Learnings from Jerry Seinfeld

Notes and thoughts from Tim Ferriss Show Episode #485, interview with Jerry Seinfeld.

[Photo Credit: George Pagan III, Unsplash]


• Make yourself a writing session


I really like what Jerry said to his daughter when she struggled with writing. He told her to make herself a writing session. What is a writing session? It's like a workout or training session. You have to determine how long is it. If the trainer telling you today's session is open ended, you are most likely think she/he is crazy and you won't do it. When you can control what you can handle, then it's much easier. Either it's one hour, 30 minutes, or even 10 minutes. At least you are getting somewhere.


So for a writing session, or designing session for me. How long are you going to work on it? Never just sit down with an open-ended timeline. Doing that is ridiculous torture for any human being.


Sometimes when I get a project and started designing, often I don't have a designing session. Sure we have deadlines, and we have work hours. But a lot of times, we designers just kept going after working hours, we work until our brain shut off or our eyes can't stare at computer anymore. I can tell you that, it is 100% a torture! Even when I feel stuck, I can't stop...


"You've got to train your brain like a dog you just got. The brain is a stupid, little dog that is easily trained" - Jerry Seinfeld

Action items


Something to test out for me is to set a time to design and focus. Let's say 4 hours for one day, don't answer any emails, don't chat with anyone on Teams, don't check instagram, basically don't do anything else. Just design. Then when time is up, I'm done, computer off, sync, save, whatever I need to do to close out the program. Then I go do other stuff, email, IG, yoga, whatever it is as rewards.


• 24 hours rule


Don't show anyone what you wrote for 24 hours, he always wait 24 hours before he say anything to anyone about what he wrote. Because once you tell someone, and that person will have reaction to it, and the reaction will have color. If you told them the idea and they don't love it, then you will feel defeated and feel like your effort was wasted.


"Survival is the new success" - Jerry Seinfeld

Action items


I have to try this with my design work whenever possible.


• Key to writing


Jerry said when you are writing, you want to treat your brain like a toddler, be very nurturing and loving and supportive. Then you look at it the next day, you want to be a hard-ass. And keep switching back and forth.


"Pain is knowledge rushing in to fill a void" - Jerry Seinfeld

Action items


Again, I have to try this with my design work!