Zen, Tea, and the Art of Life Management

This is a Zen-focused panel featuring Leo Babauta of Zen Habits, Susan O’Connell of San Francisco Zen Center, and yours truly.

The content starts at tea, moves to daily rituals, and spans many topics related to good living and productive living, which are not always the same thing. It also answers the question: is Tim Ferriss really as organized as you think he is? Short answer: no, and that should make you happy.

Reader Steven Luibrand pointed out an important omission in the video:

Unfortunately the best question asked at the entire Zen and Tea event (IMHO) didn’t make it on the video, so for those readers not fortunate enough to be there, it’s transcribed (read: liberally paraphrased) below:

Q: If you could give everyone here a “homework assignment” so to speak, something to do that would dramatically impact their life, what would it be?

Jesse: “Walk around with your phone turned off. Unplug. I like to spend time unplugged, and its like being in another world. Going down Market St. watching all the people on their iPhones and crackberries makes me feel like I just dropped out of the Matrix.”

Susan: “Earlier Tim mentioned that doing something five times consecutively is the magic number that forms a habit. My assignment is: for the next five days, just sit. Set a timer for five minutes, and just sit. Don’t try to meditate, don’t try to do anything. Just sit.”

Tim: “Earlier I mentioned long dinners, but I won’t count that…

[Take long dinners with >3 friends at least once per week. This is happiness alchemy.]

… everyone here probably uses some form of digital calendar. Put in an event that repeats every Tuesday that says “PLAN WEEKEND.” Then come Saturday you have plans, so no gadgets. Leave the computer off, and get outside.”

Leo: “Do one thing at a time. Just one thing. In other words: Single-Task.”

QOD: Do you have a helpful morning or pre-bed ritual? If so, please share in the comments.


Odds and Ends: Signed 4HB Copies

Thank you all so much for the amazing response to The 4-Hour Body announcement! Just a quick note, as a few people have asked: the only signed copies were those sold via BN.com, which are now sold-out. None of the Amazon copies are signed at this point. If that means you need to cancel orders, I completely understand and apologize for any confusion. Thank you again!

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.)

229 Replies to “Zen, Tea, and the Art of Life Management”

  1. This is my favorite posit in a while, besides the 4-Hour Body announcement of course 😉

    I start my day reading — currently Love is a Dog from Hell, a shot of chlorophyll and a cup of green tea.

    Before bed I try to read and sometimes listen to a Devon White recording on my iPod.

  2. Thanks, Tim, for the great panel discussion and for your reminder to practice gratitude.

    You mentioned the Book of Five Rings, so I must ask about another samurai classic: Have you read Hagakure? It’s a brilliant, eminently quotable, and controversial adaptation of Zen to the demands of a samurai’s work. Given your interests and other books you’ve recommended, I think you’d love it.

  3. My Morning ritual is 2 hours:

    20 minute Jog

    Glass of Water

    Green Smoothie

    Yerba Mate

    Non Fiction Book

    10 Minute Meditation


    “Micro Clean” of the House

  4. Musashi!

    I finally finished watching the entire video. I spent my college years house/dog sitting for a Japanese translator who not only translated Musashi’s Book of Five Rings, but also wrote a biography on the swordsman. So, needless to say, I’ve read up on Musashi. He is certainly an interesting character and I’m glad to hear you mention him.

  5. Morning routine: get up around 5:45 AM, hit the gym at 6:00 and run/lift (started doing the 5×5 cadence routine with squats and it is -intense- man!), then eat and dress as quickly as possible (your 3 min. eggs are helping with this). Read for 30 minutes and head to work. Right now I’m reading Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us – getting excellent right now as Pink talks about the role of grit in achieving mastery and very interesting in the context of your 4-Hour techniques for mastering Tango, Swimming, Kick-Assness, etc.

    My question for you: what’s your optimal post-workout meal/shake? I am following your slow-carb diet, but I’m not sure whether slow carbs are ideal post-workout. Instead of beans on workout days would you recommend switching to something higher GI & carb like a bagel & jelly with 4 eggs? Any advice about milk post-workout and in general? Seems like the sugar in there would be great, but the casein would be slow for PWO…Would really appreciate some quick feedback!

    On Musashi, which I was pleased to see you mention: The very excellent Samurai trilogy films are also based on the Musashi story and highly recommended. Another cool alternative is be the beautiful Buddha manga by Osamu Tezuka.

  6. For many months I was having trouble falling asleep at night. Rethought my bedtime ritual, which often included catching up on blog posts. Bad idea.

    I switched back to reading – books, magazines, whatever – which I used to do before I was a blog reader.

    Reading makes me sleepy. Online stuff does not. I make sure the computer’s off by 9pm every night, and it works.

  7. Oh. And I love that T-shirt too.

    I saw a really cool shirt the other week that had a cartoon of a dinosaur, and underneath the dinosaur was written: “Vegetarian”.

  8. Hey Tim,

    I’m a recently converted fan of yours. I know that you like questioning the assumptions at the foundations of society so i thought you might be interested in this.

    I’ve spent about a year investigating the fundamentals of economics and found that the foundation level secret to the current economic problems comes down to two opposing economic schools of thought: Keynesian Economics vs Austrian Economics.

    If you’re interested I can recommend some high profile Austrian Economists that you should follow.

    Another area i’ve stumbled upon is an injury treatment method called Bio-Cranial Therapy (not to be confused with Bio Cranial Release Therapy) that contradicts some of the fundamentals of Osteopathy. I’ve tested it against osteopathy with a number of injuries and it’s remarkable.

    Thanks for your book, can’t wait for the next one.


  9. As a CrossFit instructor I spend a lot of time with students either teaching or working out so when I go to bed it is important for me to shed the excitement of the day at my bedroom door. Before I turn off the light I read The Essential Rumi. I feel a state of grace that is the greatest at the end of the day.

  10. This is great since I subscribe to both yours and Leo’s blog – both are great reminders to live life Zen-like and as Leo says “single-task”… That can be a challenge and reminders are always helpful – so thanks to all of you for reminding us of the need for balance. And tea!

    BTW – Love the T-shirt! And, Leo good luck becoming a ninja!

  11. Am I like anyone else who is listening to this in the background at work, defying the most underlying principles of this video? And then to top it off, commenting on the blog for the first time. What a glutton for un-zen punishment.

  12. very inspiring talk.

    it just came to me – i want to set a goal for the next period of 6 months, and it is to meet you, tim. just to shake your hand. not to speak or ask much, just to meet and shake hand. simple and in a very high priority.


    let’s see how will it work.

    be good, buddy

  13. Thanks for posting the video it was really enjoyable to watch.

    I really need to spend more time just sitting and thinking.

  14. My ritual before going to work…

    Just eat something “primal”. Eggs and vegetables and a cup of green tea.

    On the weekend just chill!

  15. Tim,

    I’m currently doing thesis work in philosophy of education (esp. pragmatism) and just came across a quote by William James I thought you’d like and that relates to this post:

    “The great thing, then, in all education, is to make our nervous system our ally instead of our enemy… For this we must make automatic and habitual, as early as possible as many useful actions as we can… The more of the details of our daily life we can hand over to the effortless custody of automatism, the more our higher powers of mind will be set free for their own proper work.” (James, 1890/1950 Vol. I, p. 122)


  16. One more…

    “My thinking is first and last and always for the sake of my doing, and I can only do one thing at a time.” (James 1890/1950, Vol. II, p. 333)

  17. Tim,

    I want to thank you. I owe my happiness to your book. Already having career and material success, it made me remember why I thought I wanted all of that in the first place.

    Keep it up.


  18. whatever happened to just being spontaneous, letting things go out of control, a bit, letting life happen, instead of concentrating on following rituals, reading about rituals, listening about rituals, writing about ritual, making up rituals, etc. it almost seems like way too much thought process goes into all of this

  19. Yo Tim!

    Ok..just saw the today show clip you had on your blog with you and Bobby Douchbag– i mean Deutsch


    Obviously he’s old school and the notion of working less will damage America…. as we all know its the opposite..

    anyway, good interview.. i liked your final statement on taking 1 hour of condensed thought to trump 20+ hours for same result

    After watching the tea talk and your previous random show.. i noticed all the cool stuff you do, trampoline, reading, tea drinking, sketching,,etc.. i have not heard anything on a musical instrament..just curious??

    peace out


    fyi.. i’m pre-ordering a copy of your new book tonight..can’t wait to read it when it drops!!!

  20. First, I figure out how much time (bare minimum) I need to be really ready for the day, which for me is roughly an hour. Then, I set my alarm for about half an hour longer that that. This ensures that the very first thing I do in any given day is make a decision based on listening to my body – if I wake up and don’t feel totally rested, I can go back to sleep for as much as half an hour. After, I get out of bed and take a quick, cool shower (not shockingly cold, but cool enough to be stimulating). Then I put the tea kettle on, and do at least the first section (yogic sun salutation) of the warmup designed by my movement professor (I’m an acting major). By the time that’s done, the tea kettle is just whistling, and I make some green tea. Breakfast is some assortment of fruits, particularly apples. Then I take whatever time is leftover, and use it to read, meditate, or do some more stretching or light cardio, again, by listening to what my body needs on each particular morning.

  21. I remember you saying that you often throw away the first draft or two of what you write, which took a lot of pressure off me. So I got in the habit of writing those disposable first drafts on a legal pad with pen. The ideas really start to flow but I found myself still wasting time surfing the net for research… so I began to print out notes and articles and filing them in a binder. Now I go home, have dinner, bath and read books with the kids, enjoy tea with my wife and then sit down alone with my notepad and binder to write the drafts tech free. And what a difference it makes.

    As an early member of digg Kevin inspired me to start my blog and to read your book… both have been life changing events. The first gave me financial freedom and the second gave me the time to enjoy life and zero in on my goals. Today I have a book deal with HarperCollins and am enjoying life. Many thanks Tim (and Kevin!) -John

    1. Congratulations, John! I completely agree on the tech-free writing. Too easy to get lost in the Internet blackhole. Thank you so much for the wonderful comment and kind words. Many adventures in store 🙂

      Pura vida,


  22. Tim,

    – I love the 4 hour dinners in Argentina story

    – Its crazy that you had 6 teas in front of you

    – I agree with ritual setting and have been tracking some revolutionary experiments each month – Sept. Veganism, Oct. Global memorization.

    – Enjoy your day’s dishes, and peach (inside joke for those who watched the whole video!)

    Thanks again for your cyber-mentoring,

    James St. James

  23. Hey Tim- Thanks for posting this. Mildly off topic but not really: number one time thief (in present and future) and balance wrecker- smoking. Have you or can you pool your resources and find something useful out there for someone who has tried seemingly everything to stop and still can’t?

    thanks in advance…

  24. I am guilty of having developed bad habits over too many years. I did just read a book by Darren Hardy called “The Compound Effect” that opened my eyes to the benefits of developing good life long habits. He has a great pre-bed and post morning habit. Just a change in one habit, in the long run, can have positive effects on life. So I am actively being aware of bad habits and developing positive daily habits.

  25. I am from Argentina and I am proud that you drink Cruz Malta and Rosamonte. I personally drink Taragui right now, but my mother always liked Cruz Malta (the white and red package). Mate has a long tradition, and I am glad you adopted this beverage from the Rio de la Plata region (Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and south of Brazil). I just wanted to say that.

    Looking forward to the 4 hour body book!!!

  26. Tim,

    We are a lot alike in many ways. I am waiting for you to invite me on the Random show since I live in the Bay area! The other day I was in the City carrying my video camera with me so if I ran into you we could film a “quickie” LOL. Anyway, my fellow OCD martial artist author blog writer bi-lingual world traveler, I am opposite you in one very important way.

    There is NO better time in the day then the morning! You don’t know what you are missing my friend. The birds are chirping, the air is crisp, and it is the best time to get a hardcore workout in.

    I am currently working on a blogpost in your honor, utilizing your techniques for titles. I will send it to you somehow when it is done (since we all know you outsource most of your emails haha). It has to be good enough for the Tim-meister!

    Oh and ps. I like my protein mixed with natural peanut butter, a little cocoa powder, a tiny bit of water, and heated up in the microwave… it’s like brownie batter. Peace.

  27. Tim – your chat about the LONG dinners in Argentina was a good talking point for many people who follow you / read your book or live the over analyzed and overly time-managed lifestyle. We all don’t know how and/or don’t feel comfortable enjoying downtime. Just returned from Paris on business and couldn’t get past the late and long dinners. Its interesting that you say the more you did the long dinner thing, the more comfortable you felt… I am a big fan of your thoughts, and wonder if you could switch gears at some point and talk about downtime… since the point of most of your lifestyle hacks is to create it… but most of us fear it, so we end up using it to make lists, and schedules, etc. Just a thought… also a little fact – french guy next to me on the flight was reading 4HWW so we spent about 6 hours talking about it – definitely a good conversation starter.


  28. Just ran out of ink taking some notes…

    Funny, we know what to do, but get so distracted from the “need” to check email, take that phone call, or whatever to get away from the major priority.

    I think an interesting “challenge” to offer your readers would be to do just that… offer us a challenge. Something similar to Bill Philips “Body For Life” or the Shopify challenge.

    Could be one for 4HBody or on Productivity.

    People just need a “reason” to do it…

    Challenge us to change our habits. 🙂

    Keep on truckin’


  29. Tim,

    We are a lot alike in many ways. I am waiting for you to invite me on the Random show since I live in the Bay area! The other day I was in the City carrying my video camera with me so if I ran into you we could film a “quickie” LOL (you tube video for my channel). Anyway, my fellow OCD martial artist author blog writer bi-lingual world traveler, I am opposite you in one very important way.

    There is NO better time in the day then the morning! You don’t know what you are missing my friend. The birds are chirping, the air is crisp, and it is the best time to get a hardcore workout in.

    I am currently working on a blogpost in your honor, utilizing your techniques for titles. I will send it to you somehow when it is done (since we all know you outsource most of your emails haha). It has to be good enough for the Tim-meister!

    Oh and ps. I like my protein mixed with natural peanut butter, a little cocoa powder, a tiny bit of water, and heated up in the microwave… it’s like brownie batter. Peace.

  30. Morning ritual: Morning pages (Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way)–three pages of writing whatever comes into your head, non-stop. No editing, just writing. I’m much more centered and happy when I write them than when I don’t.

  31. Tim:

    My morning routine. Weekdays. Wake up then spend some time lying quietly. Rise, cleanup, get dressed and walk about a half mile to the coffeehouse. Have a bagle or scone with multiple cups of decaf and conversation with the regular senior crowd, mostly about subjects stirred up by the morning newspaper. Walk home, change into shorts and go run for 40 min to an hour. Cool off, shower, and then engage in the necessaries of life.

    An aside: the sound on this video was almost painful for me, a grit your teeth and clench your hands effect. I had to take breaks from viewing to decompress. There was a lot of good/thought provoking information being transmitted. The four of you obviously put yourselves out there for quite some time. It is a shame that the production quality detracted from the presentation.

  32. I have so enjoyed reading all of these comments. Every person’s life is so special and personal, and we can gain so much from asking questions like these and listening to each other’s answers and insight.

    To two of the commenters above:

    Toby – I agree about the audio. I had the same sensitivity. Sheesh, my fillings were vibrating!

    Shawna – The whey/peanut butter/cocoa powder thing… DAY-AM that’s good! I’m eating some right now and it’s deeeeelicious! Thanks for the tip.

    As for me, my morning ritual involves reading a poem I love by Haifz (14th century sufi poet) to remind me not to just “wake up” and get going, but to really be AWAKE. So I read this, then stretch, then french press some Philz coffee. Unstoppable happiness ensues.



    Do not

    Want to step so quickly

    Over a beautiful line on God’s palm

    As I move through the earth’s marketplace


    I do not want to touch any object in this world

    Without my eyes testifying to the truth

    That everything is

    My Beloved.

    Something has happened

    To my understanding of existence

    That now makes my heart always full of wonder

    and kindness.

    I do not

    Want to step so quickly

    Over this sacred place on God’s body

    That is right beneath your

    Own foot

    As I

    Dance with

    Precious life


  33. Hi Tim,

    Can you expand a bit more on the Turmeric / Black Pepper / Almond Milk concoction that you mentioned in the video? I have been trying to utilize the many beneficial properties of turmeric. I understand that the curcumin is most efficiently absorbed by the body in the presence of black pepper. So far, my solution has been to mix them together with water into an ungodly shot. It is not pleasant. Is there a particular product that you are using, or are you mixing with the almond milk and such? Any insights would be much appreciated.

    Much thanks for the info that you provide. Your blog is, pound for pound, the most useful blog I have found.



  34. Thank you for the great post. I can attest to the transformative value of dining regularly with a group of friends. About 5 years ago we started “Wednesday Night Barbecue”… happiness alchemy indeed!

    Thanks also for the book recommendation and link.

    You are an inspiration to me.


  35. Admittedly I need to more fully develop my waking and bedding routines, but I am thankful to Tim and all of you for sharing yours. What I do more sporadically than routinely is:

    Wake around 6 am to the more-or-less pleasant sound of church bells using my iPhone as an alarm clock. This produces a gentle light along with the sound. In my own experiences this is a more pleasant waking than a harsh, loud blaring alarm. I then shower, etc. and move into a series of stretches for about 10 minutes.

    I eat yogurt and sometimes a protein bar for breakfast and head to work.

    In the evening, I sometimes go through a stretching routine again. I quite my mind by first setting my to-do list for the next day and then use the method of “examen” from the Jesuits (found at http://ignatianspirituality.com/).

    If it is an evening that I am just wound up for some reason I find that playing an action type game (usually on my iPhone) allows my to use up that energy and then I can relax into sleep. Other times I uses a hypnotic relaxation audio such as the one from http://www.Adam-Eason.com.

  36. Tim,

    Do you have a quick tip for how to go about determining what your ideal “bio-rhythm” (your ideal sleep/wake period, best creative time) is?

  37. Evening (which is the key to everything)

    shut down computer, turn off Iphone, and charge it.

    1. Take 3 mg melatonin, vit d, magnesium

    2. Make coffee for the morning

    3. Empty contents of sink into dishwasher, turn it on if full, shine sink.

    4. Lay out clothes for morning and put on PJ’s that will double as exercise clothes in a.m. Put my sneakers on toilet bowl lid.

    5. Floss/brush teeth, wash face and apply Oil of Delay (or other gravity fighting cream)

    6. sit on bed, set alarm, massage hands and feet with lavender soothing lotion while giving thanks to the breath and body that carried me through another day.

    7. Get under the covers, arrange the pillows in a restorative pattern (roll under neck, pillow under knees)

    8. Breath slowly and deeply quieting my mind and relaxing my body

    9. Dream.


    1 alarm at 6 am every day.

    2. slip out of bed head for toilet where my sneakers greet me. I cannot pee without dealing with sneakers so I put them on. I already have my exercise clothes on as PJ’s.

    3. start coffemaker, feed fish,

    4. head out the door for a walk or run while the world is still yawning. Go for 15–45 minutes (it varies based on aches/pains, temp, energy level but it is NO LESS than 15 minutes every day to start the gears spinning)

    5. Return home, stretch, coffee, breakfast

    6. shower/dress

    7. turn on computer but do not sign on, spend 1 hour of most intense stuff of day.

    8. Then, and ONLY then, do I check email.


  38. Thanks for posting these videos. I hope they keep coming. Like you said, you found your way to be creative late in the evening with motion going on in the background.

    It’s great to visually see and hear you talk about your beliefs and way of life. I’ve found that audio and visual really help me process.

    Can’t wait for the new book.


  39. I found this talk so interesting, and one thing among the many that really resonated was Susan’s referrals to community and sharing experiences with others. I know there was a question asked about how to make that deeper connection with people, and I liked all the responses to it, but for me the question is broader. The breakdown, or reshaping, of community both near and wide seems to me to be an equal and parallel issue to that of our frenetic, multi-tasking, technology-reliant lives. I’d be really interested to know what your thoughts are on the future of community. What are the implications of a life lived without connection to a wider community? Is it still relevant?

  40. Hello Tim,

    I stopped reading CNN. So one of my rowers told me about what happened yesterday. I was happy I did not know about it until after the fact, because I am a very emotional passionate person, I would have been traumatized by the event until luckily the happy ending.

    Thank you.


  41. i have just started watching this and keep thinking ‘grass fed’..perhaps you need a 4 hour work week t-shirt to wear to things like this 🙂

  42. ok..i could not put the video back to where i stopped to comment, i remember people walking past the camera… is not good, i have lost interest

    this guy needs to buy you lunch for tips on how to make a video people will watch

    I often buy unemployed professionals lunch and pick their brains about their subject.

  43. Tim, i’ve got a problem with vimeo. I’m trying to watch or even download it and at the half of the video it stops. I’m pretty sure the problem isn’t mine. Is there a way to upload the whole video to youtube or share a torrent or rapidshare link to download it? Thanks for the inspiration…

  44. Hey Tim,

    I recently watched the movie “The Social Network.” Without giving too much away for those who haven’t seen it, there’s one scene where two characters discuss finding inspiration/motivation directly after a tough break-up. You mention a similar experience in the above video. Any insight into this causal relationship? Thanks and keep up the great work!



  45. Hey Tim,

    Re: Austrian Economics and Bio-Cranial Therapy

    The flaw in economics came many decades ago when Austrian Economics and Keynesian Economics were both relatively untested schools of thought. Austrian Economics claimed that an economies growth should be based on manufacturing, production and stable control of monetary policy. Keynesian Economics claimed that economies fluctuate in boom-bust cycles and counter-cyclical monetary policy is required i.e. increase money supply to recover from recession and reduce money supply to control a boom.

    When these opposing schools of thought were put to politicians, over time, Keynesian Economics prevailed. This happened for obvious reason – all politicians want results quickly and easily, increasing the money supply was always the easiest option. As history has proved, this school of thought allowed for progressively more reckless decision and counter productive initiatives that view through Keynesian eyes were assisting the economy. There were many steps in the decline of the US economy (removal of the gold standard, allowing excessive off-shore production, wars, bail outs, stimulus etc.) but the best way of understanding how to view an economy like a business is to read Peter Schiff’s book – How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes. I’ve a spare copy if you’d like one sent to you.


    I also follow Peter’s weekly commentary on the World Economy to understand the effects of the government’s decisions as they are happening:


    I advise reading his written articles and listening to his video diaries. Once you’ve read the book, the on-going commentary will become much clearer.

    Bio-Cranial Therapy is a technique discovered by Dr. Robert Boyd in the 1980’s and he has spent over 20 years developing this therapy. He still teaches Bio-Cranial Therapy and is in the process of developing a BCT textbook and demonstration videos. Here is a link to some articles by Dr. Boyd that begin to explain it.


    I recommend trying it out with any form of injury that isn’t a result of direct trauma (by that i mean, it won’t fix a broke leg but will fix a recurring hamstring injury or back misalignment)

    If you think it’s interesting enough, i could put you in contact with Dr. Boyd (For all injuries I see a close friend of his – give me an email address coz i can’t post it here)

    Amazon doesn’t stock Dr. Boyd’s book ‘an introduction to Bio-Cranial Therapy’ so i’ll try and find you another book that explains it.

    Well there is my vomit of information and links!



  46. I’ve been passing this video around to all of my friends and co-workers. Thanks for sharing this, Tim. Lots of great information shared.

  47. Here is some old school –

    “The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you’re in control of your life. If you don’t, life controls you.”

    Tony Robbins

  48. @Joel: I was able to download the full video by going to the Vimeo link

    and looking for the “Download This Video” link underneath “About This Video” on the right-hand side of the page. You’ll need to have logged in to a Vimeo account for the download link to appear.

    The video is working for me – using a Mac with OS X 10.6 here, and playing it using Quicktime Player v10. Loved the video, and now I’m playing it again in the background, looped and muted… Casino Royale style 😉

  49. Hi Tim,

    Interesting stuff but that whole vibe reminded me of a hippy Liberal love fest.

    Do you lean to the Right on any issues?

    1. Hahaha… I suppose it is SF, after all.

      As far as politics, I tend to be fiscally conservative and socially liberal. It really depends on the issues. Pretty hard-core free-market guy in the end. I don’t beat bongos while repeating mantras from “The Secret” or anything 🙂

      Hope that somehow helps,


  50. @Mark Madison or anyone using turmeric/black pepper.

    Can you please tell the proportion of each you use in any mix to enhance absorption?


  51. Tim, have you thought of doing podcasts or sound recordings of your new video blogs? These have the added advantage of being transportable, but more importantly of getting listeners up OFF of the computer. Possibly it’s just me, but the temptation would be to multi-task and “surf the web” while watching one of your videos.

    Audio’s good as one doesn’t have to be on the computer, they can be pressing clothes, running, driving, or just sitting 🙂

  52. Tim – one point you made which was very brief but I think so important is: examining the fear of death and looking at how life is often driven by that fear. I think overcoming the fear of death is one of the most fundamental challenges we have. You say you are not afraid to die – because you have lived such a full life till now. I think that is wonderful and merits a blog in its own right! Neil

  53. I get to work crazy early, but I don’t go in. I sit in my car for 60-90 minutes, drink coffee, and watch the sun come up.

  54. I finally found a solid enough connection in Southeast Asia to watch this video. Great advice Tim, as always, keep the content flowing while we await your next book.

    In the video you made the a “V” gesture and said something to the effect of “it’s easier to alter your course here [bottom of the V] than here [top of the V].” It made me think of my Dad, who, a few years from retirement (the delayed satisfaction kind), is at the top of the V. He is overweight and harbors unrealized dreams which he feels are (financially) not an option. Is he to far along on the wrong course to alter his destination? Also, does your new book contain any useful info for someone like him – 59 years old, overweight, and viced with a collection of lifetime-ingrained bad habits?



  55. I’m going to check out that Musashi book. Have you read any Lone Wolf and Cub? The full series is fairly long (28 volumes). I’ve read half of it and feel comfortable recommending it. Dunno if you can speed-read a graphic novel though 😉

  56. Great post man. I need a better pre-bed ritual. Upon awakening I used to formally sit, but currently find that too stuffy and rigid. Now, I have a number of texts I read from (one being the “Less Is More” book by Vandenbroek) for a half an hour. Then, I walk my dog to the park and back, trying to hold the ideas I read in my mind. It really helps me get off on the right footing every day.

  57. Bedtime: Meditate to slow my mind. Also play slow classical background music while I am in bed.

    Morning: Pet Dog. Shower. Get dressed and pet dog. Take dog out. Brush teeth. Hop in car for 45 minute commute. (eat breakfast of Oats, Hemp protein, Chia seeds and berries at work)

  58. Hi Tim,

    How come you haven’t done a video like that ‘live’ so far (besides conferences and public speaking).

    I know the importance of ever green content but using something like ustream.tv or any other live video platform could be really interesting not to mention the fact that it could create anticipation since people can ask and interact with you live.

    im sure that if you want to record it or keep it as content you can do so by recording it as as screencast from a computer and uploading it to vimeo so you can eat your cake and have it at the same time.

    just some food for thought


  59. I think it was cool when you were talking about rituals at the 54 minute mark and the bells started to chime in the background…bit of a synchronicity,since chiming clock bells are one of the most ritualistic of the day.

  60. I think it was cool when you were talking about rituals at the 54 minute mark and the bells started to chime in the background…bit of a synchronicity,since chiming clock bells are one of the most ritualistic things of the day.

  61. Dear Tim,

    This is an awesome video. I like you am at my best at night. From about 10pm, my brain seem to be in this getting things done mode and I have a ton of mental energy. Conversely, during the day especially morning, I am really groggy and my creativity sucks. For various reasons I cannot afford to stay up at night and wake up at 10am… I have experimented with entrainment audios, shifted my workouts at different times of the day, actually been trying to have my brain scanned to see if there is anything to replicate that particular mental state, tried eating and drinking fluids at different times… Nothing seem to change what seems to be able to change that immutable fact.

    Have you experimented at all, o ever been interested in becoming more of a morning person? And what were your findings, whats your take on the whole subject? Do you have any recommendations?

    Keep rocking the world,


  62. Just wanted to check if for some reason I am banned from posting on your blog? I dont see my comments ever in your stream.

  63. Really enjoyed that video, thanks for sharing!

    Regarding dinner with friends increasing happiness — that is obviously true, but did you quote that from your own experience or from published research? If it’s based on research I would love to see the original article and the experiment design. Couldn’t find anything online.

    Keep the good stuff coming!

  64. It’s just funny to see these four think, if nothing else other than the physical reaction to listening to each other; Leo is relaxed, but sitting crooked in his chair, Tim is alert, but his cups are in a straight line at all times and his hands are always moving, Susan is unchanging, Jesse sits in a similar position when listening, but straightens up when he talks.

    Great post though, thanks Tim!

  65. Tim,

    Great video. I am a crazy tea fan. I went to this place called Samovar Tea Lounge in SF, it was amazing.

    I wanted your opinion on the followng…. I feel like our Westen society lacks a lot of zen and buddhism knowledge. These philosophies have helped me find my passion and have helped me control my internal thoughts.

    Do you beleive that these Eastern philosophies will spread more to the U.S in the next 10 years? If not, how do we get more people aware of the benefit of learning the philosophies of zen buddhism and Buddhism?

    Have a great weekend.



  66. Tim:

    Regarding the shortage of signed copies–have you considered offering signed bookplates? Lightweight, handily signed, cheap(er) to mail, with room for a message, ad, or pithy quote.

  67. Hi Tim,

    Since I don’t so much love watching videos, what would be great for me would be to know which contain “new material,” (suggestions, new ideas, whatever) and which are just rehashes of stuff your long-time fans have read and heard many times before. Is there any way you could include some sort of note about that when you post new videos?

    Not that I don’t love seeing your charming face, it’s just that it can be a lot of time to invest, if after an hour you realize you haven’t learned anything new. Always worth a reminder, of course, but you know- to help prioritize. 😉



  68. Tim,

    I am an attorney and I have gotten a great deal out of your book. My job requires that I put out fires for my clients, I am in court almost daily, and have deadlines constantly. I have no predictability in my schedule. I may have court in the morning and client meetings in the afternoon and calls to return to other attorneys etc. What suggestions do you have for me regarding how to incorporate some of the Zen type practices and philosophies into my day?

  69. So Important,

    I wounder why they don’t teach more of this stuff in school. It will help a lot more people out.

    Bryan Carlton

  70. Vimeo Suckosity

    I appreciate the video post, I really do–but there has to be a better way…

    A note on vimeo videos (and why you might want to choose another service): So far as I can tell, it’s impossible to skip ahead. So when (for example) my browser crashes, I have to guess where I left off, start the video running again, set a timer, and let the thing eat up my memory for an hour while I’m not watching it–then start watching again. Same routine if I set the timer for duration -5 minutes and skip backward looking for the right spot.

    And what if nothing goes wrong and I just to watch your comments, skipping the others? I believe that using this format is going to result in fewer people watching the content.

  71. Hey Tim,

    I love your routine. I need something similar, I nap everyday and i’m getting tired of it. I also have horrible sleeping patterns. I’m never fully asleep. I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. Of course, ambien works well, a little too well. Any suggestions? links?

    thanks for all the experiments.

  72. Evening:

    Load dishwasher and wipe down kitchen counters. Smile at clean kitchen. Leave bedroom door open and let rhythmic white noise of dishwasher lull me to sleep.


    Hug and kiss cat, feed him, clean litter box. Unload dishwasher while cage-free eggs fry on stove. Fluff couch pillows and open blinds. Sit by fireplace to meditate and write in spiritual journal. Shower/dress. Check day planner while computer boots up. Start working. Take break when my boyfriend wakes up and have coffee with him.

  73. Most of the rituals and routines I have read seem pretty boring. I haven’t seen one post mention having intercourse as a way to start the day or end the evening. Is it inappropriate to talk about such a fun, exciting, and gratifying activity?

    I can’t be the only one who thinks that getting busy is better than jogging, meditating, reading, or eating the latest organic food craze.

  74. Yadgyu,

    You touched on an interesting point. Not about sex per se, but I did notice that Tim’s daily routine doesn’t seem to leave much room for a relationship. I share the same inner ‘clock’ too. I would easily do my best work from 1am to 4am, but that doesn’t work too well if you have a girlfriend/wife and family who are on more mainstream schedules.

  75. Hi Tim and everyone in the comments,

    I need some information that i can’t seem to get hold of. Any help would be greatly appreciated. In the 4 hour work week Tim mentions briefly a guy who set up an online dvd rental buiness if I recall correctly. This is something i would like to attempt to do but with indie films and world cinema. But according to the info i find online, rentable dvds cost 4 times what they cost retail and if I need a few 100 or 1000 titles to begin the business, the start up costs will be huge. The thing is, I’m sure the guy mentioned in the book was a student and therefore wouldn’t have that kind of money. Are there any loop holes there that let you rent dvds you buy from a normal retailer? And does anyone know more about the guy who does this mentioned in tims book so i could contact him?


    Rebecca, Ireland

  76. cool is cool!

    pre bed rituals …

    well having spent my life living on the beach the sound of the surf was part of life and when I moved to this little rock surrounded by the sea but no surf so to get to sleep I have a little white noise sound machine and have it set to “waves” and leave it on all night…!

  77. Hey Tim

    I read a lot of your stuff and now I definitely can´t wait to get your 2 books. Especially the 4 hour body looks reeeeeeally interesting !

    I wonnder whether you know Tony Robbins?

    He was also a speaker at TED once and has written about motivation.

    He´s really good at what he is doing and I think you and him have a lot in common.

    You Should really at least check out his Ted Talk if you happen to don´t know him.

    greets from germany

  78. 30min in and they’ve hardly drank the tea?!? lol

    I am def a night person and love to learn and think into the night. Perhaps I am a future writer or teacher. But am needing to make some big changes in my life and set some new daily routines in motion, yet I am not doing what I need to get done. Perhaps for one thing, if I get it done and progress, then I will be the person that gets it done and progresses. Perhaps it is actually the result of the change that is what I resist. I will take Tim’s advice, and do the number one thing first in the day (after some meditation and light exercise), which I am for some reason resisting.

    It seems that old ideas of discipline just don’t work. For example, fighting yourself doesn’t work. Must be a conversation with yourself. Face the conversation with oneself about what you’re resisting, for example. That is, assuming the thing is on your list is there because it is something that is important to you. So having that conversation may bring the resisting part of yourself on board with what you gotta do.

  79. Tim your content is always stellar. What I appreciate more though is your constant ability to crack me up.

    One example would be your WTF body language in this video. LOL.

    There were a couple of things that were said by the other guests that I could just hear your mind saying “what the hell?”

    Literally, I started dying out laughing….enough where my wife can in to see what all the fuss was about.

    But you were super kind and respectful of the other guest. (which is pretty cool in itself) But please keep the laughs coming…..