If you want to get inspired to change your life for the better, read The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. That’s assuming you haven’t already read this much-talked-about bestseller. While it’s certainly full of practical tips for cutting the clutter in your life and making more money in less time, its best feature is that it makes a solid case for the philosophy of carpe diem. Why on earth do so many people slave away at a job they hate in order to save for that far-off retirement in which they’ll finally enjoy themselves? You don’t know how you’re going to feel when you’re 65; you may no longer have the energy or physical ability to do all those things you’ve dreamed about. Heck, you don’t even know if you’ll still be alive!
Ferriss talks about how important it is to define what you want to do now, and then figure out a way to finance that freedom now, whatever age you might be.
I did it when I was 36. I quit my job, sold my car, put my furniture in storage and let my rental house go. Then I took off and traveled around the world for seven months; I got scuba-certified on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, went on safari in Tanzania, trekked in Nepal and studied Thai cooking and massage in Thailand. When I came back, I moved up into the mountains in Colorado and became a ski instructor, a freelance writer for adventure sports magazines, and a volunteer mountain rescuer. A few years later I began consulting in what I would describe as a partial return to the “real world,” but I emphasize the word “partial.” Having the freedom to have many different experiences remains important to me and I focus on keeping that capability in my life.
When you talk to people about things like this the response is usually, “I’d love to do that but _____.” Insert the appropriate barrier in the blank: I have kids, I have a family, I have a mortgage, I have too much debt. I’m not dismissive about these things; I have to admit, they are challenges that I didn’t have when I did it. What’s neat about Ferriss’ book is that he addresses some of these challenges with real examples, like the family who saved for a couple of years and figured out how to sail around the world with their three children. I’m not saying it’s easy, but if you’re willing to question some of the “needs” you take for granted and able to think a little creatively, you might get there.
It’s certainly not a new idea, but it’s a timely one given the current job market. Are you one of those job seekers beginning to get frustrated? Go get this book. It might help you to think differently about how to move forward.
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