Blog 21.11

Our next blog, A Tribe of Mentors, by Timothy Ferriss, details a period in Ferriss’s life when he was questioning himself and the direction he was headed. He discusses how a “fork in the path” led him to ask himself the most important question of “What would this look like if it were easy?”  This one question sparked the idea of creating a group of mentors to guide him.  He sent 11 duplicate questions to a wide variety of successful people with different backgrounds.  Many people didn’t respond to his request, but many did, and Ferriss compiled the answers into a 569 page book!

The tenth question Ferriss asked everyone was: 

“In the last five years, what have you become better at saying no to?”

Before Annie Duke’s two decade run as one of the top poker players in the world, she received a National Science Foundation Fellowship to study cognitive psychology at University of Pennsylvania.  Since then, she has applied decision-making strategies to poker and beyond.  Duke says she has become better at saying no to things that don’t pass her “time traveling” test.  In particular, Duke uses this strategy when she is considering traveling away from home and asks herself how she will feel when she returns.  Will the hassle and being away from home be less than the good feelings she experienced from the event?  Duke believes using “mindful time travel” helps us hone our decision making when we need perspective.

Anabolic acrobat, Jon Call, states he has gotten better at telling his brain no when he feels the need to relate to someone with a “bigger” story.  He keeps himself from waiting for the moment to jump in and simply asks them more about their story, which has led to greater connection with that person and learning more about them.  We all have a tendency to do this and practicing this simple listening skill can greatly improve our relationships!

Drew Houston, CEO and co-founded of Dropbox, uses the Big Rocks First exercise to help him account for how he spends his time.  He has learned that he needs to schedule specific blocks of time to take care of his “big rocks” and inevitably will have to say no to some of the “sand” that was taking up room.  Check out our module on Time Management to see us demonstrate the Big Rocks First exercise!


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