Best-selling author, podcaster and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss spent years interviewing hundreds of business leaders, billionaires and professional athletes about their morning rituals, testing out their suggestions along the way.
Mornings matter to Ferriss because "if you win the morning, you win the day," he writes.
Still, though he may aim to be "superhuman," Ferriss isn't quite there yet. While he aims to check off all five rituals every day, that only happens about 30 percent of the time, he says. Even when he only has time to get through a few of his steps, though, it still starts the day on a high note.
"You can always knock off at least one," he writes. "And if you tick off three, I find the likelihood of the day being a home run infinitely greater."
That's because although morning habits like journaling and eating breakfast first thing — Ferriss, whose diet is famously "slow-carb" and pro-protein, prefers black-bean chili — might seem trivial, "the small things are the big things," he writes.
Here's how he likes to start the day:
Ferriss chooses to start his days by clearing both his room and his mind. "If you see an external distraction (speaking personally), you end up creating an internally distracted state," he says.
Making his bed not only helps Ferriss keep his physical space clear, it gives him a sense of control over his mind. It's a strategy that helps him deal with all of the intangibles and curve-balls that life throws at him and gives him a sense of control over his life.
"No matter how s---ty your day is … you can make your bed," Ferriss writes. "And that gives you the feeling, at least it gives me the feeling, even in a disastrous day, that I've held on to the cliff ledge by a fingernail and I haven't fallen. There is at least one thing I've controlled."
More than 80 percent of the world-class performers Ferriss interviewed practice some type of daily mindfulness, however briefly.
By meditating, "you're practicing focus when it doesn't matter (sitting on a couch for 10 minutes) so that you can focus better later when it does matter (negotiation, conversation with a loved one, etc.)," he writes.
In "Tools of Titans," Ferriss advocates doing five to 10 reps of any exercise first thing in the morning. He prefers push-ups, but you could try sit-ups, squats or lunges.
"The five-to-10 reps here are not a workout," he says. "They are intended to 'state prime' and wake me up. Getting into my body, even for 30 seconds, has a dramatic effect on my mood and quiets mental chatter."
He has since extended his morning workouts to include 20-to-90 minutes of activity. "That exercise could be riding on a Peloton bike and doing a 20-minute HIIT workout [high-intensity interval training], or it could be acroyoga, or it could be weight training or working on a Concept 2 rower," he explained to Business Insider.
Ferriss prepares custom a blend of teas and spices, which he's dubbed "titanium tea."
"This name was a joke, but it stuck," he writes. The tea consists of one teaspoon of pu-erh aged black tea, one teaspoon of dragon well green tea, and one teaspoon of turmeric and ginger shavings. He also adds coconut oil or Quest MCT oil powder and chases it with a glass of cold water.
In addition to the tea, Ferriss also consumes a small breakfast. Most commonly, he'll opt for half a can of Amy's high-protein and high-fiber black bean chili, which he orders in bulk, he tells Business Insider.
Ferriss alternates between two types of journaling: One is for "getting unstuck or problem solving (what should I do?)," and the other is for "prioritizing and [for] gratitude (how should I focus and execute?)."
When he's writing about what he's grateful for, he considers four categories: An old relationship that helped him out, an opportunity he had that day, something great that happened yesterday and something simple that is near him or within sight.
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