Q&A with Tim — Current Morning and Exercise Routines, Holotropic Breathwork, Ambition vs. Self-Compassion, Daily Practices for Joy, Ontological Shock, and More (#518)

Photo by Todd White

Welcome to another episode of The Tim Ferriss Show, where it is usually my job to sit down with world-class performers of all different types to tease out the habits, routines, favorite books, and so on that you can apply and test in your own life. This time, we have a slightly different format, and I’m the guest. 

As some of you know, I tested a “fan-supported model” in 2019, but I ended up returning to ads by request. That’s a long story, and you can read more about it at tim.blog/podcastexperiment. I recently sat down with the supporter group for a fun and live Q&A on YouTube. 

I answered questions on my current morning and exercise routines, holotropic breathwork, ambition vs. self-compassion, diet, tools for assisting with ontological shock, what currently brings me a lot of joy, not caring what other people think, and much, much more. 

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Brought to you by Wealthfront automated investing, ButcherBox premium meats delivered to your door, and ExpressVPN virtual private network service. More on all three below.

This episode is brought to you by WealthfrontWealthfront pioneered the automated investing movement, sometimes referred to as ‘robo-advising,’ and they currently oversee $20 billion of assets for their clients. It takes about three minutes to sign up, and then Wealthfront will build you a globally diversified portfolio of ETFs based on your risk appetite and manage it for you at an incredibly low cost. 

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This episode is brought to you by ExpressVPN. I’ve been using ExpressVPN to make sure that my data is secure and encrypted, without slowing my Internet speed. If you ever use public Wi-Fi at, say, a hotel or a coffee shop, where I often work and as many of my listeners do, you’re often sending data over an open network, meaning no encryption at all.

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What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.


Want to hear a Q&A I did with listeners way back in the before-pandemic times? Listen here, where we talked about wealth building, improving extemporaneous speaking, coping with the loss of loved ones, Lyme disease, breaking up with business partners, new habits, hopeful eulogies, and much more.



Note from the editor: Timestamps will be added shortly.

  • What’s the 2021 updated version of my morning routine?
  • What is my current exercise routine, and what cool exercise equipment or gadgets am I using?
  • What is my process for determining if I’m steering my life in a worthwhile direction?
  • How can someone stuck in a rut of existential dread better manage their thoughts?
  • If I were to give a commencement speech, what would be the core message?
  • Are there currently any large-scale studies — by MAPS, Johns Hopkins, or other researchers in the psychedelic space — investigating the potential therapeutic value of holotropic breathwork?
  • Beware of pseudo-shamans.
  • Have I tried fish oil, moxibustion, or acupuncture to soothe my joint pain? Have I found anything particularly effective?
  • Are there any psychedelic retreats I can recommend?
  • Who or what has consistently brought me joy in the past six months, one year, three years, and five years?
  • What projects do I have planned over the next two or three years?
  • A Viktor Frankl recommendation that often gets overlooked.
  • Is there any research on the effects of psychedelics combined with breathwork?
  • Why am I still hesitating about having children?
  • A documentary recommendation for anyone wondering how to become a fake guru/shaman (or avoid being taken in by one).
  • I now recognize that I could have been more self-compassionate earlier in life and enjoyed the same level of “success” (however one defines such a thing). But here’s something someone not inclined toward self-compassion might find even more effective without losing what they think of as their “edge.”
  • After self-experimenting with practically every dietary approach under the sun, what does my current eating regimen look like?
  • Are there any books we’ve found helpful in preparation for parenthood?
  • Do I have any advice for dealing with ontological shock — such as I experienced when I rediscovered my own history of childhood abuse?
  • What did I take away from reading Richard Powers’ Pulitzer-winning The Overstory during the pandemic?
  • Am I sure I’m not drunk?
  • “When this ends?”
  • What does my evening routine look like, and what’s keeping me laughing most these days?
  • What helps me pull out of unproductive thoughts or emotional loops?
  • Another easy, feel-good series for binge-watching: Ted Lasso.
  • How much time do I set aside for reading every week?
  • How active am I in lobbying Congress’ decreased restrictions on psychedelic research?
  • Have I given serious thought to writing fiction?
  • How do I overcome the fear of being misunderstood?
  • How do I ensure optimal sleep?
  • How did I learn Japanese?
  • Parting thoughts.


The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 600 million downloads. It has been selected for “Best of Apple Podcasts” three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it’s been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.