Let’s start at the beginning.
I don’t hate Timothy Ferriss, nor do I hate his book, “The Four Hour Work Week.”
In fact, I think the book is excellent in many ways on a tactical level.
What I do hate is the underlying philosophy that makes an idea like The 4- Hour Work Week so appealing.
I will go so far as to say that the reason I am in business … doing what I love doing, sharing what I discover with other entrepreneurs … is to get as many people as possible away from this mentality.
Let me explain…
For years, we have been taught that work is something you have to do … so that you can do what you really want while you are not working.
Most of us, as kids, were indoctrinated in that industrial-age philosophy.
The skeleton of the myth is that you …
… go to school so you can get good grades
… so you can get into a good college where you get good grades
… so you can get a good job where you can work your way up the ladder
… so you can “suck it up and do your time” at work while you enjoy your life on the evening, weekends and eventually when you retire.
People who believe in this kind of work/life separation are also those most likely to say:
“It’s just business, nothing personal.”
It manifests in entrepreneurs who believe they can be bastards in business, but “as long as they show up at church on Sunday” … they are still “good people.”
And, most common of all, it manifests in entrepreneurs who mistakenly believe they have escaped the old “job myth” because they have their own business. Yet when they substitute “successful business” for “good job” in the above myth, the realization that they are still living by those old industrial age roles sinks in.
By the way, I’m not saying there is something “wrong” with that. Only that you should think accurately about what you are doing and why you are doing it.
…and ask yourself if that is really what you want your life to be about.
The whole traditional myth is summed up nicely in a country song:
I don’t have to be me till Monday
Friday, Saturday, Sunday
I ain’t gonna face reality
Three days without punching a time clock
Three nights of goin’ non stop
No work and all play
I don’t have to be me, till Monday
I find this myth repulsive.
It deadens the soul.
It “teaches” us to ignore our gifts and our passions in favor of what others tell us is possible.
It was “useful” for the industrial age.
But it’s bullshit.
And along comes the 4-Hour Work Week and some people think they have found sweet escape.
But it is really just the same old myth taken to a hedonistic extreme.
Work still sucks.
So do as little of it as you can.
And live your life on your own terms the rest of the time.
It is the same philosophy which permeates the “Internet marketing” world.
It is the core promise of the stereotypical “get rich quick” pitch.
Does anyone doubt the “1 Hour Work Week” isn’t far behind?
The “17 Minute Work Week” after that?
And they’ll sell a ton.
They’ll sell precisely because they are piggybacking on that tired, old myth that just about everyone is living through.
Here’s what I believe …
The world doesn’t need any more people selling crap so they can live a playboy’s life.
It needs people who are committed and passionate about who they are and what impact they want to be having. People for whom each day is an opportunity to do what they love, experience the ripples flowing from their efforts, and be well rewarded for it.
What is that thing that, if you were to choose to do it … fully and without compromise … would stir your soul?
Truth is … at this point, making one million or ten million or fifty million in a business is commonplace.
I’m not saying it is always easy. Only that the path is known and clear, and can be duplicated when you are willing to make the required sacrifices.
But building a business that is an expression of who is it you most want to be in this world … a business that actually makes a difference … that, to me, is truly something to celebrate. And I believe that is becoming more and more true as we shift away from a commodity-driven era and into one where, increasingly, our choices are made as much by ours values as our wallets.
Think Steve Jobs to John Scully …
“Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?”
Which brings me to an interesting point.
While I think the philosophy Timothy Ferris offers in the 4-Hour Work Week is a freshly-polished version of the same old industrial-age myth, my experience of how he does what he does is quite the opposite.
To be clear, I don’t know him and have never spoken with him.
I do think I’d like him a lot … he strikes me as the kind of guy who’d be willing to engage passionately in a conversation like this. And I respect smart people with big ideas who have the guts to put them out in the world, no matter whether I agree or disagree.
My sense is that Timothy loves what he does … feels strongly about his message and the impact it can and has had … and I believe he happily works a lot more than 4 hours per week at it as a result. I absolutely believe he does what I envision the highest form of entrepreneurship to be about … I just wish he were teaching it, too.