I read Tim Ferriss’ book “Tribe Of Mentors” two years ago, and there were questions he asked people he interviewed that I wanted to answer for myself as well. Here you go! I wrote everything a year ago, unless notated with “UPDATE 01.07.19.”

Q: What is the the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?

“Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. I read this book in the midst of a very difficult time in my life. I was going through a divorce that moment made me unsure of my relationships, my priorities, my current lifestyle, my well thought-out plan…everything. I’ve always been raised Catholic, but never fully adopted the rituals and traditions of the religion, and I never really embedded its beliefs into my every day life; and it wasn’t until my divorce that I started going to Saddleback Church.

That’s where I found comfort in Pastor Rick’s messages during my time of grief and confusion; and that’s when I realized he authored the biggest-selling book in history – second only to the Bible. I read this book, and it made me change my perspectives as well – that it’s not about me, but God and people; that there is so much grace and blessing promised by my Heavenly Father; and love is what it’s all about. It taught me things e.g., that I may be predisposed to circumstances and conditions, but I am not predestined for them; my biggest pains are usually my biggest opportunities for ministry; discovering and living your purpose is the greatest impact you can make on the world and the most important thing you do for your life and the Lord; that my inheritance is secure; I need to stop thinking about investments with limited ROI, but focus on vehicles that last for eternity; and the list goes on.

“The 4-Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss. I recommend it to people who always ask me how it is that I am able to travel so much; to my brilliant and hard-working friends who have brutally-intensive careers that don’t enjoy the chaos and/or their quality of life; and to folks who want to start a business but aren’t quite sure what or how they’re going to do it with their current demands. This book has changed my life by way of shifting my perspective that I don’t have to trade time for dollars; that not all tasks are created equal nor are most necessary to get results; that success doesn’t always have to be hard nor a lot of work; and the list of benefits goes on.

Q: What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)? My fans love specifics like brand and model, where you found it, etc.

“Tribe of Mentors” by Tim Ferriss.

Q: How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure” of yours?

Point B Capital Corporation failed because I formed it for the wrong reasons – for tax deductions, and I tried to get into business by myself when I’ve always known that I needed a team. Since then, I’ve formed companies that can only get involved in projects that have strong partners: Halal Or Nothing, LLC – the holding company for The Halal Guys – with 9 restaurants, 2 leases signed, and more on the way); and Pareto Management, Inc.

My failed first marriage has allowed me to refocus on quality of life and putting God first. And if that didn’t happen, I wouldn’t have met Christine, Deion, and Ethan – the new and permanent loves of my life – and given me the tools and resolve to raise a family and make that my first ministry.

My first restaurant venture – The Cajun Corner. We ran it in every horrible way imaginable. We formed it without assessing fit between us partners, there were no systems in place, we hired friends and family irregardless of merit, we didn’t have safeguards for the money, we tried to evade taxes, we chose horrible real estate, etc. It was successful still because we made a few good decisions – we jumped on a trend early on, we focused on making good food, we bootstrapped so that our margins for error saved us, and there was a naiveté and uncompromising spirit that gave us perseverance. That allowed me to appreciate franchising, having procedures, good quality people, etc.

Q: If you could have one gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it – metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions – what would it say and why? It could be a few words or a paragraph. (If helpful, it can be someone else’s quote: Are there any quotes you think of often or live your life by?)

“Do everything with love,” because love encompasses so much – compassion, passion, purpose, kindness, honesty, and I believe it’s what we’ve been put on Earth to learn.

Q: What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? (Could be an investment of money, time, energy, etc.

UPDATE 01.07.19: Traveling. It teaches me so much about myself, the world, people, and how incredible God’s creation is. It has built lifelong memories with my family, and bolstered my experiences/insights/conversations/compassion. It’s also given me a sense of never-ending wonder and curiosity.

Investing in seeing the world has always given infinite gains with no risk of loss.

Q: What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love?

A: I always eat vegetables on a plate first. I absolutely love cheese. I like things that rhyme (I used to tell myself I’d grow up and be a rapper).

Q: In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?

Letting God worry about problems – especially finances.

UPDATE 01.07.19: Reading the Bible every morning; journaling three things I’m thankful for, every day; and reading books and articles first before starting my chaotic days of work. It primes me for the day, and it’s a guaranteed win before anything begins.

Q: What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”? What advice should they ignore?

UPDATE 01.07.19: Don’t be in such a rush to transition from high school to college. Most others are doing that, and they’re coming out confused, unsuccessful, and don’t even do what they majored in. Travel. Take up jobs for the learning opportunity with little-to-no discrimination (because you really don’t know what you like yet; and what you think you like can change). Pursue things that get you excited/curious/passionate – regardless of how seemingly absurd or unprofitable they are. Be comfortable with uncertainty, more focused on learning about yourself, and understand that this is the best time to try anything and everything with less risk than when you are married; tied down with obligations; and have pressure from money.

Q: What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise.

The value in franchising is the brand name.

Fail often.

The only way to start a business is going all-in.

You need to be experienced to get into business.

Q: In the last five years, what have you become better at saying “no” to (distractions, invitations, etc.)? What new realizations and/or approaches helped? Any other tips?

I ask myself if a certain meeting, phone call, task, or endeavor honors my goals, and if it’s an opportunity to love people and serve. I still struggle with this because: (i) I’m a pushover that likes to avoid conflict; and (ii) God has shown many times throughout the Bible that you need to be interrupted in order to make impact sometimes. But with toxic and certainly unhelpful invitations, I’m finding myself saying “no” without giving an explanation (you don’t owe them one) and being graceful about it, and remembering that nobody cares, people take rejection all the time, and you’re saying “no” to the invite or situation – not the person.

Q: When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do? (If helpful: What questions do you ask yourself?)

UPDATE 01.07.19: I’m not good at this, but when I experience either/or a combination of overwhelm and frustration…I believe I should go for a walk, take a nap, talk to someone else about my blockade, and ask the Lord for the peace that covers all of my worries and transcends all understanding. I also go running with Sugar (my dog). And for a quick escape, I watch Netflix and Amazon Prime with my wife, and play Overwatch.

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