My takeaways from the 4 Hour Work Week

This topic may be a little ‘retro’ since the original edition of  ‘The 4 Hour Work Week‘ by Tim Ferriss was published in 2007, however having only just gotten around to reading it, I wanted to share my takeaways with you.

The book presents how Tim managed to streamline his online sales business to such an extent that he only needed to work 4 hours a week while still making stacks of cash. Tim shares valuable technical insight in to improving your processes (whether self-employed or otherwise) and launching your own digital company. I skimmed these parts.

Defining your fear

What really got me interested was Tim asking us to define what we are scared of when it comes to a particular decision. What is the absolute worse outcome of doing the very thing you are considering? What would the permanent impact be and how likely is it that this will actually happen?

Putting my vague fears into words put an end to procrastination and inspired me to realise that I am OK with the possible outcomes I feel faced with at the moment. What I really need to do, no matter what, is (insert keyword) *hustle*. I feel sure that if I can’t make a living doing something I love, I will work hard enough to avoid absolute destitution, which is pretty much my worse fear in this equation. If I knew I had given the process my all, at the very least I would feel content with that. As long as I can be happy with who I am, the external factors don’t seem to matter as much.

I also appreciated Tim’s question, “If you quit your job to test other options, how could you later get back on the same career track if you absolutely had to?”. This is a question I only recently addressed before leaving my job in alumni relations, so I definitely recommend it to other would-be career re-inventors.

Dream big enough to inspire action

Tim got me jumping out of my seat with interest at the section headed, “Doing the unrealistic is easier than doing the realistic”. Having spent years daydreaming about what a new career (let alone life) could look like, 2015 was the year that the day dreaming turned into research and my notice letter was eventually handed in. This terrifying step was only taken due to a pretty big dream. For me it focused around becoming a yoga teacher and running retreats from my (imaginary) villa in France. However, back home from achieving my yoga teacher training certification overseas and unemployed for the first time since I was 13, the BIG dream began to feel silly. And then my motivation began to wane. And then I did what, to those who know me well, raised a big old red flag. I switched on the TV and glued myself to the sofa. Granted I watched ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt‘ and hoped her insanely big grin would rub off on me, but binge watching TV it was. Day 3 of this scenario was when I read this section of the 4HWW and, as mentioned, got my ass off the sofa.

I had been implementing very small steps towards a very vague and teensy tiny version of my dream. Of course I didn’t feel enthusiastic about doing more – there wasn’t much more to do. Moving towards something mediocre, and therefore already done, also put me up against the death knell of any personal development; comparison. So Tim’s words, “Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself” were well timed.

“Having an unusually large goal is an adrenaline infusion that provides the endurance to overcome the inevitable trials and tribulations that go along with any goal…If the potential payoff is mediocre and average, so is your effort.”

So maybe I need to get that big hairy audacious goal back on the table. And maybe even make it bigger. To be continued!

If you’ve read the book or have any comments, I’d love to hear them. What’s inspiring you right now?

Quotes and Notes

Here are some other quotes and notes from the 4HWW that got me thinking or going:

“The level of competition is fiercest for realistic goals”

“Your goal, and what you want ‘to do’, must excite you”

“Boredom is the enemy, not failure.”

“The existential vacuum manifests itself mainly in a state of boredom.” Victor Frankl

“To have an uncommon lifestyle, you need to develop the uncommon habit of making decisions, both for yourself and others”.

“Am I inventing things to avoid doing the important?”

“What 20% of sources cause 80% of my problems and unhappiness?”

“There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant” Ralph Waldo Emerson

And finally…

Learn to ask, “If this is the only thing I accomplish today, will I be satisfied?” Especially good as a pop up reminder online!


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