11 Questions

Tim Ferriss asked several successful people eleven extremely interesting questions. The answers to those questions became the basis of his latest book, Tribe of Mentors. It’s a great series of reflection questions that I decided to ask myself. Highly recommend others go through the process of reviewing them too.


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?

I don’t usually buy people books because I think book preference is highly individualised.

My top 3 books are:

  • Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins
  • You can Heal your Life by Louise Hay
  • 7 Highly Effective Habits by Stephen Covey

Honourable mentions that would come in a top 5 are:

  • The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday
  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

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

A few months ago, I bought one of those electric blender bottles for protein shakes at work. It’s been a game changer which means that I hit my protein targets for the day, and am not starving by the time I get home to eat dinner. It also makes me look forward to having protein shakes because there’s minimal clean up. Long gone are the days where I had to sit there and try to get rid of the smell of a protein shaker that ended up at the bottom of my bag.

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

Back in 2016 I tried to get down to 20% body fat in a 13 week programme and failed miserably. I ended up depressed and lost myself in the process. In order to heal my mind and body mind, I went on a journey of self-discovery and happened to stumble upon hula hooping. While I haven’t found “success” with hula hooping in the traditional definition of success (or at least not yet), I consider it a success because it became a true passion and helped me find the best version of myself.

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.

Trust your intuition. It always knows.

The exact wording is my own 🙂 I picked this one because it’s simple, yet often ignored. If most people trusted their intuition or gut instincts they would find themselves in a much better place in 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.)

From the ages of 7-20, I spent most of my spare time training in Indian classical dance (Bharat Natyam). I loved it, but often thought it was pointless since I had no aspirations to pursue dance as a career. In hindsight, it was an amazing investment. It gave me a strong physical foundation, mental fortitude and a great understanding of my body.

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

I’m a firm believer in mind body connection so whenever I get unwell, injured or sick the first thing I do is go to my Louise Hay book (You Can Heal Your Life).

I’ll then see what thoughts or belief patterns are said to cause the particular ailment that I’m suffering from. I’ll then try to do the relevant affirmations or explore any actions that I could take to help me improve my thoughts to bring me back into alignment. I still turn to conventional medicine when I’m sick, but always take into account the mind-body connection too.

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

  • Habit: Implemented a written gratitude practice every morning.
  • Belief: Started believing in myself and telling myself that I am enough and that I am deserving of what I want to achieve in life.
  • Behaviour: Listening to my intuition all the time, especially when I get a strong feeling that doesn’t make logical sense.

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

Try lots of different interests and gain as many new experiences as possible. You’ll look back on your twenties, remembering all the crazy and weird things you did; they’ll be some of the best memories of your life. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or have failures. Some of my best experiences came out of what I thought were failures at the time.

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

This is hard because I’m not sure I have a particular area of expertise.

But if my expertise is face to face training, the worst thing I’ve heard is that you need to specialise and have training experience in a certain area, in  order to train people on it. You can always learn new content to teach others, but if you don’t have the communication skills and personality to connect with others, you’ll never be able to train people.

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’m not sure I have gotten that much better at saying no. I still struggle and often feel guilty.

After a lot of reflection on this question, I realised that the only thing that really helped is developing my own self-worth and self-esteem enough to feel that I was worthy of saying no to others and deserving of the things that I want to do.

Once I developed a stronger sense of self-worth, I became better at prioritising my own needs and stopped saying yes just because I was trying to not disappoint other people. Any time I have said yes to others and no to myself, I’m the one that ended up disappointed and resented the people I said yes to. I still have my struggles, but i’m at least getting better at saying no.

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?)

 First, I’ll check whether I’m hungry, dehydrated or tired – that’s likely to be so much of my struggles.

If I’m still feeling over-whelmed or unfocussed, I’ll listen to a carefully curated music playlist that I have designed to trigger a happy or focussed state. From this, I’ll often pick one song and play it on repeat. I’m that annoying person that is able to focus better from one song playing over and over.

I’ll try to check in and listen to my body too, see what’s going on. Coming from a dance background, how I feel in my body is one of the best ways for me to assess what’s going on so I can harness my intuition and gain focussed functional energy.

Hope you enjoyed my answers, and might be inspired to carry out a reflection of your own.