheet similar to a Gantt chart to track the information. We will eventually implement a more detailed CRM system, but I over-engineered it in my mind.

In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?

Two things…realizing that a lot of the decisions I made in my past were most likely influenced by my being infected by the toxoplasmosis gondii parasite, thus helping me to further screen my decisions for risk, and understanding that my outlook / philosophy on life is actually based on stoicism. I don’t know how I arrived at that outlook, but it just made sense to me. Learning more about it has definitely improved how I view the world.

What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”? What advice should they ignore?

Don’t fall into the mindset trap of working most of your life, toiling away to reach retirement. Work for yourself. Resolve to mostly buy “assets”, things that will provide you with cash flow.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

From the oil and gas industry: “Drill the well faster so we can finish faster!” In most cases, you can drill faster than you are able to transport the drilled cuttings out of the hole. It is better to drill at a sustainable rate and have no trouble pulling out of the hole or running casing, thus decreasing overall time spent on the section.

In the last five years, what have you become better at saying no to (distractions, invitations, etc.)? What new realizations and/or approaches helped? Any other tips?

I manage automated equipment and services operations and have done so for the last six years or so. Initially, whenever there were problems, I would access things remotely and resolve the issues, many times at all hours of the day or night. Then the next issue came along,and I would have to solve it also. I realized that if I stopped swooping in to save the day, the employees would be more inclined to solve the issue themselves. This has helped me to keep from feeling overwhelmed. I sleep a lot better now.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do? (If helpful: What questions do you ask yourself?)

First, I have learned to say “no” to things. Second, I found that if I use Noisli, I am more relaxed and can focus on the task at hand. Plus it helps to block out unwanted noises and distractions.

I hope you like my “Tribe of Mentors” Q&A responses!

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3 Replies to “My Responses to Tim Ferriss’ “Tribe of Mentors” Questions”

  1. I kept seeing this post pop up in my various social media feeds. I'm really glad I read it. In fact, I'll borrow the concept and publish my own response. Thanks!

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