Ari Meisel: More with Less
When Ari Meisel was diagnosed with a severe case of the incurable digestive ailment known as Crohn’s disease, he quickly found himself in the hospital and soon thereafter on a host of medications. After hitting a truly low point, he decided it was time to take matters into his own hands. Putting himself on a strict regiment of yoga, healthy eating, nutritional supplements and intense exercise, Meisel not only beat back the symptoms, he was in fact eventually declared cured of his "incurable" disease.
One of the outcomes of this log and difficult journey was the deep realization that he wanted to live his precious gift of healthy life much more fully. He quickly saw how much of his time was wasted by tasks that could just as easily be done by others. Thus was born his blog, the art of Less Doing, so that we all might have more living.
Read on to find out more about how Meisel makes the most of his life and find a few ideas for yourself as well.
1. Your website shows that you do quite a few speaking engagements with audiences of all types. What is it you hope that people will leave with from one of your talks?
I want people to feel a little bit of relief that there is hope. Hope that they can overcome challenges whether they be physical or mental.
2. Is there a particular kind or type of audience you enjoy speaking to most?
The most common word I hear from my audience and clients is that they are overwhelmed. If you are overwhelmed, than you are my target market.
3. You hit a real low point with Chron's disease - where did you find the courage to fight back and did you really think it would work?
The thought of not being able to see my wife again was a big motivator. It was either do something or risk death.
4. If you gave up your super-healthy lifestyle, do you think the Crohn's would come back?
If giving up means going back to smoking a pack a day and eating fast food, than yes, it would most likely come back. However I have benefited from actual healing and since I still maintain that stress is a large part of this illness, now that I have a better handle on it I think I would be ok if I stopped eating as well or excercising.
5. How do you maintain your commitment to the diet, the exercise and the yoga practice?
The constant fear that I might experience pain like I did every day for three years. Pain that was indescribably excruciating, debilitating, and embarrassing.
6. From what I've read on your blog, you take a thorough approach to each decision you make. When and how did you decide that you should start your Less Doing blog and the platform you use for it?
I was talking to a friend who was interested in the technological side of productivity and we decided to start blogging about it, then he went on to his own startup and Less Doing took on a life of it's own.
7. How did you first come about deciding to try outsourcing tasks as a way of less doing?
I've always run several companies at one time, and maintain many personal interests, I saw an online advertisement that basically said you could get more hours out of the day, I decided to give it a try and never looked back.
8. You mention in one of your blog posts that you've tested out something like 23 different virtual assistant companies - which ones are the best and why?
For dedicated assistants you have to go with Zirtual and for on demand I like FancyHands. I like both because they are US based and extremely competent.
9. Which ones should be avoided or what tips do you have for people who are new to this?
If you ever need an assistant to make a phone call for you and speak to someone like a client, I would really stick with US based providers, not because of language issues necessarily (though that can be a factor) but because of VOIP technology. When someone hears a delay it's as bad as not understanding what the person is saying. I recommend an on demand service for someone who is totally new to virtual assistants and to people who are experts, everyone else should go with a dedicated assistant.
10. You have expanded your less doing concept into something you call achievement architecture, what do you mean by that?
Basically I help people optimize, automate and outsource everything in their lives to be more effective. Whether it's a productivity challenge or a health problem, I can help break it down, put it in perspective, and create a solution.
11. What has your real estate business of rehabilitating old and forgotten buildings contributed to your less doing and achievement architecture efforts?
I love to build things and fix things. When working with old buildings, sometimes you need to come up with unique solutions very quickly or you'll miss an opportunity. That skillset transfers over.
12. Your website has a nice collection of podcasts, many of which are interviews with interesting people - what made you want to add that into the mix and what do you personally get out of it?
I choose the people to interview for the podcast based on it being someone I want to talk to and learn more about. It's always an educational experience for me when I get to speak to people who I think have made great strides in their respective fields.
13. There's been talk of a book release this year - can you say more about that?
I'm still working on the right publisher relationship. Also, my content is constantly evolving so I don't know if a book is the best medium for me.
14. When you look back over the last six or seven years, what stands out most in your mind from your experiences?
The birth of my son Benjamin 9 months ago was the most wonderful, challenging, and rewarding experience of my life and continues to be so every single day. Everything I do and every decision I make has him at the center. Less Doing has made that possible.
15. What do you think is going to be the next big thing in your life?
I really want to do more and bigger speaking engagements. I'd love to do 1 or 2 really big keynotes per month. I'll also continue to build green real estate projects in the Hamptons.
Thank You Ari
Check Ari's inspiring Ted Talk here:
Ari Meisel is the founder of "Achievement Architecture", A coaching program he developed to help individuals be more effective at everything from health and fitness to business and interpersonal relationships. You can also find him on Twitter @arimeisel
Tal Gur is an author, founder, and impact-driven entrepreneur at heart. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living, has led him to found Elevate Society.