The Prescription for Self-Doubt: Watch This Video

Business icons, superstar professional athletes, billionaires — it doesn’t matter how rich or how accomplished — I’ve had them all tell me the same thing…

There are moments when you feel the world is too much. Days and even weeks when you want to (or perhaps do) pull up the covers and half-sleep in bed until nightfall, avoiding a feeling of hopelessness that seems insurmountable. Long-awaited deals fall through without warning, haters attack you without reason or fact, circumstances turn good decisions into awful realities — sometimes it just feels like the deck is stacked against you and there is nothing you can do about it.

I’ve felt the same on more than a few occasions, and more are coming.

Entrepreneurs in particular seem prone to feeling on top of the world one minute, only to feel crushed by it the next.

To this breed, I assure you all: in our species, it’s normal.

It’s an integral part of building anything remarkable, whether a business, a relationship, or a life. Expanding your sphere of comfort and abilities comes with a cost: repeated self-doubt.

I thank my mother for forwarding me the above video to put things in perspective. In your moments of self-doubt, I encourage you to watch it and meditate on all of the things you’ve done that you once considering impossible. The odds you’ve overcome, the critics you’ve proven wrong, and the small defeats that — through making you stronger and smarter — made huge victories possible later.

Get back up. Bigger and better things are waiting for you.

Related and suggested reading:

Harnessing Entrepreneurial Manic-Depression: Making the Rollercoaster Work for You

Depression: How You Label Determines How You Feel

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

Leave a Reply

Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration.)

314 Replies to “The Prescription for Self-Doubt: Watch This Video”

  1. Ah hell as my previous comment might’ve indicated I was feeling sorry for myself. Then I actually watched the video you posted and it kicked my ass.


  2. The power of comparison and contrast is awesome..Puts things in perspective. I just started an another semester at school and am feeling Mad overwhelmed. Accounting & Statistics.. Why did I sign up for these classes in the same semester? Money is tight, launched new website.. etc. etc.

    Good Post Tim

    Thanks man

  3. Hi All,

    Nic came to my school when I was in year 11.

    It is a fantastic performance he puts on watching him on stage. It will make you laugh and cry so much while at the same time, making you question why you are laughing at someone’s misfortunes. This really brings tears to your eyes.

    It is such an inspiration to watch such a talented person do what he is able to do no matter what the circumstances.

  4. Thank you Tim. read your book, love your blog…but this was so much more, will pass it on to my kids, again….thank you.


  5. Hey Tim,

    Thanks for sharing this video with us. It never fail to inspire me whenever I watch a video of Nick. I wish him the best and I hope his story can inspire more people. I wrote an article on Nick and I hope you guys like it [URL in name per comment rules].



    Personal Development Blogger

  6. Yup, was having one of those days. A friend sent me this link. (Don’t you love synchronicity?) Nic is extraordinary. I want to thank you for your comments as well, Tim. I am building something extraordinary. I’d temporarily forgotten, being on the rollercoaster and all, until I read your post. Instantly, I laughed and reminded myself how incredibly grateful I am to be on this rollercoaster and not ‘stuck’ in the doldrums of same job, same stuff, same work hours, every day, day in, day out. A great lift, thank you!

  7. The crazy thing is, I’ve seen this guy speak at a church a while back, and it was inspiring enough at the time for me to purchase the video for my family…..but that was a very temporary fix. This was a very good reminder of just how blessed I am. If I ever think I am lacking of things to be grateful for, I should remember this guy, and be ever so thankful that I have limbs, and have so much potential – even without limbs, this guy is running circles around me.

  8. Thanks Tim.

    What an awesome man. I used to think this stuff was just syrupy stuff that played with our emotions, but now I really believe that it is pointing to something deep inside all of us (or at least many of us) that says you are a good person and the people you share the earth with are too and to be brave and open your heart.

    World’s Strongest Dad points to the same thing that we all have inside of us. To be stronger, to get back up, and to take care of our fellow man and do something good in the world.

  9. What an amazing attitude towards life… Really puts things into perspective – I’ll think twice next time I get angry at the way things temporarily go.

  10. Thank you. This might just have saved my sanity. Facing bankruptcy, the trauma of moving across continents back home (twice in a year now) and the feeling that I have no place and little hope or money – it’s all rubbish. It’s only temporary and as he mentioned, there’s a bigger plan.

    Again, thank you.

  11. Ok time for a dissenting opinion here, I’ll try not to make it a rant…

    I think that using Nick’s story as a soppy, piano-soundtracked, emotion-laden source of inspiration completely misses the point. Why does so much unnecessary drama have to be injected into a message in order to give it perceived value and deem it effective for human consumption? UGH!

    Look, I totally appreciate that he’s an inspiration. But why do people even need someone like Nick to be able to say “hey, I feel so lucky about my life when I see someone like him?” and in turn feel artificially good about themselves?

    Despite popular belief, self-esteem and confidence are not things that are rated by some kind of warped comparative analysis with someone else or even a peer group! It’s strictly dictated and given a value by its bearer, you. You and no one else.

    When I see things like this so mishandled with grandstanding and emotional music, it’s just disturbing to me. It’s so demeaning and antithetical to what Nick’s real message is. And his message is quite simple: “Hey, I’m living a great life and doing all this cool shit despite the fact that I have no legs or arms! Quit bitching or whining, and sort it out!”. It doesn’t need to be glorified or elevated, does it?

    Oftentimes, people place themselves under extreme artificially inflated amounts of pressure and stress in their drive to “succeed” because they think they have to endure it. Tim said:

    “building anything remarkable, whether a business, a relationship, or a life. Expanding your sphere of comfort and abilities comes with a cost: repeated self-doubt”.

    Really now? I think it’s plain to say that anything worth having in life involves a challenge. No question about it. But I think that most people challenge themselves in completely the wrong way in their quests. Further, they find themselves chasing an elusive ideal for happiness. An illusion.

    I know, I was one of those people. It wasn’t until I actually realized that the things that can actually make you happy are things that are really so simple and attainable vs. what is pitched upon us all by the conventional world. Once I understood that, all the self-doubt in the world couldn’t stop me from achieving my life’s dream. Nick’s advantage over all of us, is that he kept his “challenges” in perspective, overcame them despite the odds, and self-inflicted “self-doubt” and got it done. Commendable? Absolutely. Special, unique, or difficult to do? Not at all.

    If people just stopped for a moment, REALLY STOPPED and identified the things in their life that they need to TRULY make them happy, things would become aligned in a way for them that self-doubt would almost cease to come into play as a threat to reaching their goals. As Nick plainly shows, self-doubt simply ceases to have any effect. I know it sounds crazy, but believe me, it’s true.

    Sorry for the lengthy comment guys, had to get it off my chest. 😉

  12. Tim, Nick, wonderful wonderful.

    I left home when I was 14. I was homeless in NY. There was so much pain and confusion at the time, but when I was 17 I made a choice to live and to live differently. I am happy and I am content, and have been for more than 30 years now. As a Career Coach, my First Step direction to candidates will now be “watch this.”

    Thanks for posting this. Absolutely.

  13. Makes me forget all about the $120,000 in hard cash I lost in Real Estate Speculation.

    Hey Tim…What BLOG program did you use to set up this BLOG?

    I’d like to start my own BLOG, but not sure yet which Blogging program I should use. I bought a domain name form Go Daddy so I have that ready to go.


  14. Nick has an awesome message. I saw him speak a couple of months ago at local church.

    Nick tells a story about being stopped at a red light and sitting in the passenger seat. A cute girl drives up to his right and winks at him. Nick winks back, and without the girl realizing Nick’s condition he does a 360 right in his seat and freaks her out.

    Nick shares an amazing story of how God’s love goes much deeper than just flesh and bones. His website is:

  15. Thanks for sharing Tim.

    I have watched many of Nick’s videos on YouTube, and when a family member of mine had the “poor me’s” over Thanksgiving, I sat him down and made him watch about 5 of Nick’s videos, and the tears came and the “funk” lifted. Perspective is everything.

    Props to your Mom. I think on Mother’s day, you should do a post about the most valuable lessons you’ve learned from your Mom. Please “deconstruct” or “distill” the greatest gifts you’ve received from your parents. Maybe they can distill what they did to turn out such a great human being. I know your fans who are parents would be all ears!

    Keep spreading your sunshine!

    With gratitude,


  16. Dear Tim,

    You are pure inspiration yourself. I know that whenever I visit this blog there will be something to take away from it, and this link certainly lived up to that. Thanks for being a best friend.


  17. Thanks for the inspirational post. When you think you have it rough, it’s good to remember that someone else out there probably has it worse.

    Although the circumstances are a little different, I find Kyle Maynard’s story equally inspirational:

  18. so wishing I had high speed internet right about now!!!

    Ferriss ur awsome and inspiring

    My philosophy teacher always encouraged us to look how good we had it when were feeling down and honestly you have touched so many lives in good ways that certainly it outways some if not all of the bad…

  19. Sometimes the worst experiences and situations are the seeds of a person’s greatest triumphs.

    10 years ago I was suicidally depressed as a result of a lifetime living with a mental illness I didn’t know I had. All I knew was that I hated my life and myself, and I wanted to die.

    3 years of suicidal depression were difficult to deal with, but I kept picking myself up over and over again. Most experts on my problem claimed it was basically incurable.

    They were wrong.

    I am now mentally healthy, happy, and going strong… in ways I never could have achieved without the going through the depression experience. When my situation was “fix this problem or die,” I found the courage to do ANYTHING required to get the outcome I wanted.

    Along the way I experienced and learned amazing things, gained some remarkable skills, and overcame crippling fears. I’m now I’m able to function and enjoy life in ways I never could have without the depression. I wouldn’t wish what I experienced on anyone, but the net effects are good beyond my ability to describe.

    In December, another “problem.” Due to difficulties that seemed overwhelming, I quit a business startup I was a partner in. It was an extremely tough decision. Failing my part in the business and letting my partners down was one of my worst nightmares. I was so stressed about it that I got physically ill for several months.

    But again, what a blessing. One of the things I feared most happened, and it was no big deal. Now my other fears seem much smaller, or have vanished altogether. Things I’d been afraid to do, I’m now taking active steps toward. These few months of tough times are going to pay DECADES of dividends, not just to me but to the many other people I’ll be able to help in the future because I’m not afraid any more.

    In the middle of FEELING bad, it’s easy to think that one’s life, self, or circumstances ARE bad. Be patient. Expect the crap will contain some treasures you’ll only discover with hindsight. And as Nick says, keep picking yourself up.

  20. I can’t see no video. 🙂

    Could you please also paste a link somewhere on the same post to any videos on YouTube, Viddler, etc.

  21. Tim’s information in The Four Hour Work Week book/blog have some of the most practical information ever written on efficiency and making the most use of your time. And Nick has such an amazing story. He is very courageous! However, it’s Nick’s spiritual message that trumps all. Ultimately reminding us, “What if a person gains the whole world but forfeits his soul?” A life of self indulgence is temporarily pleasing, but long term…unfulfilling and meaningless. After all, if you want to learn about life…”Don’t go to a party, go to a funeral”

  22. Wow! thanks so much for the great inspiration! Am promptly getting over myself NOW!

    Ps – are you on Twitter??

  23. Tim,

    Not sure how to get your attention and I know this isn’t related to this particular post but as a young forward thinking person I thought maybe you would have a strong opinion on suburban sprawl and the fact that the U.S. is about to spend $1 trillion on building new roads while ignoring our desperate need trains and mass transit that help make European cities so amazing and that could get people off the roads so they can do something more productive with their time then commute 2 hours / day.

  24. Thanks for the inspirational post Tim! After failing the California bar exam on my first try, anxiety, depression, and self-doubt made it hard to get back up and try again. After almost two years laying in limbo, I’m finally taking the exam again in February. Sometimes we just need to look outside ourselves for the courage to get up and face our fears.

    1. Did you apply the four hour work week principles to your bar prep? I’m taking the bar in February and I’m failing to see how I can prep for the bar without putting in the time. Thanks for answering if you find the time to answer


  25. Tim,

    I just got word today that my position in a NY school district was being eliminated on June 30. THANK GOD I read the Four Hour Workweek in July of 2007. I started my company Teacher2Teacher Network that same year because of you. We launched on January 1, 2009 and we are anticipating some serious Ferriss-like success and being able to work anywhere in the world. Just when I was feeling pretty crappy about my situation you posted this article. Timing is everything. The video brought tears to my eyes. Thank you Tim Ferriss-Thank you Tim Ferriss-Thank you Time Ferriss.



  26. As I sat here at the computer doing bookwork to try and get us lower house payments, opening mail at the same time. This wonderful man I have seen before, but he brings me to my knees each time. The youngsters he impacts with what he can do with what God gave him compared to what they can do with so much more is almost palpable with the looks on thier faces. He has truely reached the Glory of God and will be a blessing to know in Heaven just as he is here on Earth.

  27. What a message; what a testimony!

    How easy it is to forget about the blessings God has showered me with,

    Thank you for the reminder. Life is beautiful.

  28. This video evokes so much emotion. It is so powerful.

    The power of influence, the way we are able to inspire one another, the ability to become motivated, the adrenaline that comes with it and then what we do with it all…is up to us…

    Thanks ~ Emily

  29. If you’ve never gotten a chance to meet Nick or hear him speak live, you’re missing out.

    To see him in person and see the fire in his eyes and desire to make a difference on this earth is absolutely incredible… whether its seeking the lifestyle design of choice or simply bringing encouragement and hope to peoples lives, we all have something we should strive for no matter how great.

    As Nick says, you keep trying and trying despite failure until you’ve reached that ultimate goal… he’s a huggin machine and a huge inspiration… I’m glad you’ve heard his story

  30. It’s so easy to except the outside discouragement. But, you have to know inside that you can come out of the situation better than before.

  31. Thanks Tim..Each of your blog entries are like your book, inspiring and informative and most of all..always motivates me to act and change my behavior. Thank you and thanks to everyone who supports you!

  32. Hi Tim,

    Thank you so much for this. My husband’s mom passed away 2 days after you posted this. It has given us much inspiration and hope. You are a true gift. Keep on doing the things you do!



    1. @Mary Shaw,

      My sincerest condolences, Mary. I wish you and yours all strength during what must be a very challenging period.

      All the best, and thank you all for the great comments and dialogue,


  33. Thanks to Tim and Tim’s mother for sharing this.

    I thought about Tim and the 4HWW when I came across this article a few days ago. It’s about entrepreneurs not knowing when to quit. Segway inventor Dean Kamen said it is “the toughest question there is”.

  34. Pingback: Revue de presse
  35. Thanks Tim for the “Four Hour Work Week” and thanks for the timely message.

    And thanks everyone for the comments. As with many of them, this posting came at the perfect time.

    Just found out that I have a return of cancer after being clear for 5 years. My first reaction was no way am I going to fight this again. For God’s sake I finally have long hair!!! Despair lasted about a day and I got back up for the task at hand.

    This guy’s story just reminds me not to take all this too personally, that everyone has their particular and unique challenge. And that the greatest work of art you can create is your own life, by making something beautiful and worthwhile with all the challenges.

    Oh and by the way Tim that chick Penelope Trunk has got to be IN LOVE WITH YOU. She does go on like a grade school girl who talks trash about the one that gets the most under her skin! LOLOL;))

    Love and Blessings,


  36. I have to say normally I’am a critical and cynical person, but that video of the guy with no limbs was inspirational. We tend to forget the things we have and focus on the things we dont. Its nice to see a person triumph through sheer will. He is a TRUE hero as opposed to the “the made for tv type”.

  37. Karen, you have a great perspective, I wish you all the best as your body heals. A thought: “Sometimes through our greatest challenges we find our greatest strength.”

    Tim, thanks for the inspirational message and video. These days, I think a lot of people can relate to this, entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs alike.

    I’m reminded of this great scene from the final Rocky movie:

    “You, me or nobody, is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit… It’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward… how much you can take, and keep moving forward. That´s how winning is done.”

  38. Nick is an incredibly inspiring guy. Ever watch him eat? Think about that- with no arms, legs, fingers or toes. Makes you appreciate the little things in life like being able to feed yourself when you want. Oh, the things we take for granted…

    Check out Clay Dyer as well. He is an amazing fisherman and also is missing most of his limbs. He ties lures on his line with his tongue. Just goes to show that when you are passionate about something, anything, it can be accomplished no matter the obstacles.

    Nick is so passionate about spreading his message that he will do anything to get it out.

    Hopefully we can all find out passions and pursue them with such vigor, grace and purpose.

    Thanks, Tim, for being inspiration-central.


  39. Tim,

    Thank you for posting this video. Those are unforgettable images and words. Keep doing what you are doing, it is working.

  40. Tim:

    Will add my thanks to the many others – fantastic video.

    What moved me as much as Nik’s message was how moved those students were. They got it!

    In a world where young people can be so jaded by a complex, challenging world, they were inspired and touched by someone else’s life lessons.

    Here’s a guy who truly knows he is making a difference, one that he couldn’t have made had he not had to endure his own incredible losses and challenges.

    Thanks again.

    Nancy Fox

  41. Hi Tim,

    I genuinely thank you for sharing your time and knowledge with respect to this beautiful thing called life. I’ve learned so much since I read your book last September and moreover following your journey via your website. I now value my time and it’s worth, based upon what it cost to have those priceless experiences (does that make sense?) In any case have a brilliant 2009 and thank you for paying it forward!!


  42. We are all fools sometimes. Money, work, being busy, what are we allowing ourselves become sometimes. What an inspiration that gentleman is. I feel shame today as I let my wife leave the house without telling her I love her. Thank you for this video.

  43. Stop it Tim!

    I keep looking for a boring, lame post, so I can stop reading this blog and be productive, but I never seem to find worthless content here.Yet another job well done. You didn’t do much on this one other than share it with us, but that was all that was needed. Thank you!

  44. Tim

    thanks so much for posting the latest video. I am so glad I have my arms and legs. And I count myself lucky ‘knowing you’ . Best wishes and hurry up with your next book


    Bill Hash

  45. Wow! I love that video. I recently was forced to move to a new office further from my home, at a job that doesn’t excite me. I’m working on building my business from a blog to a speaking career. Not an easy task. My doubts happen and come often.

    As each doubt passes I realize that all I have to do is pick myself up like the video suggests. Use the knowledge that I’ve gained to position my career to fulfill my dreams.

    One step, day, and experience at a time.

  46. The timing of that post was uncanny Tim. I’ve been really struggling the last few weeks to keep myself off that “rollercoaster” and it’s been tough. Truly inspiring and something I’ll be taking into my life and definitely to my jiujitsu training tomorrow night (for all those nights I doubted that I could keep going)!

  47. Thank you Tim

    today is my 62 birthday and I want to thank you for your spirit and inspiration. I will forward this because the message is awe inspiring.

  48. Being going through such a challengng time right now, I was very much inspired and touched by the video and thankful for watching it at the just right time. Sometimes we need to be reminded how lucky and blessed we are just to be alive.

    Thank you for uploading this video.

  49. Wow. After a few of the most challenging and difficult weeks of my life, and with only more ahead of me, this helped renew perspective and purpose in my life. Thank you.

  50. I was wondering if Tim is related to Steven Ferriss. Check out this article about “Steven Ferriss.” He makes pills that have “cognitive-enhancing effects” like brainquicken


    From Tim: Hi Chris. I checked it out. It’s Steven Ferris with one “S” so we aren’t related, but it’s an interesting article nonetheless. Thanks for the link!


  51. Tim, I’ve always drawn inspiration from your writtings, as they affirm my aspirations while the world around me strives for mediocrity. But it is that self doubt that creeps in when things are tough, that fear of failing or not being good enough, and my response is sleeping until 2 and shutting off the phone. Thanks for your post. It was a much needed reminder that it will all work out, and I need to stay persistent.


  52. A great video, Tim. Thanks for sharing! It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

    “Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.” -Kahlil Gibran

    No matter what hand we are dealt in life, every person has the choice of what to focus on, talk about, and direct their energy towards. This is a true testament to a person’s character. Kudos to Nick for sharing his amazing message with the world.

  53. Tim – thanks for the yerba mate research links – glad to see. I had info handed to me by a nutritionist at work that cited mate as a high risk for throat cancer based on “hundreds of studies”, do you know if that many studies have been done and/or if there are other factors in those regions (smoking comes first to mind) that would skew the study? Curious about this type of research. Thanks! 🙂

  54. Hey tim, just wanted to say i think you’re ace!

    Appreciate all the advice; now it’s just a matter of putting it in practice.


  55. -Thanks

    I was just having one of those days and I thought I would check out your blog. It acted like very powerful sniffing salts to help me count my blessings, keep my head up, and keep pushin’ on.

    Your insights are much appreciated-

  56. Great post. I’ve been following this blog for some time, as well as the 4HWW principles. This is the first time I’ve posted my reply, but it made me think about the following video clip, which makes me think hard everytime I am down in the dumps. I watch this at least 1x/month to keep it fresh in my mind. Any athletes out there? Then this one will especially hit home with you. Enjoy:

    Hope this did not post 2x, my apologies if so.

  57. I wasn’t crying probably 3 years. I did watching the ideo, I can only wish that guy all the best and laugh from our problems

  58. A chicken wing may look funny but it’s still useful! 🙂

    Thank you for another excellent (and honest) post.

    Keep doing your best.

  59. This is the MOST inspirational message I have heard. I looked at his website:

    In his message he says he’d like to be interviewed on Oprah and that he is writing a book.

    Tim, I know you only work 4 hours a week – but if you see this message and if you have any connections in the media that could get this amazingly inspirational man on the Opera show – it would inspire millions of people all over the world through her show.

    Tim, thanks so much for sharing this story on your blog – it has humbled me and inspired me – I am not sure how to contact the Opera show if anyone knows – please post a message – truely inspiring.

    GOD bless.

  60. This man is a miracle, very inspiring, this piece alone will help hundreds if not thousands to try harder to accomplish their ministries. Thank you.