Lessons Learned From Tim Ferriss and Larry King To Interview The Best In The World

I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.

– Larry King

Information is useless if it is not applied to something important or if you will forget it before you have a chance to apply it.

– Tim Ferriss

If you are reading this post, you either have a podcast or interview people in some format. You might already be a great interviewer, or a beginner, or anything in between. I hope this post will help you to fine-tune your interviewing approach. If not, keep looking until you find what you want. Interview is just a conversation and you can apply these principles in any conversation with a friend, family member, or anybody on this planet.

How do you create a great experience for yourself, guests, and the listeners?

I have tried to refine my approach since the first interview(In Jan 2020) leading up to 140+ interviews alone in 2020. I mostly have learned from Tim Ferriss and Larry King. There is no lack of information on how to interview the best in the world, or anybody. I have tried to learn from people whom I admire and follow the work as a die-hard fan. I will suggest you to do the same. Do what works for you. My goal from The Nishant Garg Show is — “enhancing skills and create deep relationships with guests”.

I have read the interview transcript of the Larry King interview on The Tim Ferriss Show dozens of times. The master interviewer Carl Fussman interviewed the Larry King. In this interview, there are some great points Larry King mentioned as part of his thousands of interviews. Listen to the full interview: Lessons from 50,000 Interviews: Larry King and Cal Fussman

Another awesome interview to listen to — Bestselling author Tim Ferriss on how to create a successful podcast.

I am going to share what I have learned from Tim Ferriss and Larry King, and how I have actually implemented in my podcast.

Only Implementation will move you forward. Here you go!

Simple Question is the best

Human tendency is to make things complex.

Sometimes interviewers want to ask the earth shaking and ground breaking questions — including me. For instance — question, “tell us about yourself?” seems a good legit question that has the potential of getting a good answer. I decided to ask this question in a different unique way — “how would your family describe what do you do for a living?” This question sounds funny and lightweight, and makes interviewees to think.

Adding your own style with simplicity is fun!

If you can get the guests to think, that is a good sign. 

I asked Jill Bolte Taylor“what do you do for fun?”. Very simple question! She responded — “Oh, my whole life is fun. The question is what do I do for work?”, and then there was a laughter. You can listen to the full interview: Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, Brain Scientist — Finding Balance between Right and Left Brain, Nine Second Rule, Stroke Of Insight, and More (#76)

I would rather choose the simple path first that gets me the best result possible. Hard is never out of the market. 

I asked Kathy Caprino — “What do you want people to remember the most about you?” It might sound a simple question and it made her to think and there was a sigh of breathing. This interview is yet to publish.

Another good simple question — “what’s your meditation practice look like?” And, then a bunch of follow up question awaits.

Keep it simple, folks!

Giving Interviewees a great experience by asking about things, they perhaps never have been asked before

Your interviewees might have burned out with the same set of questions being asked in their lifetime. The more popular they are, the more exposure they have with the interviews.

I will explain you this principle by some interview examples on my podcast.

Example #1: Daniel Joseph Tomasulo is an American counseling psychologist, writer, and professor who teaches positive psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University in the Spirituality Mind Body Institute (SMBI) clinical psychology program.

He has decades of experience, and I was wondering — what topics and questions will hit the home run?

My style is to make it personalized. I asked him — if he is comfortable speaking about separation with his wife after 30 years. I also asked about his theater and screenplay experience.

In my experience so far, asking guests about things they are passionate about puts them at ease, and you as well. I do not recall any bad interview when they are comfortable and relaxed.

Example #2: Ariel Garten is a Canadian artist, scientist and intellectual known for her work in integrating art and science. Garten is co-founder (with Trevor Coleman) and Chief Evangelist Officer of Interaxon, a Canadian company specializing in software for Non-invasive Brain-computer interfaces.

I asked about her artist mom, her experience in fashion industry, Jewish holiday (Passover).

Why? Because, I wanted to learn about who Ariel is — and, the interview went really well.

Example #3: Dr. Christopher Willard (PsyD) is a psychologist and educational consultant based in Boston specializing in mindfulness.  He has been practicing meditation for 20 years, and has led hundreds of workshops around the world, with invitations to more than two dozen countries.

In the preparation of this interview, I found that Chris has a passion for travel. I actually started the interview with his passion for travel, and then bunch of follow-up.

Lo and Behold! The interview was amazing and he mentioned he had a blast. This interview is the 4th highest downloaded episode in 2020. Full interview: Dr. Chris Willard on Raising Resilience, Travel, Growing Up Mindful, Meditation Retreats, and more

You get my point. You might be thinking — how do I get all this personal information? Do your homework. Check out their social media what they post. Check their website, books, and anything that helps you to prepare.

I personally feel very confident when I know I have done my homework and it reduces my performance anxiety.

Follow-up questions are very important:

Simple advice, yet hard to follow.

How can you ask follow-up questions if you are not actively listening and constantly thinking about your next question or topic?

Not thinking about your next question or topic can be dangerous and not actively listening can be dangerous too. 

It comes with a lot of practice.

I keep my notes in front of me to navigate the conversation without completely relying on my memory. I remember throwing away my notes in my very third interview with Joe Johnson: Joe Johnson- On Happiness, Meditation, Books, Emotions! I was terrified. I was constantly reminding myself to be in the present moment and trust myself. In this case, I did not have any other option than to be in the present since I did not have notes.

Did it work? Yes!

However, I did not always want to take this chance and trust memory. I want to show my respect to guests by showing that I have done my homework.

What I have learned is that the fun is in the follow up that takes conversation to next level.

For instance, In my interview with Kirk parsley: Kirk Parsley, M.D. – Former Navy SEAL, Physician to the SEALs, and Sleep Optimization Expert, he was sharing about sleep cycles and routines. In the follow up question — I asked — “does everyone need same amount of sleep?”

Some good examples of follow up you can copy paste in almost any conversation:

  • How did you feel in that event? (You can replace event with anything)
  • What was your self-talk when you were going that experience?

Asking follow-up questions feels like an organic conversation, and hence every conversation tends to take different angles and sounds unique in its own way. I just do not know what question is going to be the next. If I am relaxed, it helps me in staying present and listen actively. Otherwise, my mind just goes on to different topics and questions.

To be present and ask good follow-up questions, make sure that your mind and body is relaxed. You can try some Breathing exercises, Meditation, Push ups, or anything that gets you relaxed.

Do not interrupt and let the silence work:

Do you remember interrupting a friend in a conversation when he could not think about what to say next?

We want to help others and interrupt with a new question or reframing the same question if there is a long pause. We all want to fill in the gaps. This might work in a casual conversation.

Interviewees are supposed to be intentional and structured, with a flexibility of natural flow.

Some interviewers have this constant commentary going on with words such as “yea, yeah, sure, of course, etc.,” when guests are speaking. I am guilty of this in my very few episodes. According to me, it does interrupt the guests. I occasionally use “hmmm…” just to indicate guests that I am listening when they are speaking for a while. I prefer audio-only interview without the video visual distraction. Therefore, occasional very limited “hmmm…” may work.

2-3 seconds in an interview seems eternal. Silence is beautiful. In the silence, they are thinking and searching their brain CPU to fetch the best possible answer.

Do NOT interrupt, my friend!

Let the silence work.

Happy Interviewing!

The Nishant Garg Show:

This show is about extracting information on Mindfulness, Personal Development, Spirituality. I am on a mission to spread Mindfulness and I’d love for you to join me in this movement.

For any question, please contact me.

If you have enjoyed listening to my podcasts, please subscribe to the new podcast updates at my website nishantgarg.me, and please, please provide your reviews on Itunes which will really help me.

You won’t be spammed! I hate spams too!

Tools, Techniques and Basics of Podcasting to Play a Long Game

I have been asked lately several times how I started the podcast, what tools to use to record, edit, and launch, and much more. The podcast “The Nishant Garg Show” took its birth as part of my 2020 experiment in January. I wanted to give it a try for 6 episodes only to see if I really like it and want to continue. If I had set up a big goal for myself, I know I would have given up a long time ago.

This pic shows the raw background scene right before the recording. I put pillows for better sound quality after I saw a twitter post from Gretchen Rubin!

I have been asked lately several times how I started the podcast, what tools to use to record, edit, and launch, and much more. Here you go!

The podcast “The Nishant Garg Show” took its birth as part of my 2020 experiment in January. I wanted to give it a try for 6 episodes only to see if I really like it and want to continue. If I had set up a big goal for myself, I know I would have given up a long time ago.

I’d cover the philosophy of podcasting in another blog and want to cover the tools and basic techniques to get you started without being perfectionistic and fancy and without quitting in your early days.

Trust me — learning tools and all the basics can be daunting in the beginning. Just know that it’s possible and you just need consistent momentum in the beginning.

I believe in simplicity now and keep improving the process along the way. Small incremental improvements always work and keep you stay active in the game. If you follow this basic hard-to-follow principle, you are much ahead in the game.

It was late last year in 2019 when I wasn’t really loving my Software job that I had loved for over a decade. I thought I’d give myself some time to rethink over the Christmas holidays if I want to continue that job or try something else.

It was 5 am on January 6th. I woke up feeling depressed and I didn’t want to go to work. Super depressed! I had been practicing some mindfulness practices to process my emotions and feelings. I, then, pulled up my journal and wrote down 7 pages on everything I was feeling and experiencing.

I realized —  there must be some folks who feel the same and may not know anything about managing depression, anxiety, or any unpleasant emotions. I asked myself —  what would it look like if I record what I have written and just publish it? What if one person who listens to it feel better and able to move forward?

I picked up my office crappy microphone and simply read all the pages. I had never recorded anything in life — my hands were shaking and my voice was trembling.

I didn’t know how to edit the recording, how to create a podcast, and many other things. I was deep in the ignorance pool of podcasting!

I found Anchor FM to host the podcast which is a free tool. I am still using the same hosting platform to this date. Their mobile app has a feature to record directly in the app without using any other recording tool. I used the Anchor FM recording feature in the first 6 episodes. This feature is OK if you’re doing a solo recording. In case of a guest interview, you have to ask guests to download this app in phones which is an absolute overhead on the guest’s part. They are giving their time and asking for anything more is just too much. Finally, I stopped using this.

I also stumbled upon Tim Ferriss’s blog post “How to start a podcast”, copied some bits and pieces, and finally launched the first episode Monday Morning- Navigating through Anxiety and Depressive feelings. This episode was unedited, without a professional microphone, and you will hear a lot of rawness.

In fact, I didn’t have a professional microphone in the first 6 episodes.

My goal of starting a podcast was to develop skills and relationships with people and still is my goal. Therefore, I didn’t spend too much time on tech and tools in beginning.

If you are just starting this venture, I’d recommend being easy on yourself, start with small, and keep improving slowly. Slow and Steady wins the race!

These are the different styles of podcasting:

  • Solo: you record a given topic on your own.
  • Interview based: you invite a guest and ask them questions.
  • Combination of Solo and Interview: the name itself is self-explanatory.

Whatever style you choose, you would want to learn editing and publishing techniques unless you delegate the whole thing to someone.

I chose the Interview style as I wanted to hone my interviewing skills and build relationships with people.

Choose your style and format that works for you!

Podcasting has various stages:

a) Prospecting: you ask people to be on your podcast. This is just networking and requires some skills.

b) Recording: when you have gotten a “yes” from someone to be on the podcast, then you do the recording. Simple! Prior to recording, invest some time to research and learn about the guest. If you prepare well, you will have an edge and it shows you are professional and respect your guest’s time.

c) Editing: Removing some unnecessary noise, umms, ahhs, or anything which you don’t want listeners to listen to. When I am editing, I imagine myself listening to the episode and If any audio disturbance disturbs me, I just remove that part.

d) Launch: How do you launch an episode? Which hosting platform to consider?

Below are my current gears and tools that I have refined since January 2020. This is not the be-all-end-all list. This works for me. I invite you to try it and if it doesn’t work for you — try something else.

For recording: I use Zoom. It’s free unless you interview multiple folks at the same time. I used SquadCast once when I recorded a podcast with Guy Kawasaki as he recommends it. There is another tool called Zencaster and other people do use this. My vote is still with Zoom. I might switch to something else later — who knows! For now, Zoom rocks. I recently learned that if you still use Zoom , make sure to create separate tracks to make the editing process easy.

[update 2/1: I switched to SquadCast for much better sound quality]

As Tim Ferris mentioned in the blog “How to start a podcast” —  he uses Skype call recording —  another option to consider.

I am doing the basic and simple thing so that I keep going and not making it hard for myself, therefore I am with zoom for now.

Microphone: I am using Audio-Technica AT2005USB as recommended by Tim Ferriss. I really like this mic. It’s a professional mic that costs only $80. Also, get a filter windscreen 

Editing: In the first few months, I used a virtual assistant to edit and it was getting expensive for me as he used to listen to the audio manually and then edit via Audacity. There is another tool Garage Band.  Guy Kawasaki recommended a new tool Descript in the podcasting world. It’s a wonderful tool and a lifesaver for me. Super simple to use! I pay $15 per month and that varies on the number of hours you use. This app converts your audio into transcripts(80% accurate with typos). It’s an amazing tool that removes umm, aah… and some noise, and many other things. I love this tool and have rocked my podcasting world.

Post Editing: I use the tool Auphonic which is a paid service depending on the # of hours you use. I pay $20 per month. For 2 hours, they give free service.

Tim Ferris recommends this tool. This is a great tool for sound leveling. Very simple to use and it’s all automatic. I have been using it since the very beginning. Just upload the audio and it does everything in less than 5 mins. I also use it for the guest intro sound mixing. Love this tool! I record the intro on Zoom and then use Auphonic to mix the background music.

After I had launched the first 5-6 episodes — I consulted with a podcast coach Tim Wohlberg. His first session was free and he’s got great skills. You can listen to his podcast on how to start a podcast, what to do, and what not! I listened to almost all his episodes in one week. His episodes are very short of about 5 mins length.

Another great resource to learn the nitty gritty details of podcasting is by Rolf Potts who interviewed Tim Ferriss on the podcast episode. This episode is 2+ hours long and I’ve already listened to it several times. I learned about this Tim Ferriss interview when I had already launched 90+ episodes.

There are many tools in the market. I am just doing simple things so that I can play a long game. It may sound a lot, and it is actually not. These tools work for you and just need to learn to use them. Side note: In 20-30 bucks, you can easily get started.

That’s pretty much. These are paid apps and not costly. I also use paid WordPress to host the site.

Happy Podcasting!

The Nishant Garg Show:

This show is about extracting information on Mindfulness, Personal Development, Spirituality. I am on a mission to spread Mindfulness and I’d love for you to join me in this movement.

For any question, please contact me.

If you have enjoyed listening to my podcasts, please subscribe to the new podcast updates on Itunes please provide your reviews on Itunes which will really help me.

Subscribe to the Newsletter. You won’t be spammed! I hate spams too! You will receive only one email every Friday on the latest published podcasts.

Dating and Relationships: Rejections, Confidence, Alpha Male, and Self-Reliance

I never shared that my story was captured in a video newsletter in 2017 by Corey Wayne, and this post reveals that secret. I read this 17 times in 3.5 months by July 2017.

“How to be a 3% man”, I read this book 17 times in 3.5 months by July 2017, and by the end of 2017, I had read this book 30+ times.

This is the first-ever book I found in Personal development, and for me, this is my all-time favorite. I became obsessed with this book. I was reading it the first thing in the morning, and I was reading it again before bed. In fact, I was reading it all the time in my spare time.

Let me share a small story of how I found this book.

It was the first week of February 2017. I had emotionally hit the rock bottom. I was feeling deep pain. I didn’t know how to process my emotions. I was going through depressive episodes. I was living in Austin, Texas( I still am!), and the family was in India a thousand miles away. I had no friends here, and hardly any here I could share my emotions.

I was randomly browsing YouTube videos to avoid the pain to escape from my emotions. Suddenly, I came across a video from a guy Corey Wayne. His videos seemed weird to me. His teachings and language were new to me and falling flat on my ears.

At that moment, I was not really understanding what he was talking about. A random guy claiming to be a relationship and life coach! I couldn’t understand that! I didn’t know what life coach means and what they are supposed to do.

This world of transformation was new to me!

I started listening and watching his video content day in and day out.

I was entering into a completely new world. I had never heard of this “personal development” thing before in my life. What you don’t know, you don’t know!

I was feeling like I am a kid again in Kindergarten.

I became obsessed with his teachings. He was teaching about life, relationships, dating, and pretty much everything to find the meaning and purpose of life.

Corey Wayne is the first mentor I can literally say that gave a new direction to my direction-less life. Only through his teachings, I found other mentors, and my new journey had started. Thanks to Corey Wayne for being a source of change in my life.

I was a super shy guy, especially around women. I always thought I am born like this. I was terrified of talking to girls in my school and college. But that story ended in 2017 when I started applying principles of Corey Wayne teachings. I was feeling new to me! I was feeling I am born again.

I started gaining confidence around people at work and outside work. I was showing up as a confident man, and people were noticing the difference. My happiness quotient was going up as a result of gaining confidence, and I started to feel good about myself.

I started feeling different! I was in a different world!

I thought—the book How to be a 3% man is all about dating and relationships, so I wanted to try listening to his videos for a while before getting his book.

I think it was in March 2017, I got his free PDF after subscribing to his newsletters. Later, I got his audible book “How to be a 3% man”.  where I could listen any time whenever I wanted.

Not only this book is for men, but also the women can learn a lot from the underlying principles in finding purpose and mission in life, how to communicate well with your loved ones, and how to be a well-rounded person in all areas of life—physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

This is my first book in the space of Personal Development that changed the direction of my life. This book challenged me every day to grow and learn, and to face my fear and practice rejections every day. I was super uncomfortable during the times of rejection, and I always made a point to go back to this book.

By July 2017, I read this book 17 times. I was feeling confident. My inner voice said—yes, I can do this. I can do much better in life. I deserve to feel good. I deserve to have positive people in my life.

In 2017, I sent an email to Corey Wayne to show my Gratitude. I was so fortunate that he created a YouTube video on my story- No Defeat is final. You can read the newsletter at this link.

No Defeat is Final

So far, I have read this book 40+ times as of writing this post. I always go back to this book whenever there is a downfall.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who

  • Wants to find purpose and meaning in life.
  • Wants to attract a healthy partner.
  • Wants to develop healthy communication skills.
  • And a lot more to discover in the book.

You can find this book “How to be a 3% man” on amazon, and check his content on this website https://understandingrelationships.com/

From the deep of my heart, I thank Corey Wayne for being the source of Transformation in my life. You know who you are! I am so grateful to you.

Please always be awesome!

If you’d like to learn more about what I am reading, new documentaries, what I am learning new, recent podcast updates, things I am experimenting with, or anything —which I share extensively in my weekly short and sweet “Friday Newsletter”. No spam ever! I hate that too!

The Nishant Garg Show is listened to in 24 countries and is about extracting information on Mindfulness, Personal Development, Spirituality. I am on a mission to spread Mindfulness and I’d love for you to join me in this movement. For any question, please contact me. If you have enjoyed listening to my podcasts, please subscribe to the new podcast updates on Itunes. Please provide your reviews on Itunes which will really help me. Subscribe to the Newsletter. You won’t be spammed! I hate spams too! You will receive only one email every Friday on the latest published podcasts.

Happiness, Attachments, Thrills, Awareness

In the past, I continued to be unhappy in my unawareness. Now, I continue to be happy in my awareness. I can feel negative sometimes, but those negative emotions just come and go. They don’t define me, and I am not identified by them. I just observe myself in awareness and understand happiness. If you ask me-“what name would I give to the feeling after I achieve something?” I will be honest and blunt, and at the same time- I’d just say that “it’s a thrill, it’s an emotional high, and it shall soon pass.”

Happiness is a state of mind!

In my unawareness, I thought money will make me happy. I was making money, and still, I was not happy. I had everything from a society perspective, and still, I was not happy.

I was seeking happiness in other people, which I now understand is attachment.

I often attached my happiness with other people, and when they were gone out of my life—I felt they took my happiness with them.

When my ex-girlfriend broke up with me in 2014, I felt devastated, and I felt that my happiness is gone with her.

Things change with time, and I got an understanding of happiness.

“There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way!” This is a great quote from my guru Wayne Dyer.

We often mistake happiness with “thrills“. When I bought my new house in 2019, I thought I was happy and joyful, and that elevated feeling didn’t last long. Then, I realized that I was confusing happiness with “thrills“. I was only feeling thrilling emotions. That is it!

The Thrilling feeling is just temporary. Let’s not misunderstand happiness!

Everyone in this world already has happiness within them. But, we spend years and years in finding happiness of external things.

Happiness is eternal, and resides in our heart and soul. The challenging part is unlocking the happiness that resides within us, within our heart, and within our soul. Why? Because, there are so many layers of conditioning, programming, and beliefs installed in us since we were a small child. By this programming, we live a mechanical life, and happiness gets hidden inside us.

Parents said— go to school, you will be happy; get a job and make money, you will be happy; get married and have kids, you will be happy.

Oh my! This is a never-ending cycle! Happy or still unhappy?

The more we look for happiness in external things, the more we drift away from happiness.

I got my dream job, I got my dream car, I got my dream house! So what? Are these things going to keep me happy forever? Oh no no! Never! These things just give thrills that vanish away soon.

There are times when I get negative feelings, and I ask myself that if I’ve everything, then why I have negative feelings? Now, I am aware that I am detached from those negative feelings, and just observe myself the way a sky observes clouds. Good or bad clouds come and go, and the sky is never affected.

You can always be happy with occasional negative feelings. Negative feelings are temporary! They come and go! Happiness stays right there in your heart and soul.

If someone comes to me, and says that “I look good in this shirt“—this praise doesn’t make me feel good. I know I am not attached to other’s good or bad opinions. They may be in a good mood right now. If they blame me in a bad mood, that behavior will not affect me either.

Any praise or blame shouldn’t affect you because your happiness is detached from them, and because you’re you.

In the past, I continued to be unhappy in my unawareness. Now, I continue to be happy in my awareness.

This happiness feels different since I am awake and aware, and it is permanent. Now, I do everything with happiness. I can feel negative sometimes, but those negative emotions just come and go. They don’t define me, and I am not identified by them. I just observe myself in awareness and understand happiness.

I am not identified by my negative feelings. I don’t attach myself with negative emotions. I continue to be happy when I observe my negative feelings, in a similar way, I observe those feelings in another person.

If you come to me, and ask me— “what name would I give to the feeling after I achieve something?”

I will be honest and blunt, and at the same time— I’d just say that “it’s a thrill, it’s an emotional high, and it shall soon pass.

You can’t continue to be in a thrilled and excited state forever. Nature demands equilibrium. You will soon feel suffering and negative feelings after that excitement disappears.

Happiness is not a good feeling either. Happiness can’t be boxed. When I learned this, my reaction was —”I got this, I got this!

If you are aware, then happiness will always be there within you.

You can still be happy internally in the moments of deep sadness. I am not talking about the feelings of excitement here. It will be ingenuity to show excitement in a death ceremony. But know that, your happiness doesn’t depend on anything. It is unaffected, detached, and always live within you.

Everyone says that happiness lies in small things. I agree that happiness lies in small things. But, are you living in the present moment to really enjoy the small things around you? Or, are you constantly moving from one thing to another without being fully present with yourself, with your surroundings, and with your emotions and feelings?

If money could buy happiness, then all the rich people would be happy. Are you choosing to be happy?

Happiness is a choice that you have to make it every single day.

It’s inside of you. Happiness is something you have to study and practice it every day.

If you are reading this, then “stop” right there and think what’s that area of your life you are happy about and what’s that area you are not happy about”?

If any area of your life conditions doesn’t match the expectations, then it will cause unhappiness.

If there is a small gap between where you’re now and where you want to be, you might feel a little stressed. But, if this gap is huge, you will feel depressed.

If you’re totally happy about something, it means—your expectations match the reality. Your expectations match the blueprint of your life.

In life, to be happy, either when we have to lower our expectations or take immediate action to bridge the gap between where we are and where we want to be.

Forget everything for a while. Just observe the beauty of trees and flowers around, and ask yourself—“what do you really enjoy?”

In my 20’s, I was doing things to fit in with friends and others so that I feel happy. But, I wasn’t happy. I was miserable in my unawareness.

I Wish somebody had told me that happiness is within me.

You don’t need to run around to seek it. you just need to discover me, and peel off the layers of old conditioning and programming.

I Wish I knew—money, job, car, house is not happiness.

You want to experience happiness! Just observe the rising sun, walk in nature, stare at the stars, sit in silence, and seek solitude. You will experience happiness!

You need to understand that “nobody” can make you happy. The profound reason of unhappiness is attachment with others. Emotional and Psychological attachment is dangerous. Tell your loved ones—“I love you but I am not attached to you”. This is an amazing realization, and when I realized it, I had the aha moment—“I got it, I got it“.

Happiness is an inner process. If you attach happiness with others, you will never find it.

Honestly, some days, I may struggle to know what happiness is, and some days, I feel it without the need of knowing it. Then, I say to myself that happiness is a feeling to experience it, and stop chasing it.

Happiness is also related to contentment with things. If you feel never contented enough in life, you might feel unhappiness feeling. Contentment doesn’t mean that you don’t go after your dreams, rather it simply does mean that you are grateful for whatever you have.

I was never grateful for anything in life. I was constantly changing jobs in order to get high pay raise. Eventually, I received more money and a lot of unhappiness.

Can you be happy with more money? Yes!

Can you be happy with less money? Yes, you can!

Happiness isn’t tied to how many things you do have. Period. It’s simple yet profound!

You still might ask me—how to be happy?

Well, I have an answer!

And it is: “Awareness”.

When you are aware, you don’t have to do anything to increase the level of happiness. You just understand it!

Take a piece of paper, and write down everything that you do have. Focus on what you do have.

People often focus on things what they don’t have. You are never going to get enough to be happy. You already have everything to be happy because it’s already buried deep inside you.

Happiness and Suffering are two ends of a pendulum. Suffering is an opportunity to experience happiness by peeling off some of the layers on your heart and soul.

When I was in college, I thought—I will be happy when I get a job. I was unaware. I thought that happiness is an outcome of doing something.

I was wrong! Happiness is not the outcome! Rather, happiness creates an outcome—good, for sure!

Happiness is not something we get out of something, rather it is a way.

Happiness is an art. A great book to read by Dalai LamaThe Art of Happiness.

No amount of money can give you true happiness. True happiness comes from the self-discovery process. True happiness comes from enjoying silence and emptiness.

Emptiness isn’t empty! It is full of answers that connects to happiness within you.

There is no concept of temporary happiness, which we often hear about these days. Those are just “thrills“.

I am repeating—don’t confuse thrills with happiness!

Happiness is permanent. Happiness can’t have labels and can’t be boxed. Happiness can’t be attached with things. It is there, everywhere, and we only need to tap into it by understanding ourselves.

We usually look for happiness in surroundings, and forget to look inside us. Seek silence and solitude, and you will unleash the hidden happiness.

Be grateful and appreciative of everything that you have, rather than focusing on what you don’t have. Energy flows where focus goes.

  • Happiness is within you. Happiness comes from within. Learn to be happy in the journey of life.
  • Nobody can make you happy except yourself.
  • Are you working on a goal to be happy? You have to be happy first while working on that goal.

When Dalai Lama was asked- “what is his purpose of life?” His response was “HAPPINESS”.

Whenever I’m sad, or something in my life isn’t working the way I want it to be—I go in meditation and ask myself—“what is my purpose and why am I here?” And, every time, I get the answer- “love, peace, happiness, and joy”.

Happiness! Happiness! Happiness!

Farewell!

Ask Better Questions To Get the Amazing Results

Asking good questions interrupts our old and natural way of thinking, and create possibilities to think differently, and perhaps in a new direction.

Good answers only come from the GREAT QUESTIONS!

Asking great questions to yourself and others is a skill.

I learned this productivity hack from Tim Ferriss“imagining a gun on your head and contemplating on what matters most”.

Great video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALMg-7-2trY to check out by Tim Ferris.

Do you procrastinate on small things?

If yes, would you still procrastinate if someone puts a gun on your head or on your dog’s head? 😉

I am sure you would finish a lot of things in that situation.

I don’t literally mean putting a gun on your head to finish long pending tasks. It’s just an analogy, you get my point!

What do you do in critical circumstances? Do you still procrastinate to do important things when the situation is tough, or you just do whatever it takes?

We usually tend to procrastinate on things that we think are not important to us.

I think procrastination arises either due to a lack of intrinsic motivation. And we can tap into intrinsic motivation by doing the few small things every day which are really important and letting other unimportant, or not-so-urgent things wait or delegate.

A great book to read on this topic is “First Thing First by Stephen R. Covey.

I had been procrastinating fora long time on re-balancing my financial portfolio, and I really wanted to break this pattern.

So, I asked myself these questions

  • What would I do if someone puts the gun on my head?
  • What would it look like If it was easier?

And the result?

I re-balanced my portfolio and opened Roth IRA by blocking 90 mins without any interruption.

When you ask better quality questions to yourself, your life will dramatically move towards the next level.

Ask these questions whenever you procrastinate or are distracted or unfocused?

  • What would I do if someone puts a gun on my head?
  • What would it look like If it was easier?

Asking good questions interrupts our old and natural way of thinking, and create possibilities to think differently, and perhaps in a new direction.

If I find myself stuck in any problem, I remind myself to stop, and rethink the problem to get a new solution.

I remember that when I was in middle school, my Math teacher always recommended starting a Math problem from scratch, rather than trying to fix the broken parts.

And, the same principle can be applied to any life problem.

Trying to solve a problem with the same thinking only creates a mess and a vicious thought loop.

I am a full-time Software Engineer, and when I am stuck in a complex problem — I remind myself to — “Stop and Ask good questions”.

With practice, you can develop a habit to remind yourself to “Stop and Ask good questions”.

You can go one step further which I do more often now.

Journaling!

Just writing my thoughts, or whatever clutter I’ve in my head, on a piece of paper, gives me a great degree of clarity.

Break your linear thinking pattern by asking these questions to yourself:

  • What would it look like if I do the opposite of what I have been doing in the next 48 hours?⁠
  • What would it look like if I do the opposite right now?
  • What would it look like if this task were easier?⁠
  • What would it look like if someone puts a gun on my head and how would I complete a big task in a short time?⁠

There are literally many ways of asking great questions.

Right before editing this post, I was feeling overwhelmed, and you know what — I asked myself — “What is the ONE thing I can do right now that will give me the most satisfaction?“.

And I, myself, answered that “just edit this long pending post‘.

Please enjoy!

Note: If you have better or other ways of asking good quality questions, please put them in the comment.

If you’d like to learn more about what I am reading, new documentaries, what I am learning new, recent podcast updates, things I am experimenting with, or anything —which I share extensively in my weekly short and sweet “Friday Newsletter”. No spam ever! I hate that too!

The Nishant Garg Show is listened to in 24 countries and is about extracting information on Mindfulness, Personal Development, Spirituality. I am on a mission to spread Mindfulness and I’d love for you to join me in this movement. For any question, please contact me. If you have enjoyed listening to my podcasts, please subscribe to the new podcast updates on Itunes. Please provide your reviews on Itunes which will really help me. Subscribe to the Newsletter. You won’t be spammed! I hate spams too! You will receive only one email every Friday on the latest published podcasts.

Embrace Silence: Silence Is Not Empty

Embrace silence. Silence is not empty. No matter how many times you cut the silence in half, you still get the silence.

Embrace silence. No matter how many times you cut the silence in half, you still get the silence.

Find some time to go in the silence. Find some time to walk without any music and just notice nature.

When you go in the silence —you’ll feel connected to the universal energy that created you.

Through silence,you will create space within your heart and soul to listen to your inner voice. Sometimes, we can’t hear our inner voice, which is telling us the truth, and we miss the opportunity to listen to her in the surrounding noise.

Why look for outside when we have solutions inside of us? Why look for external approval and validation when we are complete within us?

If you can take some time to go within yourself by seeking silence, you’ll find the solutions to the unanswered questions you’ve been asking yourself.

Silence is the key to the inner-peace.

Silence leads to awareness. And, awareness leads to an understanding of yourself, and understanding leads to the Self-Discovery.

What’re you waiting for?

Silence doesn’t necessarily mean sitting alone in a quiet room. You can even seek silence in a crowd.

Silence can internal and external. You can’t always find external silence. It’s the internal silence that matters the most. You can still be at peace and silence in a noisy crowd.

I see it all the time —people are always listening to something. Maybe , they are not conformable with silence. Maybe, they are! Who knows!

Sitting in silence can be tough in the beginning. But, you can start practicing it for a few mins , if your outcome is inner-peace.

I know —how daunting silence can be. I know —how daunting can it be just sitting in the silence. But, it is possible!

Meditation is one of the ways to seek silence.

Walking around without any music and just observing the surroundings —is a great way of seeking silence.

The idea is to find some time every day to get into the silence. By doing this, you are embracing your feelings and getting in touch with your emotions.

Meditation is not the only way to create peace within yourself. But what I can tell you from my experience is that — I find the solution to almost every problem in Meditation. I strongly believe that we can get rid of a lot of miseries just by Meditation. All a person’s miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone.

Everyday 20 mins of silence in the form of Meditation is non-negotiable for me. I prefer Meditation in the morning before starting work. Some days, I meditate even in the evenings when I am feeling overwhelmed or unfocused. This practice has been the key to my life.

If you can go to your silence and connect to your universal spirit—you will have what you want to have, and you will become what you want to become.

Silence is a fruitful way to think clearly and create white space in everyday life.

Brené Brown has extensively talked about creating “Silence and White Space”, in her book “the power of vulnerability” as a means of wholehearted living

Benefits of Silence:

  • Self-Awareness: In silence, you stop the constant doing, listen to your emotions and be aware of the surrounding.
  • Reflective-thinking: It gives you the much-needed think-time. We are where our thoughts have brought us and we will go where our thoughts will take us.
  • Emotional and Mental recharge: It provides the time to recharge and regain energy. Working for straight long hours is also a cause of low productivity according to neuroscience.

If you want to try out Meditation, you can definitely look into these great mentors:

A peaceful mind generates power. Empty your mind if it has self-doubt, inadequacy, lack of self-confidence. You can only allow positive thoughts to enter your mind when it is empty. Fill it with positive words, thoughts, and ideas. Surround yourself with positive people.

Seek silence to have a peaceful mind!

It sounds so simple! Consistent practice is the key!

Stand guard at the door of your mind and never let negativity enter. Never take counsel of fear. Do the things you fear, the death of fear is certain.

Go to your silence, find a serene place without phone, books, and anything, for at least 15 mins every day and say it in your mind “it is possible and can happen for me”. Say it aloud in your mind “it is possible and can happen for me.”

To read more on creating white space, you can check out my post https://nishantgarg.me/2019/10/23/create-white-space/

Mindfulness: Mental Energy Recharge

Burned-down? I have been there! If you keep burning out the energy and don’t attempt to fill it  — you will have an empty energy tank. Let’s recharge the Energy Battery!!!

Let’s recharge Your Energy Battery!!!

What do you do when your phone battery is low?

What do you do when your car is low on fuel?

If you don’t recharge the phone, it’s dead. If you don’t refuel the car, it stops running. Right?

And, if you don’t refuel your Mental energy, your brain stops functioning at its peak state.

You must have tried healthy food diets to lose fat and gain physical energy. Have you?

Have you tried any Mental diet to refuel Mental energy and resources?

Have you ever felt a lack of Mental Energy even you felt physically energetic? Sometimes, the mind doesn’t function properly and the body feels tired even when you eat healthy food.

I am not saying  — healthy food doesn’t matter. It does matter! However, it’s not enough to sustain Mental energy.

We have a reservoir of Mental energy!

Let’s understand the Mental energy reservoir concept through an analogy of the water tank.

Just imagine a water tank. If you keep taking out the water, and never fill the tank  — what will happen? You have an empty tank. Then, no longer can you take the water.

And, the same thing goes with Mental energy.

If you keep burning out the energy and don’t attempt to fill it  — you will have an empty energy tank. In simple language  —I can say, you are burned out. And that’s what most of the people at the end of workday feel — they are burned out! They don’t have enough energy to do other activities.

I sometimes hear people say  — they are feeling burned out even in the mid-afternoon. And the reason  — they would have consumed all the Mental energy stored. The result is “burned out”.

You are not alone! I have been there!

I have had millions of instances in the past  — when I felt burned out during the day. At that time, I didn’t know how to deal with my “burned out”. I wanted to do more things, enjoy life and do things I was passionate about. But, most of the days, it was due to my burned out feeling — I couldn’t do any of those things I was passionate about.

I remember  — always complaining about headache  — and my mom always said, I don’t have physical strength!

Have you experienced the “burn out” before?

Have you found yourself freaking tired working for long hours even though you love what you do?

If yes, you are burning your Mental Fuel and not Managing its resources properly. With lack of Mental energy —your mind wanders, you lose focus, you feel frustrated, and you can’t give 100% to your work and relationships.

This often leads to being unproductive and we tend to do unnecessary things that are stealing away our time.

After doing an in-depth study on this subject and practicing it for more than a year, I can clearly say there is only ONE thing, and by doing it you can let your brain work at the highest level.

And, that is — Intermittent Rest.

Intermittent Rest– Intermittent Rest is taking rest at regular intervals in day-to-day life to regain your mental energy.

Sounds familiar to Intermittent fasting? You are correct —it is!

Sounds familiar to the Intermittent rest period in the gym? You are correct — it is!

  • It’s similar to intermittent fasting. You eat once and then take a long break and as a result, you lose fat and gain other health benefits.
  • It’s similar to taking rest in the gym after you complete a set. When you take rest, you allow muscles to grow. No rest, no growth.

You’d be thinking  — how to practice Intermittent Rest every day?

By using the principle of “Block Time”!

The mind can’t work in constant energy cycles and rather it works in waves.

I am a fan of “Block time” which I use it  —- ALL THE TIME!!

Set a timer clock for about 50–90 mins. Once the time is up  — stop what you are doing. Then, take rest for a few mins. To set time, you can use your phone or computer or get an alarm clock. The type of clock doesn’t matter here.

Block time means — you are focused on your MAIN thing in that time window. If you have never done it, then sitting for 50 mins can be a challenge for you. It was a challenge for me too. 50 mins sound nothing. But, when you actually sit and focus on the MAIN thing — you will realize how challenging it is.

Brendon Burchard has detailed about 50 mins Block time in his book “High-Performance Habits”

But, you can get better with time. It’s like any other skill which requires consistent practice.

If you are new to “Block time” practice, I’d recommend starting with some something small time window — let’s say, maybe 30 mins? Pick your time which is comfortable for you in the beginning which you can easily do. The goal here is to set low expectations (in terms of time) and gradually increase over time.

And, the max limit of one block time sitting  — I’d recommend is 90 mins. After 90 mins, our brain needs some downtime. Darren Hardy, the former publisher of Success Magazine, has detailed about this in his video on Insane Productivity.

According to Neuroscience, our brain needs some downtime at regular intervals to process complex information we feed to it.

Have you ever felt that — you don’t come up with new ideas how much you try. Usually, that is a good sign that your brain is saying  — “give me some break”.

So, whenever you feel tired, fatigued, or just unable to think clearly  — take a pause and rest. When you rest, you are actually refueling your Mental energy tank.

I am sure you know  — how great you feel emotionally and mentally after travel or some vacation! You are basically refueling your energy by giving yourself a break from everyday life.

“Rest” can take any form. I am more aware now when my mind doesn’t produce good ideas. It’s an indicator for me to pause and take some rest. Below are some of the activities that I do almost every day when I am tired or feeling cranky, or even when I am feeling fully energetic.

  • Breathing(inhale and exhale)
  • Meditation
  • Walking around
  • Quick nap
  • Any mindfulness activity(yoga etc)
  • Doing anything that you love doing and doesn’t require you to use your mental muscles because the purpose of this is to regain energy.

If your car dashboard shows some signal, it usually means something is happening in the car, and it requires some action.

It is the same thing with our minds, and it always gives us a signal when we are tired. So, please don’t neglect these signals, and take some rest.

One of the awesome books on Energy Management is “The Power of Full Engagement” by Tony Schwartz. I have read this book many many times.

Enjoy!!

Mindfulness: Prioritize Good Sleep

Prioritize Good Sleep: You can rest even when you are not done. Or, you can rest when you are completely done(dead)

Good sleep should be a MUST! It should be taught in schools!

I want to touch upon this subject of “Getting Good Sleep” which is being neglected by millions of people in the desire of “getting more things done”.

Do you think  — you don’t need much sleep? Well, do you know what price are you paying at the cost of sleeping less?

We are living in a fast-and-furious culture where everyone is on-the-go all the time. Why are you tired — if everything is fast-and-furious?

You can never complete your To-do list every day. You can never check-off everything every day.

You can rest even when you are not done. Or, you can rest when you are completely done(dead)“- Brene Brown

Creativity is the nature of human beings. You can’t showcase your creativity to its true potential  — when you are tired and not rested.

Now, I practice getting good sleep and train my mind. I wasn’t good at it at all!! There are some days when I may struggle with sleep. It only happens when I am stressed, and then I practice mindfulness(in the form of Meditation) to get calm.

“Calm is a superpower”– Brene Brown

When anyone is stressed or unproductive, I always ask how many hours do you sleep every day consistently? If the response is less than 7 hours  — it doesn’t surprise me — why you are feeling tense, stressed, or any negative emotion.

Results of sleep deprivation:

  • Heart diseases and other bodily diseases.
  • This leads to unhappiness.
  • Anger and frustration.
  • Constant stress.
  • The toll on your mental powers.
  • Reduction of Cognitive ability to think better.

The whole concept of productivity revolves around Good Sleep. Again, getting good at “good sleep” is a skill and can be learned

Are you compromising on your sleep to get more tasks done?

A year ago, in the pursuit of getting more in life, I started to sleep less and less, and sometimes only 4 hours, and as a result, my well-being, patience, and inner-peace went out of the window. I had a lot of mood swings. There were days, I just didn’t want to talk to anybody. I felt like  — I was drunk. I hated that time, period!!

Then, I started studying sleep theory and learned that  — how it affects our mind, body, and emotions. In all the studies, I found that  — in order for our body and mind to function at its peak, we need 7–8 hours of sleep every day.

You might be thinking- “you are fine and you don’t need to sleep that long”. May be??

But, You may not know what you are getting into!! You might be getting into sleep debt that brings a lot of diseases in the long term. It’s like — eating unhealthy food occasionally won’t do much harm, but it will impact you if unhealthy food is consumed every day.

And, the same thing goes with sleep. I understand  — occasional less sleep due to circumstances and life events may not cause problems. But, it will for sure  — if sleeping less becomes a part of the lifestyle.

When you invest money, compound interest takes time to accumulate. You don’t see the interest right away. It takes months and years. And, the same thing is with — sleeping less. You get my point!

And, who doesn’t like to sleep more? I do!! I feel so good and happy when I am well rested after a great night’s sleep. I usually need 7.5 hours to function really well.

I had to train my mind to sleep for at least 7 hours. It was difficult in the beginning, but I’ve gotten better with time.

In this article, Brene Brown, the author of several New York Times bestselling books and a shame researcher talks about sleep.

Advantages of Good Sleep:

  • Peaceful and calm mind.
  • Brains function properly.
  • You make better choices and decisions.
  • Letting go of anger and frustration becomes easy.

Are you finding difficulty in getting good sleep? Do you ever wake up saying  — holy shit, why does it happen with me? Does any fear, lack of self-confidence and self-worth bother you when you go to bed?

There are several key factors to consider before going to bed.

What not to do:

  • Check emails.
  • Expose to horror TV shows or movies
  • Social media
  • Anything that affects your sleep

Some recommendations:

  • Review your day
  • Write 3–5 things you are grateful for
  • Read something to relax your mind

I usually read and write a gratitude journal before bed. Sometimes, taking a long walk in the neighborhood and meditation does work for me as well.

Another recommendation is  — take the last 5 mins before you go off to sleep. You have to program your subconscious mind thinking about the life positive events because your subconscious mind is home and active when you are at sleep.

If you spend the last 5 mins of your day thinking how terrible you feel, what others said to you, what others think of you, what opinion others have for you, etc. and etc, you are putting negative instructions in your subconscious mind. So, do not do this!

Be very careful about how you program your subconscious mind.
Whatever you place in your subconscious mind before sleep, you awake with the same mind.

This is what I do every night! I just close my eyes, feel the silence and affirm:

“Thank you, Universe for giving me this day! I am well, I am content, I am abundant, I am positive thoughts, I am peace, I am faith, I am happy”.

Just know that  — sleep is not a nice-to-have thing. It’s should be a priority in life. I have learned to prioritize 7–8 hours of sleep now.

Also, if you train your mind to sleep by a definite time and wake up by a definite time  — you have a much better recovery and you will feel amazing! For example: bedtime- 11 pm and wake up time- 6:30 am.

Get great sleep! Enjoy!

Farewell!