How The Best Overcome Fear (#291)

“Whatever you’re doing, don’t give a voice to things you’re not able to change.”

– Vince Vaughn

Welcome to another edition of The Tim Ferriss Radio Hour, where I share the habits and patterns of world-class performers revealed over nearly 300 interviews.

In this episode, we’ll explore fear. Specifically, how to manage, mitigate, and overcome fear, which is something I’ve battled for decades.

This has been such a focal point of my life that my last TED Talk focused on an exercise called fear setting, which is something I practice at least once a month and have found to be a life raft.

In addition to my own experiences, we’ll hear how Sir Richard Branson (@richardbranson), Maria Sharapova (@mariasharapova), Vince Vaughn, and Caroline Paul (@carowriter) have battled their own fears.


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

Overcoming, Managing, and Using Fear

Want to hear another episode of The Tim Ferriss Radio Hour? In this episode, we explore meditation and mindfulness with Chase Jarvis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Harris, and Rainn Wilson (stream below or right-click here to download):

#201: The Tim Ferriss Radio Hour: Meditation, Mindset, and Mastery

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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

Show Notes

  • How does Richard Branson cope with feeling overwhelmed? [09:03]
  • What’s Richard’s non-alcoholic choice when he doesn’t want to drink during a social event? [13:09]
  • What’s Richard’s favorite failure? [15:09]
  • How does Maria Sharapova feel about the word “rejection?” [20:00]
  • Maria details the importance of surrounding yourself with quality people who inspire rather than drain when in the limelight — and how to tell them apart. [25:39]
  • A recent experience that allowed Maria to step out of her comfort zone, make new connections, and grow. [31:15]
  • Vince Vaughn knows that fear is usually more crippling than the actual consequences. [34:16]
  • Vince’s advice for beginning actors coping with rejection. [38:23]
  • Microfailures as an inoculation against rejection. [42:09]
  • Vince shares a traumatic experience from his high school days and what it taught him. [43:02]
  • The role of sports — particularly wrestling — in Vince’s development. [45:39]
  • Caroline Paul relates a terrifying experience she had as a firefighter. [52:54]
  • Caroline’s pro-bravery strategy for coping with fear. [56:05]
  • If you’re trying to change your relationship with fear, where do you start? [1:00:46]

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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17 Replies to “How The Best Overcome Fear (#291)”

  1. Also, wanted to thank you for the amazing Tribe of Mentors, such a diverse and superior collection of wisdom and great one liners!

  2. Fear is the most powerful, yet least understood force in our life. We need more fear to learn how to use it as fuel. There are simple steps you can take to channel that fear response into super-human performance – [Moderator: additional text and link removed.]

  3. Not a brilliant podcast since it’s a rehash of older material, but I suppose it’s better than nothing, especially for anyone who hasn’t listened to the previous podcasts with the featured guests.

    To be honest, most of these episodes weren’t that I great if I had to compare them with the top of the podcasts Tim made. I would say that the Maria Sharapova one got a lot of attention because it’s one of few occasions where I remember a top athlete coming on a podcast and Tim actually took a better approach of interviewing her than almost any other podcast or tv show she’s been on while promoting the book. Not to mention that the headline of that podcast was pretty much spot for the audience of the blog, and I’m pretty sure we all were attracted by those keywords

    The best part of this podcast is that it leaves so much room for something better on the next one.


  4. Hey, Tim – Is the $60K you’re offering for an editor for 4 hours of work a day? Because if it is, that’s a great deal. If it isn’t – you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do.

  5. Hi Tim,

    Interesting discussions, for sure. In terms of feedback on future podcasts, I would enjoy hearing from people who have become virtuosos of musical ability. Of interest, getting inside their views on personal learning, creativity, what drives their passions; personal failures, public and private successes, etc. People on my wish list would be people like Neil Peart of Rush, Steve Vai, Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew, Eddie Van Halen. Thanks for listening.

  6. Hi Tim, I really appreciated this video! I’m impressed with the quantity of quality, challenging material you are making available to people, and so I’ve applied to your open Editor position because I’d love to be a part of helping people make positive changes in their life. I’d love to talk with you and your team about how my writing skills could be a great contribution to the huge work you are doing!

  7. Hi Tim,

    I love your podcast – keep on! This one was special because as one of your few women listeners, both Maria and Caroline said very useful things about fear as it relates to women. As an entrepreneur, I love Richard, and Vince was helpful too, but the ladies rocked this episode. Both had a wonderful candor and attacked your questions thoughtfully as well as deeply.

    Thanks again for all the episodes. Endlessly effective use of my time.

  8. Hi Tim,

    This comment has nothing to do with the post, and I know you don’t have time to read all these comments. But I wanted to tell you how much you and your work has meant to me.

    Your books, podcasts, blog, and youtube videos have all given me an incredible amount of joy and inspiration, and you have helped me through very difficult times in my life. You consistently spark in me a childlike curiosity and enthusiasm for the world that sometimes I fear I’ve lost. Thank you so much for teaching and inspiring me.

    I hope my message will encourage you to continue your work. And I also hope that this gives you fulfillment in your life knowing that you have made a profound impact on people’s lives.

  9. Tim, I’m glad you bring up fear here. Yes, it is such a powerful emotion it can hold you back, but there is more than one way to overcome fear. Using willpower is one way. Using your powerful subconscious mind to change the feeling is another.

    When we are afraid we are thinking about the future, we are pretending what things will be like. It’s not difficult to pretend that things will work out the way we want when you know how to do that.

    Loved this audio!

  10. Hello Tim, would you please do a piece on reviewing progress and activities. Specifically the review processes top performers use.



  11. Hi Tim, I really enjoyed hearing Caroline talk about the other emotions we experience around the same time as Fear and how we give more time or energy to fear than it should have.

    Thanks for redoing this talk.


  12. Hi Tim, loved this episode even though I’d heard some of the guests before individually. Caroline’s quote about deprioritising fear was very powerful. It would be great to delve into fear psychology a bit more. Someone I’ve listened to a lot in this area and would be a great guest is Margie Warrell.

  13. Hey Tim! My daughters and I listen to your podcasts all the time and find them very informative and helpful. I think the topics you cover are so important for everyone. We did your fear setting exercise together, I did my best to help them understand why we were doing it, what would be gained by doing it. What a different world we’d be living in if this was being taught to every kid instead of the irrelevant information they’re fed everyday in school. Please continue making great posts. We get so much out of them! 🙂

  14. Hey Tim, I just watched your video on “start a business” on YouTube loved what you did for Cindy and her Yoga classes. I am a full time missionary/ volunteer so my only income is donations and would be interested to hear your take on how I might become more financially successful in this career. I currently work 55-60 hrs/week and receive 3-400$/month in donations. Regardless of your religious standpoint I’d love some feedback.

  15. Such a great podcast! Thanks for sharing. I always had struggles with fear. Hopefully I will look from this new perspective which i had never seen before.

    Thank you so much

  16. Hi Tim, I’m such a big fan, thank you for all that you share…something to share with you and all of you out there: facing fear and working with it is something I’ve been wrangling with for a while, it’s an interesting journey. Last night I saw a film that frames this topic in some epic big wave surfing, it’s a great film, both amazing to watch and to hear how these seemingly fearless athletes channel their fears, find a showing near you!!