My Summer with Tim Ferriss
We met last summer.
I had heard about the Four Hour Work Week (4HWW for the enthusiasts) since 2008 when one of my twenty-something developers told me about it.
I was intrigued, but I didn’t think it applied to me — I didn’t want to be one of those guys looking for an easy way through life. I wasn’t looking to only work four hours a week. Besides, this kid was ten years younger than me — it was fine for him to hero-worship this Ferriss guy, but I was beyond that crap.
I’m an easy target for people that tell me you can succeed. I’d read The Secret. I’d read 7 Habits, Think & Grow Rich, and Purple Cow all before I was 25. I knew someday I’d be a CEO. I’d be successful. I’d run business differently. Compassionately. I knew how to market. I knew how to capture my future.
Only, my bright future never fell into my lap like I expected it to.
And so I gave up caring. It’s easier when you just criticize what’s out there and give up on trying to be more. You find your own area of interest and own that and criticize everything else because it makes you feel like less of a failure.
I’d had no idea I was so unprepared for adulthood.
Partially because I’m a dreamer and a good student, and I don’t do well with boredom and I expect good things to naturally happen to me.
But I couldn’t seem to gain the momentum I wanted. I could no longer react my way to success.
And once cynicism and criticism and general crankiness stopped working for me, I decided to start reading again.
I read everything I could get my hands on. David Deida, Don Miguel Ruiz, Byron Katie, Wallace Wattles, Emerson, Thoreau — you get the point.
And still I avoided the book with the ugly cover and the promise of living better while working less.
— — -I know, this is getting boring, but stick with me.
I got a new job, and started working with different devs, and I started catching the fever surrounding lean startups, the merging of design principles with development practices, and the importance of failing fast.
I started wanting to accomplish more. Something was happening in Silicon Valley and I wanted to get a better feeling for the pulse.
From Salt Lake City.
I started reading blogs, I started subscribing to newsletters.
And then, finally, for some reason I don’t even understand myself, I finally decided to read Tim’s famous book.
Not wanting to invest any actual money into this decision, I took the time to figure out how to link my kindle to my library, downloaded The 4-Hour Work Week and started reading.
And then I couldn’t stop.
And then I bought it. Because I wanted to come back to it again and again.
And I bought 4 Hour Body — the hardcover version because I knew I would want to thumb through that, too.
And I hated myself.
I hated myself for not reading this book 7 years ago.
Or three years ago.
Or even three months ago.
I hated myself for not thinking of all that he had written.
I hated myself for having given up on myself all of those disillusioned years ago.
And then I started listening to his podcast, and reading his blog.
And it was on one of Tim’s podcasts that I read about James Altucher. And dozens of other authors and people I could consider virtual mentors.
And that kept me motivated to continue to change.
Granted, these people are all way more Type-A than I am. But listening to them motivated me.
Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the 5 people with whom we spend the most time. The podcasts became, for me, a few of those 5 people.
And after starting a habit of reading and listening, I started writing. And planning.
And by using tactics from 4HWW, I got permission to work flexible hours, and to work remotely on a few select days each week — “we can always go back to normal if we need to.” And that gave me more time to write, and to plan, and to gain confidence for my next move.
And then I sold my condo.
And I took a 2 month mini-retirement to Europe this summer.
And I’ve started a boutique brand-identity company. And am prepping to launch a “muse” business to boot.
And nothing is certain, but it’s coming together. I’m spending more of my time building things that are important to me. More of my time doing the things that matter — things that are helping me grow, and learn, and help others.
And I’ve got a long way to go.
But I’m 39 now, and I turn 40 in March, and I finally feel like I’m on a track that I enjoy traveling at this age.
At 37, I didn’t see how that could even find that track.
So, thanks for the remarkable summer, Tim.
Your Four-Hour Work Week has help me find a better me.
Originally published at www.muddlelife.com on November 18, 2015.