3 Lessons from Tim Ferriss

I write up notes from the James Altucher podcast. From his talk with Tim Ferris these are three things I learned.

  1. “Some impossibles are negotiable.” Who says that you can’t do something? Sure, there are something I can’t do. After reading An Astronaut’s Guide to Live on Earth, I can very easily rule out that I’ll ever be an astronaut. The level of training, intelligence, luck, skills, and patience are well beyond what I could achieve — even if I dropped everything today. But does that preclude me from going to space? I could start a business, make a lot of money, and pay for a private company trip.
  2. “Learn before you earn.” Ferriss said that when he moved to Silicon Valley he was interested first in learning how things worked rather than making money. Learning is hard to figure out because there’s no number. How do you know when you know enough? Brian Koppelman (writer of Rounders, Solitary Man) tells the story about trying to be a standup comedian. Koppelman said that one thing he had to learn was to shut down hecklers, but do so without losing the audience. He couldn’t rip into them and ruin the mood of the room. Instead he had to knock them down in a humorous manner. That’s the sort of nuanced approach a comedian needs to know and those filigrees of knowledge exist in every field.
  3. Get rid of your nebulous fears. Ferriss says that “people have a nebulous fear of worst case scenarios.” Instead, try to predict why something bad will happen. Pretend it’s a year from now, something didn’t work, ask why. You can also ask if your fears are terminal. In many cases they aren’t and they’re part and parcel of life. Jay Jay French went through 10 iterations of Twisted Sister before he met Dee Snider. Those previous 10 times failed because of guns, drugs, or a van held for ransom. Each time was a failed version of the band, but none of those failures killed his dream.
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