Quora Saturday: Best habits, successful projects, NYU, Columbia, awesome CEOs, and IBM versus Google

September 17, 2016 by Joshua
in Quora

Continuing my Saturday series on posting my answers to questions from Quora, here are my next questions answered:

Q: What is the best habit you’ve taken up from another person?

A: Burpees, without a doubt.

Get to know me and you get to know I do burpees—over 70,000 so far, daily, without missing a day in over four years.

I started doing them daily with a friend and they quickly became one of my top daily habits—my first daily habit I simply started from scratch and never stopped doing.

Why burpees?

Top thirteen reasons to make burpees part of your daily routine

  1. They put me in the best shape of my life Over 40 years old After a lifetime of athleticism including playing Ultimate Frisbee at the Nationals and Worlds level and six marathons
  2. Zero cost
  3. Zero equipment
  4. Negligible risk of injury
  5. Can learn to do them in seconds
  6. Documented by fitness experts as single best exercise
  7. Under five minutes per day
  8. Can do them anywhere, any time, in any weather
  9. Don’t interfere with any other workouts
  10. Can work at any level—just do as many or as few as you want
  11. Many variations can work specific parts of body
  12. They make you feel great
  13. Teach discipline, dedication, drive, and focus

If you know of any other exercise with these advantages, please tell me. In the meantime, I don’t see how you can beat daily burpees.

Since our behavior defines so much of our identities to others—that’s what they see of us—our habits form the foundations of our identities. So twice-daily exercise like burpees, which get your blood pumping and lungs working, keep you fit, force discipline, and motivate eating healthy (for me at least, who wants to eat junk after exercising?), influence how the world sees you a lot, despite taking only a few minutes a day.

Since behavior affects how we feel, burpees help create a baseline of health, confidence, calmness, capability, and so on. It’s hard to start each burpee set, but it’s harder to feel listless, lazy, or depressed after. They jump-start my physical and emotional state every time. There is nothing like a tool you can rely on to do that that needs no equipment, works in any weather, has almost no risk of injury, and, … you can click through the posts to see the other benefits.

I wrote a lot more about burpees as a daily habit here.

Q: How do I start a successful project?

A: The number one most important element is to know the problem you want to solve and the community feeling that problem that you want to serve.

My Princeton talk gives my best answer in depth. It’s an hour and tells you how to start a successful project, which can be a new venture, but also an in-house project at a firm or other projects. The entrepreneurship course it’s based on works and the talk tells you how to do it yourself.

Good luck!

Q: Are there any program in NYU/ Columbia University for high school students that increase their to be accepted when applying?

A: Yes. I’m teaching this entrepreneurship course in about a month at NYU’s School of Professional Studies. It’s part of a larger high school summer program.

I saw on Columbia’s SPS site some high school programs, so I recommend searching around there.

Good luck!

Q: What makes an awesome CEO?

A: In my opinion, it’s knowing the people he or she serves, their problems, and supporting them.

For people inside the firm that means helping them do their jobs. For shareholders, that means taking care of the firm. For the community, that means protecting the environment and participating in the community. For customers, it means providing goods and services worth their costs. And so on.

Q: A transformative leadership role at IBM vs Sales Engineering role at Google given the financials are the same. What would you choose?

A: If I had to choose one, I would interview to meet the people I would work with and experience the culture I’d work in.

The phrase “People join good projects and leave bad management” resonates for a reason. No project can make up for working with people you don’t like working with or management styles that grate with you.

During the interviews I wouldn’t just answer their questions. I would ask them questions to learn about the people and project, not just hope for the best.

If I didn’t have to choose one, I would continue with my entrepreneurial projects.

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