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

This podcast is brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. I have used them for years to create some amazing designs. When your business needs a logo, website design, business card, or anything you can imagine, check out 99Designs.

I used them to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body, and I’ve also had them help with display advertising and illustrations. If you want a more personalized approach, I recommend their 1-on-1 service, which is non-spec. You get original designs from designers around the world. The best part? You provide your feedback, and then you end up with a product that you’re happy with or your money back. Click this link and get a free $99 upgrade.  Give it a test run…

This podcast is also brought to you by Wealthfront. Wealthfront is a massively disruptive (in a good way) set-it-and-forget-it investing service, led by technologists from places like Apple and world-famous investors. It has exploded in popularity in the last 2 years and now has more than $2.5B under management. In fact, some of my good investor friends in Silicon Valley have millions of their own money in Wealthfront. Why? Because you can get services previously limited to the ultra-wealthy and only pay pennies on the dollar for them, and it’s all through smarter software instead of retail locations and bloated sales teams.

Check out, take their risk assessment quiz, which only takes 2-5 minutes, and they’ll show you—for free–exactly the portfolio they’d put you in. If you want to just take their advice and do it yourself, you can. Or, as I would, you can set it and forget it.  Well worth a few minutes:

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.

Leave a Reply

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

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

  1. Calm and Headspace. Also breath counting and I dabblenjoy with TM… Finally I like to close my eyes and link my breath to mini movements like should shrugs.

  2. Waking up in the morning and telling myself that for that one whole day i would focus on every word that came out of my mouth and every thought that entered my head and ebery word that entered my ears. We may think we are exuding a positive vibe but all it takes is to lose our focus on the topic, join in the negative or gossipy conversation and bam! If you focus on what you are emitting and inhaling you can crush it positively 😉

  3. My kids just started 3rd grade at a school in Chiang Mai, Thailand called Panyaden. Each day, their last class is “Mindfulness”. How amazing is that?? I hope it pays off for them.

  4. My kids just started 3rd grade at an amazing school in Chiang Mai, Thailand called Panyaden. Each day, or a few days a week at least, their last class is actually “Mindfulness” class. This is the first place I’ve ever heard of that does this. I really hope it pays off for them.

  5. Hi Tim,

    I just wanted to say thank you for all your podcasts!

    They give such a great view over subjects that I am interested in (managing myself, my time etc).

    I am romanian and I live in Ireland. I am due to start my traineeship as a solicitor/lawyer next year and it is going to be a very challenging period for me. Do you believe a life couch/a few sessions with a life couch could help me get through this process in a better way? (I refer here to strategy, productivity, results).

    Many thanks again. I am not sure if I should say this but I am going to take your advice (as mentioned by you in the podcast with Esther Perel)… you don’t need to reply to me as I understand that you are very busy and my question is probably not as important as others might be! I will continue to listen to your podcasts either way ha!

    Have a great week!


  6. “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting”. – Buddha

  7. Living in the present… I know the benefits, but it seems to take some discipline for me not to wander in the past or venture towards the future.

  8. Tim, I love what you bring into this world and I would like to share your podcasts as is in my workplace (because i think we would be better for it) however I am restricted as the F-bomb for example is simply not a part of our culture. So a question for you – as long as I credit you for it – can I use your material editing some of the more colourful language?

  9. John Yates (Culadasa). Anyone who wants to learn meditation / mindfulness should be aware of “The Mind Illuminated”. A science-based approach to meditation. After having read and applied it for a few weeks, its useful to then follow Culadasa´s many recorded retreats, lessons, lectures etc on Soundcloud.

  10. Vipassana & mindfulness meditation has changed my life over the course of the last 3 years! I did a 10-day Vipassana retreat and can’t wait to delve deeper into meditation 🙂 (P.S., there are 2 reasons for doing a silent retreat: 1. to inch closer to becoming a monk; 2. to be able to tell people that you did a silent retreat)

  11. Best related quote I refer back to from Seneca is ” To bear trial with a calm mind is to rob misfortune of its strength and burden”. I think its Seneca’s greatest observation and quote!

    To seek inner peace and to be able to control those inner demons and anxieties is a life time learning. Thank you Tim for keeping to the path and reminding us of these ageless teachings – my mantra, take a deep breath, rise above it and keep your eye on the long game !

  12. Couldn’t agree enough! Efficiency and productivity and even a 4-days per work schedule are of no value if you are a griper and cannot recognize or appreciate the good things in life.
    Indeed, mindfulness and gratitude are the best psychological makeovers we can give to our lives. However, gratitude doesn’t come naturally or easily to everyone. It has to be manifested mindfully. I hope we can learn to do that!