When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.
Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Louis LoPraeste: To be completely honest I try not to get out of bed too quickly! I simmer instead. I try to get up slowly, and consciously—noting that I have somehow managed to make it another day on earth. I try and take a moment to remember that I’ve at least got another day to learn, another day to love, another day to connect.
TG: What gives you energy?
LL: I believe in the potential inherent in every moment—and so anytime I interact with a person who shines that light, I feel good. I look for it. Catching someone’s smile, or a polite hello restores my faith in humanity. I try and find the ways in which we retain or humanity with one another, so connecting with genuine people gives me a lot of energy and hope.
TG: What’s your secret life hack?
LL: The basic litmus test for one’s humanity is how kind we are to one another. I’m far from perfect, but I do try to be as kind as possible even when I have to the one bearing tough news or council. Besides that I’d say organic black coffee with raw honey.
TG: Name a book that changed your life.
LL: I have to admit that I love Albert Camus’ work to this day. When I was a Philosophy student, The Stranger and The Plague both made very deep impressions on me both from a moral perspective. I think these works first introduced the idea that human life is patently absurd. That has stuck with me all this time—we must try in spite of everything that would discourage us from doing so.
TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
LL: Oh my G-d, no. I leave my phone in my office upstairs around dinner and try to avoid checking it until the next morning. I am sure I will come across as a luddite, but I don’t care. I loathe texting and if I didn’t need a phone, I probably wouldn’t. The mobile phone is like the 21st century cigarette. I am quite sure we are going to look back at the mobile phone and discover that it is the root of human disconnectedness and various illnesses.
TG: How do you deal with email?
LL: Funny question. A colleague of mine just accused me of being TOO connected! Truth is, I check my email when I get up and cover as much territory as I can with staff and colleagues. I check it again around 10am, and then try and finish the day around 4pm. I work in spurts.
TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
LL: I go outside. I grew up in the New England woods and I cannot stand to be inside for too long. I go for a walk and get the sun on my face.
TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
LL: I was pretty fried in 2014 after a finance project I was raising money for tanked. I’d spent two years developing something that in many ways was ahead of the curve—but the technology wasn’t there yet. You can be too early in a market as it turns out, and I am not an engineer. I ended up spending the rest of the next year writing my first book, and traveling.
TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
LL: In my life, failure is a result of experimentation. I’ve taken a lot of chances to support working for myself and writing—it has not been easy. In many ways failure is the most salient feature of our lives—we aspire, dream and intend lots of different outcomes that more often than not—do not pan out. We tend to think everyone else is succeeding. Everyone else has made millions, married the perfect person, found the perfect stock, does yoga six days a week, and avoids white flour…you get the idea. We are all a bit bungled and botched, so I don’t see failure as different than success per se—it’s part of living a full life.
TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
LL: “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” Albert Camus