Josh Waitzkin, The Prodigy Returns (#148)

“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.” – Archilochus

Ever since episode #2 of the podcast, you’ve been asking for more Josh Waitzkin, so here it is! This is an in-depth jam session, and you can definitely listen to this one independently.

Josh Waitzkin was the basis for the book and movie Searching for Bobby Fischer.

Considered a chess prodigy, he has perfected learning strategies that can be applied to anything, including his other loves of Brazilian jiu-jitsu (he’s a black belt under phenom Marcelo Garcia) and Tai Chi push hands (he’s a world champion). These days, he spends his time coaching the world’s top performers, whether Mark Messier, Cal Ripken Jr., or high-profile investors. I initially met Josh through his incredible book, The Art of Learning, which I loved so much that I helped produce the audiobook (download here at Audible).

If you’re interested in implementing programs designed by Josh in your classroom, go to and find out if the program is a good fit for you.

If you have just a few minutes, I recommend learning about the principle of scarcity and how it can directly benefit your life.

This episode is DEEP, in the best way possible. Just like last time, Josh will blow your mind.


#148: Josh Waitzkin, The Prodigy Returns

Want to hear another podcast with Josh Waitzkin?In this episode (the second ever on The Tim Ferriss Show), we discuss The Art of Learning, what separates elite performers, and strategies for peak productivity (stream below or right-click here to download):

Episode 2: Joshua Waitzkin

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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: How can you use Josh’s principle of scarcity to improve creativity, habit creation, or your learning process? Please share your insights in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from this Episode

Show Notes

  • Josh Waitzkin’s terrifying experience with the Wim Hof method [9:27]
  • Explaining “flow” and how Josh Waitzkin uses it as therapy [15:22]
  • Describing a “flow state” and how to initiate one [17:59]
  • On cognitive biases [21:48]
  • Developing high level sensitivity and listening to your senses [27:09]
  • Strategies for on-boarding newcomers to mindfulness training [28:45]
  • On parenting [38:02]
  • Fixed perspectives and growth mindsets [47:53]
  • On training somatic sensitivity [50:35]
  • On mitigating the dangers of a fixed identity [55:43]
  • Marcelo Garcia and the principle of cultivating quality as a way of life [1:01:56]
  • Quality and presence in parenthood [1:05:51]
  • What is the fire walking process [1:09:03]
  • Transitioning physical visualization techniques learned from martial arts to less obvious physical activities (investing for example) [1:16:23]
  • The principle of slack [1:20:20]
  • The principle of scarcity in the learning process [1:24:41]
  • Josh Waitzkin’s daily journaling process [1:34:23]
  • Talking about thematic interconnectedness in the context of education [1:36:38]
  • Explaining The Art of Learning Project [1:45:41]

People Mentioned

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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83 Replies to “Josh Waitzkin, The Prodigy Returns (#148)”

  1. Hey Tim,

    From your recent Five Bullet Friday with the Charlie Munger speech “Elementary Worldly Wisdom” to Josh mentioning cognitive biases in this podcast, this seems to be a topic growing in interest.

    It seems we must condition ourselves mentally to avoid falling for the various forms of misjudgment:

    – “To the man with only a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”

    – Social proof (and other Robert Cialdini biases)

    – First and second order thinking

    Could you provide more cognitive bias- related interviews in the future with those high performers Josh says have internalized the awareness of these bodies?



  2. Great episode Tim!

    I have a suggestion for you.

    I listen to almost all of your podcasts as probably a lot of other listeners do and I know recording a different Ad for the same product(s) each podcast, say how Joe Rogan does on his podcast would be time consuming and would go against your philosophy on efficiency…

    The Ads can get kinda of redundant and I believe most loyal listeners probably skip the Ads or tune out as they are playing, but I thought of something today after listening to your Seneca episode regarding Ads on your podcast and only really thought I would try to contact you somehow to get this suggestion to you after on the same day listening to Derek Sivers who was a guest on James Altucher’s show say That he could

    never listen to your podcast because he can’t get thru the Ads.Okay so the suggestion is:

    Have listeners of the show that have used the product or service you are advertising call-in and leave a recording/testimonial ad about the product/service

    kinda like how Radiolab,TedTalks podcast etc have listeners call in and give there name and where there from and record a sponsorship message.

    I think ads presented in such a way would have a huge appeal and have more people listening/tuning in more to the Ad segment of the podcast.

    Anyway ,Keep up the great work!

  3. Great episode Tim!

    I have a suggestion for you.

    I listen to almost all of your podcasts as probably a lot of other listeners do and I know recording a different Ad for the same product(s) each podcast, say how Joe Rogan does on his podcast would be time consuming and would go against your philosophy on efficiency…

    But the Ads can get kinda of redundant

    and I believe most loyal listeners probably skip the Ads or tune out as they are playing, but I thought of something today after listening

    to your Seneca episode regarding Ads on your podcast and only really thought I would try to contact you somehow to get this

    suggestion to you after on the same day listening to Derek Sivers who was a guest on James Altucher’s show say That he could

    never listen to your podcast because he can’t get thru the Ads.Okay so the suggestion is:

    Have listeners of the show that have used the product or service you are advertising call-in and leave a recording/testimonial ad about the product/service

    kinda like how Radiolab,TedTalks podcast etc have listeners call in and give there name and where there from and record a sponsorship message.

    I think ads presented in such a way would have a huge appeal and have more people listening/tuning in more to the Ad segment of the podcast.

    Anyway ,Keep up the great work!

  4. Great podcast, Tim. Your story about staying silent after sniffing out the bad food in Costa Rica reminded me of the group-think silence at Tunnel Creek in Washington. In 2012, a group of the world’s best free skiers kept silent — even though many of them were concerned about avalanche potential — prior to a run outside the ski area ropes. Their run triggered an avalanche that caught five of the skiers, three of whom died. The New York Times ran a great piece about it. Great lessons about group think and the importance of trusting your gut.

  5. I love this! Huge fan of Josh, Marcelo and Tim.

    Plus, I built the new version of the Art of Learning Project website for Josh, which was a dream project for me.

    In fact, we applied the scarcity principle when thinking about the new website. On the old site, every page had ~50 different things a user could do. It was confusing and overwhelming. Our goal was to make each page have a specific purpose and limit the amount of choices a user can make. If not per page, at least per screen section.

  6. Tim, great episode. Is Josh a fan of Mauboussin’s work or does he consider him an arm chair critic? (It wasn’t quite clear in the brief mention.) I believe that Mauboussin does a great job of bridging the academic and practicing worlds of fundamental investing.


  7. Thanks you for this second episode. Big fan of Josh Waitzkin and the way he thinks, not many people like him on this planet.

  8. Thank you for this second episode. Big fan of Josh Waitzkin and the way he thinks, not many people like him on this planet.

  9. YES!!!!

    I’m a chess master and ptobably the world’s biggest Josh Waitzkin fan. When Waitzkin was 18 he wrote a little book called Attacking Chess, which was an intro to chess tactics, illustrated with positions and stories from Josh’s games. It was the first chess book I ever bought, and I read it over and over and over again; it was heavily responsible for my falling in love with chess. Later I was also hooked on Waitzkin’s excellent Chessmaster lectures.

    This made my day. Thanks!

  10. Thank you Tim! Love this. I’ve been fascinated by Josh since I listened to his chess lessons at Chessmaster 9000 and even more since I read The Art of Learning.

  11. Hey Tim & Josh,

    Thanks for the episode – amazing and insightful once again.

    What other questions or prompts do you use in daily journalling to take the mind to places of deep introspection and creative insight? I found the question you mentioned “how can I switch boards” with regards to thematic interconnectedness illuminating.

  12. Fantastic episode, love hearing Josh’s ideas. Really reminds me how much more I need to value presence and be so weary of distraction.

    Loved the piece about Garcia making his students straighten their robes. Cultivating quality in everything you do was the biggest takeaway for me in this episode. “How you do anything is how you do everything.”

    The Art of Learning is one of my favourite books ever. It along with On the Shortness of Life are the two books I’ve given away most often. Here’s my summary of the book in Evernote for anyone interested:

    Thanks again Timbo!

  13. I also had a near death experience about 10 years ago, where I was also supposed to die under the circumstances (blood loss). I couldn’t agree more about the gratitude feelings and appreciation for the small things! I also think there was a significant decline in of fear or failure. After this experience I was not only happier but I out performed my expectations in business and wrestling. I was a wrestler that never made it to the state tournament that found myself as captain of 2 D1 national championship teams at Penn State and similar feats in business. I don’t think I made this link until I learned more about fear in your The Four Hour Work Week.

    “We do not raise to the level of our hopes we fall to the level of our training” – I LOVE THIS!!! Amazing!

    I just love when you interview people that you are friends with. Those are your best episodes. You can tell when you are uncomfortable and don’t want to contribute as much with people you don’t know. With interviews like this one and your other friends its like I am sitting down for coffee or dinner with you guys. Seth Godin said (and I believe it was your interview with him) that interviewers of the future must have an opinion. I feel like you always have on but just like anyone, you are more comfortable sharing it with your friends.

    “TAOL” HAHA!! That is so hilarious 😀

    Once again I come away with understanding the importance of meditation. Thank you for the constant reminder.

    Thank you for another awesome episode Tim!

    Clay Steadman

  14. Tim and Josh. I loved the Dad hacks and tips.

    As a future Dad, I’d love to hear a podcast on parenting or get Dad advice from people who’ve reared kids. Would be useful and impact life in a huge way.


  15. Syncrho-f’ing-nicity. Why oh why…of any one of a gazillion podcast episodes from any one of a number of entities IS it that in the last 72 hours I dug into Episode #2 and was about to search for the follow up? That’s because I found Josh to be such a unique, accomplished and yet amazingly humble and low-ego dude. Voila! Can’t wait to dig into this.

  16. thank you so much for this podcast.The art of learning is the most inspiring book so far. ı wish you get new podcast in a everymonth.

  17. WHAAAAAT?! I heard on the last Random Show one of your friends almost died doing Wim Hof, but it was Josh?! Holy hell, man… I was breathless hearing that story. So glad he’s OK.

    Everything Josh pushes out of the Cave is top of my list. The book, the audio book, the last podcast, now this one. Thanks Tim for bringing us more.

    Being a Dad myself, this podcast really was inspiring. I’m anxiously waiting for my daughter to wake up now. website was updated today too so I’m digging in to that now.

    Seems like the accident has made him an even better person which I didn’t think was even possible.

    Oh how I wish he would write a book on Parenting. The world (especially Dad’s) could really use one from a guy like him.

    1. I totally agree! I wish Josh would write a book or just post even a little content on parenting from the a growth mindset dad.

      Justin M, I would help you raise money for this or sign a petition or anything we can think of to make this happen. I though this after they last podcast and I woke up thinking about this today! Lets make it happen 🙂


    2. Same thoughts here! Listening to him really moved me deeply. Thinking of my two little ones I want to be the father who nourishes their strengths and heightens their awareness for their own responses to uncontrollable outside events.

      Please Josh, write that article (which eventually turns into a book 😉 )


  18. Incredible. Josh is a wealth of information and experience. Would love to one day learn from him in person one day. Does anybody have any recommendations for a book that summaries the cognitive bias’?

  19. Dear Josh,

    I was incredibly moved by your words, your points of view, and your ability to give word to the unexplainable. I look forward to listening multiple times, taking long pauses, & drinking it all in.

    Toward the end you said:

    “If I could take the experience of love, gratitude, and beauty that I’ve been living with ever since I had that experience and I could give it to my brothers & sisters? Holy smokes, what a beautiful thing.”

    So I did an energy session sending it to them while they sleep tonight.

    The world is our tribe, so I sent it deep into the collective mind, firewalking it in as best I was able.

  20. Brilliant interview Tim and Josh!!

    Tim – Thanks for bringing Josh out of his “cage” in order to share his learnings with others. These are truly valuable and original insights.

    I was in a state of flow for three hours listening to the interview.

    – Michael

  21. Excellent material. I am totally fascinated with The Art Of Learning. I have purchased several copies of the book for gifts and often listen to the audio version while at work. I was introduced to “TAOL” through my wife who is a Special Education Teacher. I’m in my early 40’s and I began practicing BJJ 4 years ago. I am at the point where I would like to start teaching others what I have learned about the art so far. I would love to see a book or hear a podcast with you and Josh discussing this. Thank you for all that you guys do!

  22. Great post Tim. Love BJJ, Marcelo Garcia was taught by Fabio Gurgel who was taught by Romero “Jacare” Cavalcanti. Jacare has a very well known school here in Atlanta, GA. You should definitely check it out if you are ever in the area!

  23. Hi Tim, I’m a huge fan, thank you so much for all that you share with us. I’m currently doing a cadaver dissection anatomy course with Julian Baker of Functional Fascia in the UK, and I really think his work is ground breaking and worth your time. His colleague in the US is Gil Hedley, also making waves.

  24. Thanks Tim for an extraordinary round 2 with Josh Waitzkin. I was trying to work on an illustration with the sound in my buds, but dual focus was next to impossible. One really had to pay attention — but then you did issue a warning. Quality of your interviews just gets better,

  25. Hey Tim, the story you just shared about Josh is not only impressive but also inspiring. I would ask my students to follow him and hope they learn few lessons. I would do for myself too 🙂

  26. This podcast contains the solution to most problems and the path to seize most opportunities. Happiness, strength and peace all covered.

    More importantly it lays out the framework for how to think about and embody them.

    The way Josh spoke at the end was beautiful and insightful. I’d encourage him to put more work out into the ether. It’s inspiring and deep yet beautifully practical.

    The only thing that left me dissapointed was when Tim said he did things to make sure he’d never be a politician.

    Which leaves me thinking not about my problems and opportunities but what do we have to change to make it so people like them would want to. Or change the system so they didn’t have to.

    Simply stunning podcast. As revealing as a powerful LSD trip without the exhaustion.

  27. On subsequent listens, 2 more comments arose …

    1. Concept: If they injure themselves they learn not to push it that far.

    Yes there is a mind component, a listening to the body in the future.

    And also, the body learns – more than the mind.

    This is good news & troublesome news.

    Depending on the nature of the injury the body had various ways to protect the area while it repairs.

    If the repair process takes a while, or is re-injured before it heals, these protection patterns can become a permanent part of the movement pattern, even if full repair is complete.

    The repair itself may be performed in a cross-hatch manner in a sort of “batten down the hatches” approach. This can lead to dysfunction along the myofascial system, affect movement patterns, and create new compensation patterns.

    If you look at Tim’s “Geek to Freak” photo’s from a postural assessment perspective, you can see the sort of thing I’m talking about. (They are probably not! his natural stances so not a good diagnostic tool for him personally, but for explanatory purposes, let’s pretend they are.)

    In the before “back” photo if you take a look at the Left achilles & draw a straight line up, you’ll see that the ankle isn’t lining up with the center of the back of the knee, and veers off even further with the center of the hip.

    In the side-shot just below, you’ll see that the ankle, knee, hip are no longer in a straight line as with the before photo. There is a jutting forward and then a need to jut-back with the upper body so he doesn’t fall over.

    In the next forward-facing set, you see not just his left shoulder lower than his right, but also his left hip and there is a “compressed” look between the two as compared to the other side.

    Again, these are poses rather than natural stances (e.g. if we’d have had him march in place for 5 seconds, land his feet naturally, then taken the photo’s.)

    But were these true natural stances, you can see that there are patterns in the body, possibly from training, possibly from injury that are going to affect movement patterns.

    He had tweeted about a continuously re-aggrevated lat injury a while back. If we look at the Back Functional Line (look up Myers anatomy trains back functional line) you can see how fascial pulling in the gluteals due to hip stance can affect the opposite lat.

    If the glute or vastus lateralus or sacral fascia is hogging all the slack, the lat cannot function properly and the injured site would be the “weakest link” taking the brunt.

    If there is slack-holding in the Front Functional Line then it may be creating a tensegrity pull along the Back Functional Line possibly also adversely affecting the lat.

    As an example! My point is that the BODY learns to protect itself. That is good, but can also cause problems down the line if the compensation patterns aren’t taken care of by a qualified practitioner.

    Hmmm, it seems I got carried away with this one. I’ll post #2 separately. 🙂

  28. #2. Thematic integrated learning. ROCKS!

    The BEST massage schools in our state taught in this manner (before being bought & dismantled – so sad). If you ask where they went to school, and they mentioned one of 3 names, they always turned out to be excellent at their craft.

    All the student & instructors were adamant that the new owner keep the process. They appeared to have promised to, to close the deal, but a few years later dismantled it & inserted their standardized nonsense.

    They SO had the opportunity bring their entire curriculum to a ridiculously awesome standard of excellence. Tragic they could not see what they had bought.

    (no, I didn’t go to those schools, mine was loosely thematic & the instructors were hit & miss, luckily I got the hits!)

  29. I hate to be a buzzkill on this celebration of Josh, but I found him to be condescending and self-absorbed. Clearly a brilliant individual, but that is not anything he doesnt already know.

  30. Hey Tim,

    First, excellent episode on several levels. I’m a big fan of your work and a father of a two year old, so this episode was stimulating on a professional and personal level.

    Second, your conversation about “scarcity” was a personal highlight for me and I just wanted to share something with you. I recently gave talk on the exact same concept. I even identified the same term to describe the perspective. I was invited to give a talk about a principle that had helped my entrepreneurial process. You can find my presentation on YouTube by searching my name, Jensen Lorenzen-The Power of Scarcity. The title was “The Power of Scarcity” (sorry, can’t imbed the link here). I actually borrowed the term from an Economics book I read a long time ago, but I believe the content is almost identical to what you and Josh covered. If you watch the video, please excuse the poor audio/visual quality, as this was a pretty home-grown program. Pretty sure it was recorded on an iPhone, as a matter of fact.

    Anyway. You have no idea how great it was to hear you two discussing this concept as it is the single most powerful principle I have ever discovered in my own work (I’m a Chef) and have applied it time and time again to other aspects of my life with tremendous results. It sort of validated something that has been kicking around in my head for years. Thanks again for everything, your work is continuously thought provoking and important.

  31. Tim, the podcasts seem to have risen to an even higher level. The episode with Cal Fussman was so good I couldn’t stop listening. Then this last episode with Josh Waitzkin was completely off the charts, one of the best ever. Thanks

  32. It seems like this concept of thematic interconnectedness just a relabeling of Charley Mungers cross-disciplinary Mental Models.

  33. This is too important not to jump in. So Tim.. hurry up and get a kid already(was listening to the first interview). I’m not joking. You have no idea how much you NEED to. Josh is averse to scaling that dilutes quality, but doesn’t seem to have figure out as yet how he’s going to stay true to that and still do something world-changing around educational issues. Tim, you’ve said you feel this is your calling too. I’ve been thinking about this stuff my entire life. in my little corner of the world I’ve been ranting about upgrading the ancient scripts of our parenting culture to reflect how humans optimally develop. No one seems to be listening.

    So I can’t help thinking about a group I’d love to see come together. Josh won’t even have to leave his cave much. Other possible partners? Ummm well the work that IBM is now doing with big data analysis, coupled with the human genome success, just HAS to offer something of historical proportions.

    Besides that, we’ve just GOT to have come far enough as a species to be ready to develop algorithms complex enough to address the quality problem of scaling. Don’t know if you’ve had Daniel Strickler (The Ironman Executive Podcast) on as yet, but he’s been heard complaining that he can’t believe so few people are jumping aboard the human genome success with him and others. I’m envisioning the capacity to draw out unique solutions for every individual on the planet in terms of education, health, work and relationships. What better way to be 100% true to yourself if you’ve got the genetic (among other things) data to tell you how you can do it in any phase or life-role. The philosophy is there. The science is there, The technology is there, and the brainpower to synthesize all of it is here in your person and some of the folks you’ve been interviewing. Please tell me you’re going to pursue this… and not forget developing countries that can’t afford stuff.

  34. Dreaming Yourself Awake, by Alan Wallace.

    He’s one of my favorite teachers and is getting ready to start a new 8 week meditation retreat which you can follow through the podcast: google at Santa Barbara Institute of Consciousness studies…

    If you’re interested in knowing, he’s creating a movement to start a Cognitive Revolution.

  35. Tim and Josh,

    Highly suggest you check out Alan Wallace’s primary work. This is person that would be wonderful to have on the show and with the direction your lives seem to be going, with the near death experience of a kind, he has a lot to offer.

    His first book that I read The Attention Revolution is a masterpiece.

    He’s worked with Stephen Laberge; he’s debated Sam Harris; he works side by side with the Dalai Lama; he’s connected to all of the characters you find doing research with mindfulness practices like Richie Davidson, Paul Ekman, Rick Hanson, etc…

    It would be fascinating if nothing else for you to explore his work.

    To awakening whatever that might be,

    Emeric Damian Thorpe

  36. Ok, I guess I am the only one who did not like this episode. And I have listened to a lot of TF podcasts – including the first one with Josh. But man, I felt like this was an over-the-top love fest between these two “bros”; you are awesome, no you are awesome, no… you are the most awesomest.

    On top of that, Josh with his “I have an amazing life and do amazing things and have an amazing kid who is a yogi philosopher at 3 and we pontificate on the nature of human existence and move like water and do side by side meditation” blah blah was STRONG in this episode. So strong, I shut it off as it was just too much for me to swallow. To many well placed jargony phrases. words and platitudes. Some of it, straight up, came across as total BS theories and made up concepts.

    Sorry Tim, it was just way too much on the woo woo zen meter for me. He came across as a bit pompous & self absorbed in his amazingness, but in a non hostile arrogant way (if that makes sense) at least. And it seemed like you fed the beast the entire time.

      1. And me!

        If I was a North American I’m sure it would be easier to relate to- (in fact I’d relate a lot more to most of Tims stuff). Joshs thing these couple of comments point to appears to be a uniquely northamerican centric way of perception & relating. For the rest of us non-north americans, it inspires strong feelings of aversion, to put it politely

    1. I can understand how you feel about these esoteric concepts as BS until you really apply it and reap rewards of going to another level yourself. . . Listening without experiencing Josh’s ideas probably is not easy at all for most people. Nothing is more humble than to be reminded by Josh to force ourselves into a beginner’s mind and start experiencing and seeing new lines. The catch is that few are willing.

  37. Tim, could you possibly give the download link to episode 2? I do not use iTunes and would love to listen to it. Also, have you considered using SoundCloud? Highly recommended.

    Love your work (ok, most of it. Some of it stinks. sorry)

  38. I love the show Tim! It’s the only podcast that I listen to now. Keep it up! I was wondering if at some point (blog maybe?) you could tell the story of exactly how you and Josh met. I find those kinds of origin stories both fascinating and inciteful and am particularly interested in this one. Thanks for everything you do! Your philosophies inspire me literally every day.

  39. This podcast episode was so awesome. Tim … I’d love someone on the podcast who could go into something like this episode, but then in being parents and wanting to be able to parent with this same kind of philosophy, intensity, time … but for my children and being a better parent, better teacher of being human, of learning, and of self confidence and “grit” and Joshua says.

  40. I just finished reading “The Art of Learning” (TAOL) after listening to Tim’s 2 podcasts with Josh. My reaction: HOLY SHIT! Josh’s description and attainment of “flow” is exactly what I have been looking for. I have been researching “flow” and performance techniques for several years and condensed the “trigger” to relaxation, focus, “slowing down time” withing 1-2 seconds using simple kinesthetic anchors. Setting the “trigger” can be done in as few as one interation when the subject is in a deeply altered state like trance or excitation. I have also used trance states in trading as well as martial arts. Very cool. Very few people understand this deeply ad Josh.

  41. Hi Josh and Tim, thanks for the great Interview! I Listened to it at least 3 times already, to catch little details I missed on the first time.

    Josh, I have a question for you: You said that you had your trainees use Heartmath and once they were good at creating coherence, you layered on mediation. I am not sure what the difference is because I thought that when I use heartmath, I am meditating with biofeedback. Could you explain why meditation on its own is “good” additionaly to heartmath training?

    Thanks in advance,


  42. I like your concise and relevant show notes. I find myself constantly rewinding or pausing other podcasts to take notes (ie:book titles); you’ve saved me that trouble. Thank you.

  43. Hi Tim Great Interview, just found a copy of the art of learning awesome to brush up the theory. Just found out that the MMA video’s came from my internet connection. So I am pretty sure someone is using my line or IPADDRESS for the matter. I already informed the police and internet provider for that matter. Hope it will soon be over becasue of relocation. Well, great interviews awesome learning experience. Best wishes,

  44. I suggest having together more than one guest who use “flow” techniques and see them spark “group flow” during a podcast.

    “The Mindful Athlete: Secrets to Pure Performance” by George Mumford (helped win 13 NBA championships)

    “The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance” by Steven Kotler (studies extreme sports use of flow–Lair Hamilton and Shaun White)

    Kotler discusses “group flow” in his book.”

  45. Tim, or anyone else…

    We’ve heard from a few guests that taking a cold shower in the morning is a ritual worth practicing. I would love to know more about the specifics of how much time they spend in the cold. I assume this is not for weight loss so the protocol will be different from what you wrote in 4HB. Thanks in advance!

  46. Tim, When you know that you are “Firewalking” or going to be going into something that you have no experience and would love some help to not have to go through the pain of learning from experience. How do you get people to respond to your questions or where would to go if you have 0 contacts and needed help in business. Specifically marketing/ecommerce?

  47. This was a tremendous episode, I enjoyed every moment and learned much throughout. Thanks for bringing Josh out of his cage, I’ve enjoyed the other episodes with Josh too but this one really made me a huge fan (even accounting for recency bias, I think).

  48. Training your awareness so you can be a better financial investor. Wow, seems like such a waste of life. Sorry, leaving you for good now. Peace.

  49. A great episode. For those interested in the thematic interconnectedness approach to education I recommend looking into what is being done at Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington.

    Faculty have no departments. Classes are team-taught, interdisciplinary and last the entire quarter. There are no grades, only faculty narrative evaluations of the students. No formal majors, only areas of emphasis.

    Check out this class as an example

  50. Tim Tim, great podcast my friend.

    Bliss of Inner Fire by Lama Yeshe, where young Wim Hof found is “method.” Be careful with this breath work buddy, it can open some doors that one would not expect.

    Thanks again for creating such incredible content,


  51. I don’t get the part about fire walking process, can someone explain it to me please.

    Josh’s way has ignited a great shift of my behaviors throughout any given day until today, so I understand everything he says and explains in the book crystal clearly, however this part during the conversation seemed to be undone.

    Thank You 🙂

  52. Tim,

    This episode may have saved my life. I am a life-long waterman who is just now starting with the WHM. Even though Wim’s homepage clearly states to never practice it before swimming I assumed that to mean breath hold diving. Or that Wim’s lawyers were telling him to be overly cautious in order to keep his own ass out of legal troubles. But to hear Josh talk about a NDE while doing laps in the pool teaches me otherwise. That is exactly what I had panned to do but in the ocean.

    A super profound thank you to Josh for sharing,

    ~ Vic

  53. Wow! This has to be one of my favorite episodes so far, and really resonates with me on so many levels. As a father, the discussion around parenting and mindfulness was great. As an educator and school counselor, the discussion around Carol Dweck’s Mindset was fantastic. Great job and thank you to the both of you!

    I just released my first podcast episode — following Tim’s advice on committing to 6 episodes — around mindfulness in education and schools. There are a lot of parallels here for further listening. Check it out!

  54. I love the TFS – and just about everything he does, but a few of his guests have really resonated with me, and Josh Waitzkin is one of them.

    In particular, using the growth mindset with his son… I love that, and it’s something that I really try to cultivate with my son too! As a father in love with his little boy, I recognize that in him when he talks about Jack.

    Thanks for this episode, Tim.

    I’ve found myself looking up more and more of his work, and it’s amazing.

  55. Did this guy just start surfing? He brings it up every chance he gets. Dude we get it, you surf haha…

  56. Hi Tim and Tim Ferris listeners/readers…

    In this episode Josh talked about using thematic tags in his (and his clients) journals to help organize content for future recall, avoid recency bias, and share insights with others across the themes/tags. But no specific examples of the tags he uses. In other words what are the tag names?

    I use tags currently and familiar with that concept/process but would like to see how close I am or am not to the approach Josh has evolved.

    Curious if anyone has an idea on Josh’s specific thematic tags he uses? Does he use the themes that his book “The Art of Learning” addresses – i.e. Value process before results, Investment in Loss, Beginner’s mind, Resilience, etc? Or does he have a broader range of tags he uses?

    I’m curious if he freely writes in his journal and then steps back to see what themes are appropriate, or if, because the day before he focuses his creative sub-conscious on a particular topic, he aims to journal towards that same topic/theme in the morning?

    When I look at my journal for themes, and things I can translate into thematic learning, it feels like I come up with new tag everyday, or frustratingly that I can’t see or articulate the theme, and feel like I need to fine tune the approach to gain better impact.

    I of course Googled this query but unfortunately did not find anything specific to Josh’s specific tag use so reaching out to this forum.



    1. I’m curious too about Josh’s journaling process. It seems that his coverage was a bit terse and high level, where I’d like to know the specifics and structure to it. Basically restraints and focus for best results.

  57. You would be amazed with how much deeper the love and gratitude will go if you clean up your language. The achievements of meditation will be astoundingly more beneficial too!

  58. Seriously great interview. I have only listened to a few of your interview but sometimes I am left wishing you had been more analytical in your questioning. This time it went precisely where I wanted it. Lots of really great points that are timely in my own thought processes. Serendipitous to say the least.

    I’d really like to firewalk Josh and his experience with fame, an experience that he despised.



  59. I have listened to this interview for the third time and Josh is officially my favorite person ever. After you, Tim, of course:-)

    Love it!

  60. Tim,

    Thank you for this second podcast. I’ve listened to it numerous times and each time I gain something else that is groundbreaking. I met Josh a few weeks back at the National History Museum in NYC and he was an absolute gentleman and he only had good things to say about you also. You have continued to inspire a young man from Ireland who is trying to make it in the world of professional golf (your work is not confined to businesspeople). Thank you for giving us such great information and ‘Tools of Titans’ is phenomenal thus far.


  61. The episodes with Josh Waitzkin have been my favorite on the podcast.

    I had a lot of takeaway gems from this episode, and the one I want to speak to here is regarding education. I teach voice and piano lessons privately, mostly to children currently. I thought a lot about Josh’s points about being an embodied model of listening and presence as a teacher-a skill that requires a very active attention. I’ve also started using language in lessons that promotes process oriented praise/encouragement instead of result oriented praise. I’ve noticed how certain kids can get frustrated and think they are “bad” at something when it is difficult (surely something they have learned from their parents) and I am determined to help them reframe those self defeating ideas. I am noticing subtle changes in our lessons…more aliveness and more understanding for me about which unique child needs. I am really grateful for so many of the ideas that Josh and Tim shared in this episode, and I love how I have been able to very directly apply some to my life.

    On a side note, I really hope to meet Josh someday (even though he is apparently a hard one to each). I found out he knows my friends Light and Toby so I am looking forward to the day we run into each other at a rooftop party here in NY.



  62. Could someone point out what time on the podcast, where Josh provides the example of helping his client initiate a flow state? I can’t find it, all I remember is when he plays ball with his son.

  63. What books does Josh reccomend on parenting? I love his philosophy, and am interested if he has any recommendations.