Tools of Titans: Brené Brown Distilled and Other Goodies (#207)


“He or she who is willing to be the most uncomfortable is not only the bravest but rises the fastest.”

– Brené  Brown

Dr. Brené  Brown (@BreneBrown) is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. Brené’s 2010 TEDx Houston talk, The Power of Vulnerability, has been viewed more than 31 million times and is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world.

She has spent the past 13 years studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. Brené is the author of three #1 New York Times bestsellers: Daring Greatly, The Gifts of Imperfection, and Rising Strong.

This episode turned into a therapy session of sorts for me because I felt like I needed a lot of help related to topics she explored. I thought I would give you a sample of some of the highlights — the things I applied to my own life and have revisited many times since. It’s really a sample of my new book Tools of Titans.

Please enjoy this distilled collection of highlights from Dr. Brené Brown. Be sure to stay tuned for a surprise at the end!

#207: Tools of Titans: Brené Brown Distilled and Other Goodies

Want to hear another podcast with Brené Brown? — Listen to her first appearance on my show.  In this episode, we discuss vulnerability, schools of philosophy, and creating a home run TED Talk (stream below or right-click here to download):

#100: Brené Brown on Vulnerability and Home Run TED Talks

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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

  • Connect with Brené  Brown:

Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Courage Works

Show Notes

  • Afraid and brave can coexist. [05:09]
  • Give discomfort its due. [06:32]
  • When I had the opportunity, did I choose courage over comfort? [08:21]
  • One of Brené’s rules for public speaking: house lights. [10:51]
  • Shame versus guilt. [12:05]
  • To be trusted, be vulnerable. [12:48]
  • Who does Brené  think of when she hears the word “successful?” [13:50]
  • What advice would Brené give to her 30-year-old self? [14:39]
  • Suprise goodies. [16:00]

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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19 Replies to “Tools of Titans: Brené Brown Distilled and Other Goodies (#207)”

  1. I’m loving your new book! Probably best one so far. And such a HUGE gift to the world! You got some of the best minds of today to share their wisdom in one place. And for less than $20 per book! Amazing. So thank you!

  2. Thanks Tim. This was great. Brene does not know it but she is holding my hand these days as I launch my book.

    Question: You changed the topic after she said how her now successful professional life contrasts with getting home (family life). I thought she was on to something really important there…

  3. I love Brene’s work. All her books, her work resonate with me very much, make me deal and work with my own shit and vulnerabilities to live my life fully, not hiding from it.

    What I don’t agree with and see as also a form of hiding we all do, avoidance of the word success.

    Success in achieving something and having it all perfect is not the same.

    NO ONE can be successful in everything. Everyone is fighting some kind of battle in life – internal or external.

    We can succeed in some area of our life – we are praised for that an called successful, that, as you and Brene pointed out, does not mean that the person perfected it all and living some kind of version of heaven-on-Earth paradise life. All that means – that person worked on something and achieved something significant due to combination of love for the craft + hard work + luck and chances + strategies + marketing … the combination is always different.

    It doesn’t mean there is no such thing as objective success and we should fear the word not to put too much pressure on ourselves or someone else.

    When an athlete got to hit a certain result – time, strength, performance record – they don’t bullshit themselves, they either do it or not, they succeed or fail, it’s that simple. It doesn’t mean they have it all figured out, it just means they had or not reached success in that particular time and task.

    Same in life.

    Do I want to have a better career? Do I want to make a bigger impact? Do I want to solve a particular problem? Do I want to improve my financial situation? My relationships?

    Yes. I do. What are specific “goals” I got to hit to consider myself successful in that?

    Act. Measure. Reflect. Repeat till success is reached.

    That’s how anyone achieves any kind or result in life.

    If we continue to make excuses, how, even though we can’t make it happen, we are still successful, because we manage well another “more important” area of our life – is an excuse to shift our focus and not deal with shit we got to deal with because of our life situation, priorities, personal qualities….

    Anyway, in short, there is such thing as success and failure.

    It’s not what we are, it’s what we achieve or not, what we do or not.

    Success is not personal, unless we make it so.

    ~ My own experience and opinion.

    We are not successes or failures. BUT we can succeed and fail.

  4. I would love to write something brilliant in praise the book but I can’t. I m a horrific writer.. however, Mr. Ferriss’s latest book,Tools of Titans (I received two signed copies) is just let’s say like a cutting edge textbook for anyone serious about 21st Century current affairs in the business world (In fact I think all business school library in the world should have a copy) It’s wise Mr. Ferriss starts with the most fundamental, physical, body exercises. Without good health forget the rest… FUN part is putting these gems of advice into work or experiment. See for yourself if it works and if not, move on to the next, and experiment some more…The buffet is all there for you to pick and chew. Digest what is best for your system. If don’t like it then fine, so be it, move on.. but if works then precious! Awesome. It’s excellent in all count. It’s worth the small investment. Otherwise, check it out from your public library then is free. (sorry I meant to put this comment in Amazon book review but my copies were gifts /party favor). Congratulations!

  5. I’d like to know if you have links for your transcripts. You have podcasts and videos but there are never any transcripts or closed captioning. Please let me know along with the others who need this. Thank you

  6. Hey Tim, loved this, have already got ToT so great to hear your spoken word intro. In this podcast you mentioned the #2 podcast of 2015 (behind you and Jamie) – I’ve googled but can’t seem to find it. Would you mind hooking me up? Apologies if its in the show notes, I’ve had a look but there’s too much good stuff in there for it to stand out. Cheers,

  7. Favorite Quote/Lesson:

    Brené’s comment “I do want to live a brave life. I do want to live in the arena. And if you’re going to live in the Arena, the only guarantee is that you’re going to get your ass kicked.”

    Bravery/Valor isn’t just one of my top signature strengths, it’s my number 1 signature strength. I’ve heard your guests speak about the Arena Ass Kickings, ways to manage/mitigate, but it was such a huge fear I could only give their words a “hmmm, yeh, ok, good information.”

    But when I heard Brené just now, a woman talking to my #1 Signature Strength, a woman who has been/done, a woman who embodies a feminine power, vulnerability, rather than a putting on a power from her masculine side to brave the Arena and affect global change … the message finally sunk deeply into my being.

    As I meet with colleagues today and tomorrow to brainstorm on 2017, I commit to braving the Arena wielding my Feminine Powers, balancing them with the Masculine Powers I have already learned to wield.

    I step into More True Me.

  8. Hello, Tim! I am writing here after starting your ToT book. First, let me say that book is god-sent for me and I’ll tell you why. While I do love your podcast, I can not listen to it.

    No, seriously, I CAN NOT because I’m hearing impaired. A lot of people are or will be. It’s clear that you take a lot of note sand re-listen to podcast so I was wondering if you’d consider doing transcripts after each podcast. I’d pay for a transcripted subscription!

    PS: I asked James Altucher about it and he likes the idea, might implement soon. I hope as many podcast will start do this as civilized, good practice!

    Thank you for reading!

  9. The interview with Dr. Brene Brown is one of my favorite episodes. I would say that my favorite lesson was understanding the difference between shame and guilt. I also liked the question about the boundary between vulnerability and oversharing (in the full episode).

    And the advice to us, thirty-somethings, “to not be so scary when we are scared” is cool and actually makes sense :))

    I can so relate to the part where Brene talks about being vulnerable during her TED talk and later thinking: “I will never do that again.” Success to me is ability to impact lives of multiple people, including her/his own, in a positive way (*multiple, meaning hundreds or more). So to hear that such successful (for lack of a better word) figure as Dr. Brene Brown experiences same fears and doubts after “putting herself out there” as I do, makes me think that it was worth it every time.

  10. Tim, the fact that you really opened up about your life in Tools of Titans is the REAL game changer among people who become famous. People don’t always do that. I can not wait to read your new book. I truly want you to know that just by being you, Tim, and telling your story, you have already helped so many with just that intention alone, thus creating a massive ripple effect. Thank you again.

  11. I was so excited to see the Brene Brown interview in my feed, she’s fantastic! Tim, have you ever considered that the gender imbalance in your listeners might be related to how few women you interview in your podcasts? I haven’t done the math but I think that ratio might also be around 15%. Instead of *only* complaining I’ll do a random braindump of 15 other women I would be really excited to hear:

    Barbara Kingsolver

    Zadie Smith

    Winnie Byanyima

    Christina Swarns

    Twyla Tharp

    Tenley Albright

    Elizabeth Blackburn/Carol Greider

    Nora Ephron

    Doris Kearns Goodwin

    Marie Kondo

    Abby Wambach

    Susan Wojcicki

    Lena Dunham

    Majora Carter

    Alice Waters

    Elizabeth Gilbert

  12. I really valued this distillation, in particular the critical “He or she that is willing to be the most uncomfortable is not only the bravest but rises the fastest.” I noted in my journal Tim’s corollary from the Four Hour Work Week: “A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have”. And “shame is a focus on self, guilt is a focus on behaviour” (Brene). And, yet another reminder as to just how carefully we need to think about and define the word “success” – “be clear that your ladder is leaning against the right building”.

  13. Brene Brown has a great handle on the fear perspective. Going to implement them in my life, see if that cross-connects with the 10 year goals in 6 months!

  14. After reading the quote, I absolutely had to share a very uncomfortable experience I brought on myself. Wednesday 2/08/17, my college Montana Tech had it’s career fair. Signs were posted everywhere, dress to impress, do where professional attire and the like. Picture this, 5’6 male, weathered sweater, Tripp shorts (black cloth strips with green stitching, very hot topic) over pajama pants and a notebook with three questions in mind. “On a scale of 1-10( 1=very unprofessional 10=very professional) how would you rate my attire?” “What 1-3 (+) or (-) comments do you have?” And “Can you think of or know of any flaws with the conventional view of professional attire?”

    As I walked past the sign in sheet, all I coukd think was “Yep! I am going to do this!”

    This was upwards of 20 mini interviews, spanning three walk throughs, with people who were very intimidating. All in all, it was the most uncomfortable experience I have had in a long time.

    Thank you for reading,

    Best regards,

    Isaiah Miller

  15. Hi Tim, This was great and Brene is truly one-of-a-kind (or certainly among the one-of-a-kinders). I’ve been on somewhat of a Tim-Ferriss-podcast-craze lately (long story) and am about to start reading Tools of Titans. One question that I have for now, and it’s a huge reason why I want to read the book is the following: why do you think we over the course of our lives sometimes forget important lessons, mantras, habits, or behaviors that learn? I’ve been thinking about this recently because I am a huge fan of obsessive note taking and always want to evaluate situations/successes/failures and extract the lessons I can take from them and how I can continue to improve and tweak ways that I function that best align with me as a person. It’s funny though because though I feel like I am very intentional about continuously questioning my habits, eagerly challenging myself and learning new things, it’s inevitable that we forget some aspects of what we learned. That’s precisely why I started writing because it helped me remember and keep myself accountable (and I love writing!), but I was just curious about what you thought (along the lines of why we may forget specific lessons we have already learned or possible best-practices to keep these learned-habits at the forefront of our mind?). Thanks in advance for your time!