Archive for May, 2010
Lifestyle Design: Integrating Your Interests into Your Lifestyle
aka: How To Make Your Life Kick Ass
Summer is just about here, and for many, myself included, it is finals week at school. My brain is literally bursting with new ideas from a semester of studying intently and not traveling that much. Next week I board a plane and start Summer 2010 (Yesss!!) and then it’s off to all corners of the globe for Love System’s workshops, visiting friends, and studying Chinese in Beijing. So before the madness begins, I want to get down a concept that I’ve been kicking around for a while.
This is a strategy for minimizing time spent on low-return activities, and enjoying the things you spend your valuable time on as much as possible.
Let’s start by identifying the three distinct areas of your life where you spend around 80% of your time. Then identify the activities that incorporate at least two of your these areas of focus. Finally, we identify the activities that involve all three areas.
This is the Sweet Spot where you should spend as much time as possible, with the next option being engaging in activities that involve two of the areas. And looking for as many ways as possible to batch, eliminate or delegate the activities that are mundane and administrative in nature, pertaining to just one area of your life.
Let’s use my life as an example:
For me, I spend the vast majority of my time at least one of these areas. I study Chinese and Political Economy at UC Berkeley, I continually start new businesses and consult to others on theirs, and I teach Love Systems all around the world, meeting most of my girlfriends in the process.
Generally, I try to insist that anything I spend over 1-2 hours on incorporates at least two of these areas. Like these:
Academic <-> Professional: Having launched a custom USB flash drive provider that manufactures in China and sells to US customers, I have a real-world sandbox to analyze Political Economy concepts I learn in school…and my Chinese language studies help considerably in building rapport with my Chinese colleagues.
Academic <-> Social/Dating: Since I’m generally interested in Asian girls, and teach Love Systems workshops in SE Asia, my Chinese language skills help win points with the kind of girls I like.
Professional <-> Social/Dating: Love Systems Instructors get a chance to work with very accomplished people from all walks of life. I constantly learn from clients and have been introduced to people one or two degrees of separation away that have helped me professionally. Additionally, some girls that I’ve met by virtue of honing my social skills, have gone on to work with me on various business projects.
Braddock and Mr M coined my favorite word to describe the Sweet Spot, and it is “Supernova!” Which is an explosion of energy that compounds and builds on itself, often times shining so bright that it illuminates an entire galaxy. You should always be orienting towards going “Supernova,” which is the opposite of just meandering through the day and going with the flow. The Sweet Spot is when you find the activities that involve all your interests! When you’re doing these things you are firing on all cylinders, you’re highly motivated and therefore are an active participant because these things add so much value to your life.
And now for a word on Value: Value is subjective. The things that YOU find value in are different from what your neighbor, friend or lover finds value in. And these things change over time. So identifying and keeping track of your interests and passions is an ongoing, dynamic activity in and of itself.
Now, the Sweet Spot!
Given my interests, the Sweet Spot activities involve traveling to Asia to work on Love Systems program, where I meet the kind of girls I like, and can develop my business interests, which overlay with the topics I study. Here’s some current examples:
- Inviting an investor from UK to meet me in Hong Kong, where we met for the first time in a high-end nightclub where we had bottle service, and proceeding to travel to South China, visit manufacturers and secure his investment…. Then using the experience as the basis for completing a school assignment.
- Putting together an Asian Business Consulting group at school and making sure to flyer the Asian sororities.
- Becoming close with my Chinese Economy professor, who introduces me to large sourcing agent in Beijing, where I’m moving for the Summer to study Chinese and develop a new business idea.
These are just some of the most recent examples that popped into my head. When my interests were different, the same idea applied, but the actual activities that gave me the most satisfaction focused on different topics, in different parts of the world.
So, the idea is to get a handle of what exactly it is that you’re interested and passionate about. Then to identify the activities where there is some overlap, and the Sweet Spot where you should try to spend as much time as possible. And finally to minimize or eliminate the activities that fall outside your purview of your interests.
The final point is the focus of many books/articles, namely The Four-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss, so I’m not going to go into it too much here. For example, when I have administrative work to do for school or work, I try to “batch” these tasks into a short block of time and give 100% focus to complete them all as fast as possible and be done with it. Another strategy is to deal with automate tasks like paying bills, bookkeeping, travel planning etc.
I could write so much more on this topic. If you guys are interested, I’d consider starting a Lifestyle Design Q&A on the Attraction Forums and answering everyone’s questions for a few weeks.
Either way, let’s toast to a great summer. First summer of the new decade! Clink-clink, cheers!
~ Jesse Starlight ~