Tim Ferriss: How to Cage the Monkey Mind

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In this episode, Tim Ferris visited the Googleplex and was interviewed.

What has been the most important Stoic teaching that I’ve come across?

  • The Meditations
  • Stoic philosophy is 2000+ years old.
  • Tim uses mostly Keido’s teachings.
    • Be ashamed of only the things you should be ashamed of.
    • Tim wears his “Party Pants” to train himself against superficial attachment and public opinions.
    • It takes regular practice.
    • “We do not rise to the level of our hopes, we fall to the level of our training.”
  • He also uses Seneca’s teachings.

What is the monkey mind?

  • It’s an incessant internal dialogue.
  • Thoughts that are always misbehaving and out of control.
  • Tim let’s out his monkey mind by journaling and writing about his insecurities.
    • The Five Minute Journal
    • Perfect for type A, overachievers and past or future obsessions.
    • Helps you identify your goals.
  • The answer to being less reactive.
  • Helps achieve mental clarity.
  • Being able to focus and maintain that focus is one of the most distinguishing factors for a “successful life”.

How to maintain your humbleness?

  • Memento mori
    • Remembering that you’re going to die.
    • Forces a broader perspective.
  • Memento homo
    • Remembering that you’re just a man.
    • Always try to be the weakest person in the room, in some aspect.
    • As long as you’re going in the right direction, it doesn’t matter if you are losing.

How do I manage the many requests I receive?

  • 1500 to 2000 direct messages a day.
  • Having rules set in advance to try and manage all the requests.
    • Block some months for his writing only.
    • Not looking at every single case:
      • Am I doing interviews or not?
      • Am I doing public speeches or not?
    • Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech
      • Having good tools is important.
    • ScheduleOnce
      • Useful to avoid the “back-and-forth”.
      • Let’s Get Drinks
      • Adulthood tweet
    • Boomerang
      • Creates reminders and parameters.
    • Sending in the future option.
    • Gmail offline mode
    • Try to think of “if-then” scenarios.
      • Be specific and try to cover more ground in advance.

What are the factors or elements that have led to the success of the podcast?

  • Whenever he tried to design something for a market, it failed
  • Whenever he tried to build something that he was searching for, it worked.
  • “Scratching your own itch”
  • Wanted to spot patterns in successful people.
  • He decided to commit to six episodes, so he doesn’t give up after one or two.
  • Why did it survive?
    • Keep it fun.
    • Keep it simple and within your capabilities.
    • Routines and tactics can be helpful.

Do you see common features in successful people?

  • At least 80% have a daily meditation practice.
    • 20 minutes in the morning.
    • Transcendental meditation:
    • Of the males over the age of 50, a high percentage skips breakfast.
    • He realized that differences can be reassuring, meaning there’s not just a way do be successful.
      • “Routine, in an intelligent man, is a sign of ambition.”
      • The routine is not important but having one is.
    • A majority of them are insomniacs.
    • They are scratching their own itch.
    • They’re preparing and planning for the worst-case scenario.

Do you have plans to write a book about these podcasts?

  • When the ideas about a subject keep him up 4 or 5 days a week, that’s when he writes a book.
  • He’s interested in finding patterns and communicating the best lessons he’s learned.
  • He wants to go back, review and test things he forgot about.

Where do I see myself in five years?

  • He treats his entire life as 2-weeks experiments and 6-month projects.
  • He sees himself doing the podcast on a much larger scale.
  • He wants to be better at simplifying.
  • He wants to continue doing what he’s doing.

If I could pick three people — alive or dead — to be in my personal board of directors, who would they be?

How do I experiment with my dog training?

  • It is important to be consistent in training and sequencing.
  • Crate Training and Clicker Training.
  • Training for attention.
    • Your dog creates the habit of constantly checking up with you using eye contact.
    • Makes command training easier.
  • Safety first, tricks later.
  • Establish a no-reward marker for your dog to know when he did something wrong.
  • Command Performance.
  • Kikopup’s YouTube Channel.

What are my recommendations for longevity?

  • Fasts to prevent cancer cells growth.
    • Experience fasting and ketosis for some period of time.
    • For 2 to 3 days.
  • Hyperbaric oxygen at 2.5 atmospheres for 60 to 90 minutes 3 times a week.
  • Glucophage (Metformin)

How do I fight insomnia?

  • Replacing coffee with tea.
  • Meditation in the morning.
  • Reading fiction before bed.
  • Using F.lux.
  • Using small doses of psychedelics.

How does 2016 Tim react to Tim’s 2007 pitch?

  • 2007 Tim was tolerable but pushed a bit too hard.
  • He did not realise that some time people really are too busy.
  • “Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence or lack of time.”

What is your vision for your future self?

  • Be the person your dog thinks you are.
  • Why do the podcast? Why write books?
    • Uses his influence to address important issues.
      • Ban shark fins industry.
    • Be grateful every day.
    • Recognizing that he’s a social animal and to spend more time with small groups that you relate to.

What has worked the best in your interviews?

  • An interview should last 1h30 to 3 hours.
  • Don’t drink too much wine.
  • Break an interview into thirds.
  1. Offering vulnerable pieces of information so that they can reciprocate. Covering their biography and breaking the ice.
  2. Answering audience questions.
  3. Whatever they want to talk about and rapid-fire questions.
  • Sometimes he just e-mails them the questions and they record it themselves when they have the time.

What would you do if you had an adult boot camp of 20 people?

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This episode is also brought to you by Headspace, the world’s most popular meditation app (with more than 4,000,000 users). It’s used in more than 150 countries, and many of my closest friends swear by it. Try Headspace’s free Take10 program — 10 minutes of guided meditation a day for 10 days. It’s like a warm bath for your mind. Meditation doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive, and it’s had a huge impact on my life. Try Headspace for free for a few days and see what I mean.

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