An interview with Chris

When you ask questions and listen to the answers you always have a chance of learning something new.

My hope is you pick up one thing from reading this interview and apply positively in your life.

These questions are not new, they have been popularised by Tim Ferriss and the fantastic book "Tribe of mentors" yet they are insightful when answered by anyone.

Thanks for your time in reading this.



An interview with Chris...

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?” 

One book that has personally influenced my life is 'Harry Potter' - without it I would have continued to be the wrong side of the statistic "50% of school leavers never read a book again"

Other notable books have been "Bounce" - Matt Syed; "Born to Run" - Christopher McDougall and anything by Malcolm Gladwell and Ryan Holliday.

Three books I have actually gifted or recommended on numerous occasions are:

  1. "The Chimp paradox" - Prof Steve Peters - explaining how the mind works in a really simple way this book sparked my interest in the mind and helped me understand why I am such a dick at times. Used by the GB cycling team this was acknowledged as one of the factors leading up to massive Olympic success, Prof Peters breaks down complex matters in a useable manner - this Is the book I recommend most frequently.
  2. "The Daily Stoic" - Ryan Holiday. A practical philosophy for the modern (wo)man. Stoicism is not new, (check out meditations by Marcus Aurelius or on the shortness of life by Seneca, both 2000 years old but couldn’t be any more relevant today) the daily stoic provides a short passage to help you reflect on and make the most out of life, with relevant real-life accounts of notable modern day stoics. With less religion in our lives today we are offered fewer suggestions on how to live a good life, Stoicism is an alternative to fill the void and help you thrive.
  3. "Tribe of mentors" - Tim Ferriss. These 11 questions are from this book, answered by many inspiring men and women at the top of their fields - what I love about this book is learning from those who have been there and done it, even better is some advice contradicts - supporting the argument of do what works for you but be able to back it up!

Book recommendations are always subjective... sometimes the right book is read at the wrong time and perhaps with all these books, the best ones came when I was ready to read them.

What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)? ”

Haha - an ovulation test kit, takes the guess work out of family planning 😉

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

How recent do you want to go? Failure happens all the time, not being able to express myself clearly is a weekly event... big learning going on here! I guess my 'bestest' failure was in my second teaching job. Long story short, it became obvious no matter how much work I put in or how hard I tried the ‘powers’ of the school were going to make things difficult for me, realising this and coming to terms with what was still in my control and what I could not control made a huge difference to how I see the world.

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?)”

Let it go” my mantra for life, let go of fears, anxiety, stress, anger - a reminder to breath, smile, love more and get on with what’s important. - thank you Disney.

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

Marrying Adrienne - the first person to show me its okay to commit, it’s okay to go all in and trust, it’s okay to not know the outcome to be vulnerable. I learn a lot from her still.

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

I don’t think it’s unusual but tidying up the table after we have eaten at home or in restaurants, stacking dishes ready to travel and cleaning the surface.

“In the last five years, what new belief, behaviour, or habit has most improved your life?”

Meditation & Journalling - both have opened my mind to who I really am as opposed to who I think I am. Self-reflection and personal growth have truly improved my life - a helpful starting point was writing down three things I was pleased about today (or grateful for) and one thing I wanted to change, with ideas of how to do it. After a while this became normal and progress was rapid for me.

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

No one really knows anything, but play the game long enough to put yourself in a position to make an impact. Go too quick and too strong straight away and you will get chewed up, go too slow and too weak you will have a life that is passive and sucky.

Dance on the razor's edge, push and hold back, learn about yourself, learn about others - enjoy the ride as it’s the only one you have.

What are the bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?”

This “insert exercise, diet, plan” will change everything in 30 days - by all means try it but unless it becomes your lifestyle norm it won’t last...

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?

Anything that won’t help me physically, mentally or socially - some may call it becoming boring I call it looking after my future self.

I don’t have the energy or desire I once used to for pleasing others, in fact, I would go as far as to say I have learned to figure out what is important and what isn’t important and direct my attention accordingly.

How I do this:

  1. Self-reflection through journaling, setting goals, embracing emotional discomfort/angst and withdrawal by being curious about the cause.
  2. Being grateful every day (well, 70% of the time) about three things and taking steps to work on one thing that bothers me each day
  3. Going first, saying hello, smiling, saying I love you - someone has to go first so why not me.
  4. Continuing to do difficult things such as taking cold showers every day, planning exercise and food, washing up straight away, making my bed, expressing myself, read every day to learn, do my work - if I can’t do difficult things at will I have no hope when life really does happen.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do? (If helpful: What questions do you ask yourself?)”

Stop what I am doing and move, there is a good chance I’ve been working too long, I'm fatigued, mentally or physically. Usually, I notice that I'm no longer being productive and my inner voice is telling me a story of I'm no good or I can't do this any more.

The inner voice I must acknowledge but not listen to intently as most likely its just telling me I need a break, you didn’t get enough sleep last night or go and walk, run, slide, star jump, #dosomethingdifferent

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