Jacob Tomkins

jacob tomkins

There is no doubt that Jacob Tomkins is on a very deep, spiritual journey, discovering himself, connecting with nature (he bought a forest to live and work in), and connecting with people and experiences that are truly inspiring. His unconventional approach to life is attracting people to learn more, go deeper into themselves and physically and emotionally benefit. As a former salesman in the luxury world it is clear why he was good in that role, with his natural charm, keen interest in people, humour and social intelligence. But in over playing these strengths in a world that is superficial he has found great fortune. Himself. 


What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?

Three books that have been life changing for me at the time that I’ve read them. The first is an anthropology book called Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond and I think it’s one of the most important documents one can read to understand and rid themselves of prejudice and judgement, in a way because it really is amazing. It is such an accountable anthropological document in a way and such a clever description of how man has used power and control to gain and get and have power and control over things and take more material. I’ve always been fascinated with immaterial wealth and material wealth. Immaterial wealth to me has proven to be about knowledge, about how things work in nature and in the nature of ourselves, in the body, herbology and in science to an extent and ancient knowledge has been lost because of power, power has taken over from those that are not in need of power because they’re in harmony with nature. So harmony has been put out by power and control and that book is like an anthropological walk through of how that happened. It also talks a lot about what intelligence and intellect is and from a modern Western standard that might be academic knowledge or influence that you could have but the analogy used in the book is, if you take an Aboriginal man who has never lived in the city and put him in the city and a man from the city and put him in the outback, the Aboriginal man will thrive in the city within a year or two, they’ll be educated, able to speak, about to work, they can get into the system. But most people, if you drop them in the wild who lived in the city, have no intelligence on how to survive, so what is intelligence? Is it about understanding how to survive as a human being or is it about getting ahead and competing and having control and money and power? I think that book addresses all of that perfectly. 

A recent one, is a book called Awareness by Anthony DeMello who died in 1987 but was a spiritual teacher and master of his field and very well respected. The book is a transcript from one of his retreats and I think that book is therapy and deals with awareness and the self and knowing the self. He writes about the self and reality and the consciousness in a way that is incredibly helpful to the psyche and its world renowned for that. Therapy is many things, we need to have interventions sometimes but we also need to nurture through other peoples’ perspectives and there aren’t that many documents or books out there that can really help with that. I read chapters out at a lot of classes and workshops. The most powerful message he has given me from it is to truly know the self is to truly know the universe and you can’t know anything at all outside of you until you know yourself truly. 

The third one was given to me in my twenties by my girlfriend at the time and it’s called Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom and it is a book about life and death. It’s an account of a relationship between someone who is dying and someone who is going into his life. It is powerful. This is a real lesson of wisdom from an older man to a younger man and the closing of an amazing cycle in their relationship. If one wants to look at death deeply from Morrie’s point of view, that’s the book. 


What purchase of £100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)? (Brand and model, where you found it?)

One is more than £100, it’s my axe. 

One is £20 which is my knife

The other is really good barefoot shoes. 

It’s all about utility, function and comfort but knowing the knife and the axe and learning those, the intimate relationship with those in the forest has added such a texture to my life, the way I look at timber and wood now and everything. Without those purchases, life would definitely not be the same. 

They’re very closely linked to what I believe in. I used to work in the watch industry and I think watches are incredibly complicated amazing tools, they’re as complicated and multiple in parts as you can make something that’s functional and beautiful basically, similar to a car. A knife is the other end of the spectrum, it’s one object, one thing and since the dawn of time you can’t do anything without a good knife. I don’t use my kitchen knives when I’m in the woods, I’m just using my knife, it’s everything to me and it’s taking the macro and being able to do something micro with it and learning that relationship. 

I did a bush crafts course last year just to sharpen my skills and bushcrafts, carving etc. is seen as a very visceral, animal, male thing, masculine thing but it’s also about safety and feeling very secure, it’s like they are the tools that connect me to the forest and mother nature properly and they’re what I respect most as tools around. I’ve had a couple of accidents with the axe and I respect that thing more than I respect most people, I’m afraid. 


How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favourite failure” of yours?

I was a Strategic Consultant, working in the agency world and there were so many fires to fight forever and some shocking and traumatic stuff happened, legally in business. Working hard, giving everything you’ve got in a world that’s based around taking and gains and goals, once you climb, it doesn’t matter how high you climb, eventually you hit somebody who is better at taking than you. So I don’t see my career in the city as a failure, it was amazing learning. 

The main one is that I dropped out of school when I was 16 and left home and had no academic background,  no A-Levels, no University, nothing and that felt sometimes like a failure throughout my twenties. But now, of course I don’t see it like that, it’s totally who I am and was obviously going to happen and it’s taken a long time to really see that as a very big strength, an ability to get out into the world and learn early. I’ve since had to go back and do some academic fine tuning, but that was a big one, just going into the world and deciding to get what I need, from quite a young age. 

No matter how we justify things not working out in the past, I’ve seen where my failures have been because I’ve been able to change those things about myself now. 


If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it —metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions — what would it say and why? It could be a few words or a paragraph. (If helpful, it can be someone else’s quote: Are there any quotes you think of often or live your life by?) 

So many! I’m a man of words. 

A big one for me at the moment is Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and carve/set your own trail.”

“You don’t grow inside your comfort zone.”

I write a lot of poetry so I’ve got my own poems. A short four-liner which I think is quite apt is, “Truths are lived as lies are told. Lives are lived in falsehood though. Truths are told by lying hearts and missed for fear of the dying part.”

“Wake up, wake up! Relate, know yourself, find the creative spirit in you!”

“Once you’re strong, truly, mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, nothing can have power over you or control over you.” I may not exactly know where I want to be but I’m a lot stronger than I ever have been, in those ways (non-physical as much as physical).


What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? (Could be an investment of money, time, energy, etc.) 

I was a watch collector and dealer and helped people invest in watches so I’d be idiotic to say that some of those weren’t some of my best financial investments, but they were all about (and I wrote two books about watches), my time investment into knowledge about watches was my investment into knowing about how to invest into these timepieces in a way that paid me back over time. So every single bit of time that I’ve ever invested in knowledge and learning has been much more valuable to me inside my immaterial world in my understanding of my relationship of whatever it is, physical or not. Understanding, learning and reading has always been the greatest investment for me. 


What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love?

I like this question

Discomfort is my trade. I was in chronic pain through my late twenties in my body. It made me a drug addict, an alcoholic, it made me numb it in every way I could and I was doing alright until the cells started to change so actually, one thing is that I quite like putting people in discomfort. I quite like and enjoy getting people out of their comfort zone and experiencing what that’s like. Now I can do that in fun ways, or not so fun ways but I think that’s a bit of a strange thing to be into. 

And just generally, being a weirdo, enjoying being ‘the weirdo’. People speak about that a lot in mobility training and, you know, if you want to take your hips and your shoulders seriously, you need to be doing squats, even at the bus stop or at the supermarket till. You need to be aware of looking a bit strange and doing some weird esoteric nonsense in front of other people at times in order to get on with what you’re trying to progress in because it’s a full life dedication to this stuff. So yeah, I think that’s a bit weird. 

We’ve got to get rid of the judgement and if someone’s doing something out there that looks good and looks like they’re enjoying themselves, go and join in! Maybe you’ll learn something. 


In the last five years, what new belief, behaviour, or habit has most improved your life?

Buying a woodland. I didn’t ever realise how massive that would be for my life and it’s not just being there, it’s like having that space to go to, having that space I could talk about adding this practise, or superfood or that but no, I made a massive commitment to nature and it is paying me back in ways that I could never have imagined. 

I worked on my life’s purpose of my soul’s journey and my spiritual journey with masters in their craft who I trusted and it was the highest good that I could think of doing with my life. And I was given the strength, direction, guidance and help in all ways to execute that, but ultimately it comes to willpower and commitment, you have to commit to something at some point. It was working through things and it always comes back to building a house in nature, that’s the end. No matter how much I do or make, in the end that’s what I was always going to want to do. 

Inspiration is also one of my trades. I’ve never been short of making a decision and going through with it so, yeh, it was my inspiration but it took a lot of mentorship and guidance from people double my age who have seen it all before. And that meant a lot of unlearning, and a lot of looking at myself and a lot of very challenging truth work on that path that I knew I wanted to go on. 

It’s also very Taoist and Buddhist and I Ching, which is a philosophical basis of mine in many ways. I read a lot about Chinese philosophy and did a lot of Kung Fu when I was younger. The forest and woods and nature is where your ego cannot control you, or it and you have to separate your will and your wants from what you actually need to do and it’s incredibly clarifying and has been written about for thousands of years. 


What one thing could you do that you aren’t doing now, that if you did on a regular basis, would make a tremendous positive difference in your personal life?  What one thing in your business or professional life would bring similar results?

Sailing, flying planes, climbing remotely because I don’t do enough of those things. I want to learn how to fly a plane. I want to learn how to sail a boat all on my own and then I think I’m free to travel the world as much as I like. I think that being a pilot would be quite a freeing next step. 

I guess, one of the main driving forces for me is that there used to be a separation in my life between what I am and what I did and I was always trying to fit what I am in the end of what I was doing. And now I just do everything that I am and because of that, I feel very full and I don’t want or need for much. It’s all about those unknown experiences. I want more unknown experiences, that would fulfil me in greater ways but that’s coming. 


Have you ever engaged with self-help, mentoring or coaching? If so, how?

You are your own solution always, there is never anyone who is going to know you better than you. Anything you can engage in that will help you know yourself better (truly, not in a biassed way), this is an uncovering discovery package of journeys upon journeys upon journeys. Of course I have and will always, we always need other sets of eyes, and therefore we need to involve people in the minution, the details of our life, expose it, otherwise we will never get a better set of eyes. But, it’s ultimately, all down to us, collecting that information and being integral. I’ve made lots of mistakes along the way, I’ve tried to fast track things and so on, and the mentors are key, yes. We owe it to ourselves to get perspective on ourselves, that we trust. 


Words expressed outside of our questions

There have been some amazing people throughout. I had some breakthroughs in India on an emotional heart level. I learnt sacred geometry there and it paints a picture to me like a religion paints a picture to a religious person and it helped me to connect a lot of patterns  in the physical world with the non physical world. But my interest in Yin and Yang and Tao started when I was in my teens and has been a theme so it’s like full circle. For a long time I thought fact and science was the way but actually there’s a different approach. 

In India I was introduced to Ayervadic medicine, herbology and massage and how they see the body and the elements and it helped me connect a lot of the dots about the physical world side of things. 

When I got back to England in 2018, I started working quite intensely with my current mentor and guide and a group of people who had been connected for 25 years. It was the first time I’d ever really seen true effective holistic life coaching working in a kind of ancient pagan way but it has to be down to earth, we live in a real world. So the last 5 years under specific individuals in the UK is where I’ve learnt it and I do think the UK has a certain kind of ancient magic here which is unique, it’s why I bought land here. There’s a lot of beautiful, ancient philosophy and herbology in this country as well and it’s full of beautiful facets of knowledge. so we have a high education scheme so people can study things to a very high level so the intellect and knowledge around all these subjects is very powerful here and it’s also written in English which is an incredible language for communicating things. 

It’s been a long journey but I did have to live in India for a while to reset my mindset a bit as well. 

I never want to stop learning and I never want to stop going through euphoric, elating learning experiences. I hope that never ends. 

It is what we create in the work physically that serves as the evidence of what we believe. It’s not what we say that we’re going to create and it’s not what we say we believe either that serves as the evidence of what we believe so if we create nothing out of what we believe, you’re proving that there’s no point in having beliefs unless you’re serving the evidence of it. If your beliefs are counter productive to humanity and not good for you, I understand why people keep those beliefs inside but ultimately I think we all have beliefs that are good for us and so we need to get them out. I was incredibly frustrated until I could get out of my head what I think (the woods as my canvas) and that is a system.


Topic: Tribe Tuesday