I just watched the Tim Ferriss Ted Talk. It’s a must see; a small investment with a large gain.

He says that, as we do in psychotherapy, we go into the fear and not away from it. We enter it, examine it, face it and try to put it aside to move past it.

When there is something you want to do, or should be doing and can’t or won’t you need to talk to yourself. He wants you to ask yourself 3 questions:

1. What is the worst case if I . . .? (the fabled worst case question),
2. What can you do to prevent the worst case . . .?
3. What can you do to repair the worst case…?
4. What is the downside to inaction or keeping the status quo?
5. What are the benefits of success?

Well maybe there are more than 3. Nevertheless, with those in mind, he says, anyone can conquer their fear and that we need to look at our fears and not just our goals because clearly it is our fears, our limiting beliefs that are tied into those, that stop us from achieving our goals. These are things we explore daily in psychotherapy.

Positive psychology tells us to look at what we have and not what we don’t have. It’s a nice turn from the psychology they taught us in graduate school which was look at the pathology. Not that that’s wrong or not useful to look at how someone is put together in an unhealthy way. It’s important, but so is capitalization on the strengths (see www.viacharacter.com from Martin Seligman’s work)

But sometimes we are just not able to focus on the positive. Sometimes we have to look at the limiting belief or as Ferriss says, to define your fear. Again, another good call for psychotherapy.

A motivational speaker as well as writer. Ferriss himself has a history of unrelenting bipolar depression. Yet he also has a history of incredible successes, which have invariably helped millions of people. I myself read the Four-hour Workweek when it came out; I couldn’t quite figure out how to manage the email the way he suggested, only checking it on Mondays or daily or whatever it was that just didn’t work for me- being in the business of psychotherapy, but the book did have an impact. I also read his new one, Tools of Titans. The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers. In here his work is drawn from those who practice, those who are allegedly doing well and better than we are. Hence, we look to what works.

If we are going to improve upon ourselves (isn’t that what psychotherapy is about?) and grow, why not start by doing just that — looking to what has worked for others. Ferriss’s interviews of successful people reveal many powerful tips. Here is a great little summation by Time writer Eric Barker, which I received in my inbox shortly after I completed Ferris’s book, entitled 10 Things the Most Successful People do Every Day  Check out #5, my favorite and something which I have been doing for years.

To summarize Eric’s points, these are:

1. Have a morning ritual… meditation and mindfulness
2. Turn your weaknesses into strengths
3. Don’t ignore the clichés… they may sound mundane but they work
4. Be able to think, to endure and to wait (with a mention, notwithstanding, of another fave — Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning.
5. Have an overnight task, and as per Thomas Edison… “never go to sleep without a request from your unconscious.
6. Clear the Path… do more than you are told.
7. They are not evil. They’re exhausted… benefit of the doubt stuff recognizing that everyone has their issues, again, what we say in psychotherapy.
8. Remember the 5-chimp’s theory… we are who we hang with.
9. Know when to use your moral compass… listen first
10. Get a Jar of Awesome . . . appreciate

You wonder, did all of those successful people learn from their experiences, their parents or in psychotherapy. . . or from Tim Ferriss?

FYI . . here is his talk.