How Psychotherapy Can Help Your Outlook on Business, with Tim Ferriss
I had reserved a book and forgot about it at Firestone Library, which is the Princeton Library related to suicide and the mechanics of euthanasia. It was out at the time that I made the reservation and thankfully things were still analog enough then that when the book came in, the, the alert that the book had arrived was sent as a postcard to my address on file at the registrar, which was my parents dress. I'd forgotten to update my mailing address. My mom got this card read between the lines and called me with this panicked tenor in her voice. And that snapped me out of it.
Welcome to Imposters, the show where I have revealing conversations with world class execs, athletes and entertainers about their personal challenges and how overcoming those challenges I shape their careers and lives for the better. I'm your host, Alex Lieberman, co-founder and executive chairman of Morning Brew. My guest today is Tim Ferriss.
Tim is the author of multiple New York Times bestsellers, including The Four Hour Workweek and Tools of Titans, and is the host of the very popular podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show. He's also a blogger and an entrepreneur and a wildly successful angel investor. Having invested early in companies like Facebook, Uber and Shopify. Now, if you're familiar with Tim's work, you're familiar with the fact that he has an amazing mind and a tendency to dove extremely deep into whatever subject or hobby catches his interest.
Seriously, he's become an expert in everything from salsa dancing to horseback archery performance enhancing nutrition and stoic philosophy. In the past few years. He's been heavily invested in the research being done on psychedelics as a treatment for depression, something that Tim has dealt with his whole life. At one point.
Tim's depression got so bad that he contemplated suicide, which, as a warning for listeners is a subject we go into in this episode. Tim's journey towards finding what works best for his mental state has been in tandem with his unconventional path to professional success. My full conversation with Tim Ferriss right after this quick break. I love having a good financial plan.
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Tim Ferriss, thank you so much for joining Impostors. My pleasure. Happy to be here. So before this conversation started, I was trying to reflect on what feels like a dozen different careers that you've had. It feels like you've had many lives. Everything from outside sales out of college age to angel investing to writing several New York Times best sellers to being a major donor, to psychedelic research. I'm trying to think to myself like, what's the what's the through line in all of this? And what I kept coming back to is this idea of insatiable curiosity.
Where where does this insatiable curiosity come from? Where can you track it back to? Well, I think there's a question of of nature versus nurture, for sure. So it could be compulsive curiosity out of the box. But I do think a lot of it was cultivated by my parents, my mom in particular. And I grew up without a whole lot of a whole lot of money in the family. And we would get books from the library or the remainder table if you know that term.
So the discount books and from an early age, there were a few things that I knew to be true in the family a bunch, but one was there was no budget for new bikes, for shiny toys. But there was I was told explicitly there's a budget for books, so you better become interested in reading with sort of the, I guess implicit note there. And I did. I became a really voracious reader and love to read and that was one of the outlets that I had available.
I was also very, very small. Growing up, I was premature and in terms of birth and had a lot of health issues, I was also very badly bullied up until about actually not about until exactly sixth grade. So I ended up spending a lot of my time during recesses and so on. Reading books yet again.
Secondly, my parents never made us count to ten and French or learn to play the piano or fill in the blank. There wasn't a curriculum for what they wanted us to learn necessarily, but they did expose my brother and I to a lot of different things. And then if something took and we became really fascinated, it really did not matter what it was.
My parents were very supportive in indulging those curiosities, right? So there was reward. I suppose on a few different levels early on for curiosity. So I'd, I point it back to two that I think those are two formative inputs.
And do you. But you grew up on Long Island, and I think in a lot of ways you were exposed to socioeconomic differences that maybe at the time you weren't acutely aware of. But I would assume that you would not have guessed then kind of the path that you have crafted for yourself today. But did you have any sense for yourself at the time of what you wanted to be, what you wanted to do, what your aspirations were? I wanted to be a marine biologist.
Then I wanted to be a comic book pencil lawyer. But I also had the awareness that at least the comic book penciling almost certainly didn't pay very much. And this was before Marvel became the Marvel we know now as an entertainment juggernaut.
Back then, it was a comic book company that was on the verge of going out of business constantly. And along with that entire period of my life, let's just call it the 0 to 15 part of being a premium. At least this is how my mom explains it was being in an incubator exposed to light nonstop as a newborn, and I had and still have a dream on set insomnia.
So I would be up until three, four in the morning constantly. And what is on TV? Because back then no internet. So what are you doing? You're watching television. What's on television at two, three, four in the morning? Infomercials. So I did.
I also developed this parallel fascination with business and entrepreneurship, recognizing even then that most of it seems horribly schlocky and like nonsense. But that's what I had to watch. So I also developed a deep interest in entrepreneurship, but I had no idea what form that might take. None whatsoever.
And if I remember correctly, when you ended up going to Princeton, you majored in East Asian Studies, right? Yeah. But didn't you was it your senior year you took an entrepreneurship class, right? That's right, yeah. My last year I took early 491 taught by Professor Ed Shao, spelled Z, SC AEW, and Ed was a former congressman. He was also one, if not the first one of the first to ever teach computer science period.
But at Stanford, he had won a million awards at Harvard Business School as a lecturer. He'd also taken multiple companies public and at some point had been a competitive figure skater. So this guy, I can see why he would appeal to me.
And he was a brilliant teacher. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant teacher. The class was high tech entrepreneurship and this was 99, 2000. So we're talking about peak bubble, but the principles in the class transcended that particular decade, let's just say, or that that particular span of time in the com mania and it was an exciting time even though it was all about to go to hell in a handbasket, much like the last say, six months for crypto. The feeling of excitement and optimism was intoxicating and eventually found my way to Silicon Valley because of that class and a company I got to know and a CEO, a very young CEO that I got to know at the time through writing a final project paper on a particular startup.
Yeah, yeah. And I want to talk about the that start up and ultimately your first experience building your own startup. But something I want to kind of explore in parallel to that is your early experience with your own mental health, um, your awareness around it and also how you navigated it while starting your professional career. And so, you know, something that you've been open about in both facing the challenge of, but also the kind of the research side of psychedelics and how they can help it is your experience with depression.
Talk for a second about when your first memory of a depressive episode is and how you navigated your depression throughout college and in your early professional career as you were starting to kind of do things and make a name for yourself. So first depressive episode is not something I can easily recall because it's akin to the the famous commencement speech by David Foster Wallace, where he tells the story of two young fish swimming and they swim by an older fish. And the old fish says, How's the water, boys? And they kind of go by with quizzical look on their faces. And then one turned to the other and says, What the hell is water right for me? Depression, which I didn't really have a label for at the time, was just the backdrop for everything. And I have depression in my family. It almost certainly has a I know it does have a genetic component.
I mean, you can predict depression based on my genetic profile pretty easily. And it's been there as long as I can remember. I mean, let's call it 11 or 12 perhaps would be maybe my first memories of feeling that darkness, say, in my room at home on Long Island. So somewhere around there it's 11 or 12.
How did I manage it? Poorly. I would say there was no managing. I didn't know.
I didn't even have a label for what I was experiencing, let alone any type of toolkit to address it. I would say the saving grace probably was competitive sports. Now there's a mixed blessing in that, in the sense that I competed as a wrestler for a very long time, at least up until first year of college. And then I stopped in college because it wasn't a very compelling wrestling program at Princeton. So around 15, 14, 15, a upperclassmen introduced me to ephedrine.
And this was a seminal moment and not a not an altogether great inflection point, because I took ephedrine, which is a very strong stimulant. It's found in primitive mist and other medications, which is why you cannot buy them any longer at bulk. If you go to a CVS because they can be free based into methamphetamine and they're very powerful as stimulants. Now, this is particularly true if you start to do this, this senior recommended, which was combining it in a stack. I'm not a doctor, I don't play one on the Internet.
I advise against anyone doing this. But combining ephedrine with caffeine and aspirin and what was referred to and still is as the SCA stack, and that was predominantly sold in athletic communities for fat loss. But what it ended up doing or becoming for me was self-medication because I became a different person when I took these things. And what started out as a once every other day type of dosing became once a day and then twice a day and then three times a day. And these are very strong stimulants.
So that I would say for quite a stretch of time until the near end of college, was how I managed it. That was through state modification with drug intake. I mean, they weren't classified as prescription drugs, certainly, but they're absolutely drugs in the sense of some pharmacological intervention that changes your biochemistry.
And that became a significant problem in my life, was effectively addiction to stimulants, not just psychological addiction, but physical addiction. If you think caffeine withdrawal is bad, try using it exact three times a day and then trying to cut off you that it's not going to be a cakewalk. And yeah, flash forward, I ended up taking a year away from school to attempt to finish a what I would consider a suicide.
I mean, metaphorically speaking, kind of suicide mission doomed to fail Thesis Project, which is a huge component of your four year departmental GPA at Princeton and towards the I'd say the midpoint or three quarters into that year off decided to kill myself. Wasn't just contemplating it like decided planned calendars was going to off myself and I had reserved a book and forgot about it at Firestone Library, which is the Princeton Library related to suicide and the mechanics of euthanasia. It was out at the time that I made the reservation and thankfully things were still analog enough then that when the book came in, the the alert that the book had arrived was sent as a postcard to my address on file at the registrar, which was my parents dress.
I had forgotten to update my mailing address. My mom got this card, read between the lines and called me with this panicked tenor in her voice. And that snapped me out of it. Yeah. I mean, I'm oversimplifying. There's a lot in there.
There's a lot that went into unwinding that. But I did not go through with killing myself, clearly. And that is, I think, the beginning of beginning to take management and treatment more seriously.
Tim's description of contemplating suicide and then being woken up to the potential consequences of it by a phone call from his mom is so profoundly important. As Tim mentioned earlier, depression was such an inherent part of his life for so long that he didn't fully recognize that he was suffering from it. That's why when you or someone you know is showing signs of hopelessness, it is so incredibly imperative to pay attention to these cries for help. Thankfully, both Tim and his mother did. We're going to take a quick break here.
But when we come back, we hear more about Tim's first foray into the working world and how his handling of his mental health evolved as his career began to take off. Stay with us. Today's Imposters episode is sponsored by future. Finding a health and fitness plan you'll actually stick with can be tough, but you don't have to go at it alone.
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Unfortunately, it was right around the time that the dot com bubble was about to burst. Graduate and get a desk shoved into the fire exit. That's pretty hilarious. Absolutely not up to code doing outside sales for storage area networking fiber channel.
So competing against incumbents like network appliance NetApp and EMC and so on. When entire departments started getting laid off, I knew my time was probably up and it wasn't going to be long if inside sales gets fired, you know, outside sales is going pretty soon. And I thought to myself, Well, I'm about to get fired. I may have a little bit of severance.
Everybody assumes right now that helped the sort of faux startup Winter is here. So it's not like I'm getting laid off and people will look at a gap in the resume and say, WTF, how do you explain this? They'll look at the time frame and be like, Oh yeah, everything got nuked. And I, I wanted to kick the tires and see if I could create something that would generate enough income to, at least in the beginning, at least cover my expenses, right? To make something that was profitably self-sustaining and what I left out of our earlier conversation about East Asian studies, I did major East Asian studies prior to East Asian studies.
I was majoring in psychology with an emphasis on neuroscience, and I volunteered to be a test subject and all sorts of things, including experiments that Daniel Kahneman's group was doing. And it was a fascinating time to be there. I couldn't personally do the animal testing. I couldn't work on the animals in a way that would be required of me in the labs where I wanted to work, which is why I switched departments and ended up moving to East Asian Studies. But throughout undergrad I was ordering all sorts of supplements and also drugs.
I was using personal importation policy to get various smart drugs and performance enhancing drugs for athletics mailed to me at my dorm. And I would create these cocktails. None of them were illegal, but I would create these cocktails for cognitive and physical performance enhancement because I was also competing in different sports at that point, not wrestling. And flash forward when I'm about to get fired, I did an exercise which is so basic, if you think about it, but I just looked at my own patterns of spending and I looked at my my credit card statements. And so on to identify where I spent a disproportionate amount of my income, because I think my pretax income was like 40 K here at this startup, which in the Bay Area, I can promise people if you don't know the Bay Area, especially when there's a lot of demand, there's not a lot of money and the company I ended up starting when I did this breakdown of my own spending was a sports nutrition company.
Now, at the time, in fairness, it wasn't actually sports nutrition. It pivoted to be sports nutrition. It started off as a no tropic company. So producing a single SKU, a single product which was called Brain Quicken at the time, which had effects and a number of the ingredients had plenty of support in the literature in the sense that they weren't just made up hand wavy supplement ingredients, which is true for a lot of ingredients, but there were ingredients that had effects on recall and later realized quite a lot of effect on reaction speed.
So it turns out Americans don't want to be smarter, don't listen to what they tell you. They don't care. So the the no tropic angle didn't work at all. And I began getting feedback from NCAA athletes who were setting new PR like personal records and in some cases breaking records using this product. And ultimately, it took me a while to see the signal and accept it, but pivoted entirely to calling the product a neural accelerator for sports use. And it was very it focused on very niche sports, predominantly fight sports.
So early anime, kickboxing, powerlifting, that's how it first got traction and then it ultimately ended up being distributed and I don't know, somewhere between six and 12 countries and was available in different places at retail and did pretty well for a first real company. I want to talk about how this experience ended up being parlayed into a four hour workweek. But I want to go back for a second to, you know, your kind of your history with your mental health.
And you spoke about what it was like and let's call it your your high school or your your adolescent to college years and and what your coping mechanisms were. I'm interested. How did you navigate your mental health? How was your mental health and your depression as you were running your business knowing that that I believe you were working like 80 hours a week or 80 hours plus a week to the. Point where I was working on stuff. At the time, ended up breaking it. Yeah. So, yeah.
So what was the state of your mental health? Were you doing anything for your mental health? What did it look like at this point in time? There are a couple of factors that I think are worth underscoring. So the first is I moved from New England, where you have gray five months of the year to Peninsula, California. Let's just say Mountain View to San Jose, where it's sunny basically every day.
That in and of itself was probably put me in a better place. This is this is speculation, but I probably felt better on a day to day basis from that then had I stayed on the East Coast and been put on a whole boatload of medications. Right. So the wear of happiness and those environmental factors, I think are are a huge lever that people can pull in this case. That alone, I would say cut my incidence of lower energy or depressive days down by 60, 70% without question. Now, on top of that, the sense of purpose and singular focus that comes from building an early stage company is incredibly supportive, I find. And I'm not the only one I've spoke.
I mean, I've spoken, as you have with a lot of founders, say that singular focus on the decision that removes a thousand other decisions is can be very stressful leaving. It seems strange because from the outside you look at it and it's like, God, this guy's working. Or This this woman is working 80 hours a week. How could they possibly be happy? Like they barely have enough time to take a shit? How could they possibly be happy? And the reality is that the type of people often who succeed in building these businesses in any capacity do better with a clear mission and focus than they do without. Okay. So having that focus, I did really well with that.
I was also training and competing and kickboxing, jiu jitsu, etc. Training hard, which I would say was my let's not kid ourselves like athletics changes your neurotransmitter levels, it changes your hormonal levels. Weight training also like these are different means to the same end as supplementing with certain pharmacological interventions. Just a different means.
Just like very experienced meditators reaching certain states that you can replicate, albeit more consistently with psychedelics, but it's kind of same, same. So I was not taking any conventional medication as I was still self-medicating 100% with stimulants, absolutely the same. Ecstatic. I deviated from that very rarely and so those are the first few things that come to mind. I was reading quite a bit of stoic philosophy to preserve my energy for building the business, basically, because I didn't the more reactive I was, the less reserve I had to apply to the business. So those are those are a few things that come to mind with respect to mental health.
But I think what you just shared actually kind of just sheds a light in that there are so many different modalities to kind of customizing the the the routine. You need to take care of your mental health. And I think oftentimes people just think it has to be, you know, a licensed therapist or a psychiatrist.
It has to be medication. And that does work for some people. But it is not the only set of tools.
And I think for you, obviously, you've talked a lot about this on your podcast. You've kind of explored the full gamut of tools to understand what works for you. One one thing I'm wondering is you said how building your first business right there is this singular focus and actually very settling. Why did you not build another business then after your first company, why did you end up going the route of writing your first book? I burned out like the physical substrate was gone. I just I had my foot on the pedal, but there's just nothing left. The machine was just broken, you know? There is, yeah.
There is a limit to how hard and how long you can go and you found it? Yeah. I slammed into the wall at a hundred miles an hour, so I would say, why didn't I build another business? I was I had fully intended after the first, which I sold for a very small, you know, a modest sum of money, I mean, is meaningful to me at the time. But what happened was Ed Shao, the professor you mentioned earlier, had asked me beginning in maybe 2003 to come back to that class early for 91 and to guest lecture twice a year, because most of the speakers who came to that class were in venture backed startups. I was not in a venture backed startup. I was bootstrapping everything and spinning a million plates myself as the only full time employee. And that made for a contrast and just provided a different perspective to students.
So I went back twice a year for ten years and talked about my lessons learned. And over the course of, say, 2004 onward, where I burned out, the girlfriend broke up with me, gave me this like Dear John letter about work life balance, ended up automating and fixing a lot of what was broken about the business over this period of time. I'm still giving these lectures and I would ask students for feedback at the end of every lecture, and they would fill out a little form that Ed would send them. And Princeton students can be dick faces.
I mean, they're like there are a lot of them are arrogant and pompous and not all of them, but some some dude put in the other comments section. He's like, I don't understand why you're giving lectures to a group of students. Why don't you just write a book and be done with it? And I mentioned the insomnia, right? So this comment, a, I was like, What a prick. And then B, I was like, Why can't I get that idea out of my head? I had just come back from this like year long year and a half long walk about around the world, traveling all over the place. And I had all the notes from my lectures. This is a key point.
And so I chatted with a friend of mine who was a successful author and asked him what he thought. And before I had a chance to say no if true story, he started email, introducing me to agents and editors and so on, to have conversations which I wasn't ready for. And that then led to writing the book. But I planned, fully planned on starting more businesses.
After Tim's first book, The Four Hour Workweek, came out, Tim's career absolutely took off the following year. Tim spoke at South by Southwest, and the reaction was so strong that Tim went on to publish four more books, including another New York Times bestseller. And he also launched his podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, which today is consistently among the top list in business podcasts with tens of millions of listeners. But I know that for Tim, fame and success is not everything.
He's been open about the fact that it's been an ongoing struggle, learning how to accept himself and that though he's learned a lot about what keeps him in a healthy mental state, it's an ongoing process. So I wanted to know where he sits with all of that today. So I didn't view the book books just as a as a quick aside, if anybody thinks that writing a book is a good way, a reliable way to make money or to become famous, I mean, why talk you out of becoming famous really quickly? But to make money, I don't do it.
It's as bad as restaurants, like don't do it. It's not a good economic model. In my case, yeah, there's a whole confluence of things. The book blows up, turns into this whole international thing.
I mean, it's trending at Barnes Noble right now as we have this conversation 15 years ago or 15 years after publication. I want to talk about something that you had mentioned before, which was this idea of fame, and you've written a blog post on it. I really suggest to our listener, if you're interested in Tim's thoughts on becoming famous, you read the blog post. But my question for you, just to summarize kind of this journey and I would argue a challenge in your life is when was the first time you felt famous? Was it after four hour workweek? And just talk about the best part of being famous for you and the worst part. First, I should say, just so that people don't think I'm I mean, look, I'm sure I am.
I go adiposity narcissists with all sorts of issues. I'm sure that's the case. But just so they don't think that I'm like a ten out of ten on the narcissist is a piece I'm not famous compared to real. Let's call them real celebrities. Right. Like global celebrities. Right.
I just want to be very clear that it is a niche I'm a niche public figure. But if the podcast is 10 to 20 million people per month or ten, 20 million downloads, let's say, yep, you start to get to some reasonably big numbers. So when did I first feel famous? Probably the next. Well, but the next I launched the four hour workweek at South by Southwest with a last minute cancelation.
Hugh Forrest thank you. Hugh Forrest gave me a chance to get on stage and give a presentation about the book, and this was in March 2017. So it was a month and a half or so before the publication date of the book. Then the book launches and I go back to South by Southwest and the next time seeing the contrast of the before and after I think was shocking and some of it felt good. Don't get me wrong, right in the beginning when people are like, Oh my God, I love your book.
And it's such a bit like changed my life that, you know, that's a lot of that feels good. I mean, there's a reason why people look at famous people and they're like, Oh, that must be great. I want to become famous. Side note People Google 11 Reasons Not to Become Famous. That's the blog post that Alex is referring to. So best about becoming famous.
Best thing about famous and quote like all lowercase quotation marks is being able to get a hold of people who would otherwise be hard to get a hold of, by far, in a way, the most valuable aspect of any of it. The downsides, worse things about being famous, even on a micro level, you're going to get suicide notes. I've received video of people right before they've killed themselves like a video suicide letter addressed to me. You are going to have people say, unless you help me do A, B and C, you're my last hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi. I'm going to kill myself if they feel like they know you, which happens a lot.
If you are, say, building some type of audience on any platform. It's especially true with long form audio, I think, or video you are going to have security issues that you didn't have before. People are going to go if they can't find you, they're going to go after your family or people who know you.
I mean, you name it, blackmail, extortion, frivolous lawsuits. I mean, all of that. You will deal with all of that. And I don't know, a single person who is what say general public would consider famous who has not dealt with almost all of what I just described physical threats, crazy people, stalkers, all that kind of stuff.
So and if you add up all of what I just described and assume that some version of that, let's say 60, 70% happens on an annual basis every year. That is a lot of mental bandwidth and emotional bandwidth. I don't remember if it was Bill Murray who supposedly said this, but somebody asked him how to become rich and famous and he said, Become rich first and see how you like that. Because I love.
That you may not want the famous part. Yeah, totally. Yeah.
Well, I think it's a it's a good sanity check in an age where fame is is celebrities in idolized. But some of the gut check on it isn't actually provided for people. Yeah we've talked about a number of challenges that you've faced across your career and in in spite or irrespective of these challenges, you've managed to be, you know, wildly successful. I would say one big challenge was the challenge of being really small, growing up, being bullied for that and having to navigate being bullied, which is a really a really shitty experience that unfortunately a lot of people have to go through that. The second is your experience with with depression from, let's call it your adolescence to today in some form. There's one last challenge that I think I actually think is an even bigger challenge that you've faced that everyone faces.
And I'd be interested to hear how you've navigated that. And that is the challenge of accepting yourself and of loving yourself fully. Where where are you right now on on that journey of facing that challenge? I'd say mostly I am simultaneously like the pinata and like the kid, like an eight year old boy with a wiffle ball bat and a bandana tied over his eyes trying to smack the shit out of the pinata. Honestly, I think that this is I think this is my life project.
Yeah. And I do feel like it is an ongoing process. My experience is that almost anyone who is, let's say, obsessively engaged with anything enough to become really good at it is often running from something and not running towards something.
I mean, 99 times out of 100, it's really consistent, which is why startup founders don't do so poorly when they have this like huge shift and everybody expects they're going to be just Kumbaya forever. Oh, my God. High fives like life is great. And you just you see, people psychologically crater once they don't have a rabbit rabbit to chase around the arena. So what I would say for myself is that I have found tools that are consistently helpful, stoic philosophy, very helpful. Morning pages, very helpful.
The work by Byron Cady for scrutinizing your beliefs, which are thoughts that you take to be true. Very important if you want to have any degree, if hyper analytical and trapped in your head a lot as I am and kind of language overweighted the work by Byron Cady in those worksheets is very helpful for preventing or minimizing the likelihood that you retreat into a repetitive story that is disabling you Eyfs internal family systems as a therapy modality. Parts work, I think, incredibly helpful and also, and I, I should say right after I mentioned psychedelic therapies, I should say that some people are under the impression that I am a nonstop rah rah cheerleader for psychedelic therapies. That is not true. I support a lot of science, and I have for a long time and I feel very good about that.
But I talk more people out of using psychedelics than I talk into using psychedelics because you're you're harnessing nuclear power, very powerful molecules, incredible applications to certain conditions. And they have been absolutely pivotal in my ability to look at myself as a collection of condition thing and stories, many of which I inherited or absorbed. I didn't arrive at these things logically, so gaining that observer perspective and there's more to the story. But I've certainly found psychedelic medicine to be an accelerant.
But you can accelerate in the wrong direction. You can accelerate towards schizophrenia, for instance, if you have a family predisposition. So so those are a few of the things that I have found to contribute to my increased ability to self accept and to not just by the way, not just give love to myself or express love to other people, but to receive it from other people.
My experience and also my observation has been if you can't accept love fully from other people, chances are you have a simultaneous issue with self-acceptance and also love or compassion directed at you. So I'm making progress. I'm making progress. I don't I try not to let perfect be the enemy of good and yep, yeah. One day at a time in.
That's how I try to take it. And just to leave listeners and I'm using listeners in the general, but I'm really just referring to myself. But we're going to say listeners for listeners who have been striving for so long to find success, to have that next rung on the ladder, to start that next business. And, you know, they look at you in five books, 10 to 15, 10 to 20 million downloads a month. Angel invested in all these unicorns, from Uber to Facebook to Shopify, but they realize they don't. They feel empty in some ways still, and they're like, What the fuck do I do now? But I don't know where to start to try to find this sense of Phil Ness, this, this sense of being okay with myself.
At the end of the day, where would you guide them to start? I would start with diversifying your friend group. So if you're if your main friend group is type A serial entrepreneurs, you are going to find what you just described and I'm simplifying here. Right. This this type of malaise can affect all sorts of people.
Every race, gender, creed, nationality. Right. Does not discriminate. But for the sake of simplicity, if we're talking if if most of your friends are driven serial entrepreneurs, you're just swimming in everything that you just described. And you may not have role models you may not be able to absorb or average into someone who not seem to have this problem or who has solved this problem. So for me, part of spending time around people who are world class in a discipline where there not hugely financially rewarded and yet they have pure dedication is is very important medicine. So yeah when I say I'm deeply interested in animal tracking, another way to say that and this is really important is not that I'm deeply interested in animal tracking.
What I'm deeply interested in is people who have dedicated their lives to animal tracking, archery. Same story. I am interested in spending time with people who spend incredible amounts of time becoming expert in archery, finding pleasure in the process and joy and the discovery. Even though they do not get paid at all, or they get paid very little for it.
And I would start there. You said where to start? I would say you're the average of the five people you associate with. Most. And that's going to be true of their problems, their neuroses, their strengths, their weaknesses.
So maybe I like to diversify and see what you can absorb because it's men, the hyper analytical, you know, Ayn Rand, hero builder archetype is so highly valued in the U.S., the rugged individualist and enlightened self-interest, blah, blah, blah. And there's a place for that.
But man, it's like if you want to build a house and you only know how to use a hammer, you're not going to build a great house yet. And that's easier to say once you've achieved some degree of financial success. I get it. Yeah. But I will say if I look at the friends I respect most who have summited the mountain, they have all experienced some version of what we're talking about. And I think it's it's great to sort of set a safety net before you need it.
And I think a good way to do that is to develop some friendships with people. You may not automatically pick out of a lineup. I love it. Tim Ferriss, thank you so much for joining Impostors.
My pleasure. Thanks for having a great man. Thank you guys so much for watching this episode. I hope you enjoyed and I'd love to hear from you.
Share in the comments your favorite part of this episode and also what guest you would love to see on imposters moving forward and finally, like and subscribe. So you get content from this show every single week. I'll see you guys next time.