My Answers to Tim Ferriss' 11 Tribe of Mentors Questions

I've been reading Tribe of Mentors lately (it's one of the free books on Prime reading as of 7/28/19 FYI) and it has given me so much value. If you're unfamiliar with the book, Tim asked high achievers to answer three or more questions from a list of eleven and compiled their answers in a book. It is inspirational and full of both actionable and more abstract pieces of advice. Today, I thought it would be fun to answer the eleven questions for you guys. 

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?

On the Road and Into the Wild are books that have influenced my life in similar ways. Both are about man's search for meaning in the world, in different ways. These were books that I read in high school that fundamentally changed the way I think of myself and my place in the world. It helped me realize that we may never truly know the purpose of life or the meaning behind our existence, but that life is a blessing and it should be spent with the people we care about. I love philosophy and existentialism is something that I often think about and these books have shaped my way of thinking about my life. 

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.

I love this phone case because it allows me to keep my important cards on me at all times, but without them being visible like the stick on pouches or other cases. 

These spiral wrist key chain things have been so useful because it lets me keep my keys on my arm when I'm running into the store to grab something. I don't have to dig in my purse to find my keys and they're nice and secure so I'm not afraid that I'm going to lose them

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

I didn't go to a prestigious college and that always felt like a failure. I grew up going to a private college prep high school and I always felt a little bit like a failure when nearly everyone I knew ended up at an expensive, private college (or an elite public) with a strong reputation. I think this set me up for success because it allowed me to be a big fish in a small pond. It allowed me to thrive and grow without the competition and it ultimately led me to go to one of these "elite" schools for graduate school. 

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're not alone." A lot of times, people think that the struggles they go through are unique to them, when in reality, they have friends or family who have gone through the same thing. Community is so powerful and knowing that there are other likeminded individuals or other people who have been there and gotten through it is so important. 

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

Taking time for myself in the morning. My mornings are my time to do everything that fills my tank before I start giving my energy and time towards my obligations. Every morning I journal a page and meditate and it is non-negotiable for me. It has changed the way I think, I act, and I feel all for the better. 

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

A habit that I have is calling my family to say "hey, if you're plane goes down and this is the last time we talk, I love you" before they or I fly over the ocean. I am fully aware that a plane crash is an unlikely way to die, but I always think that if a plane crashes between the continental US and Hawaii, you'll die on impact, you'll survive and no one will be able to find you and you'll be shark food, or in the last moments you'll try to say something and not be able to because you don't have cell service. It's completely nuts and I get that, but it's something I'll probably do until the day I die (hopefully not in a plane crash). 

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

Journaling and intention setting in the morning. I have always been good about short term goals and getting things off my to do list, but planning out my future three months out, a year out, three years out, and five years out has changed the way I prioritize in my life. 

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

I can't answer this because I'm still a college student (albeit a graduate student now) and won't be in "the real world" for the foreseeable future. 

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

It's not so much a recommendation as a norm, but the fact that science is inaccessible to the general public is bad. You shouldn't need to be an expert in the field to understand scientific literature, and the general media shouldn't report scientific findings because they don't do a good job at it. A scientist will always describe results in non-absolute terms, such as something correlates with something else or the results suggest something, but the media doesn't do that and it makes it harder for people to understand scientific literature. 

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?

I've been better at saying no to social media. I batch the time I spend on social media into three ten minute periods throughout the day and it's helped me minimize mindless scrolling and unnecessary insta-stalking. 

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?)

I like to journal. My morning journaling is very much a mind dump, but when I'm feeling overwhelmed, unfocused, or unmotivated I like to do a more guided journaling practice. I like to write three month, one year, three year, and five year goals and really reflect on what I want. Doing that helps me reprioritize my life and see where I could be more efficient with my time. Trying to understand where my time is going and how to better get what I want to achieve is always a good way to center myself. 

Let me know in the comments your answers to a question or two so I can learn from all of you. Every dream that you have is achievable and I want to support you all every step of the way. 

x, S


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