How to Say "No" When It Matters Most (or "Why I'm Taking a Long 'Startup Vacation'")

Matt_9509255413_99c9a1a118_z (Photo: Michael Matti)

The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.

– Lin Yutang

Discipline equals freedom.

Jocko Willink

This post will attempt to teach you how to say “no” when it matters most.

At the very least, it will share my story of getting there. It’s a doozy.

Here’s the short version:

I’m taking a long break from investing in new startups. No more advising, either. Please don’t send me any pitches or introductions, as I sadly won’t be able to respond. Until further notice, I am done. I might do the same with interviews, conferences, and much more.

Now, the longer version for those interested:

This post will attempt to explain how I think about investing, overcoming “fear of missing out” (FOMO), and otherwise reducing anxiety.

It’s also about how to kill the golden goose, when the goose is no longer serving you.

I’ll dig into one specifically hard decision — to say “no” to startup investing, which is easily the most lucrative activity in my life. Even if you don’t view yourself as an “investor”—which you are, whether you realize it or not—the process I used to get to no should be useful…

[Warning: If you’re bored by investment stuff, skip the next two bulleted lists.]

Caveat for any investing pros reading this:

  • I realize there are exceptions to every “rule” I use. Most of this post is as subjective as the fears I felt.
  • My rules might be simplistic, but they’ve provided a good ROI and the ability to sleep. Every time I’ve tried to get “sophisticated,” the universe has kicked me in the nuts.
  • Many startup investors use diametrically opposed approaches and do very well.
  • There are later-stage investments I’ve made (2-4x return deals) that run counter to some of what’s below (e.g. aiming for 10x+), but those typically involve a discount to book value, due to distressed sellers or some atypical event.
  • Many concepts are simplified to avoid confusing a lay audience.

Related announcements:

  • I will continue working closely with my current portfolio of startups. I love them and believe in them.
  • I will be returning all unallocated capital in my private Stealth Fund on AngelList. If you’re an investor in that fund, you’ll be getting your remaining money back. My public Syndicate will remain in place for later re-entry into the game.

So, why am I tapping out now and shifting gears?

Below are the key questions I asked to arrive at this cord-cutting conclusion.  I revisit these questions often, usually every month.

I hope they help you remove noise and internal conflict from your life.

The Road to No

ARE YOU DOING WHAT YOU’RE UNIQUELY CAPABLE OF, WHAT YOU FEEL PLACED HERE ON EARTH TO DO? CAN YOU BE REPLACED?

I remember a breakfast with Kamal Ravikant roughly one year ago.

Standing in a friend’s kitchen downing eggs, lox, and coffee, we spoke about our dreams, fears, obligations, and lives. Investing had become a big part of my net-worth and my identity. Listing out the options I saw for my next big moves, I asked him if I should raise a fund and become a full-time venture capitalist (VC), as I was already doing the work but trying to balance it with 5-10 other projects. He could sense my anxiety. It wasn’t a dream of mine; I simply felt I’d be stupid not to strike while the iron was hot.

He thought very carefully in silence and then said: “I’ve been at events where people come up to you crying because they’ve lost 100-plus pounds on the Slow-Carb Diet. You will never have that impact as a VC. If you don’t invest in a company, they’ll just find another VC. You’re totally replaceable.”

He paused again and ended with, “Please don’t stop writing.”

I’ve thought about that conversation every day since.

For some people, being a VC is their calling and they are the Michael Jordan-like MVPs of that world. They should cultivate that gift. But if I stop investing, no one will miss it. In 2015, that much is clear. There have never been more startup investors, and–right along with them–founders basing “fit” on highest valuation and previously unheard of terms. There are exceptions, of course, but it’s crowded. If I exit through the side door, the startup party will roll on uninterrupted.

Now, I’m certainly not the best writer in the world. I have no delusions otherwise. People like John McPhee and Michael Lewis make me want to cry into my pillow and brand “Poser” on my forehead.

BUT… if I stop writing, perhaps I’m squandering the biggest opportunity I have—created through much luck—to have a lasting impact on the greatest number of people. This feeling of urgency has been multiplied 100-fold in the last two months, as several close friends have died in accidents no one saw coming. Life is fucking short. Put another way: a long life is far from guaranteed. Nearly everyone dies before they’re ready.

I’m tired of being interchangeable, no matter how lucrative the game. Even if I’m wrong about the writing, I’d curse myself if I didn’t give it a shot.

Are you squandering your unique abilities? Or the chance to find them in the first place?

HOW OFTEN ARE YOU SAYING “HELL, YEAH!”? 

Philosopher-programmer Derek Sivers is one of my favorite people.

His incisive thinking has always impressed me, and his “hell, yeah!” or “no” essay has become one of my favorite rules of thumb. From his blog:

Those of you who often over-commit or feel too scattered may appreciate a new philosophy I’m trying: If I’m not saying “HELL YEAH!” about something, then I say no.

Meaning: When deciding whether to commit to something, if I feel anything less than, “Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!” – then my answer is no. When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say “HELL YEAH!”

We’re all busy. We’ve all taken on too much. Saying yes to less is the way out.

To become “successful,” you have to say “yes” to a lot of experiments.  To learn what you’re best at, or what you’re most passionate about, you have to throw a lot against the wall.

Once your life shifts from pitching outbound to defending against inbound, however, you have to ruthlessly say “no” as your default. Instead of throwing spears, you’re holding the shield.

From 2007-2009 and again from 2012-2013, I said yes to way too many “cool” things. Would I like to go to a conference in South America? Write a time-consuming guest article for a well-known magazine? Invest in a start-up that five of my friends were in? “Sure, that sounds kinda cool,” I’d say, dropping it in the calendar. Later, I’d pay the price of massive distraction and overwhelm. My agenda became a list of everyone else’s agendas.

Saying yes to too much “cool” will bury you alive and render you a B-player, even if you have A-player skills. To develop your edge initially, you learn to set priorities; to maintain your edge, you need to defend against the priorities of others.

Once you reach a decent level of professional success, lack of opportunity won’t kill you. It’s drowning in 7-out-of-10 “cool” commitments that will sink the ship.

These days, I find myself saying “Hell, yes!” less and less with new startups. That’s my cue to exit stage left, especially when I can do work I love (e.g. writing) with 1/10th the energy expenditure.

I need to stop sowing the seeds of my own destruction.

HOW MUCH OF YOUR LIFE IS MAKING VERSUS MANAGING? HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE SPLIT?

One of my favorite time-management essays is “Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule” by Paul Graham of Y Combinator fame. Give it a read.

As Brad Feld and many others have observed, great creative work isn’t possible if you’re trying to piece together 30 minutes here and 45 minutes there. Large, uninterrupted block of time — 3-5 hours minimum — create the space needed to find and connect the dots. And one block per week isn’t enough.  There has to be enough slack in the system for multi-day CPU-intensive synthesis. For me, this means at least 3-4 mornings per week where I am in “maker” mode until at least 1pm.

If I’m in reactive mode, maker mode is all but impossible. Email and texts of “We’re overcommitted but might be able to squeeze you in for $25K. Closing tomorrow. Interested?” are creative kryptonite.

I miss writing, creating, and working on bigger projects. YES to that means NO to any games of whack-a-mole.

WHAT BLESSINGS IN EXCESS HAVE BECOME A CURSE? WHERE DO YOU HAVE TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING?

In excess, most things take on the characteristics of their opposite. Thus:

Pacifists become militants.

Freedom fighters become tyrants.

Blessings become curses.

Help becomes hinderance.

More becomes less.

To explore this concept more, read up on Aristotle’s golden mean.

In my first 1-2 years of angel investing, 90%+ of my bets were in a tiny sub-set of startups. The criteria were simple:

  • Consumer-facing products or services
  • Products I could be a dedicated “power user” of, products that scratched a personal itch
  • Initial target demographic of 25-40-year old tech-savvy males in big US cities like SF, NYC, Chicago, LA, etc. (allowed me to accelerate growth/scaling with my audience)
  • <$10M pre-money valuation
  • Demonstrated traction and consistent growth (not doctored with paid acquisition).
  • No “party rounds”—crowded financing rounds with no clear lead investor. Party rounds often lead to poor due diligence and few people with enough skin in the game to really care.

Checking these boxes allowed me to add a lot of value quickly, even as relatively cheap labor (i.e. I took a tiny stake in the company). Shopify is a great example, which you can read about here (scroll down).

My ability to help spread via word of mouth, and I got what I wanted: great “deal flow.” Deals started flowing in en masse from other founders and investors.

Fast forward to 2015, and great deal flow is now paralyzing the rest of my life.  I’m drowning in inbound.

Instead of making great things possible in my life, it’s preventing great things from happening.

I’m excited to go back to basics, and this requires cauterizing blessings that have become burdens.

WHY ARE YOU INVESTING, ANYWAY?

For me, the goal of “investing” has always been simple: to allocate resources (e.g. money, time, energy) to improve quality of life. This is a personal definition, as yours likely will be.

Some words are so overused as to have become meaningless.  If you find yourself using nebulous terms like “success,” “happiness,” or “investing,” it pays to explicitly define them or stop using them. “What would it look like if I had (or won at) ___ ?” helps. Life favors the specific ask and punishes the vague wish.

So, here: to allocate resources (e.g. money, time, energy) to improve quality of life.

This applies to both the future and the present. I am willing to accept a mild and temporary 10% decrease in current quality of life (based on morale in journaling) for a high-probability 10x return, whether the ROI comes in the form of cash, time, energy, or otherwise. That could be a separate blog post, but conversely:

An investment that produces a massive financial ROI but makes me a complete nervous mess, or causes insomnia and temper tantrums for a long period of time, is NOT a good investment.

I don’t typically invest in public stocks for this reason, even when I know I’m leaving cash on the table. My stomach can’t take the ups and downs, but—like drivers rubbernecking to look at a wreck—I seem incapable of not looking. I will compulsively check Google News and Google Finance, despite knowing it’s self-sabotage. I become Benjamin Graham’s Mr. Market. As counter-examples, friends like Kevin Rose and Chris Sacca have different programming and are comfortable playing in that sandbox. They can be rational instead of reactive.

Suffice to say — For me, a large guaranteed decrease in present quality of life doesn’t justify a large speculative return.

One could argue that I should work on my reactivity instead of avoiding stocks. I’d agree on tempering reactivity, but I’d disagree on fixing weaknesses as a primary investment (or life) strategy.

All of my biggest wins have come from leveraging strengths instead of fixing weaknesses. Investing is hard enough without having to change your core behaviors. Don’t push a boulder up a hill just because you can.

Public market sharks will eat me alive in their world, but I’ll beat 99% of them in my little early-stage startup sandbox. I live in the middle of the informational switch box and know the operators.

From 2007 until recently, I paradoxically found start-up investing very low-stress. Ditto with some options trading. Though high-risk, I do well with binary decisions. In other words, I do a ton of homework and commit to an investment that I cannot reverse. That “what’s done is done” aspect allows me to sleep well at night, as there is no buy-sell choice for the foreseeable future. I’m protected from my lesser, flip-flopping self. That has produced more than a few 10-100x investments.

In the last two years, however, my quality of life has suffered.

As fair-weather investors and founders have flooded the “hot” tech scene, it’s become a deluge of noise. Where there were once a handful of micro VCs, for instance, there are now hundreds. Private equity firms and hedge funds are betting earlier and earlier. It’s become a crowded playing field. Here’s what that has meant for me personally:

  • I get 50-100 pitches per week. This creates an inbox problem, but it gets worse, as…
  • Many of these are unsolicited “cold intros,” where other investors will email me and CC 2-4 founders with “I’d love for you to meet A, B, and C” without asking if they can share my e-mail address
  • Those founders then “loop in” other people, and it cascades horribly from there. Before I know it 20-50 people I don’t know are emailing me questions and requests.
  • As a result, I’ve had to declare email bankruptcy twice in the last six months. It’s totally untenable.

Is there a tech bubble? That question is beyond my pay grade, and it’s also beside the point.

Even if I were guaranteed there would be no implosion for 3-5 years, I’d still exit now. Largely due to communication overload, I’ve lost my love for the game.  On top of that, the marginal minute now matters more to me than the marginal dollar.

But why not cut back 50%, or even 90%, and be more selective?  Good question. That’s next…

ARE YOU FOOLING YOURSELF WITH A PLAN FOR MODERATION?

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.

– Richard P. Feynman

Where in your life are you good at moderation? Where are you an all-or-nothing type? Where do you lack a shut-off switch? It pays to know thyself.

The Slow-Carb Diet succeeds where other diets fail for many reasons, but the biggest is this: It accepts default human behaviors versus trying to fix them. Rather than say “don’t cheat” or “you can no longer eat X,” we plan weekly “cheat days” (usually Saturdays) in advance. People on diets will cheat regardless, so we mitigate the damage by pre-scheduling it and limiting it to 24 hours.

Outside of cheat days, slow carbers keep “domino foods” out of their homes. What are domino foods? Foods that could be acceptable if humans had strict portion control, but that are disallowed because practically none of us do. Common domino foods include:

  • Chickpeas
  • Peanut butter
  • Salted cashews
  • Alcohol

Domino triggers aren’t limited to food. For some people, if they play 15 minutes of World of Warcraft, they’ll play 15 hours. It’s zero or 15 hours.

For me, startups are a domino food.

In theory, “I’ll only do one deal a month” or “I’ll only do two deals a quarter” sound great, but I’ve literally NEVER seen it work for myself or any of my VC or angel friends. Sure, there are ways to winnow down the pitches. Yes, you can ask “Is this one of the top 1-2 entrepreneurs you know?” to any VC who intro’s a deal and reject any “no”s. But what if you commit to two deals a quarter and see two great ones the first week? What then? If you invest in those two, will you be able to ignore every incoming pitch for the next 10 weeks?

Not likely.

For me, it’s all or nothing. I can’t be half pregnant with startup investing.  Whether choosing 2 or 20 startups per year, you have to filter them from the total incoming pool.

If I let even one startup through, another 50 seem to magically fill up my time (or at least my inbox). I don’t want to hire staff for vetting, so I’ve concluded I must ignore all new startup pitches and intros.

Know where you can moderate and where you can’t.

YOU SAY “HEALTH IS #1″…BUT IS IT REALLY?

After contracting Lyme disease and operating at ~10% capacity for nine months, I made health #1. Prior to Lyme, I’d worked out and eaten well, but when push came to shove, “health #1” was negotiable. Now, it’s literally #1. What does this mean?

If I sleep poorly and have an early morning meeting, I’ll cancel the meeting last-minute if needed and catch up on sleep. If I’ve missed a workout and have a con-call coming up in 30 minutes? Same. Late-night birthday party with a close friend? Not unless I can sleep in the next morning. In practice, strictly making health #1 has real social and business ramifications. That’s a price I’ve realized I MUST be fine paying, or I could lose weeks or months to sickness or fatigue.

Making health #1 50% of the time doesn’t work. It’s absolute — all or nothing. If it’s #1 50% of the time, you’ll compromise precisely when it’s most important.

The artificial urgency common to startups makes mental and physical health even more challenging. I’m tired of unwarranted last-minute “hurry up and sign” emergencies and related fire drills. It’s a culture of cortisol.

ARE YOU OVER-CORRELATED?

[NOTE: Two investors friends found this bullet slow, as they’re immersed in similar subjects. Feel free to skip if it drags on, but I think there are a few important novice concepts in here.]

“Correlated” means that investments tend to move up or down in value at the same time.

As legendary hedge fund manager Ray Dalio told Tony Robbins: “It’s almost certain that whatever you’re going to put your money in, there will come a day when you will lose 50 percent to 70 percent.” It pays to remember that if you lose 50%, you need a subsequent 100% return to get back to where you started. That math is tough.

So, how to de-risk your portfolio?

Many investors “rebalance” across asset classes to maintain certain ratios (e.g. X% in bonds, Y% in stocks, Z% in commodities, etc.). If one asset class jumps, they liquidate a part of it a buy more of lower performing classes. There are pros and cons to this, but it’s common practice.

From 2007-2009, during the “real-world MBA” that taught me to angel invest, <15% of my liquid assets were in startups. I was taking a barbell approach to investing. But most startups are illiquid. I commonly can’t sell shares until 7-12 years after I invest, at least for my big winners to date. What does that mean? In 2015, startups comprise more than 80% of my assets. Yikes!

Since I can’t sell, the simplest first step for lowering stress is to stop investing in illiquid assets.

I’ve sold large portions of liquid stocks—mostly early start-up investments in China–to help get me to “sleep at night” levels, even if they are lower than historical highs of the last 6-12 months. Beware of anchoring to former high prices (e.g. “I’ll sell when it gets back to X price per share…”). I only have 1-2 stock holdings remaining.

Some of you might suggest hedging with short positions, and I’d love to, but it’s not my forte. If you have ideas for doing so without huge exposure or getting into legal gray areas, please let me know in the comments.

In the meantime, the venture capital model is mostly a bull market business. Not much shorting opportunity. The best approximation I’ve seen is investing in businesses like Uber, which A) have a lot of international exposure (like US blue chips), and B) could be considered macro-economically counter-cyclical. For instance, it’s conceivable a stock market correction or crash could simultaneously lead fewer people to buy cars and/or more people to sign up as Uber drivers to supplement or replace their jobs. Ditto with Airbnb and others that have more variable than fixed costs compared to incumbents (e.g. Hilton).

WHAT’S THE RUSH? CAN YOU “RETIRE” AND COME BACK?

I’m in startups for the long game. In some capacity, I plan to be doing this 20+ years from now.

The reality: If you’re spending your own money, or otherwise not banking on management fees, you can wait for the perfect pitches, even if it takes years. It might not be the “best” approach, but it’s enough. To get rich beyond your wildest dreams in startup investing, it isn’t remotely necessary to bet on a Facebook or Airbnb every year. If you get a decent bet on ONE of those non-illusory, real-business unicorns every 10 years, or if you get 2-3 investments that turn $25K into $2.5M, you can retire and have a wonderful quality of life. Many would argue that you need to invest in 50-100 startups to find that one lottery ticket. Maybe. I think it’s possible to narrow the odds quite a bit more, and a lot of it is predicated on maintaining stringent criteria; ensuring you have an informational, analytical, or behavioral advantage; and TIMING.

Most of my best investments were made during the “Dot-com Depression” of 2008-2009 (e.g. Uber, Shopify, Twitter, etc.), when only the hardcore remained standing on a battlefield littered with startup bodies. In lean times, when startups no longer grace magazine covers, founders are those who cannot help but build a company. LinkedIn in 2002 is another example.

HOWEVER… This doesn’t mean there aren’t great deals out there.  There are. Great companies are still built during every “frothy” period.

The froth just makes my job and detective work 10x harder, and the margin of safety becomes much narrower.

[Tim: Skip this boxed text if the concept of “margin of safety” is old news to you.]

Think of the “margin of safety” as wiggle room.

Warren Buffett is one of the most successful investors of the 20th century and a self-described “value investor.” He aims to buy stocks at a discount (below intrinsic value) so that even with a worst-case scenario, he can do well. This discount is referred to as the “margin of safety,” and it’s the bedrock principle of some of the brightest minds in the investing world (e.g., Seth Klarman). It doesn’t guarantee a good investment, but it allows room for error.  Back in the startup world…

I want each of my investments, if successful, to have the ability to return my “entire fund,” which is how much capital I’ve earmarked for startups over two years, for instance. This usually means potential for a minimum 10X return. That 10X minimum is an important part of my recipe that allows margin for screw ups.

For the fund-justifying ROI to have a snowball’s chance in hell of happening, I must A) know basic algebra to ensure my investment amounts (check sizes) permit it, and B) avoid companies that seem overpriced, where the 10x price is something the world has never seen before (i.e. no even indirect comparables, or tenable extrapolations from even an expanded market size).

If you throw low-due-diligence Hail Mary’s everywhere and justify it with “they could be the next Uber!”, you will almost certainly be killed by 1,000 slow-bleeding $25K paper cuts. Despite current euphoria, applying something like Pascal’s Wager to startups is a great way to go broke.

Good startup investors who suggest being “promiscuous” are still methodical.

It’s popular in startup land to talk about “moonshots”—the impossibly ambitious startups that will either change the world or incinerate themselves into star dust.

I’m a fan of funding ballsy founders (which includes women), and I want many moonshots to be funded, but here’s the reality of my portfolio: as I’ve signed the investment docs for every big success I’ve had, I’ve always thought, “I will never lose money on this deal.”

The “this will be a home run or nothing” deals usually end up at nothing. I’m not saying such deals can’t work, but I try not to specialize in them.

These days, the real unicorns aren’t the media darlings with billion-dollar valuations. Those have become terrifyingly passé. The unicorns are the high-growth startups with a reasonable margin of safety.

Fortunately, I’m not in a rush, and I can wait for the tide to shift.

If you simply wait for blood in the streets, for when true believers are the only ones left, you can ensure come-hell-or-high-water founders are at least half of your meetings.

It might be morbid, but it’s practical.

My Last Deals For A While

It’s still a great time to invest in companies… but only if you’re able to A) filter the signal from the noise, B) say no to a lot of great companies whose investors are accepting insane terms, and C) follow your own rules. Doing all three of these requires a fuck-ton of effort, discipline, and systems. I prefer games with better odds.

There are a few deals you’ll see in the upcoming months, which I committed to long ago. These are not new deals.

They are current companies in which I’m filling my pro-rata, or companies postponing funding announcements until they’re most helpful (e.g. launching publicly). Separately, I work closely with the Expa startup lab and will continue to do so. They are largely able to insulate themselves from madness, while using and refining an excellent playbook.

Are You Having a Breakdown or a Breakthrough? A Short How-To Guide

“Make your peace with the fact that saying ‘no’ often requires trading popularity for respect.”

– Greg McKeown, Essentialism

If you’re suffering from a feeling of overwhelm, it might be useful to ask yourself two questions:

– In the midst of overwhelm, is life not showing me exactly what I should subtract?

– Am I having a breakdown or a breakthrough?

As Marcus Aurelius and Ryan Holiday would say, “The obstacle is the way.” This doesn’t mean seeing problems, accepting them, and leaving them to fester. Nor does it mean rationalizing problems into good things. To me, it means using pain to find clarity. Pain–if examined and not ignored–can show you what to excise from your life.

For me, step one is always the same: write down the 20% of activities and people causing 80% or more of your negative emotions.

My step two is doing a “fear-setting” exercise on paper, in which I ask and answer “What is really the worst that could happen if I did what I’m considering? And so what? How could I undo any damage?”

Below is a real-world example: the journal page that convinced me to write this post and kickstart an extended startup vacation.

The questions were “What is really the worst that could happen if I stopped angel investing for a minimum of 6-12 months? Do those worse-case scenarios really matter? How could I undo any potential damage? Could I do a two-week test?”

As you’ll notice, I made lists of the guaranteed upsides versus speculative downsides. If we define “risk” as I like to—the likelihood of an irreversible negative outcome—we can see how stupid (and unnecessarily painful) all my fretting and procrastination was. All I needed to do was put it on paper.

Below is a scan of the actual page.  Click here for an enlarged version.

Further below is a transcribed version (slightly shorter and edited). For a full explanation of how and why I use journaling, see this post.  In the meantime, this will get the point across:

Journal_Startup_Vacation

Transcription:

“The anxiety is mostly related to email and startups: new pitches, new intros, etc.

Do a 2-week test where “no” to ALL cold intros and pitches?

Why am I hesitant? For saying “no” to all:

PROS:

– 100% guaranteed anxiety reduction

– Feeling of freedom

– Less indecision, less deliberation, so far more bandwidth for CREATING, for READING, for PHYSICAL [TRAINING], for EXPERIMENTS.

CONS (i.e. why not?):

– Might find the next Uber (<10% chance) — Who cares? Wouldn’t materialize for 7-9 years. If Uber pops (IPO), it won’t matter.

– Not get more deals. But who cares?

* Dinner with 5 friends fixes it.

* One blog post fixes it. [Here’s an example from 2013 that helped me find Shyp and co-lead their first round]

* NONE of my best deals (Shyp, Shopify, Uber, Twitter, Facebook, Evernote, Alibaba, etc.) came from cold intros from acquaintances.

If try 2 weeks, how to ensure successful:

– I don’t even see interview or [new] startup emails

– No con-calls. [Cite] “con call vacation” –> push to email or EOD [end-of-day review with assistant]

– Offer [additional] “office hours” on Fridays [for existing portfolio]?

I ultimately realized: If I set up policies to avoid new startups for two weeks, the systems will persist. I might as well make it semi-permanent and take a real “startup vacation.”

What do you need a vacation from?

My Challenge To You: Write Down The “What If”s

“I am an old man and I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”

– Mark Twain

“He who suffers before it is necessary suffers more than is necessary.”

– Seneca

Tonight or tomorrow morning, take a decision you’ve been putting off, and challenge the fuzzy “what if”s holding you hostage.

If not now, when? If left at the status quo, what will your life and stress look like in six months? In one year? In three years? Who around you will also suffer?

I hope you find the strength to say no when it matters most. I’m striving for the same, and only time will tell if I pull it off.

What will I spend my time on next? More crazy experiments and creative projects, of course.  To hear about them first, sign up for my infrequent newsletter. Things are going to get nuts.

But more important — how could you use a new lease on life?

To surf, like this attorney who quit the rat race? To travel with your family around the world for 1,000+ days, like this?  To learn languages or work remotely in 20+ countries while building a massive business? It’s all possible. The options are limitless…

So start by writing them down. Sometimes, it takes just a piece of paper and a few questions to create a breakthrough.

I look forward to hearing about your adventures.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with over 500 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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296 Replies to “How to Say "No" When It Matters Most (or "Why I'm Taking a Long 'Startup Vacation'")”

  1. Tim, your best article in awhile. A thought for you or others: couldn’t one be an angel investor, but invest with minimal management and headache if someone else were taking care of all the overwhelm…

    …in the same way that a writer can just write their best work, an artist can paint their best work, a musician can play their best work, and a manager can take care of the rest? To me, that seems to be the best scenario, but not sure if “people” like that exist who manage all the nitty-gritty for angel investors.

    1. Agree, juicy article. More Timmy experiments incoming! Tim, ever considered experiments to improve your eye vision or the size of a particular piece of male anatomy? Each are controversial topics a wide audience is interested in and filled with bad science.

    2. I agree, this is a great article, full of interesting tid-bits. I enjoy the multi-disciplinary approach that Tim follows.

      I personally invest in blue chip companies that provide a product and service that has a low chance of obsolescence in 20 – 30 years. I do not like stock price fluctuations.

      However, I have found that stocks that regularly pay and raise dividends to be easier to hold on to through thick and thin. For example, PepsiCo (PEP) has raised dividends for 43 years in a row. I believe that people in 20 – 30 years will still snack, drink liquids etc and PepsiCo will be able to provide them with a product consumers are willing to pay for. So I ignore the stock price – it can go to $200/share or down to $40/share – as long as I get the dividend paid every quarter, and the business is not impaired, i will hold.

    3. Pacificfit that is true however I believe Tim, much like his friend Chris Sacca only angel invest in companies they feel they can help make great. So it’s an all or nothing deal for them. All in or all out.

  2. Great article. I’m a big fan of the podcast and I noticed a while back that it got very investment-heavy for a while, with a lot of the guests talking about the same W4W lifestyle that that many if us are trying to avoid, and giving off a bit if the “if you don’t have ten million you have nothing” vibe. The last few have suddenly veered in a much more interesting, outward looking direction, and the whole arc probably mirrors your thought process on this. Looking forward to new stuff!

  3. Hey Tim, I am a big fan of your writing and podcast. You are a man of many talents but, personally I see you as an amazing teacher. Sometimes the teacher takes a break so they can return better and wiser than ever. In this article I felt like the teacher returned. After reading this post I can say I am stoked about whats coming next. This post stuck with me. That is why I am leaving a comment to say I fully support and admire your creative work. You are an inspiring teacher who has greatly affected my life and I am sure many others. Cant wait to see whats coming next!

    1. Ditto to everything Alex said. You’re a great teacher and you have a world of creative options in front of you. I’ve continued to follow your work because your lessons (mostly from the blog and podcast) have helped me grow financially, while maintaining health and happiness. I think you’re capable of writing another book with success comparable to 4HWW. As new technologies emerge, I’d definitely buy an updated 4HWW counterpart. I hope you don’t rule out mainstream television, because it’s extremely powerful and I think you would do well on late night talk shows, a popular show like Shark Tank or your own version of The Profit (p.s. Marcus Lemonis is great at asking questions and might make a good podcast guest). Anyways, good luck on your next creative project!

  4. Hi Tim….Great post and like the way you are managing FOMO. I am an investor at your stealth fund. One question….rather than returning the unallocated money from the fund, why don’t you use it for the startups that you have committed to and are coming up in the next few months?

    1. Thanks, Sajid. I’ll look at the options, but most of what’s coming are pro-rata on pre-existing Syndicate deals. In that case, the Syndicate investors who already put money in have the first right to participate. Will investigate further, and thanks for understanding.

  5. Excellent. Coming at a good time for me. I’m still a broke ass 23 year old, but I’ve been just running this treadmill of voice acting on fiverr and having more work than I can handle. I could up my prices, but honestly I’ve felt there was a deeper issue at play. I’ve had a trip to Germany planned and it’s coming up soon, and although I’ll need money to actually survive, I’m determined to downshift away from being chained to clients constantly asking when their work will be done. When your reliable, people will really take advantage of it. So I really liked this post, and I agree with most of it (the parts I understood). But I’m taking a break despite needing money. I think I can really make something I’m even more passionate about happen, so I think that’s it. follow what your brain is telling you to follow. Stress and anxiety is your body telling you to change something. Good for you, mate :]

  6. This is a fantastic article Tim. I love your long form approach in sharing information in your writing and in your podcast.

    I am now going off to read about “margin of safety”. Any recommendation or where to start?

  7. A thousand times yes. This is going to be great for you, and, more selfishly, for me and anyone else who misses your more writing-focused days. There’s a writing challenge I’d love to put to you someday…

    I made a scary decision earlier this week to turn down a great job , because it would take me away from writing too often. Three days later, I sold my debut novel, and now I’m free to really get going on the next one.

  8. Do what feels right. Being anxious and excited is great. But, just being anxious is terrible….whatever you choose, you definitely have lifelong followers!

  9. This post is incredibly timely for me. The phrase “I need to learn to say ‘no’ more often” has left my mouth at least half a dozen times this week.

    I suffered a severe head injury this winter, which I am still working hard to heal. I very much relate to your struggle with lyme, in that I also require sleep, quality food, and quiet (plus time away from. screens!) above all else.

    Thank you for the push I needed to draw a metaphorical line in the sand and prioritize my quality of life NOW over potential future returns.

  10. Hell yeah. Now if I can only get the balls to do the same. Paying rent versus doing the creative. Still working the creative in the evenings, but have been doing that for years without increasing the income from it.

  11. In 2007 I read your first book. I put it to practice and grew a company quickly. Last year I sold my shares to become an angel investor and started Feltner Financial. It’s ironic that everything I’ve learned from you has lead me to becoming an investor. Now you’re leaving the game while I’m trying to get as many pitches as possible.

    You can forward your unsolicited pitches to me while you’re on vacation. I’ve tried writing but found investing to be my calling, so I think you’re making a great decision here following your calling and I support your efforts 100%.

    I hope we (your tribe) can convince you to do at least one more investing deal. Let us crowd fund the offspring of this vacation and help you continue self publishing your works.

  12. Hell, yeah. Now if I can only get the balls to do the same. Still stuck in paying rent versus doing the creative. Been doing the creative in the evening for years, but haven’t increased the income from it.

  13. “I’m tired of being interchangeable, no matter how lucrative the game. Even if I’m wrong about the writing, I’d curse myself if I didn’t give it a shot.”

    Today, I woke up with the same gut feeling about work… ugh. It’s not always about the money, it’s about having a meaningful legacy.

    Tim, your writing is your legacy.

    And to be honest, I skipped the investment stuff in this post, I’m bored with it. Just a phase…it will pass, but thank you nonetheless.

  14. Thank You. This was perfect. I can’t say I read every word – investing isn’t in my wheelhouse at present – but I felt the full meaning.

    I am very new to your podcasts. A quote that stood out strongly and shifted something inside was along the lines of “all the things you must say no to, to find your One Big Yes.”

    Just last night I was listening to you geek out with Maria Popova about writing, being a writer, the dregs of the process, and how you are compelled by something inside to go through every moment and create yet again. And it got me writing. Grabbed the notebook & pen & poured out some magic before I even left the cosy bed.

    I applaud your decision and the strength it took to make the decision. To say “no” to what Gay Hendricks calls your Zones of Competence, Incompetence, and Zone of Excellence, in order to move more deeply and resonantly into your Zone Of Genius.

    Bravo, world-changing hero. Bra-vo.

    (And you are – a paradigm shifting world-changer showing a new way of being and doing. It is beautiful to witness, and so very very wonderful to be listening as a fly on the wall to podcasts of greatness meeting with greatness.)

  15. Killer post! Incredibly relevant for me as I’m doing business planning & life planning at the same time. Having just adopted 3 siblings, saying no to great opportunities that are not in alignment has never been more important for me.

    Hope your next chapter is a great one!

    – Austin

  16. Thank You. This was perfect. I can’t say I read every word – investing isn’t in my wheelhouse at present – but I felt the full meaning.

    I am very new to your podcasts. A quote that stood out strongly and shifted something inside was along the lines of “all the things you must say no to, to find your One Big Yes.”

    Just last night I was listening to you geek out with Maria Popova about writing, being a writer, the dregs of the process, and how you are compelled by something inside to go through every moment and create yet again. And it got me writing. Grabbed the notebook & pen & poured out some magic before I even left the cosy bed.

    I applaud your decision and the strength it took to make the decision. To say “no” to what Gay Hendricks calls your Zones of Competence, Incompetence, and Zone of Excellence, in order to move more deeply and resonantly into your Zone Of Genius.

    Bravo, world-changing hero. Bra-vo.

    (And you are – a paradigm shifting world-changer showing a new way of being and doing. It is beautiful to witness, and so very very wonderful to be listening as a fly on the wall to podcasts of greatness meeting with greatness.)

    (As soon as I hit “post” I am diving into my “What If’s”. Thank You.)

  17. Hi, Tim,

    All or nothing. I know the feeling. It’s indeed very hard to pace certain things when you think you’re gonna miss out or …

    “Do or do not” … but actually that’s the way of the sith “Only a Sith deals in absolutes.”

    sorry about that I’m excited about VII.

    What if’s.

    It’s my birthday nov 7, I turn 29.

    About 10 years ago I’ve had 3 lower back surgeries.

    I have pain since post surgery 1. which turned chronic, made my body hypersensitive, …

    I tried a lot of things but I can’t find any relief.

    I have high standards and I don’t want to change them.

    one of the key quotes in the 4hww

    “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. ”

    I wanted to contact you for a long time. I would like to get your input.

    And I’m thinking now what if the next years will be the same as the previous ones (or worse).

    I’ve been taking action for a long time but I keep running stationary and I’m getting tired of it.

    It’s now 5:29am in Belgium.

    I’m going to sleep.

    Thank you for all this quality content!

    greets Cedric

  18. Thank You. This was perfect. I can’t say I read every word – investing isn’t in my wheelhouse at present – but I felt the full meaning.

    I am very new to your podcasts. A quote that stood out strongly and shifted something inside was along the lines of “all the things you must say no to, to find your One Big Yes.”

    Just last night I was listening to you geek out with Maria Popova about writing, being a writer, the dregs of the process, and how you are compelled by something inside to go through every moment and create yet again. And it got me writing. Grabbed the notebook & pen & poured out some magic before I even left the cosy bed.

    I applaud your decision and the strength it took to make the decision. To say “no” to what Gay Hendricks calls your Zones of Competence, Incompetence, and Zone of Excellence, in order to move more deeply and resonantly into your Zone Of Genius.

    Bravo, world-changing hero. Bra-vo.

    (And you are – a paradigm shifting world-changer showing a new way of being and doing. It is beautiful to witness, and so very very wonderful to be listening as a fly on the wall to podcasts of greatness meeting with greatness.)

    As soon as I hit “post” I am sitting down with my “What If’s”. Thank You.

  19. Tim I watched your Q&A yesterday on FB and I felt you weren’t happy but I couldn’t figure out why. I finished it but I felt like ending it after 10 minutes. After reading this now I know! You have to get back to yourself, take some time off maybe travel to beautiful Bali or something that makes you happy at this moment. Figure out what you need at this moment and the people around you! Good luck with that and thanks for sharing. Get back and make your audience happy again by feeding us with your knowledge! All the best!

  20. First time commenter, long time listener/reader. Tim, you mentioned needing 3-5 hours at a time to get really deeply into work and 30-45 minutes doesn’t cut it. Where does that leave people like me with a full time job, wife and child who is striving for mastery and excellence in writing but only has 30-45 minutes here and there as an option? Might make a good podcast episode – how to get significantly better at something when you have limited time.

    Anyways, great post.

  21. I’m selfishly glad you’re focusing on your writing (and hopefully the podcast), since it has brought so much to my family and everyone I’ve recommended it to. Thanks for the reminder to focus on our strengths, and use our gifts regardless of where we are along the journey.

  22. Your writing and experiments dent the universe! We all benefit from your focus on them. Thank you for sharing your wisdom! Love your podcast interviews, too.

  23. Makes sense, and I think is the right call. You nail it in your notes: if/when Uber IPO’s, it won’t matter. That single needle-in-a-haystack will constitute many lifetimes of diligent investing, and will fund your lifestyle for equally long. Not to mention the many other winners in the portfolio already.

    It’s commendably astute given the circles of A+ investors you run with, because despite every success, there’s always a bigger competitor to judge yourself against. A million bucks seems like all the money in the world to an 18 year old kid, but not so much any more. “The mountain gets higher the more that I climb it”. Many parallels can be drawn to things like professional sports, and the competitive drive that is inspired by going up against the best. Humans can be overly quantitatively oriented, and it is much easier to fixate on hard fund numbers than vague inner emotional benchmarks. But the key difference is that investing is not just about the number being displayed on the wall. As you say, its about quality of life, not just pure ROI. Operating in the real world and not just an Excel spreadsheet, marginal utility and return come into play with a whole host of tradeoffs. This nuance is often lost on Wall Street, with a lot of well-meaning people getting sucked into the siren song of cash at the expense of everything else. Read any tell-all book (“The Buy Side”, more recently “Straight to Hell”, etc), they all say the same thing. With close friends like Sacca, a lesser man might want to try and best his record on the next go-around. Which would be a totally arbitrary fool’s errand.

    Also interesting is the parallel that exists between this and BrainQuicken. Going in head first, learning the ropes, gaining significant traction, and then becoming overwhelmed with success and all of its byproducts. Coming to a fork in the road and needing something to give, for sustainabilities sake. And realizing that if one can set up systems to go without the old ways for 2 weeks, there isn’t much difference to an indefinite hiatus. The more things change, the more they stay the same!

    As far as non-correlating assets and seeking balance, it certainly is the big question. The macro climate has never been anything like this before, with rates sustained at 0% for over 70 months and yet inflation failing to take off. There are huge generational and technological shifts at play as well which throws a wrench in traditional models. Tech-induced deflation and overall globalization are quietly re-writing the rules, while the pundits and commentators act as though it is business as usual. There is a credible case to made that equities, corporate bonds, municipal bonds, real estate, emerging markets, broad commodities, shale oil drillers, and more (student loan debt, medical costs, etc) all exist in an unsustainable bubble, at least in any future environment in which the cost of capital is greater than zero. Any well-reasoned skeptic (I like David Stockman’s Contra Corner) makes a pretty decent case.

    I don’t want to be wearing a tin foil hat, and it can definitely be seen as a cliche, but I like a modest portion in bitcoin, gold, and silver. In the spirit of economics, I diversify under the thesis that scarcity is the bedrock of all value. With hard limits (algorithmic or physical) to these assets, they are arguably the biggest foil to a world of fiat currency. Most of my portfolio in the meantime is still invested in regular, mainstream things. The powers that be have every incentive in the world to not let the wheels fall off again, and with 0% rates, QE-infinity, and more tools at their disposal, its likely that they won’t (future growth may just be slowly choked off, like Japan over the last 25 years, but in slow motion). In that case, traditional assets should perform with phantom growth just fine. But if you truly look to the counter-cyclical, those three are my favorites. Could go on but don’t want to be any more of a rant.

    Thanks for always being so generous with your content and thinking.

  24. Hi Tim

    I’ve been following you for a long time now and wondered when you would come back to your roots (4HWW I mean) It’s good to hear that you are taking some time out.

    So, have you decided yet – Australia or New Zealand? Come and do some exploring in Western Australia. Some red dirt is good for the soul.

  25. You’ve earned the right to not need to work to survive, don’t squander that benefit by acting like you need to. Do what you love.

    Your situation reminds me of the wisdom from the book you mention, Essentialism: “replace the undisciplined pursuit of more” with the “disciplined pursuit of less but better.” That has been the theme of my life too lately.

    Publishing books on Lyme disease and alternative medicine really is my calling despite having 20 other ways to make lots of money.

  26. I think this is a good plan.

    Another option is to completely turn it over to someone you trust who is also wildly successful at this. “Here is 100k. I will follow 2-4 of your investments this year. You pick them and tell me what they are after the deal is done. Until then I don’t want to know about them. Here are my 5 criteria. In exchange you get my full undivided attention on these investments to help them however I can.”

  27. You’ve worked hard and earned the right to exist above a subsistence level. Don’t squander that blessing by living as if you had to hustle.

    To quote the book you mention – Essentialism – “replace the undisciplined pursuit of more, with the disciplined pursuit of less but better.”

    For me publishing books on Lyme disease is my “less but better.” It’s my calling, and there are 20 other ways I could be making lots of money, but I’m sticking with less but better.

  28. Tim,

    I read every word of your article and I admit some of the VC stuff went past me. Not because I didn’t understand it, but I found that’s not where my attention was focused.

    I’ve kept up with you since The Four Hour Workweek and, among other things, credit you to people (often) with wearing ExOfficio undies. I threw out everything else years ago when I discovered their ‘keep me dry’ capabilities on long flights I take often. Now I need to try MeUndies lol ONWARD> 🙂

    But seriously I also listen to your podcasts every week and love the different directions each of your guests take. I believe you can learn something from every one of them, even if they’re not in a field you’re related to, or even interested in.

    A favorite ritual of mine is working at my desk in the late evening (network engineer) on my projects, drinking a glass of wine while I listen to you interviewing someone while also (possibly) drinking a glass of wine. Its strange, but it seems to put me on a unique common plane with the interview. I’m even productive! Odd…

    In short, I value your efforts in writing, testing (products, ideas, philosophies) and being someone that if I ever ran into, I would have a reference point to just start an intelligent conversation.

    I compare your podcast style (the best) to everyone else I’ve ever listened to. You don’t interrupt, you go off on tangents and you get the guest to genuinely open up and just have a good time. Also I love the long 2+ hour format.

    To me, its an incredible return on value for “my time”. Please continue that….

  29. Great post! I needed this. Even though I know nothing of VC and Angel investing. As I sit here at 1:30 am trying to figure out whether to take the new high paying job or focus on the venture I love, that also gives me more time with my wife and 3 young kids. Life is TOO short to work your butt off for a job you don’t love. Going to focus on my passion that brings in some money but has a higher ceiling. I think it can be realized if I cut out the anxiety time killing parts of my life. THANK YOU! You rock!

  30. Congratulations, Tim! Well done on making the leap. Now go do what you were born for, teach!

    “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Howard Thurman

  31. Tim

    That’s it, the writing is on the wall, as you said about meditation in one podcast – but perhaps less explicitly in this case: Jocko’s reference to Shakespeare, Reid’s Wittgenstein, and now your fear of missing out. Will more experiments and exercise be the answer? Or do you simply ‘know more about the life you don’t live than the life you live’, as Adam Phillips puts it? Consider reading his ‘Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life’. He also did a good interview in the Paris Review of Books, if you want a shorter introduction before diving in. It’s the book I’ve given as a gift the most. Expect the right questions from it, not answers.

    All the best,

    A sceptical (and therefore more true?) fan

  32. Thanks for this post, it’s a huge inspiriation.

    One thing I don’t understand:

    Why do you want to increase your monetary wealth beyond your lifestyle costs?

    Why were you willing to invest a „mild and temporary 10% decrease in current quality of life“? What for? What’s the gain in life quality in 10-20 years? The monetary benefit has to translate into life quality somehow I guess.

  33. Inspiring stuff yet again!

    You’re ability to reflect on what matters to you most, take steps that you can control to make the change in direction, clearly show to the world how you do it and challenge others to do the same…

    Cant wait to see whats next!

  34. So so good. I agree, your best article yet. Thank you for this Tim… this is one of those gems that really *really* communicates so many principles well – 80/20, more is less, Stoicism, fear-setting, etc. Haven’t always “grokked” these principles through your writing, but this post nails them all so well. Thanks man.

  35. Only good things can come from this! Looking forward to reading/hearing about what the newfound surplus of mindspace will lead to! Enjoy 🙂

  36. Tim, never left a comment before but also felt compelled because this post is so phenomenally written. I’m reading this at 5 am, feeling a sense of calm I haven’t felt in awhile. Your writing is so spot on and truly inspiring. I initially thought this tweet with the link was from a old post and was delighted to see it just was released. I copied about half of it into my Evernote, especially the quote “Once your life shifts from pitching outbound to defending against inbound, however, you have to ruthlessly say “no” as your default. Instead of throwing spears, you’re holding the shield.” Chris Sacca talked about this as a breakthrough for him as well. I hope to apply it in my life too.

    I agree with Alex, your best skill is teaching, and that’s what your books, podcast, show, and appearances are about-showing people how they become better versions of themselves. Very Oprah-like. So enjoy the break and I look forward to whatever’s next.

  37. Tim, that was an incredible article. What I really think is that you are a superstar at being a well-rounded man with many interests and accomplishments and we admire you for that. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you need to be superstar in every single one of your endeavors. I believe that you are making a wise decision and it will definitely pay off.

  38. Interesting post as a method to cancel inbounding noise and pitches of unrelated and unexpected founders looking for advise or capital, however only works for those that have already a cash-flowing MUSE, published books, video and podcasts bringing MLM commissions or huge amounts of capital delivering consistent dividends for their lavish lifestyle on big Western metropoles and don’t need to worry how to bring milch and bread every day for the family while still stuck on a 5-to-9 job or w/out options to come out from the rat-racing machine. And, who has 25k$/start-up thinking to bet on 10 diff ones for potentially x10+ ROI in 7-9 yrs!?! How does the one survive during that period or do they not eat, sleep and live during this time? Sorry, this post is not for the majority of the space of readers, maybe accreditated investors!? Most of this post is for singles that don’t have children or other resp. to take care of and wonder what they could do w/ their unused time… This is luxury!

  39. Tim, This is the 1st post I’ve ever made to you, but I’ve followed your body of work for a quite awhile. You’ve fallen into a major one of life’s traps that’s called going for success over doing something much more important, fulfilling your purpose in life. For starters, you are already wildly successful & from what I can tell, you have found that just being successful, including being famous, isn’t enough. I recently turned 72 & I’ve had quite a few successes & failures in life & one of the most important things I’ve found is that both of those things are over-rated compared what truly matters. So what matters the most? After years of research, I’ve come to the undeniable conclusion that the most powerful force I can find in the universe is love. Please understand, I am totally convinced that you are a good & loving person with the best of intentions, but under it all, if we read between the lines, you are a lonely guy. I don’t know if anybody has ever told you this before, but until you fill that loneliness, you will, most likely, fall into the same kind of trap(s). I wish you the best & if you’d like to contact me, I’m more than willing.

  40. Hey Tim, actually I was thinking to pitch you too, because I really owe a big part of my recent success and life improvements to your books (the 4HWW was really a pivotal change in my life!). I fully understand your point of view and health must always be prio n°1. Nevertheless, I’d like to invite you to our first pilot in March 2016 in Sicily, the city of Ragusa. Indirectly it’s a bit of your baby and, in the worstest case, you will have the food experience of a lifetime and see one of the most beautiful parts of Italy. Just check the Inspector Montalbano novel to have an idea! Greetings from Stuttgart!

  41. Hey Tim, your posts are amazing! There is so much info and things to learn, and then one post leads me to another.. I could spend weeks reading your blog!

  42. Good For You Ferriss!!!!

    The world needs you more than ever! Your teachings and experiments are what makes the world better, not investing in the next Twitter.

    Your most valuable resource…Your yearning to teach people how to be better people, who then teach other people how to become better people. The cascade effect.

    The rest is just details. I applaud you for making the decision to leave the VC world. Just like KR said “You’re totally replaceable”

    But your books and insights are not! No one is going to remember you for your investment in Uber.

    And besides, you already have the most valuable investment in the world…

    A massive list of people who know, love, and trust you.

    Rock on Ferriss!

  43. Hi Tim, I remember a few years back this guy wrote a book about how you don’t need a billion dollars to live a billionaire’s lifestyle, and how the pursuit of wealth could grind you into dust. Name escapes me, though. 🙂

    More seriously, I’d love to hear (perhaps on podcast) an extended version of what drew you into investing in the first place. Sounds principally like opportunism and FOMO, and how it fit w/ your long term goals, but there’s always more to the story.

  44. Great article, looks your next book will be 4-h investing or 4h zen.

    Very nice I use similar aproach to solving problems, no stress, I will let it process in my subconcious and wait for the solution.

    1. I will identify the problem. Make a note.

    2. Forget it.

    3. I just focus un the things that inspire, motivate and entertain me.

    4. Later I get the answer to the problem, generally when showering or walking.

    5. Edit notes. With solution.

  45. Tim,

    Loved this post. Wanted to include my notes in the discussion:

    For 2+ months I’ve been dragging my feet with an important step in my business, outreach and guest posting.

    I’m using the following to hit the reset button and get back on track:

    Limiting Input to Maximize Output:

    Focus on behavior & environment first.

    It’s impossible to do anything worthwhile if your attention is fragmented.

    ———————

    Questions:

    * Will accomplishing X get me closer to what I want?

    -If hell yes: Do it!

    -If hell no: Fuck that.

    * If I had to distill all the tasks down the critical ONE, what would that one task be?

    * What is the immediate next step?

    * Have I consumed the BARE MINIMUM of information to proceed with this task? Or am I being a perfectionist?

    Tactics to decrease excessive input:

    * Self Control App: Limiting information access, saving me from myself.

    * Morning Routine: Minimizing ego-depletion.

    * Task-Setting the night before with clear next steps: Again, no cognitive load in the early AM

    * Being decisive with yes/no, no vagueness allowed: No deliberating over maybe I should or shouldn’t…trusting my gut and correcting along the way is good enough.

  46. I need a vacation of throwing spears on the wall, chasing every new topic despite that I know that they are relevant since my studies and I am still excited about them. despite that keeps me young and flexible but also stressed out and without a good income.

    I need a vacation from helping uncool people instead of getting help from mentors (even I am at an age where I could mentor myself)

    I need to find a stable job or source of income to go for my many passions until some of them pay for themselves.

  47. Tim,

    This was a great post for so many reasons. I am another big fan and have followed you for years. The biggest lessons that following you helps to remind me regularly are:

    1. Live true to yourself, even if it is the scariest thing you can imagine.

    2. There is true freedom and personal power in doing things differently than the pack.

    3. Design and operate your life true to your unique passions, needs, and potentials and change course as necessary.

    It’s interesting that your journey/investment life ultimately seemed to place you solidly in the rat race (a high level / high stakes rat race). That is a very different experience then the message of the “Four Hour Work Week”. It feels like you are coming home to your roots and even in the face of fear walking the talk!

    Thanks for continuing to inspire me Tim, and being true, vulnerable, and living fully!

    Sincerely,

    Russ

  48. GOOOOOOOOOOOD MOOOOOOOOORNING!!!

    Tim – content – good (ok super good), but what is MORE important in this article is your ability to understand your life as one big ITERATION. We’ve all tried very hard to “nail it down”, “get it right”, “figure it all out”. You know.. “I am going to do this every day and it’s gonna be perfect, and I am going to be this kind of person”. Only to figure out, a short while after, the void is still there and we are looking for something else to bring into our lives to make sense of the journey and to bring purpose and happiness at the same time. Granted, we are all different and some don’t need the iteration, they just need stability, and there is NOTHING wrong with that. You on the other hand, have a glaring and clear purpose, though often hard to accept and “nail down.” Your purpose, as I see it, is LEARN & TEACH. The subjects may vary, and the medium will also vary (this is why you enjoyed the VC so much in the beginning and now are enjoying the help you provide for them) because you get to LEARN & TEACH. So, if we look at your work, and the medium you are using to live your purpose, it really changes from time to time. And I would not get caught up in identifying yourself as strictly a writer, or a VC, or whatever. Now… you may find writing to be your best medium and the one you enjoy the most, and so be it! But let’s not forget the purpose OF the writing 😉

    And your best work is on things you find personally life changing or personally introspective. Clearly because you are passionate about it and it affects you personally… duh right? 😉

    That’s why this, and other posts like these, tend to hit a cord in you and others… authentic and meaningful.

    I’ve made millions of dollars in my career so far (and lost millions too – idea is to keep more than you lose) And when I focused on the $ – life was not as enjoyable.. When I focused on my gifts, the world seemed much more clear, enjoyable, and productive- no matter how scary that was (and continues to be).

    Kudos for you to arrive… once again… at this point in your life. I applaud you for it and and am grateful for your sharing of it.

    I hope you continue to LEARN & TEACH that which you personally find interesting and relevant. As we all benefit when others share what is meaningful to them… because it may also be meaningful to us.

    Have an awesome day!!!

    Cheers!!!!

  49. Hey Tim, what does your phone system look like these days? I was way ahead of the curve to get off trad phone systems yet I still have problems that persist. And while I don’t have data on what I’m missing, I just know in my gut that I’m losing opportunities as a result. Problem 1) I find it hard to retain the freedom to make outbound calls whenever I want, and still retain control of the inbound. I mean once your cell is out there, it’s out there. And I find if you block your number outbound people don’t answer. I know I don’t answer when I see “blocked” inbound. Problem 2) I do business bi-coastaly, crossing multiple US area codes, and find people are surprisingly still programmed to assume the rest of the world operates in their area code. I’ve come to start by saying “my number is area code xxx…” and they go “wait, what?” Like my odd ball area code causes a short circuit in their brain. It happens to me everyday. It even happens intra-state when I move from one area code to another area code in the same state. So I know it’s caused missed connections and lost deals. Problem 3) even though wifi is becoming fairly ubiquitous, a desktop virtual PBX is rarely practical. Sorry in advance, I’m sure you tackled this somewhere but I just don’t recall (haven’t read the 4 Hour Workweek in a while) and if you’ve blogged about it recently I must have missed it. Is there a bomber solve-all app that works on cell signal? Thanks for your help.

  50. This sounds like a great move! Sounds like you need the break, and your friends and family will appreciate having you more time with you.

    I have used many of your techniques in my personal and business life, from slow carb to Occam’s razor to Pareto principal and more.

    I’m finishing my degree at night in addition to my day job and running the business and the family. So I definitely understand the feeling of being overbooked.

    I am trying to sell the business, but haven’t been able to get the valuation I need. Any book recommendations for valuing a small business?

    Keep it up, I will be looking forward to your next creative release!

  51. Tim,

    Glad to hear about this decision from a readers perspective. Can’t wait to see what you end up doing with all your extra mind-space moving forward.

    Maybe a great way to set the tone and start off on the right foot would be to take a non-biz trip. Somewhere you’ve been wanting to go for awhile, unplug. Could be cool?

    Cheers.

  52. Hi Tim!

    Long-time listener, first time commenter.

    Thanks for showing us once again that it is possible to give the rat race and status quo the middle finger.

    Take care.

  53. One thing about reactivity, Tim. According to prof. Strelau’s Reactive Temperament Theory (RTT) it’s WAAAAY healthier to be in tune with one’s reactivity levels than to constantly trying to push them away from their default state.

    Some levels of self-development in this field may be of value but push it too hard and the psychological costs of such idea will be destructively high.

  54. “To become “successful,” you have to say “yes” to a lot of experiments. To learn what you’re best at, or what you’re most passionate about, you have to throw a lot against the wall.” This is where I am currently, so to have you say it made me breathe a sigh of relief (in that I’m not neurotic & indecisive). I have a cushy day job that bores me to tears, but have a ton of things I’m otherwise interested in. Over the years I’ve pursued some of these things to no avail. And when you discuss utilizing your strengths vs. trying to build up your weaknesses, it was the real smack upside the head. There are things in this life I am just not good at, nor have any desire in cultivating progress on these weaknesses. So thank you!

    As for your story, I am elated to know you will continue with the writing. I LOVE your posts (although I rarely comment) and would have a void in my life if you stopped! 🙂 Here’s to many happy days ahead! Rock on Tim!

  55. Tim, are there other ways you’ve found to facilitate this “turning point” type of experience than you’ve mentioned here? Many people remain unsettled for a long time, and at some point, reach a breaking and turning point. Any other insights on this process?

  56. Hi Tim

    Don’t underestimate your writing.

    Judge it by how it changes peoples lives.

    I think you have made the right decision.

    The logic is sound.

    Go for it.

    Regards

    Greg

  57. Tim, amazing article. Have you ever taken a Kolbe A Index Assessment? It’s designed to measure the conative faculty of the mind, the actions you take that result from your natural instincts. It validates an individual’s natural talents, the instinctive method of operation (M.O.) that enables you to be productive.

    I took one about 2 months ago and it blew my mind. It wasn’t that I discovered tons of new insights about myself, it was more that it cemented about 10 years of personal assessment and soul searching.

    Once a month I’ll call my best friend and say, “here is the smart path I should take, but for some reason I’m convinced I should do this crazy thing instead, what do you think?”. He almost always confirms that path A is the smarter path and then advises me to take path B, because he knows I’m wired for that path. Reading the results of this test was like a “best of” summary of hundreds of calls with my buddy and thousands of hours of personal pondering.

    I highly recommend it for 50 bucks, the piece of mind it brings is priceless. Whenever you start to think that you’re crazy, it reminds you, that you’re just being you.

  58. The theme of the week seems to be creativity. I just read Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book on creativity — “Big Magic” (and had the opportunity to hear her read an excerpt at a book reading). Tim, if you haven’t read it I think it would resonate with you and reinforce that you are doing the right thing. The world needs the messages you have to deliver in your unique way. Embracing your creativity will not only make you happier but make the world a better place.

  59. Tim-

    This was a refreshing departure from some of your recent content. You’ve alluded to deciding on “what’s next?” in your podcasts to the point that I’ve been on the edge of my seat listening to each one wondering when you’d reveal the answer to that nagging question. Glad to see you’ve reached a conclusion and excited to see what comes of it.

    I haven’t put your fear-setting exercise into practice as much as I should (in terms of actually putting pencil to paper), but ever since learning about it in the 4HWW, it has completely transformed my approach to everyday situations. To the point that my stress levels dropped significantly simply by reminding myself that the likely worst-case scenario is something I can almost always recover from if it were ever to occur.

    For all of the opportunity it affords us, the important implications that no one could have predicted are how the technological advances that were taking place during the 80’s and 90’s (i.e. the internet, e-mail, smartphones, text messaging, etc.) would impact our mental health and our pre-existing notions of mental capacity. Technological evolution has far surpassed human evolution and I’m convinced this is once of the primary reasons why so many individuals are suffering from physical and/or mental ailments – perhaps the next stage of Darwinism.

    While this post served as a detour to my morning routine, it was a welcome one. Thanks for the great post and for the reminder to constantly re-examine our purpose.

  60. Why don´t you go for a more adult project – a really big goal- like promoting organic and good food / good eating habits in the US…it will help a lot of people. Food is more than energy. Food is part of a good and adult life.

    1. I am really concerned about the use of the term “adult” in this post. I find this denigrating to the body of Tim’s work which from my perspective has been very adult and self reflective. I am sorry but this also sounds like a comment from someone who has not followed much of what Tim has been saying. Many of his comments in the various media have promoted good food and healthy eating.

  61. I joined this journey a year ago, leaving a high level (and higher than current) paying job, removing myself from all the daily anxiety and drama. I am not wealthy by any means, I just knew I wasn’t happy. Sometimes it’s the simplest life that brings more pleasure to the everyday of just being present.

    Good luck to you (and good health).

  62. Do you KNOW your personal core values, those 10 or so that are part of you and have been for quite a while? They do not change much, if at all, over time. MThis may take some time to do and test. Do you live your life and make daily decisions based upon those core values? If so, the issues that you discuss above will disappear or greatly lessen.

    These values cone from within and must be discovered by you. No one can tell you what they are.

    Their discovery gives one the closest thing to a purposeful, rewarding life and peace of mind.

    PS – I am retired and have nothing to sell. I only write this after listening carefully to what you are saying in this blog today.

  63. Sounds like the right choice. You’ve helped a whole lot of people live healthier, saner lives, and you deserve the same.

    Looking forward to what’s next.

  64. Great insights on so many levels. Certainly for you personally, but also as part of a bigger picture. The podcast with Casey and his comment about Youtube success being about relationships had me wondering where is all of this heading – the big picture? We are reaching a point where, for most people in the first world, basic needs are pretty easy to meet and the consumption mindset we have been riding for awhile is finite as you have talked about using time as a resource. A lot of fertile ground to explore.

    I think in a lot of ways this post speaks to why you will continue to be successful, you allow the emotions in. Not an easy thing for a dude. Desire. Passion. Focus. Good stuff.

  65. Fantastic article! I love your scanned image at the end and how you write down the things that are giving you anxiety, then run it through the model and reach your decision. A clever way to define what you REALLY want, and reduce fear. Thanks, and keep them coming!

    Don’t stop writing!

  66. Glad to hear you will focus on writing, we will all be the richer for it! Regarding the Paul Graham link (love his essays, my favorite is stuff.html), he has another essay on doing what you love, which has this nugget that seems very apropos for what you have recently gone thru Tim:

    “Prestige is especially dangerous to the ambitious. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, the way to do it is to bait the hook with prestige. That’s the recipe for getting people to give talks, write forewords, serve on committees, be department heads, and so on. It might be a good rule simply to avoid any prestigious task. If it didn’t suck, they wouldn’t have had to make it prestigious.”

  67. Started reading this last night, finished this morning after a couple calls with people offering advice about my startup. The advice in this post helped me distill the advice and feedback I got from the calls to determine where to focus and what to eliminate, at least for the time being.

    Being a “bright, shiny things” person, it is invaluable to be reminded that it’s time to focus in on what’s essential and basically, delete” what’s not important, at least not in the immediate future.

    The timing is perfect. As always, thanks, Tim, for giving me exactly what I needed at the exact right time! Enjoy the vacation!

  68. Great read.

    The line that made me really pause and smile was “Life favors the specific ask and punishes the vague wish”. I’m taking some time off to think and plan my next steps. So far every time someone asks me about it and I explain the specifics of what I’m thinking and hoping to do next they come back with connections and ways to help. Hope you enjoy your vacation and come back fully charged. Your writing never fails to inspire.

  69. Sometimes it’s hardest to follow our own advice. I just quit a job that had enormous opportunity in order to free my bandwidth for creation, travel, and relationships. I won’t say I’m surprised to see you make this move, but I’m glad you are, and I’m excited to see what’s next. Refreshing to have the solidarity as well. I think you’re taking your own advice and making the right call. Cheers Tim!

  70. I know this piece struck a deep cord…because I’m leaving a comment.

    I am a better person, because of your words. Not your investment.

    The 4-Hour Work Week initialy shocked my system, but your voice now deeply resonates with me (even though I’m not M 25-40, but F 40).

    I listen to the audiobook anually, while driving between Phoenix and LA to catch International flights all over the world (which I didn’t know people “just did”). Because more is revealed with every listen.

    I’ve built a small consulting business which I can/do run from anywhere. Because of your words/presentation style.

    And…I’m also currently feeling pulled between ought, should, could, want, and need. All toughies.

    So..It’s extremely comforting to hear the thought process you are using to make your decision around investing.

    I do believe in simplicity over complexity.

    I believe in not answering the phone/email/text/messages.

    Those who care about us (like “on our death-bed” care) won’t mind.

    Selfishly, I’d love more “words” from you. Sounds like you do too.

    One thing I know (but don’t always remember) is: All will be okay. You will be okay. I will be okay.

    I *think* that is all that matters. But maybe not.

  71. Making health #1 50% of the time doesn’t work. It’s absolute — all or nothing. If it’s #1 50% of the time, you’ll compromise precisely when it’s most important.

    This hit home like a truck, a much needed wake-up call. Thanks Tim!!

  72. Great timing, You certainly have your finger on the pulse of reality. I would suspect that so many others are feeling the same way. I have been on the fence for a year on making some big changes mostly by saying no, and focusing on what really matters.

  73. Good for you. For what it’s worth, I’ve been LOVING the podcasts. Not just the info (though that’s been invaluable of itself), but the Socratic questioning. I met you years ago in a pub in London when doing your Book tour on 4HWW (which triggered a 6 month trip round Latin America with my wife and four kids, one still in nappies), but reading and listening to your latest work, it’s like someone different. I am astonished watching your learning, and have derived enormous vicarious value from it.

    For instance, I’ve personally interviewed over 1000 people, so thought myself a dab hand at questioning. But after devouring many (not all) of your podcasts, I feel like a rank amateur! I’ve suddenly found myself questioning far more more precisely, and getting far more useful answers. So time back on your creativity, experimentation and writing would be most welcome.

    Now to learn that ‘no’ trick…….

  74. Tim

    Believe it or not. I am a high achiever. The highest I know Of all my mates… Yet I feel lost and confused when it comes to the future and what my life holds.

    It’s short lived and I try for the present but you are one of the only mediums that gives me clarity.

    I use the headspace app. I follow you religiously and I hope one day…. It just clicks.

    Don’t leave us for the money bro. Let’s roll physically or mentally one day. Either way you’re the man X

  75. Tim,

    I just wanted to convey a deep and rare respect for someone I have never met. I have been following your blog since I read the 4 Hour Work Week in 2008. For someone who in all likelihood doesn’t need the money and could go take a permanent sabbatical in Margaritaville, it is most inspiring the amount you give back. I want to thank you for the motivation I receive from seeing someone who is not only trying to constantly improve themselves, but whom also shares freely all they have learned.

    While I have been inspired and educated by your teachings, I have until now failed to break free from the many trappings of this world and my own internal resistance. Through recent health and financial crisis I have barely been keeping my head above water, all the while watching great people like yourself continue to better this cruel and confusing world.

    Today I give myself 30 days to change my life and to make use of the wealth of knowledge I have absorbed. Knowledge disseminated by yourself, others you have learned from and those who have benefited from those lessons.

    I hope that as part of the 30 day mission I have given myself and as part of the respect I have for what you do, that this will be the first of more interaction with you and your community. I just wanted to start my endeavour with thanks to someone who has and continues to inspire me. Keep up the good work, Tim. There are those who greatly appreciate it.

  76. Slow clap Tim, slow clap. I had a sense this was coming too as I noticed a shift in your attitude about what was becoming more important to you. It’s funny and uncanny timing for me as I was just thinking about applying for another job for higher pay and leaving my passion were I am almost I irreplaceable, but have hesitated as I love being a total expert in something and don’t just want to be a generic manager. Your post has allowed me to feel good about my decision to carry on being the passionate expert in my area. I wish you all the best. You’re still my life guru Tim, so I eagerly await your next adventure. 😀

  77. Tim, My first time ever writing … this blog brought a tear to my eye.

    Here is what I want to say: please don’t stop writing. Best adjective to describe you is as one of the most ‘genuine’ writers out there. You are one of two blogs I allow to download (as in ‘no’). I have read work week and body, not yet to the food book being the proud owner of several hundred cook books.

    I am not in your demographic being a 72 year old woman (and late bloomer obviously) but am always inspired by you. And to your Mom and gout, I share that affliction and have held it at bay for several years with an alkaline diet – sugar is the most acid for me.

    Future writing idea since I have massive info and questions about aging: let us do a book together.

    Many thanks to you!!

    Bonnie

  78. Hey Tim, Great article. I have also been pondering this question for some time. Not about investing but about just saying no to more things in life. I have unsubscribed to many lists recently only reading a few blogs that I give me the most bang for my buck. I have also made a pretty big decision recently to stop running competitively and coaching after more than 20 years. To stop coaching and walk away from helping my athletes was very hard. I felt like I was letting them down. But then I realised I was giving so much and it was time to give to myself. I am now travelling the world solo.

    Re doing what you love. That seems to come up all around the world to be successful. I have a slightly different twist on that. I believe in doing what your personality is suited to. Heres my basic analogy. You may love coffee and the whole coffee industry. So you decide to get a job as a barista. You become the best barista in town but you still don’t love what you do. Maybe, your like me and don’t love interacting with humans everyday. Maybe you can still love coffee but can become a coffee roaster instead. My point is sometimes our personalities aren’t suited to the things we think we love

    I would suggest I hear a little bit of this come through in your writing. Your personality is more suited to writing and being a little more alone. You can control it more, interact with people less and work more on your own terms as opposed to the demand of companies you advise and invest in. Stick to what your personality is suited to and it will become what you love. 🙂

    keep up the writing.

  79. Thanks Tim. RE your recent 5 bullet friday. You are comparing 30g waking protein with intermittent fasting for muscle growth. Great question as I know you raised this with Dr Peter Thia (sic) and I’ve wondered the same for a while. You said the Bluebonnet was clearly the winner so far? What the hell is a bluebonnet? Given that you are a writer and wishing to always improve..in a concise clear little list of bullet points, I was upset you chose to use a totally obscure colloquial reference – possibly heavily demographic dependent – as the answer to a question?!!! i begrudingly tried an internet search – begrudingly because I shouldn’t feel I have to, when you’re not writing about a specialist topic (Eg investing, where you can expected to use phrases I won’t understand) – but even the internet didn’t help! Theres several plants and the UN and something else all called a bluebonnet. Lovingly, respectfully Timmy, write in a way that will make still make sense in 1, 20 , 40, 100 years and you’ll go even further

    (posting here because this post is about focusing on your writing, the 5 bullet friday post refers to this post – and I dont use twitter and facebook because I’m old school 😉 YO

  80. Tim. Thank you. You nailed it. Quick story – Last year I was 29 year old at the height of my career, in my 2nd year as c-level exec for a pretty large firm (by far youngest exec in my industry). I thought I was happy, but I felt shallow like something was missing. I knew I was doing other people’s work and adding very little to the world. I knew I was fooling myself to stay on the path of making more, consuming more, and wanting more.

    Long story short, there’s probably 25 books and 100 podcasts that I’ve read/listened/studied that have contributed to turning my life around, but I can tell you that few people were more instrumental than you.

    Today I’m 30 years old, 1 year removed from leaving my job and working to take my life back. I couldn’t be happier. My life is better, the people in my life have been positively affected, and I know that my impact on the world will be exponentially greater now that my priorities are back in control. Thanks to you.

    This latest post crystallizes to me how important you are to my continuede awakening.

    “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” Cheesy but true: you are a great lever and people like me are your fulcrum. KEEP WRITING, KEEP TEACHING, KEEP INSPIRING.

    Sorry, I would’ve wrote a shorter post but I didn’t have enough time.

  81. Tim,

    Absolutely get your need to take a prolonged vacation from what may bring you wealth but not joy. May we all have that courage.

    Your decision likely is a benefit to me as presumably you will write and teach more.

    My question – You mention you don’t want to hire staff to vet deals. Once your post VC sabbatical why not leverage your brand and hire staff to vet deals and winnow the nonsense?

    Best wishes in all.

    JWH

  82. Hey Tim I just wanted to say congratulations on making this move. I have hard copies of all your books. Yours is the only blog I read regularly. Yours is the only podcast I listen to regularly. I’ve used the 4HWW to make a huge career change, used the 4HBody to put in 12 pounds of muscle in 6 weeks, and have used the 4HourChef to train myself in skill acquisition and of course, make delicious lamb shank and rosemary pistachio cookies.

    All this to say, I’m really glad that you’re out writing and creating. When the 4HourChef came out it seemed unclear whether or not you were planning on continuing to write, and that made me a little sad. I was, and now am, looking forward to seeing what comes of your new decision.

    Un fuerte abrazo,

    Faiyam

  83. Hi Tim.

    I took notes on parts of this article, and appreciate your numerous articles.

    I have done much saying “no” socially as of late, and my existence has gotten superbly clearer, and higher value.

  84. Your writing and experiments have been of huge benefit to so many people. For me, life changing. Your podcasts have introduced me to very interesting people and great ideas. I have learned so much from your work. Take a break, look after your health and recharge but please keep writing and teaching.

  85. I loved that you used cauterize as a verb. That aside, if I could be so bold as to suggest: you need catharsis. To my mind the mountains bring a sharp catharsis that no Malbec or gorgeous woman ever could. In Banff/Canmore right now, we are in the opening weekend of the Mountain Film Festival, with both Alex Honnold, AND Jimmy Chin here to discuss their movies. There’s snow in the backcountry, sunny afternoons, and yoga teachers that will kick your ass both physically and psychologically. Day-to-day life might not be slow-carb compliant, but the crisp mountain air will fill you with leanness and life. All the best, and thank-you for being candid,

    ~Krista

  86. I gained so many insights about my own life and activity flow from this blogpost. I will share it with a friend who has also recently started to implement 80/20 more into her personal life for the long-haul.

    The part about finding the place where you are irreplaceable in terms of impact resonates with me the most. Yes, please, never stop writing.

  87. Actually saying “no” to anything but “hell yeahs” is a powerful thing. Left and right I see people like Tim embracing this path. What moved me the most was the interview with Lady Gaga about this and other things. It was what liberated her more then meditation or any other way of dealing with stress and anxiety.

    Here is the short passage:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJZ0X5gdGfU

    But you really want to listen to the longer version:

    http://youtu.be/gSwxK4pFF1o

    Jump to 8:00 if you re in a hurry.

    Best,

    Elmar

  88. Hi Tim

    I’m so glad that you found yourself back on your road, congrats

    I’m a french guy and I quite sure to be one of the first in France to follow you for so many years now

    I also might be able to write you a book (hell yeah just for you man) about what you’re living because there’s a point you always miss and never talk about (And I can’t do it either in public), and why it’s so ? Because I’m like you a true researcher of life.

    Now that you’ll finally have some time, I respectfully invite you in my hometown Saint-Malo (Britanny, France #3 best cities on airbnb France 😉 )

    I wanted to do so for at least 5 years, never did it because you became like a “star”, but now is the time, come visit me and you won’t regret it (you can also learn french ^^ how good is that cherry ?)

    This is an open invitation with no time limitation ^^ and of course we can just chat as well by email

    My intentions are pure (not business related, I have 2 companies already, not money related I have some and don’t need it, just pure thinking for the beauty of it)

    Bye Tim and I hope to read or see you soon

    Gwen

    Ps:sorry for my english 😉

  89. I love what Tim writes and the way he can be cool (experiments, insights, getting the edge and so on) and intelligent (this post). There’s somehow a feeling that often puts me on a different thought-track. Self-help, getting better, being more productive…produce a lot of stress. Fighting stress and anxiety using rules, stress management techniques and similar…produce some stress too. Wouldn’t it be better to just “be”? Take life less seriously, as if it isn’t a race? Being more ZOrba and less like the narrator. I see many great smart intelligent horses that run furiously towards the carrot stuck to their heads. (Don’t get me wrong, I am one of them. Ok, maybe not the smartest one).

    Last night I went to see Neil Strauss latest book’s presentation. The night was excellent, but before he got on stage I had a quick chat with guys in the audience. People trying to speed up speed reading (“So I can skim/read 10 books per week”), people believing that “it’s not what you know, it’s not who you know, but it’s how you can use NLP so people can know you”. People saying “we are not making any money, but being an entrepreneur has made me a better person because now I know how to allocate time to people I love”. Wow.

    I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. Maybe I grew up in a country that wasn’t obsessed with ‘getting better’ (Italian current economy maybe proves me right, ha!), but after 10 years that I read it, I still believe that the story of the mexican fisherman holds a big truth.

    Or maybe we see the world in the exact same way, though using different cultural lenses.

  90. Tim,

    Enjoyed this article. For reference my favorite pieces are your longer articles and Podcasts. I am a Exec Dir of a non-profit for the last two years and have used many things I learned from you and your guests. Thank you. The thing I long for is a compiled bibliography of books your Podcast guests (and you) have recommended. Maybe there is such a list already?

    My best to you in all endeavors.

  91. This is an exceptional post reminding all of us once again the power in saying NO, so that we can live our own ideal lives. People and circumstances will steal your time and your life, if you let them. Saying NO is the first step to regaining control.

    We are doing this in our business to make certain we are only working with “Ideal Clients” that fit our specific profile. Others we will politely disengage to focus on those that pay us for what we do.

    Again, what is the worst that will happen?

  92. Insightful posts like this, along with the links, references, and asides, is your personal brand. It looks to me that can not help being that person – it’s wired – so it is what you should do as a priority and everything else gets done only to the extent that it supports or grows that one thing. IMHO.

  93. Good call, Tim. Life is short and fragile. As Einstein got older, he recognized the deepest calling of life in “widening our circle of compassion to embrace all.”

  94. Hi! Tim, you inspire everyone who reads your posts to better a quality of life. Most of all you inspire me to be effective and invest in peace. I like it that I can be curious, question assumptions (create distinctions); its vicarious learning from your writing that gets me or anyone else for that matter to your posts. May you go from strength to strength in your writing, experimenting etc . God Bless You

  95. Ohhh, this may explain it. I have listened to many of your podcast episodes. You’re really good. But…

    I kept being curious about a very different tone and energy you seem to have with deeper thinkers (often older, but not always) guests versus Silcon Valley-alicious folk with more money and tactical advice than curiosity.

    I could be wrong, but I notice a different excitement (sincerity?) to the sound of your voice with these different guests. When you got more entrepreneur & tech-heavy, you were still good and enthusiastic, but your tone reveals less satisfaction and stimulation. It seems to go beyond whether you like the guest a lot or not.

    Money is awesome and necessary, so maybe this time-off post is prep for monetizing a decision. That’s cool, too. I’m curious about how people apply curiosity to designing their lives, how much they hedge for pivoting, how fame plays a role, and at what age (if any) does it no longer matter.

    Why comment? Curiosity.

  96. I notice that you write with crushed “e”s. that means you can have trouble listening to people. But you listened to your friend in the kitchen. Excellent thought process. I am, however, slightly concerned about your T stroke.

  97. Awesome post mate, so true to the heart. I have been shedding a lot of layers myself lately to make room for the hell yes in my entrepreneurial journey. It’s comforting to know that an epic individual such as urself still feels the squeeze too. Never stop writing mate! Yieww 🙂

  98. Sit back with your glass of wine tonight, feel relaxed relief….enjoy!

    Thanks for all the interviews you do, good questions you ask, your inner journey sharing…I enjoy listening while I stack wood for the winter in rural Montana, do the dishes, and drive through the canyon and forest.

  99. I was super excited for you when you mentioned in the interview with Tara that you were thinking about cutting the startups strings. At first, I was mostly excited for your focus to return to writing, but now I wouldn’t care if you never produced another post!

    I might finally catch up!

    Happen to be in the middle of my own 2 years of living dangerously and saying no – wife and 3 young ones hanging with me – and while sometimes stressful, also incredibly enriching.

    All the best to you.

  100. I remember in one of your podcasts, the interviewee asked you back on what you would tell your 30 year old self, and you said “to chill the **** out”. Good to see you taking your own advice there! 😉

  101. The initial disappointment reading about your “retirement” quickly transposed to joy – Great decision and I applaud the direct and honest way you have communicated to your audience.

    I recently sold my house in Sydney, quit Banking and moved the family up to Coffs Harbour and am currently renovating our new house. Quality of life and happiness have increased exponentially for me, my wife and the kids. I am also excelling at sport (squash)

    Reading your books and listening to your podcasts helped to cultivate these seeds of happiness. Simple things resonate, ‘specialisation is for insects’, captain a ship…..I have never done plastering, carpentry or plumbing but I do have a support network from your book club, such as obstacle is the way or art of learning. I am very grateful for how you have (unknowingly) helped me – thank you.

    Have a happy break and give Australia a go, they have a saying “I wouldn’t be dead for quids…”

  102. Great post. There is more to life than the pursuit of MORE money, being minimalistic and spending time on the things you love helps reduce anxiety and leads to a happier and more fulfilled life.

  103. Great post. Last year my wife and I asked the question ‘How much is enough?’

    It’s amazing what you don’t need and how ‘the chase’ can become your life.

    The last 12 months has been transformation for us and we are happier and healthier than ever.

  104. Good effort! For me it takes 3 months of no noise before I can hear clearly again.

    Stage left has a sign above saying “no exit”, well fuck that! I know there is a door behind the sign and I’m taking it immediately.

    Good luck in saying NO! you’ll need it, but I hope you manage for the sake of your own health.

    Poetry?

  105. Hi Tim, loved this. Thank you. Totally where we are in our business and it makes so much sense. We have worked so hard to get to where we are that saying no seems alien to all those years we had to say yes just to stay in. As our energy has been expended more by doing this over the years the only way for us to carry on now is by saying no – and in turn make sure the business continue to grow with a small but clear market. Best article yet.

  106. Hey Tim, recent convert and loving beyond loving your content. Please don’t stop the podcasts – please. I get so much from them, and helps me feel if even just distantly, like I’m mixing with people so much smarter than me! BTW i want to say “no more’ to full time employment – soon Tim, soon. 🙂

  107. recently read and reread Essentialism (probably a book I picked up after listening to a podcast… yours perhaps?) Good to see that you are following that same advice. Always hard to say no, but look forward to seeing more of your works.

  108. Your investing rules sound very similar to playing Poker! – ” If you throw low-due-diligence Hail Mary’s everywhere and justify it with “they could be the next Uber!”, you will almost certainly be killed by 1,000 slow-bleeding $25K paper cuts.”

  109. I’m glad that you are finally taking a break from investing in startups and doing what is probably your vocation in life, which is to help people live a better life via your writing about your lifestyle design experiments. I’ve always dreamed of doing what you’re doing and until I read you and faced a life-changing situation recently I wouldn’t be trying to fulfill my vocation right now. Thanks for waking me up to the wonderful possibilities in life.

  110. Perfect timing! I’ve enrolled in a really amazing course and am really wanting to do another great course. In my heart I know I cannot do them both justice but I was suffering from a FOMO moment – what if I never get the chance again to do the second course? I love that you named and crystallised the issue for me!

  111. Dear Tim, thanks for your email. It has come at an unusual time for me. I’ll just take it as a sign and leave it at that. I’m saddened too about losing my passion for my job in education, it’s all test scores and diagnostic reviews for me at present. I don’t understand any of your start up business investment info, but I do understand how you can become overwhelmed by OPS (other people’s stuff…). I’m going to heed your timely advice and step off the treadmill for a while, to find me again. I wish you all the best and thank you so much for your words. I know you have zillions who follow you, but your email and your reflections made me feel like your message was just for me. So thank you. Enjoy your new life. Hopefully I can join you soon…

  112. Thanks Tim. The timing of your practical yet soulful blog post for me couldn’t be better. I’m currently in the early stage (3 months) in a gap year from my startup adventures to try and re-find my creativity and passion. For the first time in my life I don’t know what’s next. Sitting idle is very hard for me and sirensong shiny objects everywhere. Your straight shooting advice at the least, helps me stay disciplined and fight off the fear demons that always try and creep in, and at the most, sends me on my journey to something phenomenal, energetic and impactful that I’d never touch had I stayed timid and chained to my old life. Thanks and adventurous travels bro!

  113. Tim,

    You couldn’t possibly read all these comments, but this was, as most people wading in have said, a very good post. So I just had to add to it.

    I think you said you were backing off on podcast interviews as well, but I might have read that too fast. My commute will be impoverished if you do that.

    It is encouraging to know that rich folks like you (I know, compared to who) in some ways think like poor people like me. I have used a journal for years to write down worries, etc and always wondered if it was a mental crutch I needed to maintain my sanity and wondered if anyone else did it. It sure helps me cope with life so I guess it is a welcome crutch. It is also interesting and confirms my belief that rich people just have another set of problems. Instead of how am I going to stay off the street, it’s how can I deal with so much opportunity and stay true to myself. I think I would like a shot at some of those kind of problems.

    Listening and reading younger folks (I am 70) ideas really keeps me energized. You, Greenfield, and James Altucher are my core podcast addictions. Sure hope you keep those coming.

  114. Tim,

    This article is phenomenal. The blend of reference to great published work,

    unique new insights, twinned with your personal experience to illustrate make fantastic reading. Reminds me of the early stuff you wrote that first got me hooked.

    Thank you.

    G

  115. Hi Tim,

    I see the pain points you have. I am pretty sure other Angel Investors might be facing similar issues. If I may ask, If there is an Angel Investor Service such as filtering pitch decks, summarizing those that fit your investment style, and providing you with a one-page executive summary on those opportunities that are worthwhile pursuing, wouldn’t that alleviate your problem?

  116. IMO you’re right on track, Tim. I haven’t opened/read one of your newsletters since you wrote that post on suicide, because there didn’t seem to be enough depth. I’m about 1/2 way through a slow version of what you’re describing and it’s liberating. My health is returning and I’m narrowing down time allocated for “friends” to people I genuinely miss when they’re gone. Best wishes for success.

  117. Synchronicity! Just heard this on, who’d a thunk, an evangelical Christian radio show. (I stop in every once in a while to see if they speak to my heart) Of course they worded it: find out what God most wants you to do. Find out what energizes you most in the doing….The Universe knocking? Gonna give it a go. I’m amazed how often this is the case with your posts. Good on ya!

  118. Awesome article Tim! I’ve always told people that the thing you do best is focus & master things at rapid speed- which requires space & time. People LOVE when you create.

    Secondly, there is a false expectation in our society that wants you to continue to do something that you are world-class at just bc you can. When in the big picture it may have just been one path you were meant to go along for a period of time to accumulate experiences that prepare you for your next journey.

    One life many life’s times!

    Ed okeefe

    Ps: did kamal hug in only that way kamal can?

  119. Thanks, Tim.

    For me, this has been one of your most insightful posts. It really hit home right now.

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom, your thought process and even your journalling through decision making.

    I look forward to reading more of your writing soon.

  120. Any reason why my previous comment hasn’t been published? I’ve only said that sometimes I have a different approach to Tim’s.

    You say “Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff.” My comment was slightly critical (I hope everyone is entitled to an opinion), definitely not rude.

    1. yeah, it’s inscrutable – I’ve left incredibly positive comments that got deleted. I can’t see the rhyme or reason either, FWIW (assuming this comment gets published, ha!)

      1. I know, it’s a bit strange. I had only expressed my thoughts on self-help, saying that sometimes it’s ok to be just who one is. And I referred to a book called Zorba the greek. If they end up publishing it, you’ll see there is no rudeness whatsoever. What can I say…

  121. Glad to see this Tim. I recently sold, gave away and gave up everything tying me to my old way of life. From my home and toys to my work and income (fee for service- advising and coaching), all activities are now vetted by and subject to, my ability to apply my super power and create a life I truly believe in. If it’s not a direct fit I say no.

  122. Brilliant!!!! Truly my favorit post thus far. With that stated,I am always gratefully educated by all of you teachings/writings/ideas. These post are my cup of coffee; thank you.

  123. Tim

    I admire your courage to say No and have the wisdom to pursue your passion. Your Lyme disease symptoms will improve and may completely go away. This has been my clinical observation with people who are pursuing their life’s purpose.

    Dr. J

  124. THE BEST BLOG POST / EMAIL YOU HAVE EVER PRODUCED! You made me think about my own investments in people, projects, and in what I feel is obligatory; Obligatory = hell no, but I will do it any way. Thank you.

  125. Wow Tim thank you for an incredible read and congrats on making such a ballsy move. You are making such an authentic and honest decision for yourself. It is so easy to slip in to doing something just because it feels “stupid” to do otherwise but I’m becoming a great fan of saying “fuck it” and just doing what the hell I want. Currently exiting my biz after reading 4hww 6 months ago … My current biz bores me to tears, fills me full of anxiety and is not what I was put on this planet to do. Thank you for changing my life I am now about to enjoy a mini retirement with 5 months of snowboarding around the world!

  126. Thank you, I needed this.

    My one reservation is about the applicability of this for everyone. You could probably retire now and be fine for years, but what about those who don’t have that insurance? Is it reckless for some people to turn down opportunities? For example, what if you can’t afford to put health above client calls even though you need to? Is there a threshold for when you get to say no?

  127. Hi Tim

    You’re not alone, as a Doctor this is exactly what I’ve dedicated with success, my life to. I’m not sure how else to share with you my project ( that requires no investing 😉) The Overwhelm Solution (.com)

    Daily I work with high profile , successful people that have hit the breaking point in their physiology, which over time effects their greatest asset , their minds. Joy starts to leak out, relationships deflate, and drastic changes are made that may not be necessary.

    My heart goes out to you, and I truly hope you find those precious sparks that ignite your soul fire into sustainable flames.

  128. In case it’s not Tim who screens these, please pass on The Overwhelm Solution, so he knows his genius is not alone , you don’t have to publish either post, no investing required, but as an advocate for lifestyle, and a man taking a stance for his health, him and so many of his followers could truly benefit from support like this.

    Thank you

    Dr Denoon

  129. Thank you Tim. I just discovered you and your thinking a couple of months ago. Although you say you are not the best writer, I have found that you are very clear. You are an excellent teacher and very inspiring. I feel that your latest decision as a wise one. I hope you enjoy your newest mini retirement and I am looking forward to your discoveries from it.

    Sara

  130. Tim – as a consumer of your content (books/podcast/posts/etc), this article got me feeling “HELL YEAH!”. 4HWW changed my life, and in this article you dig into things that make me feel like back when I first read it. Thank you, and I look forward to what content you will put out there here on in with this renewed dedication 🙂

  131. Tim, I believe the real challenge is finding our own authentic value in this life. When we tip the scale to our vocation to provide that worth we are chained to a false value that can flutter on at any moment. Rising in the ranks and gaining power provides a great sense of worth, but when that changes, and it will, and you have owned that success as your sole value, the dive down will be brutal. I believe you have discovered a search for authentic value; who is Tim as a soul in this life, not who is Tim and his vocation.

  132. I left the safety and security of a high paying job to pursue my true passion. I’m struggling and am far from successful, and i’m terrified every other day..but then again, on the days in between I’m saying “fu** yeah!!” because I refuse to die with my song still inside me.

    I’m disheartened by the overabundance of folks who buy into the, “I’m too busy…” bs. Don’t they get it? Life travels at the speed of light.

    The fact you’re saying “no” at this point in your life sends a super wonderful message of empowerment. thank you.

  133. I concur that this article is one your best. While I was reading it, the thought of an older (and wiser) mentor I had reminded me of her advice – “When life gets cluttered, it’s time to do some cleaning.”. Every year, I go through what’s working a d what’s not…similar to your process. And every year I write a letter to my future self with those decisions…and I find that the worst not only didn’t happen, I ended up making better life quality decisions.

  134. The most profound post you’ve written. I applaud your insight and take it to heart. Our experience here on earth is not about aquiring…it takes huge courage, tenacity, grit and wisdom to learn that and let go and then do it again tomorrow, and the next until we’re 90 and surrounded by people and experiences we love, then we’ll know it was worth it. I’m inspired again, thanks Tim.

  135. Thanks Tim for sharing this!

    It is important to be optomistic in life but it is also important to share moment that are harder… Thank you for sharing avoir your lyme desease and Fomo.

    I am a big fan of your books and blog and I am glad you are not going full time into VC as your writing have always made a big impact in my life.

    I have started to be a minimalist and enjoy having less instead of more and I still have a hard time adjusting this with my passions, personal projects and professional life but I believe it is a great lesson to learn to say no.

    Thanks again for this great post. Can’t wait to see how you stick with this and have more time to feel free and be even more creative.

  136. Tim – I’ve read this twice now and it is so directly applicable to my life and actionable – one of the best things you’ve ever put out there, IMO.

  137. Tim – your thought process and execution around decision making is world class and I am so thankful to you for sharing it with us. Thank you. I’m excited to see what you produce as you follow this path. I’m also going to use much of this post as I struggle to decide whether to take a fancy job title at a cool startup or continue to follow my dream and start my own company.

    More than anything I kept reading this and thinking, “so is this Tim’s way of announcing he’s going to write The 4 Hour Investor?”

    Sure seems like a way you can transfer the lessons you’ve learned in investing to millions of people. 🙂

    I’ll remain hopeful!

  138. I felt compelled to write you as I had my breakdown/breakthrough back in June of this year. Waking up at 3am every day, wanting to puke, and asking the questions “Is this all there is?” and “What the hell am I doing this for?”. So I quit my job, took 2 months off with my kids for summer, and decided it was now or never to start a business. Even though I have no clients, I know – Everything Is as it Should Be. Worst case scenario – I go and find a job. I have always described my perfect day as being able to drop my kids off, work from home and pick my kids up from school. 2 out of 3 isn’t so bad. At the end of the day, if you’re dead, money isn’t going to matter one damn bit. Keep on keepin’ on.

  139. I found myself bound to your podcasts. I spent time trying to read every book and research every guest before the next one came out.

    After going back and listening to half of them (@ 1.5 speed to save time) and reading the books recommended (using the speed reading techniques) I still had no time to do, to create, to make any of those things happen.

    So I am gonna take a vacation from your Podcasts. From everyones podcasts and blogs.

    I am gonna create.

    Thanks for giving us the tools to make things happen.

    Aloha!

  140. Tim, this was the best post I’ve read from you! Thank you for being vulnerable and honest. This was just what I needed to hear as my life had become nothing but overwhelm. Though I’m female and not an investor (in other companies or start-ups), it was as though I was reading a page from my life while reading this blog post. I have been noting the same patterns in my life when it comes to taking on projects and opportunities that seemingly will brings me towards building the lifestyle business I am now creating. In reality, I’m in constant state of overwealm and stress, my sleep and personal health flying down the tubes…working so much so I can cover the cost of this and that in hopes of creating. I noticed in handling such business I have no time to actually do or create the very things I am trying market. CRAZY!!! Two days before reading this article I said NO to an opportunity that I initially said yes to. My heart was pounding and my breathing was restricted. Once I said NO relief…I am now considering the other things I have said yes to because I’m thinking a few of those will now be a NO. Thanks for this timely and life changing article.

  141. Excellent post. I was thinking of doing the same. But…

    You said:

    “Some of you might suggest hedging with short positions, and I’d love to, but it’s not my forte. If you have ideas for doing so without huge exposure or getting into legal gray areas, please let me know in the comments.”

    You can short stocks with defined risk by selling vertical call spreads at one standard deviation above the stock price with a 67% expected chance of making money. Spread out over lots of stocks which you think are over-priced, you are statistically guaranteed to make money when placed on stocks with high implied volatility.

    This is not a gray area; it is 100% legal. People like Tom Sosnoff teach these kinds of trades daily. I do these types of transactions on a regular basis and the best part about them is ‘Defined Risk’ which helps me to sleep better.

  142. Hey Tim,

    Just like to say that I’m looking forward to your upcoming work. I’ve always enjoyed your writing and happy you’re bringing it back. You’re one of the few writers that gives me deep inspiration. Welcome back!

  143. Like they all said: GREAT post. Really well considered and referenced. My favorite quote: Life favors the specific ask and punishes the vague wish. Just like Scott Adams related with his visualizations in your podcast with him. All my experience tells me this, yet still it seems like human nature to be distracted with vague wishes of doing way more. Thanks for the encouragement to keep working at “no”.

  144. Good to have you back, Tim!

    I’m way out of your demographic (female, early 60s), but your writing/teaching has changed everything about how I look at life and what I want to do with my last precious decades. Life is short! No guarantees, so you gotta go for it.

  145. I am very proud of you for taking, possibly, a very challenge step! Slowing down and ‘missing out’ can be VERY frighting – at first! (Being there done that!)

    I enjoy A LOT your content and your ability to explore so many subjects and areas, and I learn A LOT from it! And … I had sensed a lot of anxiety in your process and talks lately, and I was, actually, sending some good vibes for you to consider the ‘slow down’ possibly. My selfish intention was having you health and able to continue to provide, with clarity, the great service and information you provide. I am glad you are taking this important challenge

    Slow down happy vibes! Hand on in this the process! It is worth!

    Less is more!

  146. Hi Tim, your honesty and commitment with your principles are admirable. I need to confess that for a while I felt you seemed distant from your beliefs, working like crazy in new projects and saying yes for everything that looks cool. However, the mathematics don’t close: staying beasier isn’t a guarantee of success; have rushing in the morning or pulling from one meet to another don’t make sense in the long term. Glad and inspired to hear you are backing to the simpler, the real , the less that is more. I wish you all the best. Keep inspiring people! KR

  147. Great article Tim. I’m an avid follower of your content from your books to your podcast and TV show. Kudos to you for recognizing when to stop doing something you no longer share the same enthusiasm for and realize it’s affecting other areas of your life. I think fulfillment rather than success is most important, as the intrinsic value of how your time and focus is spent means everything. I look forward to seeing what you put out next, as I agree with many others in that you are an exceptional teacher and have much to share with the world.

  148. Superb article Tim, just what I needed right now. As soon as I started reading your post I immediately thought of the guy you referenced, Greg McKeown’s Essentialism. I need to get back into this thought process. I also agree with some of the other posts, this has been your best for a while. Get rid of the many good and concentrate on the vital few.

    Today I reposted an image from Richard Branson which said:

    If you want happiness for an hour – Take a nap

    If you want happiness for a day – Go fishing

    If you want happiness for a year – Inherit a fortune

    If you want happiness for a lifetime – Help someone else

    This is what you do best when you write Tim.

    Cheers, Andy

  149. Just wanted to say thanks! I am working (albeit slowly) towards my personal FREEDOM. We can become slaves to what we think we master. Your posts and podcasts always stir my brain to think and my body to take action. Thanks again

  150. Well done Tim!!!

    your decision doesn’t surprise me, kind of ….had the feeling your life was getting too complicated and being back to base could be good….for a while in your case.

    You saw it coming and took action….as you always do. Brave!

    Enjoy and don’t disappear for ever….you are a great inspiration…..

    Gracias por tantas enseñanzas y buenos ratos

    CRIS

  151. Congrats! It was clear during the podcast with Tara Brach that this was what you needed to do but you were still talking yourself through it.

    I recently experienced a similar situation. I’ve planned for the past 2.5 year plan to quit my job and travel but got promoted twice in the meantime. I knew that waiting for my bonus in 5 months was the decision that looked best on paper but it didn’t feel right. A close friend finally gave me the answer I wanted to hear and now I’m in Tokyo, the first of many places I’ll be visiting for an undetermined amount of time.

    This isn’t the first time I’ve left my job to travel but your writings have been a great source of inspiration and support over the past few years as I’ve faced pressure from friends, family and cohorts not to not make the leap as well as my own FOMO.

    Glad you’ve hit the reset button. What you’re best at is probably what’s easiest and will make you happiest.

  152. Thanks for the reminder to re-evaluate Tim. I by no means have it all, but I work from home now making a comfortable 4-600k per year and I mostly enjoy what I do. To be honest though I did re-evaluate what causes me stress and takes up more of my time than I want. I keep finding my fear to change comes from the very basic worry that I could lose it all. Every time I do fear setting exercises I realize that even if I did lose it all its not something that I couldn’t just rebuild and probably enjoy doing. Thanks for the encouragement and personal insight.

  153. Hi Tim, Long time reader and follow your podcasts at the gym. Love the quote by Yutang about eliminating non-essentials. I do consider you a teacher first and glad to see you know yourself well enough to take a break from some of the non-essentials. Looking forward to your insights as you scale back. PS. The article about you in Success magazine was wonderful.

  154. Tim: I believe a good hedge shown over time is a systematic trend following algorithmic trading system, via Liquid Futures. It is a way to control risk in the least non correlated fashion. Although long term in nature I believe it is the most robust. It is also a quantifiable method which works and to me takes the angst out of less systemized and more correlated methods.

    Thanks Matt

  155. Tim, thank you for this awesome post- one of your best without a doubt.

    I am very grateful to you for your insights and for your writing. I did a 180 on my life immediately after reading 4HWW, and learnt a ton from 4HBody too.

    I am clearly just one of many influenced by your insights. This post is wonderful because you have reached a new level of awareness of self. You have always been super smart, witty etc and now you are becoming super wise as well. So freaking awesome. Super, super happy for you. Thanks again for your wonderful insights. Big love and gratitude

  156. Good on you for having the courage to choose Tim!

    Better that you are the one making an active choice (whether good or bad) than not doing so and hoping things work out. The latter is really just making a passive choice to cede control of your life.

  157. Tim!! I’m so excited you’re going to be doing more writing! I love your writing and have noticed you haven’t been doing as much, and I’ve missed it. Parts of this post could not have come at a better time for me. I need to decide on a new business/career. This has helped me remember what’s important. Thanks.

  158. Great post. Funny story, we were selling our business when I ran into “The 4 Hour Workweek”, changed our mind, figured we weren’t doing it right, needed to delegate and outsource.

    Didn’t work out as planned LOL Economy tanked, outsourcing sounded better than it was in reality, Tried the general manager route but it doesn’t really work because they aren’t the “owner” like you are, they want to do things “their own way” and then they quit anyway so you’d better hope you didn’t give them too much leeway to screw up the company!

    So half-way as a business owner didn’t work for us. It was fine because in the next 5 years we made a lot more money, sold the company for more, invested in commercial real estate, and now never have to work. But sometimes it’s better to be “in” or “out” and not “halfway.”.

  159. Tim- congratulations on your decision- truly shows that you are willing to do what it takes to be on top of your game and that you continue to define your game in a very broad sense. I’m now considering something similar for myself.

    I’ve thought a lot about how you invest and where you might gain peace of mind while keeping your huge overweight on early-stage tech.

    Through your observations and network, you must have incredible (and completely legal) insight on many likely losers in the economy who could be hurt by some of the winners where you’ve invested or even others where you’ve passed but believe in the market. You also likely wish to limit your losses on any one idea to a small portion of your worth, while sleeping easy.

    You should look into long-term out of the money puts with small portions of your worth in areas that will ultimately be smaller niches or go away. In the past, this was newspapers, yellow pages, and record companies; today it might be taxi medallion companies and other challenged operators. You can “set it and forget it,” use your existing knowledge base, allocate some bets that resonate with your value system (while staying out of the crazy day-to-day of deals), and solidify your investing acumen. Let me know if this sounds interesting; I’d love to join some of your next adventures.

  160. Thank you for this Tim. I’ve spent a few years highly anxious about the success or failure of my start-up. This was mostly because I had an unquestioned bias toward the culture and environment that perpetuates this trade model. But I now know that don’t have the temperament to make effective use of this model and I’ve come to terms with that now. I have come to understand that this is but one means to a desired end. This post has reassured me of my decision to leave the start-up game and allocate my focus toward creative and strategic value-adding efforts. All thanks to your content.

  161. Outstanding. thanks for sharing and taking the time to write. This is inspirational for 9-5 office workers like me to just realise that successful people get anxiety too.

  162. Thanks for the great post Tim. Not sure if you have kids, but being a father was the best start up I ever began. 100% guaranteed to evolve your perspective, whatever your circumstances, lol ;), where would it take you?

  163. Tim,

    Listen to this weeks podcast by Tara Brach. Oct 31-Nov 2 timeframe. Very fitting concerning this blog post.

    Go where you need to. I’ve always got your back. Just keep moving forward.

    -Jason

  164. Tim, your blog really inspired me. I love that comment, if you can be replaced…really good point to doublecheck if you are really focused on a passion area. Some people would never understand your decision, but it hit me straight on and gave me a push to do what I’ve been thinking about. Thanks! Ann

  165. Tim

    As you know one of your biggest risks at this point is liquidity risk so taking the barbell approach (liquidate everything else to cash) is the right first step.

    Regarding hedging the 80% of your portfolio in startups…

    There are not many terribly good options. The ETF market does provide the ability to selectively hedge based on the sector concentration in your portfolio (tech, healthcare etc…). These inverse ETFs, for the most part, provide 2X exposure so you’re getting $2 in short exposure for every $1 in you invest in the ETF. This is good and bad. It’s good from the perspective that it’s cash efficient and doesn’t require active management (like you would need with an option hedge program). The bad news is that the ETF typically carry a 95bps fee and they can be subject to volatility “chop”. Given that they have to rebalance every day they will not perfectly track the performance of the underlying. There are also broader market ETFs (NASDAQ 100) that take a 3X short approach.

    Long story short (pun NOT intended), if you are looking for an relatively easy and passive way of taking some market beta off the table, you could use a combination of 2x short sector ETFs and 3x short broad market ETFs to partially hedge your VC book. Costs would be about 95bps on the cash invested, less if you want to think about it in terms of the “notional” exposure covered.

    Not perfect by any stretch…but something if you’re getting nervous.

    Jim

  166. Howdy Tim!

    Thank you for sharing this, very powerful!

    Could you please share some ideas on being an early employee of a startup? I am currently working for a startup, but don’t know if the stress is worth it!-) Also, I don’t know how/what to ask for concerning wage, shares, etc.

    A podcast episode or blog post would be awesome on the subject!

  167. Tim, I’ve been listening to your podcasts and following you for a while; currently I’m living in Bariloche, Argentina, but will be returning to the states in under a month… I never comment under posts, in fact, I think I’ve only done it once on the web and that was simply to give Ray Kurzweil props for his incredible insights in “The Singularity Is Near,” but man, you truly are an inspiration. I’ve read countless book recommendations of yours, listened to the bulk of your podcasts and in envisioning who I’d like to model my life by of all the people in the world it is you. That may sound cheesy and a bit weird and by no means do I intend it as such, nor am I even sure if you’ll actually read this comment, but brother, keep doing what you’re doing. I don’t necessarily agree with all the things you say or do, but in every respect I’m inspired by you, in fact this morning I’ve been learning about blogging on Lynda.com in hopes of creating my own outlet even if it provides zero monetary gain, just simply to hopefully provide some of the same (and different insights) you’ve provided to those near to me back home in Louisiana. You’re an absolute rock star who truly embraces a living a full life. Thanks for the continued great content

  168. These are fantastic news, Tim. Time for you to change the world!!! Seriously.

    For some reason I just remembered the beautiful words from Tim Berners-Lee when Aaron Swartz died…

    “Aaron is dead.

    Wanderers in this crazy world,

    we have lost a mentor, a wise elder.

    Hackers for right, we are one down,

    we have lost one of our own.

    Nurtures, careers, listeners, feeders,

    parents all,

    we have lost a child.

    Let us all weep.

    timbl”

    I believe that could be you, Tim. A mentor (for humankind, not a startup), a wise elder.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am a BIG fan… But here in this planet, we’ll do just fine with one less startup or one less lifestyle hack, right?

    Aim high Tim… Fix education, democracy, corruption, poverty, health system… I’m not kidding. You can do it!

    1. Everything we do is prosocial – from senior care apps to roofie tests (first that will work). It feels good to get up everyday with a team of prosocial soldiers and say yes, this change will happen, because we will it to be so.

  169. Tim,

    I can’t begin to thank you enough for sharing your journey. Your journaling has inspired me as well as your podcasts. I truly feel like through all that you have done that I am truly a part of something.

    I look forward to your new adventures and sharing in the journey. Sending good vibes your way.

  170. Tim, I don’t recall you ever making comments or sharing thoughts regarding marijuana ? Was just curious if you are a user and/ or if you feel it is a negative thing.

  171. I’m glad Kamal told you that. I love your writing. Also, perfect description regarding Derek. I see you too as a x-philosopher. You can take on x and be thoroughly engaging as you write about your experiences and thoughts with x.

  172. Also worth noting… The top 5 years in the last 20 ranked by capital deployed to US startups (all stages) According to MatterMark Research, Crunchbase and AngelList:

    1. 2000 – @110 bil

    2. 2015 (proj) – @$80 bil

    3. 2014 – >$60 bil

    4. 1999 – <$60 bil

    5. 2013 – @$40 bil

  173. Thanks Tim. I love your podcasts, but I didn’t realize how much I enjoy your long, well-thought out blog posts. Please write more. You are inspiring me to follow my heart, no matter what the conventional path may be.

    I came across your work in March this year, after a big slump sophomore year in college. I am now feeling so much more in tune with myself and the world (currently taking time off). And a large portion of this change has been your work.

    I wrote a mock-Facebook post the other day celebrating my birthday, writing down all the things I do now because of your work. Here it goes.

    “Inspired by my dear friend Morgan, I have decided to unravel things that mean a lot to me. And there have been a quite a few turning points in the past year, but none has been as pivotal as discovering Tim Ferriss. Reading his work was like Trump visiting Moscow. It couldn’t be more natural and fascinating at the same time. Why would meeting an online self-help falsely-promising guru be such a big deal? Let me explain.

    The following are things I did or currently do, because of Tim Ferriss:

    Wim Hof Method

    Low-Info Diet

    Facebook Newsfeed Eradicator

    Dvorak (Typing in it right now!)

    Occam’s Protocol and Gallon of Milk a Day

    Pareto’s Law, or the 80/20 Principle

    Protecting Time

    Be a Jack of all trades, but don’t multitask

    Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

    Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

    Meditation and Spiritual Experiences

    Momentum

    Reading Fiction to Sleep (Rediscovering Ayn Rand)

    Chess

    Writing

    Handwriting with my left

    Challenge Notions about Relationships (NSFW, please no reverse ad hominem attacks)

    Obsessive Notetaking

    The following are personalities I follow because of Tim Ferriss:

    Rolf Potts

    Scott Adams

    Neil Strauss (reintroduced)

    Wim Hof

    Josh Waitzkin

    Of course, I am eternally grateful to my kindred spirit Sung who introduced me to Tim Ferriss. So I am really grateful to JY who introduced me to Sung. Then I thank Ana for inspiring me to take Chinese. Then everything was possible because some guy inspired Ana to take that Arabic class. So I thank that guy too.

    We are all connected, as a piece of paper is not without a cumulonimbus. I am simply eternally grateful to be part of the process.”

    Thanks for keeping it real and having the courage to question it all. Nowadays I search “Tim Ferriss” and another term I want to learn, because your method has proven to be reliable. I have been interested in competitive video gaming (SSBM) as a means of self-actualization (obsessed with Maslow at the moment), so I wonder if you have done any experiments regarding reaction time. My current solution is the Wim Hof Method, using oxygen as a steroid.

  174. Great stuff. I’ve been wanting to dial back for a long time, it just gets very hard to choose which activities to cut sometimes. I can’t imagine the pressure at your level. Although, yes your stakes are much higher, but I guess it’s still the same questions for everyone. What is/isn’t truly nourishing my soul? What is/isn’t a worthy use of my extremely limited time here on Earth? Etc.

  175. Onya Tim for communicating your decision with thought and respect for your global audience. Hope you can visit Australia soon.

  176. Warren Buffet lives in Omaha for the very reason of not getting distracted with all the noise / hype of being in Wall Street. Being in Silicon Valley doesn’t help your cause.

    How will your life change if you go from having (say) 15M to 100M? More cash will only let your arrive at your adventures in more style and quicker with a few anxiety attacks along the way 😉

    Tim – go find your Omaha.

  177. Tim,

    I am not sure what finally made you make this decision but I think its one of your smartest for long term happiness. It took my 7 year old daughter getting in my face and having the come to Jesus talk about practicing what I preach about life, happiness and core values, of which I have been to busy with business to focus on. Well I am focused on her now and I hope you find true pleasure in what you decide to focus on next. Thanks for all the great advice and I wish you the best! Jason

  178. Tim,

    Great article. I’m a bit ADD with reading, but it captured my interest and gave me something to relate. I’ve been struggling with the idea of quitting my 6 figure job to experiment with alternative life styles and businesses. I plan to put your fear-setting exercise into practice and hope it’ll give me the courage.

  179. Tim

    Exiting news. I know it has been profitable but the world has enough suits. It isn’t you man. Be 25 again and excite the rest of us.

    David

  180. EXACTLY what I have been living for 2 years with bitcoin and crypto-currencies. I invested just before the 2013 bubble, earnt enough, left my job and became trader. In the beginning, I only have to check 2-3 signals during first 15 minutes of the day, and plenty of time. Now I have thousands of signals, currencies and alerts to check, nights included. I can’t moderate anymore, I will not succeed in moderating anyway, every try to ban charts or websites was a failure. I need a break.

    Thank you Tim

  181. This sounds like a great move! Sounds like you need the break, and your friends and family will appreciate having you more time with you.

    I have used many of your techniques in my personal and business life, from slow carb to Occam’s razor to Pareto principal and more.

    I’m finishing my degree at night in addition to my day job and running the business and the family. So I definitely understand the feeling of being overbooked.

    I am trying to sell the business, but haven’t been able to get the valuation I need. Any book recommendations for valuing a small business?

    Keep it up, I will be looking forward to your next creative release!

    PS on a technical note – you might consider adding functionality into WP to enable notifications to replies of comments (rather than just notifications of new comments). Check out http://www.wpbeginner.com/plugins/how-to-notify-users-only-on-replies-to-their-wordpress-comments/ for an example.

  182. Tim, I wanted to let you know that in the future you should avoid blurring things with mosaics. The data is still vulnerable as you can brute force the blurring algorithm to retrieve data. However, just putting black over the data instead (I know so uncool :/) will save you a lot of headache if someone manages to undo it.

  183. I see you not only as a teacher but also as a practical philosopher. And what I like about your thoughts and actions so much is that you teach best what you need most. And that you are open, humble and also show your vulnerable side. That makes it so authentic and valuable and clear.

    Besides I am having the same struggles and thoughts in my current life stage and I get a lot of inspiration and energy from your interviews and writing. Thank you Tim

  184. A great epiphany of when to realize a need to stop! Thank you for making me questioning my own situation, that it is okay to say “NO” and what questions one needs to ask them self. Funny. I think you just saved my ass from making a very bad business decision. Thank you!

  185. Tim, I’ve been following you off and on for the past 5+ years. Your skill is in learning how to ask absolutely amazing questions. Great content follows naturally regardless of whether it’s you or your interviewee. Thanks for pushing the limits on what can and should be asked because it pushes the limits on what we as readers think about.

  186. Hello Tim

    I have been listening to your podcasts for the past twelve months and think you have a great out look on life.Thanks for your efforts to introduce a variety of interesting humans to the wider world.

    Unfortunately for myself I came across this blog post two weeks too late as I’ve just signed up to a large mortgage on a house that requires a lot of work , more importantly my time spent on it. I’m sure a financial gain is possible however similar to your situation I’m second guessing the ROI vs stress for my family.

    A point I would like to make to anyone reading this comment is to step back from the POTENTIAL situation , hit the pause button and assess the real value proposition with a clear mind.

    Many things will become apparent .

    You may find many people within the deal don’t have your best interest in mind even though you are paying them for a service.

    It may also become clear that material items can never provide the satisfaction of spending real time with friends and family.

    Saying No can be difficult , but more often than not it will be a much more rewarding investment long term.

  187. You have one of the best podcasts, you write like a modern Shakespeare (but about nowadays things) and it feels that the way you do it (i.e. when interviewing someone) makes you happy and you really enjoying talking to all of them interesting people. I have no idea if all this, the blog and the podcast, gives you enough money to have the quality of life you desire, but if it does, hell yeah you should f0ck the investments off and just to this, because since i started listening to you, my life has changed, you’re the best, please to this forever. Big thanks from south brazil!!!!

  188. Thanks Tim and good one, glad to hear you are prioritizing your life. I can imagine if and when you have kids this would be huge time savings.

    I saw you at UPWLA, can I guess that some of this came out if that work? Will you be writing about your experiences there? Onwards and hope to bump into you some day in the Bay!

    Jrad

    PS- live the Hells Yeah or No #hellsyeahorNo

  189. Tim my friend,

    I was watching something about the sun earlier and decided to have a look on wikipedia, this is what i found:

    The Sun today is roughly halfway through the most stable part of its life. It has not changed dramatically for four billion[b] years, and will remain fairly stable for four billion more.

    Life is too short and the sun will still shine for long after, you have taught me a lot with your podcast, books and blog and I could only thank you for that.

    When you are back on the game you will be like the red giant.

    Good on you man, will be here to witness the next chapters.

  190. Man, as always extremely inspiring and thought provoking! Thank you for sharing your journey and thought processes.

    I myself have been trying to say no to anything that isn’t a HELL YEAH, like Derek says, and I’ve found that it is easier than I thought.

    Sure, every now and then you piss someone off, but that’s a minor price to pay for owning your experiences and agenda for that matter.

    It takes a certain level of self-awareness to pull this off, and I suggest everyone trying to implement this into their lives to come up with a very polite, all-purpose one-liner that could help others understand why you are saying no – it helps a lot!

    Thanks again Tim, enjoy your well deserved vacation.

  191. Nassim Taleb has a relationship with Universa Investments. They have a great strategy where you ask them to protect against the tail risk on a certain-sized portfolio. Based on the methodology, you don’t need to match the portfolio dollar for dollar. Hope that is helpful.

  192. Short position reco: Tim, Love the post. My recommendation for taking a little risk off the table would be to protect the value of your wealth against a loss of value in dollar terms. You need a basic inflation/currency hedge. A small allocation to gold may be a good idea. A lot of the “froth” you talk about is coming from the wealth effect created by easy monetary policy in the US and abroad. Protect against tightening credit policies globally or their counterpart; currency devaluation. Any losses suffered in your closely held businesses should be mitigated. FWIW, I’m not a pro in these areas and if you don’t have a pro on your personal payroll, find one. I’m all for a robo-advisor on your personal stock and bond investments, but once you hit a certain level of net worth you need to develop a bigger macro hedge against the dollar. Good luck, and enjoy the start-up vacation.

  193. When I read your writings, I find myself saying “hell yeah” often. Thanks. I totally get it.

    Next month, I will buy a boat, per my dreamlining action plan. I’m thinking about naming it “Hell Yeah”, but I’m still leaning towards “Tranquilo”. It’s a sailboat, after all.

  194. Thanks for sharing this and being so open here Tim. I am really sorry to hear about the friends you have lost. This line especially resonated with me: “Life is fucking short. Put another way: a long life is far from guaranteed. Nearly everyone dies before they’re ready.”

    Veterans Day is always a tough one for me, it reminds me of all my buddies I have lost to war, suicide, drugs, cancer, etc. But in those moments I remind myself that since I am still around, let me do something meaningful with my place here on this earth. As you can clearly relate, becoming more aware of our mortality is a great way to stay focused on what really matters in our lives.

    You are a master at your art Tim and a great teacher who has impacted the lives of millions, including mine – your work has helped me run ultras (despite having flat feet, bad knees, scoliosis and a blood disorder that 2 doctors said would kill me in USMC boot camp – thankfully it did not 🙂 ), start and build a business that allows me to work from anywhere and return from the verge of suicide after Iraq (Your post on suicide was incredible), among other things.

    So thank you for all that you do and all that you are. It is great to read that you are returning to your art with a renewed focus and commitment. Really looking forward to seeing what is next for you Tim.

    To you and your continued success!

  195. Tim,

    Thank you for this post … I’ve been wondering what’s been eating you for awhile – it was apparent probably for a lot of us who have been following your journey since the beginning. 😉

    Take a breather.

    And, remember the story of the Mexican Fisherman … for years it has been one of my biggest takeaways from your writing. Don’t forget it yourself. 😉

    Peace.

    D

  196. Tim, I applaud you for sharing this, for deciding to change course and not let the fear of missing out sway your decision. Not only Hell Yeah should motivate us, but poison gas. We should seek those things out in life that tear us up, put that lump in our throat and stop us dead in our tracks.

    The sad thing about almost dying is not the fear, the sudden shock of realizing your life will end, it is the empty awareness–looking over and noticing you forgot to put your shirt in the hamper.

    I was in a motorcycle accident in 2003. Spent a few weeks in the hospitol. Brain was bleeding, broke multiple bones and was nearly run over by an 18 wheeler truck. It was on I-5 in Weed, Ca. Hit essentially a curb doing 85 mph. They graded the left lane and the warning signs were not visible to me and as I flew through the air my only thought was–

    “I am going to die.”

    Time was scattered snapshots tossed in the air. Moments briefly glimpsed.

    My buddy was wise enough to make sure to stop in the middle of the road and wave off the truck. At that time of night it had been just the three of us weaving between the semis and the crisp air and scent of pines.

    I often see the last 22 years as a gift. As time I easily could have lost. For 99% of us we will awake that morning of our last day alive feeling as immortal as we have most of our lives. That dull shock, the empty awareness will be something most never could have imagined would happen then. . .as if death comes at convenient times.

    I visit that memory. Force myself to recognize that I would not have been given a flash of my life, not the sudden fear I would never see my family again. No, my last thoughts would have been a simple notation–then the void would have swallowed me.

    “Suns may set and rise again, but for us, once the short light has once set, remains to be slept the sleep of one unbroken night.”

    –Catullus

  197. Tim,

    Powerful post. It really hit home and has given me some introspective work to do. Your ability to shoot straight and write with vulnerability resonates.

    Please keep writing!!!

    Jeff

  198. Tim,

    So much good stuff here I don’t even know where to begin. Maybe with sincere thanks and gratitude for all you have given me over the last few years. Between your blog, books and podcasts I’m humbled by the amount of information. You have inspired me to become a better version of myself, or maybe just become more like myself.

    When I read this article a month and a half ago I was struck by the emotion and honesty behind the words. I actually stopped several times while reading just to pause and think about these ideas. You are right, anyone can invest in a start-up, but what you create is uniquely yours. How can you put a price on that? How could you NOT do it. Sometimes the most obvious truths come to us when we just stop and listen. This post was one nudge which finally got me writing.

    You have a gift for writing, and a gift for interviewing. Please keep doing what you are doing.

    And thank you.

  199. Tim, I love reading anything you put together! I’m excited to see what you put out when you really focus on your writing. I try to sell everyone on the Slow Carb diet and 4-hour work week. I’m currently a senior in the Entrepreneurship program at the University of Utah and although I haven’t gotten to the point when I need to say “no” to a lot of things, this line really stuck out:

    To become “successful,” you have to say “yes” to a lot of experiments. To learn what you’re best at, or what you’re most passionate about, you have to throw a lot against the wall.

    So thank you for that! Couple of quick questions– 1. What are you doing to treat your Lyme Disease? I’m sure you have some great insights. 2. If you’re ever traveling through Utah, I’d love to take you out skiing. Cheers!

  200. Tim

    You have a unique ability to motivate people to change their lives for the better, and to provide the information they require to do it.

    That is your true calling.

    Chasing tens of millions is pointless surely. I’m reminded of one of the first lines of the 4HWW – I am not a millionaire and don’t particularly want to be. You filled your time with learning and amazing adventures instead.

    I’d like to see more of that guy, and still have faith that the logic is sound, and that we aren’t foolish to be doing the same rather than chasing tens of millions as you have been.

    Welcome back

  201. This is a great read, and the length is totally worth it. It’s many months’ old but thanks for sharing it again in today’s email.

    And that quote from Greg McKeown is one of my all time favorites. It’s a game changer for anyone suffering from overwhelm.

  202. Tim I saw your interview with Dr Patrick where you discussed Lyme Disease. You are right – health is the number 1 priority. My sister was misdiagnosed, and was not a lucky as you have been as she now permanent damage to the nerves around her heart, and needs a, pace maker to remain alive. She went from a marathon runner to a husk of what she once was. Sadly she cannot rid her system of the Lyme, as after 3 years she still test positive.

    She and I found great interview with Dr. Patrick, and I think you’re capacity for communication is your greatest gift, and when you distill your experiments, results and conversations with other subject matter experts, you are helping so many others. Communicating, sharing and passing on information has way more impact than what you may realize.

  203. Einstein took a similar path at one point; Walter Isaacson, writing about Albert Einstein: “In December 1930, Einstein visited America for the second time, originally intended as a two-month working visit as a research fellow at the California Institute of Technology. After the national attention he received during his first trip to the U.S., he and his arrangers aimed to protect his privacy. Although swamped with telegrams and invitations to receive awards or speak publicly, he declined them all.[63]”

  204. Hello all you beautiful people. Tim, thank you for all you do. I have been listening to your podcast a lot lately and it has been a great help to me. This post is great. I have been learning to say no in the right places and times in not only business but in every area of life.

    I the primary reason for my reply is because I need a little guidance. I have been writing and testing some ideas for a few years. I think I need help with putting a business plan together as well as where to go and how to get funding. Where do you suggest should I go/look? I felt that if I asked here that if you weren’t able to respond I might be pointed in a better direction than just trying to find something on my own. Thank you.

    I pray you prosper and be in health.

  205. I teared up ready this Tim. Thank you. I get serious anxiety sometimes and reading this was a great reminder in not saying yes to everything. I realize its time to clear out my mental space again and focus on Hell yes’s! The blogger Leo Babauta of Zen Habits is a master of saying no and I would love to hear a podcast of you too.

  206. Tim, thanks for the thoughtful self analysis in public. Very helpful. Have you thought of taking a page out of the 4HWW, and outsourcing what you’d rather not do? Get it down to 4 hours a week?

  207. Tim, this article was fantastic. I too am suffering from anxiety due to taking on too much lately. As always there is a ton of practical advice and lessons I can put to use in my own life, coming just at the right time on the weekend where I sit down to review my next quarter goals and priorities. Thank you Tim

  208. Looks like I came a bit late to this party, but I’m still taking away something useful. Looks like “what ifs” and “fear-setting” are on my schedule this afternoon after PT.

    This post reminded me of a comic by the Oatmeal on FOMO, and a recent book by Sara Knight on “The life-changing magic of not giving a f*ck”, for those of you who want or need more motivation or an extended framework.

  209. You are following a natural transition from ‘quantitative’ to ‘qualitative’, from ‘more’ to ‘better’. Maslow mapped this path. Caring about your qualitative legacy will be next. Few people make this transition…well done.

  210. Thank you! This inspired post is the only post written by anyone, anywhere, that I have actually read from start to finish in a long time (….eveer?). That is mainly because I am always over committed and don’t think I have the time!

    I hope I can take just a little bit of something from it and put it in to play.

    Thank you!

  211. If this just isn’t who owns the studio, insist on addressing the individual that’ll be there around the day.

    A lot of travel is linked to shooting nature photos

    for any kind of magazine or periodical. Sealing and protecting the inner workings of one’s camera takes special and expensive material.

  212. Santa Maria Novella (Piazza Santa Maria Novella), one among

    Florence’s most stunning churches, that includes plenty of essential artworks, including a nativity scene by Botticelli,

    a crucifix by Brunelleschi, and a Madonna by Vasari (who was additionally the architect for the church’s renovation in the mid-16th century).

  213. Regarding your “can you be replaced?” and “please don’t stop writing” passage: In publishing today it’s beaten into us that writing alone isn’t enough. We have to have a gimmick or an edge or we’re not marketable. If someone were to tell me to forget all the rest and JUST WRITE and that I didn’t need a gimmick that would be the biggest compliment I’d ever received.

  214. Loved the part about health being #1. It has to be, since you can always make more money but you can never make more time. Time and health are priceless and saying no is a precious skill to preserve both.

    Regarding time and global health- I wonder if we may actually be heading into global cooling due to a grand solar minimum (cycles of the sun) and food will be the big global challenge due to climate shifts in the next few years. A podcast called Adapt2030 goes into this at depth and I found it eye-opening to say the least. Definitely worth a look…

    Take care and be well

    Warren