The Tim Ferriss Show: Tim Answers the 11 Questions from Tribe of Mentors

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What new belief, behaviors, or habits, adopted within the last 5 years, have most positively impacted your life?
  • Check out the article The Tail Endby the time you graduate from high school, you’ve spent up to 80% of your in person time with your parents
    • After realizing this, Tim takes his family on an extended trip every 6 months
    • This has made his relationship with his parents much stronger
  • After reading Radical Acceptance, Tim has realized how many issues in life can be traced back to negative self talk
    • “If you want to love others fully, you have to love yourself. You can’t berate yourself constantly, and expect to fully love other people.”
  • Thirdly, how effective psychedelics are in alleviating depressive symptoms
  • Fourth, meditating on a daily basis – 20 minutes in the morning
Purchases of less than $100 that have most improved your life?
What would you put on a billboard?
  • You are the average of the 5 people you associate with most
What do you do when you feel unfocused or overwhelmed?
  • Tim goes through a checklist
    • Am I eating enough?
    • Am I consuming too much caffeine?
    • Next, he goes through an 80/20 analysis on paper
      • What are the 20% of the activities/people producing 80% of the results/positive emotional states that he wants?
      • What are the 20% of activities, responsibilities, or people producing 80% or more of the negative emotional states?
    • What might this look like if it were easy?
What is your favorite failure?
  • The 4-Hour Chef launch – This was the first book acquired by Amazon Publishing. In turn, it was boycotted by many stores including Walmart and Costco. Because of this, it sold a small fraction of what it should.
  • After becoming burned out from the book – Tim launched the podcast as a side project, and it ended up turning into something very lucrative for him.
What books have you gifted the most to other people?
How do you ask better questions?
  • “Thinking is mostly just asking yourself questions and answering them.”
  • The pickaxe for getting knowledge, is questions
  • Study questions by listening to podcasts and interviews
  • Think – Can this question be answered relatively quickly? If not, find a different question.
  • Think about the sequence of questions. If you want to ask something heavy, lead with something easy first.
  • When asking a difficult question, give an example
  • Don’t ask questions you would be able to answer via Google.
  • Don’t ask broad questions someone would not be able to answer quickly.
What have you become better at saying “no” to, and what approaches have worked for you?
  • Tim has more than 340,000 unread emails – 90% of those are pitches
  • Josh Waitzkin has a rule – either he does things for free (for good causes) or full retail (no negotiations on price)
  • For speaking – the further away from Tim’s house it is, the more it costs
  • Rate the request on a scale of 1-10, but you can’t use 7 
  • Hell yes or hell no mentality
  • “People don’t lose in various aspects of their lives because they pursue a lot of bad ideas. They lose because they say yes to too many ‘kinda cool’ things/ideas.”
  • Whenever possible, try to say “no” to certain categories of things across the board – Examples: coffee meetings, speaking engagements (take no meeting vacations/diets)
  • If you have FOMO, just try one of the above for a month at a time
What is one of the most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made?
  • Creating his own real world MBA
    • Way back, Tim wanted to get an MBA at Stanford. Instead of doing this, he decided to allot himself $120,000 to invest in startups. If he lost it, oh well, he would have spent the money on business school anyway. He’d consider it money well spent on learning deal structures, how to pick startups to invest in, and building a network.
    • This led to early stage investments in Twitter, Uber, and Facebook
How do you know if you should write a book?
  • Ask yourself – for the period of at least a year, can you make it a number one priority?
  • If you put out a mediocre book, it’s more of a liability than no book at all
  • “If you’re going to write a book, write a f*cking book”
  • You don’t have to be a writer to write a book, you can even ghost write it – Example: Open by Andre Agassi
  • If it’s easier/less painful to get it out into the world, than to keep the subject matter of the book inside, and wonder what if – that’s when you write a book
What are some unusual habits you have?
  • One superstition – Tim doesn’t use red ink for signing anything
  • Tim doesn’t ‘cheers’ with water/empty glasses
  • The number 5:55 is lucky, he finished editing the last line of the 4-Hour Body at 5:55 pm. If it shows up on his phone, he takes a screen shot.
  • Tim leaves his phone on airplane mode 80-90% of the day to avoid distractions.
  • Tim uses a Sleep Master Sleep Mask to sleep
  • “Normal people are just weirdos you don’t know well enough yet”
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