I’ve seen a lot of people write blog posts and articles bitching about “4 Hour Work Week”. If one author can piss off that many people (not to mention those who don’t bother to say anything but are pissed off) then it might be worth reading. I bought a copy, B&N on sale for 30% off, figuring that if it was all crap at least I could use it to start fires in my fire place.
Overall what Mr. Ferriss has to say is stuff I’ve thought for a long time. The difference is he published a book about it claiming that he is actually doing it. I have never met the guy so I have no idea one way or the other. I know a few people who do similar things and baring evidence to the contrary I’m willing to believe him.
So why does this have so many people ticked off? Several things about the book are pushing buttons. Here is a brief list of what I think sets people off:
- The idea of a 4 hour work week is heresy here in the U.S. If you don’t work at least 60hours a week you’re a slacker and suck
- Out sourcing. Every programmer’s worst nightmare and this guy is telling you to do it too! ***.
- Start a business selling something. He gives a fair amount of details and makes it look really easy but there are risks involved. People don’t like risk and this charlatan is telling you to take risks! ***!
- Skip meetings, answer email 2 times day, say no? are you freaking insane! I have my crack berry for a reason. What a nut job.
- Telecommute? Get outside my cubicle? Now you know he is insane. Pure nutter.
- I don’t really have a 6, I just wanted to type *** again. ***!
Everything above can be chunked down to “what if I fail?”. What if I try to do something different and I fall flat on my face? What will happen? I have a family, a mortgage, and a dog that needs braces. What will become of all of this? I’m a responsible person and I have to take care of these things.
Yup. All true. You gots responsibilities. But seriously think about which are real responsibilities and which have just be foisted on you or been assumed without question. This is a big thing and people (ahem) spend years in therapy figuring some of this crap out [ed – you mean like spending 3 years studying NLP? Me- shut up ed.].
So what actually does happen if you try doing what Mr. Ferriss suggests? You ask your boss to allow you to telecommute. He might fire you on the spot and tell you your kids are ugly and your dog really does need braces. He might say sure just make sure your stuff gets done on time. Taking the worst case – what happens? You get another job. Its just a job. It isn’t a marriage, it isn’t love.
Actually, my marriage thing cracks me up. I know people more willing to break up their marriage than take a few risks to try and find happiness. That is insanity in my opinion.
Anyway, you find another job and go on with life. But the likely outcome is that you will find yourself having to setup a home office and figure out how to maintain or raise your productivity.
Work is a minor piece of this though. We hide in our jobs to avoid ourselves. We avoid ourselves because we won’t admit to ourselves what we really want. It isn’t to be rich, that is one of those things that gets foisted on us by other people. How many times have you heard people say “when I’m rich I’ll XYZ”? I know a lot of rich people. They never really get around to XYZ. Also, having crap won’t bring you happiness. I have a nice house. On most days I’d like to burn it down. All it does is tie me and my family down. Yeah, it’s a nice place to store our ***, but that is what it is – ***. Out of my physical possessions there are only a few that matter. The hard drive in my workstation because it has all of my photographs and stuff, my motorcycle and its gear and the camera. That’s it. No really, that is it. If I had those things and my family I’d be fine. Actually, the motorcycle and camera are replaceable and the HD needs to be burned to a few DVDs.
So here it is – if you set aside the fear of failure (you have failed in the past, you will fail in the future – but you will survive to fail again) what would you do with your life? Here are a few things I thought of this morning:
- Live in an apartment in Tokyo Japan for 3 months
- Live in an apartment in Hong Kong for 3 months
- Live in an apartment in Singapore for 3 months
- Live in an apartment in Paris for 3 months
- Live in an apartment in London for 3 months
- Spend a week racing my motorcycle on the Nurburgring
- Do Levels 3 & 4 and a 2 day camp with California Superbike School
- Qualify for the grid of an AMA Supersport race
- Spend 3 days racing my bike at each of the major tracks in the world
- Spend a week Scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef in Australia
- Learn to surf
- Learn to play guitar
- Do an IronButt
- Learn to fly a plane
- Spend a month doing a motorcycle tour of the U.S. like A.B. is doing in “Feasting on Asphalt”
- Spend two months doing a motorcycle tour of Ireland, the UK, and Europe
- Sail a boat in the Caribbean for a month
I’m going to do that list and be done with it before I’m forty. What are you going to do?