The Magic of Mindfulness: Complain Less, Appreciate More, and Live a Better Life (#122)

Photo: Susan Burdick
Photo: Susan Burdick


This is another special (and short) episode of The Tim Ferriss Show.  In this episode, I share my personal experiences, apps, tools, and best practices for cultivating “mindfulness,” which I’ll define.

When I talk about strategies for better living, I usually focus on effectiveness and efficiency. For a good life, these are necessary but not sufficient.

“Mindfulness,” the third leg of the stool, is far more difficult for me and most type-A personalities.  There are many definitions of mindfulness, but for the sake of our discussion, think of it as a present-state awareness that helps you to be non-reactive.

Why is mindfulness essential? First, achievement without appreciation is a Pyrrhic victory, and mindfulness helps cultivate appreciation. Put another way, if you can’t be happy with what you have, you’ll never be made happy by what you get. Second and related, after just a week of mindfulness practice, you will complain less, react less, and more effectively fill your life with what’s important and valuable to you.

Here are the tools and techniques I use to put this into practice…

You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#122: The Magic of Mindfulness: Complain Less, Appreciate More, and Live a Better Life

Want to hear another podcast regarding morning rituals? — Listen to my conversations with Tony Robbins. In this episode, we discuss his morning routines, peak performance, and mastering money (stream below right click here for part 1 and here for part 2 to download):

Ep 37: Tony Robbins on Morning Routines, Peak Performance, and Mastering Money
Ep 38: Tony Robbins (Part 2) on Morning Routines, Peak Performance, and Mastering Money

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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What mindfulness practices have you implemented that made a significant impact on your happiness? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…


Selected Links from the Episode

Calm | Headspace

Gratefulness Prompts

  1. An old relationship that helped a lot
  2. An opportunity you have today
  3. Something good/great that happened yesterday
  4. Something simple near you

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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140 Replies to “The Magic of Mindfulness: Complain Less, Appreciate More, and Live a Better Life (#122)”

  1. Hi,

    I want to start practising mindfullnes meditation,in youtube is full if video guided meditation.

    Do you have some to recommend?

    Thanks Tim

      1. Hey Dre,

        Its been 4 weeks since I started. It feels good man. Do it. I am using headspace for guiding me. 10 min a day is good for starting off. Now I can focus on what really matters and thats what mindfulness is.

  2. Funny! I just mentioned this to some folks over Thanksgiving dinner. Your podcasts, of late, have been pure gold!

    Love the shirt Tim, where can I get one?

  3. Tim! we met in aquatic park. I see that coffee grinder….might I send you some of my coffee, from my small coffee roasting company I started?

    in other news related to this podcast, I wanted to share a tidbit that I came to fully understand in my last meditation. tomorrow: never comes. literally it will never come and never has come. ever. that is all.

  4. I heard about Headspace from your podcast a year ago. I didn’t continue after the free trial because I didn’t want to pay for it, thinking I could meditate for free. Because I don’t feel immediate benefits from meditation, I did not continue. Knowing that it is good in the long run, I decided to pay for the subscription to increase my costs of not meditating. Since buying the subscription to Headspace, I’ve meditated every day and am now starting to feel the difference.

  5. When I’m anxious or stressed about something … I try to focus on the “right now,” and ask myself “Is whatever I’m being bothered by going to harm me right now?”

    Usually … the worry I have is about something that will never come to pass, and if it actually does I can deal with it in the present moment it actually arrives.

    Since adopting this mental framework, my life seems much smoother. Plus, we’re only on this planet for 75 or so trips around the Sun … so focusing on the present moment allows me to live more fully.

  6. I’m a big fan of guided meditations these days. I ‘try’ to do it once or twice a day. Once in the early afternoon usually in my car at work, and again later in the evening in a hot bath. I put on headphones and just let myself be immersed in the calming sounds and story. All of the meditations I watch are youtube videos. My favorite producer of youtube meditation videos is Jason Stephenson. I’ve found that meditating severely reduces my anxiety and helps keep me focused and relaxed. So thankful I found this practice!

  7. I’ve found walking to be the best meditation. Even if you’re not really meditating, it seems to help me focus on what’s important.

    We probably spent most of our evolution walking around during the day and now we’ve lost a lot of that.

  8. I listened to this podcast today while working out and I think Seneca’s “practicing poverty” is what I am going to do next. Just downloaded momentum too. Love all your practical tips Tim. So much more helpful when you can put these ideas into action.

    1. If you liked Momentum app you might also like Motivation by maccman. It replaces your new tab screen with a counter which shows your age in 9 decimals. (Note: this app is a bit disturbing to be honest)

    1. Focusing on the senses or focusing on any movement like inhale/exhale or step by step when walking…It is simple but very effective to tell your mind not to think. Our minds cannot process 2 things at once consciously. If you don’t count the autonom functions like breathing, if you focus on an easy task like walking or breathing you will find the flow or flux. Focus + Flow means superhuman stability. Congrats…

  9. Waking up 2 hours before I leave for work has been crucial to my mindfulness, happiness, and success. It allows me the time to take care of myself, and be thankful for the things around me. I spend the time cleaning up, cooking for myself, getting dressed, meditation and yoga. It sets the mood for the day, knowing I’ve taken care of myself I am free to take care of others.

  10. It’s so great that you’re into mindfulness aswell. I’m just in the middle of reading The 4-Hour Workweek and loving the way you think!!!

  11. QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What mindfulness practices have you implemented that made a significant impact on your happiness?

    Walking in nature and appreciating nature’s beauty. When I walk in a park or hike or on the beach, if I pay attention to the things around me I always feel happy and grateful. It’s like tuning my inner happiness instrument. Sometimes it needs tuning because most of the world we created is out of tune. I do it almost every day. I can’t survive without it.

  12. Love that you’re focusing on mindfulness. So important!

    Recently found your podcast, been loving it. Also recently found Martha Beck, been loving her. Consider having her on your show? Would love to hear you ask her your awesome questions.

    All the best, and happy Sunday!



    Anna Elizabeth Laube

    [Moderator: link removed]

  13. Colouring (coloring) as in colouring in pictures with pencils is a wonderful mindfulness activity. There are loads of books out there now; it truly is a great place to start.

    ‘Pause’ is also a great app alongside Calm & Headspace.

  14. 1. Love the Headspace meditation app which I think a few of your guests have mentioned. It has taught me that acknowledging reality makes things better. Even acknowledging that I feel cold (in Minnesota) instead of fighting the feeling of being cold, makes it easier to handle the cold.

    2. I think of this quote from Viktor Frankl often (everyone should read Man’s Search for Meaning): “Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.”

    3. I think this idea comes from James Altucher: Pretend you’re an alien and look at your situation from a detached outsider’s perspective.

  15. This was great. Your stuff improves my life. I don’t know why cursing is worth worrying about, though. It’s just part of most people’s personalities…..

  16. I find when I can consistently do a body scan in the evening I’m a lot more settled throughout my day and definitely less anxious. It’s all about creating the habit 🙂

  17. Love your podcasts. Please please do podcast with Trevor G Blake serial entrepreneur and professor of quantum physics. I think you two will have a lot to talk about when it come to mindfulness!

  18. This is a one of your greatest podcasts ever! I’ve implemented meditation on a regular basis about 2 months ago, coupled with prayer and even some Buddhist chanting. It seriously does help. I did start with the Calm and Headspace apps, but they are expensive to get more out of. I definitely want to explore 5 minute journaling. Where do I get that again? I’ve also have “practiced poverty” to the point of homelessness…oh wait…I was actually homeless living in my car for 6 of the past 14 months – no joke. It is amazing how little things like access to a toilet, running water or electricity whenever you desire are when absent from those things.

  19. I try to meditate every morning before I head out the door, then I listen to the Tim Ferriss Show on the way to work. 🙂 Vipassana, or mindfulness meditation while focusing on the breath has worked very well for me.

  20. Mindfulness really is the magic bullet. I like the way its practice emerges consistently among the people you’ve got to interview.

    I meditate every day 20 minutes in the morning, straight off my bed, helping myself with the amazing Headspace app.

    I arrived to mindfulness after exploring Osho’s Active Meditations, Christian Hesychasm and Buddhist Mahayana Meditations. I love it because its plain and simple, with no woo-woo make-ups.

    Thanks for the Show, Tim!

  21. LOVE this post, Tim! Check out the Insight Timer app for daily meditation. Also you would dig the book – The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.

  22. Tricky question: if you HAD to choose between being happy and being productive, which would you choose? Our culture is blinded by doing and productivity and thinks it will make us happy. It has never made anyone happy, even though it is temporarily pleasing, to be sure. Is the point of our life to be productive, or to be happy??

  23. I’ve kept a sketchbook/journal since 2008 and I’ve found that in addition to the benefits countless other individuals and great thinkers have said, I think it keeps me accountable to myself.

    I write some more about this in my art experiment called The Exfold Letters – a piece of which was sent to you (Tim).

    Jump to about half way down in the section called ‘What is Art?’ in the attached website.

  24. In response to your question of the day: I’ve kept a sketchbook/journal since 2008. Many many great thinkers and individuals have said the benefits of keeping a journal, and I have found that it keeps me accountable to myself in the act of re-reading.

    I’ve also written a little more about this in my art experiment called the Exfold Letters – and a piece of which was mailed to you (Tim).

    Jump to the section called ‘What is Art?’ from the attached site, and go about halfway down.

  25. I laughed when you threw out some f-bombs when a bit earlier you commented on your desire to curse less. I suspect that goal is going to be a tough one for you 😉

  26. Tim- I’m surprised you’re involved with Wealthfront. Strongly urge your readers and you to please learn about some of the significant drawbacks including an unadvertised .25% fee.

    I urge your readers to read this post and learn about how much better Vanguard is.

    [Moderator: link removed]

  27. Tim,

    Your book changed my life.

    Recently met Josh Waitzkin when he came Wakesurfing on my boat in Long Beach NY. He mentioned I missed a chance to have you on the water with us. There is SO MUCH I would love to chat about, just thought I would plant a seed. Hopefully we get to connect this summer in Long Island!

    Check out my latest project (one of many INSPIRED BY YOU)

    [Moderator: link removed]

    With Gratitude

    Rich Rothaar

    Long Beach NY

  28. Thanks for these tips, Tim. Like any good type A listener I took notes… Definitely there with you on the high FOMO, insecure overachiever daily struggles and appreciate your lessons.

    Extremely minor addition which has made a big difference to my daily happy quotient – totes dorky – every morning when I wake up have started putting on tunes and having a boogie as I get dressed. Uplifts the soul.

  29. Love this episode! I love your take on morning rituals and mindfulness, your podcast with Tony Robbins is still one of my favorites!

    As for the question of the day: I start my day around 2.5 hours before I need to get out and those hours are all about me. I have to start the day serving myself before I can be there for those around me. Usually, I start with a reflection while listening to some music. After that, I do some work for myself and I find that those are my most productive hours!

    Keep up the good work!

  30. I have found that an important part of mindfulness is anticipation. Anticipating how your mind usually behaves in a situation before entering it really helps being mindful. More than if you try to be mindful after your emotions have already kicked in. I think we know ourselves better than we think and can anticipate our behavior as well. Whether we want to change or not is up to us.

  31. T~

    Hoping all is well with you~

    My mindfulness tip:

    Don’t let non-reaction get confused with non-communication! Mindfulness does not use silence as a substitute for speaking authentically. The irony is actually pretty funny: Apart from the practice of silent meditation, mindfulness practitioners are some of the most communicative people I’ve ever met!

    Bon appetit!


  32. Regarding mindfulness: Ask yourself, “Where are you?” Answer: “Here.” Then ask, “What time is it?” Answer: “Now.”

  33. Tim, Let me first say you are awesome! Your podcast and books have changed my life – thank you!

    One request for the podcast would be to interview Dr Caldwell Esselstyn (of forks over knives fame) . He is another awesome guy that I feel your audience could really benefit from.

    Regardless, keep on killing it!

    Thanks again,

    Bill MacDonald

  34. Tim- Long time listener, first time commenter….in the morning I do a gratitude or loving kindness meditation and set my intention for the day. This usually helps me start the day off on the right foot. I also incorporate gratitude meditation, a ‘cloud’ meditation I created for my children, and diaphragmatic breathing to help them to calm themselves to sleep. It helps! I also incorporate this into my practice. It’s cheap, easy, and it works!

  35. Yes! I’m going to make Jars of Awesome for my friends for Christmas. Thanks to your sage and glitter-positive ex girlfriend!

  36. I got started with mindfulness and meditation through a local Shambhala center and I’ve kept with it through my ups and downs for 15 years now. For me, I spent years reading books and thinking about meditation before actually sitting down and practicing it. It’s much harder to sit there but, of course, it only works when you sit there. Mindfulness and meditation can lead to contentment by blending gratitude with turning your mind toward the benefit of others. The leader of Shambhala, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, has a quote: “If you want to be miserable think about yourself. If you want to be happy, think about others.” This basic practice is always effective for me, if I can remember to do it.

  37. Awesome post!

    QOTD mindfulness practice:

    Similar to you bracelet switch when complaining, I finally caught myself late in my college wrestling career leaving a trail of barely visible excuses for any and every loss.

    Any time I found myself identifying a “reason” for non-success, I would take a minute to identify if there anything I could do about it next time.

    One question helped more than any, and later I would read very similar to multiple variations in your writing since. “Assuming I could win, what would that have to look like?”

    This simple catching myself making excuses has been huge in my marriage, and especially parenting because as soon as the excuse cloud dissipates, the subconscious kicks in pretty quickly with solutions, most of which are simple and only hard because they involve very calm, yet forceful approaches.

    Baby inconsolable at 2 am? Catch myself inserting excuse for why the following day will surely be down the poop chute, and instead use the calm of night to get ahead of the day mentally, use the crazy neural pattern disrupt to brainstorm whatever I want, or simply soak up my baby – both the oddly entertaining intensity of their screaming and the inexplicable calm after the storm.

  38. Nr. 1 but for girls only

    Essential understanding for me: love is the center of my relationship with my partner, always.

    Knowledge that helped me: – learned about differences between men and women

    Technic that improved a lot: communication skills for woman: Mia Sage

  39. Just one thing… Upon awakening, when should I eat? I’ve heard varying opinions: Gotta get x grams of protein within a half hour of awakening vs. Gotta meditate first thing… bathroom, mundane tasks etc.



    1. Would base it off what you need this instant. If you need to lose 20lbs in one month go with Tim’s slo-carb method. Which fucking works btw, speaking f/ experience. After which moved into IF which means skipping breakfast for the plan I used, and got into meditation first thing after drinking a glass of water upon waking up. Then eventually went to one meal per day. Caveat I have a cheat day on Saturdays, and eat what I want whenever I want.

  40. When I take a walk I try to focus on the soles of my feet at least some of the time. It makes a huge dirference in hoe I experience my surroundings. This can help on other thi gs too, when doing something else focusing on the soles of my feet, the experience of touch. It’s instant mindfulness. Learned from headspace.

  41. Question of the day answers

    1.) Most effective as an intervention

    Take 3 full, fill up your belly and ribcage, breaths where the exhale is at least twice as long as the inhale.

    Drops blood pressure. Oxygenates the body. Brings me to a mental place where I can dig into a moment of mindfulness, seemingly predictably.

    2.) Most positively challenging


    Really driving.

    No phone, no radio, no distraction.

    Then I flex my compassion nugget to sense and express loving kindness for all of my fellow travelers. This is often where the biggest challenges come in.

    It’s kind of like Buddha Bootcamp.

    1. Daniel,

      When you do breathing exercise, do you inhale and exhale with your nose/mouth?

      I’ve read that nose breathing is more calming but I sometimes find it difficult to exhale slowly using my nose, unless i pinch my nose a little using my fingers.

    2. This is badass info bro.

      For myself, I commute to work via train plus walking. During the walk, I will take a 4 sec inhale, hold the breath and count to 30, then slowly exhale for 15 secs, 3 reps in a row and it feels extremely euphoric and a weird warm fuzzy sensation throughout my entire body. Feels as if oxygen is reaching the entire nervous system.

      I like the compassion nugget you mention. Very Tara Brach-ish.

  42. Loved the podcast, Tim! 🙂 I practically do all what you do, except that I do vipasana meditation.

    And so cool you love the Momentum App! It means you saw my photos there 😉 they appeared a couple of times. Mainly those taken in Switzerland.

    I need that T-shirt!!!

    Big hugs from Zurich.

  43. i practice heartfulness meditation which i find a natural extension of mindfulness. I find that the techniques used in this practice creates a capacity in me to extended the condition acquired during morning meditation. With heartfulness meditation, i am now able to put my heart into what i do.

    Here is the technique:

    1. Sit comfortably with eyes closed. Be relaxed(you can get relaxed by imagining an energy entering your body from the toes and relaxing each part of your body as it moves up, give gentle commands(eg. my lower back is now fully relaxed) as you move your attention from one body part to other.

    2. Gently focus on your heart.

    3. Start with a suggestion that the source of divine light is present in your heart.

    4 Pray that transmission is being received and is pulling your attention inward towards the heart.

    Now the “doing” part is over, just stay passive for the duration of your meditation(recommended time 20-30 minutes) all the while ignoring the distracting thoughts and reminding yourself point 3 whenever you find yourself away from it. The idea is not to shut the other thoughts out but remain unmindful to them.

    When you open your eyes remember you have laboured to acquire a condition; be it stillness, peace, raised awareness, etc. so dont throw it away by doing anything which will spoil this condition. Give yourself 5-10 minutes to allow this newly acquired condition to become one with you. dont leave your meditation place before that. Enjoy!!

  44. Very much enjoyed this podcast!

    One area of my life which I’ve struggled with far too much is insomnia, much like you.

    Are there any foods or supplements or tips that you have found particularly useful as of late?

    Do you still drink a little alcohol in the evenings? I find alcohol relaxes me but sometimes not enough to promote sleep unless i drink a lot and then of course the downside of that is a hangover.

    1. Tim, has mentioned taking an ice bath or very cold shower before bed to be really effective to combat insomnia. No caffeine after noon also helps. Read Scott Pavlina’s blog for tips on falling asleep in less than one minute.

      1. Thank you! I’ve tried cold showers before but didn’t gain too much. I will try again. I will look into Scott.


      2. yep, for the cold showers I go for the gradual onset. So go from luke warm to freezing cold slowly. I count to 30, then adjust the coldness slightly. Takes about 4-5 minutes to get to full on ice cold temp.

        And very sorry, it’s Steve Pavlina, but his technique to fall asleep is VERY effective. He also has a great technique to wake up instantly in the morning.

  45. I’ve found that taking a couple of brief pauses throughout the day and just slowly breathing to be highly effective. Also Calm and to be really great for blocking out the bustle of NYC. 🙂

  46. QOTD – Tara Brach’s guided meditations podcast is very helpful. Wim Hof breathing techniques as well. Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning technique was introduced to me just before I heard about you on Pat Flynn’s podcast. BTW, you should have Pat on the podcast in the future.

    It is damn near impossible to be mad when you think about the things you are grateful for. Comes in handy when you find yourself caught in an argument.

    Read Andy Weir’s “The Egg”.

    Listen to a song that makes you happy, or read something inspirational or motivational within 30 minutes of waking up.

    I tried the 21 days of no complaining this past summer ( from your podcast with the picture of you with a blue wrist band) and within 5 days my wife asked what was up with me.

    Still remember how to recognize when I deserve carbs. Haven’t quite gotten there yet.

    Keep moving forward Tim. Your hard work is literally helping millions.

  47. I’ve been using Calm recently. Tried the 7 days of Calm and was hooked, ended up buying the year subscription so I could continue with the 21 days of Calm and now have just been using the various guided meditations or just the timer. The tracking of your sessions, total time, and streaks is a real motivator.

    When I’m really feeling frustrated with my current state, gratitude exercises are super helpful, just brain dumping a handful of good things that happened over the past 24 hrs lets me end my day with positive thoughts. Its also nice to look back on the previous week or even longer to remind yourself of your personal achievements, progress, and opportunities.

    I do this all at night right before bed. I’m not a morning person. I also work late into the night so it serves as a good way to chill out the mind and take inventory before going to sleep

  48. Hi, Tim. Good stuff. Here’s what I do as a way to be more mindful: everyday I contemplate my death. I meditate, run and do yoga as well, but none of those comes close to centering me the way that thoughts of mortality do. As Samuel Johnson said, “When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” We have this moment and only this moment. Nothing beyond our most recent breath is a certainty. My father died on Christmas Day 1963. I was 11. That changed me, I think, for the better. It encouraged me to consider and appreciate the small things and to work to leave a legacy of which my father would have been proud.

  49. Thanks Tim! I’ve learnt Vipassana Meditation ( and “The Art of Meditation” course by The Art of Living foundation( Both are amazing in their own ways. But for every day practice with my busy schedule, I keep going back to a technique called “Sudarshan Kriya” taught by The Art of Living foundation. It is a 20-minute rhythmic breathing technique which brings mind to the present moment and stillness like a magic! I highly recommend it.

  50. TM. It’s been a life changer. I’ve noticed when I do it twice a day I get twice the benefit. I’ve been regular for 4 years now and it gets better and better. I’ve also introduced “heartfulness” into my practice. Mindfulness is essential, and so is heartfulness. It’s the yin and yang. For wholeness I’ve found connecting to my heart and emotions to be just as powerful as connecting to my mind. It also deepens the feeling of peace and the spaces in between myself. Thank you Tim for continuing the conversation on what could absolutely change the world…meditation.

  51. I love when you do this kind of post! Always very helpful

    Was just trying the grateful approach and its been awesome so far

    Hope to share some wine if you come to Sao Paulo

  52. Hey Tim. I’ve tried the daily journal but get almost “writers block” in the morning because of my entry the night before or repeativness from others. Do you have any solution to this?

  53. 5 minute journal looks great. I was going to just do it on my on using a blank book but, that didn’t seem right so I am ordering the book. I also think paying the money will mean I am more likely to actually do it.

  54. Hard to get in the mind set of meditating in the morning, though I really want to start – how do you manage to wake up clear enough of mind to be able to meditate in the morning? Or do you wait a while until the grogginess wears off?

    1. Try a spoonful of almond butter just before going to bed. or experiment with different lengths of sleep from 4 hrs to 9 hrs. Pick the time frame that you feel the best when waking up. For me it’s either 6 hours or 9 hours. You can also do some stretching and light calisthenics for 30 minutes then go into your meditation practice.

  55. Awesome stuff Tim … this is perhaps the most under-appreciated aspect of our human experience. Consider the P-A-R model … “mindfulness” provides awareness of one’s authentic Perceptions, which always and only generate one’s Actions (words+deeds), which always and only generate one’s Results (a.k.a. outcomes). This can be a powerful tool in developing understanding of who one is intentionally “being”. Thank you for this post Tim!

  56. I love all the interviews, but also really like these in-between-isodes:-)

    I’m grateful your idea of practicing poverty doesn’t include sleeping in the dog’s bed and drinking from his water bowl. LOL (see Alain de Botton) I think I can handle wearing simple clothes for a week and eating beans and rice–but wait a minute….–What about my Bulletproof coffee? All kidding aside, I think it’s a very valuable practice, especially asking oneself the question, “Can I live with this?”

    I’ve always chafed under the concept of gratitude. I think that word connotes obsequiousness to me. However, the real rub is that it works! And most of us have so many countless things to be grateful for. It’s a great reminder and can really shift my perspective on things that might otherwise bother me.

    I love the 3 breaths practice. I think it was Andrew Weil that suggested a 4-7-10 breath–4 count inhale, hold for 7 counts and exhale for 10.

    I’ve been meditating on and off for almost 20 years. Loved doing Holosync. I haven’t done TM because I’m so fortunate to be close enough to Spirit Rock to do some retreats there. Also was a Diamond Heart student for about 8-1/2 years. I’ve done enough meditation to at one point have entered a bliss state after a morning meditation. It’s an exquisite and unforgettable experience–worth the years of practice it takes to experience that.

    Blessings to you Tim for all you do.

  57. Mindfulness practices ive been playing around with recently. Well, they are more ideas, or ways of looking at things that bring me back from all the bullshit and get me to act in a more ‘mindful way.’

    1) The first is the idea that our mind has a ‘struggle switch’. Explained further here:

    2) The second is the quote ‘calm is contagious’ ( I like this quote because it reminds me that being calm is obviously good for me, but i can, just by being calm, or mindful, actually positively impact other people. This is a rather powerful/motivating idea for me.

    As for meditation. At times i find it easy but mostly not. I tend to to just try and be ‘aware’ and ‘present’ in whatever im doing. Just observe whatever is happeneing or whatever i am doing. Pretty simple. Dont have to sit on some futon cross-legged and feel like i wasted 20 minutes at the end. I did find the sam harriss guided meditation good however ( even if sam staring back at me looks a little like something out of the walking dead. Also walking meditation and eating meditation are good things to try too.

    I do like the idea of no complaint day and the 3 breath meditation. Just more things i will try. cheers

  58. whoever owns that kitchen, is clearly well-off enough to do better than a plastic kettle!! Yuck!! Surely it is obvious what happens when you boil water inside plastic! The most toxic, disgusting, foul tasting chemical byproducts pollute your drinking water!! Yuck! Not to mention kind of defeats the purpose of gourmet coffee ground by hand and brewed in a special expensive machine, non?

    If I’m at someones house and they have a plastic kettle I use a saucepan to boil my water on the stove.

  59. So…the plan is to listen to this podcast in the next few days. I just came here to pay homage to your t-shirt. Where DID you get it?!?! Nice dude! #tshirtenvy #AdorablePenguin #BigPlans


    You can start (or always do) it for free; I thought enough of it to invest for a year. I’m more grateful, appreciative, and just plain more pleasant. Definitely give it a shot if you haven’t!!

  61. Hi Tim! there is a swedish version of the five minute journal. It’s called the “my day in three minutes” (Min dag på 3 minuter). It’s the same, they just add a different checklist everyday, like: Social life — () meet a friend, () hug someone, () call someone of my family, etc… /El colombiano en Stockholm

  62. Hi Tim, I listen to your podcasts, follow your blog, bought your books, and learned so much. But I’ve never thanked you personally, so I guess this post has a good effect, right? Better late than never so, sincerely: thank you.

  63. Great podcast Tim. You rock. I have sent it to the GP registrars that I mentor so hopefully your words will spread.

  64. hello, Im glad i read this blog its really helpful and worth reflecting. For now as an unemployed i kept myself busy through walking/jogging every morning it provides calmness in me and it makes me glow. also, i find my dogs being my happy pill whenever i feel melancholy. Life is tough! we just need to look in the brighther side always it maybe hard but its worth it..

    xx may

  65. I really like these short podcast episodes Tim. They are these small value packed nuggets of information, which are easy to consume and take action on.

  66. I want to practice mindfulness meditation. in find it good because you will just stay at home. and the steps is just easy. you will just take a good seat, pay attention to the breath, and when your attention wanders, return.

    I think this would be great for me..

  67. I want to practice Mindfulness meditation. I find it very good for me because the steps are just easy and you can just stay at home.. You will just take a good seat, pay attention to the breath, and when your attention wanders, return..

    This would be great for me..

  68. Isn’t that funny.

    Closed categories lead to more creative answers. If you give people too much freedom they give you pre-canned answers to alleviate cognitive load. Too much choice. And, a nebulous category may prime one to think nebulously.

    For the sake of the small and specific, perhaps, they should expand and call it the TenMinuteJournal. Or, the 4-Hour Journal. Though that may lead to compliance issues and the mass extinction of trees.

    The four categories have been helpful. Thank you. Being grateful for my youth and health lost it’s emotional charge at around the 53rd time.

  69. Thanks Tim for all the wonderful podcasts! I wanted to share my experience with Vipassana meditation. It has changed my life in the most profound way imaginable and I highly recommend it to everyone. I urge everyone to try a 10 day silent residential course ( and see for yourself the enormous benefits it brings. Ten days of silence might seem like a lot but it is necessary to go deep into the mind and change the conditioning of the mind at the root level. Being frustrated after 2-3 days is totally normal but if you go with the determination to stay for the full 10 days, a much better version of yourself will emerge and come out successful. Best of all it is non-sectarian, there is no charge (it is run by volunteers on a donation basis) and you don’t need any prior experience. I probably sound like a car salesman but it is the best thing that has happened to me and I wish that that everyone would give it a chance and be happy.

  70. Tim, amazing show as usual. I love when you talked about that heightened state of awareness and knowing yourself. [Moderator: personal business info. and link removed]

  71. Great Post, I practice meditation every day, as a rule if for any reason I can not sit for my regular 20 min session I sit at least 5 min. To make it ritual, and is how the results can be seen, you must sit daily. When my mind is giving too much excuses I remember what said a zen master: “just sit”. Robert

  72. I found this listen particularly interesting as I have begun a journey of awareness myself. I went on a course which is based on processes and principles developed by Bradford Brown and Roy Whitten, known as More to Life. Employing these ideas has vastly improved my life and, as you referred to in your podcast, “… sharpened my axe…”

  73. Second the 5 Minute Journal, especially pushing ourselves to find new things to be grateful for. I have one that’s consistent every day because I want to drive it into my brain, and switch the rest. Also try to always include something seemingly mundane – air, sun, etc.

  74. Tim, have you ever read the book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz? A great book that focusing on mindfulness and I highly suggest the audiobook on soundcloud for a few hours worth of meditation. I think you would enjoy it.

  75. Great podcast, as always. Among all the suggestions, I need to focus on meditating regularly. I need to make it a habit. I find that listening to high spirit music as the first thing in the morning puts me in an energetic mood for the day. Deep house and electro has zinc effect on me in the morning.

    My best advice for mindfulness would be solitude. I think people need to live alone for a while- not a couple of months but a couple of years or even more- to start understanding themselves. Solitude makes you question yourself, listen to yourself. Only when you experience solitude, you start thinking why you like what you like, what is your purpose in life. It makes you analyze your past, all the mistakes and accomplishments to make better decisions for the future. The problem with people is that they never spend time alone. They always want someone around, whether it be a romantic partner or a friend. Hence, they never listen to themselves. In fact, people are scared to be alone, just in case they figure out something about themselves that they won’t like. I don’t think meditating 20 min every morning can replace spending a long period of time alone. I believe this based on my personal life experience and many writers’ life stories.

    “If you can’t be happy with what you have, you’ll never be made happy by what you get.” This is so true, but let’s not confuse appreciating what you have with putting up with undeserved life style. For example, some people stay in bad relationships because they convince themselves that they should be happy with what they have. Dale Carnegie explains that distinction perfectly in 6 Pillars of Self-Esteem. (I know that is not what you meant either. I am just making a different point.)

    Another strategy: I stopped communicating or responding to people who give me nothing mentally or spiritually. I deactivated my old fb account and opened a new one only to follow my interests (including you 😉 ). Preserving your personal and mental space is essential for mindfulness or you get drown in the sea of bs.

    From what I read in your blogs, you come across as a very mindful person to me. I have hard time believing that you need to do all that stuff (like putting papers in a jar) to achieve it. I think it is already in you. Many people who come where they are out of nowhere with a lot of struggle don’t forget those hard days. Those hard days develop your emotional intelligence, especially if you faced them alone.

    I better cut this comment here. I can write forever. On that note, I took your advise in one of the videos (about writing) and I am writing 2 pages a night. Sometimes less, sometimes more.

    Stay classy, Time Ferriss! 🙂 xx

    1. Correction: 6 Pillar of Self-Esteem is Nathaniel Branden’s book, not Dale Carnegie. I am sure you already knew it but wanted to correct it anyway.

  76. Practising poverty for a WEEK in order to see that it isn’t that bad? Seriously? Poverty isn’t about eating beans and rice and wearing second hand clothes! It’s about constant fear. The fear that the washing machine breaks down, the fear that you’ll lose another tooth because you can’t afford any other treatment, the fear that you can’t move into a better appartment, although the whole family’s health is affected by the mould in every wall, the fear that your friends will stop socialising with you because once again you can’t afford a night out with them. Fear that you can’t perform well at your job and will never make it out of poverty, because ALL of your mental space is taken up by juggling your meagre budget around. Practising poverty without the fear factor it’s not practising poverty – it’s just a week on more affordable meals.

  77. I have been meditating for the past 15 years, using a completely free technique called Sahaja Yoga. [Moderator: link removed]

    It is based on being in the present moment via mental silence or ‘thoughtless awareness’. Can’t recommend it highly enough.

  78. Thank you for your great podcasts!

    My mindfulness practice is to write a daily 1-minute-journal of highlights.

    This works great using pen & paper but i also developed my own app to make it even more easy & pleasant (“Highlights” by Risu-Apps if anyone is interested).

  79. I just finished 21 straight days of Headspace — finally broke through the meditation barrier. Gratitude to you as I found it on your earlier podcast. Love it man — LOVE IT.

    Can’t get anywhere with 21-day no complaint experiment. Biggest reason – SPORTS. I complain about the refs, the play calls, the player’s performance. I should be institutionalized watching games.

  80. Yes Tina. While on some level it is commendable that the overtly rich would wish to remember the realities of many by practicing the dropping of luxury – one must be careful it’s not a self congratulatory ego exercise, and it must be accepted the rich can never know what it’s like being poor, until they become poor.

    Want to experience poverty? Try being homeless in a city. The uncertainty and instability of not knowing where you’re going to sleep on any given night. Will you find somewhere with no bright lights? Will you have privacy or will you be spotted by passers-by during the night, in a time that should that be private? Will you fear aggression from those passers by? will you actually get enough sleep you’re able to function the next day and do what you need to (including study or look for work or whatever) or will you be too exhausted – but, being daytime in a city – you won’t be able to sleep. Will you be warm enough? Will you be able to find a public toilet every time you need to use one? Can you find somewhere to have a shower every day? Can you afford a coffee when you wake at 0400 every day – waking so early to avoid the embarressement

    And yes, this is on topic – as living like that definitely teaches one mindfulness. One cannot afford to give in to dark feelings, one must be very stoic indeed

  81. Love these podcasts! I have recently begun a daily meditation practice using the calm app. I find the prompts on a guided meditation help my meandering mind come back to focus. I have noticed an increased ability to be nonreactive and focussed as a result. PS interviews I would love to hear include (but are not limited to) Nick Offerman (actor, writer, woodworker), Dr. Frederick Robert Carrick (functional neurologist), and Rachel Brice (kick ass belly dancer). I love your conversational interview style and have revisited several of the podcasts that were particular favorites. Thank you for making these!

  82. Love the gratitude journal, I use it every day as part of my mindfulness practice. Meditation is great when I remember to do it – then I’m at work, rushing through the day, and lose track of time. The key – I learned – is developing a habit for constant awareness. What’s worked for me is randomized text messages to remind myself to be grateful. For instance, I set random reminders to take a deep breath, relax, and rate my level of happiness on a scale of 1-10. I also ask: what am i grateful for right now. I’m going to add the tips mentioned in podcast, very powerful! If anyone’s interested, feel free to review at

  83. Tim,

    This is the first time I have commented on a Podcast. I just want to thank you for this outstanding production.

    Thank you

  84. Tim,

    You’ve got to bite the bullet and do a 10-day Vipassana course. You keep flirting with the idea; I’m surprised you haven’t yet

    I appreciate the content.


  85. Love what you do. I hate that people will judge us by our mistakes (I’m a judge btw) in your mindfulness selected links, change mediation to meditation. Keep up the awesome work you do.

  86. Tim

    love all this – I’m going to start to day – In fact did meditation this afternoon when my 2 year old was sleeping – awesome! Been listening to lots of your podcasts whilst doing my cleaning jobs (to make ends meet, since 2 year old came along I can’t get any work in my field). Any how you’ve inspired me a lot (you and Derek shivers)….so gonna turn the cleaning jobs in to a business, I’ll let you know how I go.thank you xxxx

  87. I can recommend the 30 day meditation challenge on doyouyoga by Faith Hunter. It’s a beginners challenge with about 10 minutes of practice every day. I practiced every morning and it actually made me happier 🙂 I still go back to Faith her classes every now and then.

  88. Tim and Co,

    This is by far my favorite of your podcasts/stories. It’s tangible, actionable, and there is a clear line of application in my life (as the listener). It inspires me to reach for more and it’s been influential in my life. I think I’ve listened to this one several times in the past year.

    You had asked on Twitter recently – what you could do to grow your listener base. For me the stuff that resonates the most and I’m most likely to share (whether over dinner with friends or on social media) is these types of posts. This and similar posts are chock full of insights and tangible applications. That’s the difference maker for me. My personal opinion, is that your voice seems more authentic and real vs in the big name interviews. When you cover flaws and weaknesses in addition to strengths and success – these tend to connect at a deeper level for me. Hope that helps as you search for ways to grow your base.

    I enjoy your interviews but they fall more into the entertainment category as there’s usually only a very small segment dedicated to lifehacking/learning (likely b/c there is so much ground to cover with you A-list subjects). I fully appreciate why that is the case.

    I’ve also tried to dial back on longer-form podcasts (I might be an outlier though) and tend to listen to longer podcasts less frequently.

    Keep it coming – look forward to more great insights/stories

  89. I love concentrating on my breathing for the first five minutes in the morning. Just observing what thoughts wander through the brain, no analysing, just observing. It gives you some insight into what your priorities and passions are. Diggin’ the podcast

  90. As a professional golfer with anxiety, I have experimented with different combinations of morning routines to help me feel ready and calm before I head to work. I tried doing meditations by lying down and focusing on my breathing, but the worry of being “unproductive” was making me even more anxious. Instead, I started doing meditations while performing simple chores, such as washing the dishes. I used to rush through chores to see how fast I could do them (as if it were a game), but now I take my time and try to be more observant of how my body feels while doing the chores. Having full body awareness helps you stay in the present moment, because it’s not easy to focus on your senses AND have other thoughts (ie. worries) simultaneously. I found that this practice of meditation has improved my golf game, as I now have a better sense and feel of my body. I have learned and memorized how my body feels when I have a good, powerful shot. Rather than worrying about the outcome of a shot, I now just focus on replicating the combination of body movements that lead to a solid swing.