Please enjoy this transcript of a special Q&A episode of The Tim Ferriss Show, during which I answer questions submitted by subscribers to my email newsletter 5-Bullet Friday.
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Transcripts may contain a few typos. With many episodes lasting 2+ hours, it can be difficult to catch minor errors. Enjoy!
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Tim Ferriss: We have questions that were pre-submitted and then we have questions that are coming in on the live feed and I’ll do my best to answer a whole bunch of both. So why don’t we dive in.
The first question I’ll answer is from the live feed. This is from Zahir. “Are you actively taking any actions to reduce your carbon footprint?”
Yes, I am. There are certainly a number of different steps you can take in terms of funding new technologies. A lot of my investing over the last, I would say three to four years has been in various types of tech, different products and services that I think will overall help people to reduce carbon footprint.
I also donate money monthly to different causes and companies including Charm Industrial, which puts oil back underground. People can check that out at charmindustrial.com. And that, I believe, is now funded through, as it stands for me, Terraset. I believe that is how I’m going about doing this, Terraset Climate, so people can look at that as a means, for instance, to hopefully offset some of the carbon footprint of my travel and other things.
I am intensely aware of individual action, but also the necessity in a sense to, number one, not try to consume our way out of this problem, but also simultaneously to recognize that we do need better technology. So it’s a combination of different things.
All right, this is a question from the live feed. “What classical career are you in a parallel reality?” This is Espanol327.
I would say neuroscientist or marine biologist. Those were the two professions that I most wanted to pursue after age, say, 12 or 13. Prior to that it was comic book penciler. So I would say those are my classical careers as such that might exist in some parallel set of universes or in the multiverse on other tracks that are running parallel to this one.
Let me go to the questions that were pre-submitted and I’ll answer a number of those and we’ll bounce back and forth. So the next question is going to be from Lucas. “Hey, Tim, you mentioned in an interview that you allowed yourself to live your life unoptimized. Are you still living an unoptimized life?”
I would say that there’s optimizing and deoptimizing happening simultaneously in the sense that there are certain things that I am optimizing. To define that simply tweaking variables to, say, improve certain outputs based on the inputs. Right? So looking for an elegant refinement in so much as I might approach something like Occam’s Protocol in The 4-Hour Body, which I’ve ended up following, again, roughly the same as it was published in 2010 in The 4-Hour Body.
This is a strength training and resistance training program. It’s a very minimalist, but in the last four to six weeks I’ve probably gained 10 to 15 pounds of muscle and lost a decent amount of fat in the process. That’s more diet-dependent than anything else, the fat-loss side, and that would be slow-carb diet. But when you’re approaching say, progressive resistance, you want to follow the metrics very closely, have some type of plan in advance so one could argue that’s optimizing.
But then there’s deoptimizing, and if you look at my kitchen table and the books strewn about, including this one: Masterpieces of Fantasy Art. This is a TASCHEN book, or a TASCHEN book, Dian Hanson. This is a gift that was put in front of me, to my glee, about two weeks ago, and I’ve been digesting that very slowly. As I have been digesting different types of philosophy and poetry, which certainly I’m not trying to speed read in any sense whatsoever and went for a long meandering, relatively unplanned hike. That is, the path itself wasn’t predetermined with my dog Molly earlier today. So those would all be examples in my mind of unoptimized living.
But they go hand in hand. I don’t think you can really optimize any facet of your life without perhaps strategically deoptimizing or neglecting other aspects. I think it’s beyond the reach of most mortals to optimize everything. So it becomes a question of trade-offs and picking and choosing.
Question from Zain. “Who is someone you’ve been impressed with lately that people may not know of, and why?”
I would say one that comes to mind is an oldie but a goodie. This is a Chinese photographer named Fan Ho, incredible photographer director, multihyphenate, long since passed, as I understand it. But Fan Ho’s work is truly spectacular in terms of the composition of the images. I think all visual artists could learn a lot from Fan Ho. So Fan Ho would be what comes to mind.
I’ll do one more on the questions that were pre-submitted from you all. This is from Yavor. “Do you use personal coaching, and how?”
I have used a lot of personal coaching throughout my life, certainly for sports, for dance, for, let’s just call it, executive coaching. I would also check the box. I’ve worked with Jim Dethmer at conscious.is, that’s the Conscious Leadership Group, and I recommend their book The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership, I believe it is, which was initially recommended to me if I’m recalling correctly, Dustin Moskovitz.
And there are many others that I have used over time. So the short answer is yes. In terms of how or why? I would say there are many different breeds of coach. Some focus on offering strategic advice. Others act as therapists in a sense, ask you a certain set of questions. They tend to each have their toolkits and they elicit different types of thinking by asking questions that you would not be inclined to ask yourself, or perhaps respond to differently when you’re in a conversation. And then there are still others who simply hold you accountable. Or I should say not so simply, in all cases, hold you accountable and they have other types of value that they offer.
But predominantly, say, for someone in my position right now in this chapter of my life as it’s unfolding, I think that the greatest benefit is having someone to stress test my narratives and beliefs, which are sometimes so ingrained that you simply see that as reality. But to have someone who can identify, perhaps, the beliefs that you haven’t stress-tested, to really break assumptions that need breaking or rewrite narratives that need rewriting, number one.
Number two, to ask uncomfortable questions. Number three, to act as an accountability partner, because if you’re at the top of the pyramid, organizationally speaking, or if you’re a solopreneur or anything like that, even if you’re the CEO of a really large company, if you’re at the top and perhaps you don’t have as much accountability in certain respects as you would like, I think a coach can add a lot of value in that capacity.
So those are three of the questions.
I’m going to jump back now to the live stream and see what else we have going on here.
All right. This is a question from Reed, if I’m getting that right. “How have you been working on your ‘good enough’ muscle?” Good enough! Good enough is in quotation marks here, and I suppose that’s meant to underscore my predisposition to being a perfectionist and having some degree of OCD to contend with.
The good enough muscle is actually, I would say, relatively easy to exercise if you recognize you cannot optimize all things as I mentioned earlier, and that it’s a question of trade-offs. And much like some friends of mine have said, you should be, or strive to be, world-class in one or two things. And for the vast majority of other things, except that good enough is plenty good enough.
I would say that I’m trying to make faster decisions, if those decisions are reversible or very low cost. And then you can sort out the details often later. So rather than waiting or hoping or searching for an additional 20 percent of information, let’s just say you’re at 60 percent and you think you could make a better decision at 80 percent. Well, if it’s very low-cost or reversible or both making a fast decision and approaching it in more of a ready, fire, aim sequence, I think, makes a lot of sense. So that’s part of how I am approaching things, if that is helpful.
All right, somebody asked about the video quality and the cam mic lighting details of my current setup.
I have a Logitech Brio webcam, reasonably inexpensive. I’d say it’s $70 or $80, connected to my MacBook Pro.
This is an ATR, I want to say 2100 microphone, but it’s probably the later gen. So an ATR, maybe 2300 USBC mic from Audio-Technica. This is probably also $70 to $80 bucks. And then in terms of light, there is no special lighting aside from the ceiling lights and the natural light coming through very large windows in front of me. So that is my fancy, fancy setup that fits in a backpack and often travels with me in a backpack.
All right, this is a question from Cranberry Leadership. “Hi, Tim. If forced, how much of your success can you directly attribute to studying overseas?”
Direct attribution is hard, but I would say that certainly I do not think I would be sitting here today with the trained ability, I don’t think it’s innate, to ask questions about basic assumptions, to poke at conventional wisdom, in quotation marks and convention overall, had I not spent time abroad. Especially my first year abroad as an exchange student in Japan, given how alien and unlike the US Japan is in almost every respect. So I think that that has directly contributed to my ability to operate in the world in the way that I do. And I’m very grateful for that.
“Can we get a part three with Todd McFarlane?” Quite possibly. Todd is always good. That’s from Moby, and I certainly wouldn’t mind, hopefully in person. I think that would be better.
What would I add to 4-Hour Body if I wrote it today from a name that I cannot pronounce?
I would probably add a chapter on fasting. And I would say Tools of Titans really was intended to be almost an addendum to The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body and The 4-Hour Chef in terms of, say, healthy, wealthy, wise, not necessarily in that order. But the fasting chapters and also segments on mental health and psycho-emotional health, health, and psychedelics that were added to Tools of Titans, I would say probably with some tweaks and updates would have been added to The 4-Hour Body, or if I revised it today, those would be added.
Okay, so here’s a question from Antius, if I’m saying that correctly. “Your vibe in this place seems very intentional.” That is the vibe behind me. “Can you tell us more about why you chose that vibe?” I’ll leave the question at that.
Yeah. This is a very rustic country feeling and it’s also a place that is intended to be lived in. So if you look at, for instance, this wood behind me, this is going to be 20, 30, 40 years old, maybe 50 years old, the floors, same. And I’ve made a few tweaks, few upgrades here and there, but by and large this is intended to be used, possibly abused. There’s scratches all over the table that I’m sitting at with wine stains and so on from heavy social use with friends and family. And this particular spot where I’m spending time is intended to be restful and easeful and part of that is not looking like or being treated like a museum.
Also very sensitive to color palette and natural light. So there’s a lot of natural light here and I love the colors of fall. So you’ll notice the backsplash behind the range has a very autumn-themed palette to it, and that is also very much deliberate.
This is a question from Christina. “Have you ever had imposter syndrome with a podcast guest? If yes, who and why?”
So I wouldn’t say that I’ve had imposter syndrome. I would say that there are times when I have felt very nervous and insecure and have been very worried about stumbling and making mistakes. I think there are a few guests who come to mind.
Certainly my first episode with Arnold Schwarzenegger, that was 2015 and that took a year, a year and a half to set up. Jamie Foxx. Similar, that took a year and a half or two years to set up. And I put incredible extended preparation into both of those episodes.
To give an example that may not be as obvious as an A-list celebrity. Ed Catmull, who at the time I think was president of Pixar, he may have held some other official title, but Ed was the first person I had on the podcast who was both high profile and someone I had never spoken with before. So we had no preexisting rapport, no preexisting friendship, and I was incredibly nervous about that, which is evidenced. We may have cleaned it up, but as he spoke, I was so nervous every time he said something, I did what, in Japanese, I guess would be aizuchi, which is like a confirmation like “Hm, hm, hm.”
So this “Mm, mm, mm,” like someone who’s hungry and looking at a plate full of delicious, hot food drove people nuts. And it was a nervous tic, which we almost certainly ended up editing out significantly.
But I’ve never felt like an imposter, and I am not sure why that is. I know imposter syndrome and that term get used a lot. The idea that you’re going to be found out as a fraud or something like that. But I’ve always tried to be very transparent with my weaknesses and where I am in the learning curve with everyone, including my audience. And I think that prevents that or avoids it at least.
So if I am on the stage telling people that I have A, B, and C weaknesses or that I lack D, E, and F experience, and sometimes I say that explicitly in my conversations, it’s almost like preemptive body armor in a sense. Not only against external criticism, but self-criticism. I don’t need any additional fuel on the fire for negative self-talk. So that could be viewed as a way of bolstering my confidence in whatever skills I might have or in the skills that I’m developing by laying it all on the table, if that makes any sense.
Why do I have a washing machine in the kitchen? That’s a damn fine question. It was in here when I bought the house. I think it’s ridiculous, but it doesn’t really fit anywhere else. So that is why I have a washing machine in the kitchen.
I’ll do a few more in the live stream and then I’ll go to the pre-submitted. All right, it’s from Joseph. “Any plans to go backcountry skiing this winter?”
Absolutely. Lots of plans to go backcountry and sidecountry skiing this winter since that is one of my absolute favorite activities. So ski touring probably on DPS touring skis, which I bought last season and I am extremely excited. Could not be more excited to get out and get amongst it.
All right, this is a question from Aaron. “If you were to start your podcast/brand over today, what would you do differently?”
These questions, this type of question is always challenging to answer because the times, the conditions have all changed and I have changed. What I would say is I started my podcast almost 10 years ago, this upcoming April, it’ll be the 10th anniversary of the podcast. And when I started, I would say podcasting was attractive for the same reasons that angel investing were attractive to me in, say, the 2007/2008 period.
And a few of those ingredients are number one, it wasn’t cutting, cutting, cutting edge. I wasn’t the first person to podcast. There was a certain critical mass of, say, a thousand true fans, many more certainly for shows like Rogan or Nerdist or Marc Maron. So there was a proof of concept already in front of me. I saw that something was happening and gaining in momentum and power.
With the angel investing very similarly, there were a lot of venture capitalists, a handful of angel investors who were doing well. There was this burgeoning new species of investment vehicle or person, let’s call it, who were deeming themselves micro VCs at the time, but it was otherwise pretty uncrowded. Ditto with podcasting, relatively uncrowded easily to differentiate myself and to establish a podcast that would stand out from the crowd and be appealing to my audience. And the ability to become the signal above the noise was very, very high.
And as it stands right now, podcasting has become much more crowded and I think that it is something I would not pursue with the same degree of conviction, or at least it wouldn’t seem obvious off the bat.
All right, this is a question from Chris. “How is cutting back on booze going? Any advice on how to set expectations with friends who are particularly fond of drinking?”
Cutting back on booze is going really well. I haven’t had any in, I don’t know, a week or two and I’m planning on doing no booze for all of October and the first half of November. So it’ll be minimum of six weeks with no booze whatsoever. And in terms of setting expectations, it’s, I would say, number one, being up front if I’m ever invited to go out that I’m not drinking and I don’t want to have a big conversation about it. I don’t want to feel pressured. I am just not drinking right now.
And you could use an athletic goal as a pretext for that. Say you’re trying to cut down on weight. Say you’re trying to see how it affects your HRV. You could certainly use anything like that. You could say that you’re taking medication or supplements that might be contraindicated with alcohol, which is pretty much everything, by the way. So it doesn’t need to be a lie. It can just be maybe an overemphasized minor truth in this case. All of those approaches I think could work pretty well.
All right. Here’s a question I get a lot, actually. This is from Branislav. “Your face is so smooth, no wrinkles. Do you use any particular skin products or have you had any beauty treatments like Botox or anything like that?”
No. I have not had any of those enhancements whatsoever. And I have used Dr. Bronner’s unscented Castile soap, so large containers of Dr. Bronner’s unscented soap for pretty much everything for years now. I refill my hand soap with Dr. Bronner’s and there are these devices you can get on Amazon with mason jars that help you to basically create foams doing this. So you can put that in your bathroom or anywhere else. And that is effectively all I use for both my face, my head, and my body. And my general approach with self-care is the fewer chemicals, the fewer ingredients, the better.
This has been my policy for a long time. It’s also why I tend not to use sunscreens. Occasionally I’ll use something that is predominantly, say, zinc oxide if I’m going to be in a very harsh set of conditions, for instance, especially if I’m on snow or anything that’s going to be reflective where I might get incredibly burned, then I might use something like that. But otherwise I will use long sleeve shirts, hats, et cetera to minimize my sun exposure or take breaks, right? I’ll be exposed for 20 to 30 minutes and then I’ll take a break and I’ll slowly acclimate over time as opposed to putting sunscreen with 30 ingredients on my skin.
We’ve seen recall after recall after recall, for instance, of sunscreens based on different carcinogens and so on. I’m not sure that’s helpful, but I will say that there is such a thing as over applying chemistry and enhancements to your body and your face. So I really try to use a light hand and the less, the better.
I would also say that your external condition, I think is often a reflection of your internal condition. I do consume a lot of healthy fats. I take Nordic Naturals omega-3 supplements. I alternate between fish and algae, which has completely eliminated any type of nausea that I have felt from other omega-3 supplementation. As an example, I pay a lot of attention to diet, so I would say I’m working from the inside out as opposed to trying to address the cracks in the veneer with topical treatments. But I get this question a lot, so I wanted to take a stab at answering it. I also think that the lighting and the camera are very flattering at the moment. I do have crow’s feet, large crow’s feet.
All right, let’s see. I have a question from Big Dog. “Do you notice a pattern in your happiness levels in regards to different types of social activities, parties, nightclubs, events, hiking, et cetera?”
I would say definitely I do. And for this reason I try to schedule two guys trips for me. So two guys trips per year at least, which are generally in the six-to-eight-person range doing something active. The last trip was back and sidecountry skiing. I could certainly see another option being hiking or fishing or something that involves movement.
And group dinners. Group could be two or three. I think the ideal number for me is probably three to five, maybe even three to six as long as people don’t split off into side conversations ideally. When I am in a city that makes that easy to organize or a place where that is easy to organize, I would say two to three times a week seems to be the magic number, but even once per week, honestly, ideally, say, Wednesday, something like that, or during the week, which gives me a booster shot of well-being from a mental psychoemotional perspective to carry me then through the rest of the week. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, take care of themselves, especially Friday, Saturday. So those are a few things.
Will had a good answer for the alcohol and what to say to your friends. “I just tell them I’m allergic to alcohol. I break out in handcuffs when I drink.” That’s pretty good.
A question from — we’ve got lots of questions now. Okay, that’s because we have 1,382 people now instead of 31. Okay. “Who do you want to interview you haven’t interviewed yet?”
There are so many people who come to mind. Ryan Reynolds would be very high on my list. I would really love to have him on the podcast, but TBD.
All right, this is from Hungarian Language and Culture. “Have you ever thought about interviewing Dan John?” I have thought about interviewing Dan John, and thank you for the reminder. So I’m going to write that down. I’m a big fan of Dan John and Easy Strength and his work with Pavel Tsatsouline. Certainly he would be an interesting addition to the roster. So I will put that down.
This is from PJ. “Where in your creative process do you feel the greatest friction today? And what strategies from the top one percent of creatives you’ve interviewed have worked for you to help overcome them?”
I would say the friction honestly is feeling fear around delving into new formats. That could be screenplay, it could be comic book writing, which I think is the most likely next step for me. I think comics, and I have The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics, something along those lines. Let me grab it.
The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics right here by Dennis O’Neil, which is a great book by the way. And the challenge for me is getting started. It’s also delivering something by a specific deadline.
In terms of the top one percent creatives and what I have borrowed or find useful that I think could help me get over this hump, frankly, it’s being accountable to other people. So I’ve brought in others to help me with creative concept art pushes, and I’m in the process of reviewing various types of environmentals and backgrounds, for instance, right now. And there are deadlines for that. That helps push the ball forward.
With something like the comics, I think having, for instance, an accountability partner or a coach to focus on things like this so that if I do not deliver, it’s a matter of a very uncomfortable conversation where they say, “Tim, you committed to doing this by this point in time. You didn’t do it. You’ve hired me to help you with accomplishing these things. What are we doing here?”
Honestly, and one of the questions I get a lot, is when you’re getting this advice from four or five people per month, what do you pay attention to? Do you have FOMO about doing certain things and not other things? How do you incorporate all the advice?
And frankly, there are times when I experiment with new types of advice and then there are times when I hit pause and I say, “If I were to assume I know what to do, what are the things I know I should do? What are the things I know work?” Cold exposure, resistance training, very basic meditation, 20 minutes twice a day. There are certain ingredients that are easy to neglect because they don’t have the newness. They aren’t the shiny objects that have been put in front of me by a guest who I admire and aspire to be more like.
Oftentimes it’s not a question of figuring out what to add. It’s rather a question of looking very closely at why you are failing to implement the few things that you know reliably work and then removing those impediments. All right, you have resistance. There are certain obstacles or things that are preventing you from reengaging with these things. You’re doing them consistently. What are those? How can you make them automatic? How can you look at the work of say, BJ Fogg and perhaps James Clear, Atomic Habits, so that you can build these things into automatic behaviors like brushing your teeth?
And those are phases that alternate for me. Right now I’d say I am not in the new habit accumulation phase, but rather looking back over my experience over the last five to 10 years, what are the things that consistently work, that work almost every time I implement them consistently? And how can I return to those things?
All right, couple of other questions. Itzhak, I apologize if I’m not pronouncing that correctly. “Have you ever learned about or studied the Talmud?”
I haven’t directly. I’m very interested. I’m interested in holy scriptures overall, and I’m actually going to be taking time over the next month to read a lot of these holy scriptures. I think that it is probably impossible to understand humanity as it has evolved or changed over certainly the last 2,000 years, 3,000 years without, depending on whose scriptures we’re referring to, without having some, at least basic passing familiarity with these texts. So I will be taking that time over the next three to four weeks.
Here’s a question from David. This is about language learning. “Tim, you’ve talked and written so much about language learning, but not as much about maintaining and revamping your languages. I’m trilingual and working on language number four, thanks in no small part to resources like The 4-Hour Chef and feel that keeping up with all my languages is often just as much work as acquiring them in the first place. What practices or processes, if any, do you have for keeping up with your Japanese, Spanish, and other languages?”
All right, I do have some approaches here. So number one is something that’s become much easier in the last handful of years, and that is movies, watch movies. Not only watch, say, for instance movies in Japanese, so Japanese movies with English subtitles. Watch English language movies with Japanese subtitles. And ditto for Spanish, right? So watch English language movies you know well, ideally, right? It could be something you’ve seen a hundred times like Die Hard or whatever, it doesn’t really matter with Spanish subtitles. And then conversely, watch Spanish language movies with English subtitles. Preferably that’s something that is, say, a series or a television show. I just find there’s a little bit more grist for the mill. And you can get used to the speech patterns of various protagonists and actors within a given series. So I’ve done that with Spanish multiple times.
Another approach is linking them together. So linking languages together. And what I mean by that is if, for instance, you have learned, in my case, Japanese first, when I wanted to learn German, I bought both Japanese language versions of One Piece, which is a very famous manga, very famous comic book. I bought German language versions of the same One Piece comic book, which is a global phenomenon. Many people know it now, but certainly back in 2005 this would’ve been less common in German and then later in Spanish so I could read the same series. And if I’m reading the German and I don’t understand a section, rather than going to an English-German dictionary or a German-English dictionary, I’m going back to the Japanese and I’m using the Japanese to learn the meaning of the German.
And by doing that, I’m reviewing my Japanese while acquiring the German. And then later, for instance, when I did Spanish, I used the German language version of One Piece as my safety net for the Spanish language version of One Piece. So I’m reading it in Spanish. If I don’t understand something, I’m not going to English, I’m not going Japanese, I’m going to my most recent language, which is going to be in that case German, if that makes any sense.
And what’s beautiful about these comic books is they are laid out page by page, pane by pane, typically in exactly the same way. So the dialogue should map really cleanly. And another benefit, which I just alluded to for the comic books, is that they are almost entirely dialogue. Rather than exposition, dense prose that is very literary in nature, almost all of it is dialogue. And granted, they might be talking about pirates or something else that’s not going to fall into your daily conversation all the time, but a lot of it will and certainly the grammar will.
All right, that is language learning.
Okay, this is a question from Krishna. Molly pup. That’s Molly pup right there, my dog. “Can you please share more on your daily care and routine for Molly? We have a puppy and want to incorporate best practices and diet plan and training. Big thanks for everything you do.”
Thanks for the question. So I do have some videos on YouTube related to basics of dog training. I am not the world’s greatest dog trainer, but I did spend a lot of time looking at different types of training. As far as books go, I would strongly recommend Don’t Shoot the Dog by, I believe it’s Karen Pryor, who popularized clicker training using clicker training, which she had initially, I believe, refined with aquatic mammals who really don’t respond to negative reinforcement, right? If you’re training a dolphin and they don’t do what you want them to do, you can’t really fold up a newspaper and smack the dolphin on the butt with “Bad dolphin.” They just swim away. So you then in turn get much better at positive reinforcement.
This is also true if you’re say, trying to train a chicken, which is something I still want to learn how to do. I want to do a weekend course in training chickens. And one of the quotes in the book I remember, I can’t remember the attribution, but it was, “No one should be allowed to have a child until they’ve been forced to train a chicken.” And there’s a lot to it.
So if you want to learn about conditioning overall, and certainly as it relates to a dog, I think clicker training and Karen Pryor and Don’t Shoot the Dog are a great place to start. There are some fantastic YouTube channels, which I believe at least last I checked, I referred to in the description and some of my videos on the Tim Feriss YouTube channel.
So you can take a look at those, but there are various types or categories of training. There’s safety, which should take precedence over, say, kind of vanity tricks, right? Dog spinning around less important than the dog staying, say, in the back of the car and not jumping out until you’ve issued a command that sort of releases the dog to jump out because they could get hit by a passing car or something like that.
In terms of routines, lots and lots of walking. Breed by breed different breeds will have higher demands. If they’re working dogs like a Border Collie, you really shouldn’t have that dog in an apartment in the city, for instance. They just require way too much exercise for it to be compatible with most people in a heavily urban environment. But big dogs, really big dogs, and really little dogs do pretty well in those constrained environments.
Molly is kind of like her old man, me, a former athlete, not great endurance, very heat intolerant. So her enthusiasm outstrips her capacity for work, which is great for me because I can take her for an hour-long or two-hour-long walk and I can either do that in the wilderness or do it leashed, usually attached around the waist and listen to an audiobook if that’s something that I want to do.
But I just swam laps in the pool before jumping onto this Q&A in freezing cold water as a way to wake up. And that is one of her favorite activities. And she’ll run around the pool from end to end to end to end, basically doing a shuttle run for the entire time that I’m swimming. So a tired dog is a happy dog. It’s also true for humans, by the way. A physically exhausted human is generally a happy human, and a well-trained dog is a happy dog.
Now, well-trained could be substituted with a dog with clear rules is a happy dog. And I think that also applies to parenting and kids, right? How consistent are you, how predictable are you and therefore perceived as stable? I think all of these things apply.
So those are a couple of recommendations, but certainly when you look at Karen Pryor and clicker training, I also think if your puppy is young enough, crate training is one of the greatest gifts you can give your dog. Do not give your puppy the opportunity to make mistakes. It’s harder to remove behaviors than it is to prevent them in the first place. So if you don’t want your dog to chew on shoes, just get shoes out of their range. Get them off of the floor so they don’t develop that habit and they get past that teething phase. And then you’ll never have a problem with your dog chewing shoes.
Here’s one. Mary: “Do you batch cook?” Yeah, I do. Especially if I’m by myself, I’ll batch cook and then I’ll eat meals for a while. I have been following the slow-carb diet, as described in The 4-Hour Body. You can find it online. If you just search “How to Lose 100 Pounds [on] the Slow-Carb Diet,” there’s a blog post that I wrote that lays out all the basics, and you don’t need the book for that.
I’ve been cooking, for instance, chili. I have chili in the refrigerator. Then, I cooked up some 95/5, so 95 percent ground venison, five percent ground organs, Maui Nui Venison ground meat, which is the most nutritionally dense meat you can buy in the United States, as far as I’m concerned. And they have the analysis on the website to demonstrate just how incredibly nutrient rich their meat is. And their blends, especially with a bit of organ meat.
I’ll cook that. And the combination of that, plus the chili, plus a little goat cheese, because you’ve got to have a little goat cheese, plus some sauteed spinach, which was cooked at the same time, that’ll feed me for three or four meals. And as someone who’s currently flying solo, I’m about to leave the country, that is a fantastic go-to meal that I can just recycle over and over again. I’ll generally, I would say, cook, batch cook enough to feed me for four to five meals. And then, I’ll go out at least once a day to have the social interaction.
This is from Leif, L-E-I-F. “Are there any global or national trends in the next five to 10 years that aren’t talked about enough or you believe more people should be paying attention to? If applicable, how are you personally preparing for this or these shifts?”
I would say one that comes to mind is, for lack of a better term, digital emotional surrogacy. I’m sure there is a sexier or more elegant term for this, but the inevitable development that we will have, I would say, within the next, probably two years, photorealistic avatars that we can interact with through, say, virtual reality. And if you haven’t seen the demo of the Metaverse with Zuckerberg with Lex Fridman on his recent podcast on YouTube that showcases what this can look like, I would encourage everybody to at least watch the first five minutes to get a taste of things to come with the ability to interact with photorealistic avatars.
Furthermore, with the ability to interact with photorealistic avatars who might be your favorite celebrity, like a Taylor Swift, with very convincing facial expressions, we are getting to a point where companies like Replika, for instance, Replika with a K at the end, K-A instead of C-A, where digital companions are going to become, for many people, not just a supplement to human interaction, but a replacement for human interaction.
I would say that the loneliness epidemic, from my perspective, is probably only going to get more nuanced, more complex and more challenging to address, in some respects, because especially for people like myself who are introverts, I’m taking active steps, so I’ll answer that second part of your question, to maybe preemptively gird myself for this.
But for those people who are already intimidated or taxed by going out and interacting with one person or groups of people, you could see the case of, for many of them, opting out completely. And I think we already have problems with declining birth rates, and there are many countries that are below replacement rates at this point. I am very curious to see what societal impact that will have.
The way I am counteracting that for myself is booking things on the calendar in advance. And by in advance, I mean, at this point, I’m probably six months out booking trips, booking time with friends, booking time with family, getting it on the calendar, putting money behind it. It doesn’t have to be a lot of money, but enough money that you can benefit from the sunk cost fallacy and feel invested so you won’t cancel things. And really giving myself very few options for opting out of social encounters I know, social interactions that I’ve proven to myself over time are always in my best interest. Even if I will drag my feet to get there in the first place, I will leave being better off.
Those are a few thoughts in terms of trends. People are paying a lot of attention to, say, AI, in broad strokes, or machine learning, in broad strokes. But my interest, and certainly, what I’m also watching in my audience are some of the societal implications and the psychological mass psychological implications of these things. You will be able to take steps to perhaps put a moat around yourself to minimize the damage, but this is something to pay attention to.
And I would also say that, as these tools become more and more convincing, we’ve blown away the Turing test, it’s already been beaten or passed, so as these tools and machines become more and more convincing, more and more appealing, I think that there will be the very natural impulse to offload more and more of the things that we currently handle in our own heads or manually. And if you want to preserve some of those abilities, you’re going to have to decide to be, perhaps, a selective Luddite, or at least for periods of time, be a selective Luddite.
For instance, how many people here would say their parents are better at directions offline, not using Google Maps than the younger generations? And I would imagine a lot of people would raise their hand. And this is perhaps not controversial because people have decided to embrace something like Google Maps or many other competitors to help them with convenience and accuracy and so on.
However, if you don’t use it, you lose it, and it’s easy to embrace convenience and not recognize severe atrophy of capabilities until it’s very hard to reverse. I think that that is a meta awareness that needs to be developed as we are interacting with these increasingly seductive and powerful tools. Long answer, but these are things that I think about.
All right. Here’s a question from Andre. “I’ll go on a longer trip to Japan next year and I would love to know one of your favorite secret spots in the country for a visit.” All right. Here are a couple of recommendations. And one will be not so secret, but a lot of foreigners don’t visit it, and that’s the Ghibli Museum. They call it Mitaka Forest, but it is basically in Inokashira Park, Inokashira-koen. You can get the tickets, or at least, you could at Lawson convenience stores. You could ask a hotel concierge to also try to help you with this.
I believe there are now two locations. Ghibli is G-H-I-B-L-I. It is effectively the Disney of Japan. Miyazaki Hayao is figurehead behind Ghibli. And my favorite movie, Spirited Away, is, I think, their crowning achievement, but I’m biased. Ghibli Museum. And Inokashira Park is also tremendous.
I would say, if you drink, Gen Yamamoto, so G-E-N, Yamamoto, Gen Yamamoto is this tiny, tiny, I think it seats six to eight people, bespoke cocktail bar where you sit down, and it’s basically omakase, and the bartender serves you drinks. You don’t get to request things, you don’t get to object, you just get served, like a master sushi chef would put things in front of you, various drinks. And you have this experience, which is tremendous.
And I actually first met, I think it’s Gen, or Yamamoto anyway, at Brushstroke, I think was the name of the restaurant in New York City where I bumped into him. At the time, I was doing the food marathon from The 4-Hour Chef, for those people who remember that, where I had whatever it was, 26.2 dishes in 24 hours walking around New York City. And he was sitting there with this ice pick and a number of tools, chiseling huge blocks of ice into perfect spheres to make his cocktails, and we struck up a conversation. When a friend of mine invited me to this place in Tokyo, I was sitting there and after the first or second drink, we both looked at each other at the same time and we’re like, “I know you.” “I know you. Where do I know you from?” And we put it together. There’s that.
I would say there is a semi underground whisky bar that is quite well known in Niseko, up in the North. If you go skiing, I would certainly take a minute and check that out. There can’t be too many of them. And it’s a husband and wife team. The husband is Japanese and the wife is, I want to say Australian or British. I apologize to her that I’m probably not getting it right. It should be pretty easy to spot. And then, if you can get to Nikko, N-I-K-K-O, in the fall especially, but higher elevation, beautiful rural area, if you can get there, it’s amazing for sightseeing, but they also have occasional demonstrations of Japanese horseback archery, which is yabusame, Y-A-B-U-S-A-M-E. And if you have the chance to see that, you should definitely see it. It will blow your mind.
All right. A question from Jane. “At one point you talked about making the improvement of education in our country a focus. Is that still an interest of yours? And if so, what are your thoughts at this time about how to do that?” Yes, it’s still of interest. I did shift my focus to mental health therapeutics, including psychedelics, for the last, let’s call it eight years, but education is always close to the front of my mind.
And I would say that I’ve shifted my focus in that arena to not necessarily trying to fix policy and so on, because it’s beyond my capabilities and above my pay grade. It’s just not the arena where I can make the most impact. By focusing on talent sourcing, because there are often huge surpluses of scholarships and funds that are made available by giant foundations, but go unclaimed because it is challenging in time to find the most promising under-resourced kids in the country, period.
It’s a talent sourcing problem. There are organizations like QuestBridge, which I’ve supported a lot in the past and feel very strongly about. There are others that do a lot of good in public schools with various core materials and so on like donorschoose.org, which I’ve been involved with as well. And then, there are new startups that are doing very interesting things with accelerated learning and harnessing technology for that purpose. Certainly, Khan Academy is interesting. Mentava is a very new startup that I have backed, and fingers crossed that they do a lot in that field.
This is a question from Andy. “Arthur C. Brooks episode had an immediate impact upon my life philosophies. Was curious whether it did the same for you, if it had a big impact. You two seemed to become fast friends. Thanks.”
Yes, the episode with Arthur was a real delight, and I appreciated his ability to spin many plates very well. He is, from a secular perspective, very dedicated to studying the science, mostly on the social science side, but certainly tries to tie that together with neuroscience in the fields that he’s exploring.
He is deeply religious, and I find that very interesting. And I think the question of how to create meaning more so than find meaning, but you could use both, how to create meaning in a world of pessimism and nihilism where, in many countries, religion has fallen away, at least in some of the more urban environments, is going to become an increasingly pressing question. I am personally focused on that. For me, individually, but also as I just look at the different state changes in various demographics in my audience, it’s very concerning. I do think about this a lot.
And I predicted, a few years ago, and we’re already seeing this, but it will continue to be the case and will accelerate dramatically, I think. There will be an explosion of what you might consider new religions. Some of them will masquerade as other things, right? CrossFit, veganism, whatever it might be, but very strongly held belief systems that are defended with religious fervor where people who are heretics from within are certainly ostracized. These types of groups, some of them with overt spiritual overtones or laws/commandments/intentional living rules, whatever you might call it.
I think we will see a vast proliferation of these things, as well as more uptake with the Judeo Christian or Abrahamic religions. I think all of those things are going to become more and more appealing to humans, who, love it or hate it, seem to be inextricably combined with religion or the seeking of this thing called God.
And even in the most secular of societies, people worship something. And I think the people who are at most risk of self-deception and societal problems are those people who aren’t clear on what they’re worshiping. And this is barring from, I think it might’ve been from Infinite Jest, but everyone worships something. It’s just a question of knowing what you’re worshiping. That has certainly become of greater interest to me.
This is a question from Reese. “Weightlifting for longevity. What are your thoughts? What are you doing differently?”
I think, if you’re going to choose one type of exercise and one type of exercise only, resistance training, which can sometimes take the form, often takes the form of weight training, would be the best investment for longevity and health span. Certainly, for combating age related decline of muscle mass and so on and so forth.
There were a lot of questions that have come up in the pre-submitted questions around, say, the slow-carb diet, weight loss, how do you make weight loss sustainable? And a lot of people have the experience of losing weight, and then, regaining that weight. For instance, I’m helping my dad right now with the slow-carb diet. In the last, I want to say three months, he’s lost 53 pounds, so he’s doing really well. But those gains, meaning those losses, are hard to hold onto unless you upgrade your underlying machinery.
And what I mean by that is increasing muscle mass, your mitochondrial engine, so to speak, such that you have greater ability to dispose of glucose. You have better ability, with this enhanced machinery, to generate heat, to manage your insulin and glucose response to food. Weight training, really, we could look at the mortality rates associated with broken hips and so on in elderly populations. There’s so many different outputs from pulling the one lever of consistent progressive resistance with, say, weight training, that for me, it’s just a no-brainer.
Yes, there are other things that you can do and should do, probably, like zone 2 training as described by Peter Attia. But for me, based on all of the data, based on, certainly, surveying my audience, seeing what works, what doesn’t, who’s able to keep weight off, who’s able to sustain their progress over time, the common factor that I’ve identified is weight training.
Now, why do I say weight training? Yes, I said resistance training because you can use something like gymnastic strength training, GST, which is fantastic, but it is, in some cases, more challenging to quantify the progress. Whereas, if you’re lifting dumbbells, 10 pounds is 10 pounds, 12 pounds is 12 pounds, 15 pounds is 15 pounds. And in such a case, it’s really basic and very straightforward to track your progressive resistance where you are increasing the amount of weight or the number of reps and increasing the productive stress that you’re applying to your system over time.
And I should note that that is another reason, why if you have proper instruction, very, very key, underline, underline, if you have proper technical instruction, that free weights are often superior to machines. If you’re in one place and you always will have access to the same machines, feel free to use machines. But otherwise, in my case, when I am traveling, a lot of the year, dumbbells are, for instance, barbells are easy to use anywhere I find them, and a pound is a pound or a kilogram is a kilogram. That’s a long answer to a short question, but if I had to pick one tool for longevity in the exercise bucket, not on the diet side of things or in other categories, I would choose, for myself, weight training.
All right. This is a question from Natalie. “Hey, Tim. What have you learned from years of interviewing around asking the right questions and enabling meaningful conversations?”
I would say I’ve learned a whole bunch, and I’ll probably do a recap, if such a thing is possible, around the 10-year anniversary of the podcast because I feel like I’ve learned a lot. In terms of asking questions, I would say that an interview is very much like a conversation. If you meet someone at a cocktail party and your first or second question is, “Tell me about the most traumatic experience of your life,” they’re going to think you’re a crazy person because nobody communicates that way.
And there is a rapport-building, feeling-out process, so I plan for that and I often will spend, say, 10 minutes, five to 10 minutes before we record having a conversation so that the guest can feel more at ease with me so that we can then get into some other corners. I will also set the expectation in advance that they have final cut, they have final edit, they’ll get a transcript, they can remove anything they want to remove. I will also look out for them, and for that reason, we should really explore the edges. We should really push and let it fly because I can always cut things out later, but we can’t add the interesting or the unexpected back in later. That effectively buys both of us permission to go places that might not be typical for a conversation.
I always tell them where I’m going to start so they build confidence in the beginning and no one stumbles out of the gates. Also, I would say, look for the side alleys. Realizing that my podcast is not live, for instance, sometimes, the digressions don’t work. Sometimes, the exit ramps that I think could take us somewhere interesting don’t work. But other times, they really end up being incredibly important.
And one example that hops to mind is my conversation with Debbie Millman, my first interview of Debbie Millman. And some of you will recognize that name also because she and I had a conversation around childhood abuse and our respective healing journeys from early childhood abuse. And the reason I felt comfortable going there with her personally, for my own story, was that, when I first interviewed her, the list of questions, all the prep was intended to focus on her background in graphic design and her career trajectory, but I had noticed that, whenever she was asked about her childhood or her parents, she would generally answer in one or two very vague general statements and move on. And I thought that was curious and I wanted to learn more about it.
I didn’t suspect what was coming, but I felt like at least we could cover some new territory. And I asked her if she would be comfortable, this is part of my five to 10 minutes before we hit record, with me asking her about her childhood. And she said, “Well, maybe. We’ll see. You can try. And then I’ll answer if I feel comfortable.” I asked her about this, and this was pretty early in the conversation, I would say in the first half hour, and it ended up being the first time she had ever spoken publicly about childhood sexual abuse and this incredibly traumatic period in her life and everything she’d done to try to recover from that. And that was the rest of the interview, right?
So I always try to take a shot at the odd question or topic, maybe it comes up in my research, maybe it comes up in the conversation where there’s a throwaway comment that might not be a throwaway comment. And then I ask, “Well, let’s come back to that for a second. How did that make you feel?” Some very basic follow-up questions often to the trick. “What did you learn from that? Walk us through that moment. What was your internal experience? What was your self-talk when A happened? Or when you did B?” These very basic follow-up questions that take you off script often lead to the most fertile ground.
And also in the first, I would say 10 minutes or so, I try to ask questions that they have never been asked before. Simply to show based on my research with, say, some very arcane point in Wikipedia that links to another thing that links to another reference that links to another reference and I get a quote from, I’m making this up, but the second boss they ever had when they were working at an ice cream shop, and I asked them what their interaction was like with so-and-so, or who was so-and-so and how did they fit into your life? And they go, “Oh, wow, okay. You really do your homework.” And that snaps them out of any autopilot dream state that they might’ve accidentally slipped into or deliberately slipped into. People who get interviewed a lot have their 60-minute set just like professional comedians because they learn what works. And I don’t blame them. I can do the same thing.
So those are a few thoughts on things I’ve learned about interviewing. I could go on and on and on, but those are a handful that come to mind.
All right. This is from Lexi. “30 grams within 30 minutes, a la the slow-carb diet or intermittent fasting?”
I’m still a 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes, but I will say that that doesn’t mean an entire meal, necessarily. So I’ve been waking up in the mornings, for instance. I’ll show you what I’ve been having.
I am going to sound like a bit of a broken record here, but these are venison sticks peppered, and they have between nine and 11 grams of protein each. This is with 100 percent wild-harvested venison from
, like Maui as in the island, Nui, N-U-I. And full disclosure, I mean I ended up loving these guys so much that I invested in the company. But that is not why I consume this. Three of these, I can stick them in a backpack, that’s my 30 grams. And I will have these first thing in the morning, then go for a walk with Molly for about a half hour. That’s when I’ll have my first caffeine. I’ll sit down with The Five-Minute Journal, which is something I’ve reintegrated into my life, referring back to what I mentioned earlier about taking the things that work and reapplying them, ensuring you are doing them as opposed to constantly adding the new, the new, the new.
So three of these sticks, go for a walk for half hour, have my first caffeine, sit down, Five-Minute Journal, get up, half hour back, and then by that point I will probably have some type of small meal. This will likely be around 10:00 a.m., let’s say, maybe a little bit earlier. And then I’ll postpone, that’s probably on the order of 400 calories to 500 calories. And then I’ll have my first real meal per se, as lunch, let’s call it at 1:00 p.m., something like that. But I have just seen better results for people with 30 grams within 30 minutes waking up. It’s very straightforward. It’s very clear. There’s no gray area. And it seems to kickstart the metabolic machinery in a way that is very helpful for cognition, for sustained energy, for a million different things. And there are, if you follow the letter of the law per se, very few ways you can screw that up.
With intermittent fasting there are a lot of ways you can screw that up, and we don’t have to get into all of the ways. There are many people who thrive on intermittent fasting, but there are a lot of ways you can screw it up. And if you look at, for instance, what I wrote in The 4-Hour Chef and The 4-Hour Body, but especially in The 4-Hour Chef as it related to accelerated learning, failure points, identifying the failure points and removing as many failure points as possible. 30 grams within 30 minutes of waking up avoids dozens of different possible dietary failure points and body re-composition failure points as well. If you’re trying to maintain muscle mass and decrease your fat mass, then I simply find this to be more consistent for more people in what I’ve seen.
This is from a drummer. “What’s your approach for managing fear of death? I loved your practical thoughts on suicide article from years ago. It helped me through some tough times. Thank you.”
You’re very welcome. Yeah, if people have not read that, if you’re in a dark place, certainly call a hotline, a suicide hotline if you need to. But I do have a blog post about my darkest period called “Some Practical Thoughts on Suicide,” if anyone might find that helpful right now.
In terms of managing fear of death, I think that my fear I need to manage is not fear of death, it’s fear of the descent to death. So losing my health span, my cognition, my physical performance. And I haven’t really figured that out fully to be honest, and maybe I never will. But in terms of fear of death, I find Stoicism very, very helpful. And I’ll show you an oldie here. This is literally, again, harkening back to rereading or reintegrating the things that have worked. This is a book from the Harvard Classics with Plato, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius. I would say Seneca certainly is a fantastic addition in terms of memento mori, remembering you’re going to die.
I find, and I’m not recommending this to all people at all, but if you have what would be described as mystical experiences and you can in a sense assess these things with questionnaires as they have done at Johns Hopkins and so on with psilocybin-assisted therapies. When you have these transcendent experiences where your ego seems to dissolve, that could be through psychedelics, it could be through any number of different spiritual traditions and practices, could happen spontaneously, could happen in meditation and it often does in experienced meditators or in some people the very first time they try a new type of meditation, they will have this experience of vanishing. Having the self vanish for a brief period of time. That was my experience the very first time I did transcendental meditation, and then I spent the next 10 plus years trying to get back to that state. Which turns out to be pretty common.
But once you’ve tasted that, for me at least, it begs the question is that so different from lights out? Is it possible to then also be the observer even when the self is extinguished? Is it possible to experience what we consider consciousness even without any identity to point to? And I think the answer is yes. Also, as Naval Ravikant, I guess has said before, he is like, “You remember what it was like before you were born?” It’s like, yeah, like that. So since sitting here right now, I can’t say I was terrified before I was born, maybe it is very much the same. And of course there are infinite possibilities and every tradition we can imagine has come up with some working theory of what happens in the afterlife. But for better or for worse, that is our sentence as humans is to be aware of mortality. But those are a few things that I have found helpful myself.
Very kind words in the comments. Thank you, guys. I really enjoy doing this. I’m thrilled that I get to do it and I really appreciate you all being here.
This is from Carlos: “What exercises/techniques work to get rid of your back pain after the podcast episodes with Shirley Sahrmann, PT, PhD?”
There are a number of things that have been very helpful. I’m still working on it, is the short answer. But, there are some portable traction devices that I found quite helpful. Let me grab it, it’s right next to me.
Because I have been going to a sports doctor who uses a very sophisticated traction device, but I travel so much I don’t always have access to this. So this right here is called Fisher Traction, and it basically wraps around a door handle and then goes around your waist and you lay on your back and scoot yourself away to apply traction. And then you relieve the traction every five minutes or so and you do repetitions of this. I just listen to an audiobook and/or hop on the phone and do that. I found that incredibly helpful for gapping a bit, especially on my low back right side, say, between L5, L5 where I have some stenosis and nerve impingement because of a bulging disc. I have found focusing on internal rotation and external rotation, very helpful. That’s something that Shirley underscored for me.
Definitely focusing on terminal hip extension when walking. So ensuring that I’m pushing off of my toe, in other words, ensuring that I’m pushing off and getting that last bit of the stride as opposed to pulling my leg forward with the hip flexor. Instead of pulling it forward, stop. Pull it forward, stop. I’m trying to push off and make sure I feel that in my toe on each foot and then have that leg swing through. And on top of that, there are any number of different things I could add to this, of course. But foam rolling the piriformis and the IT bands and TFL, I’ve found incredibly helpful. I use a Hyperice vibrating foam roller, which seems to relieve spasms much more effectively than other things.
And then avoiding certain things. So if I sit on a very hard wooden chair, my QL, my Quadratus Lumborum, and external obliques and so on will spasm to try to support that area because of the compression sensitivity. So I just have a small pillow that I throw in my car. So if I go to a restaurant, I’ll just bring that in. Sounds ridiculous. But for right now, it really, really helps. Also, having proper chair ergonomics set up. So even at this kitchen table where I’m doing this recording right now, I’m sitting in an Aeron Chair with lumbar support with some foot elevation on the floor so that I have support instead of, say, leaning forward on my elbows the whole time and fidgeting back and forth in such a way that causes the stabilizing muscles to light up and then ultimately spasm. Hopefully that is helpful.
And yes to everyone who’s asking, I have read the Sarno books, I’m going to reread them, but not all back pain is emotional or psychological. Some of it is, absolutely. I’m going to reread these things. The last year of my life has been incredibly stressful from a relationship perspective, especially having a five-year relationship end roughly one year ago. And all of the shifting sands that have come about after that has been very, very challenging. I think I doubled down on a lot as a way to occupy myself to weather that storm, which I don’t actually view as a bad coping strategy. But, it wouldn’t surprise me if there are emotional components. And I have very clear structural biomechanical issues that also have some explanatory power. And I do know doctors, including the sports doctor I referred to earlier, who are very close with Sarno and constantly debated with him about these types of things.
If somebody gets in a car accident, suddenly they have back pain they never had before, maybe it’s the car accident and not just their emotional response to the car accident. And it’s kind of insulting to the patient, I think, to always insist that it is in their head, per se. At the same time, I would say that perception of pain, pain patterning and psychoemotional health and the stories we tell ourselves are seemingly very intertwined. So I don’t want to dismiss that. And a lot of pain, I think, can be at least partially explained with a lot of what Sarno describes.
All right. Let me take a look at a few more and then I got to go because I’m actually, talking about back pain, I’m going to a Pilates class. And for those people who poo-poo Pilates, if you work with someone who is very, very, very technical and they’re very good at addressing the core, maintaining proper pelvis position, it makes everything better. I’m just going to say it makes everything, everything better. And that goes for top athletes as well. Even if I were at the peak of my competitive powers, one of the things I would’ve said to myself 30 years ago was do Pilates two or three times a week. It is going to check a lot of boxes and cover a lot of bases you are not covering and it will minimize the likelihood of chronic pain and injury later.
A lot of people ask me for dating advice. I don’t think I’m in a position to give dating advice. I’m not bad at dating, I’m actually good at it. But ask somebody who’ve dated around and then met the love of their life, now they have three kids and have got all that shit figured out. It’s like, don’t go to the morbidly obese guy and ask him how to lose weight. I mean, I’m not saying that’s who I am equivalent wise in the relationship realm, but the proof is in the pudding. So I would say maybe listen to Arthur C. Brooks and other folks on that more.
Although I will say that in this modern age, it is uniquely bizarre to date with digital tools and apps and also all of these social dynamics at play, especially in the United States. It is fucking insane. So there is that, but I’m not overly concerned about it. I’ll figure it out.
All right. What else do we have here? All right, guys, my favorite movie of the last two years? I’m thinking about rewatching actually one of my favorites, too, Spirited Away, which I mentioned already. And then also A Prophet or Un prophète. It’s a French film. I won’t ruin it by telling you anything about the story, but it is beautifully shot. Also, quite brutal. But it is a hero’s journey par excellence in a very modern setting. So people can check that out if they would like to check it out.
This is a pre-submitted question from Chris. “What is one book you love that was better the second time around and why?”
There are many, but I would say that On Writing by Stephen King, you really can’t read about fiction until you’ve tried some fiction. So once I tried my hand at more fiction in the form of The Legend of CØCKPUNCH, if you guys have no idea what that is, you can Google it, then it meant a lot more to read, say, Anne Lamott’s writing or the writing of other writers on the craft of fiction. Also The Moral Letters to Lucilius, the letters of Seneca, if you want to find those for free, you can just search The Tao of Seneca and I put together a bunch of PDFs with fantastic artwork and calligraphy and so on because there’s a lot of overlap in the Stoic and Buddhist philosophies and belief systems, and I wanted to highlight that. So if you just Google Tao of Seneca, you’ll find a bunch of PDFs for free.
Here’s one more from Shelby. “How do you break negative self-talk?” I would say gratitude practice. Easy way to embrace that is using something like The Five-Minute Journal. And DBT, dialectical behavioral therapy, I think is undervalued, underutilized, and very impressively systematized in a way that lends it to scientific study, which is incredibly rare and impressive in a world where psychiatric tools are notoriously squishy and hard to evaluate. So DBT would also be on the shortlist. And I would say if you wanted something that is very graspable, The Work by Byron Katie and turnarounds, she has worksheets available for free online is incredibly, incredibly helpful. Continues to be helpful for me personally as well.
All right guys, I’m going to go do some exercise, I encourage everyone to do the same. And I appreciate you all tuning in. Hopefully this was helpful. And I recognize that a lot of people are feeling the specter of uncertainty. Doom scrolling certainly does nothing but pour gasoline on the fire of fear and doubt. So monitor your information intake, consider a low information diet and recognize as well, as evidenced by the live chat here and a lot of the patterns in the live chat, you are not alone. Every human is uniquely endowed with superpowers and super weaknesses and everyone is fighting a battle, fighting struggles that you know nothing about. So rest assured that you are not alone in experiencing those things.
So “Kia kaha,” I would say, stay strong, and I’ll talk to you guys soon. Thanks for tuning in, guys.
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