Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A contrived windfall (of time)

Today was the first time in months that I left work for the day, and it was still light outside. Bright light...very...scared...

Over the past few weeks I've gained more and more free time, intentionally planned to work on trip stuff. The idea of the trip, and everything I need to do to prepare, is doing exactly what it's supposed to: To define just what the hell I'm working toward so I can get there faster.

This may seem pretty simple, but I've inundated myself for the past two years with nearly every business-startup book, class, and motivational speaker talk about just how easy it is to make a ton of money, once you're in the right mindset. The right mindset being the launching point for most of the bullet-point list of things you should practice to help re-program your mind: surround yourself with wealthy people, start visualizing your new toys, etc.

Nothing has worked nearly as quickly as these gurus ever claim, and I've always had a sense of self-loathing because of it (which I'm sure encourages the self-healing/self-improvement industry). In fact I've all but destroyed my credit because I didn't "visualize" hard enough - didn't believe hard enough. It's the same old type of story you hear about anyone who doesn't fit that particular mold, the homeless, the addicted, the depressed: "But it's so easy, what's wrong with YOU?"

Even the great effort of our culture to prevent suicides (loaded in "mental illness" terms), to the point of being ridiculously criminally illegal in some places, heavily stinks of a massive denial of how difficult it can be to simply survive. Experience leads to beliefs in almost all cases, and most of the self- and business-improvement industry thrives off of the lack of experience of it's participants' goals. I would call these gurus cynical, if I truly believed they knew they taking advantage of the weak. The truth is, I'm afraid, they simply don't know that they're preaching the most difficult and stressful solution, the "visualization" before experience solution.

This is the reason for my man-crush on Timothy Ferris, writer of "The 4-Hour Work Week":

Ferriss is the first of I'm assuming only a few who talk about the easiest way to live the life you want: Not working for money, but working for time.

And it must piss a lot of the self-help industry off, because it completely bypasses the need to wish-upon-a-star-dependence on visualization techniques to believe it before you see it. Instead, the leverage point is time, lot's and lot's of time. Time to spend reading, going to shows, or say, a bike trip. And everyone knows what it's like not to have to work 40 or more hours a week, because all of us have our most fundamental, earliest memories of not working at all.

All of us as kids had mountains of time to do whatever we wanted, and this was programmed into us during our most impressionable years for learning about life. Sure there were a few chores here and there, and of course, the 12-year educational concentration camp we get sent to at age 5. But we were wired from the beginning for free time, and the beauty of Ferriss's philosophy is that it's the easiest point for everyone to tap into to regain our freedom from the 9-5.

Not money. Time. Only the top 1% know what it's like to live in the top 1%, so why force an experience you don't have? A huge probability you'll get it wrong the first thousand times anyway.

So, in just a month's time, taking a lot of cues from Ferriss, and with the help of my new running schedule, and all the automating techniques with the biz, I've actually been able to reduce the amount of time working to a mere 10 hours per day, down from 16. What I wasn't expecting was just how lazy I can be, and how quickly that time gets swallowed up by YouTube.

Just what the hell do all you people do after 6:00pm anyway? It's pretty pathetic, because I'm only half-kidding. I get nervous when my phone dies in transit, and I don't have my charger on me. Purposeless wandering in my neighborhood is impossible for me to do, which isn't entirely my fault....there's just never much going on in the West Village.

I wish I had something to look forward to after doing all this work...

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