Things We Can Learn From Tim Ferriss
If you’ve never heard of Tim Ferriss let me give you a brief introduction. He is a self-proclaimed human guinea pig who has won a world record in Tango, speaks five different languages and is a national kickboxing champion. Oh, so he’s a sportsman you’re thinking? No, no, he’s wildly successful in business, he was an early investor is Facebook, Twitter, Duolingo and many more. He’s also a New York Times Bestseller and written some pretty influential books. So he’s pretty on it. But that isn’t what I want to talk about in this article. What I really want to talk about is how he using experimentation in life.
Now, my job involves a huge amount of experimentation. In fact, that is the main way we find anything out. Testing it and seeing what happens. As we know, a lot of life happens based on assumption. Phil says “I think the best course of action is to invest heavily in mugs with funny dog faces on”. Very often if the person passionate about dog faces is the loudest person in the room, five months later we find ourselves with a room full of mugs with dog’s faces on wondering why we ever listened to Phil in the first place. That’s true in business too. Often we go with assumptions because the person saying it does so with conviction. The trouble though, is when that person hasn’t tested their theory at all. That’s when we end up with a load of mugs with dog faces on with no one to buy them. Well except me, I’ve got a mug on my desk right now with a dog face on. Anyway lets get back on track.
Tim uses experimentation to steer his life. In fact, in one of his books that I’m reading at the moment is centred around people who are best in class in their chosen field and essentially he interviews them. Now of course from those interactions he gets ideas that he can test himself. What he then does is takes a piece of information or an idea, implements it into his life, and sees if has the desired outcomes. If it does he continues on with it, if not he doesn’t. He perseveres or he pivots. One that comes to mind is something he learnt from Reid Hoffman. Hoffman co-founded LinkedIn so he’s obviously pretty on it too. Hoffman says that he writes down a key thing that he wants to think about in the evening. He then uses his sleeping time to subconsciously be thinking about the problem and then within an hour of waking up, he works on said problem. Ferriss adopted the same strategy. His experimentation goes further than thinking about problems in his sleep. He talks about productivity extensively in the 4-hour work week. He tested ‘what would happen if I only looked at my emails twice a day’ ‘what would happen if I made all my sales calls early in the morning and later on in the evening, basically not between 9–5’ ‘what would happen if I only served the customers that were least frequently complaining and buying large amounts from my business’. He tested all these. With great success.
I like Tim’s approach because it makes use realise how open to interpretation the world is. Most importantly I admire the focus on real data. Using clear experimentation shows us the truth in the assumptions.
Originally published at https://www.careerhealth.info on March 14, 2020.