Investor and author Tim Ferriss might just fancy himself a Mongol leader.

At the very least, he has a clear sense of what he wants his legacy to be: "I want to build an army of world-class learners to rival Genghis Khan's," he said in a sit-down interview with Quest Nutrition founder Tom Bilyeu, as part of a weekly Inside Quest video series. The series, which started in March 2015, features one-on-one interviews with major business leaders, fitness experts, and other prominent trendsetters who "have achieved the amazing," according to the company's Facebook page.   

Ferriss, for his part, has a number of achievements to speak of. Most famous for writing The 4-Hour Workweek, as well as his subsequent books The 4-Hour Body and The 4-Hour Chef, the entrepreneur has also made apt decisions in his quest to forge an "army": He was an early-stage investor or adviser to companies including Twitter, Facebook, Alibaba and Uber. Now Ferriss is launching an online TV series, The Tim Ferriss Experiment, in which he sets out to learn a new esoteric skill in each episode--parkour, surfing, and speaking Tagalog, for example--under the tutelage of seasoned experts. After all, he insists: "All skills are coachable with the right tool kits." 

Ferriss went on to share the attributes he believes truly great startup founders possess: "You find that those thinkers and doers fall into the category of examining the anomalies as opposed to dismissing them," he said. In other words: He seeks out people who "don't accept the shoulds and the musts," but who rather chart their own course, even if it seems impossible. 

To be sure, "examining anomalies" requires a great deal of courage. After all, nearly 50 percent of early stage ventures fail, and the psychological price of entrepreneurship is demonstrably great. Ferriss himself admits that he's suffered from anxiety, self-doubt, and depression. He recently recalled in a Reddit AMA that he nearly committed suicide after graduating from college, because he believed that his depression "would last forever." Over time, however, Ferriss says that he's learned to cope by putting specific routines into place: "I have a handful of routines and techniques that allow me to conquer my lesser self," he explained. 

One of the simpler practices that help Ferriss become more confident involves making a list of all the things that scare him. While it may seem counterintuitive, he argues that "when you get really specific with your fears, you rob them of their power."

What's more, he says that he tries to think like a scientist: "There's no such thing as a failed experiment. There's only feedback." 

Published on: May 6, 2015