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 500 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 to Lindsay Cancel 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.)

381 Replies to “Feeling Stuck? Read This…”

  1. Thank You, Tim! Great post. I am truly “feeling stuck” and this post was a pleasant surprise to read. Appreciated the shown examples to illustrate your point.

    Enjoyed reading your answer to a question from an interview with Leo Babauta (Zen Habits / Write to Done ) — “Put in the time, take it seriously, and expect it to be f*cking hard. It is hard, but it’s worth it if you treat it with the right kind of respect. For those dark valleys of self-doubt that come up (and trust me — they will), I strongly suggest keeping Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott at your deskside.”

  2. Hi Tim,

    I love the Cameron quote.

    I’m a feeling a little picky about the “fear” part of it, though. Some time ago I created my own acronym for FEAR, which has helped me get unstuck from time to time.

    First

    Evaluate

    According to

    Risk

    Thanks for the continuing great information.

    Tom Justin

  3. Great post – inspiring stuff and good info on Lamott to help writers/bloggers in need.

    I think Tastes Like Chicken, Smells Like a Rat and the Misfit Millionaire were the best.

    Think I am with most people in wanting one of those t-shirts!

    Thanks again for the cool advice.

    Patrick

  4. There are many simple things to do when you are stuck. Look around you, there always something to write about or just go to other blogs, look at what they are writing about and try to write something original and UNIQUE about they same subject or something similar…

  5. Tim

    Truly amazing post. Again you continue to send information that comes at just the right time. The lede formula is what I want to do as I re-tol my manuscript.

    Thanks again for all your work and inspiration.

    Leonard

  6. What a nice boost to receive right about now. Humble “stars” such as yourself, go the furthest it seems…

    Muchisimas gracias por el empujo a seguir, soy muy agradecida.

  7. “Just Shoot Me” – my personal favorite!

    I don’t feel so bad now, because I have a pile of notes that look exactly like yours. Most of the ideas are scratched out and I just want to throw everything in the trash at times… but that’s all part of the process of creating something new.

    Thanks for sharing!

  8. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    You have no idea how many times people tell me I look so calm, if they only knew!! I always have ideas, projects, wrtiting, paintings… going on in my head. So I’m happy to see I’m not alone.

    I’m also in the midst of writing articles and a book, so your openess about your process is very much appreciated and inspiring.

  9. Hey Tim,

    “If at first you don’t succeed, destroy any evidence that you ever tried”

    Thank you for the reassuring post. I am a first time commenter, and I just wanted to say quickly that your work has completely turned my life around from serious depression to being the happiest, most content person on the planet.(don’t quote me on that).

    You are truly the ultimate role model, and continue to be a great source of inspiration in my life…sooooo thanks.

    I live in England, so I won’t get your new book in till tomorrow, or the next day but I can’t wait to be blown away.

    -From Will, age 20, Bath, England

  10. Great post, Tim. Thanks.

    Started reading Seneca finally. Digesting sentence by sentence. Thanks for the suggestion.

    p.s. For Sale: My Life for $$$

  11. Just wanted to add a great quote:

    “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” Henry Ford

  12. You guys know you can get anything you want silk-screened onto a shirt at a custom shirt printing shop, right? Just hire someone on Odesk to re-create that shirt based on Tim’s photo for five bucks, then take that file to a shirt-printing store and you can have your own for around forty dollars. This is how I plan to get a t-shirt printed with a photo of me kicking a Shaolin monk in the balls.

  13. “How to Live Like a Drug Lord” — definitely the most catchy. I’ve got boxes of papers just like you Tim and most pages are filled with bad ideas. Writing and writing some more — that’s how I get to the good ideas…

  14. Perfect post for rabbits, rabbits, rabbits day! Tim; I have to tell you I was a skeptic due to the vast diffs between my 53 year old body, tude, and yours- but it started with the CD book and ended with that blue tombstone and now it’s all dal hill. Seriously I am a Dal freak and 5 inches gone later…I am a Ferris fan. I even plugged you to my client the other day! Here’s the ALL TIME best recipe ever just for you from a Yogi from long long ago- Spinach with Dal :

    2lbs spinach & 1/2 to 1 cup of Urhad lentils (these come peeled or black-I used black ones-more fiber) add 1tsp of turmeric, 1/2 tsp cayenne &2tsp salt in 1 cup of H20 throw all these into a pot with a lid- you have to add the spinach slowly as it shrinks- then boil away- with the lid if using black ones they cook slower- about 15-20 min. or no lid if using any other dal. In another pot put one tblsp of ghee, 1 tblsp of peeled ginger (you can buy this in a jar all peeled and smushed-fab) and 1 tsp of garam masala or 7 spice or ras al hanout (these are all sorta similar mixes you can buy) throw in the spinach mixture…and VOILA! 5 inches baby! Once you make this it will be love…and it has the magic spinach number! Thank you Tim for suffering and not giving up- keep on experimenting!

  15. Hey Tim,

    The video is cool.

    You look very happy.

    I’m so glad for you.

    You work has been an inspiration for me since I first read The 4HWW.

    I hope you keep making your dreams come true.

  16. 0:54 to the left hand side, 3/4 of the way there is a guy that looks like Eben Pagan. He wasn’t there was he Tim?

    P.s. I think you had this edited, I don’t remember seeing so many beautiful women and I was there the entire time – lol

    1. haha Good spot! Looks like Eben.

      Sick gravatar with Tim.

      Would loved to have been there! Host an event (any event!) East-coast of Australia. It’ll get filled EASY.

  17. ¨Sick of the bullsh*t¨, hahah, what a title. hahaha. BTW know how it feels…Thanks for your post Tim, I´m horribly stuck with my muse but decided to keep on moving….

  18. Thanks Tim, your post came at the right time for me. Nearing the end of a long haul of endless rewrites and polishing, and it felt good to be reminded that it’s all par for the course.

  19. Hey Tim, I’m dragging my feet on an add-on smartphone case item I’ve come up with (and to my astonishment no case manufacturer out there has hit on yet).

    Utterly cheap to get and make, but in a quandary about copyright and patent stuff (if it’s even patentable).

    Have shown it to maybe 10 friends, and reaction is always instantaneously positive (‘I want it !’).

    In any event, I’m in a quandary of sorts about how best to market it, and, of course,, the longer I wait, the greater the risk that someone else will come up with it.

    Soooo….. you have any recommendation on which of 10 different directions to go with it, or someone to contact ?

    And apologies if this doesn’t precisely fit in here.

    Last, but hardly least, can you send out an alert if you or someone gets that T-shirt made ?

    Cheers !

  20. Hey Tim,

    sa usually timely and inspiring. Just spent the day working on becoming unstuck using several different approaches! One being a process from the book “Mastering Life’s Energies” by the lovely Maria Nemeth.

    This included first finding a Life Intention that was important to me. I combined several:

    To be a financially successful, physically fit, author, writer, entrepreneur, well respected, professional, who contributes to community by helping others, well educated, effective coach, healer and successful communicator.

    Then, the assignment required to think and list someone who embodies or demonstrates these qualities for me.

    YOU were the first person that came into my head.

    Thanks for inspiring me, and sharing your gifts and process,

    Karen J.

  21. This is great, Tim. One of the aspects of keeping on keeping on is surrounding yourself with people who do the same – Is there any way you can create a way for followers of your 4-Hour topics can find one another and do some local meet-ups to find others of like minds? Have you considered creating that kind of membership area on your sites?

  22. Tim… [Batting my eyelashes]…  I heart you!  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, thank you for just being you.  I feel like a ridiculous school girl fumbling for something that adequately expresses how freaking awesome you are but I fear the only thing I can blurt out is simply thank you for just being you.

     

    Loved the many variations of titles;  It’s just too hard to choose a favorite from the likes of “wealthy smealthy”, “bitch goddess”, and “undressing the emperor”  [which strangely could work as a pitch for co-authoring a series with none other than the “poke the box” title -> score one for junior high humor!].  

     

    All things considered though, I simply must own “lifestyle beer goggles” – This kills me and has given more entertainment than you know today as I explored the possibilities w/my coworkers & friends!  I’ll take a special edition specific to my work-life that makes seeing a particular category of patients tolerable.  Just earlier today, I was joking that in order to get through what is sure to be a painful visit with a patient in the morning, I was going to be toting a large bottle of what appears to be water but nobody should sample any of my “water.”   Instead of being too inebriated to finish seeing patients though, I’ll just slip on my patient beer goggles and roll with it!   When I go out dancing, instead of whimpering internally while I am carelessly thrown around by a man that has not quite figured out what it is to gently manhandle [and the subsequent reaction he may receive in return], I’ll just slip on my dancing beer goggles and dance it out, baby!  Why beer goggles?  B/c it simply isn’t worth giving into any other reaction than being able to laugh about it & gain the experience.  Folks, the next time you find yourself in a less than completely desirable situation, slip on your lifestyle appropriate beer goggles! :0)

    With Admiration & Gratitude, ~Bethany

     

    Sometimes you just have to take the leap, and build your wings on the way down ~ Kobi Yamada

  23. Tim, thanks, I was hoping for a post like this (to the point of starting to write a guest post for you and finding a way to get you to post it 🙂

    Too many ‘gurus’ talk about their successes but forget to mention the hard work; or mention it and move on to the dream world of fantasy.

    There is a mindset successful people have and it is my goal to find a formula to replicate it.

    Thanks

    Daniel

  24. Thanks for sharing this…the low times can be really hard and not many people are willing to share their imperfections. Your frank tone is what I like in your books.

    After reading the 4HWW I wrote this email to a friend 2 months later after starting my first company:

    5:30 AM – Wake up to work on email marketing campaign

    6:30 AM – Finalize and send email marketing campaign. Go back to sleep.

    7:30 AM – Wake up to go to surf lesson, but tide is low so have breakfast made for me instead. Lounge around outside and take an hour to eat breakfast. Chat with owner of hotel about his business plan and get good ideas for other types of marketing.

    9:00 AM – Ride bike 10 minutes into the nearest town to get groceries.

    10:30 AM – Check email and have sold 13 packages. Go back to sleep to take nap before surf lesson.

    12:00 PM – Go to second surf lesson and am able to paddle and ride wave ALL by myself : )

    2:00 PM – Check email and have sold total of 16 packages, therefore have paid for my vacation in one single day. Write you this email and then go to lay out to work on tan.

    About 4 months later I almost lost everything I had built up in the business and times got tough. It’s the drive to succeed that will keep the flame burnin’ – but it’s especially nice to visit your blog every once in a while for a dose of inspiration.

  25. Hi Tim

    I am glad your NYC party worked so well. Is there a part in the 4 hour Body about staying strong during Cancer Treatment? I start treatment this week at Stanford’s Cancer Center in Palo Alto. The Treatment concerns me more than the cancer.http://cancer.stanford.edu/

    Question 2.I am looking to start a Non-Profit in order to raise funds for Providing Housing to Cancer and Transplant patients for Stanford and UCSF. Right now it is non existent.

    How about writing a book about staying strong while a patient fights cancer and donating a good portion of the book to my Housing for Cancer and transplant patients?

    Can you introduce me to Mark Zuckerberg?

    1. @ Tom G,

      Just wanted to let you know that I am thinking of you today. I don’t recall seeing anything specifically addressing cancer in 4HB; However, I thought I might do something I’ve never done before which is to share part of my story with you in the hopes that it may be useful to you in some small way. Summer of 2006, I returned to school for my second degree, and started teaching anatomy at the university. A first for me, I felt like I was exactly where I should be both personally and in my professional development. For brevity’s sake, I became ill during the fall and ultimately ended up having two courses of chemotherapy [albeit very low dosing b/c it was pre-emptive] & two exploratory surgeries from November 2006 – August 2007.

      Now, I’m not going to lie to you here… I went to some dark places during this time with an overwhelming compilation of worries and fears circulating through me at any given moment. I can even remember hazily thinking to myself as a sat across from my patients in clinic/ hospital rooms, “Please, please, please don’t ask me. I see that look in your eye, and I cannot and will not discuss my health with a patient. Just don’t ask me.” While I had a lot of fears circulating through my mind, I most feared if people, particularly patients, found out about my health status what the reaction may be… I didn’t want to be pitied and I certainly didn’t want to be treated like the patient. So, instead I hid in plain sight and denied anything was wrong/ going on [which I got away w/ for the most part specifically b/c I didn’t have the common side effect of alopecia due to the very low dosing]; For the preservation of my privacy, the hospital even created an alias for me -> Not even my best friends or family members were able to track me down when I went in.

      Even in the darkest of moments questioning everything, I gradually learned to seek something more… And believe me, initially it was quite the internal conflict. Eventually, I dove and poured myself into my teaching, and course work/clinical work w/ a commitment I had not previously demonstrated. Many a night, I spent at a patient’s beside [so they weren’t alone], or with a struggling student in the lab reviewing human anatomy. It was those long nights at a patient’s bedside that brought me the most clarity; At the bedside, I was brought back to seeing the beauty in the world, and growing gratitude where fear and anger had once resided. In the end, this initiated my transformation towards the best version of my self – which is not to say that I don’t get frustrated with patients or certain situations [b/c I most certainly do! Just reference my previous comment about desiring beer goggles]. :o) I have to admit, I was not without my mistakes though. Ex: It was a mistake, that I take full ownership of, to hide instead of share my vulnerability. Now there’s an awful lot that I don’t know about life/ medicine/ etc. but what I do know for absolute certain is that my worst imaginable fears never became reality. I sincerely hope this will be the case for you as well.

      Concerning your second question, strangely enough I am part of a local transplant team [in a different state]. One of the issues we run into with funds for patients is that, due to any number of regulations, an independent source unaffiliated with the transplant team must handle the funds. We had over $25K saved for patients sitting for the whole of last year; Unfortunately, we weren’t able to distribute any of it b/c we didn’t have an independent source to handle the funds. Pleased to report, the director of the volunteer group associated with the hospital recently took this on and we can finally now assist our patients in emergency situations [particularly once these patients lose their insurance coverage 3 years after transplant and are scrambling to pay for immunosuppression medications every month]. So, you may check with the fundraising/ foundation departments of the hospital/ program to see if they are in this same predicament.

      At any rate, I was also going to suggest checking out your local American cancer society chapter – If they don’t have anything in the area, they may be interested in starting up w/you. When I lived in Birmingham, AL, the local ACS chapter had a large facility to house patients & family members during the treatment courses w/ around the clock medical staff available. I volunteered there several times with a friend mine, who happened to be a cancer survivor, and cooked meals for all the patients & family members. What an awesome experience! You might also check in w/ livestrong as both a resource and support group for yourself.

      Best Wishes,

      ~Bethany

  26. Hi Tim,

    Read both of your books. Great job!

    A quick tip for your blog! On the top of your blog you have an advertisement stroke which has a different “orange” colorcode then the rest of your blog. It would look way better if you change that small thing!

    Gr.

    Michael

  27. All so true, Tim. Thanks for the wise words and the glimpse behind the curtain. Thanks also for the pointer to Anne Lamott’s book, which sounds like it was written specifically for several people in my home.

  28. (I hope it was ok to post this here! I could not find an email) 🙂

    Dear Tim,

    Full disclosure – I was only about 128 pounds (5’6”) when I began the Slow-Carb Diet as a way to support my husband who was desperately trying to lose weight. That said, I was the heaviest I had ever been in my life. I felt swollen and bloated, and my self-esteem was plummeting daily. I could no longer fit into my clothes. I am in a very high stress Ph.D. program and before starting the diet, I was spending many hours sitting in front of a computer, fretting, drinking coffee, and eating anything I want. My skin was breaking out regularly (extremely annoying as I am 29 years old), I constantly complained of stomach aches, and I was highly irritable, anxious, and depressed much of the time. I had tried other diets, but failed miserably- either they were too time consuming, or I would experience headache and fatigue. I had gotten to a point in my life where I had started to believe that I would never be beautiful again.

    Fast forward to 2 and a half weeks later. I have been following the Slow-Carb Diet religiously. I am not counting calories in any way, but I limit myself to vegetables, legumes, and proteins (mostly eggs, chicken, and fish). I have one cup of coffee in the morning with cinnamon and a bit of cream. I have 1 to 2 glasses of red wine at night, some nights. I have to thank you, because the transition to this diet was easy and although I had some cravings during the first two days, I do not miss carbohydrates at all currently. I have lost 8 pounds (and yes, I take full advantage of “cheat day!”), I have not felt bloated, swollen, or stomach-achy in two and a half weeks. My clothes are slipping on easily. My skin has cleared up significantly. Most importantly, my irritability, fatigue, depression, and anxiety have all but vanished. I can work all day without afternoon crashes or cravings for caffeine or sugar. I feel even-keeled and alert. The changes both physically and emotionally for me have been so noticeable that my friends and family are begging me for the diet secrets (I keep trying to tell them how easy it is!).

    I have stopped thinking of this as a diet and hope to make it a lifestyle change. My next goal is to get back in the gym and tone-up (my husband and I both bought kettleballs and use them several times a week). I also wanted to let you know that in about 5 weeks, my husband lost 25 pounds and is able to wear all of his clothes again (he is 6’2” and 200 pounds currently). He has experienced similar effects from eating this way. We have both completely changed the way we think about eating and the types of food we derive pleasure from. I cannot thank you enough for the gift you have given me and my husband. It was been life changing.

    Sincerely,

    A happy follower

  29. some interesting titles there “Bitch Goddess”? what were you thinking…

    though I quite like “is it just me, or does this suck?” but I suspect you were talking to yourself there and not considering it a book title…

  30. Tim – great post because, like all good posts, it’s dripping with authenticity.

    I think if you bust your ass and give it your full attention regardless of the outcome years later you won’t have to shift in your seat and tell your grandson when he asks you what you did with your great idea…”Well, your Granddaddy shoveled shit in Louisiana.” (from my upcoming book Patton the CEO) Just kidding!

  31. tim: are your books translated into other languages? if so, where would i find them? i have russian friends who could greatly benefit from reading your work. thanks!

  32. Welcome to the wonderful world of writing, which requires nothing more than slitting your wrist and watching the blood spill out over the page.

    Think non-fic is hard? Try writing fiction, where you have to think up everything yourself instead of relying upon information and facts. Only the flimsy structure of story and its servants, character and conflict, help out with the heavy lifting. After fourteen books, a number of short stories and even articles on the craft of writing (yes, I am supposed to know a lot about this) I still don’t know how I do it.

    Writing is a lot like sex. When it’s good, there’s nothing better. When it’s bad….

    And many of the same interruptions can disturb the creative flow. Bad marriage, sick relatives, you name it, and it will throw the writing off kilter.

    I also liked “Bird by Bird,” with the primary suggestion in the title–to write, take it word by word. It’s the only way to avoid complete creative paralysis.

    At the same time, I can’t seem to do without writing. I’ve tried other creative outlets and they just don’t give me the same sense of satisfaction.

    So I write and edit fulltime–or as much as I have to work :)–and probably will never give it up despite the whining.

  33. Hey Tim! This is awesome advice! I read your book 4HWW 2 years ago, and I finally have started to make progress on my clothing muse. I can honestly say that there are some very crappy times, but if you persist you will make it.

    Thanks!!! Such a fan!

  34. Hey Tim, Just got done reading 4-hour body. Amazing stuff. I took kind of the same experimental route as you did over the last 8 years with my brain after majoring in Neurobiology. I experimented with every nootropic under the sun (legal or otherwise), read every book on brain enhancement, and did workbooks and puzzles. The only problem is I broke your big rule, I didn’t quantify. I’ve fought hard against ADD all my life and have been on and off ritalin, etc. The problem with it is that it destroys my creative ability when I’m on it. I barely graduated high school with a D average but somehow through determination learned in the military and brain exercises, I managed to get a degree in Neurobiology & Philosophy at a very reputable school and ended up with a 3.8 GPA. Would love it if you could do a “4-hour MIND” book, focusing on this stuff. I’m guessing it’s probably already in the works?

  35. While I think my question may be common, I don’t know if my circumstance is. I am a 56 year old female who has always been thin/fit. Running, weights, aerobics, etc (OK – probably over trained). Until – I had a myomectomy, partial hysterectomy (only uterus) and then a lypoma removed from my illiopsoas muscle, which left me unable to walk for a year (femoral nerve clamped too long). When I gained weight – I gave up… now I am 5’7″ and weigh 209 lbs instead of the 125 I am accustomed to.

    I am devouring your book – love it, although I do (per your suggestion) often skip the technical part. I have purchased my kettlebell and a BOSU trainer. I am on my way out the door to get the supplements I don’t have. Have printed out the 3 exercises for the mornings and the meal outline. I am ready to go. I think.

    According to amazon.com you had a book that was supposed to be released yesterday; however, I cannot find it for sale. Is it a workbook to go along with The 4-Hour Body? Is there a worksheet, program or to-do list to follow? I can’t find anything in your book for cardio workouts (in the chapters I read – per your suggestions) but plan to add walking on my treadmill to my 30 day, 20 pounds no exercise routine.

    I totally buy into the over-train and MED, so I don’t want to overdo. Need guidance.

    This is so exciting to me – having been complacent for so long and choosing to believe that I cannot be the sexy female b/c of age, mentalpause (sic on purpose) etc and now saying F*** that! I am ready for my muscle memory to be awaken and to strut down the street with a twinkle in my eye. But I guess I am just one of those who needs a checklist.

    Anyone?

    Thanks!

    Missy

    1. Hi Missy,

      I’m Tim’s assistant. There weren’t any new books released by Tim since The 4-Hour Body. You should have everything you need 🙂

      Best of luck, and please keep us posted!

      – Charlie

      1. The release date stated on amazon.com is Feb 1st for “The 4-Hour Body: The Secrets and Science of Rapid Body Transformation” Perhaps it is the softcover version.

        Tim puts his eating schedule in the book and the 3 exercises in the morning. When should we add aerobics (walking, running) to our 30 days to lose 20 lbs?

        Thanks so much!

  36. Billionaire Beer Goggles show a sense of humor that’s sorely lacking in the self-help genre.

    Though still think title shoulda been ‘Fuck this, I’m outta here’

    😉

  37. Feeling stuck is something we all go through all the time. It’s good to see we’re all not alone in that respect! I find it’s really important also to gather people around you who can inspire you, brainstorm with you and positively reinforce you in order to get past a static point. Positive, energetic people 🙂

    For the past few months I’ve been sorely confronted with the necessity to carefully select who you spend your time with. I found my personality shrinking instead of growing, accommodating people I shouldn’t have wasted a minute on to begin with.Trying to cut certain people out of my life did however leave me feeling really bad about myself at times. The negativity that can emerge from it is quite something. It was very reassuring to read your (Tim’s) views on selecting the people you spend your time with, in the 4hww. It makes me feel a bit better every time I doubt myself on the subject.

    Cheers for that

  38. Hi Tim,

    Thank you so much for this article. I am loving your stuff so much at the moment. I’ve heard so much stuff before and it just fries my brain, but I am learning so much from your material. I have 20 pounds in 30 days from your book The Four hour body and I am continuing to follow it and learn more from it.

    Right now, life is hitting me with a brick, I’m going through a possible relationship separation that has really become one of my switch and part of my Harajuku moment, just like you had. How did you find the courage and strength to keep going!? I’m working hard on getting my website design and development business online and a heap of stuff but this stuff is tough!

    But here is to adventure 🙂 So glad the books been a success, it deserve’s to be, it is life changing!

  39. Tim — I, too, love the shirt. How about a Four-Hour Body shirt though? Imagine all the great looking people you would have wearing one as more and more of us get our shirt together and start looking buff?

    1. Anything orange on The Bygone Bureau is parody and humor. I’m sure neither Bygone nor Charlie Nadler have much tolerance for hate.

  40. Yep, really reminded me, too, that it takes work and going through all the frustration and the doubt to get anything real and of value accomplished. Even though, Tim, you make it look too easy sometimes. We forget that things were ever that difficult for you.

  41. How come constructive criticism isn’t allowed on this comment board? I paid 27$ for this new book and can’t voice a subsequent opinion…

    1. Impatience plus assumption equals offense. That’s a reason one should wait before calling a prospective mate after a first date. Their reaction to the delay will tell you volumes about their outlook.

  42. Thanks, Tim. I’m about to leave a perfectly good gig that has paid me hundreds of thousands of dollars each of the last couple years to chase a few life ambitions. Your writings have been inspirational along the way. You will either become a guru of my path or an anathema, depending upon the outcome – but I am pretty sure it will go well and hope to share stories in person sometime.

    Best wishes – Will

  43. Tim;

    The emails noted in your 4HWW book dont work, got bouncebacks. I had a couple questions:

    1. From page 94:

    I am the owner of three businesses, making progress going from working in to working on. Questions- One, to get your auto response (extreme example of personal one), and two, I am starting my book and would appreciate your thoughts on going from thoughts to writing to changing others lives.

    2. From page 280: Looking for your recommended autoresponder for rediricting people.

    Love your book, on second reading now, implimenting mode.

    Hope to hear from you.

    D

  44. Great post. It really hit home with me. I’ve been hitting a road block with my business for quite a while now. When its not one thing its another. But I am determined to get it done. No matter what. Thanks for the inspiration Tim.

  45. Hi Tim,

    I now live in India and travel frequently to the USA. I got my Kindle DX, but now find that I can’t order your book in kindle version from India..how come?

    Shankar

  46. Hi Tim,

    Very interested by your book and just ordered it…I’ve started the fat loss diet and am on day 4 – feeling good.

    In regards to gaining 34lbs of muscle in 28 days – there are some “skeptics” that have said you manipulated fluid and glycogen etc… but just wondering your thoughts… do you think that since your natural weight is considerably more than the weight you were when you started that this had an effect on how quickly you gained the weight?

    I have played soccer at semi pro level, coach soccer professionally and live in the Bay Area. Friends that workout at the gym regularly are for the most part disbelievers.

  47. Hi Tim,

    I’ve enjoyed your books and blogs for several years.

    My band played with Copperview in St. Louis, October 2009. How did you discover their music?

    Thanks,

    DM

  48. This post came at just the right time. It’s nice to know that it’s not just me who gets stuck. Right now I am designing a new presentation course and keep getting stuck for ideas.

    Thanks Tim

  49. Tim,

    Read your posts for quite some time. Never posted because I didn’t think I had something to contribute. Now I do…

    Have you come across or read about Ormus? White Powder of Gold…and I am not talking about Hype stuff, but real Alchemy.

    PS Read your notes, I think I enjoyed most the part titled “Slow Down”

    Thank you for sharing your Life, it has helped greatly in my own Transition…

    Love & Respect,

    James

  50. Hi Tim,

    In the 4-Hour Body you talk about how to calculate the correct starting weight for the A and B workouts, and how to add weight to make progress. But what happens when you cannot add weight any more? I mean, even given optimal calorie intake and rest periods, one cannot add weight to the lifts indefinitely. So what one should do at that point?

    Thanks,

    -Eugene.

  51. Stuck for a full year on my elusive BIG IDEA but I realised I’ve been forcing my conscious mind so hard….one foot on the accelerator and one on the brake….. need to rely more on the ideas that pop into the head when we wake up or in the shower….usually best ones come when we are relaxed and focused on something else after throwing into our unconscious some interesting elements/models a few days before.

  52. Tim your pieces of paper show that you opened your mind to let inspiration in and to unearth your own individual ideas. You did the ground work and the homework.The modern world thinks that one simple concept will make them rich in a short time but this shows that effort and fortitude will never be replaced by luck and technology. Fortune favours the brave and the bold even if they are first conceived on a small piece of paper. Good on ‘yer Tim!

  53. “Use Your Kaboodle and Make Some Noodles” – the original title for “Think and Grow Rich” – titles do make a huge difference.

    Thanks for sharing all you do.

  54. Hello Tim,

    I want to join the chorus of gratitude for this post. Particularly, invoking BIrd by Bird made me laugh out loud at the thought of the number of shitty first drafts I have written. Also, your title process illustrates the craft involved in writing – angels don’t just jump forth from stone. That is refreshing to remember.

    I completed a memoir (a kind of Eat,Pray,Love-with-debt-PhD-chronic health condition-no book advance thing) last June, and have been struggling with the traditional publishing route the last few months . . . Rejection simply sucks . . . I am currently brushing off my butt and getting back on the publication horse from a more 2.0 perspective. . .

    Both this post, and your larger message, reaffirm the possible. Thank you for being vulnerable enough to share your journey.

    Katie

  55. Tim & all,

    At the end of the second week I have lost no additional poundage. I lost 9 and change in the first 6 days … this second week not so much as a pound, my weight is exactly the same. I have not cheated (except on cheat day) and I am following the eating instructions to the tee. I’m a large guy, now at 282 (down from 291) could lack of protein be to blame for this? My regular schedule includes:

    Breakfast @630am – 3 eggwhites, spinach with flax oil

    Lunch 1 @1030am – 1/2 cups of broccoli, spinach and peas respectively

    Lunch 2 @3pm – skinless chicken breast, 1/2 cup of spinach with lentils and peas

    Dinner @8PM – Beef/Pork with 1/2 cup of mixed vegetables and lentils.

    I’m drinking absolutely nothing but water and unsweetened green tea (iced). There have been two instances this week where I have eaten 3 cashews with my spinach (whoa, crazy right?).

    If protein is a real heavily contributing factor, how can I get more? All the protein mixes I find seem to contain a fair amount of carbohydrates. Is there a PILL that delivers protein? If there is I can’t seem to find one.

    Thanks,

    Tanner

    (you can see my eating history by visiting my website)

    1. Tanner,

      I have not finished Tim’s new book yet, however, have you gotten your Adrenal Glands tested? There is something called “Adrenal Fatigue”

      Also, there is a little trick that a few people I know have used for weight loss. Have you tried adding Raw Cacao Nibs into your diet? It can curb your appetite and help speed up your metabolic rate…

      There are tons of companies that sell Raw Cacao Nibs…preferably Organic…

      Hope this helps…

      James

    2. Tanner,

      There was a lot of emphasis in the book on paying more attention to inches than pounds, because pounds are more likely to lie (muscle and fat not being differentiated on the scale). Have you been measuring inches, as well?

  56. My vote’s for “The New Hedonism” 🙂

    I’m sort of stuck, though planning to proceed with something anyway. My buddy & would be partner is going to compile some recipes specifically for cooking the week’s meals and vacuum sealing them. Setting up the interface for him to compile them before I put together the AdWords lander.

    As an aside, did anyone catch the top WSJ article today? “A Workout Ate My Marriage” about how exercise time cuts into relationship time. I saw this and thought wow, apparently we need to get 4HB to a few more people!

    What do you think, Tim (if you’re looking)? Think you can help the 2 hrs daily, 5-6 hrs Sat/Sun schmucks on here?

    PS Your copyright footer is out of date, so I’m jacking your stuff now! j/k…

  57. Dear Tim or anyone who know this answer,

    Just purchased my PAGG- Cannot figure out- am i suppose to take these throughout the slow carb weeks or just on the binge day?? Thanks!

  58. Great to see how you pushed through the internal struggles. Notebooks full of challenges, problems, but always a solution comes from the questioning.

    What was the deal behind the “tastes like chicken” line anyways?

  59. Great post, Tim. Needed that today…I also remind myself that Stephen King’s wife had to fish the manuscript for “Carrie” out of the garbage. His “On Writing” has a few gems like this.

  60. Hello Tim Ferriss,

    jeeze you get a lot of mail. and you seem to actually read it (or else some third world virtual assistant). Never heard of you til last night when I heard a recorded Commonwealth Club interview. You seem like like a very intelligent, very articulate, very focused, very logical person who analyzes problems and arrives at solutions that are at once logical and innovative. We need people like you to work on the major problems of the world. So, instead of wasting your time living forever with a perfect body, how about using your seemingly considerable talents and boundless energy to address some of the world’s real problems. In particular, we have a public that is fully propagandized and completely ignorant about the world and their own govenement’s policies. And we have a government that makes policies not in the interests of the people, in complete secrecy according to the wishes of a corporate elite, and then spins these policies disingenuously to an ignorant population. To make a body analogy, we have a cancerous secretive, corporate-owned government that is afflicting the body of society. How do we obtain transparency into the workings of government so that the people with their far greater collective brain power, can influence the direction of policies and save themselves and the planet form destruction by needless wars, environmental havoc, global warming, etc etc. Why don’t you apply your talents to analyzing this situation and identifying solutions for increasing the health and longevity of our society. You might lose your perfect body but you might save the planet in the process – a decent trade. Your next project might be called, ‘The Four Decade Guide To Saving the Planet’ (four hours is probably a bit too optimistic for that). I heard you say you want to do a screenplay next, but seriously, this is more important, and we need talented people working on crucial things. So backburner the screenplay and work on this.

    Thanks for considering this,

    Greg Slater

  61. Tim, I always enjoy these style posts. Thanks for this one. You answered a question I wanted to submit to one of your live Q&A’s. Basically, “what motivated you at 20 something to pursue writing and what’s the ‘work’ like, etc.” And your comments mirror many things I’ve read about it elsewhere.

    BTW, kudos to good taste on the Steve Martin biography. Read it this summer and thought his determined approach to comedy and experimentation was strangely familiar to entrepreneurs and some of my favorite people.

    Last, in the ocean of people who sell advice I respect your opinion more because you are always open, sincere, and humble about your own accomplishments.

    Two quick questions, who inspired you the most at 25? Who inspires you the most now?

    Gotta run, cheers,

    P.S. used that victorinox bag in Brazil in 2009, it was a blast

  62. That’s a bloody good post, and spot on for a conversation I had, last week. Being, writing to bring results(formating texts, and make changes) or being who you are, and just go with the flow. Everything that we do isn’t perfect from the start, especially in writing. You have a choice, to enjoy the way you write, or to alter the way you write and get better results. Like Tim’s title for example.

    Last time when I commented I got a response from Tim, and that was my goal, so I could put it on my blog (with a link of course). I put some time into that comment, structure of sentences, words and all that jazz counts. So, it paid of in the end. I got what I wanted.

    And, that was all I had to say. lol.

    All the best!

  63. Hi Tim. I am training to become a bikini fitness competitor after completing my Masters in Exercise Science where I have been published in Bod Pod and DEXA research. I have read your 4 hour body and LOVE IT! But, I am trying to cut fat AND build muscle. I tried the slow carb diet while training, but I needed a few carbs after my plyometric workouts. My question is can I have an apple or a few carbs after my Cardio workouts in the morning?( I know that you said it is ok after Resistance Training workouts) And can I work out in the morning on an empty stomach? Right now, my coach has me carb cycling where every two days she impliments oats and brown rice (slo carb no-no’s) Note: I have only lost 22 pounds in 5 months. With all the training I do, (double cardio days and strength train 4 days/week) I feel that it should be more. I would appreciate ANY ADVICE YOU HAVE!! Thank you for all your research!

  64. I would have bought a book called “ungodly riches” lol. What I love the most about your stuff Tim, other than your generous spirit, is the science behind the business. I understand optimal (controlled environments), testing and experiments (I’m a chemist), but I never understood how it applied to marketing or business. That connection made a huge difference for me.

    After reading your book back in July 2010 I now have a booklet published and a couple local media spots (TV and newspaper) for a company that I’ve been running now for SIX YEARS with no success until now. I LOVE that duck analogy!

    For people writing their first book writing a booklet about 3500 words of tips might be a good way to start and be successful in a small endeavor first.

    Sima

    PS Tim, What did you do with your “How to get into Princeton book?”

  65. I like “a different drummer” as the book gives a new approach to things in many ways for me. Many parts in the book have inspired me and therefore

    I often listen to several parts of the audio book while sitting in the train. It’s like meditation practice of chants. The more I hear it, the more it starts to become completely normal and I believe things are possible.

    Best regards,

    Vincent

  66. like the shirt, like the video too. looks like you had a ton of fun. I just want to congratulate you on all your success. I don’t think without the fourhourworkweek kicking me in the ass how it’s done so far i wouldn’t be doing anything today, but sitting in some cubicle.

  67. This is a great post, and I needed to read this at this time. Honestly, though, I’m trying to figure out how to fail faster. You know how people say that…”Fail faster”? Well, frankly that’s easier said than done. I would love it if you would write a post about this. One thing that’s difficult is deciding when something’s a failure. Is it you? Is it the idea? Is it the execution? If you can fix those things, should you go on? Should you just find something that doesn’t require the thing that needs fixing? Again, I would love to hear your take on this.

    Thanks! Tim

  68. I’m sorry to be swiming upstream , but I was disappointed with the new book. Too convoluted, impractical for the average Joe, and lacking a clear focus, unlike 4hrww. Tim should realize that his self-experiments, while interesting to read about, are mainly relevant to himself. All the diet and supplementation information really made my eyes glaze over. Its great to include alot of information in a book but without a central crux its just TMI.

    Chapters(?) like the 15 minute orgasm and hacking the NFL combine were not needed. I just feel the hype on this book is excessive and would recommend browsing it before buying, as I’m sure a grounded stoic would…

    BTW, my two hacks for long and healthy life — live foods in the form of sprouted lentils and alfalfa seeds, combined with whatever the hell else you eat, and daily stretching of the back, which is the axis of the human body.

    1. I kind of agree. 4 Hour Body seems like a book designed for people who normally try different foods and that exercise on a regular basis. The book isn’t bad, but I do not think it is written for people that are not used to taking care of their bodies. Working out & eating right is just not as exciting as getting rich & working less.

  69. Tim,

    Quick question, is your blog open to discussing Cannabis on an Intellectual Level? Such as how to use it property and NOT abuse it?!

    Specifically about a US Patent that shows it is a “Neuroprotectant” and “Antioxidant”.

    Of course, smoking is not “Medicinal”

    Just asking…

    James

  70. Penetration report: the 4 hour body has landed in the middle of the jungle

    Hi Tim,

    Just wanted to let you I just picked a copy of the 4-hour Body at my local bookstore in Kuching,East Malaysia ( South West Borneo)!! You are now truly global!

    Keep on rocking!

    PS. If your ever come to my neck of the jungle, micasa sucasa!

    PPS.I got on the hit reality show Amazing Race Asia using some of the principles you shared in 4HWW!Obrigado!

    Ivan

  71. Hey Tim,

    Do you have a schedule anywhere of where you will be doing any speaking arrangements? I would love to attend a live seminar if you’re still “touring”

    P.S. The Four Hour Body kicks a**!!! I’m training for a half marathon and the book’s helped out a lot!!!!

  72. Thank you Tim!

    I have pages and pages of scrambled notes and ideas on stacked legal pads on my night stand.

    Sometimes I think I’m crazy, other times I reflect and catch some absolute gems in these piles. Consistent execution is key – thank you for this post, inspiring to see that you leave similar trails.