Derek Sivers on Developing Confidence, Finding Happiness, and Saying “No” to Millions – The Tim Ferriss Show

Check out The Tim Ferriss Show Episode Page & Show Notes

Derek Sivers (@sivers) is the creator of CD Baby. It became the largest seller of independent music online, with $100 million in sales for 150,000 musicians. In 2008, Derek sold CD Baby for $22 million, giving the proceeds to a charitable trust for music education.

Key Takeaways

  • Early in your career, say yes to every opportunity that comes your way
  • Later on, when faced with an opportunity, it should either be a “HELL YEAH!” or a “no”
    • Most of us say yes to too much and let little mediocre things fill our lives
  • Most people overestimate what they can achieve in a day/week and underestimate what they could achieve in a year
  • “When you make a business, you’re making a little world where you control the laws. It doesn’t matter how things are done everywhere else.”
  • RELAX – You can achieve everything you want to in life without all the angst
  • If you’re having trouble making yourself happy, just make someone else happy

Books Mentioned

Life Lessons

  • “When you’re earlier in your career, I think the best strategy is to just say yes to everything”
    • You just never know which of those opportunities will be your lottery ticket
  • “You are whatever you pretend to be” – Kurt Vonnegut 
    • Choose to be confident even when you have no reason to
  • The standard pace is for chumps
    • Schools have to organize their curricula around the lowest common denominator so no one’s left out – anybody can be smarter than that if they want to be 
  • Relax for the same result
    • Often times in life, we burn the candle at both ends, toiling away for only a 5% increase in results or performance
      • Instead – relax. You can get everything accomplished that you need to without all the anxiety, angst, and worry. Slow down and enjoy the process.
  • “If you’re having trouble making yourself happy, just make someone else happy” – Tim

HELL YEAH! or No

  • When faced with an opportunity – If you’re feeling anything less than, “Oh hell yeah! I would love to do that! Oh my God, that would be amazing!” then just say no
    • Most of us say yes to too much let little mediocre things fill our lives
    • If you’re too busy, it probably means you just lack control of your life

Don’t Be a Donkey

  • Derek’s advice to his younger self: “Don’t be a donkey”
    • This relates to an old fable about a donkey standing halfway in between a pile of hay and a bucket of water. The donkey can’t decide whether to eat the hay or drink the water, so he eventually falls over and dies of both hunger and thirst.”
    • Many people get stuck in life wanting to go in too many directions/work on too many different things
      • You can, and have the time, to do everything you want to do – all it takes is foresight and patience
    • “Most people overestimate what they can achieve in a day or a week and underestimate what they could achieve in a year” – Tim

Lessons in Business

  • Simplify the hell out of things
    • Your business model doesn’t have to be complicated 
  • When you’re starting your own business:
    • Either scratch your own or respond to demand (scratch other people’s itches)
      • Just DON’T try to create demand where there is none
  • “When you make a business, you’re making a little world where you control the laws. It doesn’t matter how things are done everywhere else.”
  • “There’s so much more to a business than just the money”
    • Sometimes you need to put the numbers aside and do what makes both your employees and customers happy
  • A good question to ask yourself from time to time – “Why do I want to grow my business in the first place?”

Reading

What would Derek put on a billboard?

  • “It won’t make you happy”

These notes were edited by RoRoPa Editing Services

Bookmark

FREE! THE TOP 10 PODCASTS OF 2018, AND WHAT WE LEARNED

You'll also get our weekly newsletter with the takeaways from our curated list of top podcasts. Unsubscribe anytime.