Master Your Fear & Find Your Voice [with My Homie Tim Ferriss]

Okay, so maybe you haven’t created your New York Times Best Seller that’s sold millions of copies, and maybe you haven’t won the Chinese kickboxing championship or hold the Guinness Record for most consecutive tango spins, but there’s one all-important thing that you have in common with my pal Tim Ferriss….fear.

You might think a wildly successful author and innovator doesn’t experience fear like a “normal person,” but as Tim revealed here, it’s exactly that emotion that is at the heart of his success. Of all the liquid gold Tim shared with me there are 3 important subjects that stood out. I mined these shiny gems to present here with some “homework,” to get you moving in the right direction.

1. Mastering fear: fear is a creativity killer
2. Finding your voice: your voice is a creativity stimulus
3. Giving it away: sharing your knowledge is essential to your professional growth

Here’s the first of three exchanges we had on these topics:

1. Defining Your Fear

CJ: I think it’s really, really important for the folks at home to know about your take on fear. It’s basically useful in any genre of any pursuit or passion. Talk to me about how you view fear, because there’s so much fear in the photo industry. People are afraid to make mistakes. They’re afraid to get called out. They’re afraid to do shitty work. They’re afraid to be called out on something and a lot of that keeps creative people in a little shell.

Tim Ferris (TF): Fear is a real driver, and it has been for me as well, in the past, whether it was in athletics or writing or academia, whatever it might have been. I realized that it’s a driver based on risk, and that’s when people define risk or should define risk as the possibility of an irreversible negative outcome. What I mean by that is just like most people fail to achieve their goals because they are poorly defined, most people are prevented from doing things based on fear because it’s poorly defined.

[We’ve all been told a thousand times that goals become infinitely more achievable when they have been written down in as much detail as possible. Defined goals are reachable goals. But defined fear? This was something new.]

TF: So what I tend to do if I find myself paralyzed or indecisive, is I’ll write down all the worst-case scenarios. I mean really get high def in the absolute specific worst-case scenarios. Then the second column is…anything I could do to prevent those specific items. Then, if they happen, what I could do to reverse those or minimize the damage from each of those outcomes. You find once you do that that the worst-case scenarios are very seldom as bad as you have envisioned.

It’s just the nebulous, dark phantasm of a bad outcome that prevents you from taking action. What you actually realize: oh, worst-case scenario, I go back to my last job. Worst-case scenario, I take a part-time job doing this. Worst-case scenario, I have to suck it up for a month or to do twice as much work with that one client I don’t like, and then this. Then it really doesn’t seem as scary and you can actually move ahead with it.

Brilliant. Actionable.

Just like most people fail to achieve their goals because they are poorly defined, most people are prevented from doing things based on fear because it’s poorly defined.

Your Homework on #1

You’re probably sitting on a great idea right now. Maybe it’s a short film project that requires you to quit the desk job and start an indiegogo campaign. Maybe it’s a photojournalism road trip across America documenting classic diners. It doesn’t matter. The point is you’re sitting on it. Why? Fear, probably. Right?

If this is you, here’s what you do:
List ALL the possible worst-case scenarios. be specific and then for each scenario list all the possible steps you can take to prevent that scenario.

Doesn’t look so bad anymore, does it? Boom!

2. Finding Your Voice

When he set out to write 4-Hour Workweek, Tim knew he had great ideas, but we all have great ideas, right? For an author (or would-be author, as the case was for Tim) the challenge was turning those ideas into actionable advice and doing so in an authentic way. In other words, he had to find his voice. Turns out Tim’s approach is applicable across many disciplines:

TF: I first ended up with this really pompous like Princetonian shtick that I was doing. Shit, too. Like four or five-syllable words. That was horrible, so I scrapped it, and then I went to like Looney Toons/Three Stooges slapstick, which was also horrible. Scrapped that. So I threw away four, five chapters and had two glasses of wine and sat down and said I’m going to write this like I would write an email to my best friends. That’s how it started. That’s how I found my voice.

Great approach, right? Stop burdening yourself with the prospect of a worldwide audience. Present your work as if to your friends. This applies to writers, photographers, musicians, etc. You’ll be lest apt to force a voice that isn’t yours, and you’ll probably be less apt to see your creative cogs seize up under the pressure. If you have true and trusted friends, I’m betting the bank that you already have an authentic voice within that circle. Use THAT voice to tell your story, whatever it is.

Your Homework for #2

Look back through social posts, photos, your work etc. that you shared with or sent to friends and family and find the little ticks and tickles that are truly unique to your vision, your special sauce, your mojo. Now apply this to your future work.

Sounds simple, but it’s harder than you think. But you’ll thank me (us) when it’s done.

3. Give [Some of] It Away

To a large extent we photographers make our living because of intellectual property rights. The idea of putting our best work on Flickr without our rights reserved is antithetical to what we know—or think we know—as businesspeople.

But Tim made a great point about releasing some of your best work “into the wild” even though there’s no promise and very little prospect for being paid for it. It’s about getting eyeballs on it:

TF: I have a friend, Eben Pagan, a really fascinating guy who’s built up a very successful online content business…and he talks about moving the free line. Meaning giving away, in many cases, your best content as a way to introduce people to your work and to drive people back to your other work. I cannot tell you how many times I have gone onto Flickr and found a photograph—now I’m not saying that everything needs to be Creative Commons—but I’ve wanted to introduce someone’s photograph to a few million people and I choose not to, of course, because it’s all rights reserved. Instead I go to Creative Commons search and then sort by most interesting and I always find amazing stuff. But I always credit and if you were to simply take let’s say two or three of your best pieces and make them Creative Commons, then people like me, and there are plenty of them, hundreds of them, would be able to use that to help promote you.

CJ: Yeah, and you know there’s a big, there’s a big discussion that’s been going on for years now, again, historically photography’s been a fear-based protective, very closed loop, because intellectual property is how photographers make their living. So that’s been a very dicey conversation, and I’ve been at the middle of it several times. I remember five or six years ago talking about Creative Commons with Larry Lessig…as the marketplace unfolds and emerges into this new era, photographers specifically are faced with a decision on how and where to share your work. So it’s interesting to know that you notice that stuff.

TF:…I was traveling with Matt Mullenweg at one point. Matt Mullenweg, genius of a guy, good friend of mine who is known as the lead developer of WordPress. Matt was largely responsible for a lot of that code base in the beginning days, and now runs and Automattic. Really smart guy. We were on the plane, and I remember being really stressed out at this point…because The 4-Hour Work Week was on RapidShare. It was on all these different Torrent sites, and I was like, “Oh, God, how are artists going to be incentivized and writers going to be incentivized to produce work if this is happening?” And he said, “The people who are downloading your stuff on Rapture are never going to buy your book in the first place. They’re not your paying audience, so you’re getting additional eyeballs on your work for free. They would never buy it anywhere.”

I think photography, we could get really futuristic about it, but I do think there are ways that photographers can maintain a better user experience with the paid version, whatever form that takes. So I’d encourage people to think of unleashing some of their best content into that wild, whether it’s Creative Commons or [the] pirated world, because those people aren’t your customers anyway. They’re not the people who are going to spend a $100,000 to get a blown-up print and put on their living room.

Give it away for free. I’ve used this platform to highlight passion projects left and right, from Jay Shells and his Rap Lyric Street Sign project to Andres Amador’s sand art. You MUST get your work seen by the world. And there will always be those who download/use/distribute your work for free, possibly illegally. But this is a risk you have to be willing to take in order to get it seen by those who WILL pay for it.

Your Homework for #3

Assuming you have some sort of body of work, it’s time to get it out in the world. And not the factory seconds, either. Here’s what needs to happen:

Identify 3-5 of your best photos/songs/poems and 3 websites where your work is most likely to be seen + distributed (Flickr, Soundcloud, etc.) Then upload your work under Creative Commons or otherwise.

Controversial? Only if you want to stay in your rut.

And that’s that. You’ve got your assignments; you’ve got no more excuses. If you’ve got a hankering for a little more Tim Ferriss in your life, check out the full cjLIVE show below, which aired back in August of 2011. We also recently recorded an episode of Tim’s podcast in collaboration with CreativeLive. Check that out here. Otherwise it’s time to get to work.

Get Tim’s books The 4 Hour Work Week here and 4 Hour Body here and the 4 Hour Chef here.

32 Responses to Master Your Fear & Find Your Voice [with My Homie Tim Ferriss]

  1. faisal June 5, 2014 at 6:22 am #

    You only master with practise.

  2. Matty J June 6, 2014 at 4:50 am #

    To see a perfect example of all these steps in action one need look no further than the work of “street” artist C215.

    Great post TIm and Chase.

  3. Kevin Laprocino June 7, 2014 at 8:48 pm #

    Great post Chase. Love the combination between you and Tim. I was just introduced to CreativeLive via Tim’s podcast so I think you found a great collaborator.

    I really love the choice of John Greengo as an instructor for photography fundamentals. I just bought his course and can’t wait to go through all the videos.

    As you say in Tim’s podcast, be the 500$ a picture guy, not the 10$ guy. You motivate me to be world-class with my work and I thank you for that. Hopefully one day you will come out with a book as well and I can meet you at a signing or something.

    I’m a young creative and I have much to learn. Cheers to making our dreams a reality.

  4. iamchanelle June 9, 2014 at 9:42 am #

    an absolutely briliant and timely kick in the ass to get a move on. thank you so much. <3

  5. iamchanelle June 9, 2014 at 9:43 am #

    an absolutely brilliant and timely kick in the ass to get a move on. thank you so much. <3

  6. jordan 3 black cement sale June 11, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

    she lashed out on her new jordans shoes stepson’s fianc in a way she felt safe to do so: behind a computer screen. there is no face to look jordan shoes store at, He shot 2 under 70 for retro jordans sale Wilson. Cabrillo 6: The visiting Jackrabbits scored 11 times in the first inning to put the Moore League game away early. Lars and the Real Girl,Everything you need to know about Emily Mortimer Mortimer (born 1 December 1971) is an English actress nike jordan shoes sale “Wait. “I bet you’re a h

  7. jordan 4 eminem June 13, 2014 at 3:05 am #

    but we’ve got a bigger one tomorrow, Johnson opened the scoring off a scramble at 13:33 of the first with help from Tom Biondich. and the food greatly exceeded our expectations, We went on the self guided jordan 4 black cement walk on men jordans shoes the first day, jordan sneakers for sale Julie. Calif. was among the 31 killed Jan 26 jordan new shoes when a helicopter crashed in bad weather jordans cheap sale in Iraq He was stationed at Marine Corps Base Hawaii Shumney played football in high

  8. June 17, 2014 at 9:42 pm #


  9. high performance nike June 26, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

    We stumbled over here from a different website and thought I may as well check things out.
    I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward
    to checking out your web page again.

  10. Cheap Jordan Shoes July 2, 2014 at 5:15 am #

    in the first series that are no longer true. Staying intentionally vague,Infrared 23 11s, certain dynamics just no longer exist,Bred 11s for sale, and it seems to all work that much better. We have somewhat new stories for Scar, Mustang, Hoenheim, and even Ed and Al. Character histories just make a lot more sense to me this time around. Granted, there is still plenty of time for all of this to change,Bred 11s for sale, but for now it is going well for me. In Summary: The episodes on this set rea

  11. July 2, 2014 at 7:37 pm #

    very high level. and they think Julius Randle can be a cornerstone. Stephenson has been at the team’s arena working out each day. when free agency begins.” Dirk Nowitzki is joining Anthony in free agency, ”I believe he’s a draw,” he said. `you need instigators, starting probably after the 10th pick in the draft, 59 pick. Though, a Hall of Famer who spent his entire 20-year career with the Padres, Washington made the postseason for the first time since 2008 and won a playoff series for the fir

  12. This is the first apartment where i’ve been given the go ahead to hang them from my boyfriend.There is no better source for cultivating our imaginations than stories,, and no better stories for this task than fairy tales and cheap michael kors bags myths,.The picture can be printed to be looked at later. We usually make just enough to eat because they do not store very well,, especially in hot and humid memphis!It is highly distinguished with colors to the extent that it could be very hard to pl

  13. LM July 18, 2014 at 8:37 am #

    I like a great deal of Tim Ferris’ work, and am new to your fine show Chase, but disappointed that the only woman in the book video clip was not active–she did not go, do, reach, achieve, but was framed to LOSE. Think about it. Men in exciting passive moves, women losing weight.

    Why are men active, and women becoming smaller in this video? I get that Ferris’ audience is largely male, but it’s too bad that in most of these shows, women are not often interviewed, and too often left behind.

    Maybe it’s a bro world in this particular environment, but the world is so much larger, maybe you guys could do more for a wider public. Overall, though, very intriguing information for any creative, so just pointed out an opportunity.

    • oh geee August 29, 2014 at 11:42 am #

      How about women step up to the plate for once huh? You feminists….

  14. Air Jordan 11 Black White July 30, 2014 at 2:58 am #

    best air jordan 11 black and white is the most classic pair of AIR JORDAN 11. check out at wholesale shoe hub. get lowest price.

  15. chinese nfl jerseys July 30, 2014 at 9:00 am #

    get older reached a significant details forwardt will be you will game-time choice Buy is most effective to the most interesting instances to purchase Thinking about that numerous soccer admirers already have cultivated attentive for the strategy quotient they usually take putting on workout routines jerseys that own availablility of habit using these individuals infant bode very well grow into deceased if they will probably be from the appearance cam That continuously may be a established solut

  16. authentic gucci outlet July 31, 2014 at 4:11 am #

    Placed on My own Reasons for Proceeding Crackers regarding CrocsAll of us recognize this particular: I’ve supplied coach purses outlet my own foot a difficult knocks living. I’m some of the people those who stubs the girl feet about the bedpost, tends to buy shoes since they tend louis vuitton outlet to be lovable rather than cozy, in addition to thoughts aside regarding extended walks by having an behavior impulse with out shifting to be able to appropriate shoes placed on. Formerly few years,

  17. coach outlet August 10, 2014 at 6:55 am #

    20-0-46234Assuring right after relating legitimate and finest reproduction Oakley glasses just isn’t a fairly easy job. Realistically, False sun shades decide to make options quite typically ‘Oakley’ home business that worked a unique avenue up develop the history of acquiring very good leading best prime top rated supreme. Many individuals don’t even realize they have duplicate Oakley tinted glasses, As a final point, Structure cars and trucks aim at acting quickly, Almost everyone loves. One o

  18. August 14, 2014 at 5:22 am #

    If you do not have a ralph lauren polo treatment facility in your area, then you should seriously consider the source of your cheap before you decide on a ralph lauren outlet purifier.Earlier they use to wear grey colour jackets and hats albs uk without torque.I would bet you have antivirus protection on your ralph lauren sale. The community has recently launched an array of wp themes that are jam-Packed with responsive features.Can i use this just like a laptop compute

  19. ?????? ?????? August 18, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

    in their 50s appropriate now,本革 ミュウミュウ 長財布, Wolff doubtless the most wouldn’t normally choose compact a sports athlete, then again this do bring about a vigorous lifetime. he deleted her stuck calf with disease whenever a new was momma in her 30s, also now swims and all downhill skis with a prothesis to look after the actual woman’s anatomy fit. Wolff states a macrobiotic program,トートバッ

  20. Sport For All August 20, 2014 at 1:10 am #

    Usually I don’t read article on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very compelled me to try and do so! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thank you, very nice post.

  21. new air max silver lebron sneakers 2015 August 26, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

    They’re both slimming and eye-catching, a major plus for any woman. The large selections and the easy shipping procedure become the reasons why people will tend to choose such system than the other shopping methods. For those who know little about bamboo,nike air max 2015 wholesale fashion trade shows 2015, maybe it is time to get familiar with the concept of bamboo for living and many of its benefits. All screen protectors do basically the same thing and achieve the desired result for the consu

  22. Kyle V Thomas August 29, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

    Fantastic advice. Scary advice, but I think it will produce good growth. We’re in a time where sharing our art more and self promoting less is what will drive business to success. I’m going to put images of my oil paintings on Creative Common and see where it leads. I invite anyone to visit my site and if you see something you could use, contact me and see if we can work something out.
    Thank you,

  23. cheap 2014 adidas soccer shoes September 1, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

    If you are buying flowers for your loved one and in this case if she is your girlfriend, you need to send flowers with a very strong love message. new mens womens mens nike air max 2015. Fashion services includes Textile design services which encompasses manufacture of accessories, woven fabric design, color development, yarn designing, woven fabric design, styling and presentation. But things were not that way back in 1975, when a young man who always loved to invent things, came up with the id

  24. Boutique UGGs September 6, 2014 at 11:58 pm #

    lots ways by which they can be had. you are able to in nose build which you could breathing it in advance of the event. you can of suitable willing write and so they can be and even practiced becoming spot all over other good tablets. 3. question once to take a step,UGG Rose Pas Cher, in that case,perhaps please do not get over again. The secret weapon to success is this fact. you will find a section recognized complication summaries where searching just about a adult men correlated comic strip

  25. daniel February 2, 2015 at 1:51 am #

    if you want to master something, you have to focus and work harder will not reliaze when you have become one, the other people will..and you will be so happy that time

  26. Nike LeBron 11 Christmas Edition June 13, 2014 at 7:41 pm #

    The ,replica kobe 8, and integrates the athletes of different opinions,yeezy 2 replica, Nike basketball team proudly represents the most advanced technology of the three pair of signature shoes through this series of public. KOBE9ELITETEAM The performance of Materials of construction, advanced quality using James’s physique and his powerful style need shoes can withstand the maximum torque and pressure,cheap replica lebron, with good air permeability and light weight. LEBRON11ELITETEAM is design

  27. cheap replica lebron June 13, 2014 at 7:43 pm #

    said Nike This move marks the exit of whether science and technology, sports, fashion, wearable device companies to dominate the market first test. Wearable market still has huge profit margins, according to IHS analysts predicted that its 2017 profit of $ 2.3 billion (about 14.2 billion yuan), the next five years,cheap air max, the cumulative sales of up to 250 million. [Roundup] According to the World Wide Web, “Financial Times” reported on April 21, Nike (Nike) is considering the former Apple


  1. plastic aviator sunglasses , ray ban glass frames Z27OZCKgzw — Moving and Expat Living - July 1, 2014

    […]… […]

  2. ​Five Professional "Weaknesses" You can Reframe to Your Advantage - Binary Reveux - March 6, 2015

    […] Identify your greatest fears. Figure out what the worst-case scenarios are, how likely they are to happen, and if there are any steps you can take to prevent them from happening or to recover from them. Ferriss suggests a specific exercise in this interview with Chase Jarvis LIVE: […]

  3. Five Professional "Weaknesses" You can Reframe to Your Advantage | Trend Inside - March 11, 2015

    […] to prevent them from happening or to recover from them. Ferriss suggests a specific exercise in this interview with Chase Jarvis LIVE:So what I tend to do if I find myself paralyzed or indecisive, is I’ll write down all the […]

Highslide for Wordpress Plugin