The 4-Hour Work Week
Boy that sounds absolutely amazing doesn't it! Who wouldn't love to make a living off of working only 4 hours a week? Can you even imagine what that would be like?
This catchy title is what lead me to read, The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss. As many of you know, I love expanding my knowledge base through reading and many times I pick up things that can improve my life, teach me a valuable lesson/habit I can incorporate into my life or makes great sharing material for me to pass along.
A small disclosure before I start, I don't know Timothy personally but based on his book I've got to say I don't know how I feel about him. There are plenty of things I don't agree with, like how he accomplished some of his goals and I was given the impression that he can be incredibly self serving, but if you pick up your own copy and start off with the same impression please give him a chance. There are also plenty of ideas and principals in his book that I feel are valuable and worth reading.
1. Setting goals
According to Timothy "ninety-nine percent of people in the world are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for mediocre".
That is a horrible stat! The really scary thing about it is that I bet most of us don't even realized we're doing it. Are you one of the ninety-nine percent? Are your friends, family, co-workers?
Timothy continues to point out that "realistic goals, goals restricted to the average ambition level, are uninspiring and will only fuel you through the first or second problem, at which point you throw in the towel. If the potential payoff is mediocre or average, so is your effort".
Personally, I LOVE this paragraph! It's so simple and straight forward, putting a strong visual right in your face. Have you ever experienced this? Do your "easy" goals fall by the wayside? I have! When I set my mind on something harder to obtain I put everything I have into getting it no matter how many obstacles are in my way.
When was the last time you reached for something big, something that seemed impossible to reach? Did you work your butt off 'til you got it?
2. The voices
"Somewhere between college graduation and your second job, a chorus enters your internal dialogue: Be realistic and stop pretending. Life isn't like the movies.
If you're five years old and say you want to be an astronaut, your parents tell you that you can be anything you want to be. It's harmless, like telling a child that Santa Claus exists. If you're 25 and announce you want to start a new circus, the response is different: Be realistic; become a lawyer or an accountant or a doctor, have babies, and raise them to repeat the cycle."
I whole heartedly agree with Timothy on this one, most of the world works this way. We get mediocre jobs we really don't care about because someone once told us that's what we're supposed to do and it's repeated over and over and OVER through the generations.
What kind of life is that!?!
During my 12 year marriage I began to realize these realistic ideals were leading my entire life and it had to stop. I was miserable. I was making everyone else miserable. Luckily after my divorce, I figured out who I was and removed those awful little voices. I'm by no means perfect and they get me every now and then but my dreams are bigger and louder than the voices are now.
3. Effectiveness vs. Efficiency
"Effectiveness is doing the things that get you closer to your goals. Efficiency is performing a given task (whether important or not) in the most economical manner possible. Being efficient without regard to effectiveness is the default mode of the universe. Doing something unimportant well does not make it important. Requiring a lot of time does not make a task important".
Again, I couldn't agree with Timothy more. I don't know about you but my days at my 9-5 job are full of efficiency. There are so many unimportant things we are required to do that ultimately make no difference no matter how amazing we are at doing them. Which is probably why I find my job so very unsatisfying. I am a results driven person. I love to see and do things that accomplish something important, that make a difference and get me from point A to B as effectively as possible. Spinning my wheels day in and day out efficiently is exhausting and counterproductive.
"Remember- unless something is well-defined and important, no one should do it". -Timothy
4. A life of love
"I believe that life exists to be enjoyed and that the most important thing is to feel good about yourself.
Some criticize a focus on self-love and enjoyment as selfish or hedonistic, but it's neither. Enjoying life and helping others- or feeling good about yourself and increasing the greater good- are no more mutually exclusive than being agnostic and leading a moral life. One does not preclude the other".
Timothy makes a great point here; just because you're looking out for yourself doesn't mean your ignoring everyone else. I strongly feel that the happier you are the happier you make others. I see it every day, if I feel good or am in a great mood, it transfers to others.
"This is how most people work to until death: I'll just work until I have X dollars and then do what I want. If you don't define the what I want alternate activities, the X figure will increase indefinitely to avoid the fear-inducing uncertainty of this void".
This one encompasses both setting goals and living life. It's another great visual from Timothy.
My brain conjures the image of a tiny person in an endless void, forever unsatisfied, never stopping to enjoy life while reaching into the air for eternity. A bleak picture indeed and one I want to avoid for the rest of my life.
I don't want to wait 'til my life is nearly over to actually live. That makes no sense whatsoever. I want to live while I'm alive. I want to love, be loved and experience all the world has to offer while I'm able to do so.
What do you see when you read it? Are you that person? Do you know someone just like that?
So there you have it, my highlights from Timothy's book and even though I didn't hit on any of Timothy's secrets for working a 4 hour work week (you'll have to read the book yourself) I hope that some of these points resonate with you, shed some light on areas of improvement, give you a "lightbulb" moment or at least get you thinking about some of Timothy's concepts.
'til next time,