The Canvas Strategy — What Ben Franklin and Bill Belichick Have in Common

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Photo credit: ©Dan Taylor/Heisenberg Media.

Photo credit: ©Dan Taylor/Heisenberg Media.

“The person who clears the path ultimately controls its direction, just as the canvas shapes the painting.” – Ryan Holiday

My job is usually to deconstruct world-class performers from business, military, entertainment, politics, or athletics, and then to tease out the routines and habits you can use.

In this particular episode, I’m going to share an overarching strategy that has been used by many of the greats. That includes Ben Franklin, legendary NFL coach Bill Belichick, and many more. It is also how I built my network, how my first book hit the tipping point, how I became successful at angel investing, etc.

Of course, if you’re interested in the networking part of it, you can also read the blog post and listen to the episode, How to Build a World-Class Network in Record Time. But that is bonus credit.

The secret to all of the above is the “canvas strategy.”

And in this episode, Ryan Holiday, author of the new book, Ego Is the Enemy, will teach you how to apply canvas strategy to your life. (The book is also the newest addition to my book club, which can be found at audible.com/timsbooks.)

Please enjoy this excerpt with Ryan Holiday from Ego Is the Enemy!

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Want to hear another podcast with Ryan Holiday? — In this episode, we discuss the “big three” stoics, how Stoicism applies to the modern world, and how to improve your decision-making when stakes are high (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 OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

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On Philosophy and Riches

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On Philosophy and Riches

“Riches have shut off many a man from the attainment of wisdom.” – Seneca

Whenever I succumb to social pressure to treat time as less valuable than income, that’s when I turn to stoicism.

In this special episode of the podcast, I’m sharing one of my favorite letters from Seneca, “On Philosophy and Riches.” This is a must-listen for anyone obsessed with increasing wealth or material possessions.

My favorite portion begins with, “I might close my letter at this point,” which you can listen to here.

If you want to learn more of Seneca’s teachings, I’ve compiled his letters into a collection called the Tao of Seneca.

Enjoy!

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Want to hear another podcast featuring lessons from SenecaListen to the episode on achieving self-ownership. In this letter, Seneca offers lessons related to being a good man and the true costs of things that appear free (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: Are you unhappily striving to gain wealth? If so, how has this letter from Seneca helped your mindset? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

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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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How to Achieve Self-Ownership

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Chapter 43 - On Values“Greatness develops only at long intervals.” – Seneca

This is another special episode of the podcast, featuring one of my favorite letters from Seneca. It’s not long, but its impact is far greater than the duration. Before you listen, I want you to think about this philosophy from Fight Club:

“The things you own end up owning you.”

Understanding this mindset will help you to explore the practical philosophies found in this episode. Please enjoy Letter 42, On Values, by Seneca the Younger.

If you only have 60 seconds, listening to this clip could increase your happiness by changing your relationship with your possessions.

If you find this letter useful, you can pick up the whole collection at the Tao of Seneca.

Enjoy!

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Want to hear another segment of The Tao of Seneca? — Listen to How to Practice Poverty and Reduce Fear. In this episode, I dig deeper into the value of stoicism and examine unfounded fears and untested assumptions (stream below or right-click here to download):



This podcast is 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.

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 did this episode influence the way you think about loss and gain? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

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How to Practice Poverty and Reduce Fear

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The Tao of Seneca

“Establish business relations with poverty.”
– Seneca

These 10-15 minutes are gold. I revisit this letter of Seneca at least once a quarter, and I hope you find this episode equally powerful.

The careful listener will find an extremely practical blueprint (and exercises) for optimizing performance in high-stress situations.

If you only have 60 seconds for one highlight, pay particular attention to this passage.

If you enjoy the teachings, I highly recommend listening to more of Seneca’s letters. All of my favorites can be found in The Tao of Seneca: Practical Letters from a Stoic Master. For more audiobooks I love, take a look at audible.com/timsbooks.

Enjoy!

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Want to hear another segment of The Tao of Seneca and dig deeper into stoicism? — Listen to On Groundless Fears. In this episode, I dig deeper into the value of stoicism and examining unfounded fears and untested assumptions (stream below or right-click here to download):



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

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 has listening to Seneca’s teachings changed or improved your life? Share your thoughts in the comments

Scroll below for links and show notes…

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The Tao of Seneca: Letters from a Stoic Master

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The Tao of Seneca

“It is precisely in times of immunity from care that the soul should toughen itself beforehand for occasions of greater stress, and it is while fortune is kind that it should fortify itself against her violence.” Seneca the Younger

After 10+ years of fantasizing about it, I have turned my favorite writing of all time (Seneca’s letters) into an audiobook series! The title of the series is The Tao of Seneca: Practical Letters from a Stoic Master.

This podcast episode gives you a sample, one of my favorites: On Groundless Fears (Letter 13). I listen to it at least once a quarter.

Here’s a description of the full monty:

The Tao of Seneca: Practical Letters from a Stoic Master is an introduction to Stoic philosophy through the words of Seneca.

Thought leaders in Silicon Valley tout the benefits of Stoicism, and NFL management, coaches, and players (Patriots, Seahawks, etc.) alike have embraced it because the principles make them better competitors. If you study Seneca, you’ll be in good company. He was popular with the educated elite of the Greco-Roman Empire, but Thomas Jefferson also had Seneca on his bedside table. This philosophy is a no-nonsense system designed to produce dramatic real-world effects. Think of it as an ideal operating system for thriving in high-stress environments.

The Tao of Seneca is your guide.

My suggestion: get Volume One, listen to my Preface (the origin story is fun), then skip to one of my favorite letters, several of which I list off in the first 10 minutes.

I love listening to one letter per day — they average 10-20 minutes in length — as I walk to get coffee or go to the subway. It’s the perfect way to prime yourself for better results with less stress each morning. Warning: the first “On the Shortness of Life” version is an essay and LONG (1-1.5 hours); I suggest skipping that and sampling the shorter letters to get hooked.

These letters have repeatedly changed my life, and I wish the same for you.

Enjoy!

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Want to hear another podcast related to Stoicism? — Listen to my conversation with Ryan Holiday. In this episode, we discuss the “big three” stoics, how Stoicism applies to the modern world, and how to improve your decision-making when stakes are high (stream below or right-click here to download):


This podcast is brought to you by Athletic Greens. I get asked all the time, “if you could only use one supplement, what would it be?” My answer is, inevitably, Athletic Greens. It is my all-in-one nutritional insurance. I recommended it in The 4-Hour Body and did not get paid to do so. Get 50% off your order at Athletic Greens.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 philosophy or philosopher has had the biggest impact on your life or business? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Read More

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The Obstacle Is The Way — The Tim Ferriss Book Club, Book #4

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The_Obstacle_Is_the_Way__The_Timeless_Art_of_Turning_Trials_into_Triumph__Ryan_Holiday__9781591846352__Amazon_com__Books

This post is about the fourth book in the Tim Ferriss Book Club, which is limited to books that have dramatically impacted my life. All previous selections can be found here. Enjoy!

“Would you have a great empire? Rule over yourself.” — PUBLILIUS SYRUS

The last two weeks have been disaster after disaster for me:

  • A dear friend died unexpectedly, only miles from my home. (RIP, Seth Roberts)
  • A seven-figure business deal fell apart at the last minute.
  • Only days ago, Turner Broadcasting let me know that the May 27th digital launch of The Tim Ferriss Experiment has been canceled. Some (not all) of the higher-ups want to try selling it to traditional outlets. (Sidenote: If you bought an iTunes season pass, definitely request a refund)

Over the last 14 days, I have carried one book in my backpack to cope, all day and every day: The Obstacle Is The Way.

It has helped me to turn problems upside-down, become the calm within the storm, and even uncover unique opportunities.

“Philosophy” gets a bad rap.

Most of us know a turtleneck-wearing pseudo-intellectual who’s spent countless hours studying obscure details of Freud or post-structural lesbian feminism.  These same people sometimes purport to be “philosophical.” And for what? More often than not, to posture as a holier-than-thou jerk off. To argue over semantics that don’t matter.

Fortunately, there are a few philosophical systems that produce dramatic real-world results…without the nonsense. In other words, all substance instead of smoke.

The Obstacle Is The Way, penned by Ryan Holiday, is a collection of stories and principles about Stoicism, which I consider to be the ultimate personal “operating system” for entrepreneurs…or anyone who wants high performance under high stress.

Ryan became Director of Marketing at American Apparel at age 21 (!). He gets more heat, makes more high-stakes decisions, and take more risks in a given week than most people experience in any given quarter. He also happens to be a die-hard Stoic and incredible at putting the principles into practice.

If you want to be “anti-fragile” like Thomas Jefferson, Marcus Aurelius, and many of most dominant soldiers and investors in history, Stoicism offers the playbook.  If you want to make better decisions, if you want to smile when other people cower, it offers real tools.

To quote Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel, “Bad companies are destroyed by crisis. Good companies survive them. Great companies are improved by them.”

What if you could be a person who is improved by crisis? That would give you opportunities no one else can see, let alone grasp.

It will also make you a happier human being.

Check out The Obstacle Is The Way today:

I’m not the only one who loves it. Here are just a few of many:

“Follow these precepts and you will revolutionize your life. Read this book!”
—Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art and Gates of Fire

“A book for the bedside of every future–and current–leader in the world.”
—Robert Greene, author of The 48 Laws of Power and Mastery

“Ryan Holiday has written a brilliant and engaging book, well beyond his years…It is invaluable.”
—Honorable Frederic Block, Judge, U.S. District Court

Seriously, check out the book.

If you’d like to hear more of Ryan’s ideas, you might enjoy the podcast interview I recorded with him recently, which has gone nuts on social media:

Question of the day: What philosophies, guiding tenets, or quotes have you found most helpful in your own life? Please share in the comments!

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