Seth Godin and Dr. Sue Johnson - The Tim Ferriss Show

Seth Godin and Dr. Sue Johnson - The Tim Ferriss Show

Start (00:00:00)

  • Tim Ferriss recommends The League, a dating app with features like multi-city dating, LinkedIn verified profiles, interest-based searching, and a personal concierge.
  • He describes his ideal partner as well-educated, loves skiing or snowboarding, upbeat, and interested in having children soon.
  • The League also offers daily speed dating with three three-minute dates from the comfort of home.
  • AG1 is a science-driven nutritional supplement that supports the brain, gut, and immune system.
  • It contains a multivitamin, multi-mineral, superfood complex, probiotics, prebiotics, antioxidants, digestive enzymes, and adaptogens.
  • AG1 is NSF certified for sports, free of harmful microbes or heavy metals, and free of 280 banned substances.
  • It is a convenient way to get many nutrients at once, especially when on the go.

Notes about this supercombo format. (00:07:52)

  • This is a special two-for-one episode celebrating the podcast's 10th anniversary and surpassing 1 billion downloads.
  • Curated episodes featuring the best moments from over 700 episodes.
  • Aim to introduce lesser-known guests who have had a significant impact.
  • Bios of all guests can be found at

Enter Seth Godin. (00:08:55)

  • Seth Godin is an entrepreneur, speaker, and author of 21 international bestsellers.
  • Some of his notable books include Purple Cow, Lynchpin, The Dip, This is Marketing, and his latest book, The Song of Significance.
  • You can find Seth at

Seth’s rules for speaking engagements and why he developed them. (00:09:21)

  • Seth Godin limits himself to a maximum of 30 speaking engagements per year.
  • He prioritizes speaking engagements that align with his mission of helping people see the world differently and connect with each other.
  • He charges a higher fee for speaking engagements that require him to travel.
  • He has rules to avoid getting caught up in requests that don't align with his mission and to maintain focus on making the change he seeks.
  • Seth Godin's mission is to help people see the world differently and connect with each other to make things better.
  • He believes that speaking engagements provide a unique opportunity to reach a large audience and potentially change their lives.
  • He carefully selects speaking engagements that align with his mission and is willing to do an unlimited number of engagements in his local area.
  • He charges a higher fee for speaking engagements that require him to travel to ensure that they are worth his time and effort.
  • Seth Godin found himself in a transition point, feeling burned out after publishing the 4-Hour Chef.
  • He started the podcast as a side project to take a break from writing books.
  • Godin's approach to transitions is to move from a place of potential success to a place of uncertainty, guided by the mantra "this might not work."
  • He emphasizes the importance of taking risks, embracing failures, and focusing on projects that are generous, connecting, and impactful.
  • Transitions can be challenging, and Godin often tells people he's unemployed between projects.

Why Seth publishes a daily blog. (00:16:10)

  • Seth Godin considers his daily blog to be one of the best career decisions he's made.
  • It allows him to resonate with his audience, leave a trail of his thoughts, and maintain a consistent practice without needing permission or promotion.
  • Godin started with an intermittent blog, then moved to a five times a day blog, but he doesn't publish all five posts daily.
  • He finds that writing multiple posts a day helps him achieve the appropriate amount of mind space for his work.

Writing process and overcoming blocks. (00:17:10)

  • Seth Godin and Tim Ferriss discuss their writing processes and how they overcome writer's block.
  • Seth Godin mentions a brainstorming technique he learned from Chip Conley, where they met every Tuesday night in the anthropology department of their business school to brainstorm business ideas.
  • Seth Godin emphasizes the importance of associating a specific environment with writing to get into the right mindset.
  • Tim Ferriss asks about Seth Godin's writing warm-up routine and when he typically writes.
  • Seth Godin dismisses the idea of an elaborate writing warm-up and compares it to Stephen King's pencil, suggesting that the specific tools or methods used for writing don't necessarily correlate with the quality of the work.
  • Seth Godin shares a tip from writer Po Bronson to write about what makes him angry when feeling blocked, as a way to break the ice and get the creative process started.
  • Tim Ferriss agrees that the focus should not be on replicating the habits of successful writers but on finding what works for each individual.
  • Seth Godin suggests that the goal should be to generate a large quantity of ideas, including bad ones, as eventually, good ideas will emerge from the process.

Top business decisions. (00:21:17)

  • Start a business that people want to buy.
  • Choose a business that is easy to push downhill rather than uphill.
  • Don't fetishize the struggle; sometimes a different business model is easier.

Discerning between good and bad ideas. (00:23:01)

  • Knowing when you're wrong is a useful skill.
  • Don't persist in pushing a bad idea; pivot when necessary.
  • Distinguish between failures of judgment and failures of not persisting long enough.

Are you cut out to be an entrepreneur or a freelancer? (00:24:43)

  • Entrepreneurs build businesses that generate income even when they're not actively working, while freelancers receive payment for their work.
  • Entrepreneurs should prioritize creating products or services that satisfy existing needs or desires rather than attempting to create new ones.
  • The "First 10" theory of marketing suggests sharing ideas with 10 trusted individuals; if they don't share it further, the idea needs improvement.
  • Social media platforms are designed to generate revenue for their owners, not to enhance users' lives.
  • Quantifying personal data (tracking and measuring) is distinct from taking risks and pushing boundaries (dancing with fear).
  • To excel at unprecedented endeavors, it's crucial to focus on the task at hand and avoid getting sidetracked by quantifying progress.
  • Instead of solely focusing on typing speed, the emphasis should be on creating valuable and meaningful content.
  • Wealthy individuals should prioritize producing impactful content over marginally improving their typing speed.
  • The quality and significance of written content should be prioritized over the speed at which it is produced.

Opportunities Seth is glad he declined. (00:30:26)

  • Declined all reality TV show invites to stay true to his values and avoid getting caught up in the game.
  • Turned down an offer to be head of marketing at a company with a billion dollars in stock options because he didn't want to commit to a career path that would require him to keep saying yes to similar opportunities.

Money is a story. How does Seth tell it? (00:32:12)

  • Money is a mutual belief, not an inherent value.
  • The story we tell ourselves about money determines its worth to us.
  • Being rich is not always a symbol of creating value for others.
  • We should decide how much money we want and what we are willing to trade for it, rather than blindly chasing after more.

Seth on education. (00:35:12)

  • Parents should take responsibility for their children's education and teach them to lead and solve interesting problems.
  • Children should not be criticized when they fail while solving problems, as this discourages them from trying new things.
  • Memorization is not as important as learning how to find information and solve problems.
  • The goal of education should be to produce individuals who can make a valuable contribution to society, rather than simply getting into a famous college.

Suggested practices for overwhelmed parents. (00:38:27)

  • Being busy is a trap and a myth.
  • Spend two hours a day without electronic devices, looking your child in the eye, talking to them, and solving interesting problems.
  • Cook dinner every night as a semi-distracted environment for important conversations.
  • Go for walks with your child.

Enter Dr. Sue Johnson. (00:41:19)

  • Dr. Sue Johnson was a leading innovator in couples therapy and adult attachment.
  • She developed emotionally focused couples and family therapy (EFT).
  • Dr. Johnson passed away in April 2023.
  • Her book "Hold Me Tight" and website provide more information about her work.

Peer-reviewed clinical research supporting Sue’s work. (00:41:55)

  • Sue Johnson's work has over 20 outcome studies, which are difficult to conduct in psychotherapy due to various factors.
  • EFT is the only couple intervention with significant results that impact people and their relationships.
  • EFT can improve happiness, security, bonding, sex life, and reduce depression in couples.
  • EFT's results are sustained even after three years.
  • EFT is being researched in collaboration with the Heart Institute in Ottawa to study its impact on reducing the risk of heart attacks.
  • Sue Johnson finds joy in witnessing couples learn and make positive changes in their lives through EFT.

EFT’s success rate and clinical definition of success in studies with distressed couples. (00:45:03)

  • EFT has a 73% to 86% success rate in studies with distressed couples.
  • Success is defined using a measure called marital adjustment, which looks at the couple's perception of their marital satisfaction.
  • EFT can help couples change their marital satisfaction, adjustment, and the security of their bond with each other.
  • EFT can help people who don't trust each other, can't talk to each other, and aren't intimate to create a secure bond in 20 sessions.
  • EFT can lead to decreased depression and anxiety, and help people deal with trauma.
  • EFT's results are accepted by the field as valid and have been published in peer-reviewed journals.

Scales used to assess marital satisfaction and bond in research. (00:49:03)

  • EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy) uses various scales and observational measures to assess marital satisfaction, bonding, and attachment.
  • A brain scan study showed that EFT reduced brain activity in the alarm state, indicating a calmer and more secure attachment.
  • EFT helps individuals develop secure attachment patterns and reduces pain perception during stressful situations.
  • Love is an ancient, wired-in survival code essential for human thriving and survival.
  • Despite being often mischaracterized, love stories remain prevalent.
  • Psychology often presents an inaccurate understanding of love, portraying it as a combination of sex and sentiment.
  • Romantic love is fundamentally about bonding and serves as an ancient survival code.
  • Brain scans revealed significant differences in women with secure relationships compared to those without.

Definition of a hold me tight conversation. (00:55:11)

  • A hold me tight conversation is a bonding conversation.
  • Some adults have never experienced this type of conversation.
  • It involves one person opening up and sharing vulnerabilities, needs, and fears to pull the other person closer.
  • The other person then responds and reaches back.
  • Example 1: A wife shares her fears about her husband's job loss and how it affects her. The husband responds by offering support and reassurance.
  • Example 2: A husband expresses his frustration about a work project to his wife. The wife listens and offers empathy and understanding.

Examples of hold me tight conversations. (00:56:31)

  • The demand-withdraw dynamic in distressed relationships hinders emotional connection due to blame, defensiveness, and feeling threatened.
  • Hold Me Tight conversations, a model for secure attachment, allow partners to express their needs and fears without feeling vulnerable or weak.
  • Self-awareness and vulnerability enable open communication and understanding in relationships.
  • Reciprocity, where one partner responds with empathy and understanding to the other's needs, fosters emotional connection.
  • Emotional safety and vulnerability are crucial for successful relationships, allowing partners to connect better and tune into each other's cues.
  • Hold Me Tight conversations create a sense of safety and security by openly sharing vulnerabilities and providing comfort and support.
  • These conversations promote emotional growth, trust, and secure bonding between partners.
  • Hold Me Tight conversations predict positive outcomes in relationships, including success in EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy), more secure bonding, better sex, and overall positive functioning.

How a hold me tight conversation might work for someone who tends to isolate or feels isolated. (01:06:08)

  • Love can be challenging, with negative patterns leading to insecurity and hindering vulnerability.
  • The "Hold Me Tight" conversations help couples recognize and address their negative patterns, promoting understanding and empathy.
  • For traumatized individuals, acknowledging and supporting their emotions is crucial in building trust and openness.
  • Empathy fosters deeper connections and vulnerability by understanding fears and struggles.
  • Fear can lead to catastrophizing and negative self-perception, while vulnerability evokes caring and compassion when approached safely.
  • Emotions, though not logical, serve as an information processing system, and their understanding is essential in addressing behavioral issues.
  • Some individuals may fear openness due to past experiences, which should be communicated to their partners.
  • Psychology should prioritize understanding the emotional realities behind behavior and problems rather than solely observing the behavior itself.

Prevalence of isolation and the stigma around “dependency.” (01:14:51)

  • Many people experience isolation and feel uniquely flawed, but it is actually very common.
  • Dependency has a negative connotation, but attachment science shows that humans are interdependent and wired for connection from birth.
  • When people realize this, they feel less defective and unlovable and understand that they need connection with others.
  • The fear of rejection and abandonment is rooted in our biology and evolution, as our survival depended on the care of others during our vulnerable early years.
  • Attachment science, pioneered by John Bowlby, links biology, our nervous system, and social interaction patterns, providing a map for understanding and improving relationships.
  • Collaboration, cooperation, and mutual support are essential for human survival, and we need to learn from attachment science to address the challenges facing our world.

Attachment parenting vs. sleep training. (01:18:43)

  • Attachment parenting, which emphasizes constant contact and sleeping near the baby, and sleep training, which focuses on teaching the baby to self-soothe and sleep independently, are two different parenting approaches.
  • The author believes that emotional responsiveness to children is crucial and that sleep training can teach children to suppress emotions and rely on self-sufficiency, which is not a healthy long-term strategy.
  • Sleep training perpetuates the myth of self-sufficiency and emotional regulation, which is dangerous because humans are not wired for self-sufficiency, and suppressing emotions is a fragile coping mechanism.
  • The author's personal experience with an adopted premature son who required frequent waking and soothing highlights the importance of adapting to the child's needs and finding a balance that suits the family.
  • Parenting is challenging and requires constant adaptation as children grow and change.
  • Attachment science emphasizes the significance of secure relationships and emotional support for children and adults.
  • Society should provide more support for parents, including education, resources, and policies that promote work-life balance.
  • A civilized society would prioritize supporting families and preventing individuals from dying alone.
  • New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's decision to bring her baby to parliament exemplifies progress in recognizing the demands of parenting.

Micro-interventions from Rogerian models of therapy (evocative questions). (01:28:25)

  • Evocative questions focus on the process of experiencing something rather than the content.
  • Emotions can be dealt with when they make sense, are acceptable, and when there's another human being accepting them.
  • EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy) uses evocative questions, reflections, repetition, and imagery to help clients stay with and process their feelings safely.
  • EFT can be done in individual therapy, where the therapist helps the client access and work with their inner representations.
  • Dr. Sue Johnson's approach to individual therapy involves using reflections and evocative questions to help clients connect with their inner selves and process difficult emotions.
  • Imagining conversations with significant figures from the past can provide new insights and perspectives on relationships and experiences.
  • Feeling loved and secure allows individuals to grow, expand, and access more of their potential and resources.
  • Micro interventions, such as reflections and evocative questions, can help clients move beyond obsessions and addictions and feel more whole.

Sue’s response to clients who struggle to identify their feelings in their body. (01:36:54)

  • Dr. Sue Johnson explains that societal norms discourage men from expressing emotions, which can lead to a limited vocabulary for identifying bodily sensations, as seen in the interviewee Seth Godin.
  • Despite this limited vocabulary, Dr. Johnson suggests that it is possible to identify and work through emotional triggers by paying attention to specific cues and reactions.
  • Attachment theory provides a framework for understanding how people interact in relationships and the outcomes of those interactions.
  • Attachment theory helps individuals understand their own vulnerabilities and emotions, particularly their sensitivity to signals of rejection or abandonment, which is a natural human response rather than a sign of weakness.

Upping the ante in a hold me tight conversation and its unintended effects. (01:43:48)

  • Upping the ante in a hold me tight conversation involves escalating the intensity of negative behaviors in an attempt to elicit a response from a loved one.
  • This can manifest as blaming, pushing, demanding, or shutting down and withdrawing.
  • Getting stuck in these negative patterns leads to disconnection, anxiety, and more problems for both partners.
  • An example of upping the ante is indirectly expressing a desire for conversation by saying "you're tired an awful lot these days" instead of directly saying "I miss our conversations."
  • This type of behavior pushes the other person further away, hindering effective communication.

Sue’s approach to helping someone work through anger. (01:45:42)

  • Sue's approach involves helping couples understand the underlying emotions and fears behind anger.
  • When a partner expresses anger, Sue asks the other partner how it makes them feel and what they perceive as the threat.
  • This process helps uncover the core issues and allows partners to empathize with each other's perspectives.
  • Emotions are honored and explored rather than controlled or contained.
  • EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy) aims to create emotionally balanced couples who can securely deal with vulnerability and hurt.
  • Research on infant-mother attachment, child-parent attachment, and adult attachment emphasizes the significance of connection with others.
  • Common fears that arise in conflicts include fear of rejection, abandonment, disconnection, and feeling unimportant.
  • Recognizing and accepting the need for connection empowers individuals and strengthens relationships.

Sue’s fascination with Winston Churchill and recommended reading. (01:49:09)

  • Sue finds Winston Churchill fascinating due to his resilience despite a deprived childhood marked by distant and neglectful parents.
  • Churchill formed a secure bond with his wife, which he relied on throughout his life, even during conflicts.
  • Despite their British upper-class backgrounds, Churchill and his wife maintained separate bedrooms.
  • Sue recommends the three-volume biography "The Last Lion" by William Manchester for those interested in learning more about Winston Churchill.
  • The book is well-received on Amazon with an average rating of five stars out of five based on 260 reviews.
  • Sue admires Churchill for his honesty, risk-taking, integrity, and passion, which allowed him to lead England through World War II.
  • Churchill stood for his beliefs even when they were unpopular and faced social rejection.
  • Sue also mentions reading "What Happened to You?" by Oprah Winfrey and Bruce Perry, praising Perry's work on attachment science and emotional isolation.

Common arguments between tango couples. (01:54:40)

  • Tango involves attunement, safety, and synchrony, similar to love, good sex, and play. It originated in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where men commonly danced with other men.
  • The author struggled to learn Tango but persisted due to the joy of synchrony with the music and partner. She finds it easier to dance with women leaders, possibly because women have had to learn to tune into others socially.
  • Tango involves a lot of cues and improvisation, even for experienced dancers. The complexity of movements and synchrony create a sense of wonder and awe for those who witness it.
  • Dr. Sue Johnson discusses how couples often discover new levels of emotional connection and communication in therapy. She emphasizes the importance of connection and being wanted by another person, rather than constantly problem-solving or taking care of everything.
  • Dr. Johnson views dancing tango, making love, and responding to children as examples of moments when people feel most alive and connected.

Advice for couples who are in love but lack sexual spark. (02:07:51)

  • Women and men respond differently to sexual cues, with women being more physiologically aroused but requiring a sense of safety in the relationship to feel fully aroused.
  • Men and women have different paces of desire, with women often experiencing responsive desire and men experiencing spontaneous desire.
  • Both men and women want to feel wanted and desired in a relationship.
  • Passion involves feeling safe enough to be fully absorbed in the sexual experience.
  • The most fulfilling sexual experiences occur in safe, long-term relationships where partners can let go and enjoy each other.
  • Communication and understanding of each other's needs and desires are essential for sexual fulfillment.
  • Sexual problems can disrupt a couple's connection, but open communication and maintaining emotional intimacy can help resolve these issues.
  • Attachment science provides insights into shaping emotional and sexual relationships, challenging the notion that love and passionate love have a limited lifespan.

Advice for couples where the woman has a higher sex drive than the man. (02:17:18)

  • Men are conditioned to believe that their sexual needs and responses are readily available compared to women.
  • When men realize the vulnerability of being in a relationship and needing their partner, some may shut down their sexuality as a defense mechanism.
  • Emotional scenarios can be complex and require understanding the underlying issues.
  • Couples caught up in parenting, tasks, and societal definitions of success may neglect their emotional connection and expect intimacy without nurturing it.
  • Addressing emotional blocks and fostering open communication can improve sex life and reawaken passion.
  • Emotional openness and responsiveness lead to physiological openness and responsiveness.

Development and content of Sue’s Hold Me Tight Online program. (02:22:51)

  • Sue Johnson developed the Hold Me Tight Online program to make the science and work on relationships more accessible to people.
  • The program features three couples going through the process, little talks, music, exercises, and customization.
  • It is based on tested interventions and a clear science of love relationships.
  • The program has received positive feedback and is being used by institutions such as the US and Canadian militaries, the government of British Colombia, and the Heart Institute.
  • New conversations, such as those with a black couple discussing racism and its impact on relationships, are being added to the program.
  • The goal of the program is to help couples have their own Hold Me Tight conversations and build more positive, loving, cooperative relationships.

Parting thoughts. (02:27:24)

  • Dr. Sue Johnson emphasizes the importance of understanding love and improving relationships through attachment science.
  • Despite common misconceptions, falling in and out of love is not inevitable, and secure bonding can be learned and developed.
  • Dr. Johnson encourages individuals to seek out tools and resources to shape the love they desire, as more people are giving up on love relationships.
  • Tim Ferriss, inspired by the conversation, intends to explore tools that help shape love further.
  • Tim Ferriss recommends ag1, a comprehensive nutritional supplement containing 75 science-driven ingredients, for whole-body health.
  • The dating app "the League" focuses on smart and attractive individuals, with over half of its users coming from top 40 colleges.
  • The League uses LinkedIn verification to ensure users have stable careers and allows users to search for matches by interests and in multiple locations.
  • Tim Ferriss is looking for a well-educated woman who loves skiing or snowboarding, is upbeat, and has a positive outlook on life.
  • The League offers daily speed dating where users can go on three three-minute dates with potential matches from the comfort of their own homes.

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