Most people only dream of escaping the trappings of a traditional 9 to 5 workweek. The idea of having more time to spend on personal pursuits and enjoyment is attractive, for obvious reasons, but feels unattainable by the masses, like catching a unicorn.
Tim Ferriss decided he wasn’t going to accept this paradigm, ultimately creating the change he needed to reach his ideal lifestyle, and then building a successful brand around the concept. His book, The 4-Hour Workweek, quickly became a bestseller, and the base upon which he based much of his future success.
But Tim Ferriss is more than his 4-hour series, a true set of unicorns in the self-help genre, and he didn’t just trip across his success. Instead, he dedicated himself to the principle of being a self-described “human guinea pig,” and decided to work his way up to the stars.
Just how did Tim Ferriss end up rocketing into the spotlight? By taking some unique and adventurous steps along the way. Here are three of the unique experiences that speak to why Tim Ferriss is the success he is today.
He Filmed a Pilot for The History Channel
While being involved in a television pilot is by no means a forecaster of success (there are plenty of donkeys in the world of television), Tim Ferriss made an attempt that also connected with his idea of being a human guinea pig and clearly demonstrates his willingness to face his fears, try something new, and learn along the way.
The show, called Trial by Fire, was based on him learning a skill that would take most people many years to master in just a week. The pilot focused on yabusame, the Japanese art of horseback archery.
As he put it, when discussing taking on such a feat, “I either crash and burn – or survive by the skin of my teeth.” (via The Tim Ferriss Show)
While the show wasn’t long-lived, it does speak highly of his character. Not everyone is willing to put themselves on the line by taking on a seemingly impossible task (let alone allow the world to take a peek as you try to prove yourself as a unicorn of learning) when the risk of failure is so real.
This isn’t the only example of him pushing himself to his limits either, as Tim Ferriss has experimented with a range of occupations and hobbies, including everything from tango dancing to speed reading. (via Biography)
Many of these gutsy experiences likely shaped his “fear setting” three-step process that is designed to help a person get past their doubts as a method for achieving success.
“Typically, people don’t overcome their fears because the fears are nebulous and undefined,” said Ferris during an interview, and his process is designed to pull these thoughts into the spotlight, giving people a chance to confront them so that they can move forward with confidence. (via Business Insider)
He Became an Angel Investor
While a large part of his financial success is based on his 4-Hour series of books and corresponding blog, Tim Ferriss also understands the power of connecting with the right startups. As of 2015, it was estimated that he had made at least 46 Angel investments, including Alibaba, Facebook, Twitter, and Uber. (via The New York Times)
Even though investing might not sound like a leap on the surface, taking a significant role in supporting a startup is a risk, as their success isn’t guaranteed.
Additionally, being able to jump in on so many companies that later rocketed to success does reflect on Tim Ferriss’ vision and ability to spot a unicorn in a field that is likely filled to the brim with donkey startups that are never going to reach notable levels of success.
It also speaks to his fearless nature and his willingness to embrace discomfort and make tough choices as he crafts his path forward.
He Dealt with (Serious) Rejection
While his book, The 4-Hour Workweek, helped rocket Tim Ferriss into the public eye, the road to that level of recognition was paved with rejection. Before Crown, a division of Random Housing Publishing, took his book to print, it was actually rejected by (get this) 26 publishers! (via The New York Times)
Obviously, they didn’t have the vision to see the potential behind the book, as it ended up on multiple best-seller lists, remaining on some for years after its initial release.
While he attributes much of the book’s success to timing, based on the presence of what he referred to as the “time-famine phenomenon,” as well as the fact that Twitter had just become a mainstream social media platform, being able to face rejection for 26 publishers and keep going forward is admirable and clearly shows Tim Ferriss’ willingness to look fear in the eye and keep pushing, no matter what the world throws at him.