I KNOW THAT SOUNDS SILLY, but in many ways it’s true. There are two lessons in particular that could help you change your training, your career, your life, starting today.
I first read Tim’s book sometime in the fall of 2008. We’ve all read it, actually. At the time I was just a few years into a corporate gig that I really hated. It was a paycheck, sure. I welcomed the break from graduate school induced poverty. But from the very beginning I knew that I had made a mistake stepping away from teaching. I loved talking about strength and conditioning more than anything, I just had no idea how I could make a living doing that.
This is a common struggle. We all want to get to our mountain top and do what we want to do in life.
The only decent strategy I could think of at the time was to buy a ton of books on a wide array of lifestyle, science and business topics. I was looking for clues, the same as anyone else, so I figured the more I read and learned, the better. Of course, that’s 100% true for anyone.
I also had one clear advantage working in my favor…I knew that it was actually possible to do what you wanted. I had read plenty of stories about it. Ordinary, passionate, persistent and inspiring people seemed to be all over the internet sharing knowledge, traveling the globe, and making a fine living doing it. They were creating their own businesses, writing books, delivering keynote lectures, all the sort of stuff I dreamed about constantly from within the confines of my heavily monitored cubicle walls.
Not every book makes a splash in your mind. At best you can hope for a few nuggets and pearls from read to read, which is still more than enough to justify the cost and effort. But the real deciding factor comes when it’s time to make a book recommendation. For a friend, someone close. Where do you point them?
The 4-Hour Work Week is not perfect. However, you will never read a book and walk away with everything you need to know. There are big gaps you have to fill by working and searching, but that’s exactly by design.
After hanging out with Tim for a while, and chatting with him on Barbell Shrugged, I now see the obvious point. You don’t have to give everyone everything all at once, that actually does more harm than good. Instead, it’s far better to embed an idea and what it bloom all on it’s own.
All you need to do is knock over those first few dominos, then watch the reaction. I’ve give you two great examples that led me right to this moment.
The title of the book perfectly captured my emotion at the time, which was also by design, of course.
I wanted to do something else with my life other than be chained to a desk during sunlight hours. I needed more than my allotted 10 days of annual vacation, if I was going to see what I wanted to see and do what I wanted to do. I had no better ideas, so I took a bit of Tim’s advice.
I started small, pitching to my boss that I should be allowed to work from home every other Wednesday. I didn’t just ask, that would be foolish. If you want to have you way, you have to give the other person something they want first.
I told my boss what he wanted to hear. I said that I had some big projects coming up, and those projects required focus, careful attention. I couldn’t afford to be interrupted all day long, which was true. That’s the number one way to piss away your time and kill productivity. I promised the opposite. “I can get this project completed in half the time from home, no problem.”
He agreed, and I made sure to over deliver. Call it a hack if you want, but all I did was work hard ahead of time. I would rack-up some completed reports, collect great feedback from colleagues, all that shit, and I would then send it all out from home on Wednesdays. The boss man was pleased with my productivity bump. No one ever questioned my motive.
In fact, the opposite type of thing happened. Within a few months most people in my department were working from home on a weekly basis, and presumably were more productive and happy for it. That was cool, but cooler still, they never noticed that I spent 99% of those Wednesdays shooting Barbell Shrugged episodes way off site, or out of town entirely.
In time that lesson, that pitch, that first idea, it bloomed wide open and created a life changing opportunity for me and my family. Tim, thanks for that. What better advice could I have asked for in return for my $17.95 book purchase?
I bought this book in 2006. It took some time, but the embedded ideas eventually bloomed. We’ve got our muse, and we’re going to change the world with it. Cooler still, this week @TimFerriss joins us on the @barbellshruggedpodcast for an amazing interview that you’re going to love. We’re only getting warmed up still. Stay tuned. #barbellshrugged
A photo posted by Chris Moore (@barbellbuddha) on
The power of Pareto
By now you have probably heard of the 80/20 principle. If not, first take note that this “law of the vital few” seems to apply to everything – Dealing with clients. Growing tomatoes. Programming your training, you name it.
As Vilfredo Pareto described it, 20% of the pea pods in your garden will contain 80% of the peas.
You’ll never be able to accomplish anything extraordinary without setting priorities. But that’s an incredibly hard thing to do when everything at work, home, and in the gym seems to be demanding your attention. Instead of doing what’s most important, and doing it better, you get caught up in trying to do it all.
Pareto nailed it. Do you want to boost productivity, your strength, your happiness? Start by directing your focus towards your vital few. The law always seems to apply – 80% of the reward and your troubles come from 20% of the efforts. So, do not be afraid to say no, cut back, delegate, and totally rethink where it is you’re spending your time and effort.
If you can focus everything you’ve got on doing what matters most then you can achieve amazing things. You’re going to have to work a lot more than 4 hours a week, at least for a while, but I think you’ll find success.
See you this Wednesday,
- Don’t miss the premiere of Episode 162 of Barbell Shrugged with Tim Ferris this Wednesday, February 4th. And for an excellent podcast, check out The Tim Ferriss Show, it’s excellent.