Shortly after starting this blog, I decided I needed to extend the scope beyond the confines of The 4-Hour Workweek. I realized that the main epiphany for me when reading the book was Timothy Ferriss' insistence that we should abandon the deferred life plan where we work like hell in the prime of our lives, save as much as we can and then retire - a plan that is ultimately just a "socially reinforced illusion". Life does not have to be this hard, instead we could choose to master time and mobility and create fulfilling lifestyles today. I realized that it is this questioning of unquestioned assumptions that often leads to paradigm shifts in our lives. The 4-Hour Workweek is but one example of someone stepping outside the box of conventional wisdom.
That being said, The 4-Hour Workweek offers a lot of tactical and practical advice on how to work less and live more. I still want to work a 4-hour workweek, I still want to dreamline, and I still want to develop new and novel revenue sources to fund my new lifestyle, and so, this blog remains a 4-Hour Workweek Journal. However, in reading my own posts, I sometimes get the feeling I have given an all knowing, all perfect, almost omniscient quality to Mr. Ferriss. I suppose I have become a bit of a disciple, but my initial desire to journal my following his advice was bourne out of both a hope that his methods would prove helpful and a healthy dose of skepticism.
Since I have provided my fair share of glowing praise for The 4-Hour Workweek in my posts, in the spirit of balance I thought I would also share a little more explicitly what makes me a bit of a sceptic:
It's Easier When You Start Rich
Let's face it, Ferriss was already making a good chunk of change before preaching his work-less, live-more mantra. Its seems to me that he was somewhat rich the old fashioned way before he reduced his work week down to four hours and joined the newly rich. This suggests that one might be more successful in attaining a 4-hour workweek if one were starting from a position of relative wealth and means.
I think Ferris may recognize this and so to get us into the same position of wealth, he suggests how we might create self running businesses, or muses as he calls them, that will supply us with an endless cashflow to fund our new found desire to trot the globe. All you have to do is market a product on the Internet and outsource the fulfillment of orders and the handling of customer service. Its that easy! Besides giving a few examples of what others have done, he does not really discuss how we comes up with or find these magical products. I don't mean to sound too harsh, but sometimes it comes off sounding a bit like Don Lapre (this is the guy from the early 90's with the late night infomercials claiming that by placing "tiny classified ads" in newspapers he was able to make $50,000 per week from his one bedroom apartment). Tiny classified ads... Google Adsense...
What About the Kids?
While he goes to great pains to explain how his method applies equally to salaried employees and people with kids, in the end, he started as a business owner and he does not have kids. I'm just saying.
I Still Hope
I just wanted to share what makes me skeptical. It is nothing more than my opinion - the opinion of a man still living, one could argue, an at least somewhat "socially reinforced illusion". In fairness, I do want to reiterate my first point: regardless of the meat of the book, Ferriss opens our eyes to our unconscious acceptance of the work-hard-now-enjoy-life-later plan. This, in and of itself, is of immense value. At minimum, this creates an opening, allowing us to have a conscious choice and to consider new options. Lastly, it was the reading of The 4-Hour Workweek that got me started on the idea that things could be different and more fulfilling in my own life. It is still early days for me, and my first steps have been rather timid and safe, but already I feel like things are better. My attitude has improved and things just seem brighter. Can we still be friends Tim?
By the way, this is for those of you who remember the infamous Don Lapre:
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