Meet Jonny Miller, in short, a very curious human. He's living to the full, experimenting with life and openly sharing his experiences and thoughts with the world.
I resonate with his mindful content and enjoy his monthly newsletter called Curious Humans, where he shares roundups of brainfood, recent podcast interviews & mind-expanding ideas.
In this interview, Jonny Miller shares his habits, routines and creative outlook on life and work.
Who's Jonny Miller?
Jonny Miller is the co-founder of Maptia, a Techstars backed startup – a living archive inspiring and impactful stories from around the world – (featured in WIRED) – and later mentored 250+ early-stage founders through Escape the City. He has also written for Forbes, HuffPost and is disproportionately proud of once crossing the English Channel on an inflatable standup paddleboard.
Currently, he's based in Bali and currently researching a How to Human manual and building an online academy for Curious Leaders.
What Are the Most Influential Habits in Your Life?
Probably those that I no longer have to think about! I've found that a good morning will set me up for the day.
Living in Bali these mostly look like:
- Wake up around sunrise (no alarm).
- Some stretching and breathwork outside, followed by 20-30 minutes meditation (usually Vipassana body scan).
- I'll then do something active (either surf/yoga/calisthenics) and ice bath.
- Around 8 am I'll write morning pages and set priorities for the day.
- I aim to have 9-12 am for flow time (i.e. no email or social media), but this doesn't always happen!
I've also been experimenting with intermittent fasting recently (until 1 pm) and have found this to help with clarity of mind and focus.
One of the biggest insights for me has been to tune into how my body is feeling first – to rest if I need rest, post-pone the gym if I'm sore rather than push through (which often leads to sickness/injury!)
How Do You Manage Time?
Ideally, I'm managing my energy more than time.
I tend to live from my calendar and aim to work in Pomodoros (and doing fun things like handstands or playing ukulele during the 5-minute breaks) and then taking the afternoons for social time, reading, Skype calls, etc.
I used to be very goal-orientated but lately, I've been more focused on the processes and letting go of the outcomes.
I also write a review at the end of each month, reflecting on the highs, lows, lessons learned and use to make adjustments the following month if needed.
What's Your Work Process and Thinking Behind It?
My work process is an ongoing and hopefully lifelong experiment! Everything I do, read, think about in the surf in some way contributes to it.
I took a course called Building a Second Brain by Tiago Forte last year and that really helped with both my note-taking process (for example using progressive summarisation with all online and Kindle reading) using Evernote and organising my tasks and current projects in Things. Right now I'm in more of an 'Explore' mindset... and could perhaps benefit from more structure!
How Do You Train Your Body and Mind?
Big question! I try to orient my life such that learning and growth is the aim of everything I do!
Currently, I'm training as a meditation teacher (which is a great excuse to stick to a daily habit myself) which has been completely fascinating and I'm also certified as a yoga teacher.
As well as reading as widely as I can, I've taken a lot of online courses over the years (some of the best I have curated here: Courses for Curious Humans) and have learned a great deal from these!
Surfing has been my training for pushing my comfort zone on some of the heavier days... I've also been consciously carving out time for play: learning ukulele, writing poetry and finding joy in that which doesn't have a pre-defined outcome (this doesn't come naturally!)
How Do You Meet and Connect with People?
Living in Canggu, Bali I've been organising 'Mindful Mastermind' events here and giving workshops at the local co-working spaces.
I've also found writing my monthly newsletter and podcast (both called Curious Humans) alongside a mild Twitter-addiction are a wonderful combination for both staying in touch with people from all over the world and also engaging in fascinating conversation threads... combined they are incredible serendipity engines.
What Are Your Sleeping Rituals?
I go to bed embarrassingly early! I like to wake up with the light (6 am here) so am usually winding down around 9 pm (either reading or stretching) and then sounds asleep by 10 pm.
What Are Your Investing Habits?
I've had a coach (monthly) for the last 18 months and it has been one of the best investments that I made.
If I ever see a book that I think I will want to read I will almost always buy it (books are stupendously good value when you think about it). I think most about how I'm investing my time (i.e. is it in line with my values) and being aware that this is what matters in the end.
What's One Question That Helped You Understand the World Better?
What is the question that you're afraid to ask?
I've found that writing this and then journaling on what surfaces has helped me to get clear on the fears and insecurities I have (and I think we all do to some degree) under the surface and to hone a sense of courageous curiosity – the willingness to radically enquire into things that might be initially painful or uncomfortable, but lead to growth in the long term.
What Books, People, Experiences Shaped Your Thinking?
Travel, specifically backpacking through Southeast Asia when I was 19 and doing the Mongol Rally really opened my eyes to the world – which later led to co-founding my startup Maptia and working remotely from 5 continents over the following 5 years.
In terms of books: it's always hard to choose, but here are ten that I would say have profoundly shaped my worldview over the years.
Most recently navigating grief has broken me open to the world in a way that I couldn't have predicted and led to an inner-adventure of sorts e.g. Vipassana silent meditation retreats, holotropic breathwork, etc. which I'm now fascinated to learn more about over the coming months.