Uncommon Wisdom: Eric Halsey
“Uncommon Wisdom” is about sharing those habits or stories that we wouldn’t normally think to share. There’s so much talk about morning routines and self-care practices these days but a lot of it can seem kind of superficial or maybe just predictable and repetitive. This is why we asked a bunch of high-performing creatives and entrepreneurs a few questions about awareness, energy, and productivity. We wanted to learn something a bit more unexpected, and here’s what we found out.
Who is Eric Halsey?
Eric is the host of the Bulgarian History Podcast and the managing director of The Halsey Company, providing marketing expertise and assistance to businesses around the world. He also occasionally lectures on career development and Bulgarian history, acts in TV and commercials, and lends his voice acting to projects like the Sofia Metro. Eric, furthermore, proudly serves on the board of the Bulgarian Fulbright Commission, working to advance international education and understanding.
#1. What's something unexpected or uncommon that made you more aware?
Travelling is a cliché answer, but for me it was traveling solo without really having any money in my early and mid 20s. Sometimes I couldn’t find a place to stay and would just find somewhere hidden to pitch a tent. The months I spent like this really taught me to appreciate other people and the simple comforts we take for granted every day. Sometimes I wouldn’t have anyone to really talk to for days, and I realized how much a simple conversation can recharge you. I think these experiences also gave me a “well, it could be worse” perspective on a lot of other things in my life.
#2. What's something unexpected or uncommon that gives you energy?
I get a huge amount of energy from coaching or teaching people one-on-one. A lot of my work is writing, editing, or recording on my own, but even though it pays a lot less than other work I do, sitting down with someone and helping them craft a message or improve their speaking skills is just so rewarding. Even if I feel exhausted and totally unable to do most other work, somehow my body always finds the energy for this.
#3. What's something unexpected or uncommon that makes you more productive?
It’s a bit funny (my wife certainly makes fun of me for it) but often it’s just boredom. Frequently when I’m bored I’ll just go around looking for something to do and end up getting all kinds of random things done. It’s a bit of a cultural thing, I come from a family of workaholics in an American culture that’s also very focused on work, so there’s some deep part of my psyche that’s obsessed with being productive. It’s not always healthy but it does let me occasionally turn boredom into a burst of energy.
#4. What does your morning ritual look like?
After getting cats and going through the pandemic, it’s changed quite a bit. Today I usually get woken up by our cats around 6:30 or 7:00 in the morning. Then I’ll usually stay in bed for another hour because I’ve got no specific reason to get up. Then I’ll get up, make breakfast for me and my wife, make coffee (nearly always Ethiopian light roasted coffee brewed in a V60 or cotton filter), and spend time with my wife before she goes to the office. Then, because I own my business and work from home, I start planning out my day. It may look like a pretty relaxed routine and in many ways it is, but it’s connected with my dislike of working 9-5 because I want to work when I’m productive and relax when I’m not. So I build my schedule around being ready to hit the ground running when I’m in the right zone and ready to recharge when I’m not.
#5. What does your evening ritual look like?
Because we’re often up before 7am, my wife and I try to be in bed by 10pm. Sometimes I try to do a bit of novel reading (nearly always translated literature from Bulgaria or the Balkans), but honestly most of what I read are history books for my podcast on Bulgarian history and that requires a lot of note taking so it’s not ideal for bedtime. Often my mind will run through all the things I have to do and prevent me from sleeping and this is where I’ve taken to thinking about strategy games. This sounds odd and I’m definitely not a gamer (I literally play a single one), but it’s something in-depth and interesting I can think about which has no real consequences, so I actually find it relaxing to let my mind wander and consider my strategy in a game I might be playing.
You can find Eric at @ehalsey1
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