Are there any work patterns or ethics mistakes you see young entrepreneurs doing? Any in particular with female entrepreneurs?
Tim Ferriss: Well, in general entrepreneurs, especially new or young entrepreneurs, should focus on timeless principles and skills of deal making and not chase the latest shiny object. For instance, becoming an expert in my space was a great investment a few years ago, but it is not such a great investment now. It is impossible to predict which services are going to continue to be useful. So I think it is a mistake to develop a fleeting expertise in the latest web site or the latest wizbang technology if you haven’t mastered, for instance, negotiation. Or improved your ability to communicate both on the phone and through written communication.
There are a few tools I suggest for improving these skills. One of the best books on that subject is called Getting Past No which was written by one of the authors who wrote Getting To Yes, originally at Harvard. He felt that getting past no was more realistic. One of the mistakes that women make, if you can call it that, is viewing negotiation as a masculine activity or othwerwise trying to avoid that aspect of entrepreneurship. I had a very compelling conversation with an extremely successful female CEO. Someone was asking her about the glass ceiling and women getting paid less than men and she said the reason women get paid less than men is because they don’t ask for more money. That was her response. I think men are culturally taught to be more aggressive and push harder with such things. It’s not to say that you have to completely change your personality to negotiate effectively, but you need to at least understand the most common gambits, the most common concessions, the most common bluffs in that game or you will always overpay when you buy things and under sell when you sell things. I think you will find that that one is very difficult to replace with another skill.
You need both sides of the equation and it’s extremely easy to get better at it. You just need to number one, role play, and number two, negotiate things you don’t care about. Go to the state fair, go to the flea market, go to the farmer’s market and practice the same set of skills on small items so you develop the pattern recognition so you can do it with other things.
How does your mechanism of ‘selective ignorance’ work in this world of increasing ADD?
Tim Ferriss: If you’re going to develop or test drive ‘selective ignorance’ or a low information diet number one look at your behaviors and ask if they scale. What I mean by that is if you were handling 50 emails a day six months ago and now you’re handling 100 emails a day, ask yourself with your current coping mechanism, can you handle 150, 200, 300, 1000? Because that is the trick. Most people will answer, “No, I can’t.” Therefore you need to have some of dramatic shift in your process.
Often times that simply comes down to saying no to as much as possible and blocking out input so you can focus on output. I would encourage people to do is just do it for a week and treat it like The Slow-Carb Diet. The Slow-Carb diet is in The 4-Hour Body. Hundreds of people have lost literally 100 to 150 pounds of weight. It’s very easy to lose fat on this diet and partly people succeed because there Saturday is cheat day. You can eat whatever you want. I like bear claws, I like pizza, I go nuts! So you can have a low information diet that you treat the same way. From Sunday to Friday or it could be Monday to Saturday you cut out all news, all reading that is irrelevant to your life, inactionable i.e. you can’t change it. If something happens in Afghanistan, for most people, you can’t do a damn thing about it. Don’t read it. Don’t consume it. If it’s not relevant to your goals. If you can’t act on it, cut it out. Do that for a week with one cheat day where if you want to watch Lost all day, fantastic. Go nuts. I don’t find things like Lost to be that damaging. It is the illusion of so-called news that is an issue. Going out to the movies is fine but with the news you’re not being productive nor are you having fun. You need to cut that out.
There are tools that can help with it. There is one called RescueTime.com where you can block off sites for certain hours of the day. There is also a site called EmailGa.me. If you use Gmail it can help to improve your process by cutting down your processing time by 50%.
What are your recommendations for people who work a ton in terms of cooking a healthy meal when they get home after a long day?
Tim Ferriss: This book [The 4-Hour Chef] is written specifically for that market because those are all my friends. The reason I had failed at cooking so many times in the past is there are so many failure points. Whether it’s too much time for grocery shopping or too much time for prep, too much time for clean up, any number of things. The 4-Hour Chef is intended to, in the first 400 pages or so, deliver all the most powerful and versatile techniques of culinary school in about four hours of total prep time. So let’s just say 15 meals that take an average of nine minutes to prepare. So they are very, very short but they teach techniques that once you’ve acquired them you can cook without recipes for a lifetime. The book as a whole is actually a blueprint for learning any skill quickly. I talk about languages, I talk about sports, dancing, etc. How the principals you learn through cooking apply to everything else. It is kind of like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maitenance.