BONUS: Tim Ferriss | The Art and Science of Meta Learning

Tim Ferriss on Art of Charm Apr 28th 2015


Learn from someone who is great at something they shouldn't be great at.

"You don't need to be superhuman to get superhuman results." -Tim Ferriss

The Cheat Sheet:

  • The two language hacks Tim recommends.
  • What's the exercise he'd do if he could do only one for the rest of his life?
  • His recommendations for how and why to fast.
  • What is fear setting and how can you apply it to your life?
  • What are saccadic movements?
  • And so much more...

Tim Ferriss is a man known around the globe for experimenting and discovering the best, fastest and most effective ways to learn something. Whether it's spending a week to learn to play drums for Foreigner live in concert or speaking Tagalong fluently during a Filipino interview, Tim has done it.

On today's episode we talk about meta learning for language and other skills, what happened to his TV show, and his unique take on goals and risk. Listen in for all of that and more on this bonus edition of The Art of Charm.

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More About This Show:

If you've followed Tim Ferriss for any length of time you know he's man of experimentation and meta learning. In fact the title of his blog is Experiments in Lifestyle Design, completely appropriate for what he shares with the world.

On today's episode Tim and I talk about language hacks (and how they apply to other areas of life), the details of his current fasting regimen, the status of his TV show and his views on goal setting, risk and what he wishes every single adult would do at least once in their lifetime.

When it comes to goal setting Tim uses an approach he calls fear setting. He does this at least every 8 weeks, and any time he feels overwhelmed or anxious about a decision he has to make. And his process, of course, is quite simple.

First he takes a physical piece of paper, lays it down landscape style and then he creates three columns. In the column on the far left he makes a list of every possible thing that could go wrong if he does whatever he's considering doing. He is very specific and writes down every single thing he can think of.

In the middle column he writes down everything he can do to mitigate the items in the far left column. And then in the last column he makes a list of everything he can do to get back to where he is right now, if all the breakdowns from the far left column actually happen.

With that information he makes an informed and calculated decision that minimizes his risk, because as he puts it, risk is "an irreversible negative outcome".

Continuing from there we also discuss two of his favorite skills he's learned: swimming and speed reading. He once thought learning to swim was an impossible thing for him because he was into his 30s before he tried it. Once he had conquered the skill, he began to ask himself "What else once have I assumed is impossible?".

The other skill we discuss is speed reading. Tim also gives us a tip to double our reading speed and increase comprehension at the same time. As you might expect it's a super simple trick that you can do as soon as you listen.

Tune in for that and then join me in thanking Tim for sharing his masterful meta learning techniques on today's episode. We'll see you next time on The Art of Charm!


If you enjoyed this session of The Art of Charm Podcast, let Tim know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out on Twitter:

Click here to thank Tim on Twitter!

Resources from this episode:

Tim Ferriss' blog
Tim on Twitter
Inulin: why and how Tim uses it
Tim Ferriss horseback archery video
The Tim Ferriss Experiment: bonus footage
The Tim Ferriss Experiment on iTunes
The Art of Charm bootcamps


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-The Art of Charm Toolbox
-Best of The Art of Charm Podcast


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