In the interview below Babauta shares about his definition of success, how he got the book deal, and how to start of 2009 with purpose!
I encourage you to order his book and check out the book’s website which has a wealth of resources including audio training and a free ebook. Finally, if you purchase his book by January 1 you can enter this special contest.
For now, enjoy the interview:
1. What is your definition of success? How did you come to that definition?
I define success as happiness — doing the things and spending time
with the people that make you happy. That might be something as simple
as having a satisfying life with your children and spouse, or
achieving great things and helping people while doing something you’re
passionate about. Whatever makes you happy.
It took me awhile to figure out that wealth and the traditional
definitions of success — making a huge name for yourself, achieving
status in society, having a big house and cars, and so forth — didn’t
mean much if you weren’t happy. I tried to pursue those traditional
definitions of success at first, but after a time I realized that I
wasn’t spending time with my wife and children, I was working too
much, and the material things weren’t worth the sacrifices. I had to
rethink my view on life, and once I realized the true definition of
success I’ve never been happier.
2. What steps do you take to pursue personal growth?
I learned to focus on what I really love doing, and restructured my
life so I had time for those things. So today I make my living doing
something I’m passionate about, instead of making a living doing
something that makes money and waiting for the day when I had a chance
to do what I’m passionate about. This has lead to so much in my life
– not only happiness but greater accomplishments than ever before.
That’s a nice side benefit because the happiness is what really
3. What led you to start Zen Habits?
I’d been going through a series of positive personal changes –
quitting smoking, running, waking early, eating healthier, getting
organized and productive, and so forth — and I’d been learning a lot
while doing these things. I was so excited about all of it that I
decided to share what I’d been learning, as well as my failures, so
that others could benefit too.
4. Could you explain the meaning of the name Zen Habits?
It’s a combination of two ideas I’d been trying to implement — it
embodies my philosophy in two words. The first word, “Zen”, refers not
to my religion but to what I’d learned from reading about Zen and
doing some Zen meditation — learning to focus on the moment, on
whatever I was doing at the time. It’s a simplicity that I’ve learned
is very powerful in all areas of life.
The second word, “Habits”, refers to the series of habit changes that
I’d been making in my life, and my belief that simple but effective
habit change techniques can have a great impact on whatever we do. We
are our habits, after all.
5. How did your book deal come about? What was the writing process like?
The book deal followed the success of Zen Habits — I’d grown to
20,000 or 30,000 subscribers and it was clear that a lot of people
were interested in the things I was writing about on Zen Habits. I was
contacted by an agent and some publishers and decided to do a book,
and received immediate interest.
The writing process was actually very difficult — first of all
because I was still trying to write for Zen Habits and start up
another blog and get married and train for a marathon and plan for my
honeymoon. It was too much, so I simplified and cleared my schedule
and focused entirely on the book until I got it done. It’s more proof
that the techniques in The Power of Less actually work!
6. Could you explain the meaning of the name, “Power of Less”?
It refers to how we can achieve more by focusing on less — if we focus on the important things. It also talks about how starting small is better, as it leads to greater chances of success. It talks about simplifying, about the power of applying limits, and the power of doing one thing at a time. Concentrate your focus on smaller things and you’ll be much more effective.
7. What are your goals for the book?
The same as my goals for Zen Habits — help as many people as possible. I’m hoping to reach a wider audience through the book, to share some of my simple philosophy and effective techniques so that others can benefit from things I’ve learned. If it does well and I get another book deal out of it, even better!
8. Who are the biggest influences in your life?
There are so many! I’m influenced by philosophers and doers, such as
Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen and Taoist
philosophy, and many many writers. I’m influenced by my mom, Shannon
Murphy, my dad, Joe Babauta, my grandparents, my children, my wife
Eva. Many blogs and books have also helped shape who I am.
9. What inspires you?
I am inspired by others who are living their dreams, who have found
simplicity and happiness, who have learned to be compassionate, who
live in the moment. I love reading blogs and books and magazines about
these things, and of course I find people every day in my life — both
online and in the real world — who are doing amazing things and who
inspire me daily.
10. How do you recommend someone starts the new year?
By creating a new positive habit! Don’t create resolutions — they are
often vague and unactionable. Instead, use the habit-change techniques
in my book to create a new habit that will last much longer.
Go to thepowerofless.com to join The Power of Less New Year’s
Challenge — we’re going to help people create a new habit in 30 days,
using just 10 minutes a day!
Thanks Leo Babauta for the interview. Everyone, check out his book today.
The Success Professor – Danny Gamache