So this is one of my favorite interviews I have ever conducted, which is one of the reasons I am sharing it again. But there is another more important reason why I am sharing it.
It was after this interview with Tim where I began to realize that there are a great many successful people in the world today who have made the same mistake that many people yearning to be successful also are making.
And what is that mistake? They completely discount things that they are doing because they either don’t think it is anything special or they erroneously believe if they are doing it then most other people are doing it as well.
This is exactly what I discovered from Tim’s story when I interviewed him. He was already a successful entrepreneur, making about $80,000 a month with a supplement company he founded. But when he initially started the venture it was consuming his life. He was working 80 hour weeks and stressed like nobody’s business.
He ended up having an epiphany and began outsourcing various aspects of his business so he could spend more time living his life. Miraculously, he was able to whittle down those 80 hour work weeks to about 4 hours. The rest of that time was spent traveling and learning new fun stuff like Tango and new languages.
But what is fascinating to me that no one talks about is that he never intended to be an author. And the reason for that is because it never occurred to him that this four-hour workweek he had created for himself would be of benefit to anyone other than himself.
That discovery was quite accidental and came about because he used to go back to his alma matter, Princeton, twice a year to speak on high-tech entrepreneurism. It was during one of these visits that a student suggested he write a book about the things he was teaching. He initially dismissed it, but the more he thought about it the more the idea began to grow on him.
He still wasn’t sold on this idea of writing a book however because his senior thesis took a grueling toll on him. In fact, it caused him to have a nervous breakdown forcing him to take a semester off to recover. After that he swore he would never write anything other than a long email.
But a friend finally convinced him that he had an idea worth writing about and “The four-hour work week” was born.
So what are your takeaways from this Tim Ferriss Story?
One. Keep in mind this thing of dismissing your own ideas happens more often than you think. I have seen the same theme arise with others I have interviewed including James Wedmore, Lewis Howes and Gretchen Rubin.
Two. I believe we are hardwired to downplay our own achievements. We think if we are doing something then it can’t be that extraordinary and surely everyone else is doing it as well.
Admittedly, this has been a game changer for me because in my past life I always discounted my own achievements and insights (in fact I still do and have to constantly correct my thinking when I catch myself doing this). But I now realize that it is quite common place for most people to do this, even for those who have gone on to become super successful in their particular niche.
I now consider everything I attempt to do a potential product or service. I no longer assume that because I am doing something others are dong it as well. In fact, it is the complete opposite. If I am doing it then there is a good possibility that most others aren’t.
Three. I want you to turn this around on you. When you get a moment this weekend, make a list of all the interesting things you currently do that you have discounted. Is there anything there that could be turned into a product or service? Think of how you parent or eat or cook or exercise or communicate with your partner. The idea is to write down as many ideas as possible and see if anything bubbles to the surface.
Last weekend at MasterMind Talks I met Hal Elrod. He has written a book called the Morning Miracle that has sold over 30,000 copies. It is a book where he documents how his morning rituals have transformed his life. It’s simply a book based on something unique that he does. BUT the brilliance is no one else does what he does with his mornings.
Perhaps you have a book in you or a talk to give or a course to create or a blog to start around something you have arbitrarily dismissed simply because it’s “just” you.
It’s time to recognize that being “just” you is what makes your ideas so unique. The next step is to find something you do (or will start doing) and figure out a way to start sharing it with the world.
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To living a life that makes you go WOW!
PS. If you haven’t seen me in a while here is my latest (and only) professional head shot from last week’s mastermind event. Are you thinking what I am thinking? MEOW!! (OK maybe that is not what either of us were thinking.)
Dean Dwyer writes at deandwyer.com. He spent the first 45 years of his life frustrated by a body he couldn’t change, trapped in a job he didn’t want and living a life he didn’t enjoy. He has turned all those situations around and now teaches people the art of lifestyle design. If you enjoyed this, join his free newsletter.