Escape the 9–5 and the 4-hour work week
This is how today’s society thinks your life should look. You have to go to school for the first 20 years of your life. Then you have to find a high-paying job that you’ll work for the next 40 years. And after that, you can retire and finally enjoy your life for the last 20 years. If you’re lucky to live that long of course. This is basically the life plan. Work hard now, so that someday in the future you can kick back, relax and enjoy when you have the money. The 40 years of soul-crushing work has been accepted as the default path. But is this the only way? Not at all. Today we’re going to challenge this notion by summarizing one of my favorite books. The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. I would recommend this book to anyone with aspirations to have more freedom in their life. Many people think that the point of this book is to work just four hours per week, sit on the beach and sip pina Coladas. Well, that’s not really the end goal, because you’d get so bored doing that.
There are only so many you can drink before you want to do some type of work again. This book is about working smarter and not harder. It’s telling us that we can accomplish a lot more if we manage our time more effectively. Although, if you’re doing something you’re truly passionate about, you’re inevitably going to work hard anyway. In fact, probably much harder than you would work a job you don’t care about. So the real objective of this book is to help you avoid doing what you dislike and to also have the freedom to pursue your dreams. So let’s first talk about retirement and why it sucks. If you’re currently working a 9–5job in exchange for occasionally relaxing weekends, you might think that retirement is the end goal.
Alight at the end of the tunnel, as you finally have the freedom to enjoy yourself. However, relying on retirement should be nothing more than the absolute worst-case scenario. If you think it’s going to be great when you retire, then I have to tell you something right now; it’s not going to be great, your current job straight-up sucks and you’re wasting the best years of your life. I mean, who the hell wants to wait until he’s an old man before he starts living life on his own terms? Let me add that over 50% of people, over the age of 65, have some sort of disability. So those last 20 years of your life, are basically a coin flip. You’re not really free if you’re old, sick, and fragile. A good question to ask yourself is this: What would you do if retirement wasn’t an option? How do your priorities change? It really makes you think. Do you keep working at a shitty job for the rest of your life? Or do you find a different one? Maybe you start your own business? You’ll have to find the answer to that question yourself.
Another problem with retirement is that one week into it, you’ll be so damn bored. Suddenly you have 8 extra hours in a day, but nothing to fill this empty void. You’ll probably want to look for a new job or start a company. Which kind of defeats the whole purpose of waiting, doesn’t it? I’m not saying don’t plan for the worst case. But don’t mistake retirement for the end goal. This next concept changed the way on how I view money. I found out that a dollar can sometimes be worth more than just a dollar. Let me explain what I mean by looking at this fifth-grade math problem. This is Jane. Jane makes 100,000 dollars a year. And this is Mike. He makes 50,000 dollars a year. This clearly makes Jane twice as rich as Mike. However, this is only measured in yearly or absolute income. Now let’s take a look at this from a relative income standpoint. Jane makes 100,000 dollars a year and works about 50 weeks per year, which means she makes 2,000 dollars a week. Due to her demanding job, she also works 80hours per week. If we do some quick math, we learn that Jane earns 25 dollars an hour. Not bad. Mike makes 50,000 dollars a year and he also works 50 weeks per year, which means he makes around 1,000 dollars a week. But here’s a twist.
Mike only works 20 hours per week. This means Mike makes 50 dollars an hour and, in relative income, he’s actually 2 times richer than Jane. But it gets even more interesting. Jane works in San Francisco, one of the most expensive cities in America. Her cost of living there is around 80,000dollars per year, which means she doesn’t save that much of her income. But she also can’t leave the city, because she has to be physically present there, to do her job. However, Mike makes his money online. He’s not tied to any city or country. He can live anywhere he chooses to. And he chose to live in Thailand, where his cost of living is about 15,000 dollars per year. This makes Mike in relative income, even richer. He has complete freedom to choose when, where, and how to live. When we look at yearly or absolute income, Jane is richer than Mike. But that’s because absolute income doesn’t take anything else into the analysis. It’s just a raw number of how much someone makes per year. In relative income, however, we look at the money earned per hour and how much freedom someone has. By freedom I mean; controlling what you do, when you do it, where you do it, and with whom you do it. So in this case, 50,000 dollars per year, is worth more than 100,000 dollars per year. This is what I meant when I said that a dollar sometimes worth more than a dollar. Sure, Jane has more yearly income than Mike, but who has it better, really? Another important idea in this book is to avoid work for work’s sake. Some people are really good at being busy. They shuffle papers and check email all day long. When you meet them on a Friday night, they’re proud of it as well. They say: “I worked 70 hours this week! Hmph!”, just to make themselves feel like they’ve accomplished more than the other person. And yet they seem to get nothing important. They are busy and even efficient, but they’re busy with the wrong things. You don’t want to be like them. A lot of people work at a job where they could finish their work in 4 hours. But because their employer thinks they have to work for 8 hours, a completely arbitrary number, they become extremely good at deceiving themselves and others that they are productive. Otherwise, they could get fired from their job or wouldn’t get paid. And the same problem applies to self-employed people. Instead of doing 4 hours of quality work, they’re busy for 8 hours but accomplish the same amount. In today’s world, doing less is considered laziness. But that’s simply not true. Doing less meaningless work, so that you can focus on things of greater importance, is NOT laziness. This is hard for most to accept, because our culture praises being busy, instead of being productive. In the book, Tim talks about efficiency and effectiveness. Efficiency is performing a given task, whether important or not, in the best way possible. Effectiveness is doing the right things, which gets you closer to your goals. For example, The best door-to-door salesman in the world is efficient. Refined and excellent selling without wasting any time. But he’s completely ineffective. He would sell much more of his product using different methods, such as e-mail or any other type of advertising.
Efficiency is important, but it’s useless unless it’s applied to the right things. So first be effective, then be efficient. I’ve already made a video talking about Pareto’s Law, but I’ll go over it briefly. The Pareto’s Law states this: 80% of consequences come from 20% of causes. This means that 20% of your efforts produce80% of your results. But the inverse is also true. This means that if you want the last 20%of results, you’ll have to put in 80% more effort. So, what you want to do is to identify that 20% that produces 80%. You then want to focus on the 20% and become efficient at them. Eliminate the other 80% which produces only20% of value. There is no point in spending your time on them. If we eliminate the things that don’t produce a lot of results, we could then use that extra time, to focus on the 20% that produces the most results. Just by applying Pareto’s law, you can cut your workload by the shit ton. Now if you want to free up even more of your time, there’s the next step to it. And it’s called outsourcing. So let’s say you have an online business and you make 50 dollars an hour. However, your lawn needs mowing and you really don’t feel like doing it. You could: A.) mow the lawn yourself, but it’s going to take1 an hour of your time or B.) pay someone else to do it for you, for 20dollars. Since you don’t want to mow the lawn and your hour is worth 50 dollars, paying someone 20 dollars for 1 hour of work is a good trade-off for you. You basically buy yourself extra time. Now you might be thinking; I know I can do a better job than the guy I hired, so why shouldn’t do the job myself? Again the point is to free your time to focus on bigger and more important things. You can always do something more cheaply and get it done the way you want it done, by doing it yourself.
However, this doesn’t mean you want to spend your time doing it. If you spend your time, worth 50 dollars an hour, doing something that someone else is willing to do for 20 dollars, it’s simply a poor use of resources. That’s assuming you dislike mowing lawns. If you get enjoyment out of it, then go ahead and do it yourself. However, you should never outsource something that can be eliminated in the first place. Don’t forget the Pareto’s law we just talked about. So it’s better to focus on doing the tasks only YOU can do. Let others do the easier tasks for you. When you look at millionaires, they all have personal drivers, chefs, and maids. Someone could say they are lazy, but really, they’re simply using their resources more effectively by outsourcing tasks that are not important to them. Since they basically buy more time, they can now focus on the 20% of things that will make them even more money. Or they could spend more time with their families, whichever they choose. So the basic idea here is to get into the habit of outsourcing unimportant things and to buy yourself time so you can focus on the things that are important to you. Now we’ll discuss the last and most important topic in this book. Why are a lot of millionaires and old retired people, depressed and unfulfilled with their lives? Both the retired and ultra-rich are often depressed and neurotic for the same reason: too much idle time. But wait for a second… Isn’t more time what we’re after? Isn’t what this book is all about? No, not at all. When you remove all the bad and unimportant things in life, you are not left with everything good. Sunshine and rainbows aren’t what remains. Far from it. You’re actually left with an empty void. So doing nothing isn’t the goal. Doing what excites you and brings you joy is. If you free yourself from your job, but you haven’t filled the void with anything-business, like a hobby, you’re just going to continue to work to keep yourself busy. Otherwise, you’ll be bored out of your mind. Knowing how to spend your free time is also something that needs development. It’s not something we’re automatically good at. The media might tell you that sipping a cocktail on a sandy beach will get rid of all your life problems. Sure, you can do that for some time. However, there will come to a stage, whether it’s two weeks or two years later when you won’t be able to see another beach and drink another cocktail ever again. You’ll be over it. So what should you do with your free time? Well, Tim says: to live is to learn. You want to continuously challenge yourself, not be idle. Start playing a sport, learn a new language or play an instrument. Read more books, focus on improving yourself and your relationships with other people. Basically, try out different things and see which hobbies you like or enjoy. You could also start making an impact in the world. Help out your local community, donate to charity or create a company that shoots rockets into space. Always keep on improving yourself and do what excites you. Make sure to leave a like and subscribe. Now if you would like me to make more free videos, then consider supporting this channel. Every coffee counts as it helps me improve the rate at which I make blogs. Again, thank you so much for reading