Next up on our titan pantheon is the writer and entrepreneur, Tim Ferriss, best known for his groundbreaking novel, The 4-Hour Work Week. We’ve covered the benefits of doing nothing from Warren Buffett, the productivity of a 100-hour work week from Elon Musk, and the reality that there is time to get shit done, as explained by the twistedly genius Gary Vaynerchuk. After so much horse-power work ethic, we’re going back to the notion of less work.
In the video, Tim explains that his 4-hour week work shouldn’t be taken too literally. You do have to work.
But what he stresses is that you focus the time you do have in the most efficient way possible. Allocate your time efficiently.
In other words, work smart (and hard), but focus on the smart. This leaves time for enjoyment whilst you learn, as opposed to straight “grinding”, which so many people proudly lament about. Quibble on the quantitative details all you like, he is proof that it works.
Let’s get to it.
The Productivity of Meditation
Tim begins his day with 5 to 10 minutes of meditation. Some Buddhist practitioners have racked tens of thousands of hours. I’ve probably done a few thousand.
The life of a bhikkhu (monk) gives the time to practice so often and does lead to positive benefits (calm mind, focused mind, a less distracted mind, etc.), but their goal is singular: attain Nirvana.
Tim is much more world-oriented, so he sees the benefits of meditation as a gateway to higher productivity. Thus, he uses a calmer mind to help shave off anxiety and depression.
Some see this as a goal (i.e., they want to be happy). This is neither the goal of Buddhists (yes, you read that right), and neither is it the goal of Tim. It’s just a raft.
What I’ve found, personally, and what you might find yourself, too, if you take up meditation, is that much of our lives is ruled by time spent in hell-realms. I mean this literally – when you are upset, anxious, depressed, or currently being ruled by any negative emotion, you are literally in the hell of that emotion. What happens when you are ruled by this is that the dread of working and succeeding keeps you from working and succeeding.
Say you want to get out of credit card debt – how do you do that?
You finish tasks and activities that bring in more money than you’re spending, plus the surplus to cut the debt.
Can you do those tasks if you’re too busy stressing over the fact that you’re in debt?
Maybe. You can push yourself. But that’s difficult.
It’s like running with a backpack full of bricks. It might toughen your emotional resilience, but it’s largely unnecessary baggage. As the Buddha questioned in the Pali Canon, why carry all that weight with you when you could fly with only the weight of your wings?
In a much more practical sense, why travel with three suitcases when you can take one? Most belongings you consider necessities are luxuries (says the guy who traveled to Easter Europe with a PS4 in his backpack).
Cut them out. Throw them away. Rid yourself of the baggage. The heaviest baggage I know of is your emotional and perceptual baggage.
Meditate for five to ten minutes a day, and these weights will slowly slip off. The more you do it, the easier it will become, and the more weight will disappear.
Get there faster, and easier.
Treat Your Interests like Useful Applications
Applications make your life easier.
Shazam helps you find that song that you keep hearing but don’t know the name of with the press of a button. Facebook Messenger helps you keep in contact with Facebook friends from your phone. FocusMe helps you block distracting websites and time-sinking applications.
Well, apply this to what you choose to focus on.
Writing for this blog helps me practice writing, makes me money, supports an application and product that I love and respect, and gets my name out there as a writer.
My goal is writing and making money – seems like a sweet fitting glove to me.
Why not spend your time building your business or product by doing side jobs that feed into said passion/career?
If you want to build a fitness product or company, might it not help to study exercise science in college? Well, yeah.But are you also working at the school gym? Or becoming a certified personal trainer at a local gym? Or even working receptionist at the gym when you first start off, in order to put yourself in proximity to people who do know what they’re talking about? They might become your business partner or someone who can network you to a business partner or potential investor.
Funnel every activity you can into your passion.
Tim, in his first meeting in the video, meets with a startup that draws blood and looks for patterns in the biology of blood. He is an advisor for this company in exchange for equity.
If it succeeds, he will make money, because of the equity.
Also, if it succeeds, he will have a company that helps one of his scientific interests, which is maximizing efficiency and happiness through health and nutrition.
Shoot for Productivity
Tim’s next activity is taking a friend to the shooting range. He explains that the best way to learn something is to teach it, so he teaches a friend how to shoot.
Why shooting? Why not?
It’s his most recent foray into learning how to learn, which not only helps him in literally everything, but also funnels into a book he’s writing about, well, learning.
Why not learn how to shoot then?
He involves himself with new skills to continuously isolate fundamental principles (or first principles, as Elon Musk/Aristotle refers to them) of any and all skills.
Once you get good at one discipline, and you understand how you got good, you can get good at other disciplines, too. Faster and easier.
Download your Health Like a Smart Application
Tim’s next activity is going to the gym to lift.
But he’s not spending an hour or two in the gym. He spends as much time setting up the weights as he does lifting. A few low-rep sets of racked-deadlifts and he’s done.
Why? Because after much research, and some theory-crafting, he’s postulated that you can get all the results you need by picking smart workouts that stress the right muscles, the right amount, and initiate the anabolic process. He hopes to get the body of a fitness fanatic in as little time as possible.
This, then, funnels into his other interests by increasing his health, thus his productivity (and also comes from a book he already wrote – the 4-hour body).
Funnels on funnels.
Wealth, the Productivity Tool
In a meeting with some another startup later in the video, Tim advises them that, if the founders can, they should sell the business they have for a good sum of money in order to pocket some “apocalypse money.”
His suggestion comes from the idea that having a good amount of money ensures you are debt free, worry free, meaning you can buy pretty much anything you want, within reason, and can live wherever you want, within reason. Obvious, right?
The reason for this itself is obvious enough – without those worries, you can now do what you want…worry free.
Funnel. Funnel. Funnel.
Okay, I said it enough times….
So, in summation, learn from this guy. He obviously knows what he’s talking.
Pick your activities wisely and use your time in those activities wisely…which definitely means download FocusMe and block out all those pesky apps and websites that are distracting you from your dreams.
Oh, and don’t forget to go funnel yourself.