This week’s book hovered on the periphery of my lifestyle design reading for some time. My impression of its main premise, formed last year from various reviews and descriptions, was to quit your job and travel. Since I’d already set plans in motion to do just that, I assumed that reading it would be more for entertainment than practical enlightenment. What I didn’t anticipate before I left was how difficult it would be to fully commit to a new career goal in the face of infinite options and uncertainty once I returned. Thus, I picked up The 4-Hour Work Week two months ago with a mix of curiosity, enthusiasm, and slight desperation. I came away both seriously pumped and pleasantly surprised at the quality of Ferriss’s writing – in particular, his weaving of applicable philosophical ideas through more pragmatic work-related advice.
“Most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.”Tim Ferriss
Different is better if it’s more effective and more fun. This can be difficult to internalize in a culture that tends to reward personal sacrifice instead of personal productivity, but maximum output from minimal effort should always be the primary goal. Observe the 80-20 rule (i.e. the top 20% of actions often produce 80% of results) and ask yourself, 1) “What 20% of sources are causing 80% of my problems and unhappiness?” and 2) “What 20% of sources are resulting in 80% of my desired outcomes and happiness?” Prune away the toxic and non-essential items in your life and don’t be afraid to set an unusually large goal, as this will provide the adrenaline infusion to overcome the inevitable obstacles that go along with any goal. Doubts invade the mind when nothing else fills it, but if you find a focus – an ambitious purpose that seems impossible and forces you to grow – these doubts disappear.
Bonus quote: “What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.”