Martin Whittaker: ‘The Good People I Surround Myself With Make Life Easier’

Thrive Global | Dec. 5, 2016

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? Martin Whittaker: Check my email. If no fires, I put on the radio (NPR).

TG: What gives you energy? 
MW: Exercise, and positive feedback from people I respect.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you? MW: Yes, I’m sorry to say. But it also sends me to sleep because I listen to audiobooks and podcasts on all sorts of things to send me to sleep. Last night I listened to “Our Island Race” by Winston Churchill and had fallen asleep by the time Boudica had sacked London.

TG: How do you deal with email? 
MW: I always clean my inbox. But I prioritize by the person, the issue, and the wisdom required in the response.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?
MW: The only things that make my life easier are the good people I surround myself with. That and setting my phone on mute.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it? MW: Call my wife. Or check the soccer news in the English Premier League if she is busy!

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out? 
MW: Yesterday.

TG: Share a quote that gives you strength when times are tough. 
MW: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” —Theodore Roosevelt, Paris, 1910