Yup, Tim Ferriss is touring Australia. The man famous for only working a 4-Hour week, is going to spend 16 hours in a plane flying from San Francisco to bring his wonderfully insightful and pertinent brand of business and personal dynamism, downunder. Let’s just hope the people who attend Tim’s three city Australian speaking tour appreciate the fact that he’s giving up his equivalent of a month’s work just to get here…
Still, given Australia is a nation famous for the ‘Tall Poppy’ syndrome, can we reasonably expect any less than this reaction when confronted with someone who is ‘living the dream’? After all, the vast majority of Australians suffer through their job, day after day after (Groundhog) day for 40 years or more, so is it any wonder their eyes narrow when they see someone not enduring the same fate?
TIM FERRISS v THE MYTH OF SISYPHUS
Many years passed and mankind continued to collectively spit in the eyes of the gods. Eventually it took Ares (the god of war) to intervene and set right the natural order once more. Ares was angry because - with death banished - war had lost all its appeal (no casualties on the battlefield, you see). Consequently he stepped in and freed Thanatos from his chains, who in turn captured Sisyphus. But by this stage death was no longer deemed a sufficient enough punishment for Sisyphus, and so Zeus condemned him for his hubris to push a gigantic boulder up the side of a mountain for the rest of eternity…only to watch it fall back down once it had reached the top. Which in turn forced Sisyphus to begin pushing the boulder up the side of the mountain again…and so his punishment continued.
Camus believed this act of pushing the boulder endlessly up the side of the mountain - this ‘Sisyphean struggle’ as it has since become known - was analogous of man’s working life and the absurdity of his existence. Man must rise from bed. Go to work. Toil. Go home. Sleep. Rise again. Go to work. Toil. Sleep. Until death finally claims him.
But whereas existential philosophers such as Chestov, Kierkegaard and Jaspers saw only blackness in the absurdity of Sisyphus’ cursed existence, Camus saw only nobility. For, reasoned Camus, true nobility can only be achieved when Sisyphus - half-way up the mountain, his cheek pressed hard against the cold of the rock, his foot wedging the crumbling slope, his shoulders bracing the weight against the tireless grip of gravity - realizes the futility of his actions, the futility of the never ending task before him…but keeps on pushing.
In other words, man rises from bed. Goes to work. Toils. And in so toiling realizes in a self-reflective ontological moment of omniscience that he is toiling. He sees himself, in that moment, outside himself. Thus viewing the futility of his daily actions not with contempt, but with acceptance. This is my life, he thinks. My curse. My boulder. And I will endure.
But what if there were another way? A way to lessen the weight of the boulder, or even to divest yourself of the boulder altogether?
Which is about as perfect a segue into the work of Tim Ferriss as you’re ever likely to read…
WORK SMARTER NOT HARDER
The NR (“New Rich”), Ferriss maintains, work smarter and more efficiently, not harder to achieve their goals. So forget everything your dad told you about ‘Hard Work’ being the way to get to the top. Because, if you follow the detailed guidelines taught by Ferriss, your efficiency in the workplace will skyrocket, your value to your employer (if you have one) will rise exponentially, and your available leisure time to do the things you actually want to do (travel, martial arts, learning new languages, in Ferriss’ case) will dramatically increase.
HOW TO ACHIEVE A WORK / LIFE BALANCE
Using the ‘DEAL’ in ‘DEALmaker’ as an empowering acronym, Ferriss lays out a blueprint for achieving incredible success that can double your income, cut your work hours in half (while actually getting more work done), and vastly increase your time away from the office. Be it as an entrepreneur or an employee, being a ‘DEALmaker’ changes everything.
Ferriss calls people who practice DEAL the “New Rich” (or NR), and people who practice the more traditional ‘work really hard for 40 years then save up and retire’ approach as “Deferrers” (D). There are, maintains Ferriss, three key ingredients in a NR lifestyle:
In Ferriss’ own words:
- D for Definition turns misguided common sense upside down and introduces the rules and objectives of the new game. It replaces self-defeating assumptions and explains concepts such as relative wealth and eustress. Who are the NR and how do they operate? This section explains the overall lifestyle design recipe—the fundamentals—before we add the three ingredients.
- E for Elimination kills the obsolete notion of time management once and for all. It shows exactly how I used the words of an often-forgotten Italian economist to turn 12-hour days into two-hour days . . . in 48 hours. Increase your per-hour results ten times or more with counterintuitive NR techniques for cultivating selective ignorance, developing a low-information diet, and otherwise ignoring the unimportant. This section provides the first of the three luxury lifestyle design ingredients: time.
- A for Automation puts cash flow on autopilot using geographic arbitrage, outsourcing, and rules of nondecision. From bracketing to the routines of ultrasuccessful NR, it’s all here. This section provides the second ingredient of luxury lifestyle design: income.
- L for Liberation is the mobile manifesto for the globally inclined. The concept of mini-retirements is introduced, as are the means for flawless remote control and escaping the boss. Liberation is not about cheap travel; it is about forever breaking the bonds that confine you to a single location. This section delivers the third and final ingredient for luxury lifestyle design: mobility.
LEARN THE SECRETS OF THE ‘NEW RICH’
Ferriss’ overwhelmingly holistic approach appeals to me on many levels. His teachings include everything from applying Pareto’s Principle, Parkinson’s Law and 'batching', to helping you recognize and avoid Time Wasters, Time Consumers and Empowerment Failures. From how to overcome fear, to how to manage both people and processes to your best advantage. From how to embrace a mobile lifestyle, to how to survive on a ‘low information diet’ that frees up your time for the things you actually want to do.
So whether you’re looking to ease the weight of your own Sisyphean ‘boulder’, or else rid yourself (like Ferriss has) of the weight altogether, I strongly urge you to join me in seeing Tim Ferriss on his three city Australian tour in November.
If I may para-phrase Quintus Horatius Flaccus' oft-quoted Latin poem:
"Carpe hora quattuor hebdomadam!" (Seize the 4-hour work week!)
TIM FERRISS AUSTRALIAN TOUR: BRISBANE NOV 12 | MELBOURNE NOV 13 | SYDNEY NOV 14
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