Q&A: How to Work More Efficient with the CEO of Nature of Work, Steve Rio

By Raiden Huang

I’ve met a lot of high-level individuals in my short time on this earth. Although highly successful, many have lacked to prioritize what truly matters. While rapidly growing a company, I’ve found Steve has this unique ability to prioritize health and relationships before his business endeavours – a trait that is rarely come across. Steve is a dynamic visionary that has transformed the way I approach work.

– Raiden Huang

Steve Rio

Raiden: What should we be moving towards with our time and attention?

Steve: Our time and attention are our two greatest resources in this life. How we spend our time, and what we pay attention to determines every aspect of our life. It determines our level of success and what we can accomplish, but more importantly, it determines the quality of our experience of this life.

Over the past one hundred years or so, since the advent of TV, there has been a massive industry built around our attention. In the past fifteen years or so, the rise of the social platforms, and the algorithm-based internet have given rise to an even more strategic and aggressive attack on our attention. Today, your attention is a multi trillion-dollar industry. You have become a commodity. Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and many other platforms are mining your time and attention and turning it into massive profits. These platforms have minted some of the richest people to ever exist.

So we have to make a choice. Do we want to have a great life and build things of value and be successful? Or do we want to allow ourselves to be constantly distracted and only skimming the surface of our life and our work? If we want to be successful, we need to take control of our time and attention and retrain our brains to focus for longer periods of time. We need to stop wasting hours a day on our phones. If we spend just one hour a day on our phone, that adds up to 24 days a year in terms of our waking hours. Imagine what you could do with an additional month per year.

We need to break the cycle of distraction. That starts with small habit changes every day that amount to massive changes in the way we feel and the way we execute. That’s what ​Nature of Work​ is all about. A system to transform the way you work, live, and feel.We need to be continually working to become more aware of how we spend our time and attention throughout the day. Building up our level of mindfulness. This happens through small steps and habit changes every day. It happens by building a personal operating system for ourselves that governs how we spend our time and attention. It’s about learning to focus intently on whatever we’re doing so we get the most out of it. Whether that’s work or play.

Raiden: What does creating space do for us?

Steve: Creating space is such a simple yet important concept to master. It’s something that has been completely lost in our society for all the reasons I just talked about in the previous question. The greatest thinkers, writers, and innovators from history all spent hours a day daydreaming, wandering if fields, or doing other activities that allowed them the space to think.

Creating space allows our subconscious brains to do the big thinking and processing work that is so important for two key aspects of our lives.

For one, creative space is where big ideas and innovation in our work and lives come from. The big breakthroughs and quantum leaps. These types of aha moments rarely come when you’re grinding away or consciously thinking about something.

The second area where space is critical is our emotional and spiritual lives. We need space to process relationships, conversations, events, and how we feel about things. It helps us resolve our inner struggles and heal traumas. Space allows us to understand ourselves better, define our values, perspectives and grow the spiritual side of ourselves. The part of ourselves that’s connected to the bigger picture of what life is about. When we’re grounded in this way, we are more resilient and able to handle the adversity that comes at us.

You can create space in small and large ways. Creating space could be taking the five minutes you have between meetings, and instead of jumping on your phone, allowing your mind to wander and perhaps getting outside for some deep breaths of fresh air. It can be the 30 minutes you take at lunch, the time you spend commuting, or when you’re doing the dishes or cleaning your place. It can be a walk in the park or forest each morning or evening. 

It can also be extended spaces like an entire day per week, or an extended space-cation, where you completely disconnect and remove all distractions besides maybe physical books and a notebook for writing.

The key aspects of creating space are that you’re off your technology, and not trying to absorb information from podcasts, videos, and all the other formats there are out there. Ideally, you can incorporate nature as well and quiet places and spaces that allow you to lower your energy field and get grounded.

Raiden: What does it mean to live a good life?

Steve: It’s a personal question that every person needs to answer for themselves, though I think we can look to history, the great wisdom traditions, science, and to other’s experiences for direction. I know it’s not about financial or material success. Having financial security certainly helps, but as soon as you’re looking externally for happiness, you’re likely on the wrong path.

I define a good life by the level of peace I feel in my heart when I have a moment to myself or when I’m with those closest to me.

For me personally, a good life is about having ongoing opportunities to learn and grow, exploring the inner depths of my mind, developing a rich spiritual life, fostering deep relationships with a small circle of loving people, and being as generous as possible with my time and energy.

Ultimately, everything that happens externally in our lives is a reflection of the relationship we have with ourselves. Meditation, psychedelic experiences, and inner reflection are the most important tools to deepen my perception and build that relationship with myself. Regardless of how you approach it, inner work is the key that unlocks a good life.

Steve has been the most mindful individual I’ve ever come across, period. His approach and philosophy on life are next level. No wonder he’s attained the success he’s had. Steve’s a compelling futurist in a field of his own.

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