Life Advice From The World’s Most Successful People
Illustration by Mr Giordano Poloni
Lessons and personal experiences from the likes of Messrs David Lynch and Bear Grylls.
Do you ever need advice about something, and wish you could just ask lots of successful and famous people for it? A rather unrealistic notion, perhaps, but by no means unachievable: just ask Mr Timothy Ferriss. A four-time best-selling author (he wrote The 4-Hour Workweek and Tools Of Titans), a venerated public speaker and an iTunes-topping podcast whiz, Mr Ferriss is rather well placed to give advice himself, but after an existential anxiety sparked by turning 40 and losing several of his close friends, the entrepreneur and self-help guru said to himself: “What if I asked 100-plus brilliant people the very questions I want to answer for myself?” So that’s what he did. The result is his new book, Tribe Of Mentors: Short Life Advice From The Best In The World, a 624-page brick of insight, packed with life lessons from some of the world’s most successful people.
Beginning by engineering 11 questions he knew would glean good answers (he had a lot of experience interviewing successful people from his podcast The Timothy Ferriss Show), Mr Ferriss then sent them out to each “mentor”. These questions include which book (or books) they have most often given as a gift, what are the bad recommendations they often hear in their profession or area of expertise, and how their failures have set them up for success. Each mentor answers a selection of questions from the list of the 11, which are purposefully specific in their direction – Mr Ferriss writes in the book’s introduction: “Life punishes the vague wish and rewards the specific ask.” (The rest of the book is interspersed with inspirational pages of quotes that Mr Ferriss has been musing upon.)
_Tribe Of Mentors _is bursting with expertise. It compiles advice from famous actors, astrophysicists and elite athletes, and distils it all into a volume chock-full of avuncular wisdom, which has been dispensed by everyone from Mr Jimmy Fallon to Ms Dita Von Teese. Their advice is of course wide-ranging, but to give you an idea, we’ve included five of our favourite snippets from the book below.
Mr Timothy Ferriss
Ms Amelia Boone
Four-time obstacle-racing world champion
When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?
This may sound odd, but I’ll tackle a chore like scrubbing the bathtub or cleaning out the fridge. When I feel stuck, sometimes accomplishing a task, however mundane, gives me the momentum I need to refocus. Either that, or I’ll work up a sweat, preferably in the form of a trail run. Nature and endorphins are always the answer.
Mr Joseph Gordon-Levitt
What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made?
I think moving away from my hometown was one of the most fruitful things I ever did. We can’t help but define ourselves in terms of how others see us. So being around nothing but new people allowed me to define myself anew. I’ve since moved back, but the growth I got out of living away was huge.
Mr David Lynch
How has failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favourite failure” of yours?
A real good failure gives a person tremendous freedom. You can’t fall further down, so there’s nowhere to go but up. There’s nothing left to lose. So this freedom is almost like a euphoria, and it can open doors in the mind that lead to what you truly want to do. And, in the doing of what you truly want to do, there’s a joy mixed with this unbounded freedom, and there’s no fear. Just a great happiness in the doing. My favourite failure was the motion picture Dune.
Mr Bear Grylls
In the last five years, what new belief, behaviour, or habit has most improved your life?
Learning to enjoy the process rather than always striving for the future. Sometimes in these jungles or deserts, I am desperately trying to get through it, do my best, work hard, work fast, and get back to my family. But I realised I was spending so much time dreading what was ahead, or striving to be out of where I was. Learning to embrace the moment changed a lot for me. The good, the painful – it is all a privilege. I figure that so many people never get to live beyond 30, so we are already the blessed.
Mr Darren Aronofsky
What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”?
Most of the game is about persistence. It is the most important trait. Sure, when you get an opportunity, you have to perform and you have to exceed beyond all expectations, but getting that chance is the hardest part. So, keep the vision clear in your head and every day refuse all obstacles to get to the goal.