If You Want Uncommon Clarity, Ask Yourself Uncommonly Specific Questions

Tim Ferriss

“Life punishes the vague and rewards the specific ask.”

Tim Ferriss


This is a professional note extracted from an online article.

Read more efficiently

Save what inspires you

Remember anything


If You Want Uncommon Clarity, Ask Yourself Uncommonly Specific Questions

If You Want Uncommon Clarity, Ask Yourself Uncommonly Specific Questions


Key Ideas

Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss

“Life punishes the vague and rewards the specific ask.”

The Path We Know

Many people follow a path to a dead-end job with mediocre relationships and low income because that is all they know. They never ask themselves specific, focused questions.

It's not that they are not capable or competent; they are only without direction. They follow the clearest path, even if they don't like where the path is leading.

The Clearest Path

Make sure the path you follow is taking you in the right direction.

Ask yourself specific and uncommonly questions. Ask about your work, your relationships, where your life is heading.

More Clarity

Being successful requires you to say no to the wrong things - the wrong money, wrong relationships, and wrong life choices. The wrong choices will make you unhappy and unfulfilled.

Wrong money is abundant. It is the money earned doing tasks that are irrelevant to your Big Goals. It is the money that leads you to mediocrity.

Living a Fulfilling Life

It takes about the same amount of energy to sustain a mediocre life as it does to build a fulfilling life. Mediocre choices will get you mediocre results. Making world-class choices can produce world-class success.

Stop making excuses for your limiting behavior and get more specific:

  • Find out exactly what you want.
  • Find out who you are.
  • Find out where you're going.


When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, ask yourself "why" 5 times to get to the bottom of why you're feeling what you're feeling. After the 5th "why", you can generally pinpoint what is going on.



"Do what you love”...

...  is career advice that’s easy to give, but  hard to follow, because we can’t always accurately predict what kind of job we’ll love until we’re actually doing it. Or maybe ...

Questions to help you choose the right career
  • What can I do better than others? Think about what you're really good at, and how you could use the skills where you have an edge in order to get results.
  • What problems do I want to solve? This question is productive because it helps you identify your values and the issues you care about, without confining you to a narrow role.
  • How do I want to be known? What you do for a living often informs other people’s impressions of you—as well as your own self-image. For example, if you want people to think you’re a helpful, trustworthy, caring person, you might want to consider a job in a classic “helping” field, like being a kindergarten teacher.
The Real Career Landscape
The Real Career Landscape
If you can figure out how to get a reasonably accurate picture of the real career landscape out there, you have a massive edge over everyone else, most of whom will be using outdated convention...
The career pitfall
Careers used to be kind of like a 40-year tunnel. You picked your tunnel, and once you were in, that was that. You worked in that profession for 40 years or so before the tunnel spit you out on the other side into your retirement.

Today’s career landscape isn’t a lineup of tunnels, it’s a massive, impossibly complex, rapidly changing science laboratory. 

Why Career-path-carving is important.

Time. A typical career will take up somewhere between 20% and 60% of your meaningful adult time.

Quality of Life. Your career has a major effect on all your non-career hours.

Impact. Whatever shape your career path ends up taking, the world will be altered by it.

Identity. We tell people about our careers by telling them what we are.

6 more ideas

Tim Ferriss
“The hard choices—what we most fear doing, asking, saying—these are very often exactly what we most need to do.”
Tim Ferriss
What's Holding You Down

Some people allow fears to keep them stuck in their situations. Fear has the ability to keep you stuck and control your mindset.

You can silence it by stating this fear out loud and becoming familiar with the worst-case scenario.

Gary Vaynerchuk
Gary Vaynerchuk
“You Don’ t need permission to chase your dreams. Go execute.” 

4 more ideas