Please enjoy this transcript of my interview with Blake Mysockie (@BlakeMycoskie), a serial entrepreneur, philanthropist, and best-selling author, most known for founding TOMS Shoes. He is also the person behind the idea of One for One®, a business model that helps a person in need with every product purchased. Since its inception, TOMS Shoes has provided almost 96 million pairs of shoes to children around the globe.
In 2014, after selling half of the company to Bain Capital, Blake stepped down as CEO of TOMS. Utilizing half of his proceeds, he started The Social Entrepreneurs’ Fund to help early startups with core social missions get off the ground with much-needed funding. Since then, he has invested in more than 25 social enterprises.
In the spring of 2020, Blake co-founded his newest company, Madefor, which offers a 10-month program that applies the principles of modern neuroscience, psychology, and physiology to make your brain and body better. Created alongside scientists from Stanford, Harvard, and other top universities, Madefor helps people learn and sustain positive habits and practices that have the greatest impact on their lives. Listeners of this podcast can use code TIM to get 20% off the all-in and monthly plans.
As the New York Times best-selling author of the 2011 book Start Something That Matters, Blake offered his own story of inspiration and the power of incorporating giving in business. Blake also recently expanded his philanthropic efforts to include the funding of The Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins, making it the first such research center in the US and the largest of its kind in the world.
Transcripts may contain a few typos. With some episodes lasting 2+ hours, it can be difficult to catch minor errors.
DUE TO SOME HEADACHES IN THE PAST, PLEASE NOTE LEGAL CONDITIONS:
Tim Ferriss owns the copyright in and to all content in and transcripts of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast, with all rights reserved, as well as his right of publicity.
WHAT YOU’RE WELCOME TO DO: You are welcome to share the below transcript (up to 500 words but not more) in media articles (e.g., The New York Times, LA Times, The Guardian), on your personal website, in a non-commercial article or blog post (e.g., Medium), and/or on a personal social media account for non-commercial purposes, provided that you include attribution to “The Tim Ferriss Show” and link back to the tim.blog/podcast URL. For the sake of clarity, media outlets with advertising models are permitted to use excerpts from the transcript per the above.
WHAT IS NOT ALLOWED: No one is authorized to copy any portion of the podcast content or use Tim Ferriss’ name, image or likeness for any commercial purpose or use, including without limitation inclusion in any books, e-books, book summaries or synopses, or on a commercial website or social media site (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) that offers or promotes your or another’s products or services. For the sake of clarity, media outlets are permitted to use photos of Tim Ferriss from the media room on tim.blog or (obviously) license photos of Tim Ferriss from Getty Images, etc.
Tim Ferriss: Hello, boys and girls, ladies and germs. This is Tim Ferriss and welcome to another episode of the Tim Ferriss show. My guest today is a friend, Blake Mycoskie. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram @BlakeMycoskie M-Y-C-O-S-K-I-E. Blake is a serial entrepreneur, that’s an understatement, philanthropist, and bestselling author, most known for founding TOMS Shoes and as the person behind the concept of One for One, which of course you’ve run into at some point since, a business model that helps a person in need with every product purchased. TOMS Shoes has provided nearly 96 million pairs of shoes to children around the globe since its inception. In 2014, after selling half of the company at Bain Capital, Blake stepped down as CEO of TOMS. Utilizing half of his proceeds, he started the social entrepreneurship fund to help early startups with core social missions get off the ground with much-needed funding.
Since then, he’s invested in more than 25 social enterprises and has also expanded his philanthropic efforts to include the funding of the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins, making it the first such research center in the US and the largest of its kind in the world. In the spring of 2020, that is right about now, Blake co-founded his newest company Madefor, getmadefor.com, a 10-month program that applies the principles of modern neuroscience, psychology, and physiology to make your brain and body better. Created alongside scientists from Stanford, Harvard, and other top universities, Madefor, all one word, M-A-D-E-F-O-R helps people learn and sustain positive habits and practices that have the greatest impact on their lives.
Blake, welcome back to the show.
Blake Mycoskie: Thanks, Tim. It’s good to be here.
Tim Ferriss: We have had many, many conversations over the years, and I want to say context for folks that we have done a podcast episode previously in person where we cover a lot of the TOMS story. So we won’t duplicate that here, but I think it’s important to provide at least a little bit of context for folks. And for those who want to find the earlier episode, you can just go to tim.blog/podcast and search Blake, and it’ll pop right up. I think it’s number 249, which is incredibly almost 200 episodes ago.
Blake Mycoskie: Wow. That’s crazy.
Tim Ferriss: It’s bonkers. And you and I have had many life changes, gone through many chapters.
Blake Mycoskie: That’s for sure.
Tim Ferriss: It just feels like lifetimes. And to paint a picture, if we go back in time for folks who know you for TOMS, but maybe not the collection of other businesses that you’ve started. So at 29, now you’re older than 29 now, of course, but at 29, you’d already done and not necessarily in this order, but outdoor advertising, driver’s education, laundry, and built a television network.
Blake Mycoskie: I got busy early.
Tim Ferriss: You got busy early. And your family story’s incredible. We won’t necessarily duplicate all of that. But just as an anecdote for folks, your parents literally used to sell their blood to pay their rent I believe because they were so poor during medical school. So there’s a certain amount of initiative in the family it would seem. But what would you say drove you or compelled you to start all of these businesses? If you’re looking under the hood, knowing what you know now, what is it that has driven you to build all of these things? And it doesn’t have to be a single answer, but I’m so curious since you are so incredibly productive. And just back to back to back, have done so much. How would you begin to speak to that?
Blake Mycoskie: I would say the thing that probably is the greatest contributor to that was the discipline and drive that I learned as a young child trying to become a professional tennis player. My whole life growing up from age nine or 10 was practicing tennis, living at tennis academies, training. And it was not one of those situations where my parents pushed it on me. If anything, they thought I was a little bit obsessed and they worried about my drive at such a young age. But when I look back at my entrepreneurial career, those early businesses I think were just new vehicles for me to compete and for me to build an identity like I did as a great tennis player as a young child.
Tim Ferriss: And what made you a good tennis player? We know you didn’t go on to necessarily focus your entire life on tennis, but what was it that made you a good competitor? There are many different types of competitors.
Blake Mycoskie: Yeah, I think to be completely honest, I was not very talented naturally. I worked really, really hard. And I mean I lived at this one academy with some of the top players in the world, the John Newcombe Tennis Academy, when I was 15. And out of 50 top players from around the world that are worldly ranked and go on to become professionals, I won the hardest worker of the year award. And that was the only way that I could even compete with some of those players was just because I outworked them. And so I don’t know if that’s a nature versus nurture thing because I think I have a two-year-old daughter now and she’s so freaking driven. I mean she goes swimming lessons and just swims across the pool and never looks up to see for applause or anything.
I see that eye of the tiger in her. And I definitely had that at a young age. I mean from the day that my parents gave me my first tennis racket and I got a tennis lesson, I wouldn’t come home until it was dark. And oftentimes I would convince them to leave the lights on for me to hit against the backboard. And so I think that was in my nature just incredibly self-disciplined and driven. And that’s what allowed me to excel as far as I did as a tennis player. But you really need the natural talent too to go pro.
Tim Ferriss: And you took the drive, the discipline, the work ethic, and applied it to businesses. And of course, I would imagine there are people listening who go, “Well, great. His two-year-old daughter has the superior software pre-installed. What am I going to emulate here?” And the next question is really on the nurture side. So I think all of us come into this world with a certain set of software, certain set of hardware, and sometimes the harder things to do are those that run against or are on the opposite end of the spectrum from our innate programming. So for some people listening, if they are, say, less driven, perhaps they have to cultivate themselves to be driven. But if you are building and building and building, as you did for a very long time and still are, but let’s flash forward to 2012.
So I’m recording this right now from Austin, Texas. And I believe this is where you moved for a sabbatical in 2012. Now when I think of you — I mean the reason I’m laughing is just I imagine you going insane doing a sabbatical. That may be unfair, but you are so high RPM. I’d love to just hear you describe the decision for the sabbatical, how it came to be, and what was done during the sabbatical?
Blake Mycoskie: Yeah. I mean what was done is not pretty, and it almost led to a divorce at one year after getting married. But I’ll get to that in a second. But the decision that led to it was I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was 19 years old. So by 2012, I had been doing it for 16-17 years. TOMS was a very successful business driving hundreds of millions of dollars in sales and helping millions of children around the world. I had just gotten married. And for the first time in my life, I just wanted to take a break. I mean I just needed to have some time to reflect on all of these companies, this new relationship I was in, this new commitment I had made in getting married. And I always thought I would move back to Texas. That was a big part of it too.
I grew up in Texas and I think anyone who grows up in Texas that leaves, and especially maybe ends up living in L.A. or New York City or San Francisco, they love the excitement and the adrenaline and the uniqueness of those cities, but you can’t really ever take Texas out of a Texan. And so I always thought, once I got married, once I started thinking about family, Austin, Texas would be back where I needed to be. And that was a big driver in the sabbatical too. So it was to take some time to reflect, to see how stable TOMS was on its own without my day-to-day running it and to really explore whether Texas was going to be the long-term place for me and Heather at that time.
So that was the decision. Now what happened was pretty much a disaster because I had to put my attention to something. And so I like to play golf and I like to drink beer. And so I pretty much spent all day drinking beer and playing golf, which does not make you exactly the most attractive husband when you have to take a taxi home at the end of the day because you can’t drive.
Tim Ferriss: Was there anything you took away from your experience with the sabbatical? It sounds like a decent pressure release valve, at least for a period of time, but was there value in the experience?
Blake Mycoskie: Sure. I think the value was really understanding, no matter how much you love a hobby or you need releases and play in your life, the joy in those things is lost if you don’t have balance and you don’t have some type of meaningful work and responsibilities to balance it. So I cut to now, I’m an avid mountain climber. I race cars, and I love surfing, but I don’t do that all day every day, or I wouldn’t enjoy those things. And because I’m a father and I’ve got lots of investments and now a new company, and so having that balance is what allows you to really enjoy the leisure activities or the hobbies. And when your hobbies become your full-time job, in a sense, it quickly deteriorates the joy you’re deriving from it. And I definitely experienced that. And that’s where ultimately I decided I need to move back to California and get back involved in TOMS after only eight months.
Tim Ferriss: Part of the reason that we’re having this conversation is that you’ve had many life transitions in the last few years. You’ve had many new experiences, transformative inputs of different types, and I’ve always viewed you as a seeker, and I’d like to talk about, or have you talk about, one that comes to mind that we’ve talked about when not recording, just over dinners and so on, but The Hoffman Process. Could you speak to The Hoffman Process? What is it? Why did you participate in it?
Blake Mycoskie: Yeah, The Hoffman Process, I mean there’s probably three to four experiences or practices that I’ve taken on in my life that have by far had the greatest impact in a positive way. And I love to start with The Hoffman Process because it is at the top of the list. The Hoffman Process is an eight-day program that Bob Hoffman started 30 plus years ago. It came out of Esalen and its main concept is focused around this thing called the negative love syndrome that we all experience from our parents or primary caregivers, regardless of if they’re the greatest or the worst. So every single child has this experience. And basically what it is, is when we’re young, we are very astute to our primary caregivers’ patterns and their behaviors. And we do one of two things with pretty much every single pattern of behavior of our parents, in my case.
And that is we either emulate the pattern or the behavior to receive their love, or we do the exact opposite to demand their attention. And so this is, as a child, how we survive. And Bob Hoffman and a lot of really, really smart people have studied this from a psychological perspective. And so what happens is, is the way that our brains get wired and all the patterns that end up driving pretty much every decision in our life after the age of 12 are hardwired in there based on us wanting to either receive love or attention from our parents.
Now some of those patterns go on to help us in innumerable ways. I would say, my drive and competitiveness has blessed me in many, many ways. But I like to be competitive or have drive now as a conscious choice versus a pattern that I can’t turn on or off in any situation. Because sometimes, it’s not healthy to be incredibly competitive. In a romantic relationship, it’s probably not that healthy, definitely not with your five-year-old son. I mean there’s a lot of times in which I am glad that I can recognize and see that pattern happening, but then dampen it for the situation.
But The Hoffman Process, what you do when you go there is they take you through a series of exercises. It’s very experiential and it’s very unconventional, but it is more effective than anything I’ve ever seen. And through the week, what you do is you really recognize what patterns you have from both of your parents that you want to let go of, that aren’t serving you anymore. You also then see these vicious cycles that play out in your life. And so these are macro patterns. If you look through 20, 30 years, you can see, Oh, I do this and it leads to this, and ultimately leads to this. And that has really not served me.
And so then they give you the tools to really rewire your brain in a way so that you’re not a slave to these patterns and habits. And it’s the most freeing experience ever. I mean it is — one of my favorite things I love to talk about Hoffman is, and this is definitely not anything that they would ever promote as an expectation to have. But I went to Hoffman in 2000 and I want to say 16. And after Hoffman, I remember coming back to the TOMS office and our CEO at the time, he’s like, “Man, you look lighter. Physically lighter.” And I was like, “I feel lighter.” And then over the next couple of weeks, I literally lost 12 pounds and any body fat I had in my abdominal area where a lot of men carry body fat because of stress and anxiety.
And I literally went from having — I wasn’t overweight, but to having crazy abs and everyone was like, “What did you do?” And I’m like, “I didn’t do a single fucking crunch. I just went to Hoffman.” And I mean, literally, I lost weight as I lost mental weight. And so since then, I have started a scholarship fund. I’ve sent over 200 people that needed the financial backing or resources to go. And I’ve also sent pretty much every single one of my friends and family. And it’s the only thing in my life that it bats a thousand. There’s not a single person that hasn’t come back and said that was the most important week of my life.
And it helps you become a better parent. It helps you become a better spouse, it helps you become a better leader for sure. And yeah, and I’ve gone back and done graduate work there and I continue to support them financially so more people can go that can’t afford it. But yeah, it is — I mean I have goosebumps over my whole body, just getting the opportunity to share how meaningful Hoffman was because I’m so grateful to it.
Tim Ferriss: Bunch of different things I want to dig into here. Thank you for that explanation. The first is really a footnote related to the losing of abdominal fat. That doesn’t actually surprise me in the sense that if for whatever reason you have dramatically lowered your cortisol levels, there are a whole host of — a cascade of different effects that one might observe. And certainly in men, that would be a redistribution or change in how fat is deposited or retained. And cortisol is such an incredibly powerful hormone. You need it to live. You don’t want to go without cortisol.
But just as an example, for folks who might have this experience, if you’ve ever been tired and wired where you’re physically exhausted, you try to go to bed, and then you’re just racing a million miles a minute. What often happens is you have this release of cortisol, then a spike of glucose, and you feel like you’re on the start line for running a marathon. It’s very frustrating. So I actually sometimes take phosphatidylserine, this supplement, one or 200 milligrams before bed to help with that. To blunt that cortisol response. But that’s the footnote. Now that I said that, back to The Hoffman Process. Are you open to sharing any of the patterns or cycles that ended up being very helpful to identify?
Blake Mycoskie: Yeah. I mean I’ll share one and it’s embarrassing, but I think it’s embarrassing because it was just such a driver in my life. And I think some people will really connect to this. And it’s a good example of how your parents can do all the right things and you’re still going to have these patterns. So my mom did not graduate from college, supported my dad through medical school, selling her blood, waiting tables, had — as my dad became this very successful doctor, she was serving as a housewife but didn’t have the same sense of I would say pride that my dad did in his vocation. When she had me, I was not only the first child in our family, but I was the first grandchild in a very big Mycoskie family. So my mom all of a sudden got kind of held up in incredible high regards by everyone by giving my grandparents A, the first grandchild, and I was literally the apple of her eye and I was — I could do no wrong. I was just loved at every single second and minute. I mean, her whole world revolved around me. So I grew up even when I did have brothers and sisters, where she also gave the same love to them, there was always something special of me being the first, not just by my mom, but I would say the whole kind of aunts, uncles, grandparents, everyone.
So I grew up really experiencing high levels of attention at all moments in my life. So the pattern that came from that was I needed to be the center of attention to feel comfortable. Now this is not very attractive characteristic in a friendship and definitely romantic relationships, which we’ll get to because it all comes full circle, Tim. So what I learned in Hoffman, and I’ll give you a very specific example because it’s embarrassing, slightly disgusting now to me, but I have beat it, so it makes me very happy and that is it was so hard wired into my brain to be the center of attention and to be praised by people that I would get on a ski lift, I love snowboarding, and I’d get on a ski lift and before we got to the top of the lift, I would subconsciously manipulate the conversation so they would ask me what I did for a living and then I would get to say, “I’m the founder of TOMS,” in which unanimously you get praise. You built a business to help millions of children. Wow.
I mean, and so literally I would not be comfortable on that ski lift until that conversation happened, and then once I got the praise and the attention, I could focus on anything that the other person was talking. But it was so hard wired into me. Now that I say that, it’s just so embarrassing, but I never knew that until I went to Hoffman. Then once I went to Hoffman and I said to myself, “Okay, there’s a healthy amount of needing attention in love to feel secure but mine is totally out of whack based on this pattern and I can hear the things that happen when this pattern starts to get triggered.”
Now I almost play games at parties or ski lifts where I lead the conversation every which way possible so people never find out that I’m the founder of TOMS and it’s beautiful and it gives me this sense of deep spiritual connection to my spiritual self as they would say in Hoffman. So that’s just one small example, but I think it gives you an idea of how some of these patterns can even come from really positive things your parents did, not just traumatic. Now, a lot of them come from trauma too. So if you’ve had a traumatic experience, I think Hoffman is even more effective in helping you get and process some of that trauma. But yeah, that’s an example that I think illustrates how hardwired these patterns are in you.
Tim Ferriss: Many people listening will be —
Blake Mycoskie: I’m so embarrassed.
Tim Ferriss: Shame! For shame. No, I’m kidding. It’s the, what is it a problem, well stated is a problem half solved. I mean, you have to develop — I think that was John Dewey if I’m getting the attribution right. But it starts with an awareness, right, and developing the perspectives that you can be aware of, the stories and the narratives and the patterns that are governing your behavior, whether you’re aware of them or not at the outset. So question for you about The Hoffman Process. A lot of people listening will be very interested in doing something like The Hoffman Process. Some very, very small percentage will probably end up going, but it’s going to be a small percentage. Are there any books or resources that help people to achieve some of the progress that one might at The Hoffman Process, right? Are there books? A few come to mind like Awareness by Anthony de Mello for me or —
Blake Mycoskie: Man, I can’t believe you said that book. Literally, I gave that book to someone very special a couple of days ago. It’s one of my favorite books.
Tim Ferriss: No kidding. I did not know that.
Blake Mycoskie: Yeah. I love Anthony de Mello. I mean, I’ve read everything. I mean, Rediscovering Life I think is, should be like every single human should read that because that is such a powerful experience, and I think it’s, to answer your question, Rediscovering Life is another one I would say besides Awareness specifically are in this genre.
Tim Ferriss: Great. Are there any other resources you might recommend? I don’t know if The Hoffman Process does anything outside of the in-person events that are more widely available.
Blake Mycoskie: They don’t, because the process is, and I think this is important to state is I definitely think some of Anthony de Mello’s books for sure, Rediscovering Life, Awareness, I think that there is a book actually kind of written about The Hoffman Process. It’s not an official Hoffman book, but if you Google Hoffman Process book, you’ll find it. I forget what it’s called. It kind of talks through it. But the reason Hoffman is so effective is that it is an emerging — it’s a totally immersive experience that you do without giving away some of the secrets because it’s really fun because no one — that’s part of it, as a graduate, you never tell people what they’re going to do because they need to have the surprise and the experiences unfold.
But it’s you use your body, you use your mind, use your — I mean, you kind of — you have to do it. It’s not just something you learn. It’s something you actually physically experience through different, very unique practices that you do there that release things and open up patterns that you’re not even aware of and memories that you don’t even have consciously. So Hoffman has scholarships. I, from time to time, if you follow me on Instagram, I post scholarships at least a couple of times a year. But if this is something that is of interest to you, I think, do anything you possibly can to get and do the process because it is something that is, and I’ve read every book in the world in this genre and nothing compares to the actual experience.
Tim Ferriss: So having covered at least for the time being The Hoffman Process, and I should say for people listening that I wanted to have this conversation with you for a few different reasons. One of them is that you’ve experienced these transitions, like I mentioned, and that whether people identify with you or not, right, because you’re talking about racing cars, you’ve built a company that had hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, and I think that there’s the possibility that someone listening says, “Well, I have very little in common with Blake, so I wonder or even doubt if these tools will apply to me.”
I anticipate that and the reason that I still think this conversation is a value is that whether you’re going through a midlife crisis, an end-of-life crisis, a quarter-life crisis where you’re graduating and you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up or going through a divorce or contemplating getting married, having kids, having kids leave the house, during these transition periods, a lot of material comes up and the material is going to be unique to each and every person. But the tools, a lot of the tools I think are quite flexible. So that’s just really more of a commentary that I wanted to mention before we keep going. In the case of The Hoffman Process, you mentioned you were going through a difficult stage. Are you open to saying more about what that was?
Blake Mycoskie: Sure. Yeah. I mean, I think selling half of the company and stepping — selling half of TOMS and stepping down and hiring a CEO and became a father for the first time, this is all five years ago, was incredibly challenging because all of those things were the things that I had been told by my parents and society and culture would make me happy. I now have full financial freedom. I have time freedom because I have a CEO running the company so I can do other things, focus on being a dad, hobbies. I’m married. I have a child. I have great friends. So I took the discipline that we started this conversation talking about and applied it to everything that I thought would bring me joy, peace, and fulfillment, and all of those things were externally focused.
So once I realized that I had accomplished everything I set out to do and I was still waking up feeling very challenged, very not motivated, not feeling I had a purpose, low energy levels, having trouble sleeping, which ultimately led to being diagnosed for the first time of my life with mild depression, I realized the most important thing, or I had it, I want to say realized then, I’ve realized it now, but I had an inclination that the external would never be the thing that would allow me to feel what I had been seeking. So that began, it started with Hoffman and it also led to plant medicine journeys. It led to my two years of research with different scientists that led to the Madefor program, but all that came from looking inward maybe for the first time in my life, and I’m incredibly grateful today because I’ve never felt that I’ve been living in a state of flourishing more than I am now and it has nothing to do with any of the external things that most people know me for.
Tim Ferriss: You mentioned maybe 10, 15 minutes ago three to four practices, a handful of practices, one of which is The Hoffman Process. What are some of the others that have stood out for you in terms of positive impact?
Blake Mycoskie: So I would say, I would define these as experiences. Then the third experience led to some very specific daily simple practices. So let’s start with the experiences. The experiences were Hoffman, plant medicine journeys — ayahuasca and psilocybin to be specific — that I was able to do down in South America. Then the third was, and this is pretty much what I’m spending all my time or most of my time on now, the third was is spending time with some of the top scientists at the best universities in the country, seeing what has scientifically been proven that can affect your mental well-being on a day-to-day basis. So not huge experiences like Hoffman or plant medicine, but the small steps that you can do every single day.
So practices and habits that can insulate you from the challenges of modern living and setting out and really almost approaching it like a student and being able to get access to this incredible body of science, specifically in the neuroscience with Andrew Huberman out of Stanford University, that has given me the day-to-day insulation from all the challenges, especially recently during COVID-19. So those are the three things, really Hoffman, plant medicine, and the practices that ultimately led to the Madefor program that I practice every day.
Tim Ferriss: So we’re going to spend a good amount of time on the day-to-day insulation, right, the practices, because it’s very easy as you and I both know because we have spent time around people who practice what one might call spiritual bypass. So they use some substance to vaporize themselves into stardust and then the insight falls like grains of sand through the fingers in their psyche, and two weeks later they are behaving the same way with the same subconscious drivers remaining subconscious, right? There’s these compounds and these peak experiences, Hoffman or otherwise, I would imagine, although I don’t want to speak for Hoffman, but I would imagine there are people who don’t do — they don’t make the translation from the experience to practice. Nonetheless, I would be very interested to hear what you feel you gained from your plant medicine experiences.
Blake Mycoskie: Sure.
Tim Ferriss: Because, because you, as I mentioned in the introduction and I’d like to extend my thanks yet again, for being a very substantial supporter of the scientific research related to psychedelics and psilocybin most notably. So that’s I think an incredible way to bend the arc of history as it relates to treating psychiatric disorders that have largely been untreatable. So thank you for that.
Blake Mycoskie: Of course.
Tim Ferriss: On a personal level, what were your experiences?
Blake Mycoskie: Yeah, so I think the first experience was with ayahuasca down in South America and —
Tim Ferriss: Starting with the big guns.
Blake Mycoskie: I mean, let’s get it out of the way!
Tim Ferriss: Just skip the foreplay!
Blake Mycoskie: I would not recommend that, by the way. So if you’re listening to this and this something you’re interested in, I would definitely start with something like a guided psilocybin journey with a medium to small dose, but I went with the big guns and I think it just shows the desperation that I was feeling at that time. But I really just revealed the expansiveness of my consciousness of time, of the inner connection of nature and all beings and in a way that the takeaway was, and this is really goes back to of maybe the childhood wounds I still carry that also are part of the reason I was so driven was just a feeling I remember coming out of it and just almost like angels around me just saying, “You are all right, you are enough. You don’t need to prove anything to anyone ever again. Just enjoy your human experience.”
It was just this deep — it wasn’t the praise that I had always sought. It was a deep love and acknowledgment that there’s nothing more I can do or nothing I can’t do to not feel God’s love. I had heard about that in the Christian faith, I’d heard about that in other spiritual teachings, but to feel that in a way that was so powerful and just mind-expanding was really one of the things I’m most grateful for in my life, because I literally came out, came back to the US and came back to my regular life, and I really believe I have integrated that into my personal outlook and self-compassion and all these other more practices that we’ll get into, but it started with that just a total awakening that happened through Aya around just how much more is at play and because it’s so enormous and it’s so — we’re a small part of something so beautiful and perfectly designed that it gave me this piece that I am just perfect the way I am. I remember hearing that in Sunday school as a kid and never having it ever really resonate, and it totally transformed the way I looked at myself after that experience.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. I appreciate you sharing that description and it just never ceases to make me crack a smile when anyone, including yours truly, tries to put one of these experiences into words.
Blake Mycoskie: Yeah. Thanks for making me do that.
Tim Ferriss: You’re welcome. It is certainly an unusual yet completely familiar feeling to have some of these experiences, which is an odd combination, perhaps, but there’s a lot of paradox that makes complete sense when you are having these experiences.
To perhaps provide a contrast just because what you described sounds incredibly euphoric, have you had any difficult plant medicine experiences?
Blake Mycoskie: Yes. So the second ayahuasca. I now talk about aya like a knee surgery. So if you ever feel compelled to do it, if you ever do feel compelled, and I do not think it’s for everyone, I want to be very clear and I do think it is something you might want to work up to and I think — for instance, I have several friends that have wanted to get the information about where I did my ayahuasca experience and I have almost demanded that they go to Hoffman before they do ayahuasca because I feel that a lot of other work can help prepare you so that your experience can be more positive.
But the reason I say it’s like a knee surgery is I had that incredible, blissful, mind-expanding, heart-opening experience, and for some reason two years later, curiosity got the best of me. I decided to do it again. I took a pretty big dose. Went back down south and I had a horrifying experience that I have still spent several years trying to really understand the meaning and the integration. You and I have talked about this before. It was not only incredibly frightening because I had this experience that the entire reality that we know is not real and that it was all just a dream that I’m having, and I even created God to make the dream more interesting. And so then what was I? And I just went to this rabbit hole as if life was a video game that I’d played a billion times. And every time I play it, I add one little thing, like I’ll wear a blue shirt instead of a white shirt, because I don’t know, I got to do something different. I mean, it literally just — and so everything felt meaningless.
So that was horrifying because I have so much meaning in my regular life. And so now I had this experience where the whole thing felt like a meaningless video game. The funniest part about that is, though, Tim, is in that ayahuasca experience, I had this moment where I was like, “Shark attacks. Damn, that’s a bug in my video game. Next time I need to go back and have sharks stop attacking people, because they were never meant to bite people, and that is a bug in the game that I’ve created.” And I obsessed over that flaw in this perfectly designed human experience video game.
Tim Ferriss: And if I can add one thing to that, too, and we can certainly cut this if it’s talking out of school, but one of the aspects of that, that I recall being very disconcerting to you, is that feeling of being in a simulation didn’t end when you left South America.
Blake Mycoskie: Yes.
Tim Ferriss: There were nights when you would wake up and turn to your partner and say, “Is this real? Am I real?” And you were unsure, right? This was a real question.
Blake Mycoskie: That was the part I was going to get to that was the most scary. So the experience itself was what I would call unsettling, unpleasant, caused me to have a state of, I think, of just confusion. And then for the week after I got home, I had several nights where I woke up and I felt like I was back in the medicine. And that’s the thing that was so scary. And I remember calling you and asking for advice at the time, and anyone else I know who had experienced these things. And that was the thing that was so scary.
And that’s why I call it a knee surgery, is I had a beautiful knee surgery, my knee worked fine, and I don’t know why I decided to try to have another knee surgery. So, for the time being, unless I’m desperately called back to ayahuasca, when I do feel that I can gain something from the plants, it’s with psilocybin.
Tim Ferriss: And I don’t know if you remember when we spoke. I remember this conversation. I remember exactly where I was when we had this conversation. Do you remember the nickname that I had —
Blake Mycoskie: Yes.
Tim Ferriss: — for your experience? Because the scary —
Blake Mycoskie: Night school.
Tim Ferriss: Night school. Because one of the most horrifying thought spirals you can have is that what you’re experiencing is unique to you, right?
Blake Mycoskie: Yes.
Tim Ferriss: That there’s some unique form of madness that you have descended into. And so you described this, where you go to sleep, and then you feel like you’ve gone right back into the experience, what some people might call flashbacks, let’s just say. And that, as I mentioned, and the nickname is actually from a friend of mine named Michael, Michael C., I’ll give him credit. He calls it night school, because it is relatively common with ayahuasca, and particularly with 5-methoxy DMT or 5-MeO-DMT.
And that can persist, as I mentioned, in some people for a few days, in some people for 10 days, at least anecdotally among the sort of sample size that I’ve had contact with. And that can be horrifying, particularly if that expectation or possibility has not been laid out ahead of time, right?
Blake Mycoskie: Yes.
Tim Ferriss: And which is why, it’s funny you say knee surgery because I actually, we arrived at the same metaphor completely separately. When I talked to people about these types of compounds or plants, I described the process as knee surgery. Not just because you’re having knee surgery, but because if you don’t do your rehab afterwards, you could end up worse off than you were before.
Blake Mycoskie: 100 percent.
Tim Ferriss: There’s a period of plasticity, a window of malleability within which you can change things and shape things, but whether it’s shaped for the better or not depends a lot on your behaviors and so on.
So just a real quick note on this because you and I have had many conversations about this and a lot of people listening I think will have a lot of enthusiasm around this subject. And I want to just say a couple of quick things as a sort of public service announcement.
The first is that psychedelics and use of psychedelics, in my opinion, should not be an arms race. It’s not like you need to escalate from bunny slope to intermediate, to black diamond, to double black, to heli-skiing, to free fall. You don’t need to use all these compounds. And if you look at indigenous cultures that have used these plants, very often they have their lane. In other words, the mushrooms used by the Mazatecs in Central America are not the same as the, say, ayahuasca used by certain tribes in Peru.
Also, the ayahuasca in certain tribes in Peru may not be the exact same ayahuasca used by other tribes in say, Colombia, or different locations. So there’s a tremendous amount of variance and none of these people use the entire catalog of psychedelics found globally. That’s a very Western experience and perspective, and I think there are incredible risks associated with it.
The second thing I’ll say is for people who might be interested, and you mentioned insisting on Hoffman Process first. I think that it is a very good idea to develop a basic fluency with some of the easier tools before you go for these peak experiences, which can be incredibly life-affirming and transformational, and they can also be incredibly destructive. There’s a survivorship bias. You don’t hear about these stories very much, but I know of not just one, not just two, but at least six to 12 people firsthand who have been knocked sideways and destabilized for weeks or months after use of ayahuasca, specific use of ayahuasca and 5-MeO-DMT specifically.
So what I would say is the progression, since you mentioned Hoffman, I’ll just kind of mention what I usually advise to people who are going to take it seriously, is that you use something like the Waking Up meditation app for 30 days, no substances, this is completely sober. You read Awareness by Anthony de Mello. You watch the six-part series The Power of Myth, which is Bill Moyers interviewing Joseph Campbell.
You schedule at least two sessions of Holotropic Breathwork, again, completely sober, but you are able to experience in a non-ordinary state of consciousness that is produced through breathing techniques.
Then, and again, this is where we get into riskier legal territory, so I’m going to say, I’m not advising breaking any laws, but MDMA-assisted psychotherapy would be the next step after that, then guided psilocybin.
And you can stop at that point. You can actually stop at any of those points previously. You don’t have to continue to proceed, but I would not use ayahuasca until you have done all of those things.
Blake Mycoskie: Amen. I mean, for no other reason, I know hopefully people will gain a lot from this conversation and I know that’s our intention, but for no other reason, I’m glad that you laid that out because I don’t think that type of prescription is shared enough in our society right now.
Tim Ferriss: Thank you, Blake. It’s really nice to have a companion on the path, by the way, with the support of the science, which I do deeply, deeply believe in.
Let’s talk about, if you’ve got time, I’ve got time. I know we don’t have a hard stop, which is a rare luxury, but there are a few things I want to make sure that we talk about.
I want to get into the day-to-day insulation, that third bucket, so to speak, that you mentioned. But first I’d like to ask about conscious uncoupling, because I really think this will be of tremendous service to a lot of people listening and including those people who are not in a state of crisis. But could you provide some context for what that means and how it came to be something you’re familiar with?
Blake Mycoskie: Yes, absolutely. And I mean, it’s one of the reasons why I was excited to have this conversation with you because I went through a very, very powerful experience with my now ex-wife, Heather, over the last seven months with this concept of conscious uncoupling.
Heather and I were married for seven years and over those seven years, almost after the first year, we had challenges and we worked at it and with the same discipline and drive that we’ve talked about. We did lots of therapy. We worked with some of, I’m not going to name names, with some of the therapists that everyone has watched their TED Talks. We did pretty much every kind of therapeutic intervention we could to try to find what was holding us back from the type of love and relationship that we both dreamed of having.
And I think having two kids definitely was something that kept us working hard at it because we both wanted to make sure that we were providing the best environment for them. But over the last year to two years, we recognized that we were starting to fight more. The energy level was not good in the home and the kids were starting, especially our five-year-old to pick up on it and asking us why were we fighting, and what’s wrong with Mom, or what’s wrong with Dad? And we also just started kind of living separate lives and we’re young. I mean, I’m 43 and Heather’s 38. And we said, “There’s more to this.” And we also never really lost our friendship in all this. And so that’s a long way of saying, we decided back in September of last year that we would be better off not being married anymore.
And I read Katherine Woodward’s book Conscious Uncoupling while we made this decision and I gave it to Heather and she read it and we were blown away by the concepts of it. I mean, if you think about it, over 50 percent of people who get married are going to ultimately get divorced yet we have very few tools in our society and very few role models to show us a way of doing it where you can actually create a new relationship, a new agreement that’s more powerful and more beautiful than the one that you entered in when you said I do. And specifically for your kids and your mutual friends that are often the collateral damage when people get divorced.
And so we had the benefit of working with some coaches. So not only is the book really valuable, but on the website, they have a resource of different coaches for all different budgets to help you through the process if you so choose. I highly recommend that.
And what the process did is it helped us really see a little bit in the sphere of Hoffman and patterns like who were we when we got married and why did we really choose to get married and what expectations were not fulfilled and what disappointments do we have. And really, at the end of the day, you realize kind of like so much of this, it was not about blaming the other person. It was about owning what my role was and those unmet expectations or loss of sexual polarity or all of the things that ultimately lead to a couple wanting to split. And by us doing that work individually for several months first and then together as a couple, we were able to create a beautiful new future for us.
And the interesting thing, and I think the reason why this is very time-relevant, is we literally got through the whole program, divorce became final, signed all the paperwork. Heather was going to get a wonderful home just 15 minutes down the road from me and the kids were going to go back and forth and we were ready to start a beautiful new chapter this spring, and then COVID-19 happens.
And we then found ourselves quarantined once again as a family with now my ex-wife for two months after we had really been kind of looking forward to this new chapter, but I am so grateful that happened because it allowed us to test everything that we learned and everything that we committed in a very tight living situation with kids home all day long, with no other external forces.
And what we found was our friendship got solidified better than ever. And the support that we have for each other is absolutely beautiful. Our kids can feel it, they’re thriving. They see the love. And now that Heather has moved into her other house and the kids are going back and forth, there’s been no trauma issues with the kids. And so it has been a beautiful, beautiful experience. And I think Heather and I are both so much more well-prepared for whatever relationships we enter into the future, because we have awareness now that we didn’t have when we kind of just stumbled upon into our first relationship nine years ago.
So the book is incredible. The coaches are amazing. I can’t stress enough that there is a beautiful alternative to staying in an unhappy marriage or an unhappy boyfriend/girlfriend. I mean, it doesn’t have to be a marriage. It could be any type of relationship. And I just am so deeply grateful for the experience we had the last seven months.
Tim Ferriss: Could you speak to, or just describe some of the things that you are now aware of or give even one example just to illustrate?
Blake Mycoskie: Yeah, I mean, for sure. Well, I think that one of the things that I recognized was I had my parents, actually last week, celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. I mean, it’s like the most amazing accomplishment and they still are totally in love with each other. I actually did a two-hour recorded interview with them on the day of their anniversary that I wanted to save to have my kids watch before they get married, if they choose to get married.
Tim Ferriss: That’s smart. That’s amazing.
Blake Mycoskie: And one of the greatest things that my dad said, I’ll never forget it, because he knows how much we struggled, Heather and I, and my parents love Heather and they saw how hard we tried. And so my dad said in the interview, he says, “Blake, I’ve often, and over the years, not just with you, but so many of my friends that have struggled with their marriages, I’ve kind of felt guilty because my marriage to your mom has been so easy.” He’s like, “It just works. And I feel like we just complement each other in a way that is mutually supportive, mutually self-sacrificing. It never feels, I mean, not never, but it hardly has ever felt like work.”
And in this interview, and I recognize is that I think they got pretty lucky, I mean, and he would say so, too. They were very young. And every once in a while someone gets lucky and they just get with the right person.
But what I recognized in the conscious uncoupling was I was more interested in kind of a story or a perfect picture that I had put in my mind, largely because of my parents’ amazing relationship and my closeness to my brother and sister, I was more interested in that than really understanding who Heather was and what was the foundation of our love. So I basically had a box and I wanted to put someone in it. And Heather, based on her experience, which I don’t want to get fully into here, looked like and wanted to jump into my box. And that creates a lot of all the chemicals releasing and the love feeling and all that.
But because we didn’t do enough kind of exploration of really the foundations of what will make a relationship work, and the polarity between masculine and feminine, the shared kind of vision on how we’re going to spend our time or our energy, political beliefs and things that kind of really can get in the way if you don’t really work through them, and we just jumped into the physical attraction and the fun and all that and we got married.
I don’t think either of us were prepared to, and I don’t think either of us did enough kind of personal work with each other to really know what we were signing up for.
And now through the book, I was able to see that I was asking Heather to fulfill needs, kind of like to our earlier conversation of looking external when you really need to look internal. I was looking her to fulfill needs that I had from my childhood patterns that really weren’t the role or the responsibility of a romantic partner and lover. And she was willing to serve those needs because I was fulfilling some security needs and other things that she had versus us really connecting at a romantic soul level.
And so, yeah. I’m rambling a little bit, because I think everyone’s story’s a little different and I want to protect the privacy of the relationship that I’ve been through.
Tim Ferriss: Of course.
Blake Mycoskie: But I would say the other thing I just think that the book does so well, and the process so well, is you just you don’t even work with your partner for the first two to three months or the first two-thirds of the book. It’s all about you taking responsibility, you understanding you better and how you show up in a romantic relationship or don’t. And that was just incredibly powerful.
Tim Ferriss: So that is a perfect segue in a sense to what I was going to ask, which is: when does it make sense for someone to read this book? And also what would your advice be to couples who, like a lot of couples maybe have their struggles, but aren’t yet code red, right? Is there something they can do before they have to kind of yank on the emergency stop on the train and start doing triage?
Blake Mycoskie: Sure. Well, I think two things. One is, I think you can read the book, even if you’re not considering getting divorced, even if you’re just like in a relationship and you have your challenges like everyone else. Now, obviously I think you’ve got to really, really disclaim to your partner that you’re reading this book to grow your relationship, not to end it, or you need to read it on like a device that they’re not going to see it.
Tim Ferriss: I’m just imagining sitting on the couch, this cover facing outward. “Oh, don’t worry about it. No, don’t worry about it. No, no, it’s entertainment value.”
Blake Mycoskie: The cover definitely will make it, if it wasn’t in code red, it will get to code red quickly if you don’t disclaim that. But I will say actually, if I can recommend another book that I’ve also read years ago and have gone back to reading again, and that’s by an author named David Deida and that’s Way of the Superior Man. And that book, the title really doesn’t give it justice because it’s equally important for women to read this book, I believe, as men.
But it really helps understand what the optimal polarity between masculine and feminine is and how, in some relationships, the woman has the masculine energy and the male has the feminine energy or, in a homosexual relationship that’s definitely the case. But regardless of what your actual gender is, if a relationship is going to sustain the energy that allows you to deal with all the day-to-day challenges in a relationship, you must serve this polarity above all else. And Heather and I definitely did not do that. And so I think for anyone in a relationship that might be having some challenges, maybe doesn’t feel the same way as it did when you were dating or your early years, I even think before Conscious Uncoupling, The Way of the Superior Man would be highly recommended as well.
Tim Ferriss: It’s a short read. It’s a very fast read, a short book. Last name is D-E-I-D-A. I haven’t read it in a very long time, but I did read it I want to say around 2009, and found it very helpful. That notion of polarity definitely stuck as a kind of marker or litmus test that’s important to be kept in mind and also something that’s important to cultivate, right, which is, I suppose, the directive of the book in large part. I think it’s time to get to the tactics, day-to-day installation. You’ve got to first tell me, why on earth start another company?
Blake Mycoskie: Yeah. The thing that’s fun about it is, I always say — and I’ve spoken about this to several people now — is what has been so liberating — and I really should use the word joyful. I mean, I have goosebumps as I’m talking about this, and almost starting to shed a tear as I answer this question, because I really feel, like the message I got in ayahuasca, I have nothing to prove to anyone. I don’t need to make any more money. I don’t need to have my face on the cover of any more magazines. I say this with humility, not with pride, because that feeling of not having to prove anything or not having any expectations has allowed me to create something, maybe even for the very first time, with such a pureness of serving humanity that it just lights me up.
There’s this great Chateaubriand [Ed. Note: actually L.P. Jacks] quote that I love. It starts with, “The master of living does not distinguish between his work and his leisure,” and he goes on and on. Then at the end it says, “He lets others cast their judgments on what he is doing, but to himself, he’s always doing both at the same time,” something like that. You should get the quote and post it, because it’s so good.
This is the moment in my life where I feel like I’m truly doing it all at the same time, because I basically took my own suffering, as we spoke about. It led me on a pilgrimage to feel better. I was able to use my relationships and resources to get access to top neuroscientists at Stanford and other scientists from top universities and ask them, “The people who are living not like extraordinary athletes or these amazing specimens, but just everyday people, people who have a normal nine-to-five job, who have a family or no family, people who are just living, but doing everything normal but still have an incredible sense of well-being and fulfillment and flourishing, what are they doing that science has actually proven?” That was the big difference.
These peak experiences that we talked about, plant medicine and also Hoffman, neuroscience says that there’s really two ways to experience neuroplasticity. It’s to have these short, intense experiences like we spoke about, or to find these small steps that can be done with intention over time. Both ways can allow your brain to change, and your brain changing can affect your well-being. I went to the scientific community and said, “What are these small things that I can do every day that other people have already been doing and improving?” What I found was about 10 things.
I have a great business partner in this venture. His name is Pat Dossett. He was a Navy SEAL for nine years. He is absolutely obsessed with not just human performance but just human well-being. He also has recognized, like me, that we are in a time and culture where we have some of the highest states of people on antidepressants of all time, we have the highest states of people taking sleep aids, highest reports of anxiety.
He is a man of service. When we connected, he said, “This is how I think we can serve people, not just so you personally can feel better, but that we can share this.” Over a year-long journey and many, many amazing meetings and reviews of science, we were able to find 10 basic fundamental habits and practices that can transform anyone’s life, and definitely have transformed mine and my ability to cope with any form of stress or challenges thrown at me. That ultimately became what we launched on March 4th, and that’s called Madefor.
Tim Ferriss: What form does the service or product take? What does it look like?
Blake Mycoskie: Yeah, so that’s one of the interesting things. There are two macro philosophies of the program that science really showed us. Number one is it’s very hard for people to make sustaining change in their habits or lifestyle if they’re trying to learn more than one thing at a time, and it takes about 30 days to really ingrain a new habit or practice. One aspect of the program is that we only will teach you and help you learn and integrate one thing at a time for 30 days. The program is 10 months long, where you focus on one thing each month.
The second thing — and this is what really distinguishes it from many, many different offerings in the market right now — is we found that it needed to be completely analog. There could be no app. There could be no digital device. There could be a gadget that tells you how you’re doing. You had to be able to feel it internally for it to take root and to be the most effective from a neuroplasticity standpoint.
The program is actually mailed to you each month in a kit. The kit has three components in it. The first thing it has is all the science, curated into a very simple 20-minute read. It’s a little book that has been written in very easy-to-understand terms that gives you basically an understanding of what you’re going to learn and why it’s so critical to your well-being. The second thing is a tool that we designed that’s unique to the Madefor program. This tool is something you’re going to interact with and use for 30 days as you learn this new habit or practice.
Then the third thing is a challenge card and a little bracelet that you wear that reminds you of your commitment that month. Some visual cues, and the challenge card is a way to get the dopamine hit every day, as you complete whatever you’re doing that day during the month. That’s what comes in the kit. It comes once a month. Then when you complete that one, you go to the next one.
I want to pause for one second to say, because I think 10 months and 10 new things can feel overwhelming to people, the goal of Madefor is not to teach you 10 new habits. Now you might really integrate all 10 into your life, but most of our members who’ve gone through already — we had 1,300 people go through the beta over a year period — there’s three or four things that really, really stick, and those three or four things have a huge effect on their well-being and mental health and physical health.
What we’re really trying to do is help you shift your mindset more than anything, and your behavior, versus learn 10 new things, but we have to teach you these and have you have these 10 experiences over this prolonged period of time for that to take place.
Tim Ferriss: I love the fact that it’s analog-only, just as a side note.
Blake Mycoskie: I knew that would resonate well with you.
Tim Ferriss: I still do so much by hand, like an old-timer, but what are some of the habits and practices? Can you give any examples?
Blake Mycoskie: Sure. The thing that was the most surprising and I think encouraging, at least from the learning experience, was these are things that we all know already, or most of them. One of the examples, the most simple and foundational one, is the importance of hydration. What we found is there is a large percentage of Americans that are chronically dehydrated, even though they say they drink water.
The science shows that every person’s need for water throughout the day is very different based on the climate you live in, the diet, your activity levels, et cetera, but our body is made of 70 percent water. Even a one percent change in your optimal hydration can affect your mood, can affect your energy levels. I mean, a lot of people have to have that caffeine shot midday. I found that once I got my hydration practice dialed in, that’s not as necessary anymore.
Hydration is one that’s very simple. I’ll just walk you through what the hydration month could look like, just to give you an idea of the other months, and I can share some of the other practices. We really teach you, and we take all kinds of the bullshit and myths of eight glasses of water or electrolytes or all this stuff that has been created to sell you stuff. We really look at the science of hydration, and we distill that down to a 20-minute read and explain to you why it’s so critical that this is something you need to really master if you’re going to live your best life.
The second thing is we’ve designed a beautiful water bottle that keeps track, or helps you keep track, of how much water you’re drinking during the day. It very specifically has these beads on it. They’re almost like a prayer bead, that you move along this cord every time you finish a bottle. What the neuroscience shows us is that you get a dopamine hit every time you move a bead. Not only are you feeling better because you’re better hydrated, but you’re also getting that dopamine hit when you tactically move this on the bottle.
The bottle is as beautiful as something that you’d find in the MoMA, so it’s something that you’re proud to carry around and have some identity with. Then the third part of the hydration is the challenge of how many beads you’re trying to get to, and also a journaling exercise so you can reinforce the benefits that you’re feeling when you get properly hydrated.
Now, the thing I love about this is everything at Madefor has what I would call a micro and macro mindset intervention. The micro part of this is that we hope after the end of the month, you will fully have a hydration practice, and you will be the type of person that’s drinking water throughout the day and you’ll know approximately how much you need to be drinking to feel your best. The macro thing that’s happening inside of your brain when you’re doing this is you are building a fortitude of understanding that, “I’m the type of person that can stick to something for 30 days,” because a lot of people maybe never have stuck to something for 30 days like this.
By making it so simple as drinking water, then you’re better prepared when the next month comes and maybe it’s a little bit more challenging, because you’ve just had the benefit and the satisfaction and the momentum created of sticking with something for 30 days. That already is changing and priming your brain to take on other experiences. That’s kind of an example of what a month could be like.
Tim Ferriss: Sorry to interrupt, but I was just going to say that I think that’s very important that you are building the metacapability of instilling and following habits. That strikes me as incredibly significant, that you’re certainly taking on these different practices and these different tools, but in following one thing for 30 days and repeating that cycle 10 times, you are proving to yourself, and also sharpening the saw of skill acquisition and habit formation.
Blake Mycoskie: Absolutely.
Tim Ferriss: Then after that, then you can choose what your next 30 days look like, then the 30 days after that and then the 30 days after that. That strikes me as very, very important. What are some other examples besides hydration?
Blake Mycoskie: Yeah. Another one is — and I know you have studied this and you’ve already referenced it in the podcast — is we went very, very deep on optimizing the perfect night’s sleep and how important sleep really is as a foundational practice. Those are two that I would say are more physical in nature. A mental one would be a gratitude practice.
Now, we’ve all heard that gratitude is an important experience to be having an emotion, and that having a gratitude journal can help you with your mental health. We went much deeper than that, and we really looked at different areas of your life where you often are missing out on an opportunity to express gratitude and then change the way that you approach challenging situations in the future. Also, really looking at how gratitude can strengthen very important relationships in your life that we know have been scientifically proven to affect just how many times a year you get sick and your longevity.
In gratitude, instead of doing the same thing every day for 30 days like hydration, it’s a series of different experiences you do every week that get more and more difficult as the weeks go on. At the end of the month, you’ve done four very unique experiences around gratitude, some by yourself and some involving other people, so that then you have a toolset of ways to experience gratitude for your well-being as you go forward, but it’s not necessarily something you’re committing to every single day for the rest of your life. That’s an example of one that would affect more of the mental capacity.
Ultimately, what we’re trying to do as we work through these things and they get more challenging as you go, is really address your physical health, your mental health, and what I would call either your spiritual, or if you’re not spiritual, your purposeful health. That’s where the Madefor name came from, is ultimately we’re not just trying to help you understand from a science perspective what you’re made of in a very easy, fun way to engage, but also answer this question, “What am I made for?” I think at some point in all of our lives we ask that question, so we’re creating a very systematic way for you to ultimately get to an answer to that.
Tim Ferriss: I dig it. I dig it, man. I need to get that, that gratitude module, ASAP. I need to correct my bad habits.
Blake Mycoskie: What has been interesting is you laugh about that, but like —
Tim Ferriss: I’m serious.
Blake Mycoskie: Okay. We did a year’s worth of beta group and then we decide to launch on March 4th, right before COVID-19. We have had about 1,000 people going through the program during quarantine, and it’s been amazing to see how this has created such a resilience to the anxiety and the uncertainty and many of the things that we’ve been feeling.
That’s why I was excited to come on the podcast now, because I think the two things that are going to be hopefully most beneficial to people as we try to get back to normal life, number one is there’s going to be a higher rate of divorce than ever in our country’s history, is what all of the experts in that field are telling me, because I have been doing some more research and looking to do some more philanthropy there to help people with the conscious uncoupling.
Number two is people have lost their jobs. They’ve lost their security. They’ve had a tremendous amount of uncertainty coming out. To help people with these daily habits and practices that can really help them reintegrate is I think very time-sensitive.
Tim Ferriss: Oh, I could not agree more. I was 100 percent serious on the gratitude. You mentioned two things that have historically had such incredible ripple effects in my life, namely optimizing sleep and regular gratitude practice, that nonetheless, for whatever reason, I am prone to neglecting. It’s really embarrassing to admit. A 30-day reboot sounds like, for me at least, exactly what the doctor ordered. I agree that it’s time-sensitive, and it will always be time-sensitive in some respects. People can find more at getmadefor.com? Is that the right website?
Blake Mycoskie: Yep, that’s it. That’s correct, yes.
Tim Ferriss: Roger that, so people can find more information at getmadefor.com. Obviously I’ll put that in the show notes as well. I think this is a good place to begin to wrap up. Is there anything else that you would like to say before we begin to come to a close here?
Blake Mycoskie: No. Just like I said at the beginning, I just am appreciative to you of our friendship and our ability to connect on so many things, but for having me back on, because I’m realizing as I realized the first time that being able to talk in this long-form and reflect on some of the things that have had the biggest impact on my life and the main changes I’ve had, it is a therapy session.
I’ve been really blessed. I feel really complete. I feel that I don’t know if I’ll ever reach a state of feeling fully awakened or enlightened, as we read about it in the many, many spiritual books that exist and accounts that some people have had in that, but I do feel that there is a moment — and I think I’m having one right now — where I’ve really done the work.
By doing the work and sharing the work with others and helping other people do the work, I’m seeing that it can work, and you can live in a state of real flourishing. That’s my hope, is that this conversation has inspired someone in the many myriad of topics that we covered to dig a little bit deeper into some personal work and the inner adventure that they possibly are ready to go on, so thank you.
Tim Ferriss: Thank you, Blake. I mentioned gratitude practice. Why not start now? If not now when, Tim Ferriss? I will just say that I also really value our friendship and savor it. I mean, that might sound strange. “Value” sounds almost too quantifiable. It’s something that I’ve found very nourishing, over particularly the last handful of years when we’ve had more contact. It’s impressed me how you often very transparently view yourself as a work in progress, as we all are.
I appreciate you also sharing your struggles, because as I heard someone say once, everyone’s fighting a battle you know nothing about, and it’s easy to feel alone. It’s easy for people to feel alone, isolated or in some way uniquely flawed. In a sense, it’s very heartening to have someone vulnerably share their stories and talk about conscious uncoupling, and chapters and transitions that have no doubt at points been very, very hard. I appreciate that about you and appreciate the friendship. Thanks for coming back for round two.
Blake Mycoskie: Yeah. We’ll see you in another five or 10 years.
Tim Ferriss: The good news is I got bald early, so I’ve already crossed that rubicon. I will not be getting any more bald. Getmadefor.com is the website. People can find you on social at Blake Mycoskie on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. Once again, I really appreciate you taking the time.
Blake Mycoskie: Thanks, Tim.
Tim Ferriss: To everybody listening, we will put links to everything in the show notes at tim.blog/podcast. Just search “Blake” and it will pop right up. Until next time, continue to determine what are you made for, not just what are you made of. Go easy, go easy. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Especially during these COVID times, we’re all a work in progress. Thanks for tuning in.
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 600 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.