When I started reading ‘The 4-hour work week’ by author Tim Ferriss I was really enthusiastic about it.
The first chapters described exactly how I felt about my work at that time – the pressure my job gave me and the fact that no matter how high you raise your bar time after time, it’ll never be good enough. So it’s no use to do your best, your boss (or his/her boss) will always find something you have to do more, better or faster.
‘The 4-hour work week’ gave me advise on how to deal with this situation and transform it into something way better. After reading the first chapters I told Lindy it was such a great book she had to read it. And I would definitely advice you to read it too.
Not because the book is the holy bible for people who want to transform their 40+ hour workweek into a 4-hour workweek with the same salary. Actually, for quite the opposite reason.
The book describes ‘work’ as something that has to be done and isn’t fun at all. So instead of spending 40+ hours on things you hate, you will learn how to manage your life in a way that you will have to do no more than 4 hours of the less great things each week.
My preferred approach
Like I said, I would definitely advice you to read ‘The 4-hour work week’ too. The writer shares some great thoughts with the world. That said, I want to share some of my thoughts with you as well.
I personally prefer the minimal approach: instead of working 4 hours on less fun stuff, I prefer to minimize ‘work’ back to zero, and try to do only the things I love so I will never again have to work a day in my life. This may not lead to entering ‘the new rich’ in the way Tim Ferriss describes, but it leads to an even happier life if you ask me.
The lifestyle I desire
For years I dreamed about having an adventurous lifestyle. It’s something I thought I never would accomplish due to the simple reason that I’m not an adventurous guy. At least, I thought I wasn’t.
A few years ago the company I worked for as a technical engineer was completely out of orders so they sent me home with a mobile phone, able to call me whenever they had new assignments. The phone stayed quiet for months. My salary was booked on my bank account every month so I had very little worries back then.
But sitting at home while all your friends are at work gets boring rather quickly, so I decided to do something I had wanted to do for a long time: I became a mountain bike instructor. I applied for a job in the Belgian Ardennes, got hired and guess what: I had the time of my life!
Isn’t it strange that I’ve chosen this path because my work at that time allowed me to? I worked seven days a week, sometimes 16 hours per day, but I didn’t give a shit because I loved what I did – so it wasn’t really work. When I talk to others about this period I still get a sparkle in my eyes and I feel great.
Then after two seasons I felt this common society-induced pressure. You know, the feeling that you’re not supposed to just have fun, you’re supposed to work. I went back to Holland and searched for another engineer job. Quite adventurous right?
Fast forward a few years. I went to Australia for three months, living in a very small camper van together with Lindy, a surfboard and a mountain bike. And guess what, we had the times of our lives. Yes, again. In those three months we transformed ourselves from ‘descent’ travelers (booking a campsite every night, paying for a few hours of sleep in the van) to adventurous people – camping on the side of the road, cooking at a parking lot, charging camera and phone batteries in an internet café and taking showers in hostels by simply entering the front door and acting like we had been staying there for months. Now this was fun.
After these three months I started to work for a new company that had hired me just before my departure to Australia. Yup, back on the safe track again. During our time Down Under the Netherlands went into a recession, so after only two weeks this new employer couldn’t afford me anymore and fired me. At least they told me it was the money, but I think I was a little overexcited about Australia so they didn’t expect me to stay for all that long. I can’t tell for sure though.
Back to the book
So I ended up with no job and decided to start my own company. Hey, now the book really comes in!
‘The 4-hour work week’ basically tells you to start your own business instead of working for a boss. And I must say: I agree. Despite the difficulties you may encounter it’s simply the best way to put yourself in control of your own life. The kind of business the book describes is not quite my cup of tea, but it provides you with thoughts and insights and that’s good.
Now what do you do when you start your own company? You choose your own direction, one you love most. So I did. I started a website providing fellow funsport enthusiasts an overview of all funsport related events in Europe. At least, that was the plan. I never expected there would be that many events throughout the year. It was a full time job just to keep the website updated, but it gave me the opportunity to visit many events.
I didn’t make much money with it so guess what: I looked for a job to pay the bills. This time it was a job I did like, but still it kept me away from doing the things I actually love. Not so adventurous again.
Now comes the real good advice I got from ‘The 4-hour work week’: if I want to achieve goals that really matter I have to take my life in my own hands.
So today I’m 100% self employed, and guess what: I love every single moment of it! Actually that’s a lie, sometimes things don’t work out the way I wanted, but in the end it only makes me stronger.
The big lie
And here comes the big lie about working a 4-hour work week: it’s simply not gonna happen.
The book makes you think about your current lifestyle and how you obtain an income versus the lifestyle you actually desire. It does that well.
But at the moment I work 7 days a week – day in, day out. On fun stuff and not-so-fun stuff.
On the other hand… As I’m my own boss – building an online business – I get to decide when I can go for a mountain bike ride, when I want to go traveling, when I want to visit friends, you name it. There’s not a single thing in the world that keeps me from doing the things I love.
Now isn’t that adventurous?