Last week I listened to Timothy Ferriss’ “The 4-Hour Workweek” compliments of the King County Library System (if you haven’t checked out their app, you absolutely should! tons of digital and audio books!), and I have to say, I was surprised on how applicable it was to my life. If you don’t know anything about Timothy Ferriss, he’s a blogger whose message is to ditch the 9-5 job and either start-up an online business that’ll manage itself, or to automate your day job so that you can take “mini retirements” and be free to travel for months at a time.
I’m not looking for a ‘get rich quick’ scheme or to live in Rome for six months, but I did find this book encouraging in helping me move from my ultra-conservative and passive stance on life and to a place that can embrace change. Listening to this audiobook kept feeding this fire that I’ve built that’s propelling me to towards a life embracing adventure rather than hiding from it.
The most important thing that I learned:
Is that it is immeasurably more valuable to maximize the potential in the one thing you’re amazing at and to remove anything that hinders your ability to capitalize on that strength. Don’t let anything slow you down and don’t assume tedious tasks are a fact of life; find a way to delegate or remove that task.
My favorite quote: “What would you do if there were no way you could fail? If you were 10 times smarter than the rest of the world?”
I love this quote especially for the last part. I’ve heard the rhetorical question “What you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail?” before, but the second sentence by Ferriss removes any sense of lingering self-doubt that is still hiding within. Think about it: If you’re wanting to go into investing, what would you do if you were 10x smarter than Warren Buffett? Not just smarter than him, but ten times more!
Overall, I thought it was a great book. I don’t need to act on everything he says, but it is a book that get the creative wheels of your mind rolling. Stop putting off your life and thinking you’ll be happy in the future once you’ve settled on a career or any other distant goal. Live your life now! If that means ditching your dead-end job and starting an online business in Nepal, then go for it! Just don’t passively go through life thinking one day everything will go right, it won’t! You have to make it happen!
“If everyone is defining a problem or solving it one way and the results are sub par, this is the time to ask, what if I did the opposite? Don’t follow a model that doesn’t work. If the recipe sucks, it doesn’t matter how good of a cook you are. When I was in data storage sales, my first gig out of college, I realized that most cold calls didn’t get to the intended person for one reason: Gatekeepers. If I simply made all my calls from 8:00-8:30 AM and 6:00-6:30pm for a total of one hour, I was able to avoid secretaries and book more than twice as many meetings as the senior sales executives who called from 9-5. In other words, i got twice the results for 1/8 of the time.”
“It is far more lucrative and fun to leverage your strengths instead of attempting to fix all the chinks in your armor. The choice is between multiplication of results using strengths or incremental improvement fixing weaknesses that will, at best, become mediocre. Focus on better use of your best weapons instead of constant repair.”
“Most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.”
“Are you better off than you were one year ago, one month ago? or one week ago? If not, things will not improve by themselves. If you are kidding yourself, it is time to stop and plan for a jump. Barring any James Dean ending, your life is going to be LONG. Nine to five for your working lifetime of 40-50 years is a long-ass time if the rescue doesn’t come. About 500 months of solid work. How many do you have to go? It’s probably time to cut your losses.”
“What are you putting off out of fear?
Usually, what we most fear doing is what we most need to do.
As I have heard said, a person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have. Resolve to do one thing every day that you fear. I got into this habit by attempting to contact celebrities and famous businesspeople for advice.”
“Comfort Challenge: Learn to Propose.
Stop asking for opinion and start proposing solutions. Begin with the small things. If someone is going to ask, or asks ‘Where should we eat?’ ‘What movie should we watch?’ or anything similar, do NOT reflect it back with ‘Well, what do you want to…’ offer a solution. Stop the back-and-forth and make a decision. Practice this in both person and professional environments. Here are a few lines that help:
Can I make a suggestion?’
I’d like to propose’
I suggest that…what do you think?’
Let’s try… and then try something else if that doesn’t work.”
“It is absolutely necessary that you realize that you can always do something more cheaply yourself. This doesn’t mean you want to spend your time doing it. If you spend your time, worth $20-$25 per hour, doing something that someone else will do for $10 per hour, it’s simply a poor use of resources. It is important to take baby steps toward paying others to do work for you. Few do it, which is another reason so few people have their ideal lifestyles. Even if the cost is occasionally more per hour than you currently earn, the trade is often worth it. Let’s assume you make $50,000 and thus $25 per hour (working 9-5, monday-friday for 50 weeks per year). If you pay a top-notch assistant $30 per hour and he or she saves you one full 8-hour shift per week, your cost (subtracting what you’re being paid) is $40 to free an extra day. Would you pay $40 per week to work Monday-Thursday? I would, and do. Keep in mind that this is a worst-case scenario.”
“Join ProfNet, which is a service that journalists use to find experts to quote for articles. Getting PR is simple if you stop shouting and start listening. Use steps 1, 3, and 4 to demonstrate credibility and online research to respond to journalist queries. Done properly, this will get you featured in media ranging from small local publications to the New York Times and ABC News.”
“The overpacking impulse is hard to resist. The solution is to set what I call a ‘settling fund.’ Rather than pack for all contingencies, I bring the absolute minimum and allocate $100-$300 for purchasing things after I arrive and as I travel. I no longer take toiletries or more than a week’s worth of clothing. It’s a blast. Finding shaving cream or a dress shirt overseas can produce an adventure in and of itself. Pack as if you were coming back in one week. Here are the bare essentials, listed in order of importance:
One week of clothing appropriate to the season, including one semiformal shirt and pair of pants or skirt for customs. Think T-shirts, one pair of shorts, and a multipurpose pair of jeans.
Backup photocopies or scanned copies of all important documents: health insurance, passport/visa, credit cards, etc.
Debit & credit cards, and $200 worth of small bills in local currency (traveler’s checks are not accepted in most places and are a hassle).
Small cable bike lock for securing luggage while in transit or in hostels; a small padlock for lockers if needed.
Electronic dictionaries for target languages (book versions are too slow to be of use in conversation) and small grammar guides or texts.
One broad-strokes travel guide.”
“I learned six languages after failing Spanish in high school, and you can do the same with the right tools.”
“Washington: A Life” -Ron Chernow
“The Richest Man Who Ever Lived.” -Steven Scott
Life verse: “But a generous man devises generous things and by his generosity he will stand.” -Isaiah 32:8
Life Mission Statement: To be intentionally focused on providing opportunity and adding value to others.