Tony Robbins: How to Suffer Less (and Invest Intelligently)

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Whether you’d like to avoid unnecessary emotional suffering or unnecessary financial suffering, this post has something for you.

In my second podcast with Tony Robbins, he said that all fear comes from three triggers: loss, less, and never. He mentioned this in passing, and many of you asked for more details. This post will cover that and much more.

There are two parts:

1) Part 1 — Tony’s discussion of suffering and his framework of “loss, less, never.” This is a abridged excerpt from Tony’s newest book, Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook.  It’s exactly what thousands of you requested.

2) Part 2 — Many of you ask about how I take notes, and what I record when I read 1-2 books (or more) per week.  This is an example. Specifically, my highlights and notes on Tony’s book and investing.  If you’re interested in investing, the mindsets of billionaires, asset allocation, or avoiding losses, you’ll enjoy this.

PART 1 — HOW TO SUFFER LESS (IN TONY’S WORDS, BOLDING HIS)

The human brain isn’t designed to make us happy and fulfilled. It’s designed to make us survive.

This two-million-year-old organ is always looking for what’s wrong, for whatever can hurt us, so that we can either fight it or take flight from it. If you and I leave this ancient survival software to run the show, what chance do we have of enjoying life? An undirected mind operates naturally in survival mode, constantly identifying and magnifying these potential threats to our well-being. The result: a life filled with stress and anxiety.

Most people live this way since it’s the path of least resistance. They make unconscious decisions, based on habit and conditioning, and are at the mercy of their own minds. They assume that it’s just an inevitable part of life to get frustrated, stressed, sad, and angry—in other words, to live in a suffering state. But I’m happy to tell you there’s another path: one that involves directing your thoughts so that your mind does your bidding, not the other way around.

Now, before we go any further, let’s just clarify the difference between these two emotional and mental states:

A Beautiful State

When you feel love, joy, gratitude, awe, playfulness, ease, creativity, drive, caring, growth, curiosity, or appreciation, you’re in a beautiful state. In this state, you know exactly what to do, and you do the right thing. In this state, your spirit and your heart are alive, and the best of you comes out. Nothing feels like a problem, and everything flows. You feel no fear or frustration. You’re in harmony with your true essence.

A Suffering State

When you’re feeling stressed out, worried, frustrated, angry, depressed, irritable, overwhelmed, resentful, or fearful, you’re in a suffering state. We’ve all experienced these and countless other “negative” emotions, even if we’re not always keen to admit it! Most achievers much prefer to think they’re stressed than fearful. But “stress” is just the achiever word for fear. If I follow the trail of your stress, it’ll take me to your deepest fear.

Everyone has his or her own flavor of suffering. So here’s my question for you: What’s your favorite flavor of suffering? Which energy-sapping emotion do you indulge in most? Is it sadness? Frustration? Anger? Despair? Self-pity? Jealousy? Worry? The specific details don’t really matter because they’re all states of suffering. And all this suffering is really just the result of an undirected mind that’s hell-bent on looking for problems.

Think for a moment about a recent situation that caused you pain or suffering—a time when you felt frustrated or angry or worried or overwhelmed. Whenever you feel emotions like these, your sense of suffering is caused by your undirected mind engaging in one or more of three particular patterns of perception.

Consciously or unconsciously, you’re focused on at least one of three triggers for suffering:

1. Suffering trigger is “Loss.”

When you focus on loss, you become convinced that a particular problem has caused or will cause you to lose something you value. For example, you have a conflict with your spouse, and it leaves you feeling that you’ve lost love or respect. But it doesn’t have to be something someone else did—or failed to do—that caused you to perceive the sense of loss. This sense of loss can also be triggered by something you did or failed to do. For example, you procrastinated, and now you’ve lost a business opportunity. Whenever we believe in the illusion of loss, we suffer.

2. Suffering Trigger is “Less.”

When you focus on the idea that you have less or will have less, you will suffer. For example, you might become convinced that because a situation has occurred or a person has acted a certain way, you will have less joy, less money, less success, or some other painful consequence. Once again, less can be triggered by what you, or others, do or fail to do.

3. Suffering trigger is “Never.”

When you focus on the idea or become consumed by a belief that you’ll never have something you value—such as love, joy, respect, wealth, opportunity—you’re doomed to suffer, you’ll never be happy, you’ll never become the person you want to be. This pattern of perception is a surefire route to pain. Remember: the mind is always trying to trick us into a survival mindset! So never say never! For example, because of an illness, an injury, or because of something your brother did or said, you might believe that you’ll never get over it.

These three patterns of focus account for most, if not all, of our suffering. And you know what’s crazy? It doesn’t even matter if the problem is real or not! Whatever we focus on, we feel—regardless of what actually happened. Have you ever had the experience of thinking that a friend did something horrible to you? You became tremendously angry and upset, only to discover that you were dead wrong and that the person didn’t deserve all that blame! In the midst of your suffering, when all those negative emotions were swirling inside your head, the reality didn’t matter. Your focus created your feelings, and your feelings created your experience. Notice too that most, if not all, of our suffering is caused by focusing or obsessing about ourselves and what we might lose, have less of, or never have.

But here’s the good news: once you’re aware of these patterns of focus, you can systematically change them, thereby freeing yourself from these habits of suffering. It all starts with the realization that this involves a conscious choice. Either you master your mind or it masters you. The secret of living an extraordinary life is to take control of the mind since this alone will determine whether you live in a suffering state or a beautiful state.

IN THE END, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE POWER OF DECISIONS

Our lives are shaped not by our conditions, but by our decisions. If you look back on the last 5 or 10 years I’d be willing to bet that you can recall a decision or two that has truly changed your life. Maybe it was a decision about where to go to school, what profession to pursue, or who you chose to love or marry. Looking back on it now, can you see how radically different your life would be today if you had made a different decision? These and so many other decisions determine the direction of your life and can change your destiny.

So what’s the biggest decision you can make in your life right now? In the past, I would have told you that what matters most is who you decide to spend your time with, who you decide to love. After all, the company you keep will powerfully shape who you become.

But over the last two years, my thinking has evolved. What I’ve come to realize is that the single most important decision in life is this: Are you committed to being happy, no matter what happens to you?

To put this another way, will you commit to enjoying life not only when everything goes your way but also when everything goes against you, when injustice happens, when someone screws you over, when you lose something or someone you love, or when nobody seems to understand or appreciate you? Unless we make this definitive decision to stop suffering and live in a beautiful state, our survival minds will create suffering whenever our desires, expectations, or preferences are not met. What a waste of so much of our lives!

This is a decision that can change everything in your life, starting today. But it’s not enough just to say that you’d like to make this change or that your preference is to be happy no matter what. You have to own this decision, do whatever it takes to make it happen, and cut off any possibility of turning back. If you want to take the island, you have to burn the boats. You have to decide that you’re 100% responsible for your state of mind and for your experience of this life.

What it really comes down to is drawing a line in the sand today and declaring, “I’m done with suffering. I’m going to live every day to the fullest and find juice in every moment, including the ones I don’t like, BECAUSE LIFE IS JUST TOO SHORT TO SUFFER.”

PART 2 — HOW TO INVEST MORE INTELLIGENTLY

[TIM: The below is a small sample of my notes from Tony’s newest book, Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook.  I originally captured these notes in Evernote.]

Paul Tudor Jones questions:

“Is this truly the hard trade (something others can’t easily replicate)? Does it really have asymmetric risk/reward? Is it a five-to-one or a three-to-one? What’s the entry point? Where are your stops?”

Pg. 36, -38% year — TF: How long to recover to baseline if you entered that year?

The stock market is a device for transferring money from the impatient to the patient—WARREN BUFFETT

****TF:  If corrections of 10% come once per year, couldn’t I hold cash and simply have that trigger purchases 1x per year?  Or wait for 20% “bear market” drop, then invest?

“Buffett did just that in late 2008, investing in fallen giants such as Goldman Sachs and General Electric, which were selling at once-in-a-lifetime valuations. Better still, he structured these investments in ways that reduced his risk even further. For example, he invested $5 billion in a special class of “preferred” shares of Goldman Sachs, which guaranteed him a dividend of 10% a year while he waited for the stock price to recover.

And/Or: Go with index fund

Showmethefees.com for 401(k) plan fees, etc. http://getasecondopinion.com/ for Tony’s Creative Planning

pg. 78

In the interests of cutting through the confusion, I’m going to make this as simple and straightforward as possible. In reality, all financial advisors fall into just one of three categories. What you really need to know is whether your advisor is:

  • a broker,
  • an independent advisor (RIA)***, or
  • a dually registered advisor.

Now let’s break this down in more detail so you know exactly what you’re dealing with.

Question to ask: Do you act as a “fiduciary” [what you want] or a “broker” or both?

Wealth manager needs to understand taxes, insurance, etc.

7 QUESTIONS FOR WEALTH ADVISORS

1. Are You a Registered Investment Advisor? If the answer is no, this advisor is a broker. Smile sweetly and say good-bye. If the answer is yes, he or she is required by law to be a fiduciary. But you still need to figure out if this fiduciary is wearing one hat or two.

2. Are You (or Your Firm) Affiliated with a Broker-Dealer? If the answer is yes, you’re dealing with someone who can act as a broker and usually has an incentive to steer you to specific investments. One easy way to figure this out is to glance at the bottom of the advisor’s website or business card and see if there’s a sentence like this: “Securities offered through [advisor’s company name], member FINRA and SIPC.” This refers to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, respectively. If you see these words, it means he or she can act as a broker. If so, run! Run for your life!

3. Does Your Firm Offer Proprietary Mutual Funds or Separately Managed Accounts? You want the answer to be an emphatic no. If the answer is yes, then watch your wallet like a hawk! It probably means they’re looking to generate additional revenues by steering you into these products that are highly profitable for them (but probably not for you).

4. Do You or Your Firm Receive Any Third-Party Compensation for Recommending Particular Investments? This is the ultimate question you want answered. Why? Because you need to know that your advisor has no incentive to recommend products that will shower him or her with commissions, kickbacks, consulting fees, trips, or other goodies.

5. What’s Your Philosophy When It Comes to Investing? This will help you to understand whether or not the advisor believes that he or she can beat the market by picking individual stocks or actively managed funds. Over time, that’s a losing game unless the person is a total superstar like Ray Dalio or Warren Buffett. Between you and me, they’re probably not.

6. What Financial Planning Services Do You Offer Beyond Investment Strategy and Portfolio Management? Investment help may be all you need, depending on your stage of life. But as you grow older and/or you become more wealthy with various holdings to manage, things often become more complex financially: for example, you may need to deal with saving for a child’s college education, retirement planning, handling your vested stock options, or estate planning. Most advisors have limited capabilities once they venture beyond investing. As mentioned, most aren’t legally allowed to offer tax advice due to their broker status. Ideally, you want an advisor who can bring tools for tax efficiency in all aspects of your planning—from your investment planning to your business planning to your estate planning.

7. Where Will My Money Be Held? A fiduciary advisor should always use a third-party custodian to hold your funds. For example, Fidelity, Schwab, and TD Ameritrade all have custodial arms that will keep your money in a secure environment. You then sign a limited power of attorney that gives the advisor the right to manage the money but never to make withdrawals. The good news about this arrangement is that if you ever want to fire your advisor, you don’t have to move your accounts. You can simply hire a new advisor who can take over managing your accounts without missing a beat. This custodial system also protects you from the danger of getting fleeced by a con man like Bernie Madoff.

PAUL TUDOR JONES

“The most important thing for me is that defense is 10 times more important than offense. . . . You have to be very focused on protecting the downside at all times.”

Paul Tudor Jones, who uses a “five-to-one rule” to guide his investment decisions. “I’m risking one dollar in the expectation that I’ll make five,”

RAY DALIO

“What I realized is nobody knows and nobody ever will,” he says. “So I have to design an asset allocation that, even if I’m wrong, I’ll still be okay.”

TONY TO ADVISORS

“Don’t even bring me an investment idea unless you first tell me how we can protect against or minimize the downside.”

TAXES

Cap gains of 20% versus 50% for income. “Believe me, all the billionaires I’ve ever met have one attribute in common: they and their advisors are really smart about taxes! They know that it’s not what they earn that counts. It’s what they keep. That’s real money, which they can spend, reinvest, or give away to improve the lives of others.”

Tony: “Of course, I don’t start with taxes. That would be a severe mistake. I always start with a focus on not losing money and on getting asymmetric risk/reward. Then, before making any investment, I make a point of asking, “How tax efficient is this going to be? And is there any way we could make it more tax efficient?””  Focus on after-tax returns and consider MLPs (p. 108).

DIVERSIFICATION

  1. Diversify Across Different Asset Classes. Avoid putting all your money in real estate, stocks, bonds, or any single investment class.

  2. Diversify Within Asset Classes. Don’t put all your money in a favorite stock such as Apple, or a single MLP, or one piece of waterfront real estate that could be washed away in a storm.

  3. ***Diversify Across Markets, Countries, and Currencies Around the World. We live in a global economy, so don’t make the mistake of investing solely in your own country.

  4. Diversify Across Time. You’re never going to know the right time to buy anything. But if you keep adding to your investments systematically over months and years (in other words, dollar-cost averaging), you’ll reduce your risk and increase your returns over time.

David Swensen:

Of course, there are many different ways of diversifying. I discuss this in detail in Money: Master the Game, laying out the exact asset allocations recommended by Ray and other financial gurus, such as Jack Bogle and David Swensen. For example, David told me how individual investors can diversify by owning low-cost index funds that invest in six “really important” asset classes: US stocks, international stocks, emerging-market stocks, real estate investment trusts (REITs), long-term US Treasuries, and Treasury Inflation-Protected securities (TIPS). He even shared the precise percentages that he would recommend allocating to each.

Ray Dalio:

Aim for 15 uncorrelated bets. “The holy grail of investing is to have 15 or more good—they don’t have to be great—uncorrelated bets.” In other words, everything comes down to owning an array of attractive assets that don’t move in tandem. That’s how you ensure survival and success. In his case, this includes investments in stocks, bonds, gold, commodities, real estate, and other alternatives. Ray emphasized that, by owning 15 uncorrelated investments, you can reduce your overall risk “by about 80%,” and “you’ll increase the return-to-risk ratio by a factor of five. So, your return is five times greater by reducing that risk.”

SURVIVING/THRIVING IN BEAR MARKETS

Sir John Templeton’s famous remark: “The four most expensive words in investing are ‘This time it’s different.’

Tony co-author, Peter Mallouk: “Throughout the crash, we continued to invest heavily in the stock market on behalf of our clients. We took profits from strong asset classes such as bonds and invested the proceeds in weak asset classes such as US small-cap and large-cap stocks, international stocks, and emerging-market stocks. Instead of betting on individual companies, we bought index funds, which gave us instant diversification (at a low cost) across these massively undervalued markets”

On average, the market is down about one in every four years. You need to recognize this reality so you won’t be shocked when stocks tumble—and so you’ll avoid excessive risks. At the same time, it’s useful to recognize that the market has made money three out of every four years.

One reason why the best investors are so successful is that they override the natural tendency to be fearful during periods of market turmoil. Take Howard Marks. In the last 15 weeks of 2008, when financial markets were imploding, he told me that his team at Oaktree Capital Management invested about $500 million a week in distressed debt. That’s right! They invested half a billion dollars a week for 15 straight weeks during a time when many thought the end times had arrived! “It was obvious that everybody was suicidal,” Howard told me. “In general, that’s a good time to buy.”

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS THAT CO-AUTHOR LIKES

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITS). I’m sure you know people who’ve done well by investing directly in residential property. But most of us can’t afford to diversify by owning a slew of houses or apartments. That’s one reason why I like to invest in publicly traded real estate investment trusts (REITs).

Private Equity Funds

Master Limited Partnerships. I’m a big fan of MLPs, which are publicly traded partnerships that typically invest in energy infrastructure, including oil and gas pipelines. What’s the appeal? As Tony mentioned in the last chapter, we sometimes recommend MLPs because they pay out a lot of income in a tax-efficient way. They don’t make sense for many investors (especially if you’re young or have your money in an IRA), but they can be great for an investor who is over 50 and has a large, taxable account.

p. 132 — Doesn’t like gold or hedgefunds

REBALANCING

Burton Malkiel: Unsuccessful investors tend to “buy the thing that’s gone up and sell the thing that’s gone down.” One benefit of rebalancing, says Malkiel, is that it “makes you do the opposite,” forcing you to buy assets when they’re out of favor and undervalued. You’ll profit richly when they recover.

[Read more on investing from Tony here.]

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Jerrod Carmichael – Uber-Productivity and Dangerous Comedy

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“Everyone’s looking for rules to follow, and the sooner you realize there aren’t any, the better art can be.”
– Jerrod Carmichael

Jerrod Carmichael (@NotoriousROD) is pushing the boundaries of comedy with his groundbreaking work in stand-up, television, and film. Now just 29 years old, what this driven North Carolina native has accomplished is mind-boggling, and 2017 is going to be his biggest year yet.

Jerrod stars in the hit NBC series The Carmichael Show, which he also writes and executive produces. The third season of the show premieres in 2017. In March of 2017, Jerrod will star in his second stand-up comedy special on HBO, directed by Bo Burnham. He made his debut on HBO in 2014 with his critically acclaimed one-hour special, Love at the Store, directed by Spike Lee.

Love at the Store is the funniest standup special I’ve seen in many years, and it’s the reason I reached out to Jerrod. It left me in hysterics on a transatlantic flight and terrified everyone. I couldn’t stop laughing out loud. It’s that good.

On the big screen this June, Jerrod joins the cast of Michael Bay’s Transformers: The Last Knight, opposite Mark Wahlberg, Josh Duhamel, and Anthony Hopkins. He’ll also appear in James Franco’s The Masterpiece (originally titled The Disaster Artist), set to be released in 2017.

In the summer of 2016, Jerrod reprised his role as ‘Garf’ in the Universal comedy sequel Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising opposite Seth Rogen and Zac Efron. He also starred as ‘Freddy’ opposite Rose Byrne, Susan Sarandon, and J.K. Simmons in Lorene Scafaria’s The Meddler, which was released in April of 2016.

Jerrod recently announced his upcoming authorial debut with an as-yet-untitled memoir. The novel will be published by Random House.

Please enjoy my wide-ranging conversation with Jerrod Carmichael!

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Want to hear another episode with a standup comedian? — Listen to Whitney Cummings on the podcast. In this episode, we discuss emotional intelligence, how to overcome workaholic tendencies, managing instant gratification and much, much more (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.

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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 and world-famous investors. It has exploded in popularity in the last two years and now has more than $5 billion under management. In fact, some of my good investor friends in Silicon Valley have millions of their own money in Wealthfront. 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. Or, as I would, you can set it and forget it. Well worth a few minutes: wealthfront.com/tim.

QUESTION(S) 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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Mr. Money Mustache — Living Beautifully on $25-27K Per Year

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Photo credit: Mrs. Money Mustache

Photo credit: Mrs. Money Mustache

“You’re not supposed to optimize for money; you’re supposed to optimize for happiness.”
– Mr. Money Mustache (AKA Pete Adeney)

Mr. Money Mustache (@mrmoneymustache — Pete Adeney in real life) grew up in Canada in a family of mostly eccentric musicians. He graduated with a degree in computer engineering in the 1990s and worked in various tech companies before retiring at age 30. Pete, his wife, and their now eleven-year-old son live near Boulder, Colorado, and have not had real jobs since 2005.

This begs the question of “How?” In essence, they accomplished this early retirement by optimizing all aspects of their lifestyle for maximal fun at minimal expense, and by using basic index-fund investing. Their average annual expenses total a mere $25-27,000, and they do not feel in want of anything.

Since 2005, all three of them have explored a free-form life of interesting projects, side-businesses, and adventures.

In 2011, Pete started writing the Mr. Money Mustache blog about his philosophy, which has grown to reach about 23 million different people (and 300 million page views) since its founding. It has become a worldwide cult phenomenon, with a self-organizing community and incredible news coverage. This episode explores his story, philosophies, and routines.

Enjoy!

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Want to hear another podcast about earning and saving wealth? — In this episode with Ramit Sethi, we dig into the nitty-gritty tools, software, and experiments he’s used to turn a college side project into a multi-million-dollar business with 30+ employees. (stream below or right-click here to download):



This podcast is brought to you by Varidesk. You’ve probably heard of research concluding that sitting all day is terrible for you (“sitting is the new smoking” is a phrase I hear a lot). But standing all day isn’t an option for everyone, either.

My assistant and I have been enjoying the use of Varidesk, the middle ground that effortlessly converts your standard desk to a standing desk (and back again) in seconds. It comes fully assembled — just take it out of the box, put it on your desktop, and go. Models start at just $175; check out Varidesk.com to see which one might be the right fit for you. It even comes with a 30-day, hassle-free return policy if you decide it’s not your style. That’s Varidesk.com.

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 and world-famous investors. It has exploded in popularity in the last two years and now has more than $5 billion under management. In fact, some of my good investor friends in Silicon Valley have millions of their own money in Wealthfront. 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. Or, as I would, you can set it and forget it.  Well worth a few minutes: wealthfront.com/tim.

QUESTION(S) 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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Soman Chainani — The School for Good and Evil

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Soman Chainani

“I don’t like depending on my art for income, because then I start to think in a mercenary way.”
– Soman Chainani

Soman Chainani (@SomanChainani) is a detailed planner, filmmaker, and New York Times best selling author.

Soman’s debut fiction series, The School for Good and Evil, has sold more than a million copies, has been translated into more than twenty languages across six continents, and will soon be a film from Universal Pictures.

A graduate of Harvard University and Columbia University’s MFA Film Program, Soman began his career as a screenwriter and director, with his films playing at over 150 film festivals around the world. He was recently named to the Out100 and has received the $100,000 Shasha Grant and the Sun Valley Writer’s Fellowship, both for debut writers. Special thanks to mutual friend Brian Koppelman for making the introduction!

Grab a notebook, pay attention, and please enjoy my conversation with Soman Chainani!

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Want to hear a podcast with an award-winning movie maker? — Listen to my conversation with Brian Koppelman, co-writer/producer of Rounders, The Illusionist, and Ocean’s Thirteen. In this episode, we explore how he got started, how he handles rejection, his big breaks, creative process, and much more (stream below or right-click here to download):



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

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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

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Rust and Iron, Episode 2: Powerlifter Mark Bell

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In this episode of Rust and Iron®, we visit one of the most intense training environments in the world, Super Training Gym.

Founded by Mark Bell, Super Training Gym is oftentimes referred to as “the strongest gym in the west.” Prior to opening his own gym, he spent years studying and training under the legendary Louie Simmons at Westside Barbell.

In this video, Mark shares some of his favorite tools, odd exercises, and more.

Mark’s best “geared” lifts in competition include a 1,025-pound (465 kg) squat, an 832-pound (377 kg) bench press, and a 738-pound (335 kg) deadlift.

Mark is also the inventor of the patented Slingshot, a device utilized to assist a lifter in maintaining proper bench press form, while also allowing the lifter to use more weight or perform more reps.

I traveled to Sacramento for a full tour of Super Training Gym, which has been named one of the “Best Gyms in America” by Men’s Health magazine and also was awarded “Powerlifting Gym of the Year” in 2009.

Enjoy!

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Lessons from Warren Buffett, Bobby Fischer, and Other Outliers

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Adam Robinson and Warren Buffet

“Geniuses have very limited toolsets — they have a hammer, and their genius is in looking for nails.”
– Adam Robinson

Adam Robinson (@IAmAdamRobinson) first appeared on this podcast in the “Becoming the Best Version of You” episode (#210) alongside Josh Waitzkin (chess, jiu-jitsu, investing) and Ramit Sethi (personal finance, entrepreneurship).

By popular demand, this is a dedicated episode of Adam’s stories and life lessons.

Adam Robinson has made a lifelong study of outflanking and outsmarting the competition. He is a rated chess master who was awarded a Life Title by the United States Chess Federation. As a teenager, he was personally mentored by Bobby Fischer in the 18 months leading up to his winning the world championship.

Then, in his first career, he developed a revolutionary approach to taking standardized tests as one of the two original co-founders of The Princeton Review. His paradigm-breaking — or “category killing,” as they say in publishing — test-prep book, The SAT: Cracking the System, is the only test-prep book ever to have become a New York Times bestseller. After selling his interest in The Princeton Review, Adam turned his attention in the early ’90s to the then-emerging field of artificial intelligence, developing a program that could analyze text and provide human-like commentary. He was later invited to join a well-known quant fund to develop statistical trading models, and since, he has established himself as an independent global macro advisor to the chief investment officers of a select group of the world’s most successful hedge funds and family offices.

In his spare time, he’s also become pen pals with Warren Buffett.

This is a wide-ranging conversation (aka conversational parkour) with lots of takeaways. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed recording it!

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Want to hear another podcast with Adam Robinson?In this episode, we discuss a variety of topics on business, wealth, and happiness, and are joined by Ramit Sethi and Josh Waitzkin (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 and world-famous investors. It has exploded in popularity in the last two years and now has more than $4B under management. In fact, some of my good investor friends in Silicon Valley have millions of their own money in Wealthfront. 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. Or, as I would, you can set it and forget it.  Well worth a few minutes: 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, which is non-spec. 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 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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The Most Feared and Well-Liked Journalist in Silicon Valley – Kara Swisher

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“Smart people like to be challenged and they like smart people challenging them.”
– Kara Swisher

Kara Swisher (@karaswisher) has been called “Silicon Valley’s most feared and well-liked journalist” by New York Magazine. Here’s just one example: you can graph the impact on Yahoo’s stock price by various posts by Kara. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

She attended Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service prior to changing course to journalism. It turns out many of the skills that would make a good spy are those that make a good journalist: developing sources, asking good questions, scenario planning, and much more. She forged her reputation at the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, and now she spends the majority of her time as Executive Editor of Recode and the host of the Recode Decode podcast.

Over the last 11 years and alongside Walt Mossberg, she has also co-produced D: All Things Digital, a major high-tech conference with interviewees such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and many other leading players in the tech and media industries.

In this podcast episode, she and I cover a lot of subjects, enjoy quite a few laughs, and dig into details you can readily apply and test yourself. Topics include:

  • The art and craft of good questions
  • Lessons learned and favorite moments from interviewing Steve Jobs
  • What separates good from great journalists
  • War stories, missed opportunities, and “optimistic pessimism”

I hope that you enjoy this episode with Kara Swisher!

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Want to hear a podcast with another influential journalist? — Listen to my conversation with Ezra Klein. In this episode, we discuss influencing the rules of the game by which this country is run (overall politics — not partisan), how Ezra lost 60 pounds, and his ascension into the ranks of the most respected media companies in the world (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. Listeners of The Tim Ferriss Show get $100 worth of travel packs for free when placing an order — that’s twenty free additional travel pouches — at AthleticGreens.com/Tim.

This podcast is also brought to you by MeUndiesDoes this year’s Valentine’s Day have you stumped? Skip the cliches and give a gift that looks great, feels amazing, and makes everybody happy: MeUndies. MeUndies knows that your special someone deserves a special fabric, which is why their underwear is made exclusively out of MicroModal, a fabric three times softer than cotton. 

I’ve spent the last six months wearing underwear from these guys 24/7, and they are the most comfortable and colorful underwear I’ve ever owned. If you don’t love your first pair of MeUndies, they’ll hook you up with a new pair or a refund. They offer free shipping and, for a limited time, listeners get 20% off their first order. Just go to MeUndies.com/tim. That’s MeUndies.com/tim.

QUESTION(S) 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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