Feeling Stuck? Read This…

Parc del Laberint d’Horta, Barcelona (Photo: Marcel Germain)

Big successes often seem like foregone conclusions.

In reality, most entrepreneurs (read: creators) who appear to have unique genius suffer through the same frustration as the masses of unknowns. They simply test and persist a few steps further.

Richard Branson will tell you this of his Virgin empire.

Tony Hsieh of Zappo’s shares similar stories.

Steve Martin can prove that it applies to anything creative, not just business.

Below is a piece of paper from 2005 I recently unearthed while purging books and folders from my house.

It reflects a complete failure–protracted over weeks–to find a good title for what later became The 4-Hour Workweek (4HWW). Most of the ideas are horrible beyond belief, and it wasn’t until I tested a few variations using Google AdWords that we decided on “The 4-Hour Workweek,” which I still disliked on multiple levels.

Here are two pages of frustrated attempts, two pages of dozens (click to enlarge, then click again)…

Let me know which title is your favorite ridiculous option. “This Sucks,” perhaps?

But, moving on, what of 4HWW writing itself?

I’m pleased to report that the writing flowed like a crystal clear stream. Perhaps a torrent of genius. Sometimes–how should I put this–I amazed even myself.

Oh, wait a second, I lapsed into fiction. Back to reality: the writing, for the most part, made me want to Hemingway myself. On good days, I’d settle for the impulse to slam my own head in a car door.

I tossed the first four chapters I wrote and almost gave up on multiple occasions. Futility was the brain soup du jour. Draft, doubt self, panic, hate self, throw out draft–rinse and repeat.

To give you an idea of how many rewrites it took to get right, here are two early draft pages of a sample chapter. Far from the worst I produced, but still far from polished (click to enlarge, then click again):

It changed only when I started viewing each chapter as a magazine article: strong enough to be a stand-alone piece, including a clear opening or “lede”, a clear middle with case studies, and a punctuated end with lessons learned.

From that mindset, a few trial runs, I developed a chapter template that involved starting with a dialogue or anecdote (even if it was scrapped later) and moving through the above steps to a resource-rich “Tools and Tricks.” I needed a repeatable process. To sit down to “write a book” was just too overwhelming, even with a table of contents as a blueprint.

If you plan on any creative undertaking, whether business, writing, or art, I strongly recommend the book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott. If you spend a lot of time working alone and get trapped in your head, it’s required reading.

It saved my sanity and has done the same for several friends who’ve gone from “I want to quit” to New York Times bestsellers.

In Conclusion

Most miraculous successes are nothing of the sort.

Those on front lines, the people who seem to jump into the limelight from nowhere, experience the same plodding frustration and trial-and-error as the rest of the world.

They differ in that they don’t expect luck to help them, nor good fortune to save them. As James Cameron would say: “Hope is not a strategy. Luck is not a factor. Fear is not an option.”

Sporting my game shirt a few weeks before the launch of The 4-Hour Body. The book itself is a “looks like” mock-up with blank pages.

James might also tell you that the best creators are like ducks. They appear to glide along serenely on the surface. Beneath the surface, however, they’re kicking like a motherf*cker.

Keep calm and carry on.


Odds and Ends: NYC Launch Party Highlights!

The following video was shot and edited by the incredibly talented Michael Gebben.

The NYC launch event was an all-around huge success. Sadly, NYC weather decided to serve the coldest day of the entire season, and an unexpected mandatory coat check (due to fire hazard potential) backed up the line and left more than a few people freezing for far too long. This led some people to abandon ship, including many of my closest friends and family. I did my best to take notes, learn from it, and make amends.

For positives, the event helped raise almost $10,000 for DonorsChoose.org, it was a total blast, and I’m planning a summer party in NYC with a slightly smaller crowd.

I hope you enjoy the video:

Tim Ferriss 4-Hour Body Launch Par-tay New York City! from GEBBS on Vimeo.

And for those wondering, the song in the video is “I Want It All” by Copperview.

UPDATE: Many thanks to Maggie J. for all the fantastic pictures she took at the party. You can see all 937 photos she took here.

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.

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381 Replies to “Feeling Stuck? Read This…”

    1. Hi Zack,

      Good question. James actually gave it to me (and a group) when we all did a Zero-G flight together. Anyone else have ideas? I search for “Avatar t-shirts” as it has AVTR on the sleeve, but it might have been a staff shirt.

      It is a sweet shirt, agreed.


      1. We could get a whole bunch of these AVTR T-Shirts printed ourselves here in China … but then I guess for someone who goes on Zero-G flights budget is not problem, quality is … 😉

      2. Don’t know where to get the shirts, but while I was listening to a certain webinar today, I was also noodling with some typefaces (squarish) for a logo design. One typeface contender amid the noodlees is the same as on the shirt: Bank Gothic.

        You’re welcome!

      3. I bought your new 4 hour body book and you mention cellulite as being no big deal but more of a marketing thing….but you dont really say anything else about it..so how do you get rid of it? thats my question…plus your breakfast video was funny, anyhow write back when you can

      4. Lisa,

        He does not talk about it anymore because, as he explained, it is nothing more than just fat. Fat appears differently on particular parts of the body, and around the thighs, it looks like what people have started calling “cellulite”.

        Lose fat, gain muscle, and the “cellulite” will go away.


      5. Hi Tim,

        You’ve earned my respect in a huge way (not that you had to earn a lick of it!) and I’d like and am curious about your ideas on who I should go to in the VC world for a green energy idea. This isn’t groundbreaking but it’s pretty cool and mother nature would approve. If you had 5 names that you felt good about and that operated in the environmental space, I would be a happy camper. Thanks! – David

        PS This is obviously not related to the post

      6. Darn! I was also interested in that sweet shirt! There’s a youtube content creator called destorm who is selling some awesome shirts with “Success is the sweetest revenge” that I also want. : D

    2. Agreed – love the shirt.

      I’m a 16-year-old owner of an apparel company, and would be glad to print up some high (the best) quality Ts like the one shown, if we can get a fair-sized order together.

      Feel free to contact me through my site if interested. TY


      P.S. Loved the post, Tim.

    3. Love your books, I’m doing The slow-carb diet now, with a exercise 4 times a week. I’m struggling to ceep up with the calorie intake. but it looks that I will manage after doing some twicks to my meals. And your breakfost, I have hacked that to just take under 6min with coffe. I’ll post something on youtube, when I get the time. Down 5 kg since I started 2. jan. 2011.

      I have some questions about the bread. Here in Norway it is not so easy to follow your method, almost all meals are based on bread, but we have some different breads that are completely different than what you have in the U.S. Whole grian in the US is liek a bad joke her in Norway. When I have reached my goals. I will do some experimenting with different varieties to see their effects over time. I will give you the report when I’m done with it. Probably sometime this summer.

      Can you make a hackfor cycling ? It’s my favorite sport so it would have been fun to see you take a try on it =)

      Best regards from Norway!

      1. Hey,

        Seeing as to how you’ve read the book would you mind answering my question (if possible)?

        When Tim discusses the ice age technique he mentions that in order to activate “fat burning bacteria” it is best to use ice packs around the trapezius area and the back of our neck.

        If I’m looking to loose weight on my legs should I put ice packs on my legs or just try out the cold bath?

        My confusion arose after watching the Doctor Oz show that Tim aired on. Oz, said that fat does more work when cold. By that logic freezing my legs with ice packs would be better than putting it around my neck area per se, right? Better as in help me lose more fat on my legs?

        Anyone want to answer PLZ!!

        I’m a 17 year old male so take it easy on me! 😛

  1. thank you. best part for me was: “It saved my sanity and has done the same for several friends who’ve gone from “I want to quit” to New York Times bestsellers.”

  2. I often get the same way with trying to map out ideas for coding projects. I can often begin with a base, but it’s coming up with the stand-alone features that make it work that gets to me. When it finally hits though, coding it isn’t even a problem anymore. It’s hashing it out that is the hardest part at times.

  3. I think Ungodly Riches is probably the worst on the list. I like the 40 Years In A Cubicle Tastes Like Chicken title too. But none of them has the same pop as Four Hour Work Week. For example: I bought the first edition of the book and was about 6-7 pages in when I lost it in a bar after celebrating a upcoming birthdays with “shots!”. I had to go buy another copy of the book later that same week, and I don’t think I would have done that for the “Oracle in the Oasis.”

    1. Tim,

      You’re a hustler. Congratulations, it’s hustlers who make it big, not geniuses.

      Thanks for being an inspiration,

      A genius

      1. Generalizations ftw. I’m sure you’re right. No one who was ever a genius or a hard worker ever “made it big”.

      2. “Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

        ~Calvin Coolidge

        You could replace the first line with:

        “Nothing in the world can take the place of Hustling…”

  4. Been turned on recently by the thought of traditional, mainstream ideas of “talent” and “genius” are more results of a process, rather than an inherent character trait — i.e. you either have it or you don’t.

    Had a conversation with a friend about why some of us growing up seemed to be better at skateboarding than others. “He was just talented. I skated way more than he did and I still sucked.”

    Sure, “talent” can be genetically predisposed — but how does that help YOU get to where you want to be?

    Seeing how much experimentation, dedication, trial and error is a factor of Tim’s success helps me believe I can get to where I want to be, whether I am genetically predisposed or not.

    1. Agreed Joel, I liked “The Great Repression” although it sounds like a book by a cynic who would subtitle it: my secret cubicle writings.

  5. One thing that I learned is that it takes a lot of refinement to make something good. It’s impossible to get something right the first time, especially in crafts like writing.

    1. You are correct. Imagine of so many things we read that the authors had to meet deadlines with and wished to improve. So many.

  6. Thanks for sharing your personal struggle Tim. I am in fact feeling quite stuck and this helps a great deal. Very timely 🙂

  7. This is probably the best post you have written yet.

    If you want to live like others can’t, you must do what others won’t

  8. Good post and very true: I probably started my novel about 15-16 times, getting anywhere from 5-40 pages in before realizing it was crap, then throwing the whole thing out. Then I finally got a good first page done and…well, the feeling of finally having something worth keeping was amazing. Almost as good as seeing my book in print. And it wasn’t smooth sailing from then on, but it sure got a helluva lot easier once I had written all the detritus out of my system.

  9. For the record, I would totally buy a book called “Billionaire Beer Goggles.”

    Although as the SEO folks will tell you, people naturally click links where the first word is a number. So maybe it should be called “4 Billionaire Beer Goggles.”

  10. Great post. I actually just picked up Bird by Bird. Looking forward to bring my writing to the next level on my blog and one day having a book that changes lives as well.

    Thanks for the byte of inspiration. 🙂

  11. This was an interesting article. I often feel like this. I question myself constantly. I want to give up, but I know that it takes persistence. It takes more to continue than to just stop altogether. It becomes increasingly difficult when your friends abort you and you become self-loathing. Thus is the nature of creativity. I have learned through my arduous struggles that all you can do is to move forward. we have no way of knowing what lays ahead for us in the future. All we can do is use the information at hand to make the best decision possible.

    Jeremy Darko

  12. Favorite bad title: The Virtue of Blowing it Off.

    I had several *not family friendly* versions of that occur to me as soon as I read it.

    Glad my near paralysis and internal raving are ‘normal’.


  13. Beautiful post. I think it will inspire a lot of people who just don’t think they’ve got what they need to achieve success. In the end, “there is no failure except in no longer trying”…

    PS: “Lifestyle Fetish”? I think I’ll have to vote for that one 😉

  14. I can’t figure out why you didn’t just title it “Unreal.” So simple and classy 🙂

    This is both hilarious and inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

  15. One of your best posts for ages Tim (not that the rest aren’t awesome) and just what I needed to hear.

    I’m in the midst of “writing a book” and man – it can be tough. I’m heartened though by the fact that I’m a seriously hard worker, I’m smart, I’m teachable, I can make mistakes and not get down. I know if I keep doing my 1000 words (min) a day and make 5 good quality connections with the outside world (sending a proposal, media press release, kick arse contact), then I will be successful.

  16. I guess it comes down to how to frame it, or how you think of the situation in your head. Having a template, steps, previous/similar experience, control to know better, or any other thing that allows you to take it from overwhelming big awesome goal to “Oh, sh*t. Just that? I can do that. That’s easy,” helps in taking you out of that mindset of too many options and fear of those “what-ifs” to something very similar to “F*ck it. Why not?”

    BTW, you’re a huge inspiration, man. Motivation for me to be more and do more.

  17. .. and another amazing book – The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield – awesome if you’re undertaking any kind of creative endeavour and getting beaten by your internal demons

    1. Musashi’s Book of Five Rings is a good pairing with Art of War. Kind of Yin/Yang – Art of War is external, Five Rings is internal. I’ve made a habit of re-reading them both every couple of years.

  18. Great post! Its so inspiring to see how others overcome internel hurdles. Its truly powerful to share your specific challenges and greatly appreciated. I feel as though you are famously honest. 4HWW was such a treat, i have been recommending it like water. Your twitter account keeps telling me you are going to the middle east, I hope you have an amazing trip.

    Ever Onwards!

  19. Bird by Bird is on my to-read list, but after this post, I may have to start reading it at night before bed. By coincidence, Seth Godin is releasing his new book soon, Poke the Box, which is a book to motivate people to start doing and stop trying to learn as much as possible before doing (and to stop planning). The book will be released March 1st, and will most likely be a must read like Godin’s other books.

    Perhaps Mr. Ferriss could post up the Amazon link for people, as I don’t want to come across as spam.

    1. Haha… thanks, James. Should be interesting to see Godin’s first post-publisher foray.

      “Poke the Box” just has so many connotations that I can’t help but laugh like a 7th grader. Perhaps that part of the social media plan.


  20. Great that the audience decided the title and not you.

    You testing always blows me away as I hate that. I couldn’t do it for 20 minutes let alone the weeks or months you spend crushing an idea into a business.

    There is a book right here on this post as I have loads of ideas but until they are proven nothing will work.

    Keep rocking


  21. 1. Billionaire Beer Goggles

    2. I have to buy that shirt or find someone to make it for me. A little help on the former? 🙂


  22. I’ll give you a porche for you soul! And Wild Goose Race.

    Ps Tim your writings worse than mine 🙂 damn some of that was hard to read

  23. Also, it looks like you really were dissatisfied with the “path” and that rebellious streak was showing through the titles.

    Have you thought about what would your life be like right now if you didn’t find the courage to go through with it?

    1. I’m with you Nick, Bitch Goddess caught my eye immediately. Although I’m not sure what it has to do with the topics in the book. But Billionaire Beer Goggles is a close second 😉

  24. It just struck me, I completely forgot to say this: the one book I would encourage any writer to read is Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury. Fiction, non-fiction, doesn’t matter. If you get done with this skinny book and don’t have your head brimming with ideas then, you know, up the voltage.

  25. 1-Disliked on multiple levels

    2-frustrated attempts

    3-tossed the first four chapters

    4-Most of the ideas are horrible beyond belief

    5-far from the worst I produced

    6-how many rewrites it took to get right

    7-just too overwhelming

    End result: New York Times bestsellers

  26. Tim – great video, looks like the party was awesome. Quick question – what song is that playing in the background of the video? I want to add it to my motivational mix…

      1. Alas,

        Shazam didn’t recognize the song, and the lyrics do not seem available on the interwebs..

        Very cool song btw.

      2. Unfortunately Shazam didn’t recognized it (first thing I tried), but it looks like the community came through – thanks guys!

    1. It’s ‘I want it all’ by Copperview.

      The vimeo page for the video (which you can access by clicking on the ‘vimeo’ link on the video control) has an iTunes link so you can get it.

      Enjoy! 🙂

  27. Love your passion and drive! I’ve been “stuck” for several years trying to get a business off the ground…only to sabotage myself again and again because of fear and negative talk. Going straight for the Bird by Bird book, by Lamott. Keep up the inspiring work, Tim!

  28. Weird how these things happen…

    In a moment of feeling frustrated and somewhat stuck, I pulled out “Losing My Virginity” (among other books), was about to put some music on in the background, but for some reason decided to check Google Reader first…

    You couldn’t have picked a better title.

    First two paragraphs from the first early draft image was the jolt I needed.

    Thanks for the post. Seriously.

    P.S. Awesome 4HB video. Diggin’ the “Please Shoot Me” title, too lol.

  29. Thank you Tim. I remember a couple of other posts you did similar to this subject and they make a world of difference every time.

  30. I also have to say that the T-shirt is awesome, and I also can’t find it 🙁

    That video is amazingly done, what an Artist. Receiving your book today (Four Hour Body) all the way here in Liverpool, England 🙂 Looking forward to it.

    I have also ordered your first book Four Hour Work Week. I have my own business here, doing very high end home theatre’s. But I want to branch out and learn about other types of business and see how I can change that type of business to be different to the rest.



  31. If I ever ran across a book titled “how to live like a drug lord”, I’d certainly want to browse it. I always wondered where those guys get their clothes.

    Then again “Please shoot me” would be my first choice (I like absurdist titles, and this one also show the writer doesn’t take himself too serious, which is always a good sign).

    Anyways, the reason I first browsed through T4HWW was not because the title, but because of the picture of a guy in a hammoc on a beach. Only after that, I noticed it had the word “work” in the title, and my brain said “Wait, what?”.

    When I’m stuck, I like to use freewriting (start writing and don’t stop, even if it’s utter nonsense), as it often starts the juices flowing again.

    Has anyone else try it?

  32. What a very cool post.

    OMG some of the names of those books cracked me up.

    Also have you though about just hosting a forum membership site on here for the 4 hour work week and 4 hour body, so everything is (in house) one nice convenient location to discuss, track our muses and body recompositions? Then you can run competitions and collect, analyse and research from our findings?

  33. “…the best creators are like ducks. They appear to glide along serenely on the surface. Beneath the surface, however, they’re kicking like a motherf*cker.”

    One of my favourite images.

  34. My 3 favorite titles were:

    1. Taste Like Chicken, Smells Like a Rat

    2. Wealthy Smelthy

    3. Bitch Goddess.

    Those would have been #1 NYT bestsellers as well, guaranteed!

  35. Great post, Tim. I liked the video as well! I find this helpful because I’m really in that phase of a creativity drought right now. I’ll plan on picking up that book.

  36. Nice article Tim, thanks. A lot of successful people like to maintain the “mystique” and don’t openly talk about this kind of thing, so it was a refreshing read. 🙂

  37. Tim:

    Honest post. The media makes everything seem like successes were foregone conclusions because A led to B then to C, etc. Life however, is if nothing else, nonlinear despite all popular notions to the contrary. Is it portrayed this way because it is easier for people to comprehend? Easier for writers to write about? Why is the finish line celebrated much more than the honest road of struggles, false starts and disillusion? Or is it that the successful are ever ready to present their story in the most favorable, if unrealistic, light? Surely it’s a combination of many factors. In any case, I’m always reminded of this quote by Calvin Coolidge:

    “Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

  38. Great article, Tim.

    Quick question – why do you keep saying that agave nectar is terrible for you?

    I’ve come to the conclusion that all sweeteners are to be avoided, but it seems to me that if you had to choose, either agave nectar or honey would be the best option available. This article ( http://bit.ly/afPFwi ) does a good job of offering logical reasons why agave nectar shouldn’t be a bogeyman.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Thanks!

  39. Have to say, I want that T-Shirt as well.

    I love Billionaire Beer Goggles.

    How to Live Like a Druglord – Great title that would be provocative and catch people’s attention. Along the lines of the talk you gave – dealing drugs for fun and profit.

    Whatever happened to the 2-Hour Workweek?

  40. Great to read Tim – it is sometimes good to know that going round in what can seem like endless circles happens to the best out there and we all go through it at some stage. Appreciate your continued inspiration to step away from the masses.


  41. Thanks for sharing this! You do indeed sometimes make it look way too easy, so it is great to know you also have moments where you are ‘kicking like a motherf*cker’ 😉

    By the way … it is ‘soupe du jour’ instead of ‘soup du jour’.



  42. “Keep calm and carry on.”

    Enjoyed the allusion to British war propaganda.

    [’40 Years in a Cubicle Tastes Like Chicken’]

  43. @Jay (James Rimmer) Happy to see I am not the only one in the North West who is into Tim’s stuff. Whenever I talk to someone about the 4HB over here (and Tim Ferriss) they all stare back with blanks. Even trying to explain some basics to the guys at Muay Thai, so they can rapidly lose weight before fights, many people seemingly rather continue doing what they have been doing for many years instead of trying a new ‘formula’ … sigh!

    By the way, if you ever need a signed copy (bought 5 US copies at launch) I will sell my left-over copy at cost.



  44. Tim,

    Great post! My husband and I read both of your books in a weekend and are now using it as a manual:) At our ages of 44 and 51 we are amazed at the insight and clarity you have brought to our projects and goals. As parents of three college students, (one son and two daughters) we are taking the family through our own “4 hour work week challenge”. Having a blast!

  45. Brian, this is too funny! When my hubby was going through job layoff after layoff, I had to step outside the home and get a low paying job to buy the groceries. I was determined to continuing honing my writing skills, though. I mean, I was JUST NOW getting it! And I was afraid I’d forget. So I did pretty much what you suggested. I wrote little episodes…but ones that would interconnect and depend on each other. Now, three years later, I have a full length novel I’m editing for my soon-hope-to-be agent.

    Enjoyed your post. Thanks for sharing!

  46. Tim,

    Couldn’t agree more with your writing advice:

    “It changed only when I started viewing each chapter as a magazine article: strong enough to be a stand-alone piece, including a clear opening or “lede”, a clear middle with case studies, and a punctuated end with lessons learned.”

    I’d always been a screenwriter–which is barely writing if we’re being honest!–and I too found myself super overwhelmed when it came time to write my first novel. How to possibly turn nothing into 400 pages? It seemed like a Herculean task. Even the plotting was hard for such a long work.

    It became a LOT easier when I simply wrote a table of contents and then decided to make every chapter good enough to stand alone (not as a magazine article, but, rather as a short story in my case, since I write fiction). Only afterward, in future drafts, did I try to make the chapters flow together seamlessly as one cohesive work.

    That produced much more interesting “single serving” chapters, as well as an overall better product.

    Thanks again for the continued inspiration, Tim!

    Aaron Goldfarb

    author, “How to Fail: The Self-Hurt Guide”

  47. Preach on! My dissertation advisor gave me a copy of Bird by Bird, but that was years ago, perhaps it needs a reread now that I’ve left that part of my life behind… Writing a tome at once is impossible but, like you said, an article is something you can tackle… Great advice on a day that it was needed 🙂

  48. “I Traded My Soul For A Porsche” would have gotten a you a slightly older demographic… Probably bald, middle aged guys that are looking for some “chicks bro”.

  49. Hey Tim, it can’t always be smart questions… I like your T-shirt, what is the font that you used for the letters? Thanks.

  50. Hey Tim,

    Thanks for sharing the notebook pages. Very cool. There are some phrases there I just might have to borrow!

    Also, interested in your book recommendation for Bird By Bird. Looks like one I’ll need to pick up on the kindle.

    The party looked like an absolute blast.



  51. Good advice for getting over that last hurdle. Seems like the last 5% of the project work is what actually produces the results.

    BTW some of the names for 4HWW are hilarious….”Undressing The Emperor”. Tim spending so much time in Asia you should know what Emperor is a euphemism for.

  52. I just signed up for your blog yesterday, and I’m already glad I did. This was exactly what I needed to find in my inbox this morning. I write, draw and self publish my own comics (it was my dream as a kid) and I spend a great deal of time in my head as well. I had an outstanding year of learning, growth and all around bada$$ opportunities last year, and I’m sort of sitting still and going “What next?” Its like somehow, if I’m not off doing something extraordinary everyday, I’m failing. Realizing I have to back the pressure off on myself.

    Sorry to ramble Tim. Suffice it to say I like the cut of your jib. The 4-Hour Body and now the 4-Hour Work Week have been incredibly helpful and inspiring, ranking up next to Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Please keep droppin your knowledge.

  53. All the suffering is worth it, thanks for putting out all the great work. I’m still in the phase of suffering through the creative process with little results, so these kind of posts are nice. Thanks for the tip on the Lamott book.

  54. Hey Tim,

    Just bought one of the recommended books through Amazon. Random question relating to a career as an author: Can you make more money selling a book you have written yourself or by blogging about other books and collecting the Amazon affiliate commission?


  55. Never give up. Congratulations on “The 4 Hour Body” book. It’s the beginning of the beginning…. All the best!

  56. Wow, this came at just the right time. I quit my job months ago to create my own business. While I have been working every day, recently, I have been a tad stuck letting my fears and doubts win most of the time.

    To say that I feel stuck is a bit of an understatement. The thing that has been keeping me going though is the fact that I truly believe that what I am doing is possible and that with enough work that I will be able to become successful.

  57. “Tastes Like Chicken, Smells Like Rat?” WTF?

    Seriously though, I’m glad to hear that even the “big shots” struggle with their work too.

  58. Great post, Tim. It really helps to hear that even our “gurus” have had to slog through the phases of doing the work. I got a laugh out of your title tryouts. I think I like “Bitch Goddess” and “Sick of the Bullshit”. LOL.

  59. Very timely post Tim! I’m part way through writing my first info product, an online course to help women achieve pregnancy by natural means (kinds fits in with 4HB I guess). Anyway, I’ve resorted to this strategy myself, as it is the easiest way to keep myself motivated. Right now, I’m writing one chapter a week, and sending it out to my small test group to implement and give me feedback. Definitely motivating to know that I’ve got a group of women expecting my chapter each Monday. Even if I end up finishing it late Sunday night, it gets done.

    It is encouraging to know that even you struggled with writing… you make it look so easy sometimes! I haven’t gotten to the naming phase yet, but reading your ideas for 4HWW cracked me up!

  60. Hey Tim,

    I love the random brain vomit sheets! Do you have any more? Some of your thoughts are very good for keeping a good mindset. It’s like 4hww…the lost chapters!

  61. Love that you have pages of ideas written down. When I brainstorm, I seriously write hundreds of titles or taglines before I decide on any of them. Often, like yourself, I find that the one that fits best may not be my favorite.

    In my experience, it’s very rare that the first idea that comes to your head is the right one. It’s always taken me lots of work to think of lots of options and filter them down to my top 10… then top 5… then top pick.

    By the way, my favorite is “billionaire beer goggles.” I might not have purchased the book if that was the title, but it’s creative!

  62. Kudos Tim for showing that the creative process is a messy and far from carefree thing.

    Have you read Peter Elbow’s ‘Writing with Power’ as he argues that “sometimes you have to write the wrong words in the wrong sense to get the right words in the right sense” and that we’ve all been tricked into thinking that works of fiction and fact are perfectly realised the first time rather than being the product of iteration after iteration.

    Loved the 4 Hour Work Week and am loving the 4 Hour Body – keep up the good work.


  63. i cried when i read this post! i have embarked on a really daunting new years resolution to meet every single facebook friend i have and i was hitting a wall. thinking that this was ridiculous, that i’m ridiculous, that i will fail, that i am an idiot. all the usual stuff that happens whenever i start any creative enterprise. but this made me think i’m not the only one who grits their teeth and tries. . . .

  64. It’s great to see some of the difficulties that you went through Tim when you’re going through the creative process. After reading the 4HWW and the 4HB I started thinking there was NO WAY I was going to able to write something so well.

    I’m going to order the book you recommended and get on it immediately. That’s an awesome video too, you look like a rockstar in it!

  65. Please look into coconut water and tell me what you think.

    I’m drinking it every day for added potassium,magnesium,calcium.

    Thanks, Rj

  66. Ironically, this post was the medicine I needed this morning. My girlfriend says I have a man crush on you, I told her that’s nonsense, I just really believe in the philosophies/mindsets/teachings in your blog posts and books. I appreciate these “case studies” and real-world experiences… it brings it all to life. Thanks!

  67. Love the video, Tim.

    I’ve been writing for pleasure since fifth grade (and more recently for profit) and I’m always curious how someone who does not consider themselves a writer, but who has a message to send, goes about writing a book. That is, without hiring a ghostwriter. It’s daunting enough when you’ve been doing it for a decade or two, I couldn’t imagine walking into it without all of that buildup.

  68. Tim, I’m so glad you stuck with “The 4-Hour Work Week!” You’re right, some of those were pretty bad – “Tastes Like Chicken, Smells Like A Rat.” Curious what you were thinking when that name popped up.

    Thanks for baring your soul & your “fails” here – It’s good to know I’m not the only one who looks back at a bunch of ridiculous ideas I’ve come up with.

    I’ve been at that point where the easiest thing to do is pack it up and quit – start looking for another W-2. Great to get a shot in the arm like this post every now and again.


    P.S. Fantastic video by Gebbs – Thanks for posting.

  69. Great, timely post, Tim!!

    I know I’m not the only one who finds it infinitely inspiring to read real-life, “behind the scene” stories such as yours as it reminds me that while nothing is simple, everything is possible.

    “When you embark on an adventure, never consult somebody who’s never left home”.

    Thank you wholeheartedly for sharing your wisdom, Tim.

  70. Great stuff! Your notebook pages are inspiring to us wannabes out there. Ballsy to put it out there. Thanks for that.

    Totally agree on Bird By Bird. Required reading for writers at any level.


  71. “When Hedonists Ruled the World” is my favorite, but I’m guessing that’s a pretty different book entirely… 🙂

  72. Hey Tim,

    It makes a world of difference to actually study successful people and their journey. When we merely look at successful people and their accomplishments it often seems like they’re doing the impossible. Taking the time to see what they went through in order to get to where they are now paints a drastically different picture.

    Thanks for the reminder about what it takes to great through the tough times. It’s very inspiring to see the challenges you’ve overcome.


  73. Read this post and found Bird by Bird @ my local library.

    Whipped out a notebook and started taking notes ala “How To Take Notes Like an Alpha Geek” with one exception.

    Mind mapping.

    It might be my visual/tactile learning style but I’m finding it much easier to note take with the indexing by mind mapping key ideas and funny shit that stands out to me.

    Now if I can just get the speed reading down I’ll be done with this book by tomorrow…

    Oh crap…my pen ran out of ink. Ugh

  74. I’d love to know where to purchase a BodyMetrix Ultrasound Body Composition Analyzer but don’t know where?

    Can anyone direct me?



  75. Look at that, I sent this yesterday to an ultra successful entrepreneur friend;

    “I’m frothing at the mouth to become self employed and location independent.

    It has been 4 month that I’m home working on creating something,

    yet I’m short of results!

    My Therapist just said this to me:

    “Now may be the time to cut it out and go look for a job”

    (although I still have the funds to keep trying),

    as I’m suffering and making myself sick, it is HARD.

    As someone who has clearly made the leap

    (and I’m sure you had your own challenges)

    do you think I need to give up, and succumb to what I see as mediocre,

    or keep pushing and trust that I’ll make it to the other side???”

    Today I see this, Thanks again mate, you made my day!