Secret of Success of Tim Ferriss

Editor’s Note: A Great Article by Scott Dinsmore of LIVE YOUR LEGEND

How Tim Ferriss Ensures Success: The One No-Brainer Thing You Must Do Daily (it’s not what you think)

“You are 100% in control of what you learn and how good you become at something. No one can take that from you.”
Last week I had dinner with Tim Ferriss and a few other entrepreneurs in San Francisco. One of them was Michael Ellsberg, who just published a new book The Education of Millionaires. He also recently wrote a killer article article on Tim’s blog, 8 Steps to Getting What You Want… Without Formal Credentials, that’s very worth the read.

I absolutely love these nights. They get me shaking with ideas and possibility. At a table like that, nothing is impossible.

Spending time with these guys got me thinking.

There is one thing that, above all others, ensures that you are able to find and do work you love everyday. And it’s something quite easy and totally within your control (p.s. that combo is incredibly rare so listen up).

Whether it’s Tim, Michael, Tony Robbins or any of the other Living Legends I’ve spent time with over the years, there is one thing they do every single day without fail. One thing that guarantees their success. That makes passionate work the only option.

They Learn.

They learn everything they freaking can.

Tony Robbins read over 700 books on psychology and Neurolinguistic Programming and tested everything out in real life and on real people. He never got a degree in psychology but he has arguably become more effective than anyone in the space.

And Tim Ferriss is constantly learning something new. That’s the whole premise of The 4-Hour Work Week, his blog and Lifestyle Design in general. Every mini retirement of his involves two new skill acquisitions, one mental and one physical. Maybe it’s the sport of hurling and learning Gaelic in Ireland or studying Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and learning Portuguese in Rio. And when he’s at home in San Francisco, he’s constantly experimenting with things (when I worked out with him last year he had just gotten his Level II Kettlebell certification). It’s endless.

For these guys, the learning never stops.

The interesting thing is that it doesn’t really matter what you learn. What matters is you learn something. That you are constantly dedicated and even obsessed with improvement and understanding new things.

The possibilities are literally limitless – here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Watch a 10-18 minute TED Talk every morning
  • Attend a local TED event (I’ve got tickets to a TEDxSF event tomorrow night-can’t wait!)
  • Read something, anything
  • Always have a book under your arm (or saved on your phone or iPad)
  • Grab a journal and record some recent lessons, epiphanies and ideas
  • Take a personality test
  • Attend a seminar
  • Save articles throughout the day to a program like Read It Later and then spend an hour or two on a weekend absorbing the new ideas
  • Take a mentor out to dinner
  • Spend time with a business owner
  • Talk ideas with a passionate person
  • Complete an online course via Traindom or Skill Share
  • Read guides and take courses from successful entrepreneurs (this week’s 3-day entrepreneurship sale is a great place to start). More on that at the end of this post (plus a free chapter of Live Off Your Passion).

These are just a start. I don’t care what you learn. Just do something.

As I’m sure you’ve gathered, I am obsessed with learning. I love it. I do it nonstop. I have ever since I spent a year in Sevilla around 2004.

But it wasn’t always like that. Prior to that trip I didn’t read anything I didn’t have to, I didn’t spend much time around inspiring people and hadn’t attended a single seminar or workshop. I also was bored to death with my work and rarely woke up excited.

The difference is massive and nearly instant.

All it takes is making the decision to start with a few minutes each morning. Pick something from the above list or invent your own. Let the momentum build.

Don’t wait for anyone

A few months back a recent college grad, whom I’ve been mentoring, reached out to me via email. I hadn’t heard from him in a while and was eager to read the update.

The email was depressing.

He told me a story of how he’d recently lost his job and was now helping out part-time as an assistant to his old high school wrestling coach. While it was work he genuinely enjoyed (hat’s off to that!), it wasn’t coming close to paying the bills and he had decided to move back in with his parents to get back on his feet.

I could feel his pain. I’d been there. In fact when I launched my first business years ago, I moved in with my folks for a few months. It was humbling to say the least (especially given that I was planning to propose to my girlfriend soon…), but those months at home were also some of the best times I’ve ever spent with my mom and dad.

As I read his update, the most frightening part of his email was not his situation but moreso his attitude. He talked of how nothing he was trying, none of the interviews he was doing, had been successful. He was losing hope and didn’t know what to do.

This is a very very dangerous place to be. As we all should know by now, with the right beliefs and conviction, just about anything is possible. But once you lose hope and excitement, things start to feel, and even become, anything but doable.

My friend had fallen into the waiting trap. He was sitting around waiting to hear back from an ad he’d seen, for a new posting to hit craigslist, from an email response to a resume he’d sent or an interview he’d had.

He was waiting.

The problem is that when you decide to spend your time waiting for someone else to act, you give up control. With that you give up possibility.

My response to him was simple…

Whatever you do, whatever you hear or don’t hear from those around you, you absolutely have to stay committed to one thing. You must never stop learning. It’s something you control 100% (very few things do we have that much control over). Do it every single day.

There should never be a moment where you have nothing to do or when you are sitting around waiting. Especially if you’re not happy with life. Open that book. Take that online course. Have lunch with that mentor or business owner. Go to that seminar. Put your ideas up on a blog.

Most the stuff is free and available in a instant to those motivated to consume it.

Do something. Anything.

No one can keep you from becoming insanely good at things. No one.

You can become an expert at nearly anything if you want it badly enough. And when you’re an expert, people will want to pay you for your help. Suddenly you don’t just start to have relevant and marketable skills and experience, but you start to have real cash in your pocket as a result. That’s unbelievably empowering.

Two years ago I knew next to nothing about online business. Today, people are eager to pay me upwards of $150-200/hour to help them on the subject. I worked my ass off to become an expert and it’s paying off in ways I can’t describe. That’s the only thing that has put me where I am right now.

All of it comes back to learning. To loving to learn and doing it routinely.

You are in more control than you think.

If you are not where you want to be professionally or personally, you should be doing something daily to get you closer to a world that makes you come alive.

Big or small, it doesn’t matter.

So, what are you going to learn today?

Raj Bapna writes:

To get the success you desire, identify people who are true experts and get their mentoring, coaching, seminar, or course. That is the fastest way to achieve your dreams.

I repeat the question from Scott, “So, what are you going to learn today?”

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