DiscoverThe Tim Ferriss Show#243: How to Fear Less -- Vince Vaughn

#243: How to Fear Less -- Vince Vaughn

Update: 2017-05-304


Vince Vaughn (@WildWest) is one of the most prolific actors, writers, and producers in the world. He's acted in more than thirty major motion pictures that have gone on to gross more than 1.7 billion at the box office. He is largely credited for redefining the R-rated comedy with his performance in the 2005 hit Wedding Crashers, which set the record for highest grossing R-rated comedy at the time. He is -- and will continue to be, I expect -- one of the most sought-after leading men in Hollywood. As a listener to this podcast, Vince reached out with his production company Wild West to see if we might do a TV show together. The result is Fear{less} with Tim Ferriss -- 'less' is in parentheses because the objective is to teach you to fear less, not to be fearless. More details about the show can be found at I got the chance to catch up with Vince at Vulture Festival in New York City. In this conversation, we get into stories of his early beginnings, how to negotiate, his cold-calling career, and important decisions he's made as a producer, an artist, and a businessperson. I had a blast doing this, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Show notes and links for this episode can be found at This podcast is brought to you by 99Designs, the world's largest marketplace of graphic designers. I have used them for years to create some amazing designs. When your business needs a logo, website design, business card, or anything you can imagine, check out 99Designs. I used them to rapid prototype the cover for The Tao of Seneca, and I've also had them help with display advertising and illustrations. If you want a more personalized approach, I recommend their 1-on-1 service. You get original designs from designers around the world. The best part? You provide your feedback, and then you end up with a product that you're happy with or your money back. Click this link and get a free $99 upgrade. Give it a test run... This podcast is also brought to you by Trunk Club. I hate shopping with a passion. And honestly, I'm not good at it, which means I end up looking like I'm colorblind or homeless. Enter Trunk Club, which provides you with your own personal stylist and makes it easier than ever to shop for clothes that look great on your body. Just go to and answer a few questions, and then you'll be sent a trunk full of awesome clothes. They base this on your sizes, preferences, etc. The trunk is then delivered free of charge both ways, so you only pay for clothes that you keep. If you keep none, it costs you nothing. To get started, check it out at

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getting gained by things or have to deal with the headache of costly getting boxes it's not a subscription service shipping is always free and your five days to try and close so a couple points here one gets started today good truckload dot com For slashed him try out you get real close expert advice no work no risk that is a winning combo and I've found my favorite drills shoes from them bright green eyed like the color green and actually work I've had so many complements on the shoes and more people asking where I got them than any other pair of shoes I've ever had and more sure of keeping about I would say three quarters my box which I did not expect to do a good chunk of the comp for him in check and the the boys and girls welcome to another episode of the tenth Air Show I am sitting in a hotel room overlooking the Highline York City because I was here for something called vulture Fest was out well is very important event for the world of television entertainment films on alongside others like for instance the TCA is the Television critics Association and I'm mentioning this is related to today's guest of course my job is to deconstruct world class performers to pick out the lessons and habits in favor boxes on the You can use in your life and the guest today is Vince Vaughn many of you know Vince of course a lot of introduction but he's one of the most prolific actors writers and producers in the world has acted in more than thirty major motion pictures that have gone on to gross more than one point seven billion at the box office he is largely credited for redefining the R rated comedy with his performance in the two dozen five hit Wedding Crashers which set the record for highest grossing R rated comedy the time and see is and will continue to be I expect one of the most sought after leading men in Hollywood his handprints been put outside the Chinese Theater and I know of many things that are irons in the fire that you will be seeing in the forthcoming months and years with Vince and one of them involves me Vince has listened to this podcast he reached out to me along with his production company Wild West to do TV show together and it is out right now starting in May thirtieth two thousand seventeen it is called fearless that sphere or less in parentheses with converse because the objectives to teach you to fearless not to be fearless big big difference between those two and I could not be more excited there are ten episodes it is on an incredible set with a live audience surrounding us we use video images in some cases live demonstrations on stage and as of the thirtieth you can watch the first episode which is what David Blaine master illusionist and endurance artist for free at E T T dot net to check that out for free and fo sho you should take a look at dozens of David Blaine people meaning you guys have asked me for so long for David Blaine and it now you can see him live performing magic getting into his personal stories at E T T dot net to look for fearless within various A can find it on that home page and all of the rest of the episodes you'll be able to find as they're released on DirecTV if you have DirecTV or want DirecTV and you can then stream them on DirecTV now dot com and there is a free trial option the checkout so there are no reasons not to take a look and so you've asked for instance and I've seen these on Twitter last couple weeks fly by when your books will give you twelve bucks every three years but I've had benefits for ten years that doesn't seem fair what should i do well if you want to spend just a few bucks after watching the first episode I would really appreciate it and you can check out the entire season of fearless so that is that we cover so much in this conversation with Vince and get into stories of his early beginnings have to negotiate his cold calling career as it were at least a few jobs that contributed to that and many of the most important decisions that he made as a producer as an artist as a business person an entrepreneur for instance I really had a blast doing this I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and please check out fearless with converse you'll also find the trailer and other things at Tim Blog forward slash fearless and again be in her absurd for even blame can be found at the G d that as always thank you for listening the the uh uh uh thank everyone for the layer but were missing after the show here so without further ado let's bring our men saw the local insurer in person the feels very intimate and comfortable the white room with the grant will be doing skateboarding demonstration afterwards which is why we have the car back to thank everybody for coming this can be fun conversation Vinson I have had a chance to spend good amount of time together we're going to delve a lot and his story many of his decisions and adventures some of which I think you will have not heard before certainly many of which I will have not heard before and just start with the contexts and this show is something that I have been some form or another wanted to do for very long time we connect initially through the podcast so I thought maybe if you would want to give a little bit of background as to how we connected how this came together and then I'll switch gears and go where I am a fan of hands and I really appreciated the books as well as the podcast whose investigations into things and finding ways to effectively get past your trepidation her fears and become able to engage in things in a way that was more fulfilling so I like his whole journey in and this and with the approaches so that was like a Warren Buffett of producers and I I really like to just engage in things I'm excited about it that I really enjoy because you do end up spending quite a bit of time on it so as a fan and seven that was enjoying it I reached out to Tam and said if this feels like a compliment to what you're doing and still not taking from what you're doing is their version of doing this we kind of record it with people that feels like a good continuation and I referenced or Ted talk specifically dealing with fear and you're vulnerable experience is younger with some pretty traumatic experiences and how that instead of suffocating you or maybe it did at the time how later in life you able to re address those it's part of the reason that I said Talk year from all these folks are going to get in some of those moments for you certainly and it is a portion of life that is very often glossed over and that people don't see when they idolize people on the magazine covers may assume that their flawless parents as a result you as a are in some way uniquely flawed and instead wanted to showcase how people can succeed despite the weaknesses and pain that the mind of experience to develop the meantime let's go way way back and talk a little bit on child in a figure the big plays the star how would you describe your childhood where did you grow up well the um the that's the age thirty seven the buy here starting to get lighter again turning back my parents both my parents came from single moms and both came from very economically challenged backgrounds and so they really had a real aspiration to give a better opportunity to the kids around a great work ethic I have an interesting journey and that originally we start off a very humble means that my father was very self motivated and was very successful start his own business and did very well and as I got older we moved into more fluent area and had exposure to public schools with good schools all those kinds of things but I think inform me where I had a work ethic didn't put a big focus on results me finances were never a driving factor not that I was racing you have to take care of yourself but being good are working hard at something what was valued so I think I was fortunate to have to do a lot like your parents do versus what they say so I was fortunate to have a good role models and that was your dad's business of business well my dad has his dad worked in a steel mill and had a small little hundred acre farm but he took to the factory that to keep the farm going and his mom and dad were divorced we go in the summers before he was the first in his immediate family there to go to college so he was a salesman he wanted to make a living so he sought office with the company and selling stuff and headed up into voice was a kid it was a great profession we always have a lot of toys he have sample toys I'd get in trouble cuz i go get him a star playing with them he can't touch that merchandise yet it was hot because they would argue and do business in the way that you would in any industry but the comedic part to me was they were arguing over a Ninja turtle got to put those damn Ninja turtles on the fuckin shelf you know it but it was I the I found a kind because watching Casino but they were talking about they were talking about evil people stunt cycle but he was a manufacturer's rep so what would be sort of an agent they would represent the the manufacturers getting shelf space and you know K Mart or Toys Are Us would he be retailers correct correct what made him get it going to pitch my dad sure thing because my dad is maybe the most honest person he is overly bright but I think is can connect and relate with people I think he genuinely is empathetic with people mom I would see him a deal sometimes the house transaction people put down money that didn't go through but my dad would always give him the money back he was interesting that way so I think people trusted him and feel comfortable with him and the long run I think it really hang out for him because he he wasn't as focused on that stuff but he graciously humor and good sense of humor about himself but I think he was very is still very you know engage with the one thing that struck me when we very first had dinner this was awhile back and this is actually something a few of my friends who have found you on set or failing to mention is that you ask a lot of questions which I hate to say it has been unusual for me in my experience with Santa I ah as you vary in choir and I think that helps to build empathy is that something as he developed a hole you develop it some other way I think I was always curious about things and interested in people and I like to learn and be challenged on stuff on them so I don't mind I like the ass stuff and again as I said my journey with you started really be a fan of what you are doing but I was also I was very inspired by the background that led to you to this experience because I'm interested in that that some very challenging things led to this beautiful life but there's others who could have those things and couldn't crush Him to them I find what you do to be an olive branch and gives them skills to others to choose the good life and not be defined by the challenges I think that's empowering the people so I like that for the people who don't have the context here the Ted talk that I gave that this is referring to talked about a number of different challenges ahead including a lifelong fear of swimming and learn to swim until my thirties which is embarrassing for Long Island where the story as to what led to that I was there many different components but the primary catalyst was a summer camp experience I have very little kid runs and generally stay away from playgrounds I was for me is where you just get your ass kicked my suspicion is not for play and it was summer camp and kids were diving off the stock through an inner tube like fun I did that and a bully of the campground by the ankles as I went through trying to come up in the air and kept hitting my back on the bottom there to just because I couldn't get my head above water ultimately fortunately somebody spotted that has a counselor and I did and I obviously am here but that led me to never want to swim period even though I was right next to the water and I suppose this is as good a point as any to ask you about because you know I actually haven't really spoken about this but then later in life you evaluated differently not being the child emotionally in that moment right later later I had a number of people who were very instrumental in helping me to rethink swimming and also to not denigrated so I had I had rationalize not being able to swim by dismissing it as unimportant and at one point one of my close friends first of all it said This is a life skill you need to have for you and for your kids so I'm assigning a open water race to you this year is your New Year's resolution of like Oh I didn't realize that was up to another person inside and he's very very wasn't I'm addicted to stimulants meaning like he was press is the day so I set right the middle in the swim which is a scarce thing in the world to me You can't have anything stronger than green tea for a year and if you read about the open water swim in but you do it is a deal that was the states and someone help me to rethink how to go about swimming in a step by step fashion and it was the initial pain that initial experience that later led to rethinking swimming which then led to rethinking a lot of things and it's led to the show among other things to me that very story was a great entry and to engaging in herring yourself and how you dissect things and the people that were getting up and sharing because I think on some level we looking for those things in life how to let go of stuff and how to enjoy things in a more productive way could you talk about your car accident in high school for something that we've talked about no I'm talking to much what we were it was after school I had play sports and I had stopped I started getting more and acting and it was during the day and I was a passenger and it was raining out and the girl that was driving was swerving on the road be an issue remember saying don't swerve don't don't you know stop it but she kept doing it and we will maybe thirty five miles an hour and then we hydro plane and I woke up in the ditch by some ripped up real bad and I couldn't move my legs could move had paramedics over me and I have bought all around me I was real concern my friend that I didn't have any idea how it looked wooden track at my friend was real blood is that Sean ok this is all right got hammered and they couldn't get ahold of my parents the first is a work traveling and so as not being in a lot of pain there was a moment what the ramifications where I had a small compression which turned out to be nothing in my back butt and the static of my thumb being injured at the time I didn't mean it's now just a very bad scar on the backside of it and thankfully I have the thumb and can move it but there's a habit so that was um it was challenging because it really made me evaluate the oldest cliche without your health you don't have anything so I really got the experience of feeling like what if I can't move around her people go outside and play and things I had taken for granted and then this the anything physical that is different that you're used to a certain way I think first it's natural to feel insecure about it and here I was at that time knowing when to pursue being an actor entertainer so it was a gift and you know processing things and putting your focus on other things and you started to realize the power of dialogue far as what you are creating or not so there was a lot to give Senate ultimately at the time it was still lucky for them and it was without real consequences it was a it was a nice learning to get away just to talk alot about that inner dialogue and self talk but I want to touch on a few things that are around that same time period and a As a preface to that I will say that Vince is one of the most consistently curious ever met was saying like my job is to interview people and give an idea we were just backstage getting my job many had questions about something called the Marcello teens and Marcella teen is a choke that used in Berlin you to buy the Michael Jordan slash Wayne Gretzky of grappling his name is Marcello Garcia so I was backstage choking Ben's ten minutes ago of very nervous looks very effective way to get choke or the husband is doing and a grappling was one of the first things wrestling specifically that we monitor me and you talk about the role of sports and wrestling to the extent that it's had a lasting impact I think it's important I think you know George Washington I think credited ballroom dancing and horseback riding is to the most important things he did because it gave him confidence physically in grace and being a leader I don't know that you can put Grace in the body without whether it's to late to play sports I think it's important especially for me being tall it allowed me to have I think more control and confidence in my my ah my height and so wrestling to me was really a course and resiliency and discipline I would've loved to read other team sports but it was I was very good at wrestling for whatever reason and I wasn't as accepted and some of the team sport so dressing is very much a loner support them if you're on a team boss you kind of joke around and laugh on arresting bus everyone is dead side partially to there all the high bidder for cutting weight cutting the fight and funnier school or people you don't know it's like you shake hands and it's like you know there's no one missed a block that got the right and you are dehydrated it's odd that you're growing and yet trying to maintain a weight as I mean it's especially when you're doing it when you're younger it's very challenging but I really felt that I got this you know you would come out of playing football feeling like you're in shape and then you would go in wrestling and you would realize you're not in any kind of shape because if you just wrestle it's exhausting and then the only other thing you can do is run in the winter and Illinois that hallways and stairs we have a coach that was fired he was not fit to be with kids but I felt like I was I benefited from having the personality but he was a real problem but I remembered I feel like we need than some people's minds don't go crazy when he was he was he was he had a real anger problem he would hit OK I got the spotlight is on him he punched me once in the chest after match went out to me he would he encourage kids hurting each other but the norm or that I like the Cobra Kai yeah it was like oh I was crazy he had his own emotional issues so we would be like sixty six or whatever was he would be angry over the few mistakes and he would at some point you just for the emotion being poured on you remember Sister was an assistant he'd always say it happened ask for I had broken my cooking it happen and at least keep screaming but he would sometimes like there was a you know he would run these stairs and he would say in these hallways it was a threat but did make it under a minute twenty would add another one right he was intentionally you're going to have them or move that he was trying to break your spirit he wanted to simulate me all is lost what you thought was going to get you there is not now we stand right but inevitably the second string heavy weight was never gonna make that time so the first time he would do it you say OK call the kid's name aloud was Eleanor souls either of us I remember won't say it might not like Eastern European last names he said he was late so than the first time he'd run after that to be some encouragement Come on you do it but the second or third time to start yelling and screaming at him or kick in at and really physically forcing it was like a buck a bag grabbed a few good men it was terrible and I got a problem with the authority anyway and I clash with him alot I ended up showing up at the meets and I was good enough that I could do that I would go to practices all the time I really have problems with that punch me when I'm in the chest but he turn out to be some of that created a pass that was not truthful he had told us that he'll entertain but that it was when the year that we boycott of the AI AI that turned out not to be true but anyway I guess the long version of it is I think that I gained all more than I lost even with him be challenging a lot of ways I wouldn't change that experiance and you can have a great coach Mr are in wrestling and I think in general one of the great attributes of rustling is Constitution and the ability to survive painful moments and not take them on in the absolute sense meaning to have perspective on pay I want that on the word grit for second because there's many researchers have looked at grit written about Angela Duckworth being one of them and also France for instance things Carol where he wrote a book of mine said she talks about these intrinsic versus extremes a validation kids can see you're talking about your your dad fixing process and think that helps you to develop grit because you don't assume you're a failure if you have a nicely it's a failure on that as long as you're putting in the process that allows increases which I think it leads to a lot of your career but i wun talk about the beginning of your crib is different but she jobs when you're young because one other person and for some podcast Chris aka I've watched go from having a tough time affording placing Truckee like a mountain cabin to being on the cover of the forms my decision and now well known billionaire investor and one of his criteria for evaluating people to invest in is have they had She jobs or not he likes to see people who have had should be serviced the bustling abuse online around for a long time are any particular any particular jobs come to mind a few of them younger and services in that but the one that was a changed perspective on as I got older was a team raided the time it should before but was the telemarketing job I was old enough to drive a car I was sixteen in summertime we're always encouraging working so I got a job I thought was a great job behind this desk and I would read this form and insert names I kind of make up my own and I like competition and it fell to such not we would all be in a room together it was a godsend looking back it was a guy anyone fifty years older than you seems ol' just how life so he folded me although it was probably younger than I am now but it very much younger girlfriend she would bring him soup it's at the back office it was an Otter range the but we would sit at the stay
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#243: How to Fear Less -- Vince Vaughn