The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

Slow Dance

Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?

Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.

Time is short.
The music won’t last.

Do you run though each day
On the fly?

When you ask: How are you?
Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done,
Do you lie in your bed

With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?

You’d better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.

Time is short.
The music won’t last.

Ever told your child,
We’ll do it tomorrow?

And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die

Cause you never had time
To call and say, ‘Hi’?

You’d better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.

Time is short.
The music won’t last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift thrown away.

Life is not a race.
Do take it slower.

Hear the music
Before the song is over.

~ David L. Weatherford in The 4-Hour Workweek

I bought this book based on a friend’s recommendation. It has been a slow reading for me because Timothy Ferriss, the author, has a style which at first I found him boastful. His aim is to instill a can-do attitude for everyone to do the stuff he’d done, and more! I am a reasonably confident person, but his achievements that he discussed in the book were just hard to believe. The first 50 pages are hard to digest before I finally got into his rhythm. Maybe this is one of those books that I shouldn’t judge by its cover, or even by reading initial chapters of it.

These are some of the things that he has done:

  • First American in history to hold a Guinness world record in tango
  • Princeton University guest lecturer in entrepreneurship
  • National Chinese kick-boxing champion
  • MTV break-dancer in Taiwan
  • Athletic adviser to more than 30 world record holders
  • TV host in Thailand and China
  • Shark diver
  • Motorcycle racer

and he was 29.

The book explained about his technique and ideas. All of the ideas in the book are very well reasoned but the best idea for me is about mini-retirements.

I remember the boredom I had in the 4-months summer holiday after my HSC. The thought of going to uni seemed to be so exciting, in fact the thought of doing anything new would be exciting. I was desperate for getting the activities I used to get at school. In my long break last year (lasted for 3 months), I felt the same thing. I missed the social life I got from going to uni. I felt miserable from being unproductive.

If you have had the same experience, now imagine that in your 20 years retirement. I used to take it for granted that I will have to work 40 years and then enjoy my 20 years of retirement – then I can travel here and there, buy anything I want, etc. But if I can’t even fill up the 3 months void I had, I surely won’t have a fantastic retirement. I was so used to external deadlines put on me, but I didn’t have any control of putting my own deadlines to myself. This is usually the problem. That is why mini-retirement about 3-6 months is better. There is no reason why you have to keep the best to the end of your life. Plus if you haven’t trained yourself to retire, then you won’t be able to be good at it in the future.

The book answered how can I finance myself to get 3-6 months out of the office, how can I get the time to travel while still having my 9-5 job, how I can train myself to get something productive out of it and lot more other ideas (how can I outsource my life, how to learn any language in 3 months, etc). It is a very practical book, closely linked to Tim’s own life. Sometimes it felt as I am reading an auto-biography, but a more useful one.

I recommend this book for anyone who wants to get the most of their lives. Life is just too short to be spent on working full-time for 40 years.

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