Terry Crews on Masculinity, True Power, Therapy, and Resisting Cynicism (#587)

Illustration via 99designs

“You can either have success or revenge, but you can’t have both.”

— Terry Crews

Terry Crews (@terrycrews) can do it all: author, action-movie hero, sitcom star, children’s book illustrator, advertising pitchman, playable video game character, talent show host, high-end furniture designer, and human rights activist. The list goes on and on. 

Terry’s new memoir is Tough: My Journey to True Power. In it, he chronicles the story of how he went from being a six-year-old boy with a goofy, toothless smile to being utterly selfish and angry to being a man who can finally acknowledge his own weaknesses and vulnerabilities and use his experiences to help motivate those around him. 

Terry has starred as a series regular in three consecutive TV series that have surpassed the coveted 100-episode mark: Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Are We There Yet?, and Everybody Hates Chris. Terry is set to star in Tales of the Walking Dead and hosts NBC’s top-rated alternative series America’s Got Talent and its spin-offs, AGT Champions and AGT Extreme.

He recently added yet another title, children’s book illustrator, to his resume for his first-of-its-kind augmented reality book, Come Find Me. Terry’s Crew is Terry’s latest children’s lit entry, a graphic novel set to be released in November 2022. Terry’s Crew provides insight into his childhood in Michigan and what it was like trying to find his place. In 2021, Terry and his wife, Rebecca King Crews, released an exclusive Audible audiobook, Stronger Together, sharing the staggering ups and downs of their relationship and how they have weathered the myriad crises that have rocked their marriage. 

Terry, a lifelong artist, released his furniture collection with Bernhardt Designs in 2017, which premiered at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York and was awarded the prestigious “Best of NeoCon 2017.”

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Podcast Addict, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Amazon Musicor on your favorite podcast platform. You can watch the interview on YouTube here.

Brought to you by Athletic Greens all-in-one nutritional supplement, Gravity weighted blankets, and Allform premium, modular furniture. More on all three below.

The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#587: Terry Crews on Masculinity, True Power, Therapy, and Resisting Cynicism

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


Want to find out what Terry Crews and I talked about the last time he was on the show? Have a listen to our conversation in which we discussed Terry’s art background, the vow that got Terry through his teenage years, maintaining optimism through tough times, the consequences of competition on creativity and overall success, advice for new and expecting parents, letting go of relationships and old friendships that have run their course, coping with self-induced anxiety, and much more.

#287: Terry Crews — How to Have, Do, and Be All You Want


  • Connect with Terry Crews:

Twitter | Instagram | Facebook


  • Hollywood life isn’t all glamorous red carpets and spotlights. What does an average working day look like for Terry, and what supplemental duty has he had to push back against? [07:43]
  • A lot of busy people don’t get around to reading one or two books a week, but for Terry, it makes being busy all the more possible. [13:36]
  • What are some realizations about success that have come to Terry while reading Walter Isaacson’s The Code Breaker and watching the Michael Jordan documentary The Last Dance? [15:04]
  • What’s the biggest mistake a lot of people make — in every walk of life — that causes the most amount of unnecessary suffering? [19:29]
  • How did Terry break himself of the habit of “victimology?” What initiated the event his family now refers to as “the D-Day moment,” and why did he carry a lifelong aversion to therapy that could have possibly helped him sooner? [23:32]
  • What you should be prepared to do without if you’re intent on living life as if you’re in a revenge movie, and what Terry did to regain control of his own actions instead of defaulting to chaos. [33:52]
  • Terry shares real-life examples that demonstrated — to his family as well as himself — that he could break destructive, impulsive patterns of behavior in favor of positive, responsible ones. [42:35]
  • How endurance plays into the way Terry demonstrates strength these days compared to how he expressed it in his earlier, more bombastic iteration. [53:35]
  • Why Terry believes the world determines winners way too early — and what we should be doing instead. [56:35]
  • How can competition be the opposite of creativity if resistance is crucial to growth? Terry explains. [58:58]
  • Terry’s thoughts on protest movements that don’t begin with the aim of reconciliation. [1:02:44]
  • Terry illustrates why he really is a category of one — even when he sometimes lapses in the midst of trying to live his most teachable life. [1:05:04]
  • Genius words from a (Thelonius) Monk, Terry’s war with cynicism, and other parting thoughts. [1:12:43]


“If I lose my focus, I could lose my career.”
— Terry Crews

“Even when you’ve succeeded, when you’ve got this thing, you’re still starting at day one. Every day.”
— Terry Crews

“When you are self-righteous, you can now do the most heinous, inhuman things to other people, because you feel right.”
— Terry Crews

“You can either have success or revenge, but you can’t have both.”
— Terry Crews

“The greatest boxers in the world took punches.”
— Terry Crews

“The world really, really determines winners way too early. … But most of these people don’t end up winning long-term.”
— Terry Crews

“Competition is the opposite of creativity.”
— Terry Crews

“Any movement that doesn’t start with reconciliation, I don’t want any part of. We have to reconcile. We have to reconcile men to women. We have to reconcile black to white. We have to reconcile Republican to Democrat. We have to reconcile. That’s the first rule. Because if we don’t, what you’re doing is postponing a war. That’s all you’re doing.”
— Terry Crews

“I’m at war with cynicism. I’ve decided to be positive and be hopeful and believe the best about every human being.”
— Terry Crews


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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8 Replies to “Terry Crews on Masculinity, True Power, Therapy, and Resisting Cynicism (#587)”

  1. Man I’ve listened to every one of your podcasts (so many amazing episodes), but the Terry Crews one broke me down in tears. I’m white, but have dealt with almost the exact same issues due to my upbringing, this episode has impacted me to my core. Thank you and please keep doing this.

    1. Hi, Patricia.

      Past newsletters are not accessible; however, if you type “5-Bullet Friday” into the search field near the top-right corner of the blog, a number of blog posts will pop up in which Tim shares favorite documentaries, books, quotes, products, etc. from past 5-Bullet Friday newsletters.


      Team Tim Ferriss

  2. Absolutely amazing episode, made me think of one of the most profound quotes I’ve read – I was 19/20 when I read it and hit at the right time in life, from Inheritance by Christopher Paolini,

    “No doubt I would believe my reasons were just, but that’s the trap, isn’t it? The belief that I know better and that because I have this power at my disposal, I have a responsibility to act.”

  3. Terry Crews is one of my favorite hollywood stars. You can watch him in comedies, actions, adventures, etc. Thank you for sharing.

  4. This was a great episode. I appreciate alternative perspectives and a discussion that’s central to dissecting what that means.

    I recognize the discussion on self righteousness and have no intent for personal gain or to inflict personal harm. I am concerned about the continued lack of acknowledgement of Rosalind Franklin in the discovery of DNA.

    It’s unfortunate that certain voices have been given power throughout history and continue to without consideration to the important power held by collaboration.

  5. Wanted to add this quote Terry used, not his I think but still a great one in case others are looking for it. It’s in the transcript as well “That sometimes your greatest hopes are destroyed to prepare you for something better.”