Leo Babauta Interview – ZenHabits, Goals, Frugal Living, Motivation and Being Organized
Interview with Leo Babauta – become better organized, motivated, eliminate debt, eat healthy, save money and achieve your goals with the founder of ZenHabits.net
Zen Habits covers: achieving goals, productivity, being organized, GTD, motivation, eliminating debt, saving, getting a flat stomach, eating healthy, simplifying, living frugal, parenting, happiness, and successfully implementing good habits.
First of all, thank you for agreeing to this interview. I visit your website on a regular basis. With so much practical life advice and you so nicely challenging “regular thinking” I am always inpired. I cannot recommend http://zenhabits.net highly enough to the RetireAt21.com readers.
First question – How has Zen Habits allowed you to live life how you want to?
If you mean how has my blog allowed me to live this life … it’s really taught me that pursuing something that I’m passionate about can actually earn a living for me. For so long, I did work I didn’t enjoy, just because I had a family to feed. Now, I know I can do what I love and still bring home the bacon, and then some. It’s been such a joy to find this, and I believe that Zen Habits is my calling.
Part of your website focus is on frugal living. If you had to explain the benefits of frugal living briefly, how would you put it?
It’s about living within your means, so that you don’t get saddled with the burden of debt, or so that you can get out of debt, or so that you can save or invest for your financial future. Without frugality, it’s almost impossible to do these things. Frugality is also about not working just to support a lavish lifestyle, but living a lifestyle that doesn’t require you to give away your entire life to working. It’s about spending on what you need, not a bunch of unnecessary things that don’t make you happy.
From your ABOUT page I see that you are married with six kids, live on Guam, are a writer and a runner and a vegetarian and love writing Zen Habits. I get the impression you are happy and contented. Were you always this way, or was this something you worked on? Do you have any tips / suggestions on how to live a better life, a contented life?
I would say that I’m happier now than I’ve ever been, although I’ve had periods of happiness and difficulties throughout my life, just like anybody else. How to live a more contented life? That’s the big question, isn’t it? I’ve written many posts that talk about this subject (see my latest ebook, the Zen Habits Handbook for Life), but for me it boils down to two main things: first, simplifying your life so that you have room for the things you love (your family, your passions, fitness, favorite pastimes, for example) and eliminating the things that don’t add much meaning to your life. Second, focusing on things that make you happy and being positive, rather than focusing on the things that make you unhappy and being negative. Those two things (and they’re related) will likely make a big difference in your life.
What advice would you give a young entrepreneur starting up there first business?
Make sure it’s something you’re passionate about — do it because you love it, not just to make money. If you do it for the money, you’ll eventually get tired of it and then you’ll be doing something you hate … and you can only do that for so long. If you love doing it, you’ll be more likely to sustain your energy and really work to make it a success, because if you succeed, then you can keep doing something you love for long.
Also, a word about fear: what stops us from pursuing our dreams is fear … fear of failure, fear that people will laugh at us, fear that we won’t be good enough. But if we let fear stop us, then we will never be able to pursue our dreams and make them a reality, never be able to do what we love doing for a living. You have to learn to overcome the fear and pursue your passion.
What would you recommend to an entrepreneur to help them work happier?
Well, for starters, doing something you love for a living is the best way to do that. Secondly, if you can simplify your work life, so that you’re not too stressed out. Learn to focus on just the really important stuff … maybe 3 important tasks per day, with a few more routine things that need to be taken care of. Third, be sure to enjoy the work day, doing things that make you happy throughout, from listening to great music to taking breaks to go outside and get some fresh air to finding distraction-free time to be creative!
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started blogging / writing online, what advice would you give yourself?
I wouldn’t change a thing, as every mistake I made helped me learn to improve. But the advice I would give myself: Keep doing what you love… it will pay off with your wildest dreams coming true.
If the Internet had not exist – what do you think you would be doing?
I’d like to think that I’d somehow be pursuing my writing, but in truth I would never have reached the same kind of audience I have through Zen Habits if the Internet didn’t exist. It just wouldn’t be possible for me, in this remote little island in the middle of the Pacific. So I’d probably still be at my old job, not as happy. I’m sure I’d still be improving my life in many ways — I would still have made the habit changes I’ve made, such as quitting smoking, becoming a runner, waking up early, becoming a vegetarian, simplifying my life, becoming frugal, eliminating my debt, becoming organized and productive, and more.
Thank you Leo – for a great interview.
Can I also recommend to RetireAt21.com readers that they check out http://zenhabits.net/2007/11/zen-to-done-the-simple-productivity-e-book/
Thanks again Leo
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