We break into an old fort by the sea, get kicked off the Cliffs of Moher, learn how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness, go to an Irish wedding in Kildare, eat the best Irish breakfast in Galway, and get a liiiiiittle bit too drunk in Dublin.
I decided to take the course mostly as a challenge to myself, as I believe stand up comedy to be one of the toughest forms of public speaking.
The course culminated in a live gig at the Hampton Hotel in Donnybrook. Enjoy! (WARNING: If you are easily offended by religious jokes …………. I suggest that you take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror).
Last Wednesday while reading ‘Steve Jobs’ by Walter Isaacson, I began to realise the extent to which he had been influenced by the people that he admired.
He spoke of Mahatma Gandhi, Bob Dylan, and a college friend named Robert Friedland, in such high regard that it was clear that they had played a massive role in the formation of his thinking and subsequently in his life.
It got me thinking.
Who are my heroes? What people do I admire the most? Who has had the greatest influence on my life?
As kids we all had heros, but for whatever reason, as we grow older we tend to loose our fascination with role models and seem get caught up in insignificant day-to-day details.
So I set myself a challenge. Come up with my ultimate “Top 5 Heroes” list.
And so after much deliberation, here they are:
These five men, unbeknownst to themselves have shaped much of my thinking to date, and I hope will continue to do so long in to the future.
Lets take a lesson from each of these brilliant individuals as a starting thought for 2012.
Steve Jobs (Businessman and Inventor)
“Stay hungry. Stay Foolish.”
I have been a great admirer of Steve Jobs ever since I saw my friend’s first generation iPod and was completely blown away by it’s ingenuity.
Having just recently finished his biography, I can only admire the man even more for what he has accomplished in his short lifetime.
Jobs’ overwhelming belief in his ability to change the world was remarkable and something we can all learn from.
“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary … Keep looking. Don’t settle.”
Timothy Ferriss (Author and Entrepreneur)
“The common sense rules of the “real world” are a fragile collection of socially reinforced illusions.”
A few years ago while I was at a bit of a loose end, a friend of mine recommended that I read ‘The Four Hour Work Week’ by Timothy Ferriss. Ever since that day I think it would be fair to say that I have been obsessed with Ferriss’ teachings and lifestyle philosophy.
I believe the most important thing that we can learn from Ferriss is that; we must constantly test assumptions. Question why something is the way it is, and decide for ourselves whether or not that is the best way of doing it.
Tackle problems by questioning the fundamental rules associated with it, then bend or break them if necessary.
“Everything popular is wrong.” – Oscar Wilde
Caleb Followill (Lead singer in Kings of Leon)
Much like my obsession with Timothy Ferriss’ work, I have been similarly obsessed with the music of Kings of Leon for many years now.
I can remember, so clearly, seeing them for the first time on BBC 2 playing ‘Molly’s Chambers’. Dressed in bell-bottom jeans, and sporting dirty mustaches, they looked like they came straight out of some redneck bar down south.
Caleb wasn’t trying to fool anybody. He was writing about who they were, where they came from and what they did. That’s it.
And that’s the point.
The reason I believe that they are so successful is that they have stayed true to who they really are. They focus on what they are good at rather than trying to second guess what people might want.
I think that this is true of most very successful people.
“Did Alexander Graham Bell do any market research before he created the telephone?” – Steve Jobs.
Bjarke Ingles (Architect)
“Yes is more.”
While studying architecture in Bolton Street I came across a Danish firm named ‘BIG’ (Bjarke Ingles Group). I was immediately drawn to their style of thinking and radical approach to architecture.
Born in 1974 in Copenhagen, Bjarke prides himself by looking at problems from a different perspective.
“The sum of all the little concerns seems to have blocked the view of the bigger picture.”
What I believe BIG do better than any other firm in the world is turn problems or conflict into the driving force behind their work. This is a concept that I believe we can apply not only in architecture but throughout our lives.
Tiger Woods (Well, you know what he does )
Ok so he’s not on many people’s “Top 5 Heros” lists at the moment, but you can’t argue with what Woods has achieved in his career so far.
One has to admire his ability and his mental toughness, but most of all his dogged determination.
For me no other person in the sporting world has shown such focus, and sheer desire to be the best than Tiger Woods. His desire to achieve, to make a difference and to leave his mark on the world is extremely admirable.
Obviously his recent “escapades” have hurt many people and left him a shadow of his former self, but as General George S. Patton said:
“Success is how high you bounce when you hit rock bottom.”
This is the first of a four-part post which will highlight the principles involved in actively creating the type of life you want rather than letting society decide for you.
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” – George Bernard Shaw, Maxims for Revolutionists
One would imagine that defining what you really want to do with your life would be a vastly important and integral part of our formal education, and yet it seems as if I may have been absent for that class (which to be fair, is entirely possible). But lets assume for a second that my attendance record was better than it was; were there actually any classes designed to help students to figure out what they wanted to do with the rest of their lives and plan for the future ahead?
I vaguely remember ticking the boxes of a “suitability test” in my fourth year of secondary school in Ireland, desperately trying not to stare at the sweaty bald patch on the teachers head (she was after all a pleasant enough lady). The test score concluded that I should become a chef. Brilliant! I tick a few boxes, the test figures out what I should do, job done. Thankfully I decided against the omniscient test and the culinary world has been better off ever since.
But why is it that we that we hardly ever seem to define exactly what we want in life? We seem content to go with the flow and let circumstance decide for us. The problem with this philosophy is that all of a sudden you could be ten years down the road, stop to look around and think, Shit! What the f*ck just happened!?
Our quest for awesomeness can be broken down into the acronym D.E.A.L.
This first post will focus on Definition.
When we think about what we want to do with our lives, our minds almost always conjure up thoughts of a profession or a career, because we have been taught that that’s what defines us. This raises an interesting question. When did job descriptions become the same thing as self-descriptions? Think for a second what you would really like to do. If money wasn’t an issue. What would you do?
Featured below, are FOUR STEPS that will help you to determine exactly what you want in life and how much it might cost (it’s often cheaper than you think). The goal here is not to become a millionaire per se, but to pursue the things that excite you. “Excitement is the more practical synonym for happiness, and it is precisely what you should strive to chase. It is the cure-all.”
What would you do if there were no way you could fail?
What are the four dreams that would change it all?
Determine the cost of these dreams and calculate your target monthly income (TMI).
Determine three steps for each of the four dreams and take the first step now.
1. What would you do if there were no way you could fail? If you were ten times smarter than the rest of the world?
Make a list of 5 things you dream of having (material wants, houses, gadgets etc), being (great cook, fluent in a certain language, able to play guitar), and doing (visit Thailand, run a marathon, find a girl/boyfriend). Now put a time scale on each goal by which point you want to have achieved it (typically 3, 6 or 12 months).
If you are finding it difficult to come up with the fifteen goals then ask yourself the following questions:
What would you do day to day if you had 100 million in the bank?
What would make you most excited to wake up in the morning to another day?
(if you do nothing else, answering these questions is sure to be an eye-opener).
2. What are the four dreams that would change it all?
Pick the four most exciting dreams from your list of fifteen. You should try to include one goal from each column.
3. Determine the cost of these dreams and calculate your target monthly income.
What is the cost per month for each of the four dreams (rent, payment plans etc)? Now total the cost of the four dreamstogether. Some may be zero (learning certain skills etc). That’s fine. Add your additional monthly expenses and then multiply by 1.3 (the 1.3 allows for savings or a safety net should it be needed). This figure is your TMI. You can go one step further and divide by thirty to to get your Target Daily Income (TDI). Chances are the figure is lower than you expected.
4. Determine three steps for each of the four dreams and take the first step now.
The object of this exercise is not to describe how you will go about achieving each goal, but rather to define the end result, to focus on the outcome and quantify what it will cost to achieve it. First, write down the three steps that will move you closer to achieving each of the four goals. Each step should be small, well defined and only take a few minutes to complete. Once you have all the steps written down, take action on the first steps immediately. It may be some research, or to email or call a particular person. Whatever it is do it now!
10 Fundamentals to keep in mind:
Retirement Is Worst-Case-Scenario Insurance.
Interest And Energy Are Cyclical
Less Is Not Laziness
The Timing Is NEVER Right
Ask For Forgiveness Not Permission
Emphasise Strengths, Don’t Fix Weaknesses
Things In Excess Become There Opposite
Money Alone Is Not The Solution
Relative Income Is More Important Than Absolute Income
Distress Is Bad, Eustress Is Good
1. Retirement Is Worst-Case-Scenario Insurance
Retirement as a goal is completely flawed logic. It is based on the assumption that you dislike what you are doing during some of the best years of your life! Don’t postpone the things you would enjoy now for the future. That’s a very dangerous gamble.
2. Interest And Energy Are Cyclical
We should strive for longer cycles of work and rest, and distribute them more evenly throughout our lifespan. Two months of work followed by one month of rest would be a good example of this. It often turns out to be more affordable and much more enjoyable. (How to achieve this will be covered in upcoming posts).
3. Less Is Not Laziness
This is a big one for me. Doing less work is not laziness if the work you do is more productive, in fact it just makes common sense. “Focus on being productive instead of busy.”
4. The Timing Is NEVER Right
Are you waiting for a good time to go traveling? Planning on changing jobs? Have you always planned on learning an instrument? The timing of important things always sucks. Get in to the habit of making a commitment and following through. Don’t wait for the perfect time. It won’t come.
5. Ask For Forgiveness Not Permission
Don’t wait for approval. Be confident enough to make your own decisions regardless of what your piers say, otherwise you’ll always be second best. “Get good at being a troublemaker and saying sorry when you really screw up.”
6. Emphasise Strengths, Don’t Fix Weaknesses
“It is far more lucrative and fun to leverage your strengths instead of attempting to fix all the chinks in your armor.”
7. Things In Excess Become There Opposite
“Pacifists become militants. Freedom fighters become tyrants. Blessings become curses. Help becomes a hindrance. More becomes less.” The goal here is not to create an abundance of idle time but to create the circumstances to enable you to do what you would like to do, as opposed to what you feel obliged to do.
8. Money Alone Is Not The Solution
Money alone won’t fill that gaping void your in your life! It’s also one of the most popular excuses given for inaction; “If only I had more money I would … ” It can however give you the freedom to pursue things that really matter in life, but without that focus, money alone is worthless.
9. Relative Income Is More Important Than Absolute Income
Absolute income is based upon one variable; total income. Therefore in absolute-incomeland, person A, who makes €100,000 per annum is twice as rich as person B, who makes €50,000 per annum. Relative income on the other hand (what we should strive to increase) takes into account two variables; total income and time. Looking at the above situation in terms of relative income we can see a very different picture. Person A works 80 hours per week for 50 weeks a year. Thus earns €25 an hour. Person B works 10 hours per week for 50 weeks a year. Thus earns €100 per hour. We can see that person B is four times richer in terms of Relative Income than person A. Time is our most precious commodity, don’t waist it chasing absolute income.
10. Distress Is Bad, Eustress Is Good
Unbeknownst to most people there are actually two types of stress, good and bad. “Distress refers to harmful stimuli that make you weaker, less confident, and less able.” Eustress on the other hand refers to a “stress that is healthful and the stimulus for growth.” Examples of eustress would be pushing yourself to beat your best lap time or making that initial phone call to ask someone out. We want to focus on removing distress and increasing eustress.
And finally …..
To conclude I’ll hand you over to the man who invented Lifestyle Design long before Mr. Timothy Ferriss ever published his New York Times Bestseller. A man who also goes by the name Ferris (minus an ‘s’). Take it away Mr. Bueller.
Don’t forget if you have any comments or questions to post them below.