About 2 months ago, I attended an entrepreneur's meetup in Medellin. Of the 8 of us that went, I would say that about 4 of us were really throwing down: making 5 figures in profit a month.
Now Tim Ferriss, while not the first person to live the lifestyle, is the first person that brought the idea of a location-independent lifestyle to the masses.
When I brought his name up, I got a rather negative, unimpressed reaction.
"Oh yeah, that guy. He is a great marketer, but he talks a lot of bullshit."
"Go to body building forums and they rip his 4-Hour Body workout plans to shreds."
However, EVERY single one of us (I had this hypothesis and then confirmed it) was there in Medellin because we had read his book. It gave us the necessary motivation and courage to run our own businesses and travel at the same time.
How I discovered Tim Ferriss
It was 2007 and I was attending a SEO conference in Seattle.
At one of the post-conference happy-hours, I met BJ Wright. After a few drinks and some games of pool, he whipped out The 4-Hour Workweek. "Matt, you HAVE to read this book."
With that title, I was obviously intrigued. When I got back to Houston, I had a copy in my mailbox.
4 months later, I was in Buenos Aires, my first long-term vacation outside of the U.S.
Misconceptions about the 4HWW
1. It's easy to create a muse business -- This isn't Tim's fault, but for every "muse" business that succeeds, another 25 fail. To get a sustainable web business going usually takes a lot of work.
It is tough. By unintentionally misleading us on how easy it all is, I think Tim did us a favor. Many of us took the plunge because of it. Of course, going out on your own is a reversible decision. You can always go back and get a job.
And I still haven't met anyone who regretted trying and failing. Although I have met some who regretted NOT trying...
One last thing on the misconception of ease: Tim is a genius. Really. Not just by IQ, but in execution. He may underestimate how fast he can learn things compared to the normal population.
(I sometimes think that Tynan underestimates his ability -- as we all know, he is a very, very sharp guy.)
When we receive advice from brilliant people like them, us normal people may think: "Yeah, I don't have a 160 IQ so maybe I am not cut out for this."
We may not be able to sell a million copies of our book, but there are plenty of opportunities out there for the non-genius.
2. Freedom of time and location automatically make your life fulfilling - This misconception is actually explained by Tim in his book. He talks about the psychological difficulty of carving your own path, yet it is almost always shrugged off by readers.
"When I have my passive income and am drinking a coco loco on the coast of Panama, I don't think fulfillment will be a big problem."
At first, yes you are right. It is really fun. But it wears off.
Building meaningful relationships, becoming part of a community, doing projects that intrigue you, this takes time and commitment to achieve.
I have been independent for 5 years now. It took until this year to have a routine that allows me to integrate with the community and have an overall positive mental and spiritual health.
Along the way, there has been tons of self doubt and "What the hell am I doing" feelings. These are unavoidable, but have turned more than a few people back to corporate America.
I have also met quite a few "financially successful" independent people that are absolutely lost in the relationships/meaning part of their life.
My favorite idea from Tim Ferriss
Why spend the best years of our live (20-60), slaving away in corporate America just to have a nest egg of money in our twilight years?
"Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want."
Tim Ferriss changed the world for thousands with his book. There is no denying that. Maybe he exaggerates a few things here and there.
But that book sure changed my life for the better. And I will always be grateful.