Tim Ferriss on Super Learning and Pushing the Limits | Impact Theory

Tim Ferriss on Super Learning and Pushing the Limits | Impact Theory


Tom: Hey everybody, welcome to Impact Theory. You’re here because you believe that human
potential is nearly limitless but you know that having potential is not the same as actually
doing something with it. Our goal with this show and company is to
introduce you to the people and ideas that will help you execute on your dreams. All right. Today’s guest is the king of self optimization. A man who is constantly learning and testing
new theories in the real world so that he can improve his skill set and do more. His ridiculous list of accomplishments is
proof that if you approach the world as a student there’s no such thing as the impossible. Here are just a few of the seemingly unreal,
albeit, entirely true highlights from his resume. He’s a former MTV break dancer in Taiwan,
the one time national Chinese kickboxing champion, the first American to hold the Guinness world
record in tango, a horseback archer, Princeton University guest lecturer, and angel investor
who has racked up a serious string of entrepreneurial maga hits, including Uber, Facebook, Twitter,
and Alibaba. He is an unparalleled, self experimenter,
professional note taker, and would be ninth grade teacher, but you probably know him better
for his best selling books “The 4-hour Work Week”, “The 4-hour Body”, and “The 4-hour
Chef”. Or perhaps you’re more familiar with his number
one iTunes TV show, or his unbelievably popular podcast, which has been downloaded more than
one hundred million times. But even if you don’t know him from any of
that you’re certainly going to know him for his most recent book, “Tools of Titans: The
Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World Class Performers.” He’s been called the Oprah of audio and the
Indiana Jones for the digital age, please help me in welcoming the New York Times best
selling author multiple times over, the man behind the Tim Ferriss Show. The human guinea pig himself, Tim Ferriss. Tim: Hey man. Tom: Awesome my brother, how you doing? Tim: Good to see you again. Tom: Good to see you as well man. Tim: It’s all downhill after that intro. Tom: I’m not so sure about that. The sheer weight of this bad boy …
Tim: I know. Tom: … Tells me that it’s not gonna be all
downhill from here. Tim: It was supposed to be one sentence a
page. Maybe a little check out book in the aisle. I can’t help myself. Tom: Yeah I saw that. If you had to boil it down to one sentence,
what was your purpose in writing it? Tim: The purpose in writing it was to create
the ultimate cliff notes for myself and then I got about halfway through it and one of
my friends was taking a look at it and he goes, “This is exactly what your readers would
want. Why don’t you just publish it?” And that led ultimately to the book, which
is about half new material. I would say 50 to 60% brand new. Some brand new recommendations from past guests,
new guests that people haven’t met yet like Jack Dorsey, who’s a very impressive cat,
and Cheryl Strayed and many others but the six to 10,000 of pages of transcripts got
boiled down to about 350 pages in here and the vetting process was choosing what I had
had a chance to apply myself or something my close friends had applied at the highest
levels. Tom: Some of the people that you’ve interviewed
in the book, Peter Thiel being the first one that comes to mind of just mega producers
or Reid Hoffman. I mean it is absurd the number of people that
you’ve come in contact with that are just absolute apex predators in the world of whatever
it is that they do. I mean it’s really, really incredible. Tim: So Amelia Boone, I don’t know if you’ve
ever met her. She’s so tough. My god, she’s a three time World’s Toughest
Mudder champion. She is full time attorney at Apple. Tom: Woah. Tim: She, in the 2012 Toughest Mudder, which
is a 24 hour race. You have to complete a course of obstacles
for as many repetitions as you can and she’s done more than 90 miles in that case but it’s
like climbing ropes and carry- Tom: 90 miles of obstacles? Tim: Of obstacles and in eight weeks of after
knee surgery more than 1,000 competitors, 90% plus of which are men, she came in second
place. Tom: Oh my god. Tim: Out of everybody. Tom: What do you think drives her? Like that’s crazy. She’s super successful but you don’t do 90
miles in a 24 hour period without some intense thing pushing you forward, if you had to guess. Tim: If I had to guess I think it is pretty
simple. Now with endurance, ultra endurance athletes,
one of the common questions is are you running towards something or are you running from
something? Tom: Yeah, for sure. Tim: Two things I really like about Amelia. Number one, what would you put on a billboard
if you could put anything on a huge billboard? Tom: I love that question. Tim: “No one owes you anything.” [crosstalk 00:04:56] That’s her answer, so
great, and then her other quote which I had to put right on the top of her chapter was,
“I’m not the strongest, I’m not the fastest, but I’m really good at suffering.” Tom: Yeah. Why does that resonate with you? Because that sits at the core of my being,
that very notion. Tim: Out endure. You can train yourself to out endure other
people. Tom: It really … So when I think about what
gifts, you’ve talked about this before. Like everybody has a superpower and one of
my superpowers is the ability to suffer. Tim: Yeah. Tom: And it’s one of those things that you
say and you know it’s kinda tongue in cheek and a little bit funny but at the same time
it’s my fucking super power. Like people look at me and say, “Okay, well
how have you been able to do this?” Because truly you spend enough time with me
you will know very, very quickly I am not the brightest person and I don’t pride myself
in that so that’s not like, I don’t … I’m not torn up about it. Tim: Yeah. Tom: Not the brightest person. Didn’t have any extreme advantages or anything
growing up. Certainly not physically more impressive than
the next person but my willingness to suffer is absurd …
Tim: Yeah. Tom: … And when you direct that at something
that you care about, my whole thing is the way that I think about it is I’ll outlast
anyone, right? On a long enough timeline I can accomplish
and when people really start to look at that but then it comes back to the next question,
which I want to know from you is what is the driver? What’s that thing that makes you be so willing
to suffer? Tim: It’s the promise of that crack hit for
me, which is the aha moment. Tom: In you or in you and other people? Tim: It’s both and the reason I get such a
high from it is if I can crack the code in the sense that I find something that saves
people hundreds of hours or myself hundreds of hours in the learning curve for a particular
skill or a particular type of recovery or fill in the bank, just an elegant or non-obvious
solution to a longstanding problem, I’m like, “Okay, I can’t wait to see how people are
gonna respond when I provide that to 1,000 people and I see, for most of them, the vast
majority just go holy fuck.” If you take someone for instance I didn’t
learn how to swim until I was in my 30s. I think we may have talked about this. I grew up in Long Island but I was deathly
afraid of drowning because I had some near-drowning incidents and some lung issues. Now at this point I was taught by this gentleman
named Terry Lockland something called total immersion, which I first learned from a book
which I was introduced to by Chris Sacca who’s a billionaire investor in this book oddly
enough. But you can take someone, which I did with
Terry at one point for the Tim Ferriss Experiment, the first TV show I did. This mother of two I think, Sarah, who had
never been able to swim, couldn’t even put her head under water in the pool comfortably
and four days later open water swimming 500 meters in the ocean in like 40-foot deep water
freestyle and when you show someone an impossible like that, it’s not only possible but that
they can crack it really quickly, that’s my drug of choice. I just get such a high out of it. The other thing, why am I willing to suffer? I’m willing to suffer because I guess much
like you I feel like I have my deficiencies. I have plenty of weaknesses. To go to the extreme is partially present
because I feel like the most interesting things happen at the fringes first. Tom: Reading the press kit for your book,
I had that overwhelming sense of holy hell, what you’ve just spent the last however many
years collecting are all of those gems that either other people just haven’t aggregated
or they haven’t distilled or they haven’t been willing to look at. Tim: Yeah. Tom: But now exists in one place, which is
incredibly exciting. Now one of the promises in the press kit was
that you could test the impossible in 17 questions. Tim: Yeah. Tom: What are some of the questions? Tim: So the questions are actual questions
that coincided with milestones or inflection points or just a fork in my own life. It’s actually laid out these questions, about
12 of them, coincided with exact points that I can remember. Some of them would be, for instance, what
if I did the opposite for 48 hours? This is a question that I ask myself when
I had my first job out of college. Talk about suffering. I mean my desk was in the fire exit. It was completely illegal. I slept under the desk, the whole nine yards
and don’t regret a minute of it but I was a technical sales guy. Outbound sales guy, so we had inside sales
and outside sales and my job was to close deals with CTO’s and CEO’s for multi-million
dollar data storage systems. At that point storage area networks fiber
channel and what I realized at one point was that all of the seasoned sales guys, who were
doing far better than I was doing, were making phone calls between nine and five. Those were the office hours and I said, “Well,
I’m clearly not doing an effective job mimicking them. What if I did the opposite for 48 hours?” It’s a very recoverable experiment. If it doesn’t work, then I can always go back
to what I was doing. Doing the opposite meant making the calls
between let’s just say 6:30 and 8:30 and then 5:30 to 7:00, 7:30 and it was just a hypothesis. Maybe I can get a hold of the people I need
to get a hold of more effectively when the gatekeepers aren’t there and that’s exactly
what happened. I started booking more meetings and closing
more deals than the majority of the guys in the company and it was just from asking that
question. What if I did the opposite for 48 hours and
you can apply that to many, many things. Some of the others would be, well, this is
one I asked in 2004. If I had a gun against my head and could only
work two hours per week, what would I do? I know it’s impossible, what would I do? And that type of ludicrous question was necessary
to break my thinking patterns and stress test my own assumptions of what was possible and
you find that that is a learnable skill. Peter Diamandis, chairman of the X Prize,
who’s really good at these types of questions. I mean he’s attempting to solve some of the
biggest problems facing humanity in very innovative ways. He would ask, for instance, start ups who
come to him for angel investment. He’ll say, “What would you have to do in the
next six months,” I’m paraphrasing here. Tom: Sure. Tim: “… To 10X the economics of your business?” And if they say it can’t be done, he’s like
I do not accept your answer. Literally he just says, “I do not accept your
answer, try again.” What’s very important here is to realize the
expectation is not that you’ll magically in 10 minutes come up with a plan to achieve
your 10 year goals in six months but that you may get halfway there, right? Tom: And largely just to shift your paradigm,
right? I know Peter very well and his whole thing
is if you’re … Naturally we think linearly, right? Until you break out of that and start thinking
exponentially, you’re never going to get the kind of breakthroughs that you want. There’s two things I think that people don’t
understand about being an entrepreneur. Number one is there’s a ton of mundane stuff
that you’re gonna have to do, like this set. My wife and I were hand painting it, which
is stupid by the way. It should’ve been done and sprayed but we
found ourselves in a situation where that shit had to be hand painted. As I’m going through, literally at 3:00 AM,
painting this set I thought this is the part of being an entrepreneur that people don’t
see coming. Tim: That’s not on the magazine covers. Tom: Yeah exactly, so it’s like and do you
right your willingness to suffer? Do you gut check? Do you get through? And then the other thing is how do you break
out of your dogmatic linear thinking to get through to the big aha moment? The I have a gun to my head, I only have two
hours which then becomes the four-hour workweek because of a Google test and they thought
that it was ridiculous that it’d be two hours. Nobody’s gonna believe that. I love that story, which then obviously has
massive paradigm shifting changes in people and what I find so fascinating about asking
what is it that I would need to do or what would stop me from executing a 10 year plan
in six months is it forces you to sort of abandon all hope of clinging to what you already
know. That’s the only time that you’re gonna do
something differently is you have to approach the problem from a radically different way. Take Uber for a second. Uber was one of those few ideas that the second
I saw it, I was like, “Oh my god, that’s so brilliant,” but I had never stopped to ask
the question, “What would it take?” Riding in a cab stressed my ability to suffer,
right? That’s how much I fucking hated riding in
cabs. It’s just such a bad experience. Drivers are horrible to you. The cars are disgusting. If you call them and have to wait, I mean
it’s a joke right. All of it is just terrible terrible but I
never asked the question. What would it take to revolutionize this? Getting down to asking these wildly divergent
questions, and I love your question about what if I did the opposite, because by definition
it shatters the dogma. Tim: Yeah. Even if you don’t think it’s gonna work, what
if I do the opposite for 48 hours? Even if I’m almost 100% or 100% sure it’s
not gonna work or be beneficial, as long as you cap the downside in someway right? Tom: Do you red team blue team? Tim: I do, oh yeah. Red teaming, for those people that don’t know,
this comes from military. It could be in any division of the military
where they’ll take, let’s just say, five guys blue team, five guys designate them red team
and the job of the red team is to either, say, get into a building that the blue team
is supposed to protect, defeat defenses that the blue team has created, or you can do this
in a corporate setting and Marc Andreessen who’s another billionaire and just fascinating
guy, incredible engineer also. They’ll red team ideas. They will create what he would call a counter
veiling force. If we’re in a venture capital general partner
meeting and you come up with what you think is a great thesis or a great company, even
if I think it’s a good idea I will and I’ll take several other people and we will attack
it and try to tear it to death, tear it to pieces and he calls it the torture test. That is also a form of red teaming, so I’ll
do that with all sorts of things. Tom: I also find that red teaming, like being
on the red team itself, sharpens your own thinking. One, it’s just a good exercise to be able
to put yourself in the other side so you don’t have to have other people always to red team. You can actually flip over. Tim: Yep. Tom: Back in high school I used to do speech
and debate and in debate you had to take both sides of the argument. You had to be able to go back and forth. It made you so much more compelling because
you knew the weaknesses of both sides because you got used to playing that. Tim: Yeah. Tom: And so like in the military where in
that moment you are investing everything into getting into that space, right? I’m going to break the US defenses. I’m going to get into this room. I’m going to show them that I’m better, right? If you can, and we do that here at Impact
Theory, is to put yourself … Even if you don’t end up debunking it, practice being
able to put yourself on the other side. Tim: For sure. Tom: Because one of the things, dude, I fear
this more than I can tell you which is getting trapped in my own dogma because I need to
codify the world. I need it. Tim: Yeah. Tom: Which is why this book is so fucking
interesting to me because it’s basically a bunch of codifications that are instantly
powerful. They have that punch, you follow it up with
their own contextual stuff, which I think is brilliant by the way, but you’re giving
the codifications but in codifying the world it tends to calcify for me, right? Tim: Sure, sure. Tom: And when you look at genius being a young
man’s game it’s like I didn’t get enough done in my youth youth to be okay with that. I have done nothing that is going to earn
my a Nobel prize, let’s start with that. Tim: Oh me neither, for what it’s worth. Tom: To continue to do profound things, it’s
like you have to reinvent yourself. We just had Michael Strahan on the show and
his business partner Constance, who’s just an unbelievably talented woman and she has
every 10 years forced herself to do a totally new career. Tim: Cool. Tom: Which is amazing and he was saying that’s
basically what makes her so effective because she’s not drawing on the moment, she’s drawing
on all these different angles of attack onto her core skill set. Tim: Right, so one of the questions that you
can also ask, just like what if I did the opposite for 48 hours, I’ll give you another
question that I think you’ll really like. It’s one of the 17. What can I learn from the people I hate the
most? Tom: Wow. Tim: Now this does two things. It forces you to separate your morality from
your search for effectiveness. It also helps you to develop some degree of
empathy and those two are very powerful. What can I learn from the people I hate most
is a very, very useful practice. I’ll journal on that very often. In terms of patterns, we were talking about
some of the things I’ve spotted, meditation or journaling are performed by close to 100%
of the people that I interview. The question, just to come back to that that
I thought you might enjoy is, and this is an example of taking something from someone
I disagree with on almost every level. Newt Gingrich. One of the questions that Newt would ask himself
and others is are you hunting antelope or are you hunting field mice and the story he
would tell is that of a lion in the Serengeti. He’s like, “If you’re always chasing field
mice as a lion, you’ll get a snack. You might even survive but you might end up
starving because you’re getting these little Scooby snacks.” That’s not his words, mine. “That make you feel good and give you the
allusion of accomplishing something real,” and for me that’s translated into are you
being busy or are you being productive? Tom: Yes. Tim: Right? Tom: Yes. Tim: And that was a question, I want to say
it was about five years ago or so, this antelope versus field mice. Just the story, the parable and the metaphor
was so strong for me that I put that up where I would see it everyday. Tom: All right let’s take a hard right. There’s some interesting stuff in here about
creativity. What are some of the most interesting and
useful lessons about creativity you pulled from the book? Tim: The first that comes to mind is setting
really low expectations and this- Tom: Not what I was expecting you to say. Tim: Well not what a lot of people expect
and when I spoke to, say, Paulo Coelho, who’s sold 100 million plus copies, The Alchemist,
et cetera. You talk to Rick Rubin. Let me give his example first. When he has a musician who’s stuck, great
musician but they’ve developed performance anxiety about song writing for whatever reason,
he will say, “Do you think you could get me one sentence or maybe two words that you like
by tomorrow? That’s it, two words. Can you do that for me?” He gives them a micro assignment. Best writing advice that I probably ever received,
and I’ve received a lot of good writing advice, but I can get myself really wound up because
I expect perfection to flow from my fingertips like magic and that never happens so then
I beat the hell out of myself and that makes me less likely to put pen to paper in the
first place. I’ll procrastinate, which is why if you write
two crappy pages per day you’ve won the day. That’s a successful writing day and that does
a few things. It helps you to maintain enthusiasm because
you’re constantly winning and of course on many days you’ll write more than two. You’ll get to two then you’ll go to five or
to 10 but if you’re on an off day you write two crappy pages. Even if you never use it, it’s a successful
day and that I think for longer term projects and extended creativity is really important. The story that this writer told me with that
tip, he said, “Okay this is where this comes from. Did you know that IBM, when it was the 800
pound gorilla it was an undefeatable sales force? Do you know what one of their rules was?” I was like, “No.” He says, “Well what do you think their quotas
were?” And I was like, “Well I’m sure it was really
high because they wanted to motivate their guys to get after it.” He goes, “No their quotas were the lowest
in the industry.” Tom: Wow. Tim: And the rationale was we don’t want our
sales people to be intimidated to pick up the phone. We want them to feel like they’re gonna pass
their quota quickly, which they did and then they shot well past it and clobbered the competition. Tom: That’s interesting. Tim: The counter intuitive pairing of low
expectations leading to higher performance is really odd, right? Tom: So let’s ask the obvious question then. As somebody who’s had a lot of employees at
the height I had, over 1,000 employees, that feels dangerous. Tim: Yeah. Tom: And it feels dangerous and I think I
have my own answer but it feels dangerous because some people, especially when an organization
gets that big, they’re looking for a place to hide and you give it to them. Tim: Yeah I think that the winning combination
is selectively low quotas on a daily basis with high expectations for metrics on, say,
a quarterly or annual basis. You’re tracking the numbers. You want them to hit home runs but it doesn’t
have to be one at-bat. I think it’s also very context and role specific
but if we’re talking about creativity in particular, right, so not necessarily work output, the
approach … There are a number of prolific writers who have said, Neil Strauss said this,
“There’s no such thing as writer’s block,” which drives me crazy. I’m like come on. You might be a mutant like X-Men of writing
but for the normal humans, come on. Give me a break. He goes, “No, no, no. Hear me out.” Number one, he is a trained journalist and
journalists tend to have writing block beaten out of them because their boss is like, “Oh
you can’t find the right prose for your 500 word article? Get it in by five o’clock asshole,” and they’re
just like, “Oh wait, this isn’t school,” and they’re like, “Yeah deadline, that’s your
incentive. Writer’s block my ass,” and he’s like, “Oh
okay.” But he said and what they learn is, he said,
“There’s no such thing as writer’s block.” He said, “What that is is performance anxiety
that you’ve imposed on yourself because your expectations are too high.” He’s like, “Just lower your standards. Lower your standards until you get started.” Tom: Can I back you up here for a second? Tim: Yeah. Tom: Oh god this is embarrassing but I’ve
at least admitted it before. When I first started doing Instagram I was
like I want to really up Instagram’s game, right, so I’m gonna make these posts really
mean something and I want to actually impact somebody and if you read one of my posts you’re
going to be impacted. Then there was one day, nine hours later I
had lost my entire Sunday writing this Instagram post and I thought, “This is not scalable. Like, you cannot write a nine hour Instagram
post.” Because like the comments would be like, “It’s
long but it’s worth the read.” So I thought, “Wait, people actively don’t
want to read this shit. Their friend has to convince them to do it
and I just spent nine hours writing it. This is madness.” Tim: Yeah. Tom: So I said, “Okay, I’m gonna write this
stuff in 20 minutes, like, simple as and they get what they get in 20 minutes and it is
what it is,” and I started getting better reactions. It was like oh my god. It’s hilarious. Tim: Oh it is hilarious and I give you another
example which is Ed Catmull, president of Pixar. Pixar, I mean for god sakes, I mean Pixar
and he said to me, “The early versions of our movies,” and I’m paraphrasing of course
but, “They’re all crap.” And he talked about a few of my favorite movies. He said, “Oh yeah, they’re all crap. We have to just toss them out and start over.” I said, “Wait a second.” I backtracked and I said, “So you just mean
the movies when they start are really rough drafts and then you have to refine them?” He’s like, “No, no, no. That’s the misconception. They think the early version of the movie
is just a rough draft of the later one.” He’s like, “No it’s completely different. We literally scrapped it and started again
from scratch and then those starting from scratch stories became some of the most popular
successful movies.” Tom: Wow. Do you find that a lot? Because when I write I will often hit that
point where I’m like this is so bad that trying to just continue to make it better is the
wrong idea. I need to start over and then if you can put
words to this next emotion you will be my hero. You get into this dark place, right, the writing
is not going anywhere. You’re not able to get it out for whatever
reason. That concept that you can feel in your mind,
you can’t articulate and get it on paper and then you get this moment. For me a lot of times I just get angry enough
that that then becomes that energy that I need and you talk about putting one song on
repeat. I’ve used this song a lot, is the song ‘Faint’
by Linkin Park. Tim: Yeah. Tom: Which is hyper aggressive. Tim: Yeah. Tom: And I’ll put that on over and over and
over to keep that energy because if I get angry enough at my shit writing, I get this
breakthrough moment where I can start from scratch and all of a sudden I can feel my
brain speed up and then I can write but it took like that however much time of getting
fed up. If you can put words around that moment. Tim: Well I’ll put a phrase to that moment. Tom: Perfect. Tim: “What makes you angry,” was one of the
key pieces of advice that I was given by a writer named Po Bronson. When I asked him what do you do when you have
writer’s block, he said, “What makes you angry? Just write that.” And that was also the advice that I was given
by Whitney Cummings and a few other stand up comedians. How do you develop material? What makes you angry? Write about that. I think anger, as opposed to just labeling
it a bad thing, can be very useful fuel. So what makes you angry and let’s just say
you’re writing about something that doesn’t require or seem to require anger. Well, if you can’t get started it doesn’t
matter, so write about something else. Write about what makes you angry and either
you’ll be able to sort of parry that into this other subject once you get going or you’ll
end up writing something completely different and it’ll end up better in the first place. Tom: And what does it mean to copyright your
faults? Tim: Ah yeah, this is a great one. Copyright your faults, this is from Dan Carlin. Dan Carlin is the host of my favorite podcast. It’s just incredible. ‘Hardcore History’. Tom: Yes. Tim: And anyone who hasn’t heard it should
start with Wrath of the Khans. If you have to buy it, buy it. Trust me but copyrighting your faults. Dan was a radio guy before he was a podcast
guy and he was constantly getting criticized because he would go into the red. He would shout and he was really loud and
he’d go up and he’d peak and drive all the audio people crazy and then he’d get really
low and whisper and they’re just like, “Dude, come on. You’re killing me here. Making my job really hard,” and his supervisors
at the time they’re like, “Look kid. What people want is this deep dignified baritone
voice for the radio.” I don’t have voice for the radio so I can’t
do it but- Tom: Says the guy with 100 million downloads
by the way. Tim: Yeah right, right. Exactly. Tom: Which is terrible timing, I’ve been meaning
to tell you. Tim: Oh thank you. It’s time to do the reveal now. Tom: Right. Tim: But that’s a whole separate story, the
accidental podcast but later on he had such a distinctive voice that people started complimenting
him and he’s like, “Okay.” Now this so-called weakness that he was unable
to fix so he didn’t fix it, not only that but he avoided fixing it by having the intro
guys, the guys who’d be like, “Please welcome or please enjoy blah blah blah, Dan Carlin,”
and he’d say, “He shouts, he whispers,” or something like that. He had the intro guy do a caveat so that he
didn’t have to change his personal style, which later then became this huge asset and
his term is copyright your faults. Now if someone imitates me, that’s my jam. That’s my shtick. Copyright your faults and of course there
are weaknesses you should address but then there are flaws that can be converted into
strengths. I think that’s another way to catalyze creativity
or just creating anything is to realize that some of your biggest flaws may in fact be
assets. Tom: Right. Tim: And so that could be a question you ask,
right? How might some of my biggest weaknesses be
strengths or assets? I think that’s a very useful question to journal
on which I tend to do just about every morning is freehand journaling in what are called
‘morning pages’. Okay we’re talking about creativity, morning
pages we should talk about. Julia Cameron describes them as spiritual
windshield wipers and the way I would translate that is when you do morning pages, and you
might just be complaining. Like your lesser self, your worse self coming
out on pages. Just bitching and moaning is you get that
out of your system for the day so you don’t have it ricocheting around your head like
a stray bullet for the rest of your waking hours interrupting everything else. You just trap it, you freeze it on paper and
that practice has been tremendously liberating not only from a well being standpoint but
from just freeing up my CPU so that I can focus on things that are more important. If I have all that, “That guy and that and
that. I should say bah,” all that bouncing around
all day. It’s like you have anti virus software just
slowing down your, “Why is it so slow?” It’s like yeah because you’re thinking about
these stupid grudges that you’re holding against people for trivial bullshit. Like who cares if the guy at Starbucks bought
the last of cashews you idiot. Tom: Sounds deeply troubling. Tim: Yeah like, “Ferriss pull it together.” If I get it on paper though I’m like okay
I’ve dealt with that. Tom: Now in the book you encourage people
to bounce around. What’s one thing that you hope nobody skips? Tim: The book’s broken into three sections. You have healthy, wealthy, and wise which
is a nod to Ben Franklin. I mean they’re all interdependent, right,
because they’re sort of the three legs of the stool. Healthy, wealthy, and wise. I do think you need all three. Derek Sivers is this programmer monk philosopher
king start up entrepreneur who started CD Baby, which was the largest marketplace for
independent musicians at the time. Sold it for I think 24 million dollars but
he and Seth Godin I think are two examples of people who are very good at genuinely in
real life following contrarian rules that work exceptionally well. Derek has a couple of one liners that I think
are really fantastic. I’ll give you a few. One is, “If more information were the answer,
we’d all be billionaires with six pack abs.” That’s a good one. Tom: Yeah. Tim: Just absorbing, not even absorbing, just
reading and watching and listening to more isn’t enough. You have to apply it. You have to use incentives. You have to have rewards and punishments set
for yourself so you actually get things done, timelines, et cetera. That’s one. Another one is, “Don’t be a donkey.” He says that to himself all the time. “Don’t be a donkey, don’t be a donkey,” and
the reason is there’s a, I want to say, it might be a philosopher’s paradox but I don’t
think it is. I think it’s just a parable about burdens
ass. Burdens ass, about a donkey-
Tom: Good name. Tim: Yeah, my favorite porn. No that’s not it. It’s about a donkey … Sorry, too much caffeine. It’s about a donkey who is thirsty and hungry
and there’s water on one side a few feet away and hay on the other and he can’t decide rather
to do the hay first or the water, the hay or the water, and he dies of thirst at the
end of it. He couldn’t do them sequentially. Tom: Right. Tim: This is Derek’s recommendation to his
younger self and really to any 20 or 30 something but it applies to everybody, which is in effect
you can do almost everything you want in life but you can’t do it at the same time and if
you can just dedicate yourself to one thing for even a year and then the next thing for
a year you can do those 10 things but if you try to do all 10 at once you’re gonna be burdens
ass. “Should I do this or should I do this or should
I focus on this or should I focus on this?” Don’t be a donkey. The other one that, for me, was so helpful
to hear is I think he calls it, it’s like 95 versus 100%. He tells this story of moving to around Santa
Monica and his friends getting him into biking on the bike path, so up and down the boardwalk
right on the water. And so being a type A personality he would
get a stop watch and he’d start it and he’d huff and puff and race as hard as he could
all the way down to wherever and he would time himself and everyday, no matter how hard
he did it, 43 minutes. 43 minutes, just wouldn’t improve. 43 minutes. And this thing that should’ve been enjoyable
became painful in his mind. He started to avoid it. He’d be like, “Ah, there’s other things to
do. No instead of bike riding I’ll do this other
thing,” and he realized at one point, “This is really pathetic and this is really bad
that something that should be enjoyable I am avoiding because I’ve made it so painful. I said why don’t I just go for a bike ride
and enjoy it?” He goes for a bike ride and it’s just a leisurely
cruise. He’s chilling, he’s riding around and he’s
seeing dolphins in the water. He’s standing up, looking around, noticing
things he hadn’t noticed before. At one point, this is Derek, he goes, “At
one point I looked up in the sky and there was a pelican and I said wow pelican and it
shit in my mouth.” I was like, “Ahh.” He was like, “It was the best bike ride ever.” I was like, “Okay.” He’s having a great time, pelican shit in
the mouth not withstanding and he gets back and he looks at his watch and I think it was
45 minutes. And he’s like, “Wait, what?” All that huffing and puffing, all that sweating
and leg cramps and pain was for an extra two minutes off the clock? That’s outrageous. He started applying that to his entire life. He’s like when it starts to get … Now look. There are exceptions to all of this but he
said, “When I start to get really stressed out I just stop because I realize 95% is enough
for getting almost all the results that I want and making it sustainable,” and this
comes back to the creativity right? It’s like if you always try to crank 100%,
you’re like, “I need to get 2,000 awesome words out today,” that’s like trying to hit
43 minutes every time and huffing and puffing. Tom: Right. Tim: And you’re gonna start putting things
off. “Oh I need another cup of coffee. Oh my god my shoes are so dirty. I need to fix my shoes before I can go out
and write.” Tom: Possibly let that stand. Tim: And you’ll do anything to put it off
because it becomes this intimidating task. So yeah, sort of the 95 versus 100% is another
one. Oh I’ve got another one, I have to share. Tom: Please. Tim: This is one of my favorites. Shaun White … Two things that are very interesting
about Shaun White. Well there are a lot of things but he holds
the all-time record for medals at the X Games. He has, I think, two gold medals at the Olympics
and two things worth nothing for him and this comes back to the high expectations thing. I asked him, “What is your self talk when
you come out of the gate for a gold medal run at the Olympics? What do you say to yourself?” He thought about it and the short version
is who cares. The short version is, “Who cares, I think
this is a really big deal. Snowboarding, going down snow on this contraption
but at the end of the day I’m gonna go home, I’ll see my family,” which he borrowed from
Agassi. When Agassi sort of had his comeback that
was how he took the pressure off in very, very high pressure situations was to say,
“Who cares?” Which is effective when you put in the training. If you put in the training you don’t need
to stress in that last minute. The other thing I took away from Shaun is
when he has a really serious goal, like a gold medal at Sochi or whatever it might be,
he also has a completely absurd goal to offset how stress inducing that can be. At one point it was, “I want to wear American
flag pants on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.” That was the other goal. He has some ludicrous goal to offset the serious
stuff. Tom: Wow that’s cool. Tim: I’ve started trying to incorporate that
in my life. [crosstalk 00:38:58]
Tom: What’s an absurd goal that you have right now? Tim: Okay, so this is an exclusive. This is breaking news. Tom: Here we go. Tim: And we’ll see where it goes. I’m a little hesitant to even share this but
I’ll give a teaser, I’ll give a teaser which is sufficient. Goal, I want this book to be everywhere. I want everyone to read this. Like a friend of mine said, “I bought 4-hour
Workweek for a few people who really needed it for changing chapters in their lives or
starting a company. I’ve given 4-hour Body to people who want
to lose weight. This one I would give to everybody.” I have very big goals for this. I have some other plans, which I can’t go
into huge detail with right now, but to create a fragrance for men. Tom: Really? Tim: And I mean fucking look at me. I’m from Long Island. This is like a tuxedo for me. Don’t really wear cologne or anything. Occasionally smell like I’ve been chased by
hyenas or something if I’m sweating a lot but I was like how funny would it be if I
came out with a Tim Ferriss fragrance? Oh my god. Tom: That would be amazing. Tim: How hilarious would that be? Tom: What would Tim Ferriss smell like? Tim: That I can’t disclose but I do-
Tom: Oaky? Tim: Oaky, like tequila. I think it’d be like a rough night. [crosstalk 00:40:22]
Tom: That could be the name. Tim: Yeah, tequila and pine needles. It’s like what happened? Tom: Tim Ferriss: A Rough Night. Tim: Yeah, that’s right and it’d be like a
rough night by Tim Ferriss. I want to have the cheesiest advertisements. You know, like the unbuttoned dress shirt
with the fancy watch looking like Blue Steel. I just want to make it as ludicrous as possible
but it will actually be … I’m talking to some of the best of the best people in that
world right now. Tom: Wow. Tim: It’s like one part complete spinal tap
and then one part serious I actually want to make something cool but that to me is just
a psychological release valve so that when I’m getting really wound up about this for
whatever reason, I can think about that. It just makes me laugh my ass off. When I have two glasses of wine, I chill out. Always pairing one serious with one absurd
goal I think is brilliant. It’s so smart. I’ve been doing that since he first told me
about it and it’s really improved the quality of my life and my results. I also don’t feel like I have all my eggs
in one basket. I’m diversifying my identity in a way, which
I think is very important. Tom: All right, last question. What is the impact that you want to have on
the world? Tim: The impact that I want to have on the
world right now would be creating a benevolent army of super learners who test the impossibles
and teach other people to do the same. That’s it, so whether it’s 100,000, a million,
people who have mastered meta learning acquiring skills who are also willing to test the impossibles,
test the assumptions, and have the uncomfortable conversations that I think this country is
largely dodging, that gets me all excited and if they’re able to then impart that to
more people. My goal is to make me obsolete as quickly
as possible. I think the goal of any really good personal
trainer should be to make themselves obsolete and unnecessary as quickly as possible. That’s my goal. Tom: That’s awesome man. Tim, thank you so much for coming in the show. Tim: Yeah thank you. Thanks for having me. Tom: Absolutely. Guys, you are going to want to get this book
talking about the toolkit to build that army of super learners who are out there, actually
making an impact in the world. I have a feeling that this is gonna be the
book, I’m not kidding when I say that I have not been this excited to read a book in a
very, very long time. It’s the kind of book where you’re gonna go
in and no matter what it is that you’re facing right now in your life, whether it’s in healthy,
wealthy, or wise categories, there’s gonna be something there from somebody who’s living
it. They’ve done the kind of thing that you want
to do and they’re giving you the real world advice from right there, that minute in their
life which is incredibly exciting and there’s two things about it that I like. One, the elements that they give you are very
punchy. They’re short. They’re succinct. It’s easy to remember. The good shit sticks. It’s gonna be a lot of stuff that really sticks
and will resonate with you, will echo through your own mind, but he also allows them to
give their own context. It’s not word in the abstract, it’s actually,
take Jamie Foxx for instance. It’s not just Jamie’s quote about how there’s
nothing beyond fear, it’s actually explaining what that means and being able to put it in
the context real world for him at that moment and getting that allows these phrases to have
depth. I can’t tell you how obsessively I collect
those codified nuggets of wisdom. My Evernote is bogged down. I swear my iPhone is actually heavier from
the number of those kind of nuggets that I’ve collected and if you look at this tome, it
comes with the promise of that kind of stuff in it. If you’re like me and you’ve read everything
that this man has written, you’ve listened to all the podcasts, you know he is not for
play and what he delivers always is usable and that usability is my obsession. Join me in getting that copy. I’m gonna be buying an absurd number in the
name of Impact Theory and we’re gonna be doing some kind of big giveaway. Yeah, if you haven’t already read it go out
and get it. It’s available now. Dive in. Tim I cannot thank you enough for being on
the show my man. Tim: Thank you. Tom: It is a pleasure. And of course Tim, we have to ask though. Tim: Yeah. Tom: Where can they find you online? Tim: They can find me just about everywhere. They can find me @tferriss, with two R’s and
two S’s at Twitter. Tim Ferriss on Facebook. Tim Ferriss on Instagram. Doing some fun stuff on Instagram these days
and for sample chapters and all sorts of other goodies, ToolsofTitans.com would be the place
to check it out. Tom: Awesome, well guys he’s got some of the
best goodies and giveaways and just ongoing value add stuff so be sure to check it out. Toolsoftitans.com. All right guys. Until next time, be legendary. Take care. Hey everybody. Thanks so much for joining us for another
episode of Impact Theory. If this content is adding value to your life,
our one ask is you go to iTunes and Stitcher and rate and review. Not only does that help us build this community,
which at the end of the day is all we care about, but it also helps us get even more
amazing guests on here to share their knowledge with all of us. Thank you guys so much for being a part of
this community and until next time, be legendary.

100 thoughts to “Tim Ferriss on Super Learning and Pushing the Limits | Impact Theory”

  1. I wish Tom would stop saying " I am not the brightest person". What does being "bright" even mean? Being smart or bright is such a subjective definition.

  2. Random question to all.. anyone know someone looking to sell their house FAST and/or any real estate investors here who want to connect? I ended up connecting w David Meltzer after seeing his interview w Tom and he encouraged me to use social media to ask and attract those who could mutually benefit in the Real Estate Investing world. Let me know!?

  3. No one can sit on a chair with three legs, you need four. That being said, I'd add a fourth….spiritual. Spiritual, healthy, wealthy, and wise.

  4. Fantastic advice from two of the best and brightest minds. Entrepreneurship is certainly not an easy road to venture out too, but thanks to people like Tim and Tom we have tons of advice and expertise readily available. Thanks fellas, keep doing great work.

  5. Chinese kick boxing champion wad cheating. He face only way smaller people than him. You shouldn't bring that. Tim is cool but he is not really a fighter,just so you know.

  6. Oh no. Interviewers worst job, you don't have to prove to anyone that you are "smart" or "know." The guy is amazing, he gave a great interview!

  7. still waiting for the part where you tell me that he actually contributes to society or does anything worthwhile other than be really good at tango and starting a bunch of electronic businesses that shuffle money around and leave some in his bank account,

  8. Number one thing I’ve learnt from Tim ferriss, is probably not to believe everything he says without researching it myself

  9. This video started off my day GREAT!!! Tim is a genius weirdo 😁 He answers all the questions we have by giving refreshingly palatable solutions unlike so many. Thank you Tom for creating Impact Theory!!!

  10. Hi guys! after watching so many episodes from Tom here. I was thinking to create a website where everyone can collaborate on different types of experiments, let just say we do "what if I would do the opposite for 24 hour experiment" and share our results with others on that website. It will be a website to test ourselves and put out the result for other people, to help and to inspire them. To build a community where people can test the impossible and make possible for other people too.
    let me know with your thoughts.

  11. When I'm feeling like a "donkey" I just flip a coin and see what side it lands on, this usually works 100% of the time and I'll always feel good about what I'm doing because I know I can do the other thing I wanted to do later.

  12. Two mega rock stars changing the world!! Get it!! Get up and get it, Guys!!!! Yes!!! More!!! Part 2!!!!! Excellent!!!😎😎

  13. Tim Ferris has shared so many gems! Unfortunately, he spoke for only 50% (or slightly more) " of the air time 🙁 Tom, this comes from a huge fan of your show. Please allow your guests to talk more. Thanks for all that you do, to bring Impact Theory to the world.
    P.S. There might be many listeners sensitive to the F word.. You could get so many more listeners if you could avoid it

  14. This man is a genius………. I Love him sooooooooooooo much. I read 4hour work week and I am hooked ever since on how he analyze things.

  15. IDEA NAVIGATOR :WILLIE Your content and delivery especially the pieces with music in the background are world class

  16. Is anyone else familiar enough with Tim Ferriss interviews that you know he's going to open up with 'and it's all downhill from here' after his intro? xD

  17. I found the low expectation tip to be deeply insightful, after setting goals for myself and frustrating over not meeting them leading me to waste time in frustration, it’s much better to get something done even if small.

  18. "If more information were the answer, everyone would be billionaire with six pack abs".
    This is exactly where I'm stuck at. I read every book, I watch every show, I have my why, have a clear vision of what I want to do, and all this actually feels good to be aware of, but still, I don't apply any of this to my life. I still hitting the snooze button, still procrastinating, still not doing what I'm supposed to do in order to live with more fulfillment, which for me would be to impact and generate value to others.
    So, what could I do to take all this ideas out of my head, and don't just keep feeding my brain with knowledge that only stay on the intelectual level?

  19. I'd love to help you help get a Nobel Prize…. just gotta ask the right questions to solve world problems!!

  20. I think this is the most I have heard Tom speak in any interview I have watched & I have watched a lot. Excitement ? Bromance?
    Interested in others views on it as we all know Tom is usually the Orchestra conductor master and usually not part of the Orchestra.

  21. I want to manifest $100,000 today. Please send me positive energy. I am very happy and grateful for your love and powerful positive energy. May universe bless everyone with life full of abundance.

  22. Elephant ears should learn how to speak without using the f word. No reason for anyone to suffer because of his ignorance , lack of maturity, or class.

  23. I would have loved to have finished this interview because I love most of the interview's that Tom does, but The 5th time I heard the F word in the 1st 17 minutes I shut it off. Thankfully I've listened to a lot of other interviews and never heard you swear because I would probably have unsubscribed if this was the only video I've ever watched. Very disappointing.

  24. I just watched a Tony Robbins vid on how raising your standards helps you continually achieve more but here I hear Tim saying the opposite 😂
    I guess I don’t know who to believe.

  25. Wow !!! That’s me I’m really not good at anything but I’ll suffer and sacrifice things that I love to accomplish something. Thank you guys

  26. Maybe not make yourself obsolete, as much as an equal. Ex. Lose need for a personal trainer but maintain a training partner.

  27. I am also developing a rapid mastery techniques ,lets see how it goes ,maybe I get a call from this show

  28. Tom I love your channel thank you for making high quality content available for the masses. Your channel changes lives around the world 🙂

  29. I, too, want to learn everything I can and reading the 4-hour workweek initiated me to how to think life differently. I've become a bit more efficient and I'm trying to set one goal at a time (have a hard time with this one). i guess I'll try to add one absurd goal to my list of pursues. Tim really helped me to learn more about how I work. I've always been judged for being a "super learner" because I would never settle and always pursue new things after the next. Came to the conclusion that I could have about 4-5 goals running at once, and to focus on one at a time until completion or "99%" accomplished. Not all interests have to be pursued at the same level.

  30. what's so brilliant about the idea of uber is that it found a way or excuse to provide illegal taxi like service (no government licence and tax free for its drivers.) guess that's what it called innovation?

  31. I love both these guys: Tim does not suffer fools. Shortest path to his desired outcome (I almost said "success", but that's ambiguous).
    Tom opens the dialogue to allow wisdoms to flow like honey. You and I, friends, are damn fortunate to have instant access to brilliance. Amen…;-)

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