Brené Brown — Striving versus Self-Acceptance, Saving Marriages, and More (#409)

“We chase extraordinary moments instead of being grateful for ordinary moments until hard shit happens. And then in the face of really hard stuff — illness, death, loss — the only thing we’re begging for is a normal moment.”
—Brené Brown

Dr. Brené Brown (@BreneBrown) is a research professor at the University of Houston where she holds the Huffington Foundation – Brené Brown Endowed Chair at The Graduate College of Social Work. Brené is also a visiting professor in management at The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business.

She has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy and is the author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers: The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, Braving the Wilderness, and her latest book, Dare to Lead, which is the culmination of a seven-year study on courage and leadership. Brené hosts the Unlocking Us podcast, and her TED talk — The Power of Vulnerability — is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world with over 45 million views. She is also the first researcher to have a filmed lecture on Netflix. The Call to Courage special debuted on the streaming service on April 19, 2019.

Please enjoy Brené’s return to the show!

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

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform. You can also watch the conversation on YouTube

#409: Brené Brown — Striving versus Self-Acceptance, Saving Marriages, and More

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What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.


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

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


  • Connect with Brené Brown:

Website | Unlocking Us Podcast | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn


  • What is it about Brené that elicits such an almost universally enamored response from women at the mention of her name? [05:44]
  • As someone who was unexpectedly thrust into the role of public figure when her TED Talk went viral, how has Brené determined where to draw lines and boundaries? [10:24]
  • On chasing the extraordinary instead of embracing the ordinary — until we have to face the really hard stuff life throws our way. [14:54]
  • Instead of relegating it to her secret shame life, Brené bravely shares a story about what went on in her head when she was the uncomfortable subject of a recent photo session. [15:54]
  • Where’s the line between being our best selves or striving for excellence, and embracing who we are? Self-acceptance and complacency? Excellence and beauty in all things and perfectionism that is paralyzing? [19:08]
  • Can you change in a lasting, meaningful way without self-acceptance? Can there be such a thing as self-aware complacency? What if you’re delusional (or narcissistic) enough to believe you’re self-aware and self-accepting while being neither? [29:28]
  • Sometimes I worry that I’ve lost my audience when we go off on threads like this one. Here’s a confession that I hope doesn’t sound too woo about what I consider the crux skill that underlies all others, and why I believe the questions I’m trying to answer these days are not at odds with questions I’ve answered in the past. [33:22]
  • Conversation’s not always an efficient process, which is why this segment covers narcissism as the shame-based fear of being ordinary, Brené’s surprising fanaticism for Rush (RIP Neil Peart), shifting audience demographics, and no plans for writing The 4-Hour Self-Awareness. [35:19]
  • “What are you unwilling to feel?” Why we don pathological armor for protection and how we might take the first steps in shedding it once we find the courage to do so — hopefully before we’re “halfway to dead.” [37:55]
  • When such a decision is made — usually around mid-life — what do we hope replaces the armor and becomes a superpower? [44:56]
  • Nobody makes it to adulthood without some kind of trauma, and that trauma won’t let you discard that armor without a fight — or the help of a therapist. [46:36]
  • When your trauma and dysfunction and problems pile up, you’re dealing with it no matter what. The question is: how are you dealing with it? With the control that self-awareness brings, or under the control of what you’re up against? [47:20]
  • Not all changes need to take 20 or 30 years. With the right resources, tools, and support system (like an empathic significant other), they can be made in a mere fraction of that time. [49:47]
  • Why getting married was the hardest thing Brené has ever done, and the hacks that have kept that marriage — and the whole family — going for 25 years. [53:05]
  • Does every member of the family have a vote in the decision-making process at Brené’s house? How is power distributed? [57:22]
  • Brené’s theory on parenting, how it works in her household, and why her kids follow the rules even when they’re not at home. [58:23]
  • Why Brené encouraged her super-academic daughter to slow down and enjoy her time in high school and college without racing toward some grand finale career decided upon at age 18. [1:00:03]
  • Why everybody should have to work at least one — preferably two — service jobs early in life. [1:02:29]
  • Five things Brené has changed her mind about in the last few years. [1:04:10]
  • Five absurd, stupid things Brené does. [1:10:58]
  • Five things Brené is super excited about. [1:16:18]
  • One last TikTok joke and parting thoughts. [1:20:14]


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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67 Replies to “Brené Brown — Striving versus Self-Acceptance, Saving Marriages, and More (#409)”

  1. Shaloha Tim! I know you have a connection to Israel and I thought you would like to know about the new [Moderator: company name removed from published comments but preserved in the intake fields.], for digital nomads and non nomads as well. It is located on one of the most beautiful beaches in Israel, next to an Arab village. You are most welcome to visit and contact me and/or spread the word. Thanks for all your inspiration. The website is now mostly in Hebrew but I can send you a one pager in english that we are now preparing.
    Thanks anyway,

  2. Hi Tim,

    I want to thank you for your wisdom, sincerity and authenticity in everything you do. To me, this is your brand, and those characteristics are a rarity these days, I listen mostly to your podcasts. I started a few years ago because of my work commute. From the variety of people you interview, to the questions you ask…both formal and informal…wow! Nothing like it. You’ve introduced me to new ideas, better ways to think or question and most importantly—open my eyes to what’s possible.

    Your talks with Seth Godin are priceless!

    Thank you again for giving us all so much value, insights and honesty.

    Stephan Longo

    [Moderator: contact info removed from published comment but preserved in the intake fields.]

  3. Thank you for this podcast episode! Please don’t stop exploring the dichotomy of pursuit of self achievement and self acceptance. I think this is a very very important topic and completely relevant to your listeners (me included). Because that balance and self awareness is very important to being joyful in life and not sweating the small stuff.

  4. Hey Tim –

    I’ve been a listener for the past five years and I just wanted to acknowledge that it’s these conversations, diving into the subconscious, exploring the inner psyche and the ‘work’ necessary to find true joy and lasting fulfillment that are most intriguing, helpful and important, in my opinion.

    My long way of saying that I think (some) of your audience gets it and you will also start to draw in new audiences that want to tune into conversations like this and understand more about consciousness, self-awareness, and tools to navigate such territories.

    Something that you’ve just touched on a couple times throughout the last couple years has been your Transcendental Mediation practice. As a fellow ‘TM-er’ of the past 5+ years and while the technique is incredibly simple and effortless it has yielded incredible, powerful results in my life and I would assume and could even perceive in your life as well. With that being said, I would encourage you to explore that a bit more in your own life, and here on the podcast—maybe bringing in some guests like David Lynch (if you haven’t already check out his book Catching the Big Fish) and Bob Roth as I think those could be some really great conversations that would also give people information about an easy tool to use to clear trauma and stress and experience heightened states of consciousness and awareness, therefore leading to more inner fulfillment, as well as greater creativity and productivity.

    All the best,

  5. I also love watching JUST trailers in Apple Trailers for the same reason: all the emotion in just a minute! 😂 Thanks, Brené!!! ❤️

  6. This is one of your best. I’m familiar with all Brené’s work and was gripped to this episode because you focused the conversation away from her books and usual talk track. Thank you! For the listeners, so many good soundbites, but this quote is Brené Brown at full-tilt,

    “….the armor is too heavy and it’s not protecting you. It’s keeping you from being seen by others. This is the developmental milestone of midlife…this is the question. This is when the universe comes down, she grabs you by the shoulders and pulls you close and whispers in your ear, ‘I’m not fucking around, you’re halfway to dead. The armor is keeping from growing into the gifts I’ve given you and that is not without penalty. Time is up.'”

    1. There was a question early on as to why Brene has a following like she does… THIS^^ She can call out the real, acknowledge it as no cakewalk, and let the listener know there is a pathway to the other side of it. This part of the podcast literally stopped me in my tracks.

  7. Hey Tim, this is really powerful stuff. Thanks as usual. I did a really cool interview with you close to a decade ago and your energy has never wavered. You mentioned doing some VR experiments a couple of months ago. I own a company so let me know if you’re still looking…

  8. Tim,

    For starters, thank you. Your podcast is always thought provoking and intriguing and has led me to learn more about a number of your guests, most recently Brene Brown (whose work I’ve recommended to my wife). And quite frankly, it has turned my work commute in LA into a productive use of my time, which is nothing short of a miracle.

    You made a comment during this podcast that you worried about losing some of your audience as you dive into topics like self-awareness and self-acceptance. Speaking only for myself, and I admit I have only discovered your work just recently, I can assure you I’m very much looking forward to more such conversations.

    On a personal level, I’v made it through my 41 years putting up a strong front and being resilient, in part to overcompensate for some traumatic events that occurred earlier in life that I had no interest in dealing with. As I have found, this method had an expiration date and my body gave me some loud and clear signals this was not sustainable (side note, I have a copy of The Body Keeps the Score on reserve at my local library thanks to your recommendation). So while this old way of thinking got me to this point, it was simply time to change in order to move forward in a positive manner.

    I likened this to a real world example that we are all facing right now. Our use of fossil fuels has undoubtedly led to an untold number of technological advances that without them we would have never achieved. Ironically enough, it’s renewable energy that may prove to be the most important. So our choice is to stick with the old source of energy, despite that fact it may ruin us, or shift gears now and embrace a newer source of energy that can take us the next leg higher in the journey of human civilization. We are going to have to make this decision whether we are ready or not.

    All of that is to say please continue with your current work. If the ideas and topics that you got you to this point no longer move you, embrace these more current topics that seem to be a continuation of your current state of mind. You might lose some of your audience, but perhaps that’s only because they are not ready to here this message yet. But you may also gain an audience that your previous work didn’t resonate with and I would view that as equally if not more important than trying to appease the current following, since this subject matter is more meaningful and comes at a time when our society needs it most.

    Thanks again for the great work, looking forward to more of it.

  9. Great episode Tim and Dr. Brown – My favorite quote not heard before so clealry: “Emotion and cognition, undefined and unexplored, drive every decision you make. You either develop self awareness or these things (emotion and cognition) control you.” I can attest – it can be terrifying.
    I’m all in.

  10. Hi Tim,
    you mentioned that you feared losing some of your audience by focusing more on the ‘inner game’. Speaking just for myself, I would like to let you know that you just regained me as a listener. I listened to this episode for the sake of Brené Brown, but so much of what you said deeply resonated with me. Please keep up talking about these topics.
    All the best from Germany,

  11. Hi Tim,

    Fan of both you and Brené Brown, so happy you had her back on. Loved the exploration of self-acceptance vs complacency. As a career coach, I work with a lot of young people who have been trained to be so focused on achieving, outcomes, perfectionism and external validation that they have no idea what makes them happy or fulfilled. But, trying to guide them to unpack those beliefs can be challenging because the water they swim in (our culture) tells them that is what is most valued and rewarded. I think they may look at your life and say, “but now he has all the money and success so it’s easy to say all that striving isn’t worth it anymore. Would you change those years that brought you all those fruits?” What would you say to the young person who has been programmed to achieve at all costs when they see the rewards that brought you in your life?

    Thank you for your work and I’m a fan who loves the direction you’ve taken and agree with Brené, these are the most important conversations we need to be having.


  12. I have found by staying “single” longer, dating more, being selective, and then finding the right partner versus the right now partner – that’s my key to marriage success. Divorce rates were higher when people got married at 18-22, realized they had a long life, and might have married too young.

    1. Thanks Tim and Brené for a great conversation! But let me talk for a sec about Tim revealing his fear of loosing audience as he moved from performance-oriented topics to more deep internal stuff. I’m a listener and a fan for more than a decade now. And what I have to say is: Tim, we’ve grown too. Our questions have evolved. Topics you rise these days are striking the cord. So you are as relevant and interesting for me as you were in 2009. Thanks for that and keep up the good job!

  13. Hi Tim,

    I really enjoyed your vulnerable conversation with Brené. A lot of what you discussed resonated with me on a very personal level. Please continue with this line of inquiry in future podcasts; i.e. the nature of, and tension between, personal and professional success.

    I recently went through an online program called “How to Be Alive” that touched on many of the same questions and challenges, but within the fascinating frame of narrative identity.

    Anyway, based on many of your comments and references with Brené, and if you have the time to check it out, I’m sure you’ll find it of interest.

    All the best,


  14. I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was when I saw you had Brene on a guest (apologies, I don’t know how to make the little accent over the e work on my computer!)

    As soon as I finished listening I started from the begining and listened again. I LOVE this woman and her outlook on life – as a mother of teenagers it was a joy to hear someone (at last) tell me that they live the “I can do what I want and when you are old enough so can you” attitude (I honestly thought I was in the minority here!)

    How bloody refreshing and honest to hear a woman with such great influence talking nothing but common sense and leaving all the fluff out of it. Thank you. Because I love you so much I took two minutes to work out how to do the accent.

    Thank you Brené. X

  15. at 27:42 > OR, what of the personality type that openly admits the problem but insists the “behavior” is what he/she owns, the “problem” with such behavior is society’s/mine. ?

    1. ah. 40:18 answers. …late 30s to early 60s, this is when the universe comes down & puts its hands on your shoulders & whispers, “I’m not fucking around, you’re halfway to dead, the armor is keeping you from going into the gifts I’ve given you, that is not without penalty, time is up.

      it’s not a crisis. it’s a slow, brutal unraveling.”

      thank you.

  16. Tim – your shift from external performance to exploring inner life – bravo!!
    Secure interpersonal relating is a direct measure of neural integration – and is one of the most important factors predicting and facilitating health and well-being, period.
    Your conversation with Brene is going in the direction of exactly where neuroscience is taking us and I couldn’t be more excited to hear this expansion.
    Re: the effect on your audience, esp the men, becoming “Good Men” rather than a “Real Men” can push them and free them from unconscious and implicit constraints. It’s good for everybody, and will make both men and women safer for it.

    I’m a psychotherapist in Austin and co-host of a highly respected and 5-star rated therapy podcast – and just want to literally cheer you on.

    (Promise I’m not pitching – but we have free resources, articles and tons of links to varied literature for those in your audience wanting to further explore modern attachment, interpersonal neurobiology, trauma and secure relating.)

    Thank you thank you thank you and I admire your courage to take this on.

  17. Hi Tim,
    absolutely loved the episode. Struck a lot of chords with me, personally and professionally.
    If you are going to spend more time on the topic of being (self-)loving and (self-)caring AND contributing something worthwhile to this world at the same time, I’ll definitely listen to more of your episodes.
    I feel like that’s the sweet spot of life after all. I’d also love to hear your and other inspiring people’s thoughts on how to combine those two goals in a corporate world where the immense pressure to maximize performance often leaves the caring part in the dust.
    To leave you with a quote: “If you wonder why it’s getting tougher and tougher to chop down the trees, maybe you should pause and sharpen your axe.“ (roughly taken from Jorge Bucay)
    All the best,

  18. The tiktok segments. Tim, You really opened up your subject in a way which surprised you and me. Prof Brown dropped her “armour” and shone effusive and bright like that sparkly character from Trolls. So vulnerable. Loved it. Props!

  19. Beautiful conversation!

    Brene, Tim – your conversation around outdated armor made me think of Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, Reconciliation: Healing the Child Within, and also Transformation and Healing. In both, he talks about much the same thing, and offers a few exercises to help address these sorts of things. Thought you may be interested – check them out!

    All the best – cheers

    1. Hi, JD –
      It’s actually in the “Selected Links” section above. The link hypertext is “Brené’s Favorite TikTok Video” and is toward the bottom.
      —Team Tim Ferriss

  20. The interview with Brene consisted of a chuck full of information and nice humor(TikTok).
    This episode is definitely making the top 20 podcasts of 2020.
    I loved hearing “make curiosity your superpower” and the 80/20 hack.

    I wanted to make a comment about the fear of losing your audience.
    Life is about growing and progressing. We can all do it together.
    Keep doing what comes from the heart. Thanks.

  21. Tim, please check out Dr. Krstin Neff’s self compassion researches! Her findings can answer many of your questions about complacency and self acceptance. She’s at University of Austin, too!

  22. Hi Tim, First, I like a lot your new website, it’s a lot more calm (erhaps reflecting who you are now?). Second, the interviews you are having are very interesting, talking about things that really matter, as when you feel better and you love yourself more, you are better in all aspects of your life. Keep at it, loving it!

  23. i’m all in on the self-acceptance guru tim ferriss, enjoying these episodes and i feel a lot of people are wanting to hear it.

  24. Hey Shane, there’s two people at Objective Personality who have discovered the code of human personality. Might want to have them on.

  25. Tim, we really need that book dude.

    The lessons from T4HWW at the very least mean you must test the demand a book on the inner game by you. Right?..

    It’s your curiosity mixed with you pursuit for the practical, pragmatic and proven which would mean a book on this subject from you so great. But if your not convinced please just construct a test.

    I always assumed that the reason why you automated your first business and was to provide the resources (time, money and crucially headspace) to pursue both sides of success personal enhancement and inner contentment.

    Either way, I’m grateful to witness your journey doing the inner work. Your as inspirational as you’re informative. Regardless on whether you create a ‘playbook’, Thanks for creating a platform to share all this wisdom.

  26. Had you ever considered changing your last name online to mitigate some of the privacy damage? Hypothetically, how would you contend with offending your family’s name by changing it?

  27. Tim,

    You mentioned in your podcast that you’re worried about losing your audience because your focus has shifted from skill development to a more introspective reflection of one’s consciousness and character. You’re worried about losing your initial audience, but, you you’re willing to make that trade off if it meant helping people develop in a more personal and conscious manner. Personally, I don’t think you would lose any fragment of your audience, because we’re growing with you. I forget if it was mentioned in this podcast, but with someone like you who’s been a public figure for so long now, it’s only natural for you to develop personally, and thus have that development be reflected professionally. How you develop as a person is how your audience will connect with you on a deeper level. Expanding your focus will give us more points to empathize with you. Especially as a creator, your work will highlight your current thoughts and focuses, if you allow it to. Like you said, you’ve been focusing on self reflection and self acceptance. You’ve been bringing mental health to the forefront of your platform. These are all things you’re currently passionate about. If you weren’t doing this and kept sticking to your developmental four-hour guns despite having this desire to put out new and different content, you’d be lying to yourself, and would in a way be complacent. Striving for the dichotomies is a life long struggle that everyone must embrace. Thanks for being you, and thanks for helping me become a better me, while also reminding me to enjoy the current me, as I am today, and as I will be tomorrow.

  28. Hello sir, my name is Ayush.
    I love your podcasts and seeing you as my inspiration, i want to start a youtube channel where i can highlight the main theme or the main point of your podcasts, so that more people on youtube can benifit from it. I just wanted to seek your permission so that i can do this and i am pretty much sure that you will be much more happy in doing this. Though its completely your decision. Will wait for your reply.
    Love you!!
    Yours faithfully
    Ayush Kumar

  29. Acceptance vs. self indulgence? I think it is a matter of depth. Meaning: Are you only accepting the surface, the situations or are you also accepting your feelings about them? If you accept your self deeply enough, two things happen.

    First: Where you have problems and accept your feelings involved in that, you get to the root cause of the issues and have a chance to resolve them.

    Second: When you accept your deepest feelings about situations you also get in touch with your deepest values and desires, meaning with your true potential. This drives you to move forward and take action. There is no contradiction between complete self acceptance and self improvement. Complete self acceptance is the bases for authentic self enfolding and improvement.

    1. Hi Tim,
      One of my favorite quotes is where Brene tells you that you don’t have to worry about starting to discuss exploring self awareness.

      “this is the hardest challenge you’ve issued…unlocking ourselves and creating self-awareness is the capstone conversation”

      Also love – “no one rides for free” and “sobriety is the superpower” – I agree!

      You won’t lose me even though its not an efficient process! In fact I’m sharing this podcast with many others who will resonate with this conversation.

  30. One of my absolute favorites. The chemistry you both have for the show, incredible. Great episode, and brilliant work Tim!

  31. Suprised that Brené didn’t say, so I’m gonna put it here. It’s brave to talk about your own uncertainties regarding the shift from gogogo to the inner game.

  32. Tim – I can only encourage you to pivot yourself and this show towards a more inward focused approach. Understanding ourselves from within will be mankind’s biggest challenge for the upcoming decade. I loved your ambition around self-optimization and thrive for excellence. However, in times of vast extremes in the outside world, our chance to live a deeply fulfilled and meaningful live will only come from within. The way to ourselves will be our own individual freedom and the freedom for the whole world. Thanks for your openness and the insecurities that originate therefrom.

    In the words of SImon Sinkek I beg you to make this existential flex and develop your show towards a more inner self-centered one. Your audience loves what you do anyway. You have the reach to make them understand where true joy comes from – from within.

    Happy to share my wisdom.

  33. Tim, I had to pause in my listening of this episode to write a quick comment here. While I obviously cannot speak to the entirety of your audience, I can assure you that many of us will most certainly remain ardent followers as you continue your explorations of these newest queries. Almost every high-achieving individual I know, myself included, has suffered with self-loathing, often as a primary means of propulsion, and it’s absolutely destroying us from within.

    In fact, your voice resonants with us; your willingness to delve into these subjects inspires us, and the wisdom and knowledge you find and share helps us all breath a collective sigh of relief and begin to alter our destructive mindsets with often previously incomprehensible compassion. Despite the fear, I sincerely hope you will continue exploring and questioning expectations and reality as we perceive it.

  34. Brother

    Long time listener, first time commenter.
    While listening to this podcast on my bush walk to the beach at O’neils Bay the following thoughts coalesced

    Mnas pursuit of meaning can be expressed in so many ways. It can also change over time. It can be perfection, contentment, surfing a wave, walking in nature. “Some men have it really bad” Gabby sharing about Laird.

    To Brené’s point, if you see a man unhappy, pause him, gift him the opportunity to remember his why. His purpose. His meaning of what is life in this world.

    To your question and wonder and curiosity of the people you have seen that are successful and seemingly empty shells, a life of purpose is missing.

    To your question regarding if you are ready to move into this new space and this new discussion, remember why you do this my brother. For it is you and always only you that you live to serve.

    From my heart to yours, have no fear of loss, only a lightening of being, go fast.

    The rest of us await you. Your new audience is waiting for your in keen anticipation.

    Remember new relationships = new you.

    The cost of doing business is not moving on, staying still, slowly dying.

    Should you

  35. You have no idea how much joy it brought me to hear you be TikTok pranked with what are also my two favorite jokes from TikTok! Seriously thank you for the laughs!

  36. I’m only an occasional podcast listener but I had caught your first episode with Brene a while back and liked it, and I’m so glad I listened to this second one. This is such a great episode. The discussion about getting past self loathing to making lasting changes and the idea of letting go of armor as the major developmental milestone of midlife all resonated with me so much. I actually went back and listened to it twice, and I NEVER do that with podcasts.

    Tim, I certainly can’t really speak for your other listeners, but I would welcome a shift in your content to more topics like this one that tackle harder emotional and mental issues. Rather than losing me, I think I’d be more likely to tune in on a regular basis.

    Thank you for making this ep! Really gave me a lot to think about and do.

  37. The food abstinence discussion at the end of the interview makes me think of Bright Line Eating with Susan Pierce Thompson. I would LOVE to hear you interview her! She is changing the world of weight loss and health with the bright line concept and some great neuroscience research. It’s a set of great food hacks and neuroscience based strategies to get in a good relationship with food, body and weight. I think she would be a neat addition to the show! Love your work. I found Susan Garrett Dog Training three years ago because of your interview and it totally changed my life! Thanks for all you do!

  38. Dear Tim, Brene’ and Happify,
    I am a fan and really liked the brief interview about the “armor of emotions.” While I use expletives daily, it is not appropriate in the workplace. I want to forward this to leaders in my organization and share with staff but cannot because of the foul language which is really unnecessary. If you haven’t noticed, our country and culture is slowly losing respect for each other and norms that used to be about politeness, are corroding. I ask that in future recordings, remember not everyone is okay with cussing. Thanks for your effort.

  39. Tim, I’ve been a listener for a few years and this podcast with Brene Brown resonated with me like no other podcast ever. I listened to your podcast while navigating Orange county traffic on my way to work and the part where Brene was talking about our armor and how it doesn’t serve us anymore in middle age and we should replace it with curiosity – wow did that hit me……I was literally sobbing while I was driving to work and I had to sit in the parking lot of where I work for a few minutes to compose myself. Keep up the great work my friend and thanks so much – your podcasts make a difference to me and my life

  40. Hi Tim,
    For years I’ve devoured your content, selectively homing in on those nuggets I saw would catapult me toward becoming more of a high performer each day. While I’ve learned so much over the years, it wasn’t until your conversation with Brené that I realized that so much of being a high performer originates from even deeper within ourselves. It’s the only way to move through life whole.

    I’m very excited to watch where you go next in your exploration of how we can further develop our inner game and improve our self-awareness. I look forward to becoming more of a high performer within my own consciousness and rebalance the way I measure and develop my performance.

    Deep respect for the work you do,

  41. Dear Tim,

    In this podcast episode Brene Brown stated that narcissism is, or symptomatic for, self hate. A statement that to me seemed to take you by surprise.

    With regards to this and to you mentioning your own childhood traumas, I want to recommend psychotherapist and author Pete Walker and his work on Complex PTSD. Complex PTSD is a relatively new diagnosis, but with a huge potential for fruitful healing in my belief.

    A passage from his website (

    “What may I have been misdiagnosed with?
    Renowned traumatologist, John Briere, is said to have quipped that if Complex PTSD were ever given its due – that is, if the role of dysfunctional parenting in adult psychological disorders was ever fully recognized, the DSM (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders used by all mental health professionals) would shrink to the size of a thin pamphlet.”

    You mentioned “The Body Keeps the Score”, a title which I believe nails how when we are faced with something that triggers memory of an old trauma, our body and its deep memory will project that old trauma on to what is present, which then can turn into self hate and disgust.

    As one with complex PTSD myself I would be thrilled if you were to have him as a guest on your podcast.

    And as a fan of you for years, I’ve noticed you are an avid note taker.

    With that I would like to recommend for you to check out Zettelkasten (,

    One of the most productive social scientist ever, german sociologist Nicholas Luhmann (58 books and numerous articles during his career), came up with this system as external scaffolding aka ‘second brain’. A ‘zettelkasten’ has many similarities with David Allen’s GTD system, and may be what has been missing for many academics and writers.

    With best

  42. I found your blog a couple months ago. Since then I’ve been listening to many past episodes and felt like each one was meant for me to find to help me find myself again. Four years ago I had a paradigm shifting life challenge. Working through it helped me look at the past 40+ years of my life in a different light and try to start improving myself for me and my family. But in the past year or so progress has stalled and I regressed. So much so that I would find myself standing frozen at home just not able to process where I was in life. I assumed this is what a midlife crisis felt like. I sought help from a therapist for the first time in my life. It helped some, but I did not implement any of the tools to change despite seeing how they might be valuable. A busy job has been my excuse, but I now believe it was fear of the work and what might happen. Finding your blog has given me a jolt to start trying again.

    Lately I’ve been looking for episodes that catch my eye as listening to your entire library would be nearly impossible at this point. Although I may need to go back to some of the earlier episodes out of curiosity. I had never heard of Brene Brown (neither had my wife…I asked) but figured I’d give it a listen. Wow, am I glad I did! Halfway through I knew I was going to listen again, which I’ve never had the urge to do for any podcast ever.

    After she finished the bit about the universe whispers I was physically shook. It was like it was she was talking directly to me. I have listened to that part numerous times since. It is so powerful! I think it’s time to start dropping my armor because it definitely is not serving me well anymore.

    I am also glad to read others pointing out the high points of this conversation that I picked up on also. Especially the fact that they support the possible new direction of exploring more self-acceptance. As you can imagine I would completely support that as well. However, I have gained something from every one of your podcasts I’ve listened to so far so I’m sure whatever your choose it will be beneficial to your listeners.

    I have a long ways to go, but felt the need to make my first comment on your blog to be about this episode as it feels like the starting point of a good direction for me. For that I thank you!

  43. Hello,

    Hearing Tim speak about the shift in his podcast from performance orientated content to one’s internal content/“contents of your consciousness” and his worry that he has lost his audience (33:22 in the episode)—I have been in awe over the path Tim has taken The Tim Ferriss Show with the change over the years in topics discussed, people interviewed on the show, and questions asked by Tim. As one person of The Tim Ferriss Show audience, my interest to listen has only strengthened over time and I am grateful for the work Tim has done within the podcast space and outside (ex. Tim’s philanthropy). In case Tim or Team Tim Ferriss sees this post please tell Tim thank you and that my interest to listen has strengthened over time!

    With much gratitude,


  44. Tim … fyi … I’ve been a somewhat fan and appreciated your work for sometime … but it was a little too win-win-win for me to become a true fan. Your direction into the “inner game” may lose you some audience but gain you others … like me. Thank you for the podcasts along this line … especially in this time of deep introspection brought to us by an unseen virus.

  45. I am only handful of pages through The Body Keeps The Score and I know this has unearthed something in me that desperately needs the insight it contains. I have followed many of your recommendations over many years, but this one seems like the most important for me so far.

    So count me among those of your long-time audience who are not deterred by your foray from performance- to purpose-focused content.

    A huge thank you for the improvements you have helped me make.

  46. Hey Tim, you mentioned that you were worried that you are losing your audience due to the turn in content. The more inner facing content, like this interview is what drew me back toward your podcast. We are all people on a journey, and maybe its better that those people who don’t want to continue with yours go elsewhere. I would argue that we all can use podcasts, or videos like this, that help us forward and let us know we are not alone. Mike Posner figured that out, and it seems to be working for him.

    Thanks for what you’re doing.


  47. Loved this conversation! Self-awareness and acceptance are most important to everything good. Thank you!

  48. Hey Tim,

    I’m a new listener and recently heard this episode. I agree with many of the listeners below who think focusing on the internal world is important work for you to continue. It got me thinking – would you ever collaborate with Brene Brown on a book? Or on a project geared toward youth?

    I’m a peds nurse and used to be a school nurse. I was able to tour schools in the district over the first few months of my employment there to assess the health needs in our diverse communities for projects I would be working on. In some of the wealthier high achieving areas, I was struck by the mental and emotional health (I typically just call it brain health:-) issues related to significant pressure and focus on performance and achievement. At one school, there had already been approximately 20 instances of suicidal ideation reported to the site nurse, and it was only October.

    I love and believe in performance improvement and efficiency. I think it leads to an improved quality of life personally and in our businesses and institutions, but when it comes to our personal goals, I think focus on performance should be related to things you want to pursue and for the right reasons. I know when I was younger especially, I would have appreciated more guidance on personally meaningful achievement; valuing oneself simply for who you are and not what you do/produce and how to deprogram this mindset; how just being the best version of you (aligning w/inner self, natural abilities and desires) can lead to improved performance and happiness; learning to self-assess where my achievement drive was coming from an when I was doing something for ultimately unsatisfying reasons vs. for reasons that would truly be fulfilling; and now, as a middle aged adult – how to “identify and dismantle the armor” (as Mrs. Brown so perfectly put it) that holds us back from connecting and achieving (whatever it is that you want to achieve of course – could be relational). I’ve observed many people in my age group that are only now actively pursuing goals they didn’t think they could achieve when they were younger, or were dissuaded from pursuing by outside pressures and expectations.

    I know this is random, but I recently watched Taylor Swift’s documentary, Miss Americana, and it was heartbreaking to me how her extreme need for approval, a sort of “I’m not enough” mentality, drove her success and simultaneously seemed to steal her joy. It was also hopeful film though, as you could see at the end she was finding her path out of that mindset and rediscovering her love of her craft. Again, it made me think of our youth. They really need support in navigating the pressures they face and with finding their own path to fulfillment – their personal version of success and achievement. Someone like you could really do some good in this area 🙂 Maybe you have already and I just don’t know about it because I’m new here!

    Anyway, thanks for reading,

  49. Tim,

    I have always enjoyed your podcast, but some stand out more than others. That is exactly what this one did for me. For that reason you and Brene are both on my Yoda challenge. I have started with this and Twitter per your requests. I just need 5 minutes of your time for 3 questions. My name is Jared Seaton and sobriety is my superpower as well. [Moderator: email address removed.] Have a great day!

  50. Listening to this in 2021, I think it’s hilarious that you both said that in 2020 you were looking forward to “Less Travel”. LOL. Be careful what you wish for! But honestly, I loved this chat. So much to chew on. I loved the tip Brene Brown shared about how she and her husband offer what “percent” they are currently able to offer, and how they support each other when the numbers are low. Also very interesting the nuances of self-acceptance (or is it self-delusion?).

  51. I absolutely love this episode. This is exactly the sentiment I have been dealing with lately, and striving to find that fine balance between self-acceptance and self-emprovement. I talk about how this striving for the extraordinary has been an obstacle in my recovery from anorexia in the last blog I posted too. Have a read if you like.

    [Moderator: link removed.]

    I’ll be back for more!
    Jordan xox