A flash from the past came to me this afternoon, a memory from a time that feels so far away now. But I realised that my adventure all started because of one book, one idea. I want to share why I started following Tim Ferriss and why I still do today!
I remember a few years ago, I had just finished reading the 4 Hour Work Week. I was sat talking to my dad and explaining the idea of outsourcing certain parts of my business / lifestyle and maximising the value of my money by travelling.
My dad was stuck on one thing though.
He asked me “so you only want to work 4 hours every week?“
For those that don’t know my parents, they were hard workers. They ran their own business for years, and hours didn’t count. Early mornings, late nights and everything in between helped them create something successful.
It was a funny conversation that ensued after that question. As I tried to explain that it wasn’t so much about trying to work X number of hours a week, but more about changing my lifestyle and the way I did things.
This story came back to me, sat in the front of a Thai minibus heading for a ferry, so I’m typing this on my phone (my second iPhone – read how my first one ended up sleeping with the fishes here – The iPhone Is Dead, Long Love The iPhone).
The back and forth was slightly lost on my dad at that time, he’s more old school when it comes to business. He succeeded by meeting people, face to face, finding out what they needed and getting the order placed there and then.
“In my line of work it’s very different” I tried to explain.
The job I currently do didn’t exist when my dad was running his business. There were no websites, and only towards the latter years was email becoming a big part of how they worked. Mostly they relied on faxes (for the younger generation click here).
So explaining that I wanted to automate, outsource and try to reduce the number of hours I worked on menial tasks, seemed foreign to him. I even explained the concept of a Virtual Assistant as a secretary that just isn’t based in your office.
He accepted the fact that times have changed and over the past few years we’ve had numerous conversations and he gets the whole outsourcing concept now.
If you get stuck, a useful way to explain it to a parent is; “you know how when you can’t/don’t want to do something on your iPad? You ask me to do it, I do it! That’s the principle of outsourcing!”
So whilst reading the 4HWW, I realised something important. Not everything that is written in a book needs to be implemented. This is really important.
Years ago, I discovered Tony Robbins through a good friend of mine. He’s older than me and had known about Tony’s content for years.
One day whilst listening to something together, I was saying how I didn’t think that applied to me, and almost seconds later Tony said it on his CD too. He said something along the lines of “if you only take away one thing that helps to improve your life…”.
A concept I hadn’t necessarily thought of before. I thought these things were pretty much instructions on how to live life, but they really aren’t. They’re guidelines, ideas, thought processes and a way for you to find YOUR way.
It’s not about following in the exact footsteps of someone else, no matter how experienced and or successful they may be. It’s about following the general direction that inspires you and that, more importantly, works for you.
I started looking at what kind of life I wanted to have going forward. What was really important to me and what I needed to do to make that happen. It was all thanks to the book at the beginning.
It planted the seed!
I found some old notes whilst preparing this article, from December 2014, where I wanted to be able to travel, whilst working, for at least 6 months of the year. That was my goal and it was in my Dreamline Worksheet and everything.
2 years and 3 months later, I’m actually living and working remotely here in Thailand right now. Although it wasn’t as much of a Dream-Line, more of a Dream-Multiple-S-Curve-Squiggle!
It hasn’t just been my work life that has changed thanks to Tim, it’s also the reason I understand food/diet now and it’s also thanks to him that I managed to drop my weight from circa 103kg down to under 90kg. You can find out more about how I did that by reading The Body Experiment that I posted a long time ago (March 2015 – Two years ago)!
Since then a lot has changed, not just for me, but for Tim too. Well done Tim. His podcast series now has more than 220 episodes and over the years, he’s managed to interview superstars, be it physical, financial or spiritual. These guys have been killing it for a long time and Tim has managed to interview them.
The podcasts have a fun side to deconstructing the habits of these people, and that’s what I like about it. It’s not preachy, it’s not you MUST do this, it’s simply breaking down what others have done during a normal conversation, and as I’ve said before, you don’t need to follow in exactly the same footsteps, but the general direction is a pretty good start.
I have a couple of favourite guests when it comes to the podcasts too. You know that feeling you get when you are listening to someone talk and you are just starting to drift away in awe and amazement! That’s the feeling I get when I listen to the Cal Fussman interviews with Tim Ferris (I say listen, not listened, because I’ve now heard them a few times and I’m guessing that won’t be the end of it).
This guy (Cal) has seen a lot in his life and has had the chance to share his experiences and his work over the years. As the Writer At Large for Esquire magazine, he has met celebrities, politicians, Presidents, boxers, you name it and his stories never fail to bedazzle.
Catch the episodes here:
I could easily go on, and on, and on, and on, (you get the picture) about his guests and my favourite podcasts, but I think the best bet is you simply subscribe and listen for yourself. Dig into the archives, you’ll find Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tony Robbins, James Altucher and so many more awesome people to hear about. I really can’t recommend this enough!
Well that’s enough of my man crush I think. Only thing left is to explain a little about the 2 books that changed my life and hopefully this post will inspire you to have a look and hopefully even a read some of his books. If they help you, let me know, I’d love to hear how.
Here’s a breakdown of Tim’s books and why I recommend you read them:
The Four Hour Body is a great start to get a basic understanding of how your body works when it comes to taking in food. This isn’t something that we’re taught at school, or even something that we learn out and about with our friends, but it’s something that everyone should understand to make better choices. The diet and exercises that he outlines may not be for everyone, but the reason I tried it was because it was backed up by proof/evidence that it worked. He’s tried, tested, failed, iterated, on himself like a human guinea pig (thanks for that Tim) so as you don’t have to!
The Four Hour Work Week changed the way I looked at everyday tasks at work. I own my own business, and over the years have had staff, more staff, less staff, no staff, but the truth is, there is a certain amount of things that always build up. They’re the things that often don’t make us money, but they are always the things we HAVE to do! Read all about it and understand how to escape certain habits, leverage your money in different currencies and who knows, maybe one day travel the world whilst working.
The Four Hour Chef & Tools of Titans are currently on my reading list (I’ve bought them both) and I’m getting on top of that slowly but surely (just need to finish another book first). But I’m guessing that each of these books will give you a few things for you to think about and maybe even change in your life. Try them out.