The “My Inspirations” series is my opportunity to highlight specific people, books, or resources that have helped lead me to where I am today and inspired me to take on the challenge of starting a computer business. No journey is ever taken alone.
If you stay abreast of the latest trends in personal development, or read a fair number of blogs, you’ve probably heard of The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss. This book skyrocketed to the top of the New York Times Best Seller List out of nowhere about two years ago, thanks to the viral nature of Tim’s marketing campaign, which concentrated heavily on word of mouth and the Internet.
Normally I don’t pay too much attention to books with titles like this, promising something for nothing or a quick and easy “plan” to make millions of dollars. However I was intrigued not by the book itself, but the man behind the phenomenon.
How I Got Hooked
I was actually introduced to Tim Ferriss through his blog before I had ever heard of his book. On his blog, he writes about “experiments in lifestyle design”. In other words, he takes things in life that are commonly thought of as difficult or time consuming and breaks them down into their simplest and most effective components. Through extensive research and experimentation he shows how to minimize time and effort spent to achieve these seemingly challenging tasks.
The beauty of Tim’s blog, as well as his book, is that he provides actionable plans, not theoretical rhetoric, as the basis for his philosophies. Talk is cheap, but everything Tim writes about is backed by case studies and personal trial and error on his part. In a few words, the mantra of 4HWW is to work smart so that you can work less. That’s the major reason why I’m such a fan of Tim’s blog and book.
Time is on my Side
I site this book as an influence of mine because it played a major role in building the motivation that was necessary for me to commit to starting my own business. Tim, through his book, gave me insights into the what is possible when you can create your own destiny by managing time on your terms. Many topics are covered in this book, but the big revelation that I found is that time, not money, is the true currency upon which to build your life and dreams. It’s great to have lots of money, but if you’re constantly working to earn that money, then it’s really not doing you any good. Sure, you can save it up for retirement, but as we’ve seen with the current economic situation, even retirement money isn’t guaranteed to be there when you need it. Most people end up working after retirement anyway. Instead, Tim recommends finding more automated ways of making money by using pre-defined processes and experimenting with established societal constraints. These practices allow you to free up time to enjoy your life, spend time with family, and pursue your passions now, tomorrow, and as you enter your sunset years.
Actions Speak Louder
I’ve already started to apply some of the lessons that 4HWW taught me. As I stated in one of my first posts, I am running my computer business part time, while still working my corporate “day job”. I do this with the intention of saving 6 months worth of salary so that I can eventually start my business full-time without the stress of worrying about how I’m going to keep my bills paid. During this 5 year “incubation” period, I will be developing processes around my business. The, when I do start running it full time, I will be able to outsource much of the routine “business” work and, if needed, hire someone (another local tech) to take my place temporarily incase I need to take some time off. That’s the plan, at least. We’ll see if I have what it takes to make it work.
Furthermore, when I have finally reached my savings goals, I’m planning on taking a month off to experience my first “mini-retirement”. This is a concept Mr. Ferriss champions in his book. Of course, his mini-retirements last months or years, not simply 30 days. But I’m not quite as ambitious or fearless as he is, so I think a one month traveling sabbatical will be just the right speed for me to start off with. I am a big fan of traveling and I look forward to having the freedom to take random extended vacations, thanks to some of the concepts introduced to me in the 4HWW.
Above all else, the 4HWW has taught me a valuable lesson that I’ve been applying to all aspects of my life: don’t be afraid to try things that are uncomfortable or uncertain. This is the single concept that got me moving off my butt and into pursuing the things that I want out of life, to not make the safe choices, but the best choices. This blog, my computer business, my savings goals…they all are made possible by a determination to make my life my own. And the 4HWW gave me the kick in the pants necessary to take the first steps on that journey.
What books motivate you? If you’ve read the 4HWW, have you tried to apply any of the concepts from the book in your life?
Other Posts in the “My Inspirations” series: