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One of the things becoming more important as I get older and more seasoned in the publishing industry is the need for efficiency.  I’m already (mostly) an efficient writer but I could improve. I’m still on my personal growth kick though and when I got the last 5-Bullet Friday email from Tim Ferriss, he was pimping his new book Tribe of Mentors.

His email had the first chapter in which is defined the premise of the book and set up the most powerful interview questions in the best order to pull the best responses from his guests, all of whom are world class performers in some manner or another.

I know, it makes more sense to put up his current book, but I don’t have it yet!

I thought for the sake of my own personal development, and of course, blog content, I’d start answering these questions to maybe give you, the reader, some help.  Or fuck, I don’t know, maybe see where MY head is at.

Let’s begin.

1. 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?

This is easy right now. Code of the Extraordinary Mind, by Vishen Lakhiani and Tools of Titans, by Timothy Ferriss.  Both books are not only solid and chock full of information that can radically shape your life, but I’ve talked extensively about growth and breaking of the brules in our current culturescape here, and again here. Both books are definitely challenging.

2. 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.

Well, purchase “I” didn’t make, was my iPad Pro 2. For someone with visual impairment issues, getting into the stock market and looking at stock charts on an iPhone 6+, along with reading e-books. Even over my kindle fire, the iPad is superior.

But that doesn’t count since A: it’s over $100 and B: I didn’t buy it.  I’ll have to come back to this question.  I really don’t buy much right now outside, books, cigars, alcohol or food. And when it comes to food, I buy a LOT of food.

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

I can’t say I have anything specific. This answer is subject to change obviously, but right now, nothing’s coming to mind. Part of that is because I’ve been learning to control me more, and that means my emotions remain more in check, along with my logic so I don’t let gut reactions get the best of me in the situations where that’s not the best reaction.  Have I failed? Sure I have. Spectacularly, in fact. I can remember this one time in real estate I fucked up this purchase, a $60M (yes that’s MILLION) apartment complex that was in downtown Arlington. I couldn’t structure the deal because I’d been looking at the deal entirely wrong.

I was trying to obtain financing for myself, rather than invite a team in to give them a better rate of return and still make some cash. I was trying to be a lone wolf, which appeared to be working for me in publishing (up until this last year) but that’s a different ballgame altogether.

The next time I tried to buy commercial, I went smaller and looked hard at the numbers, but also had a better idea of how to structure the deal because I’d called upon my mentors.

By the way, I now ask my mentors and supporters for help in publishing.

Chai, the awesome GM at Highland Cigar Company here in Atlanta rocking my fedora and a cigar

4. 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?)

You create your reality. It’s all about what goes in your head and comes out of your mouth that dictate how your life goes, so stop blaming others for your circumstances and the life you’re experiencing. Create your life.

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

Cultivating the cigar culture in Atlanta – because when I was at a low, the fellow BOTL and SOTL reminded me that I was still family. (For context, I tend to run lone wolf more than I should – more than any human should, really)

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

Few things actually. Really simple three chord college rock (think songs like Breathless by Lifer, Comedown by Bush, Someday by Sugar Ray – Fans of mine know I NEVER touch shit that’s in 4/4 or isn’t damn annoying, musically), umm, Kekism, Meme magic, #AllHailBlueWhale, and don’t get me started on my rules for what to drink and when it can be served. Offensive gangsta rap, geeksta rap, all that shit’s absurd. But I fucking love it!

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

I am Enough. Thanks to Marisa Peer, incorporating that into my life has been the biggest improvement since T. Harv Ecker’s belief that I can rewrite my own story to support me.

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

Advice to take: If you’re going to rise above humanity in the easiest manner, work for or become an innovator.  That will get you ahead faster than the old methods.  Study money, not people, economics, not liberal arts, then when you have a grasp on money and how an economy is supposed to function, study people through psychology. And remember, sometimes you need to let some of that shit go.

Advice to ignore:  Anything that sounds like bullshit, honestly. If it goes against whatever integrity you’ve developed to date, and it rubs you the wrong way, fucking chuck that shit.

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

Self publish from the start.

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?

Everyone and everything that doesn’t serve me, honestly. I’ll flat out just say “nope, not serving me.” The fact that I can actually turn shit down has made a tremendous impact, because unless it’s a personal matter, it doesn’t matter because it’s just business and I’m out for a win-win but first I’m out for me – something I’ve ignored for too long.

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?)

Sascha at Occidental Cigar Club, San Francisco December 2013

Usually that’s the time when I need to decompress or “deload” as Tim Ferriss says. That usually means a cigar out on the balcony, glasses off, glass of bourbon or wine, and maybe my iPad just so I can talk to the girlfriends. I’ll play chess. I’ll change the soundtrack I’m listening to from something djent-heavy to either a lighter (is death metal lighter than djent-death?) style of metal or a completely different genre.  It’s not unusual for me to be listening to Devildriver, Whitechapel, Anciients, The Room Colored Charlatan and then J. Balwin or Yelawolf and Twenty-One Pilots all in the same afternoon.

Else I’ll take off to the cigar lounge in downtown Decatur and sit for a few hours with a cigar and enjoy THAT moment – to refocus.

If you enjoyed this post and getting a deeper look at who I am, it might be time for you to look at some of the best World Class Performers and you can do that through Tim Ferriss’s books at his site.

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