How to expand your thinking w/ Tim Ferriss – Barbell Business


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This week on Barbell Business we interview New York Times Best Selling Author, Tim Ferris. We talk about expanding your thinking, asking the right questions, and how the value of your money can be increased.

First thing, if you want to be successful you must understand the difference between efficiency and effectiveness. 

Being efficient means doing things the right way, which is great. But you have to also doing the right things. Being able to do something well doesn’t make it important.

Tim’s advice is to treat life itself as an investment, because it is. Just like in the market, you have limited bets. You must make them count.

The number of quality decisions you can make in a day is finite, less than you would suppose. It takes a lot of effort to do things well, you need time. You need resource. Both are precious, so make every opportunity count.

Ask yourself from action to action, “Is this the most important thing I could be doing right now?”

San Francisco. Lessons are all around you. It’s not what’s new, it’s what you see…

A photo posted by Tim Ferriss (@timferriss) on

Avoid paralysis.

It’s very easy to get paralyzed by new behaviors.

You could launch a podcast of your own, for example. That could really boost your business quickly. But of all the people that a want to do it that type of thing, only a few will even try. They are intimated by the size of the idea, of having to keep up the new behavior forever.

This is the wrong mindset.

A far better idea is to view each new project as an experiment, that’s it. It should be very challenging, fun, and of course, rewarding. It’s also finite.

For something like a podcast or blog, you might commit to doing 50 high-quality, high-value shows or posts. That you can do. You can commit to the work and keep the quality high for that long, right? If it’s important you can…

Remember that you’re not after perfection. You just need to begin, and make your best possible effort. You’ll get better and better as you go, to be sure, and you will start to accumulate interest.

It doesn’t matter if you do something else entirely down the road. You likely will anyway, to be honest. The important part is that you will be more successful in life because of these experiments.

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A must-read for any gym owner.  

Ask better questions. 

Here are Tim’s questions for guests. Note: if you ask and answer these questions often you will find a lot of reward.

  1. What are you world class at? 
  2. What makes you different?
  3. Have you ever replicated those results? 
  4. When you think of success, who’s the first person to comes to mind, and why?
  5. What’s the most life-impacting purchase you’ve made for less than $100 in the last 6 months?
  6. What are your morning rituals? 
  7. What does the first 60 minutes of your day look like?

These are the sorts of questions that lead to amazingly valuable interactions and thoughts. Consider the example of venture capatalist, Peter Thiel. As Tim disussed, one of his leading questions is powerful and super simple. “Why can you do to reach your 10-year goal in the next 6 months?”

These are the types of questions that will force you to rethink all expectations, assumptions, and perceived limitations. That much is critical.

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Boost your productivity

Start once again with increasing effectiveness. Consider changing the way that you work.

First, get some teammates. Instead of running a one-man show, just focus on making the best possible content. In podcasting, that means finding someone to help you capture the audio correctly, edit and publish. That alone will boost quality and grow your audience. The same approach is true for your blog, your gym, everything.

Next, work in batches. This is something that has worked incredibly well for Barbel Shrugged. Pick one day during the week and record 3-5 shows, make some coaching videos, write a few blog posts, etc, Give it your most productive 3-5 hour block of time. That approach will allow you to create more great stuff, while also giving you more time for other key projects and experiments.

Again, effectiveness is what you have to focus on. Extend that batching idea to every day of your week. Devote an entire day’s effort to product development, strategic planning, Russian sauna design, whatever you want to improve. If something spills over into the next day, it must wait until next week. Do your absolute best to keep that rule.

If you break and fail just start again, it’s no big deal. Keep your long-term vision in mind. Be patient. Never rush the effort. If you can keep that view you will find success.

Tim’s big dominos.

A few key behaviors could act like dominos in your life. Knock them over and the resulting cascade of events could very well change your fortunes forever. You can start here…

1. Consider all the currencies in your life. 

Income is just one. There’s also your time and personal mobility to consider. As Tim say’s on the show, “The extent to which you control these variables determines the value of each dollar of income you bring.”

What’s your ideal lifestyle? What exactly do you want in life, and how much is it going to cost? Start by finding your target monthly income. From there you can work backwards and target exactly what you require.

Again, this only help increase your effectiveness. Better still, you will avoid chasing after the endless goal of just getting more and more money.

2. Focus on long-term behaviors and systems. 

If your goal is to increase your earnings from 6k to 8k per month, you could be making decisions that will cripple your ability to make a million dollars later in life.

You can work much harder to pull in an extra 10% per year doing this, maybe 20%. But that comes at an extreme cost. In time your well-being will deteriorate. To be your best you cannot afford to simply work harder. You have to instead make sure all of your efforts scale and are sustainable.

This begins by recognizing that your physical being is your #1 asset in life. You cannot afford to miss sleep, stress out and get sick. That will undermine your decision making. It will increase your potential to do damage to yourself and others. And of course, in time it will destroy your ability to create value.

It’s far better to take on everyday refreshed. Also, simply learn to work smarter day to day. Create systems, easy things to start. For example, automate or batch all recurring projects. That will save so much stress and work it’s nuts.

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3. Play to your strengths. 

You need an advantage in business or you shouldn’t play the game.

That might mean holding a location or information advantage. For example, Tim lives in silicon valley, so he’s perfectly positioned to witness the leading edge of Tech unfold. You might be able to crunch programming numbers more effectively than anyone else, that would be an analytical advantage. And of course, you could hold a behavioral or trait advantage over the competition as well.

Whatever your strength happens to be, play to it. Pick a game that matches your skills set, then play hard. Roll the dice. If you can do a great job of sticking to your strengths you will greatly increase your changes of success.

4. You need to bleed for a while.

Do you know Tim’s approach to pricing? It’s pretty simple, actually – Charge nothing at all, or go very expensive.

Here’s what you should do. Start with giving away all your stuff for free! Really, spread as much value as possible. Help others. In other words, bleed for a while in service. In time you will earn a fiercely loyal audience. Among them, a significant percentage will be more than willing to pay a premium for your services.

That’s just the start. 

We hope you enjoy the show. Tim dropped so many knowledge bombs, make sure you give it at least two listens. Also, if you have questions for the Barbell Business team just leave them in the comments below. We’ll do our very best to help you out.




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4 Responses to “How to expand your thinking w/ Tim Ferriss – Barbell Business”

  1. Christopher Spagnuolo

    As always the BSB podcast/blog motivates me in many ways, I’m a restaurant owner.


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