Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Ernie Bray and I’m an entrepreneur, author and CEO of ACD, a technology organization that develops claims software for the auto insurance industry. I also enjoy inspiring others on their path to success with my blog erniebray.com
What is one habit of yours that helps you be productive?
I make health a key focus everyday, (good diet, exercise, mental fitness and spiritual focus). If one is not taking care of their entire health, maximizing one’s full potential will be difficult or impossible to achieve. Sure, we can’t be 100% everyday but the goal is to do the things that set yourself up for success. Maintaining this healthy lifestyle has allowed me to forge ahead in my productivity.
What is your morning routine and how does it help you get the most out of your day?
In my morning routine, I strive for consistency. I allow myself to wake up naturally. Once awake, I drink some electrolytes to hydrate myself, take some supplements, grab a cup of coffee, check my email and then head out for a 45 minute walk. As I am walking I make a few calls to my leadership team to go over issues, strategies, and the mission to be worked on for the day. I’ve found this helps me kick start the day and get momentum going, all while I knocked out some good exercise.
In the last few years, what lifestyle, habit or behavior change has had the biggest positive impact on your life?
I would say it is my focus and interest in spirituality and philosophy. I take time to meditate and calm my mind and really dig deeper into finding peace. I’m naturally energetic and a high energy person but taking time to slow down has helped me to grow as a person.
When you feel unfocused, what do you do?
I take a break from things and get away. Whether it’s a walk, workout or even a nap. Just allowing your mind to rest can boost your creativity. We live in a hard driving world of constant information and “now now now.” It can be hard to focus and it’s so important to let your mind rest. It may seem counterintuitive but resting periodically can allow one to accomplish more.
What is one piece of software or a web service that you get immense value out of? How do you use it?
I am a big user of Dropbox. I use it to organize much of my digital information which enables me to work virtually anywhere at anytime. Organization both personally and professionally allows me to have access to the things I need quickly and I’ve found it indispensable.
What is the one book you recommend most often and why?
The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday. After reading a lot of philosophy on my own of Seneca, Marcus Aurelius and others, I’ve found this book to be a nice compilation for someone looking to gain some life perspective.
What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?
I would say do the opposite of what society pushes. I’d take a deep breath and relax for a moment. Don’t push too hard at trying to find your lifelong career immediately. One doesn’t have to “make it” in 5 years or some artificial timeline. Use your 20’s to gain as much experience as possible and try new things. This will be invaluable later on in your life. One can’t have it all now and you’re simply not ready yet. Your goal should be to soak up real world experience. You should ignore those who tell you to always take the practical “safe” career choice. Focus on being happy. Sure people may balk at that advice but you’ll be happier in the long run.
What is your favorite quote, one you aim to live by?
“To live a good life: We have the potential for it. If we learn to be indifferent to what makes no difference.” – Marcus Aurelius
Too often we get caught up worrying and thinking about things that make no difference and add no value. We worry what people think about us, worry about the negative things people say or even get caught up wasting time on things that have no effect on us. The key is to focus on what’s important and ignore the rest.