28 Nov How Living Legends Ensure Success: Doing This Daily Guarantees You’ll Do Work You Love
“You are 100% in control of what you learn and how good you become at something. No one can take that from you.”
Recently I had dinner with Tim Ferriss and a few other entrepreneurs in San Francisco. One of them was Michael Ellsberg, who just published a new book The Education of Millionaires. He also recently wrote a killer article article on Tim’s blog, 8 Steps to Getting What You Want… Without Formal Credentials, that’s very worth the read.
I absolutely love these nights. They get me shaking with ideas and possibility. At a table like that, nothing is impossible.
Spending time with these guys got me thinking.
There is one thing that, above all others, ensures that you are able to find and do work you love everyday. And it’s something quite easy and totally within your control (p.s. that combo is incredibly rare, so listen up).
Whether it’s Tim, Michael, Tony Robbins or any of the other Living Legends I’ve spent time with over the years, there is one thing they do every day without fail. One single thing guarantees their success and makes passionate work the only option.
They learn everything they freaking can.
Tony Robbins read over 700 books on psychology and Neurolinguistic Programming and tested everything out in real life and on real people. He never got a degree in psychology, but he has arguably become more effective than anyone in the space.
And Tim Ferriss is constantly learning something new. That’s the whole premise of The 4-Hour Work Week, his blog and Lifestyle Design in general. Every mini retirement of his involves two new skill acquisitions: one mental and one physical. Maybe it’s the sport of hurling and learning Gaelic in Ireland or studying Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and learning Portuguese in Rio. And when he’s at home in San Francisco, he’s constantly experimenting with things. When I worked out with him last year, he had just gotten his Level II Kettlebell certification. It’s endless.
For these guys, the learning never stops.
The interesting thing is that it doesn’t really matter what you learn. What matters is that you learn something. You can be constantly dedicated and even obsessed with improvement and understanding new things.
The possibilities are literally limitless – here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Watch a 10-18 minute TED Talk every morning
- Attend a local TED event (I get tickets to a TEDxSF event every year!)
- Read something, anything
- Always have a book under your arm (or saved on your phone or iPad)
- Grab a journal and record some recent lessons, epiphanies and ideas
- Take a personality test
- Attend a seminar
- Save articles throughout the day to a program like Read It Later and then spend an hour or two on a weekend absorbing the new ideas
- Take a mentor out to dinner
- Spend time with a business owner
- Talk ideas with a passionate person
- Complete an online course via Traindom or Skill Share
- Read guides and take courses from successful entrepreneurs. You can always start with Live Off Your Passion. 😉
These are just a start. I don’t care what you learn. Just do something.
As I’m sure you’ve gathered, I am obsessed with learning. I love it. I do it nonstop. I have ever since I spent a year in Sevilla around 2004.
But it wasn’t always like that. Prior to that trip, I didn’t read anything I didn’t have to, I didn’t spend much time around inspiring people and hadn’t attended a single seminar or workshop. I also was bored to death with my work and rarely woke up excited.
The difference is massive and nearly instant.
All it takes is making the decision to start with a few minutes each morning. Pick something from this list or invent your own. Let the momentum build.
Don’t wait for anyone
A few months back, a recent college grad whom I’ve been mentoring reached out to me via email. I hadn’t heard from him in a while and was eager to read the update.
The email was depressing.
He told me a story of how he’d recently lost his job and was now helping out part-time as an assistant to his old high school wrestling coach. While it was work he genuinely enjoyed (Hats off to that!), it wasn’t coming close to paying the bills and he had decided to move back in with his parents to get back on his feet.
I could feel his pain. I’d been there. In fact, when I launched my first business years ago, I moved in with my folks for a few months. It was humbling to say the least (especially given that I was planning to propose to my girlfriend soon…), but those months at home were also some of the best times I’ve ever spent with my mom and dad.
As I read his update, the most frightening part of his email was not his situation but his attitude. He talked of how nothing he was trying, none of the interviews he was doing, had been successful. He was losing hope and didn’t know what to do.
This is a very very dangerous place to be. As we all should know by now, with the right beliefs and conviction, just about anything is possible. But once you lose hope and excitement, things start to feel, and even become, anything but doable.
My friend had fallen into the waiting trap. He was sitting around waiting to hear back from an ad he’d seen, for a new posting to hit Craigslist, from an email response to a resume he’d sent or an interview he’d had.
He was waiting.
The problem is that when you decide to spend your time waiting for someone else to act, you give up control. With that you give up possibility.
My response to him was simple…
Whatever you do, whatever you hear or don’t hear from those around you, you absolutely have to stay committed to one thing. You must never stop learning. It’s something you control 100%, and very few things do we have that much control over. Do it every single day.
There should never be a moment where you have nothing to do or when you are sitting around waiting. Especially if you’re not happy with life. Open that book. Take that online course. Have lunch with that mentor or business owner. Go to that seminar. Put your ideas up on a blog.
Most the stuff is free and available in a instant to those motivated to consume it.
Do something. Anything.
Learn about yourself in every way possible. Test what you’re capable of physically. Think you can’t do a marathon? Then sign up for one. Do the impossible. Test how you process information. Do a strengths finder test. Do the the What Color Is Your Parachute Workbook. Myers Briggs. Johnson O’Connor Aptitude. Do it all!
Then actually make something with what you learn.
The process is ridiculously simple:
Step 1: Learn
Step 2: Experiment
Step 3: Repeat
Step 4: Do what you love
Step 5: When restless, Repeat
When I tell people I write and coach on how to find work you love, so many of them scream back, “I need your help!”
I calmly respond with a question: “Well, have you read any of the 100+ books out there on purpose and passion?”
I proceed to hear pins drop.
It’s not that complicated…
In the past 8 years, I’ve tested just about everything under sun when it comes to finding my passion and doing work I actually give a sh*t about. I now spend close to 100% of my working hours doing things I love. I am grateful, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence.
Getting here wasn’t easy and it wasn’t fast. There have been plenty of late nights (and there still are), but it’s been a ton of fun.
And one thing’s for sure. The fact that I’m doing what lights me on fire right now, does not by any means mean it will be the same thing ten years from now. That’s the best part! I almost guarantee it won’t. At least not exactly the same.
As long as you are currently spending your time doing what you believe you are best at and you are meant to do, that’s a life well lived.
Every better yet, that’s excitement!
Literally, I think I’ve tried everything. Some include:
- Starting businesses
- Traveling the world
- Getting to know people in all walks of life
- Hiring a coach
- Being a coach
- Taking negotiation seminars
- Attending Tony Robbins events
- Reading books – a lot of books. Mainly personal development.
- Doing workbooks
- Taking personality tests
- Taking personal strengths test
- Attempting at first seemingly impossible fitness challenges
- Meeting entrepreneurs
- Working for companies with 10,000+ employees
- Working for companies with 12 employees
- Working for companies with 1 employee
- Writing blog articles, stories, ideas, journals
- Taking university courses
No one can keep you from becoming insanely good at things. No one.
You can become an expert at nearly anything if you want it badly enough. And when you’re an expert, people will want to pay you for your help. Suddenly you don’t just start to have relevant and marketable skills and experience, but you start to have real cash in your pocket as a result. That’s unbelievably empowering.
Two years ago, I knew next to nothing about online business. Today, people are eager to pay me upwards of $150-200/hour to help them on the subject. I worked my ass off to become an expert and it’s paying off in ways I can’t describe. That’s the only thing that has put me where I am right now.
All of it comes back to learning. To loving to learn and doing it routinely.
You are in more control than you think.
If you are not where you want to be professionally or personally, you should be doing something daily to get you closer to a world that makes you come alive.
Big or small, it doesn’t matter.
So, what are you going to learn today?
Want to learn some very useful things about yourself?
After all, that’s where the most importantly learning happens, right?
If I could sum up the value of our Live Off Your Passion course in one phrase, it would be self-discovery. I created the tool to help you learn all you can about yourself, your experiences, your strengths and interests, so you can actually identify a passion and begin to build a career around it. I ended up writing over 240 pages on that very topic (to go with the workbooks videos and coursework). If you’re wondering where to start learning, I’d at least check out Live Off Your Passion. You can always try it risk-free too.
Here’s to learning what matters!
I’m here to help how I can.
MariaPosted at 10:41h, 28 November
You are right Scott. Learning is the key to success, and we should learn as much as we can.
Plus, it’s true, no-one can prevent us from learning something and becoming really good at it!
That was a good article to start the week!
ScottPosted at 06:47h, 29 November
Thanks Maria. Yeah it’s wild to think that we are free to learn just about anything we want. And most of it is free of charge on the web too. Even the stuff we have to pay for is such an unreal return on time and investment, if you choose properly. It’s an empowering feeling! The only real challenge is knowing where to start. I’d say any place will done 😉
Change The World by Doing Work YOU Love-By Scott Dinsmore | | MY HEALING CHANGES! BE YOUR OWN HERO!MY HEALING CHANGES! BE YOUR OWN HERO!Posted at 10:49h, 28 November
[…] How Tim Ferriss Ensures Success: The One No-Brainer Thing You Must Do Daily (it’s not what you thi… […]
DavidPosted at 15:14h, 28 November
Nice article. I am missing something though, which is at least – if not more important – than the theory part: action!
Like Bruce Lee said once: “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough: we must do.” I think that’s also a main characteristic of people like Tim Ferriss and the likes, that they don’t only acquire the theoretical knowledge but that they actually apply what they are learning.
What do you think?
Regards from Greece,
ScottPosted at 06:51h, 29 November
You nailed that David! I’m actually a little embarrassed I didn’t mention the word ‘action’ in that post. I could not agree more. The first step is picking up that book or taking that course but that is only maybe 5% of the battle. The rest is what you do as a result. That’s where the magic happens. Nothing happens without action. An all important point David and thank you for reminding us.
ScottPosted at 06:52h, 29 November
btw, I LOVE that Bruce Lee quote. Can’t believe I hadn’t heard it before.
Miss BrittPosted at 17:40h, 28 November
I needed to read this today. I’ve slowed down my pitching to magazines because I’ve been waiting to hear back from editors. It was an excuse and I realize I handed over my happiness to faceless email addresses.
ScottPosted at 06:54h, 29 November
Ha ha – Faceless email addresses. What a perfect way to describe it. I’m glad it resonated. It can be so easy to find excuses to wait on others, especially when doing difficult and scary tasks (like pitching your ideas!), so I’m glad you caught yourself. That’s what can make all the difference.
SudanPosted at 18:50h, 28 November
Great post but i didn’t like the way you used ‘Tim ferriss” name on the subject title. This post has got very little to do with him and more to do with other learners like you.
learning can be good but if it’s not purpose driven you will get frustrated and you will like to give up. I think people need to follow Jim collins method on it.
20% writing 30- Acquiring 50%- Executing.
This is the best method i have learned so far.
ScottPosted at 06:57h, 29 November
Excellent point Sudan. Looking back at this post, I think I could have given it a more appropriate title. I at first planned to put Tony Robbins and a few other names in there too but it got too long. In reality “constant learning” is one of the few things that just about every Living Legend out there has in common. Thanks for calling me out on that. Tim is a great example of it but by no means at all the only one who does it. Obsessive learning is a habit of every Living Legend.
In fact I just changed it to “Living Legends”. Much more appropriate.
I like Jim Collins’ method a lot. I’d say perhaps Executing should get even more attention though…
SudanPosted at 06:34h, 01 December
Wow! You really gave me “WOW moment” It feels a great honor when someone like you takes my advice and makes changes in his post. You made my day and BTW you really picked a better title which matches with this blog and the post.
ScottPosted at 13:47h, 01 December
I agree Sudan. It is more appropriate. I appreciate the mention.
Kurt SwannPosted at 19:12h, 28 November
Scott . . .sorry for the long quote but I’ve always liked what Merlin says about learning in a book called The Sword In The Stone . . . . .Kurt
“The best thing for being sad is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder in your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then – to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust and never dream of regretting. Look at what a lot of things there are to learn … astronomy in a lifetime, natural history in three, literature in six. And then, after you have exhausted a million lifetimes in biology and medicine and theo-criticism and geography and history and economics – why, then you can start to make a cartwheel out of the appropriate wood, or spend fifty years learning to begin to learn to beat your adversary at fencing. After that you can start on mathematics, until it is time to learn to plow. -“
ScottPosted at 07:01h, 29 November
Right on Kurt! Thank you for sharing that. I’d read the book long ago but didn’t remember this. It’s perfect! I really liked this part: “Learn why the world wags and what wags it.”
Go through life ever interested, curious and inquisitive and it’s tough to go wrong.
Matt StewardPosted at 20:03h, 28 November
We know you adore Tim Ferriss.
But seriously, if you want to get your reputation, then
stop praise him like a star, because this is something
that will put yourself always into his shadow.
I’m not the only regular reader
of your blog that thinks this.
ScottPosted at 22:07h, 28 November
Thanks Matt. I’ve learned a great deal from Tim. This site would not exist without him. It also wouldn’t exist without Leo, Tony, Michael and many others who have been awesome enough to show me the path and hold me to a higher standard. No one gets anywhere on their own.
I do agree with not praising any one person too much but I will never forget the folks that have made all this stuff possible. Tim is merely one of many and last week’s event reminded me of an important idea.
Here’s do doing away with shadows though Matt 😉
How Tim Ferriss Ensures Success: The One No-Brainer Thing You Must Do Daily (it’s not what you think) | Mind Power, Memory, FocusPosted at 20:26h, 28 November
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Wendy KruegerPosted at 21:46h, 28 November
Great post. I totally agree. I am a passionate learner as well. You are more apt to pursue your dreams if you keep moving towards the things that inspire you.
ScottPosted at 07:02h, 29 November
CharliePosted at 08:04h, 29 November
The worst advice I ever received was from a Corporate VP who told me (after I finished the company training course) to just “put my time in”. I listened to him and had not grown at all when they fired me a year later.
I decided to never again put my time in, but always learn instead. It’s been life-changing for me and I’m so glad to see it promoted to a wider audience.
ScottPosted at 10:53h, 29 November
Sounds like a pretty powerful way to learn a lesson Charlie. The nice thing is you only have to learn that one once!
Rachel DenningPosted at 12:44h, 29 November
I love this Scott! The more I read your stuff, the more I’m lovin’ it!
My husband says, “There is no graduation from education.” This is a philosophy we try to live by – learning and self-improvement all the time.
Though I must confess it’s been more difficult the last couple of years, with 5 little ones now. It seems every time I open a book or turn on an audio program, I’m getting interrupted. But we’ve made a concentrated effort to increase our ‘input’ as we drive everyday – we can definitely tell a difference in our attitude and accomplishments when we’re getting lots of great input in everyday. Input determines output.
Thanks for this!
ScottPosted at 13:52h, 01 December
I love that quote Rachel! I hope you don’t mind if I use it at some point ;).
I can only imagine having 5 little ones running around. Maybe try something different like an audio book – you would at least take in some of it even if you were a little distracted at some point. Or perhaps do something to get the little ones involved. I have a number of friends who have built blogs to document their lessons and experiences as mothers and fathers. Could be a fun way to mix it up. Here’s one that’s pretty neat: http://hautemamadaily.blogspot.com/
Keep me posted on the progress!
AndriaPosted at 03:52h, 01 December
this is a really inspiring article and you are absolutely right!
In my opinion when we stop learning we stop being.
The reason why I loved this article is because you not only shared with us the information about those great people, but you also gave us some examples of how we can learn as much as we can.
Maybe you can write a more detailed post about the ways people can learn and which ones you think are the more effective.
Thank you, that was really helpful.
ScottPosted at 13:53h, 01 December
Agreed Andria. I am going to write a post like that very soon. Great idea. We are either growing or we’re dying. Same goes for learning…
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craig @cdsternPosted at 17:35h, 02 December
Scott! That video is so good. The starting screen, shown before pressing play, (not sure of the correct name, u know?) doesn’t do it justice.
I would bet that the screen with the quote from Howard Thurman as the starting screen would perform better.
Alexandria VillalbaPosted at 03:08h, 03 December
I appreciate you sharing this blog.Thanks Again. Really Cool….
LeniaPosted at 00:54h, 05 December
Hi Scott, this is Lenia from Greece and I am happy to discover your blog. I agree with your point. Learning means knowledge and knowledge is power. Thank you for sharing.
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Vince WongPosted at 19:34h, 23 December
Great post Scott! Definitely agree with constant learning and improvement. As a past MD who has now been doing something completely different (and something I enjoy alot more) definitely quite a switch. Happy holidays, and look forward to getting to know you better!
stevePosted at 10:52h, 28 December
I’m not sure how you could be passionate and not be learning all the time. Great article. As a high school teacher and single father of three, I have obviously pushed education. However, like you said there’s formal education and then there’s “life’s education.” I know it is sacrilegious to say this as a teacher but I opt for the life education. I also want to thank David for pointing out the impts. of action. It goes without saying, but he’s right. Knowledge without action is useless. Thanks again Scott for another good post.
FabPosted at 13:40h, 12 May
really great article!! Congratulations!!
“But it wasn’t always like that. Prior to that trip I didn’t read anything I didn’t have to, I didn’t spend much time around inspiring people and hadn’t attended a single seminar or workshop. I also was bored to death with my work and rarely woke up excited.”
What was the real trigger?
Apart from your long staying in Spain, there must be something else, very meaningful, that made you a learning machine!!
Let us know if you feel like!
Fab, greetings from Italy.
brandPosted at 23:04h, 22 December
Stepping stone, numerous healthcare positions need to know about medication. This makes being a pharmacy technician and obtaining a excellent knowledge about drugs an excellent stepping stone task for most healthcare careers. Besides obtaining expertise about medications, there are numerous pharm tech positions that will perform weekends, evenings, and graveyards. This would make it achievable to earn sufficient to live on whilst attending college full-time. Lets take a look at a few of the key careers that benefit from having a pharmacy technician training initial. Pharmacist, this needless to say is the road I took. I was a pharmacy tech for over 8 years just before beginning pharmacy school. I seriously enjoyed currently being a pharmacy technician and the subject of pharmacy. 1 of my pharmacists recommended I go to pharmacy college. So I did, and in pharmacy university I found that my experience as being a pharm tech gave me an advantage over those who werent. When we were finding out drugs, I already had the generic, brand, and drug class down. This meant that I could focus on studying the details of each drug versus some of my classmates who required to study the names of your medications. Medical doctor, I know a couple of technicians that went on to medical school. The exact same principles apply as to pharmacy faculty. As being a doctor, you have to have to understand about medications and how much of a bonus would it be to currently know the drugs and classes. Nurse, several pharmacy technicians go on to nursing faculty. Having a good working knowledge about medicines like a nurse is actually a fundamental skill. To start out off with that expertise prior to even starting nursing college is great.
JenPosted at 13:51h, 03 March
Thanks for the inspiring article! I’m learning lots lately and trying to encourage y significant other to do the same, I think I will have him read this post.
Shannon LagassePosted at 17:41h, 01 April
I’m sure you’ve heard of it, but Uncollege.org is a great resource for learning new things. I also love Meetup groups and picking the minds of friends. Nothing like posting on Facebook, “What’s one book that totally changed your life?” to get some ideas going.
MartinPosted at 13:54h, 19 January
Great post! Very encouraging!
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