Happy to welcome Ran Zilca. You’ll soon see why there’s a photo of him and Deepak Chopra staring back at you!
Diana: Welcome, Ran Zilca! My blog is about living your best chapter each day. Tell us what do you do for yourself each day?
Ran Zilca: Working for a California company and living in Israel, my work schedule is almost 24/7. In addition, my kids are still young and I try to be a very involved father, so between work and family there is only little time left. However, I am still able to dedicate some time to other things that matter to me like writing, exercising, riding, and playing music. In fact, the rock band I played with in high school recently reunited and we now play together after a hiatus of 25 years!
An old trick I use to keep my focus is this: every morning, I write a “Daily Intention,” and follow it throughout the day. On some days my daily intention would be to be attentive to my children, so all of my energy would be focused there, and on some days it is to take care of my body and soul, or to do one thing that I’ve been postponing. Having a clear intention for each day helps me live daily life in sync with my goals, my dreams, and my values.
Diana: Tell us a bit about your work and research into life and happiness.
Ran: I started my career as a computer scientist and engineer, and gradually crossed the lines into social science. People fascinate me much more than technology.
In 2006, I left IBM Research to start a company called Signal Patterns. I saw a business opportunity in taking the wealth of research in the psychology of well-being and using it to create technology that makes people happier. It was actually mind-boggling to think that it’s a doable thing but no one else is doing it at that time. Since then, I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the greatest research psychologists, trying to understand individual differences between people and their forces of motivation, and then using that knowledge to drive positive, transformational change.
The experience of being an entrepreneur was a great way to put the scientific ideas into practice. Today, we have years of naturalistically-collected behavior data that we analyze. Since selling my company to bLife in 2011, I serve as bLife’s Chief Scientist and really enjoy being a part of the business in its next chapter.
Diana: And as a segue from the last question, tell us about “the ride of your life.”
Ran: AS CEO of Signal Patterns I was working closely with folks like Deepak Chopra, Stephen Covey, and positive psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky on joint projects. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with them and learn from them, but most of our conversations were focused on our joint projects, so I rarely had the chance to sit down and talk with them about the “big” or deeper questions. Around the same time, I was also turning 40 and was pursuing my childhood dream of getting a motorcycle license and riding the back roads. I decided to put the two things together, and ride solo from coast to coast and along the way interview the authors and researchers whom I work with – a project called Ride of Your Life, a Journey to Inner Peace. In a few months, I found myself alone on the back of a V-Star 950 loaded with video equipment riding west with no clear destination for the day.
I ended up spending 5 weeks on the road and rode about 6,000 miles to California and then down the California coast line. The experience was pivotal and changed my life in a very deep way. In the year that followed I became certified as a life coach. A couple of years later I also moved with my family to Israel, where I now spend most of the time.
Diana: You’re now doing a Kickstarter campaign. Do you want to say something about that?
Ran: Going on Ride Of Your Life allowed me to spend 5 weeks in a unique mixture of contemplation (riding 5-6 hours each day), speaking with world-renowned experts, and learning from hundreds of people that I met along the way. The insights were simple but life-changing for me. Here are just a few:
1. Embrace risks as opportunities.
2.Never allow fear to be in the driver seat.
3. Assume the best about every new person you meet.
4. Seek ways you can be of service to others.
5. Most importantly: spell-out your dreams, and do one thing—just one thing—every day to advance towards them.
I am in the process of writing a book to share these ideas. The Kickstarter campaign is for folks who would like to pre-order the book, and help me produce and release it. So, in this way, I can get a kick-start on my book’s journey!
For all those interested in learning more about Ran’s project, you can find it here.
Diana: Thanks so much, Ran!
P.S. And, remember I interviewed Laura Vanderkam, author of the series, What Successful People Do, and other inspiring books? I have a guest post on her site. You’re welcome to mosey on there to read “Six Easy Tips for Making the Most of Family Time,” here.