“Tim is Indiana Jones for the digital age. I’ve already used his advice to go spearfishing on remote islands and ski the best hidden slopes of Argentina. Simply put, do what he says and you can live like a millionaire.”
Albert Pope, Derivatives Trading, UBS World Headquarters
If we want to exceed in life, it’s worth trying what others who have succeeded have done. And see how it works for us.
Successful people’s daily routines and habits are something crucial, and often neglected. But in the long term, it’s how they spend their days – together with the little things they do first thing in the morning and before bed, the time they wake up, their attitude throughout the day and how they react to the unexpected things that happen – that separates them from the rest of the world.
Such people don’t just get up in the morning and start their day in a rush, trying to look busy and get as much done as possible. No!
They get out of bed earlier than they have to and have time for themselves first. It’s usually the only time of the day that is so peaceful and without distractions and they spend it doing pleasant, healthy, creative and positive activities.
That’s their morning ritual – what they do first thing in the morning to jumpstart the day and win it.
And when we talk about success and productivity, we can all benefit from Tim Ferriss. The person who’s proven that a single individual can achieve greatness and reach the top in many areas, that we all have the ability to adapt to any situation and learn any skill if we decide to give it enough time.
He’s the author of 3 #1 NYT/WSJ bestsellers, one of which is The 4-Hour Workweek – a book we’ve all heard of. And he still continues to produce huge amounts of written work.
He’s one of the most powerful personalities and most innovative businessmen, an entrepreneur, world traveler and lifestyle designer.
Described by The New Yorker Magazine as “this generation’s self help guru”, he’s also an investor and advisor in startups, successful blogger and podcaster, host of The Tim Ferriss Experiment – a TV show in which he hacks learning a new skill from scratch in each episode, including Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, online dating, picking locks like a pro, winning at poker and more.
He considers himself a jack of all trades – speaks 5 languages fluently (2 of which are Japanese and Mandarin Chinese), holds a Guinness World Record in tango, is a national Chinese kickboxing champion, a great cook, has hacked sleep, productivity, the human body, and much more.
Enough with his list of achievements, though.
The point of mentioning all these was not to make anyone else feel inferior to him, but to give proof that the only things stopping us from succeeding in any area in life are the limitations and mental barriers we set to ourselves.
And the moment we read about someone like Tim Ferriss we should not feel discouraged and see what we can’t do and lack in our life compared to him, but instead ask ourselves “What helped him get there?”, “What does someone like him do daily that gives him this amount of energy, motivation and productivity?”
A good way to start achieving more in life and getting better at things is to ask ourselves “How does he start his day?”.
So let’s see what one of the most influential, hard-working and ambitious people we know does first thing in the morning:
The 5-Step Morning Ritual of Tim Ferriss
1. Make your bed.
Yes, the very first thing one of the richest and most famous people does is to make his bed.
Little things like that matter a lot when it comes to personal development. And over time have a huge effect on your other habits and approach to life.
You may be doing it too, and are now wondering why you’re not improving because of that. Maybe you don’t have the right attitude. Here’s why he does it:
- it gives a sense of control – even if the whole day is chaotic, this one thing remains done and organized. You start the day with a little step you take and complete the task successfully;
- it also gives you a boost to take another action right after that. After all, Newton’s first law states that “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”;
- you feel proud after you do it and start the day with a little more confidence, which can be very helpful later on;
- it shows you that little actions matter;
- in the end of the day – no matter what has happened – you come back to something you’ve done right, to something that’s in order and just like it has to be. It hasn’t changed since you completed this task and this reminds you that you have some control over what happens in your life.
So it’s all about mindset here.
For some it’s just making their bed in the morning because that’s what people are supposed to do, for others – it’s a tiny ritual of orderliness and will, that eventually – together with other mini habits like that – adds up to achieving self-mastery.
Next, he devotes some time to spiritual development. And we should all follow his example.
He does a 21-minute session that helps him “develop the powers of concentration”. He says that even if you think about random stuff and come back to focusing on your breathing or emptying your mind in the last few minutes, it’s still a success.
In the podcast where he talks about this exact morning routine, he also advises to do 5 sessions, and after we win them (complete them successfully), we can think about scaling.
It’s important to do it first thing in the morning, to start small and to use the first 15 minutes for preparation as the last few are the real thing, when you’re actually in the zone, being present and concentrated.
The result? A less stressful day, more relaxed mind and body, and the ability to focus more easily (which can be quite helpful in many ways).
Here are the apps Tim uses (some of which useful for meditation and having a better sleep), and 3 interviews he did with some interesting people that show an unusual understanding of meditation:
Tara Brach on Meditation and Overcoming FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)
Sam Harris, PhD on Spirituality, Neuroscience, Meditation, and More
Productivity Secrets of a Master DJ (Meditation, Morning Routines, and More)
Yes, you read it right!
Every morning (and a few times during the day and once at night) Tim Ferriss just hangs. It decompresses the spine and can be a cure for back pain in the long term.
He hangs upside down for a couple of minutes. The main reason he does it is to break up work or writing sessions.
4. Drink tea.
He’s a big fan of tea. And has made adjustments to the way he drinks it over the years. Check out the morning cocktail he drinks instead of coffee.
The simpler version, though, that can be turned into a pleasant and peaceful zen ritual is this:
- he boils water in a kettle (a cheap one, nothing fancy);
- while it’s warming, he prepares the tea (he likes Chinese black teas);
- boils it and leaves it for a few minutes;
- drinks it slowly and enjoys it.
For him it’s a whole ceremony, a meditative practice of production.
He keeps morning pages. He actually shares exactly what his morning journal looks like here (which inspired me to write a post on how 750 words a day can change your life).
And like it is with everything else in his life, he does it with a purpose:
“I don’t journal to “be productive.” I don’t do it to find great ideas, or to put down prose I can later publish. The pages aren’t intended for anyone but me.
Morning pages don’t need to solve your problems. They simply need to get them out of your head, where they’ll otherwise bounce around all day like a bullet ricocheting inside your skull.
Could bitching and moaning on paper for five minutes each morning change your life?
As crazy as it might seem, I believe the answer is yes.”
And that’s it.
After doing these 5 things he’s ready to get out there and do what he does best – improving, challenging himself, trying new stuff, and showing others how to do the same.
What do you think? What’s your morning ritual like? And how is it different from the Tim Ferriss morning routine? How can you upgrade it for better results?
If you’re in need of some inspiration, here’s a collection of the best Tim Ferriss quotes. You can also check out the morning routine of Jeff Bezos here.