Crippled CEO Blog #076:
Last week, I answered the first five of the eleven questions posed in the book Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss. People seemed to like the first five, so I’m excited to finish the rest off this week.
6. What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love?
I have so many, actually. The most salient, well-known one is probably milk. Specifically, 2% Publix brand milk with a hint of Hersheys chocolate syrup. This is all I drink. And I don’t mean that as hyperbole. It is literally the only fluid that I ingest. There is a large Yeti cup next to me right now, as there always is, filled with milk. And even though I drink it all day, every day, I still really love it. I still get a tremendous amount of joy out of it every single time. My mom had a similar relationship with coffee, so it might be hereditary.
I also count letters in sentences and phrases with a speed and accuracy that people seem to find alarming. I do it as a game. The goal is to find naturally occurring phrases in the wild that I hear people say or read that end with a multiple of 10 (e.g. 10, 20, 60, etc.). There are some weird rules to the game that I won’t get into, also, but the letter counting thing has been with me since childhood.
I really enjoy staying up bizarrely late. On weekdays, I go to bed between 1:30 AM – 3 AM. On weekends, I go to bed between 4:30 AM – 6:30 AM. I used to wait for the sunrise on the weekends, but I have trouble making it that late these days as I get closer to 40.
7. In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?
For many years, I only had one other person with me in the office. First, my dad, and then later, an office manager. If I had some idea or project I wanted done, I was going to do it myself, because there wasn’t anybody else to do it.
Eventually, though, this mindset led to me being the bottleneck for all kinds of things. It took me a long time to realize something obvious: Life Saver doesn’t care WHO does something as long as it gets done. And if I pass along ideas and improvements to other people, there is a much better chance that they actually get done — maybe better than I would have. Now, the criteria for what I do isn’t: “Am I the best person for this task?”, it is: “Am I the only person for this task?” And sometimes, the answer is still yes, and if I’m only saying yes to those things, then I’m able to make sure they get done.
Listening to audiobooks while I use the restroom has been pretty great, also, like I mentioned in the last post.
8. What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”? What advice should they ignore?
You can mess up/screw off until you’re 40 and still live a great life. And maybe you should.
9. What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
The bad advice I usually hear is the type that sounds right because it’s cautious and risk averse. Stuff about not trusting others, not taking risks, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and so on. And I think that entire mindset is malarkey.
10. 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’ve gotten really good at saying no to invitations to things I don’t want to do. I have a rule that I don’t do showers: actual, bridal, baby, golden, any of it. No showers. The same goes for birthday parties for small children. I’m good.
In business, I’ve gotten better at saying no to unreasonable requests. I tend to be generous by default, so this has been a helpful realignment. I’m also much more willing to say no to anything that disrupts the excellent company culture we have. It’s important, and fragile, and I consider it my personal responsibility to keep it safe.
11. When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do? (If helpful: What questions do you ask yourself?)
I don’t know if I can recall a time where I felt like I had lost focus, though I’m sure I have and not noticed, but I have certainly felt overwhelmed. For me, the secret to getting back to being just whelmed or even underwhelmed is a reality check. What’s really at stake? What’s the worst that could happen? And what can I do right now, like literally in the next 15 minutes, that can make it better? A combination of reassessing and then moving forward seems to help when I feel overwhelmed.
And that’s it! Those are the 11 questions. I hope you all enjoyed that, and if not, why did you keep reading? That’s very kind of you.
(I bet you know who did enjoy that. Your mom. She also enjoys my text every Sunday that gives her the link to the latest blog. You can also get this by sending a message to 484848 with the word CRIP as the message. You should do it. It’s good karma.)