The Thrive Questionnaire//

The Thrive Questionnaire with Michael Ronen

"I’ve found it important to avoid getting hung up on mistakes, and move forward with conviction."

Michael Ronen, SoftBank
Michael Ronen, SoftBank

When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?

Michael Ronen: I check my emails, and then go for a run for 30 minutes. I’ve found it hugely helpful to meditate too, and I try to do this several times a week before my morning run.

TG: What gives you energy?

MR: I get a huge amount of energy and excitement from the entrepreneurs I work with — building businesses takes a special kind of optimism. My kids also give me a huge amount of energy.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?

MR: Because I travel so much, I try to use long flights productively. That doesn’t mean work necessarily — it gives me the perfect chance to meditate, which helps me with concentration and focus. I’ve also made a point recently of not watching TV.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.

MR: I read Lee Iacocca’s autobiography when I was a high school student in Israel. He was an Italian immigrant who worked at Ford Motor Co. progressing continuously until becoming President, and then became CEO of Chrysler. His story resonated strongly with me and inspired me to seek success in the U.S. as a young teenager.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?

MR: My phone is by my side constantly, for better or worse. I’m aware of the negative effects but I haven’t yet figured out how to separate myself from it.

TG: How do you deal with email?

MR: I try to avoid working out of my inbox, so I deal with email in batches several times a day. That’s my ideal scenario. I’m unsuccessful most of the time.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?

MR: It’s not often I get a free 15 minutes, but when I do, I spend the time catching up with a friend or my family on the phone.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?

MR: I work hard at staying in control and setting priorities. Unfortunately — sometimes schedules and priorities change, and I have to be flexible to others’ agendas that are beyond my control.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?

MR: I try to focus on overcoming tactical failures by locating the mistake and learning from it, then moving on to focus on things that are within my control. I’ve found it important to avoid getting hung up on mistakes, and move forward with conviction.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.

MR: I love the sense of durability and strength from both of these:

  • Paulo Coelho: “The fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.”
  • Nietzsche: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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