The Tripod of Stability

Ramit Sethi Ramit Sethi · April 21st, 2009

Below is a video clip of a webcast I did with Tim Ferriss, who wrote The Four Hour Workweek (read my book review).

The question was, “How many false starts have you had?” but in my response, I mention something I’ve been meaning to write about: The Tripod of Stability.

This basically means that I try to keep the big things in my life ultra-stable — car, where I live, relationships — so I can afford to be ultra-aggressive about other things. This alone has had a huge effect on my ability to take on risky and new projects all the time.

Check out the clip:

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  1. Er. Ankit Bansal

    Its really fantastic

  2. Amen. Know what you need to be in a good place (core friend time, hobbies, reading, whatever) and then experiment the heck out of the other things and brace for all kinds of painful failure. A sure way to success!

  3. […] Ramit’s latest post, you will find an additional video on our mutual “false starts” and mistakes. […]

  4. Ramit…love that idea about getting stability in the core elements in your life allowing you to be aggressive and make mistakes in other areas. Double your mistakes and double your successes!

    Great stuff guys!

  5. I like the Tripod of Stability concept.

    It is very similar to what I tell my clients about eating and exercise. Walk the straight and narrow 90% of the time. Then, when the exception arises – missing a workout because you’re busy, having a nice mean or drinks with friends – that other 10% will neither hurt your results nor make you feel guilty.

    And thanks for posting all the insightful clips!


  6. Ramit, you are right about keeping the basics very stable – it helps with risk elsewhere.

    During a very unexpected time of instability several years ago, I had to discover a new “tripod” for those rocky months. I came out of it all with a new degree and career, as well as my original tripod of friends, home, car/job/etc intact (minus husband).

  7. Someone

    I’ve consciously followed this principle for years – good on ya Ramit for having this insight as well. One of the best things I ever realized way back when was the benefit of refusing to engage in others’ drama. It is amazing how peaceful life can be when you just don’t play dat. Have my tripod of wonderful husband, nice-enough, big-enough house, and paid-off, non-embarrassing car.

  8. […] Ramit’s latest post, you will find an additional video on our mutual “false starts” and […]

  9. Nice video. I like Tim’s idea about doubling your failure rate in order to double your success rate. Stability is really important too – get your tripod in place first!

  10. The quote, “to double your success rate, double your failure rate” really helps me keep going. Those who don’t want the pain of failure will likely avoid the fruits of success as well.
    Thanks for the video!

  11. My own tripod of stability is:

    1. Fitness – Workout 6 times a week
    2. Home and Garden – Work on the yard when I want to relax
    3. My dog – She keeps me sane when everything else fails.

    I also have a couple of regular habits I enjoy like Saturday morning at the farmers market or the Wednesday morning trip to the used book store. I feel like having a small bit of routine is a great way of stabilizing life and giving yourself an anchor.


  12. It was good to hear you two talk about this. People talk a good game about failure, but few realize that it’s not theoretical until they go and live it. As an ongoing reality that has to be navigated constantly, what to do with real failure gets far less attention than it deserves. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Eugene Krabs

    Excellent commentary! I believe in that as well.

  14. Brilliant! Tripod of stability alone would comfort MILLIONS today who have lost every shred of stability…or so they believe.

    295,000 people nationwide are behind on their house payments, fearing the loss of their homes.

    100s of 1,000s are losing their homes each month.

    Of course, a bazillion people each month are losing their jobs…pink slips continue raining from the sky with no let up in sight.

    This is today’s reality whether it is for you or your readers.

    From my little space in the world, I help people improve their credit, save their homes or avoid foreclosure (in Florida).

    Imagine sitting at the kitchen table every day (7 days a week) trying to help Mom and Dad keep their home as children (noticeably worried) pretend to play nearby.

    Mom and/or Dad are out of work (no stability).

    All I can do is help them delay foreclosure for up to 2 years as they try to regain stability. In the meantime, they’re trying to keep a roof, a car, food on the table & hope around the children.

    Stability is lost today for millions. A good friend of mine is a social worker who now is working with children and parents at local public schools. The lack of basic necessities at home is overwhelming to children.

    You’ve prompted me to put together a series of posts (interviews) with experts.

    Perhaps the silver lining in the near future will be more responsible and frugal living.

    Please note, at no time am I suggesting the people I’m working with to save their homes or avoid foreclosure have been or were financially irresponsible. When the economy fell off the cliff, direct and collateral damaged ensued…as if a nuclear explosion hit the family.

    From multi-millionaires to people living month-to-month, I see the same horror day after day. (Many) people have no reserves…no stability and is leading to the LOSS of a car, where they live and worst of all their relationships.

    Thanks for insightful posts. I discovered you through Tim Ferriss.


  15. @Tim & @Ramit-

    I’ve recently been following you both very closely and it was exciting to see you collaborate on a topic that is very important to me right now. I’m currently working on my first book so these questions were awesome!

    I’m also working to build traffic to my blog (like so many others) and am already experimenting with many of the strategies discussed.

    I recently met with AJ Jacobs, author of ‘The Year of Living Biblically’ about my book and am excited to get the support of someone with such great experience. Your tactics to meet someone who is “famous/important” are many of the same one’s I employed to get that introduction. It takes time, but it’s fun!

    Ramit, I already reached out to you but would love the opportunity to chat briefly about how to market the book while writing it. Do I have to have a finished product to promote it? I would assume not but would love your advice!

    Talk to you both soon.

  16. That was an absolutely amazing interview. You guys are truly inspirational. I’ve had my share of failed attempts, but I need to go on and double my failure rate, so as to increase my success rate!

  17. Loved the video, though I didn’t understand the comment “I’m very conservative about taxes” Can you explain further?

  18. daniel,

    He meant “taxis”, he is conservative about riding at another’s one car. So he has a Honda. Lil’ bit eccentric?

  19. I’ll have to add the “Failures” folder to my gmail right away and try to keep it filling up. I might call it my “Risks” folder instead. Great advice.

  20. Good interview. I like the idea of a “failure folder.” It could be motivation and data to help you become better, but also it can show you that your “failures” aren’t really all that bad. That goes back to something that Tim always says – you shouldn’t fear failure because it’s never as bad as you imagine.

    But Tim does paint a rather rosy picture of entrepreneurship towards the end of this video, doesn’t he? =P

  21. […] recently read a posting entitle “The Tripod of Stability” from I Want To Make You In the article, Rammit interviewed Tim Ferris, author of The Four […]

  22. Great interview, and it’s making me asses the strong foundations in my life. I think I have been taking them for granted–this is inspiring me to capitalize on the base I have.

    I do love that Tom Watson quote, too. I first read about it in Steve Chandlers “100 Ways to Create Wealth” (a great read, I highly recommend it).

    His coauthor, Sam Beckford (“The Small Business Millionaire”), had a string of failed businesses before making one stick–which was largely due to what he learned from the ones that didn’t stick.

  23. You make fun of frugality and no wonder Americans are in trouble. Read this:

    Don’t try to brainwash the world.

  24. Ramit, i love your blog. Your ideas are great, but i think you should be more agressive and get a better camera or try to improve video quality.


  25. Hinesh, have you read Rami’s book? Somehow I doubt it, since I just finished reading the chapter on frugality.

  26. oops–Ramit. Sorry! Typing too fast.

  27. Sister Lori I haven’t read his book. But I saw his video on Youtube where he made fun of being frugal and respecting money (Goddess Laxmi). It is very sad and I really hope my brothers and sisters in America lead a more simple and balanced life. Also a lot of Americans always want to fight. The link I posted suddenly has some American insulting India and Indians. Why can’t Americans try not to be more peaceful. We are all humans after all.

  28. I loved it, Ramit! I think you should do more videos like this. I also enjoyed the segments that Tim Ferris posted on his blog. Great stuff!

  29. […] couple weeks ago, I did a webcast with Tim Ferriss. Here’s a […]

  30. Great video!

    And you will never enjoy success unless you tasted the failure.

  31. My own tripod of stability is:

    1. Custom suits (Savile Row)
    2. Spanish wine, Cigarettes and fly girls
    3. Boxing

  32. Great video! Please do some more interviews with this author. I thoroughly enjoyed his book The 4 Hour Workweek. I have your book on order from now. Hope to have it soon. I wish you all the best.

    Bruce C Ziebarth

  33. […] was delighted to find this post, in which two of my favorite bloggers, Ramit Sethi and Tim Ferriss, talk on video about the false […]

  34. […] Ferriss zum Thema “Fehler” In einem US-Blog habe ich gestern einen interessanten Eintrag gefunden – dort äußert sich der US-Autor Tim Ferriss zum Thema […]

  35. […] delay our personal needs, not realising that our wellbeing is the foundation of everything else. If our lives do not have a basic stability, the more the odds seem to stack against our favour, and the more nerve we lose. Our perceived […]

  36. […] delay our personal needs, not realising that our wellbeing is the foundation of everything else. If our lives do not have a basic stability, the more the odds seem to stack against our favour, and the more nerve we lose. Our perceived […]

  37. […] our personal needs, not realising that our wellbeing is the foundation of everything else. If our lives do not have a basic stability, the more the odds seem to stack against our favour, and the more nerve we lose. Our perceived […]