New to this blog series? Be sure to read the first three installments here:
- Part One: What is a 4HWW?
- Part Two: How My Fairy Tale Became Reality
- Part Three: Not Working is Really Not Working
The Entrepreneurship Recipe
Entrepreneurship is about three things – building wealth, designing your lifestyle, and creating more freedom. This is my greatest lesson from all of my efforts to adopt principles from The Four Hour Work Week and to make them work for me.
When I started applying the 4HWW principles, I had no idea what to expect but the practice was incredibly powerful. I learned a lot about what it takes to build a thriving business (and NOT a self-employment venture), and I learned even more about myself and my goals.
While living in Berlin and traveling around Europe, I had a unique opportunity to start over and begin thinking about designing my lifestyle in exactly the way I wanted. Living abroad was completely new, as was having a company cruise along without constant input from me — aside from the occasional "putting out fires" work.
But this was the mere tip of the iceberg.
Creative Lifestyle Design v. Copy-and-Paste
Don’t get me wrong – all of Tim’s suggestions are awesome but, as he points out himself, they’re mere starting points to get you moving in your own direction.
The hardest part of becoming an entrepreneur is just getting off the ground and building your business into something viable and stable. But the part of the equation most people miss is that entrepreneurship is a complete picture — YOU are the entrepreneur. YOUR efforts and YOUR goals are the machine. The fuel is YOUR vision, not someone else’s ideas.
Some claim that Tim Ferriss coined the term "lifestyle design." Whether that’s true or not, lifestyle design is the single biggest reason behind the success of The Four Hour Work Week and all of Tim’s popularity (or unpopularity, as the case may be).
For so long, entrepreneurship and business development was about suits, ties, and briefcases. Now it’s about world travel, nomadic living, and mini-retirements. That’s something you can sink your teeth into!
But it’s not all about lifestyle and "running amok like a rock star." It’s also about generating a comfortable income and increasing the degree of freedom you experience in life. This is the three-ingredient recipe that I have derived from my experiments and experiences in the last few years — wealth, lifestyle, freedom.
Most people seem to miss a very crucial point in The Four Hour Work Week book. Very early on in the text, Ferriss unpacks his acronym DEAL… Definition, Elimination, Automation, and Liberation. As Wikipedia reminds us…
"Definition means to figure out what a person wants, get over fears, see past society’s "expectations," and figure out what it will really cost to get where a person wants to go."
In creating your own lifestyle, the last thing you should ever do is expect someone else’s ideas to make you happy…
Being Anti-Social Defining Your Happiness
One of my biggest critiques of Tim Ferriss is his disdain for social networking. He almost isolates himself from the rest of the world with gatekeepers, low information diets, and all the rest. To be honest, and to be fair, I’m not really up-to-speed on how Tim’s handling Facebook, Twitter, and BBC reports these days but his original message was to avoid all of it as much as possible.
During the early periods of my 4HWW developments, I did exactly the same. Let me tell you, the results were absolutely amazing!
But there’s a line to draw somewhere…
If it makes you happy to stay up-to-date on the latest news or to peruse social networks as leisure activity, then do it! Tim’s right: we all need a little info-break periodically. But I’m not so sure that cutting yourself off from the rest of the world will actually make you happier. That’s your call.
Again, this is about making it work for you. Take the advice in The Four Hour Work Week with a grain of salt and find ways to make Tim’s suggestions work for YOU. Instead of keeping your social media applications running all day, set a time in the day to check and update them. Instead of checking your email constantly, use a program like Self Control or Freedom to get off the web for extended periods to write for your blog or do another landscape painting. Whatever. Just realize that too much of anything probably isn’t going to enhance the quality of your life.
Write Your Own Four Hour Work Week Story
I’m very happy to see Tim Ferriss releasing a new edition of The Four Hour Work Week. Hopefully more people will be inspired to think about starting their own business and stop depending on questionable corporations to do it all for us.
But what I’d really like to see more of is entrepreneurs creating their own visions for how they plan to build wealth, create lifestyle, and increase freedom.
If you haven’t already, go out and read The Four Hour Work Week. When you’re done, start writing your own entrepreneurship story.