Please enjoy this transcript of my second interview with actor Jamie Foxx, where he interviewed me for his radio show. Transcripts may contain a few typos—with some episodes lasting 2+ hours, it’s difficult to catch some minor errors. Enjoy!
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Tim Ferriss: Hello, my fine feathered friends. This is Tim Ferriss. And welcome to another episode of the Tim Ferriss Show where it is my job, each episode, to deconstruct world class performers and tease out the routines, habits, daily rituals, breakfasts, favorite books, whatever it might be that you can emulate and test in your own life. This episode is a role reversal and a very hilarious one at that.
Jamie Foxx is back on the show. This is a Round 2 where he interviewed me for his radio show. And we simultaneously recorded for the podcast. It was great fun. We recorded in his studio at his home in Los Angeles. For those of you who didn’t hear the first appearance of Jamie on the podcast, it was voted 2015 Podcast of the year last year with Product Hunt and others. The title was Jamie Foxx on Work Out Routines, Success, Habits, and Untold Hollywood Stories. You can check that out at fourhourworkweek.com/jamie.
And for those interested, the second place runner up for podcast of the year was also from the Tim Ferriss show, and that was Naval Ravikant. If you haven’t heard of him, you’ve got to learn all about him. And that is fourhourworkweek.com/naval. A few things about this episode, so it’s cut up into segments because we were taking commercial breaks for the radio show. There were a number of songs that Jamie comments on or refers to indirectly that I couldn’t play in this podcast due to copyright reasons.
They are from Ceu, Malemolencia. And one of the hottest voices and faces every that is Brazilian and Portuguese, Baby Metal, Karate; Federico Aubele, Esta Noche; and then Seven Dust, Splinter. All of these will be linked to in the show notes. So just go to fourhourworkweek.com/podcast for all the show notes on this episode and every other episode. And there are going to be a couple of stories in here for very long term listeners that you’ve probably heard some variation of before because people ask me about some of my back story, etc.
There are definitely things you have not heard before, including Jamie’s exploration of past lives. And it goes in many different directions. But I you’ll enjoy it. And, at the very least, listen to the first few minutes because Jamie is the consummate performer, which is, of course, what you would expect from someone who is an Academy Award winning actor, Grammy Award winning musician, and a famous stand up and improv comedian.
He has all of the tools in the toolkit. And you can say hi Jamie on Twitter @Iamjamiefoxx. And without further ado, please enjoy this raucous romp through the mind of Jamie Foxx and yours truly.
Jamie Foxx: If I told you that Oprah Winfrey is now a white man, if I told you that Oprah Winfrey has now become Caucasian, what would you say? I got a chance to meet this man. This man, literally, changed my life. My young friend, Ricardo, who speaks seven languages. He’s a heart throb. He explained to me about who this guy was. He said, “You need to do this guy’s podcast.” And I was like really? Because I’m ancient when it came to the internet and when it came to these things in social media. I was so far behind.
And Ricardo would always say you’ve got to shake off the dust. It’s like my parents when they were trying to figure out a microwave. And he brought this guy to my house. And we did this incredible interview. And, literally, it was like I had a record out when I left. It was like I had a movie out when I left. I was getting stopped by people of all walks of life saying, “Jamie, I don’t necessarily like your shit, but what you did on this man’s show moved me.” Joe Rogan who I’ve known from the comedy world, Ricardo sends me a clip of Joe Rogan talking about this man. I’m talking about now, 70 million downloads, am I right?
Seventy million. Some of you guys don’t even have 65 likes. And you’re constantly, constantly, constantly posting. You need to get it together. Maybe you need his Four Hour Plan. I’m talking about none other, the Oprah Winfrey of the internet. Ladies and gentlemen, turn the music up. Tim Ferriss is in the building. Tim, how you doing, baby?
Tim Ferriss: I’m doing fantastic. So thanks again for having me. I love this studio. Good vibes in this studio.
Jamie Foxx: There’s great vibes, man. Listen, all I can say is that I cannot say enough of who you are. I was in New York, lawyers, doctors, all walks of people came up to me and said, “Yo, Jamie, the Tim Ferriss interview took me over the moon.” And, obviously, Ricardo had told me who you were, and all the research still cannot put into words how you impact the world. Where do you come from? What are you doing since 1977 – you were born in ’87.
Tim Ferriss: I was born in ’77. I had time to pick up and break into Electric Boogaloo, a little [inaudible] on Long Island.
Jamie Foxx: Now, the song we just played is one of Tim’s top five songs. What was the name of that song?
Tim Ferriss: That was Malemolencia by a singer named Ceu from Brazil.
Jamie Foxx: And you know what? You made the fox hole work, too, because I asked him for his five songs, and then, he didn’t give me no iTunes shit. He said get in them crates, get in those crates. And luckily, we have a Cuban who is putting things together. And before Trump gets into office, we got a few – anyway. We got a few minutes. We’ll talk about all of that later on. We’re here with Tim Ferriss. Tim where do you come from, man? And what gives you the mindset? Now, I’ve met you. You’ve interviewed me. But now, people want to know who you are. Where do you come from?
Tim Ferriss: I was born and raised on Long Island, rat tail and all. Strong Island.
Jamie Foxx: Strong Island.
Tim Ferriss: Out at the end. And mom was a physical therapist, dad a local real estate broker. And my parents were very good at encouraging me and my younger brother, that’s the family, to explore. And they didn’t have much budget for anything other than books. So if we latched onto something, they would take us to say the remainder table at the book store and find these discounted books.
Jamie Foxx: The remainder table.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. And that is where I think a lot of the experimentation started mostly because I was very hyperactive as a kid, but I was a runt. I was born premature. And so my mom got some good word from the other ladies, the other moms, that kid wrestling was a good place to exhaust your kid. So she threw me into wrestling. And I had no endurance because of lung issues and other issues. So I started getting very good in high school like cutting weight. And that’s where I started really studying the human body and this obsession with self experimentation took off.
Jamie Foxx: What makes you think that though? Because here’s what I say all of the time. It’s like people have gifts. Everybody is given a gift. But what would make you think self experimentation and how would that manifest to what it is right now? Or did you foresee that?
Tim Ferriss: Well, I think one of the catalysts was a weakness that turned into a strength. So for cutting weight, I always sweat very easily, which meant that I could get dehydrated very easily. Now, that was a liability and a problem in so many other sports. But in wrestling, if I’m trying to cut down to a lower weight class, it was a huge advantage. I could lose water weight very quickly. And so I started thinking, if that’s the case that this weakness can be turned into a strength, where else can I find Achilles’ heels that I can turn into advantages. And it just led me to be a bit more analytical than I suppose some of the other kids who were normal and they could compete in the normal way. I just couldn’t do that.
And I also had a very influential wrestling coach, Mr. Buxton, who was I think a rarity in today’s climate at least. He was a hard ass. He cared enough to really beat your ass.
Jamie Foxx: Yeah. That’s the old school, Tim. We don’t have that no more. You can’t touch the kids no more. My father was a teacher for 20 years. You can’t touch the kids. He said I wouldn’t be able to govern. So he’d whip your ass, huh?
Tim Ferriss: Oh, yeah. I just remember one practice we had, these drills, they were called blood circles or some horrible name. and I said, “Mr. Buxton, I don’t think I can do it, I don’t think I can do it.” And he’s not only a successful coach, but he was a tri-varsity athlete in college and exceptional athlete and coach. But he was also very good at teaching. He was an English teacher, I believe, and an incredible fundraiser for the school. So he was multi talented. Now, he’s the dean of Culver Military Academy in Indiana. But I remember, at one point, I was like, “Mr. Buxton, I can’t do it anymore. I’m going to puke.”
And he’s like, “That’s what the bucket over there is for. So go over there and puke, and then, come back and continue the drill.”
Jamie Foxx: Wow.
Tim Ferriss: And what was great about that environment, although I didn’t realize it at the time, is that he pushed all of us past the point that we felt was our limit. And if you look at the kids who are in that wrestling team, like my wrestling partner, a guy named Charles Best, who was a year ahead of me, always beat me by one point in wrestle offs for the varsity spot –
Jamie Foxx: Where’s Charles now?
Tim Ferriss: So Charles is the CEO and founder of a nonprofit called Donors Choose, which is a huge educational nonprofit that has people like Oprah Winfrey and Steven Colbert and all of these supporters. A huge, massive success that’s changing the world. And he also credits a lot of his success back to Mr. Buxton.
Jamie Foxx: Back to the coach. Sharpened steel. It’s Jamie Foxx, Foxx Hole Radio. You know how we get down. Sirius 96. We are with the Oprah Winfrey of the internet.
His podcast is No. 1. He’s breaking it down on how he learned what self experimentation was. He tells us that his coach, which I still credit my coach, Coach Hisick, my seventh grade coach who gave me licks if my grades were wrong, gave me licks if I got caught outside. He made sure – he’s giving us building blocks. But talk about this. When you say there was a problem, can you speak on what it was? You had a lung situation?
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. So my lung collapsed when I was born. And I think I had five total blood transfusions. So I was in the ICU as a young kid. And so I still have scars on the left side of my chest. And on my wrist here, it looks kind of like a cigarette burn. It’s not a cigarette burn.
Jamie Foxx: I was about to say.
Tim Ferriss: That’s from being intubated. And so even to this day, I’m very, very sensitive to heat. And I have a lot of issues with even heat stroke on a few occasions where I’ve had to be hospitalized. And my brain just doesn’t function.
It turns off. It has a set point where these things called heat shock proteins and whatnot get triggered at a relatively low temperature compared to other folks.
Jamie Foxx: Right. So you’ve got to stay cool.
Tim Ferriss: I have to stay cool.
Jamie Foxx: Got to stay cool, brother. It almost sounds like a super hero. It’s like remember Unbreakable? It’s almost like you take these things. It’s like he’s a super hero. He’s able to give you Four Hour Plan, but don’t let him in the sun.
Tim Ferriss: Definitely weak in the sun. You can see I look like the underbelly of, I don’t know, a manatee or something.
Jamie Foxx: It’s all right, man. I got some spray tan in there. A couple of white girls came through.
Tim Ferriss: Well, so I was a comic book nerd growing up.
Jamie Foxx: Is that right?
Tim Ferriss: I collected comics.
Jamie Foxx: And who was your favorite comic?
Tim Ferriss: Wolverine.
Jamie Foxx: Wow.
Tim Ferriss: Because Wolverine was human. And the Punisher.
In other words, I was fans of the human comic book heroes who had found strengths or augmented strengths. So Superman is like you were born that way. But Batman, he had to build all the tools around him. So that appealed to me as sort of a tinkerer. And even to this day, I trace it all back to these physical problems that I had as a kid. And, for instance, this is about I’m going to say five or ten years ago, I did an experiment at Stanford University. I found out that they were doing research on heat tolerance for soldiers. And I was like, oh, this is a chance for me to gather data on myself and figure out why my brain turns off.
And so the experiment was terrible. What they had us to is I’d have to put an esophageal probe down my nose. So this is a piece of plastic that’s about 2 feet long. You put it through your nostril down your throat to your heart level to measure your core body temperature. And then, you tape it so it doesn’t get lost. And then, you take another one, and you stick it up the other end.
Jamie Foxx: What does that mean?
Tim Ferriss: You stick it up your ass.
Jamie Foxx: Okay.
Tim Ferriss: Up to your heart in that direction because the military wants that data. And then, you put on a full military gear, weighted backpack, helmet, everything. You go into 104 degree sauna and march on an inclined treadmill to exhaustion, until you, basically, have heat stroke.
Jamie Foxx: So you have something up your ass and down your nose. This is going all out. No wonder you know you shit, literally. And you did this.
Tim Ferriss: I did. And what they were testing was a glove that you stuck your hand into this glove, and it would create a vacuum around your wrist and then circulate cold water around a metal cylinder that you grabbed. And the theory was that you could use that to rapidly cool your body temperature. So they wanted to develop it for soldiers. And it was being tested at the time by some very, very good boxers, some very, very good athletes. So that was all it took for me to volunteer to do it.
I only did about four sessions. I was like after the fourth session –
Jamie Foxx: After the fourth time of it going up your ass –
Tim Ferriss: I think I’ve had enough of this.
Jamie Foxx: Did you smoke a cigarette after it? Ladies and gentlemen, it’s Jamie Foxx, Foxx Hole Radio, it’s Sirius XM 96. We’re going to take a break. We’ll be coming right back and find out how he went from that to being the top person on the internet. This is another song that he loves, Another One Bites the Dust. Tim Ferriss, we’ll be back in a moment, Sirius XM 96. Self experimentation leading up to being one of the most sought after, the No. 1 podcast in the world. I’m here with none other than the incredible, the remarkable, super hero, Tim Ferriss is in the building. How you doing, man?
Tim Ferriss: Better and better.
Jamie Foxx: Better and better. So take me through it. Take me through going through the experiments, finding out what you want to do up until 4-Hour Workweek.
Tim Ferriss: Sure. So the trajectory was –
Jamie Foxx: But get me to that. But just don’t go straight to that.
Tim Ferriss: Oh, no, I’ll get you there.
Jamie Foxx: Where did you find this niche?
Tim Ferriss: Well, I think there were a couple of things. So I had an opportunity my sophomore year in high school to go abroad for the first time. There was an exchange program that was available to me. And I had never spent really any time outside of the United States. You know, Niagara Falls, maybe crossed over to Canada. But I went to Japan for a year and lived with Japanese families. I went to a Japanese school. I was, at one point, the only white kid, the only American kid at school, 5,000 Japanese kids. School uniforms and everything. So I was completely immersed in that culture for a year. And what it showed me was how arbitrary a lot of our rules are.
Meaning, we drive on one side of the street. They drive on the other. We take showers a certain way. They share baths, but you have to take a shower before you get in the bath. And the whole family uses the same bath water.
Jamie Foxx: Is that some kind of spiritual thing? Or what is it?
Tim Ferriss: It’s just a Japanese cultural tradition. They have these deep soaking baths. And they go in order of seniority. So grandma gets to go in first. Then dad, then mom, then the siblings from oldest to youngest. So if you’re the youngest kid, you get the dregs.
Jamie Foxx: You get grandma’s residuals.
Tim Ferriss: You get pubes floating around. It’s a trip. That’s not an exaggeration. I was like oh, God, what is this?
Jamie Foxx: So you get in after the whole family?
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I would get in before the youngest brother because I was older than he was. But the point being that it showed me that our rules are very arbitrary. A lot of our rules are just kind of socially reinforced and that there’s room to improvise. You can negotiate those things. You can experiment.
You can be different. You can march to your own drummer. And when I came back, I finished high school and ended up going to college in New Jersey. I went to Princeton undergraduate. And I first studied neuroscience and then transferred to East Asian studies where I focused on Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. I was mostly focused on the languages.
Jamie Foxx: And why that? Why do you feel it was that? Is it the certain disciplines that they have? Or when you went over there, you felt something that made you change? Sort of like when I went to Africa, there was this thing that I felt. I said wow, I feel this amazing thing in Mozambique, and I stood in the ocean, and I was like I feel this thing. Is that the same?
Tim Ferriss: You’re the first person that’s kind of dug into this. Yes. I did feel something. When I was there, and I don’t want to go as far as to say maybe in a past life, this, that, or the other thing. But when I was there –
Jamie Foxx: For us, on our show, please do that because we don’t skim. So if you really felt that –
Tim Ferriss: I’ll jump right into. I did to the extent that some of my closest friends when I got into judo and I was training in different martial arts there and so on, and they would say [Japanese], they would insist you’re Japanese. You’re not American. You’re Japanese. And I don’t get it because that’s weird.
Jamie Foxx: Wow.
Tim Ferriss: And there’s an expression, which is just like strange foreigner [Japanese]. And then, they would just go on and on.
Jamie Foxx: Help me say that. What did you say? How do I say it?
Tim Ferriss: So if you wanted to say strange foreigner, it’s [Japanese]. So if you were hanging out with some Japanese people, and some non Japanese did something funny, you just wait until they walked off and look at them and just go [Japanese].
Jamie Foxx: Or if I’m just hanging out with some rappers, and I don’t like their song, [Japanese]. But here’s the thing. Speak on that spiritual thing because I think that is really real.
And we’ve talked at a party, you expressed something about coyotes and things like that. But speak on that that you felt something.
Tim Ferriss: So in Japan, I felt like, in a lot of ways, I was returning home to a place I had never been, which is an odd feeling to have. But the simplicity, the striving for elegance, and the way they use negative space, for instance, just the way that you’ll have certain rooms in the house that are extremely uncluttered that are used for they have altars. They have [Japanese] rooms. And it just struck a chord with me. And I felt like I was returning to something. But, of course, I had never been there previously. And quite frankly, a lot of the strict rules that they socially enforce that you have, for instance, in the judo club, and this can go wrong.
I’m not saying all of it is good. But you have [Japanese], which are like the upper classmen, and then, you have [Japanese], which are like the lower classmen. And it’s very hierarchical. It’s like you do what the [Japanese] tell you to do. But it was what I really enjoyed about it and what I had not really had because I was the oldest sibling in my family was they’ll beat your ass. But no one else is allowed to beat your ass. So it’s a very kind of older brother type of relationship. But I was always the oldest, so I hadn’t ever experienced that. And I found just tremendous comfort in that, to a large extent.
And it was easy to understand culture also. I think, in the US right now, people are prone not to say what they mean. And I’ll come back to that in a second. And there is so much political correctness.
Jamie Foxx: Wow, I want to get into that. As a comedian, I want to get into that.
Tim Ferriss: Right. And everybody is concerned with upsetting everyone else’s feelings.
Whereas in Japan, once you get past what they call [Japanese], so [Japanese] is what you put forward to other people. And then [Japanese] is what you really feel. And only if you speak Japanese, people are like oh, my God, Japanese people never say what they mean. I’m like that’s bullshit. You just don’t speak Japanese. If you speak the language, they’ll let you in.
Jamie Foxx: They’re constantly seeing the shoes you got on.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. And I just found it a very refreshing culture in the sense that there were rules that had worked for them for thousands of years. And not all positive things came from them. But it did feel oddly familiar to me.
Jamie Foxx: Wow. That’s amazing because you say that, quite frankly, or maybe, it could have been a past life. We did a great radio interview with Quentin Tarantino. And we talked about how he used the N word or how to use the word. And I wanted to get him on because a lot of black folks, especially dealing with all of the things with the Oscars and all these different things about that word and why Quentin Tarantino – and he said, before we got on the radio, and he also said it on the radio, “I felt that in my past life, I was actually a black man.”
And when he said that, it was no hokiness. It was actually you believe it because he spoke with conviction. So talk about that. Do you think that we do live past lives? Or is it selective?
Tim Ferriss: I don’t rule it out. I don’t have any evidence for it. But my experience in Japan was quirky enough and just felt deep and real enough that there seems to be more to the story.
Jamie Foxx: Right.
Tim Ferriss: And even to the extent, and of course, there are alternate ways to explain this, but I had trouble learning Spanish. And then, I went to Japan, and I picked up Japanese like a snap of the fingers. And there were challenges, but even the characters and so on came to me very naturally. And I think that was part of visual memory.
But it was a transformative experience. So that year abroad sort of informed and changed the trajectory of my life completely and the way that I related to American culture and to thinking of myself and to thinking of what was “real or realistic”. I was like here’s a culture that works just fine, and it’s totally different. Like the rules of engagement, the rules of interrelating are totally different. So what’s to prevent me from taking those and bringing them back to the US or just trying to find Option C, right? And so I think that is also something that opened my eyes to just asking what if questions.
What if I did this that no one else is doing? What’s the worst thing that could happen? What’s the downside? Let me try it. And then, test, test, test, test, test.
Jamie Foxx: Right. It’s Jamie Foxx, Foxx Hole Radio. We’re getting deep right now. It’s Foxx Hole Radio, Sirius 96. If you don’t know, you better know. Tim Ferriss, right now, go to his podcast. He is the No. 1 podcast in the world, 70 million downloads.
Tim Ferriss: I’m working on billion.
Jamie Foxx: Seventy million, but you know what I’m saying. We’re on our way there. He is considered the Oprah Winfrey of audio podcasts. We’re going to get to that. Let me keep on with this. You said something about the political incorrectness. What are we going through right now in the world? Because I do feel that there is a fine line. Me, as a comedian, I’ve been put on this earth for that. I’ve been put on this earth to look at what is funny no matter what. Whether it’s Christian, whether it’s Muslim, whether it’s fat, skinny, tall, short. That is my license.
But right now in America, we’re going through something that is incredibly weird, especially when I talk to Jay Leno, I talk to Chris Rock who had a very, very tough time landing at the Oscars, which was tough.
I thought it was the toughest job in the world for him to have to do because we want to respect Jada Pinkett Smith in that sense. But at the same time, we have to do our jokes. And it put him in this weird thing. What do you think we should do? Since you’re the Oprah Winfrey, we’re coming to you right now. Tim, put us in the right light. What do we need to be?
Tim Ferriss: I think we should worry about helping people and not placating people. I think we should concern ourselves with speaking truth and not glad handing. And that’s easier said than done, of course. But I really feel, and I’ve said this to friends of mine in close conversation where I live in Silicon Valley before that I feel like comedians are the only people right now who can speak truth. And it’s just like the court jester back in the day. The court jester could speak truth to the king. Anyone else would have their head lobbed off. And that person had license.
And my feeling is, hopefully, we can expand that, and we need to expand that because I’ve noticed, among some of my most intelligent, most incisive, most influential friends, they’ve just opted out of the conversation because they’re afraid of getting chased by the lynch mob, so to speak, for saying anything that is truth.
And that’s a dangerous trend. That’s a very dangerous trend. And I’ll just mention one more thing, which is there’s a book that a lot of people read in high school called Fahrenheit 451. And these firemen run around, and they burn books. And if you ask anyone who has read the book but hasn’t read it in 20 years what do you remember of how that came to be in the book, they’d say there’s this totalitarian government. The truth is it was the people. It was the people who decided that any dissenting opinions that would offend specific groups in society ought to be burned. So it was self inflicted.
And I think that’s what we’re doing right now is we are slowly torching the First Amendment and free speech by, basically, just going on these witch hunts. And I think it’s the most dangerous thing in the US right now.
Jamie Foxx: And here’s the thing, I think what’s also dangerous, too, is sometimes, the wrong people bring the message, without mentioning any names. But sometimes, it makes it hard when other people go so far and, it ain’t funny. You know what I’m saying? I always say like this, we can say whatever we want to say, as long as you have it wrapped up in some sort of funny or something that gives us a little caveat of I care about you. Yeah, I’m going to talk about you. I did a joke about Bruce Jenner early on. But the reason that the joke was there is because, in comedy, if we are all equal, then that means everybody gets equal jokes.
I can’t do the black joke and then not do the white joke. There was a situation when I had to host this award show.
And they went through, and they looked at all of our jokes. And all of the jokes that were for African Americans, they be like, man, that is hilarious. But then, the ones that weren’t for African Americans, which was some of the white people, they had a hard time with them. And I was like, “Listen, we have to do it all across the board, straight, gay, black, white. We have to give everybody an opportunity to get in.” And they were so nervous about me doing these jokes. But when we went out and did them, even the people that we were talking about came up and said, “Man, we loved it,” because it felt like they were part of the party.
And it was sort of like I said you got to trust the comedian that, yeah, it’s going to hurt a little bit. And I’ll ask you this question. When do you laugh at a joke your hardest? When?
Tim Ferriss: When it’s the most uncomfortable.
Jamie Foxx: When it’s not about you.
Tim Ferriss: Okay, there you go.
Jamie Foxx: Oh, man, this Japanese dude be doing that. Yeah, man, the Mexicans do be doing – black people, they say, why are you going at us like that? And I want to take a break, and I want to come back to that just to tie that up because I really want to get your take on it, not my take on it, on how we can navigate now through a world where we’ve gone too politically correct, have we? And then, how do we not go too far on the other side without putting something there that makes sense. We’re here with Tim Ferriss. It’s Foxx Hole Sirius Radio.
You better tune in right now and get your life right because he’s going to come in after this and tell you how to get your life together in four hours. Sirius 96, Jamie Foxx, Foxx Hole. We’ll be right back. Tim, what is this song?
Tim Ferriss: This is Baby Metal, Karate.
Jamie Foxx: Baby Metal, Karate, baby.
That’s what’s going to be on the playlist. That’s Tim Ferriss. This is Foxx Hole Radio, Sirius 96. We’re getting nourished right now. We’re not just having a radio show. We’re getting nourished with our minds. We were just talking, before we went to break, we were talking about political correctness, has it become too much. And you were talking about Daniel Tosh.
Tim Ferriss: I was because I think that he is – if you look at his headshot, this is a guy who you wouldn’t expect to step out and bring some of the comedy that he does. And I recall, at one point, I think it was before Tosh point O, but when he was doing stand up, and what I appreciated was how uncomfortable he made everyone. And I just remember this one bit, and there will be a point to this, but he opened it up with I wonder if people taste like their ethnic cuisine. And I’m going to massacre the bit. But he’s like black people, do they taste like fried chicken?
And then everyone is like I don’t know if I should laugh. And he’s like, no, no, I’ll get you. Don’t worry. Chinese people, Kung Pao chicken. And then, everybody starts loosening up. And they’re laughing, laughing, laughing. And the audience is probably 50 percent white. And then, he’s like and white people, he’s like, no, we don’t need white people. And so they didn’t get the out. And everyone is like is it okay to laugh, is it not okay to laugh. And I think that it was Mae West who said, “Those who are offended easily should be offended more often.”
Jamie Foxx: I love that.
Tim Ferriss: And I think that, in the US right now, we were just talking on break about how the internet, I think, it’s a great tool, but it’s like a knife. It cuts both ways. And it could be used for harm, or it could be used for good. And when every genius, but every idiot, has a voice –
Jamie Foxx: Are you a genius or an idiot?
Tim Ferriss: Yeah.
Jamie Foxx: It’s the new t-shirt.
Tim Ferriss: Everyone has a voice. But I think, in that environment, what we’ve seen is that you can sacrifice, unfortunately, some people who could really contribute to society if they slip up and say one stupid thing, which we all say.
But they’ll get lynched, not by their peers, necessarily, but people who aren’t in a position and shouldn’t be in a position to judge them. And so what I would say is we have a term social justice warrior that’s used for people who are just on the internet constantly saying you can’t say that. Like here, we’re talking about going to college campuses and talking about whales. And they’re like you’re whale shaming.
Jamie Foxx: Yeah. I’m doing a college thing, and I say something about whales, you’re whale shaming. We couldn’t do a joke on one of the things about sharks because some singer said she’s doing the shark campaign to save the sharks. And they shut us down. We couldn’t tell shark jokes.
Tim Ferriss: That’s unbelievable.
Jamie Foxx: What do we do? I want to let you talk.
Tim Ferriss: I think one of the ways we can stem this tide is because I feel like there are a lot of people who could contribute to society, and we’re all flawed human beings. We’re all going to make mistakes. We’re all going to say stupid things that shouldn’t remove your ability to contribute to society.
Even if let’s just say somebody does says something racist or sexist or fill in the blank, if they’re doing incredible valuable work, they shouldn’t have to resign from their job, necessarily, for that. Now, of course, it’s the question of degree. But what I would say is one of the ways I think we need to stem the tide is by using language because that’s the weapon that’s being used to sort of mute freedom of speech. In other words, if someone says fill in the blank -ist, they can shut you down. They can end your comedy show. Well, right now, we don’t have a term to apply to those people who cry wolf too often and do unmitigated damage.
So what if, instead of social justice warrior, which sounds positive, there is a term, the one that I thought of was bigoteer. So bigoteer is someone who tries to be a profiteer by calling other people bigots. And all of a sudden, those people will have a consequence for crying wolf and falsely accusing people loosely. So I think that language is one of the key pieces in this arsenal because the problem itself is a problem of language.
So I’m curious to see where it will go. And also, I would just implore people, comedians and other people who are in a position where perhaps they’re say self employed, so they don’t perceive as many risks as someone who is in a tight corporate structure, speak your mind. And really recognize that downside, in most cases, is being judged by people you shouldn’t care about impressing in the first place.
Jamie Foxx: Right, right, right. Because there are people out there who just want to do that. I mean, sometimes, people will tell me about Foxx, did you hear what they said about you? I say no, I don’t really get into it. He’s racist. No, but he dates white girls. But then, there’s the [inaudible], but he’s gay. And I said, man, you can’t keep up with all of these things that people – and if you say one thing – I’ve always been this, even in the toughest situations where there have been situations of where either something has been said about black folks or something has been said about people that I care about.
I’ve always been leery of someone saying something and you taking everything away from them. I remember, it was I don’t know if it was Don Imus. I don’t remember who it was. But I believe myself and Howard Stern were on the same page. First of all, I’m a huge Howard Stern fan, huge fan of his. Howard Stern has made his living, his whole life, Don Rickles 2.0 if you would. And we’ve said some of the wildest shit on our show and on his show. But I never thought that someone should be shut completely down. If we say something, we had to own up to Miley Cyrus. We did something that she was 16.
I didn’t know who she was at the time. We did our type of jokes. We were considered the black Howard Stern.
And once my daughter came, why would you do that, daddy, to Hannah Montana. And I was like who is Hannah Montana? And we didn’t know. But we did make a mistake. But what we did was we put ourselves on punishment. We went down for however many weeks. And then, we came back. We made our apologies because we offended people at that time. But what we asked was don’t let us close shop. Don’t let us put away our comedy swords because that’s what we’re here to do. And the interesting thing about jokes is if half the room goes, oh, and half of them laughs, that’s usually a successful outing of jokes.
Tim Ferriss: Definitely. And I think that, for those people interested, one of the biggest assets and resources for me over the last decade or so has been stoic philosophy. So Marcus Aurelius and Seneca. It’s very old, but it’s actually, surprisingly easy to read.
And the objective of stoic philosophy is to give you, basically, an operating system for making better decisions in life without being reactive. And I think that we suffer from an illusion in the US, which is that comfort will bring happiness. And so we want to close our sphere of comfort, if that makes sense. Whereas we should want to expand our sphere of comfort by exposing ourselves to things that are uncomfortable, by exposing ourselves to opinions we dislike, exposing ourselves to I mentioned I was fasting for the last few days. Exposing myself to hunger so that I don’t fear being hungry.
So if I’m in airport, and I’m like I haven’t eaten in six hours, I should really have a Big Mac, no. You don’t need to eat. You can go as long as you need to without eating and developing a resilience and a strength in that. And I think that it’s very important, and you see this, for instance, where I live in Silicon Valley a lot because I’ve been involved with tech for a long time, but you have to make mistakes.
And you have to make frequent mistakes in order to learn and innovate. And language is the underlying foundation of all of that. So like you said, if someone makes a mistake, and you close up shop, that is the fastest way to end learning, innovation, pushing the envelope, and healing a lot of wounds because you take these issues, and you just shove them under the surface. You don’t get rid of them by muting someone.
Jamie Foxx: Right. Exactly, right. Because I would always say you’re taking someone out of the equation who really can help you. There are really racist people. There are really bigoted people out there. But the comedian and folks who are just like there was a situation, and I’ll talk about this because it’s already out there, and she’s a good friend of mine, but it was Amy Pasquale. And Amy Pasquale and there was this internet email thing. And people just went berserk.
She’s burning crosses. She got a white sheet in the back of her Mercedes. And I’m like, bro, look at the amount of movies that she’s done that are African American. And Elijah is here, he could tell you, she was the only one doing African American film. Now, you take something that was out of context. If they caught me in my house talking about other races, man, I wouldn’t be able to go to Laos. I’d be talking about everybody. You know what I’m saying? But she was a great person when it came to doing African American movies. Now, she’s not there. So now, who you got?
So I was like be careful on slinging that type of rhetoric around too much because a lot of the people that are out there, like I said, you’re going to make a mistake every once in a while. But, like I said, you shouldn’t throw them overboard. It’s Foxx Hole Radio, Sirius 96.
We’re here with Tim Ferriss. He’s giving us the tools. When I tell you that Oprah Winfrey is now a white man, and he’s on the internet. His name is Tim Ferriss, 70 trillion downloads on his podcast. And I’m going to read what it says so people don’t be like Jamie Foxx is saying Oprah Winfrey is dating a white man. No, what I’m saying is how Tim Ferriss became the Oprah of audio. How did you get into this? Let’s get into the tech world, you said the tech world. How does one get into that?
Tim Ferriss: So I moved the Bay Area, I moved to the San Francisco area after college just in time for everything to implode. So I moved there in ’99. I was the second to lowest paid, aside from the secretary, at this startup company. They made a mistake. They sent out an Excel spreadsheet, and one of the tabs was everybody’s compensation. That was a big mistake. It made everybody upset. But in any case, that company imploded, and I found myself on the west coast. And I was surrounded by tech. So I was in the middle of the switch board. And so I decided to become involved because I had built some companies prior to that in advising and investing and start ups.
And the way I looked at it, I think this is a helpful way to look at a lot of things, is, originally, as context, I had fantasized about going to Stanford Business School. There are a whole host of reasons. But I had always felt like I was kind of intended to go to Stanford because it was a beautiful campus, the palm trees. Didn’t go. And I was like I need to go there for business school. And I applied twice, I went through the process, and I didn’t go because it was too theoretical. And what I ended up deciding was, okay, I’m going to take the money that I would have pay for business school, and I’m going to put it into investing in start ups.
And that’s going to be my MBA. So I’m going to, over two years, the same space of time, I’m going to invest small checks in these start ups. And my assumption is I’m going to lose all of the money. So I shouldn’t use money that I can’t afford to lose. So over that period of time, I was looking at it as education. So it was like what can I invest in where I will learn a lot?
What kind of startup can I invest in where I’ll have the opportunity to interact with people who will average me up. One piece of advice I was given when I was in teens that I found probably the most useful of any was you’re the average of the five people you associate with most. So I was like how can I use these small bets to associate with higher and higher caliber of person? And I did that over the span of two years. And I didn’t lose all of the money. A couple of them worked. So I’ve ended up investing in Twitter, Facebook, Uber, and many others.
So that was the beginning of my relationship in tech and helping some of these start up founders in very particular ways. The audio came about and the podcast because I was burned out on books.
Jamie Foxx: Really?
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. I was totally burned out on books. I have this terrible habit of writing long books. So they’re 400 to 700 pages long, and I was so –
Jamie Foxx: This is your first book?
Tim Ferriss: My first book was 420 pages. That was 4-Hour Workweek. That came out in 2007. Nobody expected it to do anything.
It had an initial print run of 12,000 copies. And it hit the New York Times list largely thanks to early adoption by tech folks. And it stayed there for more than four years unbroken. And nobody expected that to happen. So I remember my editor called me, at the time, Heather, and I remember I got the call. And I was exhausted because I was doing some radio junkets and satellite radio. You know these things. You sit there with a pitcher of coffee, and you do 30 radio interviews. And I had just finished, and I was so exhausted. And she called. And she goes, “Hey, there, Mr. New York Times bestselling author.”
And I was like, “What?” And she goes, “You hit the list.” And I was like, “Heather, don’t fuck with me. Not right now, please. I can’t do it.” And she’s like, “No, you hit the list.” And it was just so unexpected and so surreal.
Jamie Foxx: How did you feel, man?
Tim Ferriss: I leaned back against the wall, I was in a room by myself because everybody had left, it was like 6:00 p.m. on the east coast, and I just kind of slid down the wall and just kind of sat there. And I didn’t know what to think.
Jamie Foxx: The kid with the collapsed lung.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, yeah.
Jamie Foxx: The young kid whose body temperature gets heated up –
Tim Ferriss: And whose brain shuts down.
Jamie Foxx: And all of a sudden, you got a best seller.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. I was, literally, blank. I couldn’t even conceive of it being real. It was kind of like waking up from a dream, and you’re like, oh, no, that was just a dream. So it took me a long time to even begin to process how that would affect my life. But it opened the door to writing more. So I never planned on being a writer. In fact, I decided, after college, I didn’t want to write because I found it so painful. And so I think, like many people maybe that you know, certainly people I know, they create things because they’re scratching their own itch. Like they have to create it, or it will drive them crazy.
And so writing was like that for me. And the audio came about because I did three books, and I just found myself burned out. I felt like I had been using the same part of my brain.
Jamie Foxx: Talk about the three books.
Tim Ferriss: So we’ve got 4-Hour Workweek, which was really a collection of experiments –
Jamie Foxx: For our listeners right now that’s listening to Foxx Hole Radio, Sirius 96, get into what the 4-Hour Workweek is.
Tim Ferriss: So the 4-Hour Workweek is a book that focuses on my studies of different entrepreneurs and case studies of my own, different experiments, looking at how you can 10 X your hourly output. And once you control that currency known as time, you can do all sorts of interesting things like travel. So it talks about low cost travel. It talks about geo arbitrage where you might outsource things to a different country, and very interesting ways to design ideal lifestyles. So that was the first book. And it’s been out for almost 10 years now. And it’s still usually the top 200 on Amazon.
The next book, 4-Hour Body, came back to my roots, the wrestling roots, basically, and it looked at physical performance. So I did experiments in every possible way, whether it was maximal strength, sprinting, NFL combine training, holding my breath with David Blaine, sleep, sex, you name it.
Jamie Foxx: Sleep, sex, go back to that part.
Tim Ferriss: So sleep, I studied people, friends of mine, who had been able to get by for years two to two and a half hours of sleep a day by splitting their sleep up into something called polyphasic sleep, including Matt [inaudible] who runs a billion dollar company.
And sex, we looked at a bunch of different aspects.
Jamie Foxx: Let’s take a few minutes on that. Let’s talk about the sex. It’s not that I’m really concerned about it. I just want to get your take on things.
Tim Ferriss: So we talked about things related to sort of male sexual health and performance, such as improving testosterone, improving sperm count, and so on. And then, there were at least two chapters, but two chapters that did get a lot of attention, which were on female –
Jamie Foxx: All the guys peaked up like that. How do I need to do it now?
Tim Ferriss: Two chapters on everything related to female orgasms. And what was funny about that chapter is I didn’t realize it was right in the middle of the book. There are all of these vagina diagrams. And so the book got yanked out of Costco because there are all of these moms who were like look at this, open it up, and it would just flip right open to all of these vaginas. And their kids would be like what are these, mommy, and they’re like –
Jamie Foxx: Oh, they’re butterflies.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. It was just chaos. So the book got yanked out of Costco.
Jamie Foxx: Now, our listeners are all over the place, but what about a female orgasm, what’s in this?
Tim Ferriss: What’s the key?
Jamie Foxx: Yeah, what’s the key?
Tim Ferriss: Well, the key is to start with – so about 50 percent of women in the US, last I checked, are inorgasmic. They have not experienced an orgasm. And that can have a lot of reasons. It can have a lot of explanations whether it’s religious upbringing, being the oldest sister is very common as a pattern. And there are others certainly. But what’s very helpful, and people can look into this, is looking at something called orgasmic meditation, which is, basically, manual stimulation of the clitoris without any sex, meaning no penetration.
So you separate the sexual act from the orgasm. And you, effectively, are practicing mindfulness and an attention to the sensation of being pleasured and stimulated for the woman. So there’s not performance anxiety, in other words. You just say we’re going not do this for 15 minutes. And you don’t have to do anything. You just focus on your breath and feeling. And there’s no sex. You don’t have to do anything for me. You don’t have to perform. And by removing all of those pressures and all of those expectations, with practice, and sometimes, it’s the first session, these women who have never experienced orgasms experience orgasm.
And then, there’s the technical piece if you want to get into it. So if you’re looking directly at the clitoris, about 1:00 on that clitoris, top upper, right quadrant is where most women will be most sensitive.
Jamie Foxx: Tim is a pimp.
Tim Ferriss: And light contact, which means four kind of pages of paper deep, that’s it. I think a lot of guys go after it like they’re starting a lawn mower. That’s not super effective.
Jamie Foxx: Rubber knuckle.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah.
Jamie Foxx: What are you trying to do? Oh, my God.
Tim Ferriss: Exactly. So light. So those are some of the things that are in that chapter.
Jamie Foxx: That is amazing. And you know what? That could help a lot of relationships. I know that’s helped a lot of relationships.
Tim Ferriss: It’s directly saved marriages.
Jamie Foxx: Wow, that’s amazing.
Tim Ferriss: I got a letter from someone, a Hollywood director, a pretty well known guy, who was able to finally get pregnant, well, his wife got pregnant, with a few of the things from the 4-Hour Body. Very simple stuff.
Jamie Foxx: Man, it’s Foxx Hole Radio. Let Tim Ferriss get you pregnant. It’s Sirius 96. We’re going to take a break. We’re coming right back, 1:00, ladies. We out. Yes. This is Jamie Foxx, we’re back with Tim Ferriss. That’s Seven Dust.
Now, all of you guys out there listening right now trying to figure this out, I’m with Tim Ferriss. He is considered now the Oprah of audio podcasts. He can get your life right. And what’s amazing, listening to that song right now, which is one of his top five songs, tell them who that is.
Tim Ferriss: That is Splinter by Seven Dust. And I actually used that for a book trailer that I did for the 4-Hour Body. And people hear that, and they might not realize the characteristics of the lead singer. He is a black dude with long dreads from Atlanta.
Jamie Foxx: See, don’t just homogenize, I mean, generalize.
Tim Ferriss: And their acoustic double wide album is incredible.
Jamie Foxx: We’re going to get that. Listen, we talked about the books. We talked about 4-Hour Workweek, 4-Hour Body. Talk about this though, and I’ve always said this with Ricardo, I’m late to the party when it comes to podcasts, when it comes to internet, when it comes to social media.
I struggle with the whole idea of social media because it goes against sort of a little bit of what I do being an artist. It’s weird to see the world change. It’s weird to see the world change where I worked so much on there’s mystique. And then, my oldest daughter would be like, “Dad, you can stay hidden if you want to. They’ll forget about you.” I said, “What you mean?” “You got the album, then you wait a couple of years. Dad, you better drop an album every six months, or they forget about you.”
So Ricardo, young, finger on the pulse of everything, huge fan of yours comes to me and says, “Man, you have to meet this guy. He’ll change your life.” You did change my life. But let me ask you this, how did you master this? What is the ingredient, or is it just a blessing? What is this? How do you become 70 million downloads?
That means that is interaction. That’s not somebody saying these people are following me. This is going down.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. That’s usually 2.5 hour interviews, too. It’s not like a 30 second video clip. It’s a commitment. I think there are a few ingredients. And I’m sure there was a lot of luck and good timing involved, certainly. But there are a few things that I very deliberately keep in mind that I think have been helpful. The first is, and you kind of alluded to this earlier, where you know you got a really strong joke when half the room laughs and half doesn’t.
Jamie Foxx: Yeah.
Tim Ferriss: Okay. So I never write. So my blog has let’s just call it 2.5 or 3 million readers, which, at one point, was around the same subscriber base as the Wall Street Journal I think. But regardless, and I write long pieces. They’re not short. And when I write a piece, and this is true to the audio, too, I never write a piece that I hope all 2.5 or 3 million people will like. I try to write a post that 10 percent will love.
And then, I assume, every few months, I will hit everybody. So it’s like by the time I rotate through six or ten articles, each person will get one that they are absolutely die hard in love with, and they will share that. And on another level, when I write, I try to produce evergreen content or when I’m recording audios. When we were doing our recording, which is 3 feet from where we’re sitting on the couch, I was trying to ask questions that would provoke stories and answers and lessons learned that people could use 10 years from now. So it’s not just a three minute TV interview, nothing wrong with that, but asking you about the latest celebrity news, which is going to be irrelevant in six months.
It was trying to search for the timeless and also trying to focus on really getting 10 percent to love something. Even if the other 90 percent hate it, that’s okay. And I remember, at some point, I don’t recall who said it, but there was a quote I read that had a huge impact on me, which was, “There’s no sure path to success, but the sure path to failure is trying to please everyone.”
Jamie Foxx: Wow, Elijah, Ashley, did you just hear that? And I’m talking to Elijah and Ashley who are incredible writers themselves as far as the movie. And they just sold some things. So they’re getting this nourishment as well.
Tim Ferriss: And there are also a few books that have had very, very helpful impact on my thinking about this. One is a very short read. It’s called The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing. And what I like about it, get the old version not the for the internet version. The old version where they’re looking at imported beer and airlines, that’s the one that I like. And it just talks about, in simple terms, how to create new categories as opposed to trying to dominate an existing category. So it’s easier and more effective to try to create a new category, which I often do through language. So for instance, with the 4-Hour Workweek, I wrote the book that I couldn’t find.
It was, basically, the book that I wanted to find. And the options, at the time, I went to the book store, and I was searching for meaning. I had all of these challenges with business, with entrepreneurship and so on. And I could either choose a book that was how to give up money and why it’s not important and how to reuse your toothpaste 17 times, or how to build a Fortune 500 company with Jack Welch. And I wanted something I between. So I wrote that and ended up using this term that may have existed before, but I hadn’t heard it, called lifestyle design. So lifestyle design, I did not trademark.
I did not make any attempt to protect it because I wanted it to become part of the common vocabulary. I wanted it to become part of the vernacular, which it has. So now, that’s used by probably hundreds of thousands of people.
Jamie Foxx: Lifestyle design.
Tim Ferriss: And it’s a category. Now, since I was that first mover advantage, I am kind of forever, in a sense, the founding father of that category. And when I looked at podcasting, I asked myself two things.
I asked myself, first and foremost, how can I do something that is different from what is currently out there? And let’s make a list of all of the attributes. Let’s call the 10 to 20 people who are say organizers of events related to these things. What are their rules? And they lay it out. So like it needs to be this. You need to have musical segues. It needs to be 20 minutes or less. Or whatever they might be, whatever the rules are. And I would look at the most common rules, and I would try the opposite.
Jamie Foxx: Wow.
Tim Ferriss: And what I realized was that, if you focus also on highly tactical, actionable bits of information, not abstract, then, it’s a rarity right now, for whatever reason, things tend to get very, very abstract. So if I lay out let’s say my common, rapid fire questions are designed very specifically to be actionable and, therefore, shareable. And I’ll tell you what I mean by that.
So if I ask a person what is the book you’ve gifted the most to other people, what does the first 90 minutes of your morning look like, what is the purchase for $100.00 or less that has most impacted your life in the last 6 months, and I ask these questions, there are 2 aspects of it that make it very, very viral and very valuable. 1) Is that people can emulate and test all of those things the next day. Secondly, they won’t just share the information. They will try those things and then share the results that they get from that on social media or elsewhere.
And as a consequence of that, if I stopped writing completely, or if I stopped doing the podcast completely, my back catalog gets listened to so much that there would basically be no drop off. So I could take the three years off, and I wouldn’t actually fear being forgotten.
Jamie Foxx: Right.
Tim Ferriss: And there are counter examples. So this is the other thing I always look for. I look for counter examples of people who aren’t doing what everyone else is doing. This is the first one that comes to mind, but Daniel Day Louis. As far as I know, he’s gone. He’s a phantom, unless he comes out, and then, you’re like, oh, shit, he won another Oscar.
Jamie Foxx: Yeah. It’s sort of in between sometimes because I do look at some people that use it a lot. And then, sometimes, it may exhaust them a little. But I also look at the people who do stay refreshed. And I don’t know this either, but I know Adele came out and just smashed. And so however many billions of records, while Beyonce, it’s an onslaught, which is great as well.
Tim Ferriss: But you also end up in a kind of chicken or the egg conundrum, I think, with a lot of these celebrities because one can wonder did they sell so many records because they had a big social following?
Or did they get so many people as a social following because they weren’t on social media and focused on their art first? So I am of the opinion, and this is speaking as a tech investor, I have a dog in this fight, I have a lot to gain by people using social media. I think more artists are distracted from their most important work than are helped for their important work by social media.
Jamie Foxx: Say that again, Tim. Let them know, Tim. Speak to the artists, Tim, right now. It’s Foxx Hole Radio, Sirius 96. I want people to really understand what you’re saying because I overheard an artist who didn’t have to say this that it was more about the machine than maybe the art. And my thing was I think you’re great at both. But if you forget about the art that machine will fall on top of you.
Tim Ferriss: Oh, the machine will churn you up, absolutely.
Jamie Foxx: Talk to them, Tim, please. They need this right now.
Tim Ferriss: If I look at the writers that I most aspire to be like or emulate, if I look at the artists I most respect, they’re very good at shutting out distractions for a period of time and doing deep work. And you need a certain degree of isolation, I think, in many hour blocks of time to connect those uncommon dots or to create new dots all together. And those who are distracted by social media are increasingly unable to create the conditions for their best work. And it’s not hard to understand why because, for instance, there’s a book that I haven’t seen, but a friend told me about, another writer.
And I think it’s called Working on My Novel is the name of the book. But it’s a collection of tweets and Facebook posts from people who should have been working on their novel, all of these writers who set their own writing deadline.
But writers will do anything to avoid writing. So you give them something easy to do, post on Twitter, take pictures of their food and put it on Instagram, they’re not going to write.
Jamie Foxx: Oh, Lord. This is giving – first of all, let me say this. I know a lot of entertainers. And I know we’re actually simulcasting on your podcast as well, and I want to let people know on your podcast that I’m doing a little bit of this craziness because we are doing my radio show. So I don’t want them to be listening like why is he screaming and acting so crazy. But when it comes to social media, I’ve watched a lot of artists die because they’re so connected to this that they’ll read their comments, and then, they won’t be able to sort of dig out. And they begin to try to please everyone, which goes back to what you said that you can’t please them.
Tim Ferriss: Exactly. And, furthermore, I would say artistic death is creativity by consensus. And if you’re looking at your comments to determine how to steer your creative ship, you’re dead before you even get out of the gate. And that’s my opinion. I think that if you look at anything as truly groundbreaking, when it gets the tide, it never would have been voted for, if you follow me. And I don’t know why this is the first thing that comes to mind, but Macklemore and Thrift Store, if you had put that into the machine that would never have gotten past Square 1.
Jamie Foxx: Wow.
Tim Ferriss: And some of the writing that you see that’s really innovative, I just read this book How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, which was written by a really smart guy in Pakistan, actually. And it’s written in, effectively, first person. So it says you wake up with the side of your head on the mud in your mother’s thatched hut. And it’s all you, you, you. And it’s so inventive. And if he had tried that as his first book going through traditional process, never would have worked, I don’t think.
It never would have seen the light of day. So my thinking, at least, and if I look at my best work, and I’ll speak for myself, I’ve had better work, and I’ve certainly had weaker work.
Jamie Foxx: Right.
Tim Ferriss: And if I look at when those things come to pass, the best work is coming from periods of deep work where I purposefully block out exterior distractions and inputs and opinions.
Jamie Foxx: Let me ask you this. When I’m on the street, and people come up to me, they talk about you in an almost, in a sense, in an Oprah Winfrey way, but almost there’s almost, not to get in trouble, but you’re leading. People wake up, and I need this Tim Ferriss. I need that. When I met Oprah Winfrey, she was an incredible light.
Just like when I see you, there’s an incredible light coming from you. But also, too, she felt there was an incredible responsibility because there would be times where she would be exhausted from literally carrying the 70 million downloads, metaphorical for her. Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever feel like oh, I didn’t know that this was going to happen? So I need two parts of this. I need 1) how you became that, what’s the ingredient? And then 2) now that you’re here, do you feel a certain different responsibility?
Tim Ferriss: So Part 1, how it happened would be, I think, first thinking of content in the way that I described. So trying to hit 10 percent of the people I can reach and have them love something as opposed to trying to please everyone all of the time.
And then, I would say the evergreen focus, the piece that I didn’t discuss yet that I think is important is everyone goes after the traffic leaders. And what I mean by that is it could apply to magazines. It could apply to TV. They’d say who has the greatest number of viewers, followers, etc.? How do I get to those influencers? And that’s the most crowded channel. And it’s going to be the most difficult because those are people who are in the limelight at the peak. They’re the hardest to contact. What I did, in the very beginning, which I think led to the tipping point for the 4-Hour Workweek, in part, is that I decided to go after the thought leaders that the traffic leaders paid attention to.
So if you look at the people who, for instance, and this is could be true on You Tube, it could be true on, at the time, this was 2007, so blogs, I was looking at blog roles and so on, I identified the thought leaders, people who were very, very smart but weren’t compulsive self promoters.
They didn’t care about a large audience. But their audience was comprised of these people who had millions and tens of millions of readers. So I would do things with them. And the domino effect led to, over time, a very, very large broadcast capability and very large following. In terms of the responsibility, I absolutely feel that, with great audience comes great leverage and great influence to a great degree and great responsibility. And for that reason, for instance, in the 4-Hour Body, there was a chapter on breath holding, which was done with David Blaine, I mentioned.
And I took it out of the book because, even though I had all of these warnings, the audience was large enough that there were people that weren’t paying attention to the warnings. And if you try to do breath holding in water, you can kill yourself with a shallow water black out. And so I wasn’t prepared, at that time, to accept breaking a few eggs to make the omelet.
I wasn’t prepared to have metaphorical blood on my hands. And I decided that the benefits of having it in the world were not greater than the risks and liabilities. So I took it out. And I do have to be careful, in a sense, because if I say something in a really offhand way, people could take it very literally.
Jamie Foxx: That’s what I was going to ask you now. Now that – I mean, look, my life changed in the fact of like people come up to me, it would blow your mind, he’ll tell you, it will blow your mind of people that come up and say you’ve been blessed by him. How was he? Were you moved? Did you touch the hem of his garment? I mean, it’s really on some incredible admiration. So with this incredible minefield of every single thing that you say, and then, the way the nature of the beast of America and of humans, we want to build him up.
We say one thing. And we want to rip the chords out of his podcast. How does that work now? Or do you have the ability to go somewhere, do whatever you feel like, and no one bothers you?
Tim Ferriss: I think there are a few things that I try to consider to keep myself sane and also keep my head from getting too big. The first is I always assume I’m 14 minutes into my 15 minutes of fame. I just always try to assume that.
Jamie Foxx: Could you tell that to some of these other people? I could just name a few right now walking around with body guards.
Tim Ferriss: I just assume it’s never going to last forever. Of course, it’s not. So there’s an expiration date on it. And that’s helpful, I think, No. 1 – well, it’s very helpful for savoring the experience and not constantly looking forward to bigger and bigger plans.
Although, that’s a component, I think, of good strategy. The second is I will very deliberately force myself, and I will schedule this in advance, to take time off the grid. So for instance, this July, I’m basically orchestrating and putting systems in place right now recording things in advance that I can go off the grid for four weeks.
Jamie Foxx: Oh, nice.
Tim Ferriss: I’m gone. And I did that before in Indonesia. No calendar, no phone, no internet, no email for four weeks. And it’s like taking a six to twelve month vacation when you come back.
Jamie Foxx: That feels good.
Tim Ferriss: You’re just like, oh, my God, I didn’t realize every notification, every email, every ping, every noise, it’s just like having Chinese water torture all day. And then, you turn it off, and you’re like I didn’t even realize I was going through Chinese water torture. It’s an incredible relief. And it helps you with that deep work I was talking about. It helps me, at least. So yes, I do very deliberately engineer my life in such a way that I can take time outside of the machine because I’m not good at juggling all of the pieces when I’m surrounded with that noise. I need time out.
Jamie Foxx: It’s Tim Ferriss. This is simultaneously on his podcast and Foxx Hole Radio Sirius 96. We’re going to take a break. And as you noticed, we are getting nourished, we’re getting fed. We’re going to come back and wrap up with Tim. Whatever he wants to give us to let us know how to move forward, how to get your life together, man. And yes, I have touched the hem of his garment. We’re back in a moment. That was an Argentinean track. What was the name of that?
Tim Ferriss: That was Federico Aubele, Este Noche.
Jamie Foxx: That’s amazing.
Tim Ferriss: He is from Buenos Aires.
Jamie Foxx: Buenos Aires. Now, you’ve been to these places.
Tim Ferriss: I have when I did my walk about to try to figure out my life in 2004, I got to Panama. And a friend of mine said you should go to Argentina because you can live like a king for pennies on the dollar.
And the most beautiful women, most delicious steak and wine on the planet. And I was like all right. I’ll check it out.
Jamie Foxx: Wow. I must go. Let’s book the trip.
Tim Ferriss: It was supposed to be a four-week trip, and I was there for nine months.
Jamie Foxx: Really?
Tim Ferriss: I was.
Jamie Foxx: Hold on, wait a minute. Come on, Tim, now. You went there for a week, and you ended up nine months? Was it love? What was going on?
Tim Ferriss: I got bitten by the bug that was tango. And I had deliberately, before hand, said I was not going to practice tango because the only version of tango I had seen was Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman or Arnold Schwarzenegger in True Lies. And I was like I don’t want to do that. That’s not for me. And I ended up just becoming obsessed with it. And I went to the world championships six months later.
Jamie Foxx: Are you serious?
Tim Ferriss: The semi finals, yeah.
Jamie Foxx: What is going on, Tim? Break that down to us now. We were talking about podcasts. But all of a sudden, you’re the tango champion in Argentina, the white man goes to Argentina and shuts it down? So you go from Japan, you get a chance to take a bath with grandma first.
You move up the bath food chain. Then, you step into Argentina, a little wine, a little steak. And all of a sudden –
Tim Ferriss: All of a sudden, I’m dancing six to eight hours a day, yeah. It was an amazing experience. And I had a fantastic dance partner. But it’s all related to what we’ve been talking about. So the same way that I’ve looked at the testing of assumptions, the asking of questions, the things that I learned in Japan, just like some of the things your grandmother awed with that all added up later is this ability to test assumptions. I remember, in Argentina, I became infatuated with tango. And I started asking myself what are the rules that everyone says I should do? What if I did the opposite?
So they say you should learn how to lead. I said what if I learn the female part first? That’s a weird step, so I learned the follow first from a world class female teacher. Then, I looked at competition footage and what people were teaching. And I said what’s actually winning the championships, and what are they teaching, and where are the gaps? What are the things that are winning championships like long steps, certain types of pivots that aren’t being taught?
If I learn those, I’ll have an unfair advantage. So let me find the teachers who specialize in those.
Jamie Foxx: So Tim, this is what I got to ask. Where does that come from? Where does that type of thinking – I think, for listeners who are listening on both your podcast and on my radio show, is that a blessed thing? Did you learn how to do that? I need two parts of this. 1) Is that a blessing, and 2) what is [inaudible].
Tim Ferriss: I think it’s both something I’m – it is a blessing in the sense that I’ve always liked asking questions.
Jamie Foxx: Are you a spiritual person? Is there any –
Tim Ferriss: I would consider myself, I mean, I grapple with that word a little bit. I’m not religious. I wouldn’t consider myself religious. But I’ve had a lot of experiences in the last few years that would lead me to believe there’s something out there.
Jamie Foxx: What do you think it is?
Tim Ferriss: That we have it – oh, boy.
Jamie Foxx: Do you think we get to heaven, and it’s just like a gang of bathtubs we could bathe in and there’s Argentinean women?
Because I used to think that heaven was going to be like just my best looking girl just in everything I see. Like everything I saw was the epitome of what I thought beauty was. And then, my favorite food was the Sonic Burger. So I get to heaven, and there’s a Sonic Burger.
Tim Ferriss: Hot women and Sonic Burgers.
Jamie Foxx: Just the woman I dig. And you’d be surprised. It’s like I’m just up there eating Sonic Burgers. I’ve got my wings. It got ketchup on it and all kinds of crazy things. But for a person who says I’m not necessarily spiritual, I get that. But there’s a lot of things that one would say in looking at you is spiritual. When you see the following and what you do to a person’s psyche, what you do to a person’s heart and mind is a spiritual thing. So what do you think is out there, without getting too deep. We don’t have to get too deep.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. We could get into Crazy Town pretty quickly. But I have had some very profound experiences. I’ll just go out there.
So I’ve had some very unusual experiences, primarily related to use of psychedelics that, in group environments, proper supervision, this is part of the reason I’m actually helping to finance studies at Johns Hopkins and, most likely, UCSF and a couple of research institutions looking at medical applications of these things that have led me to believe that putting death aside and what happens after death, if anything, maybe it’s lights out, we’re worm food, or maybe there’s more. But I think, right now, there are a few things. We could be living in a virtual reality. I think there’s a non trivial possibility that that’s the case.
And second is that maybe that’s not a bad thing. Third, I think there are sort of parallel existences and you might call them universes.
Jamie Foxx: The Bizarro of it all.
Tim Ferriss: Exactly. So I do think that it’s possible.
And this will probably be explained by the scientific method or through experiments at some point. But right now, I can’t explain a lot of what I’ve seen and experienced firsthand with some of these plant medicines. So that has called into question –
Jamie Foxx: I love how he calls it plant medicine. Elijah has just experienced some plant medicine as he’s walked in. You can tell the way he’s chewing that gum some plant medicine was going on on the 101. And pretty soon, he’ll disappear in a few minutes and experience some more plant medicine and come back with a big smile on his face and the answers to it all.
Tim Ferriss: So I’ve always asked questions. But the writing and the meeting of mentors like Buxton has taught me how to ask better questions. And so I am constantly in search of better questions because people think they need the answers. They don’t need the answers. You need the right questions. And the podcast, for me, the Tim Ferriss Show was an opportunity to take a break from writing and to get better at asking questions because, if you think about what thinking is, it’s a little meta, but thinking, if you reflect on your internal dialogue is asking and answering questions in your own head.
So if you get better at asking other people questions, you get better at asking yourself questions. And that improves everything. So the Tim Ferriss Show is really an opportunity for me to try to deconstruct world class performers like yourself, like General Stanley McCrystal, like chess prodigy Josh Waitskin, Layer Hamilton, the undisputed king of big wave surfing because I want to try to find the commonalities, what do these people have in common. So at least 80 percent of them have a daily meditation practice, for instance, just as one example. And what are the differences?
So if I find somebody who is a morning person, wakes up at 5:00 to write, and then, I meet someone who writes from 2:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m., I want to talk about that and why that’s different. And it’s been an opportunity for me to, hopefully – I have these conversations that are so fun with people like yourself and others.
And I just thought for years, God, it would be so much fun and useful to share this with my fans. But there was never a recorder. So I started the podcast. And the side gig turned into more than a side gig.
Jamie Foxx: Man, when I tell you, it’s amazing. So here is the question that everybody is asking now. What does Tim Ferriss do? What does Tim Ferriss do in the morning? What does Tim Ferriss do? This is the thing like the gurus and the people that have this I call it the blessing because I’m a spiritual person. Like my daughter will tell you, she knows the books of the Bible and everything like that. But when you see someone that has that shine, that inexplicable way that you’re saying something that anyone else could say, but the way you’re saying it, the way you’re delivering it, and it works. So what do you do?
Or do you listen to all of these things and sort of enhance your own routine? What do you do when you wake up in the morning? Do you wake up and say, man, I’m Tim Ferriss, bad motherfucker.
Tim Ferriss: Sometimes, I wake up, and I just want to pull the sheets over my head and stay in bed. I think we all have those mornings. But, generally, yes, I do borrow from everybody. And my routine right now is I tend to wake up on the late side because I go to bed late. So I’ll wake up let’s just say 9:00 would be on the later side for me. But if I’m on a deadline, I’ll write until 5:00 in the morning, and I’ll wake up in the afternoon. Right now, I’ll wake up. I will go upstairs. I will have supplements that are better absorbed on an empty stomach. I will then feed my dog, sit down and meditate for 20 minutes.
So that’s transcendental meditation. But I also could use Vipassana or anything else. There are many different ways to go about it. Then, I will, at this moment, have a specific type of tea. I usually have pu-erh tea, which is a Chinese tea with turmeric and ginger plus something called MCT oil, which helps your brain quite a bit because it gives you something for the ketones. Then, I do acro-yoga practice.
Jamie Foxx: What is that?
Tim Ferriss: So acro-yoga is kind of like a Cir de Soleil strength performance, typically, with a man and a woman. It’s actually very similar to tango, but it’s gymnastics. So I’d be supporting a woman on my feet or one foot and my hands. And they’d be doing cartwheels and forward spins and headstands and shoulder stands and handstands on my hands. It’s extremely fun and very good physical training.
Jamie Foxx: This is every day?
Tim Ferriss: I do it three times a week.
Jamie Foxx: And you spin a girl on your feet.
Tim Ferriss: Three times a week for an hour and a half at a time.
Jamie Foxx: That’s what I need to do. I need to find me a little lightweight babe to just flip her up around.
Tim Ferriss: You want to start with what they would call a tiny. That’s a little one.
Jamie Foxx: Oh, this is amazing. Right now, for my radio people, Ricardo is showing me what this is. This is amazing. What is it called, man?
Tim Ferriss: Acro-yoga.
Jamie Foxx: So you guys out there listening, go to acroyoga.com.
Tim Ferriss: If you search acro-yoga, there’s a guy named Jason Nemer who is the co-founder.
Jamie Foxx: Now, what does this do? Does that give you some sort of interaction with female energy, or is it –
Tim Ferriss: It does quite a few things for me. So what I realized for myself is that, in a culture such as our own in the US where we have very puritanical inclinations and baggage, there’s not a lot of physical touch. It’s very forbidden. And you have to be very, very careful about physical touch. But we are higher primates. We need physical contact. It is part of our hard wiring DNA. And acro-yoga is a fantastic way to have sensual contact that is not necessarily sexual, if that makes sense. And that gives you, I think, a charge and a therapy that is extremely valuable and hard to produce any other way. It’s also very playful.
And I think it’s easy, for me at least, to take life too seriously, take myself too seriously.
And when you’re doing acro-yoga, half of the time, you’re making mistakes and falling on each other and flipping over. It’s just playful. It’s like going back to the playground. And I think, as adults, it’s very easy to think that serious is meaning, being serious not the radio, is the tone you have to carry to do big things. Whereas I think if you’re always serious, you will end up being too exhausted to complete the truly important work.
Jamie Foxx: Right.
Tim Ferriss: So you have to use play as a way to rest and reset.
Jamie Foxx: Now, do I use the girl I’m dating for this?
Tim Ferriss: Sure.
Jamie Foxx: Or do I just go –
Tim Ferriss: You could do both.
Jamie Foxx: Could I tell my girl, hey, I’m going to be in the room flipping this girl upside down. I’ll be out in about an hour.
Tim Ferriss: You could try that. It depends on the girlfriend. But you are in the epicenter right here. The best acro-yoga, or most of the best acro-yoga instructors on the planet, are near Venice and Santa Monica. So you’re right in the hot bed for this.
Jamie Foxx: Well, I’m going to get into that. And then what else?
How do you just like you love to tango, you love to travel, but what makes you eager? Like I can’t wait for that day. What’s that that makes it because we got our jobs. We do our thing. You’re leading the people. But what makes you go I look forward?
Tim Ferriss: I look forward to cheat day. So cheat day – she’s seen cheat day. So I follow a diet that was in the 4-Hour Body.
It’s called the Slow Carb Diet. And it’s very manageable. You can go out to eat with people, and they won’t even notice that you’re on a restrictive diet. And it really helps with losing fat loss very quickly and building muscle. So there have been many, many cases, dozens now, people have lost 100, 150, 200 pounds. But it’s also very effective for just staying lean. And the component that I think is most important, perhaps, or one of the more crucial, is the concept of cheat day.
And that means you have six days of compliance, and then, you have one day when you can do whatever you want. And I generally recommend that’s a Saturday. And a lot of fans have named that Faturday. And they’ll send me photos of all the crap they’re eating.
Jamie Foxx: I want to do this.
Tim Ferriss: Ice cream, pizza. Yesterday, effectively, was my cheat day. I was fasting for two days, and I was like, you know what, this doesn’t feel right. And the clock struck midnight, and I was like, okay, it’s cheat day. And I just demolished an entire hotel tray of goodies. And it was glorious. Macadamia nuts covered in chocolate, gummy bears, candied ginger. And I didn’t feel any guilt because that’s the purpose of cheat day is like it’s like the psychological release valve.
So you make yourself so sick, you’re like I cannot wait to get back to my lentils and beans and chickens because I feel terrible. And then, you can stick with it. And that’s how people lose 100 or 200 pounds.
Jamie Foxx: That’s fantastic. Last but not least, for our listeners, we’ve talked about so many different things.
Long Island, lung collapse, heat stroke vulnerable, college, doing it your own way, just give us a wrap up. And I know it’s sort of old school. But it’s sort of telling them taking that person from where they are right now because a lot of people, when they listen in, people say, Foxx, I was having a bad day. Just give them a little something. Just a little something to get them going.
Tim Ferriss: I would say that you do big things by starting with the small things. And the way that I view my life, people ask me what’s your five year plan, ten year plan. I don’t have one because a reliable five or ten year plan is going to be shooting below your capability.
I think that if you build a really tremendous life for yourself, in retrospect, it’s going to look very accidental in many respects. And to that end, I try to view my life as two week experiments. And by doing that, I’m going to try X for two weeks. It’s not a permanent decision. You can do anything for two weeks. I’m going to try the slow carb diet for two weeks. I’m going to try fill in the blank, meditating for two weeks. I’m going to try whatever it might be. And you start to develop a confidence in your ability to act and change your reality for you and your family or those you care about.
And people will often ask me how do I get confidence? How do I get confidence because then, I want to go out and do things. I’m like, no, no, you got it reversed. You have to do things, small, a little bit bigger, medium sized, and large to build that confidence. So the only cure for lack of confidence is acting. And the way that I find easiest is to treat your life as a series of two week experiments.
And it’s whatever your weakness is, whatever your excuse might be, and we’ve all had excuses. I’ve had excuses. And whether it’s I’m too old, I’m too young, I’m not this, I’m not that, I’m too this, I’m too that. Whatever it is, there is someone who has felt that exact same way, said the same thing to themselves, and overcome it. And you can find those people. So go out and search for them. And one of the questions I ask experts all the time is if I’m looking at someone who is an ultra endurance runner, I’ll ask them who is good at this who shouldn’t be? I know that you have the people who are built like spiders who are sort of blessed with a certain physique that makes it easier for them to do this.
But I want to know where is the 250 pound guy who runs 50 or 100 mile races? Is there such a person. And they’ll be like oh, yeah, there is this one guy. And I’ll be like, okay, I want to study him.
Jamie Foxx: Wow, man. It’s very comic book, super hero the more you think that sole –
Tim Ferriss: It is. But it’s a toolkit.
And I do write about this toolkit a lot in the 4-Hour Chef, the last book, which is kind of a book on accelerated learning disguised as a cookbook. But it is a toolkit that anyone can use. If you have Google, and you speak English, you are in the 1 percent. I have to tell you. You have, at your fingertips, everything. And you just have to ask the right questions.
Jamie Foxx: Wow. That’s it. Foxx Hole Radio, Sirius 96. Listen, everybody out there listening? You got two weeks. I’ll see you in two weeks, and you better have it done. We are with the one, the only, I joked, I kid when I first came on and said Oprah Winfrey was a white man. But let me tell you something, Tim, you’re your own man. And for what you’re doing for everybody, for those 70 million downloads and for those people that are in the street that you don’t even get a chance to see like I see, they’re counting on you, brother, man. Keep doing your thing and keep giving it to us. It’s Jamie Foxx with Tim Ferriss, Foxx Hole Radio, Sirius 96. Let me tell you something.
When I die, heaven better be off the chain because I’m having a ball right now. Sirius XM 96. We’re going out of here. Tim Ferriss, I touched the hem of the garment.
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.