Shonzilla, a pattern-seeking animal

Life is a game of patterns and chance, and those who play well will win.

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Fri Jan 9

Is 4-hour work week a myth?

Today I’ve read an interesting blog post that some may even find controversial - “5 Time management tricks I learned from years of hating Tim Ferriss”. Tim Ferriss is the author of a bestseller called “The 4-hour work week”.

Although the blog post may appear to review of Timothy Ferris as a person and his infamous book, it actually extracts the really useful time management tips:

  1. Don’t hang out with people who don’t respect your time
  2. Cut to the chase: Tell people who are full of sh*t that they’re full of sh*t
  3. Self-centered people are more likely to waste your time
  4. Productivity is about meeting your goals, not getting out of doing work
  5. Time management is about making time to connect with people
and raises some interesting questions like what do we label work nowadays?.

Book Cover

In the case you have read the book, you’re planning to read it (or listen to it), you have heard of the book or you’re just plain curious - make sure you read the this rant by Penelope Trunk. Penelope’s post is actually a great reality check for all those Generation Y-ers who are subjected to:

  • vast amounts of information online (we all are, but it’s their default mode - some people believe Gen Y = Net Generation),
  • an unsurmountable quantity of choices, both on-line and (less so but still) off-line that necessarily come with it,
  • (insert your favorite challenge of the new economy here)
  • and the difficulty to tackle it all.
Indeed, after realizing witnessing all these challenges that we all face, people - , especially young people - pose the perennial question:

How do I tackle and enjoy my life, since I cannot escape it?

This is where Tim Ferriss and his book jump in and find the target audience. Tim and his book have it as their goal to heal this great wound that goes along the so many (insert your urge), so little time.

Do not get the impression that I’m dissing Tim Ferriss’ book since offers some interesting insights. If you manage not to get distracted by his you can get some useful tips, get amused by some of his experiences and, if you’re lucky, even his literary style.

I always had respect for people like Tim Ferriss (whilst managing to avoid being jealous) in the respect how motivated they are to try things out and succeed in many some of them. It’s the of respect for all the people who manage to make up work, make it fun to do and, thanks to skills and personal traits a small number of people have, who are able to do things that othermost people crave to do. I believe the truth is the following: unless you’re born with the appropriate skills and personal traits (having a fortunate family situation and great people people to look up to can only help) you’ll find it rather hard to make up for what you do not already have. Tim Ferriss’ book may entertain you and give you a short-term motivational boost but it won’t rewire your brain, change your value system nor your improve your social skills, mental capabilities, or dancing skills.

In the end, work has made us what we are. It’s the work, coupled with creativity, that has fueled the human evolution making it faster every year. To prove the correlation, there are plenty examples of people dumbing down because they do not work. Rarely, the opposite happens or, even more rarely, someone makes a fortune out of a seemingly stupid ideas.

If I would correlate the lifestyle Tim Ferris is advocating with work, there’s an emerging pattern, something worth considering and something I advocate as well: switch jobs goals - do not allow to get bored and bogged down because life is too short. Apart from keeping you on the edge, makes you feel stimulated, energized and alive, such lifestyle also appears to speed up evolution.

What do you think?