The Art of Being HIGHLY EFFECTIVE
Have you ever noticed how some people seem to rise above the rest and stand out from the pack?
One of the key ingredients to greatness is efficiency and effectiveness.
In this podcast, Travis discusses several tools and strategies to take your ‘“effectiveness” to the next level.
Hope you enjoy this inspiring episode!
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[The following is the full transcript of this episode of “The BE ULTIMATE Podcast.” Please note that this is direct from Travis speaking unscripted and unedited.]
Welcome to episode number 33, “The Art of Being Highly Effective.”
This particular topic of being highly effective is important.
For many of us, we have things that we enjoy to do. We have goals, we have dreams, we have desires. So there’s just things that we want to do in our life.
One of the biggest obstacles to realizing your potential is a lack of efficiency, organization, and effectiveness.
And as many things that we cover here on the Be Ultimate podcast, we also want to look at this from the framework of a holistic perspective.
So we’re going to dive into this and explore some of the things that have really, really worked for me, and not just in the short term, but also in the long term, that you want to look at your life, your career, what you’re doing in life.
Even if you’ve retired, you still have things that you want to do. And you always want to think about the wisdom of longevity.
“Knowledge isn’t power. It’s the potential for power. You have to take massive action!”
And a lot of people do this, myself included. At certain times where you read the books. You watch the videos. You listen to the podcasts. You acquire this knowledge. But the question is is do you put it into action? So in order for knowledge to really spark and to take growth, then we have to take action. We have to move forward. We have to move out of stagnation. And sometimes stagnation comes from fear, the fear of failure.
But as we know, fear stands for False Evidence Appearing Real.
Yes. There’s a good mechanism to fear which keeps us safe, it keeps us alive, it keeps us from doing stupid things, but also we have to look at fear from a place of really being mindful in saying, “is fear in some way holding me back?”
“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”
So when we start to put these practices into our daily life when we’re meditating regularly, when we’re eating well, when we’re taking these tools that we’re learning here from the Be Ultimate podcast and we’re putting that into action day after day, week after week, we’re forming these really powerful habits and these really powerful neural connections within our brain.
Neurons that fire together, wire together.
Now, if you really want to be effective, if you really want to achieve greatness, the first thing is making sure that your thoughts, your emotions, and your actions are all lined up.
Now, how often is our mind going in one direction? Emotionally, we’re going in another direction. Our actions are also out of alignment if we’re even taking actions and we wonder why we’re not getting anywhere. Why we’re not making headway in progress in those things that are important.
So I have a formula that works for me that says when you line up your mind, your heart with actions, then you create massive traction.
Alignment of Thoughts + Emotions + Action = TRACTION
And traction is just a word for really starting to progress and really starting to make things happen. Without the traction, the opposite would be you’re just spinning your wheels. And you’re spinning your wheels because you’re not in alignment and you’re not working with efficiency and effectiveness.
“The infinite future is before you and you must always remember that each word, thought, and deed lays up a store for you. And then as bad thoughts and bad works are ready to spring upon you like tigers, so also there is the inspiring hope that the good thoughts and good deeds are ready with the power of 100,000 angels to defend you always and forever.”
Our mind can be our worst enemy or our mind can be our greatest supporter. And when we get the mind and we get our feelings and we get these actions and these deeds in our speech all in alignment as Vivekananda says so eloquently, then we have 100,000 angels. We have the power of the universe that’s supporting us, that has our back and is going to move us in this direction where we start achieving the things that we set our mind too.
Now, one of the important things of really being effective, really being efficient, is this idea of setting personal boundaries. And this is really important because when you don’t set personal boundaries, then it’s kind of like a river, and you lose the banks of the river, and then you just get this big messy flooded swamp. So setting boundaries is like the banks of a river.
One of the boundaries that we want to make sure that we set for ourselves is that we always have time for ourselves.
Look, people that are functioning at a really, really high level, that are doing a lot of things, they make sure that if they want to keep this sustainable, that they take time. They take time to meditate. They take time to exercise. They take time to be with their family. They take time to go and maybe attend a retreat or a workshop or enroll in an online course to fill up their cup of knowledge of energy. So make sure that you’re always setting time for yourself. We’ll talk a little bit more about that a little bit later.
Another thing is that you want to cut out toxic and negative relationships. The people that you surround yourself with, kind of like your mind, they can be your worst enemy or your greatest supporter as well. So you want to surround yourself with people that are going to help uplift you. And this is really important for me. I go and spend time with people that are amazing. Some of them are celebrities and entertainers that are the best of the best at what they do, and they inspire me. And I think that they sometimes have me come around because somehow, I inspire them. So it’s a beautiful two-way street. But that inspiration flows both ways and it begins to create a beautiful momentum where it’s not just them benefiting or me benefiting, but we’re all benefiting together.
Also, make sure that you protect yourself from the energy vampires. Energy vampires are real. They exist. And they’re the ones that when they find you and they see you and they see this energy and this beauty and this greatness that you have, they often can attach to you and try and leech out all your energy.
And being somebody that’s often in the public and traveling around, 99% of people that I meet are amazing, and I love to meet them, I love to connect with them. It’s very, very fulfilling. But the reality is, is that there’s also people out there that if they can corner you, they’ll never let you go and never let you stop. And whether you’re in the public a lot or not, there’s going to be people. Might be a friend or a co-worker, and they may be a type of energy vampire. And you have to just be aware that you have boundaries of knowing when you can give or maybe help that person.
But what I found with the energy vampires is that you give them what they initially asked for and they still want more. And so they ask for more and then you give them more. And that’s still not enough and they ask for more. And basically, it’s the Hungry Ghost mentality where no matter what you feed them, it’s never enough. And eventually, you have to be like, “All right. This isn’t going anywhere. This is something that I need to step away from and set a boundary with.”
You also want to be mindful of thinking about the balance of yes and no. When you say yes to one thing, you’re saying no to something else. When you say yes to something at work, you may be saying no to something with your family. When you’re saying yes to a six pack of beer or two bottles of wine, you’re saying no to your health. And on the flip side, when you say no to certain things, you’re saying yes to other things. And it’s not that we always want to be in this relentless pattern of improving and improving and growing, it’s good to have downtime. And for some people, having a glass of wine is great. But we just want to make sure that we’re aware of the balance of the yes and the no in that we’re making decisions that are really for the big picture, for the long picture.
In order to be ultimate, you have to give up a TEMPORARY PLEASURE for something of an INFINITE MEASURE.
What does that mean?
It might mean saying no to the drink. It might mean saying no to watching TV all day. It feels good in the interim. It might mean saying no to that ice cream sundae, I don’t know. But if you want to do it in the moment, it’s a temporary pleasure. Your senses are jonesing for it, but when you don’t succumb to that, you’re opening yourself up of something for an infinite measure, something that’s really going to be there to support you in the long run.
Denzel Washington, the famous actor, he once said something along the lines of my success doesn’t have anything to do with what I said yes to, but more of what I said no to. Once you win an Oscar, you start getting a lot of opportunities. You get access to a lot of scripts. And some of these scripts might be a big payday, some big action movie. But in the long run, it’s not the best thing for the career. In the long run, it’s not going to really feed your soul, and ultimately, the money just comes and goes. It goes really, really fast. So think about that. Think about that in your life that saying no to things, again, creates a boundary for yourself.
Now, another important tool that we use within being highly effective which we dedicated entire podcast to is called the MMP formula, which means move, meditate, plan. Move, meditate, plan. And this is a formula that I use at the beginning of every day.
MOVE is really about exercising. And when you exercise, you increase something called BDNF which stands for brain derived neurotrophic factor. And this BDNF that we stimulate when we move and when we exercise, it helps new neurons in our brain to grow. It increases neuroplasticity within our brain which is our brain’s ability to rewire itself to adapt. It helps us to learn faster, helps us to remember better. It helps to optimize our brain, and get this, we have fewer mistakes and fewer errors with the more BDNF we have.
So you think about all these benefits that exercise and movement gives to our brain. This is why in the MMP formula I put move first. It’s not plan first. It’s not meditate first.
First is move the body, activate that BDNF and then meditate. Drop into the stillness. There’s plenty of meditations here on the Be Ultimate podcast. Most of them are 20 minutes. It’s all doable. It’s all manageable. There’s no excuse why you shouldn’t be meditating. So find a meditation. Every month we’re adding a new one here. Make sure that you meditate.
And then lastly, is to plan. Now that you’ve optimized your brain and your mind, now you’re going to be way more effective and efficient than the people that aren’t incorporating these tools.
The people that are making it to the top, in some way, there is a formula. They have the habits and the strategies that they’re doing. They’re not becoming successful purely by accident. So making sure that you plan out your day. How does your day look? How are you going to execute things throughout the day?
“The time to have the map is before you enter the woods.”
So before you move into the day, before you move into the forest of whatever’s coming your way, have your map. And, of course, unexpected things are going to happen. You’re going to have things that are going to come up. That’s part of life, right? But to have a map, to have a strategy is going to greatly increase your performance and your production output.
Another thing that we’ve talked about previously is the 10% rule. And the 10% rule says take 10% of your day and dedicate it to yourself. And this is 10% of your waking day. So for the average person, that’s sleeping eight hours a night, that leaves 16 hours of a waking day. 16 hours times 10% gives us about an hour and a half.
Take at least 90 minutes out of your day to invest into your own health and well-being.
Another thing, another strategy, very, very important, you’ve probably heard this before is time management. And this has gotten more and more difficult as we carry around these little computers in our pockets. There’s so many distractions. Social media, text messages, emails, phone calls. You have this electronic leash, and again, like the mind, your phone can be something that supports you in a positive way, but it can also be something that really inhibits your efficiency and your effectiveness.
So a lot of us are spending way way too long on our phones. We might be spending way too much time watching television. Statistics show that most people are spending about three hours on their smartphone and another two to three hours watch television on a daily basis. That’s five, six hours, and then they’re not even taking the 10% of their waking day and devoting it to themselves. So they’ve gotten the priorities wrong.
When you get your priorities wrong and when you invert this formula, then you’re going to have the opposite of effectiveness and efficiency.
Make sure that you establish a daily ritual journal. A daily ritual journal could be a planner, could be a notebook that you have. And this is where you lay out your map. So what you want to do day to day. And for me, I will always map out things the night before the next day.
Let’s say today is Monday. Monday night, I’ll plan my Tuesday out so that when I wake up in the morning, I go and I move my body, I meditate, and then I go to the planner, I go to this journal. I look at the Journal and I say, “All right, here’s what this day entails.” And then I go and I execute. I execute to the best of my ability. And not always, everything gets done. Sometimes things don’t get done, again, things happen. But if I didn’t have this journal which is another type of a boundary, I would just be that big flooded open messy swamp. So this create structure for me to stay organized. And the bigger my career’s gotten and the greater my responsibilities have become, the more important all these strategies have become.
If I don’t do these, then I’m not going to be able to put out the content that I need to. I’m not going to be able to show up in the way that I need to. And therefore, I’m not going to be fulfilling my purpose, my dharma. Ultimately, the dharma and the purpose is for other people. So it’s selfish for me not to implement these strategies, because then I’m not able to reach as many people as I can.
Now, another thing, as you climb the mountain of success and greatness, you also want to think about self-care and sustainability. You want to grow your career. You want to be effective. You want to have a high output, but you don’t want to do it in a way where you’re burning the candle at both ends.
You may be able to do that for a period of time, maybe even 10 years or so, but 10 years down the road, you’ve been burning the candle and what happens? You get sick. You get a diagnosis. You get a chronic illness that shows up. Your relationships fall apart. Your family falls apart. And yeah, maybe you have $1 million in the bank and you’ve got a good job, but what does all that matter if you didn’t do it in a sustainable, respectful way? So think about taking care of yourself as you climb the mountain.
LeBron James is said to spend about $1.2 million annually on his self-care regime. He knows that when he’s functioning at that level, he has to take care of himself. He needs good rest. He needs the massage. He needs the cutting-edge science and recovery and rehabilitation, good nutrition to keep things operating on that high level.
Now, lastly, I want to finish still in this theme of sustainability. I want to finish with something that comes out of this research of the blue zones. And the blue zones are these areas throughout the world where we have the most people that live to be over 100 years old. So the most highly populated centenarians. These blue zones include Sardinia, Greece, Costa Rica, Loma Linda, California, and Okinawa, Japan.
There’s been great research in these different places around the world. And what they’ve come to discover is that there’s some common practices and common themes, and I feel like this is the proof in the pudding. This is where the people that are living the longest and the healthiest and these are their practices.
Number one: They move regularly. So again, the first part of the MMP formula is to move, to exercise the body. And a lot of times, they’re moving in a way that’s practical. So that may mean moving through the mountains or the hills. It may mean playing soccer. It may mean walking quite a bit. These aren’t like people running marathons, or they’re not your cross fitters. These are people that are moving in natural ways. So just something to take note of because they’re not doing anything extreme. It’s all very, very moderate.
Number two: They have purpose. There’s a purpose through their life. There’s a purpose to being alive. And we know that when people retire, the mortality rate, it starts to shoot up. When people lack purpose to be alive, then chances are that aging process is going to dramatically accelerate.
Number three: They take time to downshift. This means there’s time when they’re not in sympathetic stress response mode. So they’re shifting, they’re downshifting into parasympathetic branch, the relaxation response. They’re not doing. They’re just being, chilling out.
Number four: Something called the 80% rule. And 80% rule means stop eating when you feel 80% full. And in Ayurvedic medicine, they would say stop eating when you’re half full. You want to make sure that there’s enough room in your stomach to digest this food. So we want to make sure that we don’t over eat. In the blue zones, they typically eat the smallest meal in the late afternoon or the early evening. So they’re not eating these big meals at nighttime. They’re eating the bigger meals earlier in the day, breakfast and lunch. So there is a type of intermittent fasting that takes place where they’re going 16 hours or so without there being food in the stomach. So then the body gets an opportunity to really clean and cleanse itself.
Number five: A lot of people in blue zones, they drink one to two glasses of wine a day. So if you’re somebody that processes and handles alcohol well, they say one, two glass is a good thing. I personally don’t drink, and we’ll probably do a podcast more on that, but that’s what some in the blue zone are doing. They’re drinking one to two glasses and also they’re drinking it with people that they love. So they’re around their friends and their family. And again, it’s all about moderation. They’re not drinking two bottles of wine.
Number six: They belong to something. They belong to a community. They feel they belong to a higher power, the divine, God, goddess, whatever you want to call it.
Number seven: They prioritize their loved ones first. So they’re always spending time again with family, with friends, with the people that they love. And so this is a type of nutrition or a type of food for our souls to be with the people that we love.
Lastly, number eight: is they’re in the right tribe. And we talked about this earlier, surrounding yourself with people that are positive, uplifting, cutting out the toxic and the negative relationships so that you have a community that you just feel good to be a part of, that you belong to.
All right you guys. That is it for this talk on being highly effective. I hope that you found that helpful and useful.
Let’s finish now with the Be Ultimate prayer.
“May we bring strength where there is weakness.
May we bring courage where there is fear.
May we bring compassion where there is suffering,
and may we bring light where there is darkness.
May we Be Ultimate.”