How to Overcome Fear – Lessons from Firefighter and Luger, Caroline Paul

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caroline_headshot

Caroline Paul (@carowriter) is a blast and can also probably kick my ass… seriously.

Caroline is the author of four published books. Her latest is the New York Times best seller The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure.

Once a young scaredy-cat, Caroline decided that fear got in the way of the life she wanted–of excitement, confidence, and self-reliance. She has since flown planes, rafted big rivers, climbed tall mountains, and fought fires as one of the first female firefighters in San Francisco.

In this episode, we discuss various types of fear and how to overcome them, using stories, habits, and tactics.

If you only have a couple of minutes, you might find this section valuable.

Enjoy!
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Want to hear another podcast featuring a daring woman who challenges perceived limitations? — Listen to my conversation with Amelia Boone. In this episode, we discuss how she beats 99% of men in endurance races like the World’s Toughest Mudder (stream below or right-click here to download):


This podcast is brought to you by Wealthfront. Wealthfront is a massively disruptive (in a good way) set-it-and-forget-it investing service, led by technologists from places like Apple. It has exploded in popularity in the last two years and now has more than $2.5B under management. Why? Because you can get services previously limited to the ultra-wealthy and only pay pennies on the dollar for them, and it’s all through smarter software instead of retail locations and bloated sales teams.

Check out wealthfront.com/tim, take their risk assessment quiz, which only takes 2-5 minutes, and they’ll show you—for free–exactly the portfolio they’d put you in. If you want to just take their advice and do it yourself, you can. Well worth a few minutes to explore: wealthfront.com/tim.

This podcast is also brought to you by Audible. I have used Audible for years and I love audio books. I have two to recommend:

  1. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  2. Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

All you need to do to get your free 30-day Audible trial is go to Audible.com/Tim. Choose one of the above books, or choose between more than 180,000 audio programs. That could be a book, a newspaper, a magazine, or even a class. It’s that easy. Go to Audible.com/Tim and get started today. Enjoy!

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What creates the most fear in your life, and how might you overcome this fear? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

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Morgan Spurlock: Inside the Mind of a Human Guinea Pig

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The Tim Ferriss Show with Morgan Spurlock

This is an interview you’ve been asking for since before I started the podcast: Morgan Spurlock. 

Morgan Spurlock (@morganspurlock) is an Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker based in New York. He is a prolific writer, director, producer, and human guinea pig. His first film, Super Size Me, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004, winning Best Directing honors. The film went on to win the Writers Guild of America Best Documentary Screenplay award as well as garner an Academy Award nomination for Best Feature Documentary.

Since then he has directed, produced, and distributed multiple film, TV and digital projects, including the critically acclaimed CNN series Morgan Spurlock Inside Man, the FX series 30 Days, and the films Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?, Confessions of a Superhero, Freakonomics, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, and many others.

Morgan’s latest project is a tech startup called Clect (homepage, AngelList profile), which is a community for the high-spending collectors community with a one-stop marketplace where people can browse, sell, and buy collectibles of any type imaginable (Star Wars, Smurfs, comics, a Millennium Falcon made from motorcycle parts, etc.). Imagine Comic-Con meets Pinterest and eBay.

In this episode, we cover a ton:

  • How Morgan got his biggest breaks and, in some cases, made his own luck
  • How he builds rapport with people and gets them to open up
  • Tips for aspiring creators and filmmakers
  • How to get people to care about important issues
  • Favorite books, documentaries, movies, etc.
  • Morgan’s thoughts on the future of media and storytelling

If you want a taste of this fantastic interview, here’s the segment on how Morgan gets people to care about important issues.

Enjoy!

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Want to hear another podcast from a film director, screenwriter and producer? — Listen to my conversation with Robert Rodriguez. In this episode, we discuss the creation of “El Mariachi” and how the film went on to win the coveted Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival (stream below or right-click here to download):


This podcast is brought to you by Wealthfront. Wealthfront is a massively disruptive (in a good way) set-it-and-forget-it investing service, led by technologists from places like Apple. It has exploded in popularity in the last two years and now has more than $2.5B under management. Why? Because you can get services previously limited to the ultra-wealthy and only pay pennies on the dollar for them, and it’s all through smarter software instead of retail locations and bloated sales teams.

Check out wealthfront.com/tim, take their risk assessment quiz, which only takes 2-5 minutes, and they’ll show you—for free–exactly the portfolio they’d put you in. If you want to just take their advice and do it yourself, you can. Well worth a few minutes to explore: wealthfront.com/tim.

This podcast is also brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. I have used them for years to create some amazing designs. When your business needs a logo, website design, business card, or anything you can imagine, check out 99Designs.

I used them to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body, and I’ve also had them help with display advertising and illustrations. If you want a more personalized approach, I recommend their 1-on-1 service. You get original designs from designers around the world. The best part? You provide your feedback, and then you end up with a product that you’re happy with or your money back. Click this link and get a free $99 upgrade. Give it a test run.

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What important issues are you most passionate about? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

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Why You Need a “Deloading” Phase in Life

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deloading phase

I’ve written about my morning journaling routine once before.

But my journaling–think of it as freezing thinking on paper–isn’t limited to mornings. I use it as a tool to clarify my thinking and goals, much as Kevin Kelly (one of my favorite humans) does. The paper is like a photography darkroom for my mind.

Below is a scan of a real page. Both entries are from October 2015.

The first entry (top half) is simply a list of “fun” things I felt compelled to schedule after the unexpected death of a close friend. Since I’ve ticked all of the bullets off. You’ll notice that I blurred out a few sensitive bits, and I won’t spend time on this entry in this post.

The second entry (bottom half) was written in Samovar Tea Lounge in San Francisco after a two-hour walk. The gestation period during walking and subsequent entry lead me to re-incorporate “deloading” phases in my life. “Deloading” is a term often used in strength and athletic training, but it’s a concept that can be applied to many areas. Let’s look at the sports definition, here from T Nation:

A back-off week, or deload, is a planned reduction in exercise volume or intensity. In collegiate strength-training circles, it’s referred to as the unloading week, and is often inserted between phases or periods. Quoting from Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning: “The purpose of this unloading week is to prepare the body for the increased demand of the next phase or period,” and to mitigate the risk of overtraining.

So, how does this relate to creativity, productivity, or quality of life?

First, I’ll give a personal outcome — In the last 12 months, I’ve used “deloading” outside of sports to decrease my anxiety at least 50% while simultaneously doubling my income.

Deloading for business, in my case, consists of strategically taking my foot off the gas. I alternate intense periods of batching similar tasks (recording podcasts, clearing the inbox, writing blog posts, handling accounting, etc.) with extended periods of — for lack of poetic description — unplugging and fucking around.  Oddly enough, I find both the batching and unplugging to free up bandwidth and be restorative.

The unplug can still be intense (here’s a personal example in Bali), but you shouldn’t be working on “work.”

Let’s dig into the journal entry, as it provides much of the reasoning.

I’ve provided the scan (click to enlarge) and transcribed the entry below it, including many additional thoughts. The journal itself (Morning Pages Workbook) I explain here:

IMG_5998_V2

Now, the transcription with revisions and additional thoughts:

– TUES – SAMOVAR @ 5:40PM –

The great “deloading” phase.

This is what I’m experiencing this afternoon, and it makes a Tuesday feel like a lazy Sunday morning. This is when the muse is most likely to visit.

I need to get back to the slack.

To the pregnant void of infinite possibilities, only possible with a lack of obligation, or at least, no compulsive reactivity. Perhaps this is only possible with the negative space to–as Kurt Vonnegut put it–fart around? To do things for the hell of it? For no damn good reason at all?

I feel that the big ideas come from these periods. It’s the silence between the notes that makes the music.

If you want to create or be anything lateral, bigger, better, or truly different, you need room to ask “what if?” without a conference call in 15 minutes.  The aha moments rarely come from the incremental inbox-clearing mentality of, “Oh, fuck… I forgot to… Please remind me to… Shouldn’t I?…I must remember to…”

That is the land of the lost, and we all become lost.

My Tuesday experience reinforced, for me, the importance of creating large uninterrupted blocks of time (a la maker’s schedule versus manager’s schedule), in which your mind can wander, ponder, and find the signal amidst the noise. If you’re lucky, it might even create a signal, or connect two signals (core ideas) that have never shaken hands before.

For me, I’ve scheduled “deloading” phases in a few ways: roughly 8am-9am daily for journaling, tea routines, etc.; 9am-1pm every Wednesday for creative output (i.e. writing, interviewing for the podcast); and “screen-free Saturdays,” when I use no laptops and only use my phone for maps and coordinating with friends via text (no apps).  Of course, I also use mini-retirements a few time a year.

“Deloading” blocks must be scheduled and defended as strongly as–actually, more strongly than–your business commitments. The former can be a force multiplier for the latter, but not vice-versa.

So, how can one throttle back the reactive living that has them following everyone’s agenda except their own?

Create slack, as no one will give it to you. This is the only way to swim forward instead of treading water.

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Did you enjoy this? Please let me know in the comments.  I’d also love to hear of how you “deload,” if you do.

If you’d like more on my morning routines, here are five habits that help me tremendously.

As always, thanks for reading.

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How to Live in the Moment

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“Show me that the good in life does not depend upon life’s length, but upon the use we make of it; also, that it is possible, or rather usual, for a man who has lived long to have lived too little.” – Seneca the Younger

I once wrote, “We all like to appear ‘successful’ (a nebulous term at best) and the media like to portray standouts as superheroes…Most ‘superheroes’ are nothing of the sort. They’re weird, neurotic creatures who do big things DESPITE lots of self-defeating habits and self-talk.”

Focusing on what people accomplish without understanding the mindset that enables success leads to limited results. To help close the gap, I wanted to share On The Shortness of Life by Seneca the Younger. It’s a short letter written roughly two thousand years ago, yet it’s timeless.

This is an essay that I revisit at least once a quarter because it focuses on how much time we’re given in life, and how it’s oftentimes misused or wasted.

You can listen to my favorite portion here, which begins with:

“Why do you torment yourself and lose weight over some problem…”

This is a fantastic reminder to mind the critical few and to ignore the trivial many.

You can listen to this one and the rest of the collection via the Tao of Seneca at Audible.com/TimsBooks.

Enjoy!

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Want to hear another segment from The Tao of Seneca? — Listen to How to Avoid the Busy Trap. In this episode, I dig deeper into useful philosophy and how we think of riches (stream below or right-click here to download):


This podcast is brought to you by Boll & Branch. There is a lot of nonsense in the bedding business. For instance, did you know thread-count is not a good measurement of quality? It’s a total myth. The “Made in Italy” label? It isn’t something you should necessarily pay extra for because it generally means it’s just finished in Italy and woven in places like China.

The general industry mark-up for bedding is 700 to 800 percent at most retailers. Boll & Branch creates incredibly high-quality bedding. They are the same sheets you’ll find at my home in San Francisco.

The best part? You can try anything you order at home for 30 days. If you don’t love it, send it back and get a full refund. Go to Boll & Branch and use promo code “TIM” for 20% off your entire order. Whether sheets, towels, blankets, duvet covers, or anything else. Shipping is always free.

This episode is also brought to you by Exo Protein. These guys are making protein bars using cricket protein powder. Before you look disgusted, I bet they taste better than any protein bar you’ve ever had before! With recipes that were developed by a three-Michelin-star chef, the bars are paleo-friendly, with no gluten, no grains, no soy, no dairy, and they won’t spike your glycemic response. In fact, they’re less processed than any other protein bars you’ll be able to find.

Exo Protein is offering a deep discount to Tim Ferriss Show listeners — if you go to ExoProtein.com/Tim today, you can try a sampler pack with all of the most popular flavors for less than $10. This is a startup with limited inventory that sells out all the time, so act fast!

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: After listening to this letter, how can you make a more productive use of your time? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

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Josh Waitzkin, The Prodigy Returns

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“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.” – Archilochus

Ever since episode #2 of the podcast, you’ve been asking for more Josh Waitzkin, so here it is! This is an in-depth jam session, and you can definitely listen to this one independently.

Josh Waitzkin was the basis for the book and movie Searching for Bobby Fischer.

Considered a chess prodigy, he has perfected learning strategies that can be applied to anything, including his other loves of Brazilian jiu-jitsu (he’s a black belt under phenom Marcelo Garcia) and Tai Chi push hands (he’s a world champion). These days, he spends his time coaching the world’s top performers, whether Mark Messier, Cal Ripken Jr., or high-profile investors. I initially met Josh through his incredible book, The Art of Learning, which I loved so much that I helped produce the audiobook (download here at Audible).

If you’re interested in implementing programs designed by Josh in your classroom, go to theartoflearningproject.org and find out if the program is a good fit for you.

If you have just a few minutes, I recommend learning about the principle of scarcity and how it can directly benefit your life.

This episode is DEEP, in the best way possible. Just like last time, Josh will blow your mind.

Enjoy!

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Want to hear another podcast with Josh Waitzkin?In this episode (the second ever on The Tim Ferriss Show), we discuss The Art of Learning, what separates elite performers, and strategies for peak productivity (stream below or right-click here to download):


This podcast is brought to you by MeUndiesHave you ever wanted to be as powerful as a mullet-wearing ninja from the 1980’s, or as sleek as a black panther in the Amazon? Of course you have, and that’s where MeUndies comes in. I’ve spent the last 2-3 weeks wearing underwear from these guys 24/7, and they are the most comfortable and colorful underwear I’ve ever owned. Their materials are 2x softer than cotton, as evaluated using the Kawabata method. Check out MeUndies.com/Tim to see my current faves (some are awesomely ridiculous) and, while you’re at it, don’t miss lots of hot ladies wearing MeUndies.

This podcast is also brought to you by Wealthfront. Wealthfront is a massively disruptive (in a good way) set-it-and-forget-it investing service, led by technologists from places like Apple. It has exploded in popularity in the last two years and now has more than $2.5B under management. Why? Because you can get services previously limited to the ultra-wealthy and only pay pennies on the dollar for them, and it’s all through smarter software instead of retail locations and bloated sales teams.

Check out wealthfront.com/tim, take their risk assessment quiz, which only takes 2-5 minutes, and they’ll show you—for free–exactly the portfolio they’d put you in. If you want to just take their advice and do it yourself, you can. Well worth a few minutes to explore: wealthfront.com/tim.

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: How can you use Josh’s principle of scarcity to improve creativity, habit creation, or your learning process? Please share your insights in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

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How to Get Busy Influencers to Share Your Stuff

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One of the questions I’m constantly asked is, “How do I get influencers to help me?”

This blog post will outline approaches that work with true “influencers”–people who can single-handedly make or break a product launch.  I’ve been fortunate to interact with hundreds of such people since 2007. (If you’re more interested in pitching big media, here’s a template for how I do it.)

Specifically, I share an e-mail below that gets nearly every “influencer” element right.
But before we get to that, here are some ground rules for interacting with influencers or power brokers:

  1. If you’re asking them to share something, offer GOOD CONTENT on a website and not merely a sales page or pitch.  Responsible guardians of large audiences like good editorial.  The reputational risk of sharing great content is close to zero. Conversely, the risk-benefit ratio of sharing a sales page is practically all downside. Make the calculus easy or you’re just pissing in the wind.
  2. Do not e-mail or contact them unless A) they’ve given you their contact info directly, or B) you can get a warm introduction from a good friend of theirs (tip: ask the “friend” when they last had dinner or drinks together).  My preferred approach is in-person meetings in social settings.  Here’s the playbook I used to make SXSW in 2007 the tipping point for the launch of The 4-Hour Workweek. Cold e-mails–which most effective people ignore–are a waste of everyone’s time.  Put in the ground work and play the long game.  Think sniper rifle and not shotgun.  If you only have one chance to make a first impression, don’t screw this up.  “Sorry, let me try again…” almost never works.  Review this before drafting pitches.
  3. Before you reach out, ask yourself “If this person agrees, are they setting a dangerous precedent for themselves?” If so, they won’t agree, so don’t waste your breath.  For instance, why can’t I retweet fans’ Kickstarter campaigns?  Because if I publicly help even one stranger, I will be deluged by thousands of “Pls rt my Kickstarter campaign!” requests and my Twitter feed becomes unusable.  For the same reason, I can’t wish people I don’t know a happy birthday; if I open that door, I will get thousands of never-ending b-day requests.
  4. Give them a graceful exit.  This means never using BS like “I look forward to your favorable reply!” That stuff is terrible.  Be different and do the opposite. Close your e-mail or pitch with “Of course, no worries if you’re too busy to reply.  I know how busy you are.  Warmest wishes to you and yours…”  In my experience, giving people an easy “out” dramatically increases response rate.
  5. Don’t “keep in touch.” It drives busy people crazy.  Treat e-mailing them as you would knocking on their door and interrupting dinner. Treat it that seriously and use it that sparingly.

All that said and as promised, please find below an e-mail from Andrew Zimmern (@andrewzimmern), which I received not long ago.

You’ll see how he gets many subtle elements right.  Personally, I would have modified the subject line and closing line, but the length and don’t-make-me-think assets are otherwise outstanding.

###

Subject line: Little Help From My Friends

[TIM:  The single biggest weakness in this email is the subject line, IMHO, though perhaps they tested it. I would have seen it sooner had it been “Quick question from Andrew Zimmern” or something personalized along those lines.]

Dear Friends:

I hope this email finds you well! My team and I recently relaunched our online store: Shop Andrew Zimmern and I am thrilled to share it with you. It’s a mixture of curated items that I have found on my travels and use in everyday life, along with other branded items from the AZ collection. The assortment of products is ever changing and new items will be added throughout the year. Please a take a minute to check it out: http://shop.andrewzimmern.com.

Don’t be surprised when you stumble upon something you love!

This is where I need your help. It would mean the world to me if you would take a minute and share our shop with your audiences. As we try and build a bigger customer base from the ground up, we could use your support. We provided a few tools to make it easy. Check them out below. If you have any questions, please contact Kelly (fakeemailfromtim@avoidingspam.com) or myself! Thank you again for everything.

Sample tweets:

Sample Facebook post:
  • In search of stocking stuffers for your food geeked friends & family? My pal Chef Andrew Zimmern, host of Bizarre Foods, has relaunched his online shop, featuring unique travel gear and food finds curated from around the globe. Check it out: http://shop.andewzimmern.com
Shop Andrew Zimmern – editorial content for sharing:

Kindly,

xx

Andrew Zimmern

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Afterword from Tim

As one last philosophical morsel, here is the quote that Andrew has at the bottom of his personal e-mail signature:

“If there’s one thing that frustrates me more than anything about the notion of being right, it’s that being right too often gets in the way of being generous. Because being right is too often used as a way to protect us from doing the thing that will actually most serve us. And if I can leave you with one thought, it’s that being right is completely fucking irrelevant.” – Danny Meyer

For those eager beavers out there, here are 5 more tips for e-mailing busy people, and here is my conversation with Andrew Zimmern on his success habits and routines.

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How to Avoid the Busy Trap (and Other Misuses of Your Time)

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“A good man will not waste himself upon mean and discreditable work or be busy merely for the sake of being busy. Neither will he, as you imagine, become so involved in ambitious schemes that he will have continually to endure their ebb and flow.” – Seneca

Today’s episode is a bite-sized morsel for your brain and for your life. This is an excerpt from my favorite writing of all-time. This letter is #22, “On the Futility of Half-way Measures.” As usual, Seneca takes a little time in his preamble to get warmed up. That is his style. He seems to enjoy feeling out the recipient of his letter before jumping into the details.

I love this letter because it addresses how we spend our time, which is one of the biggest stresses for all people, and especially entrepreneurs.

My favorite portion is:

“Hence men leave such advantages as these with reluctance.”

I encourage you to listen to this and think of ways that you can adapt Seneca’s wisdom to your own life. Enjoy!

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Want to hear another segment from The Tao of Seneca? — Listen to How to Achieve Self-Ownership. In this episode, I dig deeper into how we think of gain and loss and how to be a good person (stream below or right-click here to download):


This podcast is brought to you by Wealthfront. Wealthfront is a massively disruptive (in a good way) set-it-and-forget-it investing service, led by technologists from places like Apple. It has exploded in popularity in the last two years and now has more than $2.5B under management. Why? Because you can get services previously limited to the ultra-wealthy and only pay pennies on the dollar for them, and it’s all through smarter software instead of retail locations and bloated sales teams.

Check out wealthfront.com/tim, take their risk assessment quiz, which only takes 2-5 minutes, and they’ll show you—for free–exactly the portfolio they’d put you in. If you want to just take their advice and do it yourself, you can. Well worth a few minutes to explore: wealthfront.com/tim.

This podcast is also brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. I have used them for years to create some amazing designs. When your business needs a logo, website design, business card, or anything you can imagine, check out 99Designs.

I used them to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body, and I’ve also had them help with display advertising and illustrations. If you want a more personalized approach, I recommend their 1-on-1 service. You get original designs from designers around the world. The best part? You provide your feedback, and then you end up with a product that you’re happy with or your money back. Click this link and get a free $99 upgrade. Give it a test run.

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: How did this episode help you reconsider your current use of time and energy? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

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22 Comments / Leave a comment or question