Quality of Life Perspectives: Mike Krzyzewski Talks about Associating with Good People

Mike Krzyzewski

Mike Krzyzewski

I had the immense opportunity to interview Mike Krzyzewski at the Milken Conference earlier this year.  Coach K is one of the most successful coaches in any sport on any level. However, Mike is probably even more respected today for his role as a leadership expert, a motivational speaker and a philanthropist.

You can view the VIDEO of our interview with Coach Krzyzewski HERE.

Within the video there are index tags so you can navigate per your preferences.

Here are some of my favorite excerpts of the interview:

-  Self dialogue practice (”Being in tune with yourself” section)

-  Follow the people you can learn from, not the money.  (”Associating yourself with good people” section)

-  Getting outside, solitude. (”On spending time in nature” section)

I belive when people think of Mike Krzyzewski, they think of a high integrity person who aspires to be a successful human being rather than simply a successful professional.  That is what they respect and it’s also what leads to his quality of life.

Top Ten Quality of Life Contributors by Avil Beckford


Quality of life for me is doing the things that bring joy. Over the past five years I have learned a lot about what does not work for me and I have turned over a new leaf.

1.  Reading

I am an avid reader, and reading is one of the simple pleasures in my life. I go through phases where I will focus on one genre until I am ready for a change. Right now, I am reading books across genres, and one of the unique things is that I have the ability to make connections among disparate pieces of information. I am an active reader so I get emotionally caught up with the words on the pages as I interact with them.

2.  Meditation

Twice a day I meditate, which helps to bring peace to my life. I retreat to the quiet place within, where I listen to hear what my inner voice is trying to tell me. This practice helps me to become the person I was meant to be.

3.  Raja Yoga

I recently discovered Raja Yoga, the highest form of yoga and it has made such a difference in my life. I have received tools to help me to achieve self-mastery. I see simple yet profound changes in myself. Things that used to bother me no longer do, and I view difficult people as my “Tests.”

4.  Flourishing

I have been in many situations, both personal and professional where I felt a piece of me wither and die each day. Now I know how to quickly identify situations where I flourish and blossom. This allows me to be my best self, which contributes to contentment and happiness.

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Quality of Life Perspectives: Ariane de Bonvoisin Talks about the Little Things

Ariane de Bonvoisin

Ariane de Bonvoisin

I had the opportunity to interview Ariane de Bonvoisin this summer.  We met last year and I have quickly become a fan of her endeavors.

Ariane is the author of First 30 Days: Your Guide to Making Any Change Easier and has built a media company around her desire to help people enjoy life more.  Ariane embodies this Quality of Life Project purpose:

-  Contributing to the growing worldwide movement in which individuals are increasingly measuring success based on quality of life over other pursuits and are increasingly drawn to authenticity over pretense.

Ariane’s independent approach to life is truly inspiring. She lives like an explorer constantly finding new and interesting experiences to enrich her life. And her path through life is a great indicator. She grew up living in six countries, was an internationally competitive swimmer and graduated London School of Economics at 19 and Stanford Business School at 24. She went on to leadership positions in the venture capital world, at one time overseeing Time Warner’s venture fund. But she felt out of synch and saw how her personal life was suffering through by not being in tune with her true inner voice. She was always a spiritual person but felt she needed to regroup. Ariane ended up taking a new path. In 2005, she decided to become a media entrepreneur, which led to her First 30 Days book and the launching of www.first30days.com and soon www.arianestudio.com.

You can view the VIDEO of our interview with Ariane HERE.

Within the video there are index tags so you can navigate per your preferences.

There are some outstanding takes on big picture life perspectives that have helped Ariane enjoy her life.  You should not miss out on these.  But the best part of the interview in my opinion are the little things we unearthed that any of us can immediately try out.

-  Trampoline in office (“What brings you joy” section)

-  Five year journal.  (“What brings you joy” section)

-  Wheatgrass (“Diet or health practices” section)

I hope you enjoy the video!  Ariane is doing great work so if you like her book, definitely help get the word out…

Free report: Ten Tips to Greater Quality of Life

Ten Tips to Greater Quality of Life

Ten Tips to Greater Quality of Life

The most frequent question we get from people is, “So, with all the interviews  you’ve done, what are the commonalities that you’ve seen?”

We are now ready to report back to you the common practices that have emerged through all our interviews.

We aren’t offering a road map; but rather a simple recap of what practices and perspectives we have encountered the most, as well as some links to interview excerpts that expand on the particular quality of life driver.

We hope you like it.

You can get a free copy at our home page, www.qualityoflifeproject.org.

What does quality of life mean to me?

Photo by Tata_Aka via Flickr

Photo by Tata_Aka via Flickr

I had lunch recently with the managing editor of Keith Ferrazzi’s company Ferrazzi Greenlight.  She asked if I could put together a small piece on what quality of life means to me.

It’s funny because you would think I would have written something along these lines given our organization.  The thing is we always see ourselves more as a “manager” in this project so it’s not our tendency to tell you about our personal practices.

Anyway, here is what I came up with.  It was actually a very cool exercise.


Quality of life to me is living in a way and doing the things that makes me enjoy life.

I guess these are the things that get me there, at least at this stage in my life.


I have an incredible wife and two great kids that I love very much.  I’m also lucky to have parents and siblings and extended family that I love being around.  The love I get from my wife and family makes me feel confident and secure; and everything springs from there for me.  I also think that one of the great things in life is to be able to share experiences with people you love and respect.  Whether it’s a day at the beach or a nice bottle of wine, being able to share it with someone you enjoy being with makes it that much  better.

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Guy Kawasaki Shares His Views on Quality of Life

Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki

I was real stoked to get a chance to talk to Guy Kawasaki at South by Southwest about what quality of life means to him.  Ever since his 2006 post, “How to be a Mensch,” I knew I needed to interview Guy for my quality of life project.

People love Guy for his thought leadership on entrepreneurship and his sense of humor, wit and directness.  But I think it’s his down-to-earth, unpretentious manner that is his secret quality in drawing such a loyal following.

Below is a link to the video.   Here are my thoughts to some of the perspectives and practices Guy shared with us:

Spend time with your family
These “do not neglect the obvious” perspectives are often the most important.  Guy offers us another reminder (how many do we need?) that time goes fast and we ought to consider how we are spending our time.

Do something you enjoy
I really like how Guy talks about his love for hockey and that he doesn’t feel a need to justify it or intellectualize it.  He just says he loves doing it and that’s why he does it.  And of course he follows through on doing what he loves doing.  I’m sure he works extra early or late to deal with those two hours in the middle of the day playing hockey but he’s doing it!  Do you think he regrets it?

Family time can be watching TV together
Guy talks about “24” and “The Unit” as family time.  What a great and fresh take.  It’s all about experiencing shared interests.  Obviously Guy’s mainly about face time with his family but he makes an honest point that shared interests as a bonding experience. When my wife and I watched the first season of 24 together a few years back, we totally bonded over it – despite the “addiction” aspect to the show causing us to exhibit unsavory qualities such as lying to each other about whether one of us watched part of the following show.  We know a couple in town here that swears by their “shared activity” of playing Wii tennis.   It goes without saying that you have to have face time and nature interfacing activities in the mix; but if your family can bond over a television show, don’t miss out on that either.

Click above to watch the video

Click above to watch the video

Quality of Life Perspectives: Actor Tom Skerritt on Tracking Your Emotional Weather

Tom Skerritt

Tom Skerritt

Tom Skerritt is the ultimate “man’s man” so when I had the opportunity to spend a few hours with him at his home in Seattle I was pretty psyched.

Most people know him from his roles in MASH, Top Gun and River Runs Through It (one of my all time favorite movies).  He’s a real mellow guy and the fact that he makes Seattle his hometown, despite being a full time actor, says something about how important he views quality of life.
We talked about a lot of quality of life drivers and things he practices in his life.  During the interview, it became clear that a key component to his enjoyment of life is his overall sense of calm and energy.  He shared with me how he practices tai chi and how this helps him achieve calm; and how the world around him just seems more interesting as a result.

He said it also allows him to better tune in to himself.  That spurred me to ask him if he considered himself fairly in tune with his emotions and whether he reaped any benefits through this trait. This is what he said:

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Perspectives on Quality of Life: Gary Player on Importance of Energy (first post using audio excerpts from my interviews)

Gary Player

Gary Player

Gary Player is one of the most amazing people I’ve met.  Gary is best known as being one of the greatest golfers in the history of the game (he is the only player to have won a Grand Slam on both the PGA and Senior’s tours.). He’s 73 years old and has more energy and strength today than 99% of us.  He’s been married to his wife Vivienne for over fifty years and together they have six children and 20 grandchildren.

More than anything, Gary epitomizes what it means to be a successful human being.  He does it all.  He is a great family man.  He is an accomplished entrepreneur.  He is a successful philanthropist.  He is a kind man who walks the earth with an open, grateful heart.  He literally touches someone every day.

And he is an absolute expert (whether he knows it or not) on longevity and making use of energy to maximize enjoyment in every aspect of life.

Gary will tell you that maintaining energy is one of the key to a life well lived.  That energy is the reason he has managed to be successful on so many fronts.  Family, career, philanthropy, social.    

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