Book Review: The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
Ep. 82
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    This week on the podcast, we’re kicking off our book club for 2020. One of the biggest tools to achieving the life you want is changing your mindset. Books and podcasts have been pivotal in my own journey and the journey of so many others who have designed a life that they love.
    So we’re going to spend some time every month focusing on shifting our beliefs about what is possible and what we can accomplish.
    This month’s book was The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss.
    This was the first book that I picked up after quitting the law. It was the first book that really changed my mindset.⁠ It opened my eyes to another way of living.⁠ It showed me that it was possible to design my life in a way that I had never considered before.⁠
    And even if you don’t want to quit your career or travel the world and work remotely, there are so many gems to take away from this book.

I break down all of the incredible wisdom in this book, including:

    – Why you should re-evaluate your life and what you truly want
    – How to question everything
    – How to eliminate tasks so you have time to work on the things that matter
    – How to get over the fear that is keeping you stuck
    – How to recognize how much control you truly have
    – And so much more!

Grab a copy of the book here

Show Transcript
Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode. I am so excited to have you here and this episode is going to be a little different than our typical interviews. So if this is your first episode, it's usually interviews with other people about their quitting stories. But we decided, and by we, I mean me sitting by myself in my room, decided that I want 2020 to be more actionable for you guys. I want you to stop just listening to inspirational stories and examples which are great and I think we need to see other people doing it to see what is possible. But I want you to start taking action and I've been thinking of ways in which I can maybe help nudge you and push you along. And I know one thing that has helped me in my journey has been really a shift in mindset that has come through reading tons of books and listening to tons of podcasts.

And so I thought this year we would start doing a book club where once a month we discuss one book. We talk about how you know, it can help you on your journey and obviously there'll be different topics that will help you on different aspects of this journey. I think a lot of it is just shifting our mindset from everything that we have and I've been programmed to believe as the way it has to be and really seeing what is possible. And we are kicking off our January book club with the four hour workweek by Tim Ferriss. I'm going to go through some of the takeaways and the things that I think are really important from this book. I think it's worth having a read. If you haven't read it, you can take the time to read it. You'll still get value from this episode and it'll still make sense.

But I would encourage you to read it. So jumping in, you might be wondering (if you did read it ) why I would choose a book that was published in 2006 so it's 14 years old and actually a lot of tactical practical advice. The tools that he gives actually are outdated. They're probably not around. And so you might be wondering, “Why would you pick something that doesn't apply?” Great question. Well, I think that a lot of the books still applies and I think it just brings up so many important points that I think we can still learn from. Now. The main reason I picked it is because this was the book that I read in 2014 so it was still eight years after he had written it. That really changed my perspective and my life. When I had decided to quit law in 2014 when I was dabbling with the idea of leaving.
I think like a lot of people, we go to what we know, I mean you don't know what you don't know, so it's really hard to kind of think outside of that box. And so I had excepted that I didn't want to go back to law and I was left with what does that mean? What am I going to do? And a lot of what that meant was me scrambling around looking for another job. And so I was looking for other positions that I could fill with either my background or even if I was going to go completely away from LA. Like what else? I would get a job in and beyond the fact that it was kind of overwhelming and I didn't really know where to look. Never really felt right either. I didn't want a job. The whole point of me wanting to leave the law beyond the fact that I didn't really feel fulfilled in the day to day work was because I wanted more flexibility.
I wanted to be able to balance my life with my children and my family with something that really built me and that I loved doing. And I was assuming that any other job I was going to do, I'm working nine to five or working more and I'm in an office all the time, it's going to have a lot of the same problems that I was running into in law. And so while I was looking for these jobs, it seemed like a dead end. I kept thinking this isn't what I want either. And so I had a lot of issues thinking about what is that next step going to look like? And I remember reading the four hour work week any blew my mind because like I just said you don't know what you don't know. And I feel like it was the first time that I took blinders off. I had just accepted and assumed that the only way to work is to work in an office.
And because I never felt strongly about entrepreneurship or business and I actually had all these limiting beliefs and I told myself that I'm not a business person, I don't know what that means. I had decided that wanting money is a bad thing and I'd created these limiting beliefs for myself. I never thought about starting a business and there wasn't a problem I wanted to solve or there wasn't something that I felt super passionate about. So I never looked at that. And to be really honest, I was a great employee and I knew I could thrive as an employee. I would go above and beyond. I knew my bosses always loved me and I felt comfortable in that setting. And so the idea of going somewhere where there's no path and I have to figure everything out on my own was terrifying to me.
But when I read this book, it opened my eyes to how other people are living. And I felt like somebody knocked the wind out of me. I, I remember thinking how this is possible. This is how people are living. How have I been living this other way? How does nobody else know about this? Why aren't we talking about this? Why aren't we talking about the fact that you don't have to sit in a cubicle from nine to five or nine to nine, which is what a lot of us do under fluorescent lighting. Like hating your life. And there's another way to make money. And I remember at the time, because social media was getting bigger and you were starting to see all these people that were making livings off of social media. And it was, you know, the beginnings of influencers.
I would watch these kids that were on YouTube or Instagram and I'm thinking, they're making multiple six figures, traveling the world and I'm sitting here doing something I hate and how is this my life? I think what Tim Ferriss says wonderfully in this book is he really does lay down, you know, steps that you can take. Now I will say I think that the steps are overly simplistic, not in the way that you'd think. I think a lot of times when we'd like to think that our situation is so hard and we'd like to think, Oh no, I, you know, that's great for someone else. I can't do it. A lot of that is just excuse and it's just your limiting beliefs. So I'm not saying it in that sense. I think that sometimes in marketing we'd like to sell people on the easiness because that's what gets them to buy. Like drop shipping business.
And we'll talk about the type of businesses that he talked about in this book. So I do think a lot of this stuff is a little bit over simplistic, but it can 100% be done. And I think what he does really great is establishing the principles that he has is going into in this book are so important and some of them he goes through rather quickly. So I really wanted to delve into a little bit to make sure that you guys really [inaudible] get it and picked up on it and really apply it to your own life. So before we jump into what I think are the biggest takeaways from this book, I'll give a little bit of background of what the book is because in case you didn't read it so you can kind of follow along with the discussion.
So it's called the four hour work week and, and his little tagline is escape nine to five live anywhere and join the new rich. The whole premise of the book is teaching people how to get out of their jobs and basically live a life that they are designing intentionally that they want to live. And when I take it out of their jobs, what I like about the bucket is that is not, he's not saying that you have to go into entrepreneurship or that you have to start a business at all. Actually what he gives a lot of advice about is how to get your job to become a remote working situation so that you're working from anywhere. And so originally you do it from home, but that gives you the freedom to then work anywhere in the world and you can go work somewhere for two, three months living in another culture experience, all these other things and really live a life that's full of experiences as opposed to doing the work in an office day in, day out for years and years and years.
I actually think a lot of the tips that he gives are applicable even if you don't want to do what he is seeing. So we'll go into that. But his whole Primus is basically reevaluating your life and making it work for you now. And what he talks a lot about is these dream lives that consist figuring out what do you want to experience your life and not putting things off or retirement. Not putting things off for some day because we all tend to do that and really rethinking, how can I start experiencing these things now? And so how he does this is he goes through, he calls it D.E.A.L, which is Definition. Elimination. Automation. Liberation. So he talks about how you can go through these steps too. Get your work to a place where you can work remotely.
What I love about this is that he wrote this book in 2004-2005 and published it in 2006 and this was a time when remote working really wasn't a thing. And that's why a lot of the tools are outdated because you see how many steps you had to do in order to make this work. Like where you had to forward your mail and how could you check in and work from your work computer when you're on a laptop. And what's so brilliant about that is how out of the box and unconventional this guy is because now this is what has happened, right? Like over the last 15 years, remote working has exploded and a lot of people have not realized that you can live like this and there are entire industries that are now dedicated to remote working.
There are companies called like remote year where they set up a year for you where you go and you live in a different country every single month and they set up the housing for you and they set up a coworking space. All of your logistics and you get the tickets that they tell you to get and you go from place to place and you experience 12 different countries, which is incredible. So many people are doing this and they're just people that are doing their day to day jobs from different locations. There are now coworking spaces all over the world because more people are working remotely. There was a statistic that in 2019 it was a 78% increase in job posts, advertising, flexible working or remote working jobs on LinkedIn. You know, so this is becoming the norm. And they're saying that in the next 10 years, more than 50% of the population will be working remotely.
It's incredible that he saw this and he saw how to make it work even when there were so many more obstacles. And I think it's a testament to being able to think outside the box and realize that the way things are, don't have to be the way that they are and that you can make a change. But I think what he talks about is now even more relevant because there are less hurdles. There's so many programs and so many things set up for you that you don't have to figure out everything he out. And so the principles are even more important today because I really think you can create a life that you are designing yourself that you want, that you're out of this rat race. And so that's why I love the book. I don't think you need to take step-by-step everything he is saying, but I think him just showing you another way to live because again, we don't know what we don't know.
And I think he opens your eyes to the fact that there are all these people now that are doing this and there's no reason why you can't too. So that's why I chose the book. I think that, again, the tips and tricks and stuff is worth reading. But here are the things that I took away from it that I think are just really important principles that come up on this podcast and I think can really help when you feel stuck in a career that you hate.
So number one, reevaluating your life. He talks about the new rich and his definition is basically that, you know, the old Ridge, what we think about rage is money rich. And it's just not about that anymore, right? Most people would value time and options and the lifestyle they want over there, just having a number in their bank account. And if you think about it, obviously we don't want to be millionaires because we want a bunch of green paper, right? We want to be millionaires because we think that we'll experience life in a different way. And when he shows in the book is how you can experience that life without having that money. And again, now there's just so many more resources. There's so many blogs, there's so many people that are living on less than what they would live in their respective cities in the U S and living incredibly in other countries. Cause obviously the dollar is stronger and a lot of other countries and there's just more have that opportunity to do the things that you want, but you have to look for that. And so he talks a lot about lifestyle design and having options as your real power. And I think that it's just really important to understand this concept.
And honestly, this is the reason I do the podcast and I really wanted to highlight this because while I think it's an easy example to show people what is possible, sometimes it’s better to look at the money. So sometimes saying Oh, I was working as whatever and I was making $100,000 a year and then I quit and I went and I started this business and now I'm making multiple millions of dollars. That's a great way of really quickly assessing the possibility out there and how great it is and how you don't have to be stuck and you can go have this amazing magical, you know, business. And I like doing that on the show because I think it's something we can grasp. But I don't ever want you to feel like I'm doing this show to say you can quit so that you can go and make more money.
That's not the point because I think so many of you and myself included had a career that was a high paying career or could be like you could get a job. That's a multiple six figures. And yet there are so many people that are miserable in those jobs. They're on antidepressants and having panic attacks and clearly that money is not what's going to make you happy. Right? Because you end up wasting things. You buy this fancy car that's in the garage all day cause you're working 15 hours a day, you know. So I think really reevaluating your life and realizing that, yeah, maybe if you make a jump, you're taking a salary cut. And I know in the last episode we talked about finances and a lot of what keeps people stuck is thinking I can't go from this multiple six-figure salary to making less.
But if you really start reevaluating, what do you want for your life? I bet there's a lot of people that would rather make 80 K 90 K instead of 150 or 200 K and be able to live in Thailand for three months of the year or you know, go on these grand adventures and actually enjoy your life and take your kids with you. And do these amazing things, but you have to really evaluate and ask yourself, what do I want from my life? What does my life look like now and what do I want it to look like and how can I model it after other people that have done this? How are there ways that I can control what I can control in order to create a life intentionally instead of just falling in line with what everybody else has done and living a life where, you know, the only I dunno I think I'm working for is to have a bigger house or a better car or to one appellate, or to feel like I'm competing with my peers and make sure I'm making more than this person or that person, or to never feel like I have enough security.
How do I stop putting that stuff off and really find a life that I want? And so I think this is really the crux of the book. And I think that the point of it is to reevaluate and reevaluate what is possible. And it's one of my biggest takeaways. And actually one of my favorite parts of the book is in the end when he's talking about liberation and it's a fable that he, about an American businessman and a Mexican fisherman. And I'm going to read it really quickly, I'm not going to paraphrase it because I think it's so important. But he is talking about an American businessman who took a vacation in a small coastal Mexican village and he's out for a walk because he can't sleep or whatever. And he sees a Mexican fisherman coming in on a small boat with several large Yellowfin tuna.
And the American man starts up a conversation, he’s complimenting the fisherman on the quality of his fish. And he asks him how long did it take him to catch it? And the fisherman says, you know, not that long. And he says, so why don't you stay out and catch more? And he says, well, I have enough for my family and to give a couple to my friends and says, well, what are you going to do the rest of the day? And fishermen smiles and says, well, I sleep late, I fish a little, I play with my children, I take a siesta with my wife, I stroll into the village every evening where I sip wine and I play guitar with my Amigos. I have a full and busy life and the American laughs and tells him, I'm this Harvard MBA, I can help you ramp up this operation.
If you spend more time fishing, you will make more money to buy a boat and then in no time you'll have several boats and then you can increase the haul and sell more. You can end up getting a fleet of fishing boats and then instead of selling it to this middle man that you're selling your fish to, you can sell directly to your consumers, which we'll help you open up your own cannery. That way you control the product, the processing and the distribution. But then eventually you'll have to leave this small fishing village and go to either Mexico city or California or New York City and you can basically expand this enterprise. And then the fisherman asks, okay, but how long will that take? And the American says 15 to 20 years, 25 years tops. And then the fisherman says, okay, but then what?
And the American laughs and says, that's the best part. Then you can announce an IPO and sell your company to the public and you become very rich. You make millions of dollars. And the fisherman says, Oh wow, millions. Then what? And then American businessmen says, well then you retire and you move to a small coastal village where you sleep in late, you fish a little, you play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you sip wine and play guitar with your Amigos. [inaudible] obviously the whole point of this is we keep putting these things off and we keep thinking that if we work harder, we're going to get to this place where all of a sudden we can relax. And I think the point of that story though is really just reevaluating. You could have a lot of this stuff you want now if you just take stock and figure out what it is you want for your life, maybe a pay cut is the way to go so that you can have the life you want.
You can end up having the living you want with even more money. You can make more money doing other things. But I think even in the pursuit of that, even when you're starting a business, it's just always important to ask why am I doing this? What is the point? What do I want my life to look like? So that you don't get caught in this constant comparison and rat race. So I think that's literally the main point of the book. For me it was really about reevaluating what is possible? What do I want from my life and how do I want my life to look? And, and that leads to the second thing that I think is also a really big crux of this whole book is questioning everything. I think we just accept that this is the way it is and I've talked about this on a past episode where we just think that because people have done it this way, the nine to five is just the way that it has to be and obviously we're seeing that it’s changing. Remote working is becoming a lot more apparent.
There are a lot more people that are jumping into entrepreneurship with side hustles. A lot of things are more available. That warrant before starting a business was a lot more difficult 10 years ago, 20 years ago. So things are changing, but I think it just requires really questioning everything and thinking if it really has to be like this. Do I have to work in order to prove something and what am I trying to prove? We've had a couple people on the podcast. We had an episode 29 Joe Hanson who took a year off from law and is traveling the world with his wife and his toddler child. In episode 25 I had Daniel Prince who quite an up and left with his wife and I think, I believe three children, four children. They traveled around the world for a couple of years, then now settled in France and he actually credits the four hour work week in that episode too.
And I think a lot of people are now doing this and it's just becoming more possible. And it was funny because when I was talking to Joe about it on the podcast on episode 29 you know he really quit. He basically took a sabbatical and he didn't know what he was going to do at the end of the year and he's working on his writing and the reality of it is he realized, oh I'll just go back to law if I have to. And I think so often we don't even consider that. Tim Ferriss talks a lot about taking mini-retirements instead of waiting until retirement. At 65 and putting this thing off, can you start working in a couple of mini-retirements? And I think a lot of times we just think we can't because we say we can't.
We think if there's a gap then we can't get a job. But you're just making that up. There's no reason. And he talks about it in his book that if you go off to do exciting things, you're actually going to stand out in the sea of resumes, right? Because when you say, I took a year off to go explore the world, people want to know more. People want to know how you did it. People want to know what you learned, right? And there's no reason that you can't come back and get a job. And so a lot of times, again, questioning whether it's possible is really the biggest thing you can do. I actually got an Instagram message from a listener who had messaged me about 10 months ago when she was getting ready to quit her job in big law, which is a big law firm.
And she was going to take some time off and she didn't know what she was gonna do and she was going to go travel around and she sent me a message two weeks ago, which I love and I wanted to share and she said, “Hi Goli. I said I'd send a little update from 10 months after quitting my big law job. Amazingly, things are better than I expected. After about six months of backpacking around Africa and Europe, I was offered a job out of the blue at a friend of a friend, small law firm. So now I've been doing corporate law part-time while traveling. I've been in Australia for the past few months and I've found a great community here while also having the time to play music and work on another passion songwriting. I've been more musically productive in the past couple of months than at any other time in my life and I know it's because I had the time and space now. Amazingly, quitting without a solid career plan has allowed me to be open to other opportunities they hadn't even thought were possible. I'm really excited to see what comes next.”
I mean, I love that message so much, but it just goes back to all of this because so often we're holding on so tightly because we think that if we take a step away or take a breath that we can never have what we have and a lot of times it just takes a little bit of a leap of faith to see all the opportunities out there and to question what is, you know, available to you and I, and I'm not saying that you have to quit that and go travel. The world don't, but I think it's a matter of realizing that even if you don't know the next step and understanding that there are so many opportunities out there, if you give yourself some space to look at it and question it and figure out what you could do.
Now in the book, Tim Ferriss talks about three different types of businesses that you could set up. He talks about drop shipping, which is basically you advertise a product, you don't actually store it, you don't actually ship it. It basically comes from a warehouse and Amazon ships it for you. You talk about affiliate marketing, which is basically when you're the marketer, you put out information, you direct traffic to links and when people buy that product you get a cut even though you're not doing anything with it. And then he talks about creating products and now I will say, I think he makes things a little simplistic. I don't think any of these things are going to be up as quickly as he talks about. But the reality is those opportunities are there. There are tons and tons of people that are making money doing these things and yes, I may take some time, but there are these things that if you want to start a side hustle now, there are other ways to start businesses.
There are other ways. If you just want to make some extra income to pay off debt and if you start looking at these three types of businesses, there's a way, even if you don't know what you want to do, even if it's not your ultimate goal, what can you do in the next year? That's just a fun experiment to try something. I think he gives a lot of really good advice, but I think it really comes down to questioning it, like questioning what you could do, what would it look like, what are the possibilities. But well I think another big part of this book that he does so well is talking about the fear and this fear setting exercise he gives and he talks about it on a Ted talk. If you haven't read the book, you can just watch his Ted talk.
I've talked about it a lot here. Well, he basically says to sit down and think about the thing you want to do and then play out your fear instead of goal setting. Play out your fear to the extreme. What is the worst possible thing that can happen? And then you can start figuring out how you would of course correct or how you would deal with those issues. And it's a very tangible good exercise to figure out that it's not as scary or as bad as you think it's going to be. Most things can be fixed and even if there's minor inconveniences or minor problems, it's not as bad as you make it in your head when you leave the fear unchecked and you think the whole world is going to come crashing down. I thought this, I really thought if I walk away, the world would swallow me whole and turns out I was wrong.
When I see this over and over again with the people I work with, well the people that listen to this podcast, I finally decided to make the jump. We made it so big in our heads and then you do it and you're thinking, Oh, it's fine. I have so many other things I can do. And so he talks a lot about this, about how you've just basically kept stuck because of this fear. And he says something that I think is really powerful. He says most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty. And I think, again, this is something to really think about is that all that's keeping you stuck is because you're not going to get a guarantee which you'll never get. So you're choosing to be in a situation where you know you're unhappy because you're so scared of what is out there.
That's the way we're wired. So it's understandable that the way our brain works is to keep us safe and alive and what we know keeps us alive. Our brain is not evolved to make us happy. So once you know that it's figuring out how you can kind of circumvent that, how can you make sure that you're not falling into these evolutionary ways and you're actually making more informed decisions. He has a quote in there that says action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action. [inaudible] I love that because I think so often people want me to guarantee them that if they quit that they're going to be happy. And I think, I can't guarantee you that. I mean, I sorta can at this point because I really do think that regardless of what happens. Even if it's not the knock out of the park success that you're hoping for, the amount that you learn, the amount that you awaken yourself, the amount that you change is so worth it.
But I can guarantee you that if you don't take any action, if you don't do anything, then nothing will change and it will just compound that happiness that you are just ruminating in. It will compound. So that was three is fear setting and the fear and kind of getting over this thing. And one thing that I, I do think that he talks about is that we always like to think that no one understands our situation. It's complicated, but we confuse the complex with the difficulty. Just because it's difficult doesn't mean it's complex. Most of our situations are not that complex. Yes, we have bills. Yes, we have families. Yes, we need to pay for them. I understand that [inaudible] there are tons of ways that people are doing it and so it's a matter of not wanting to make the difficult decision and pushing past that fear.
And once you know that, then you can actually take steps to address that. So that was three is the fear setting. The couple of things that I think are really not just principles but tools that you can use and I hope that you do use in your life whether you decide to quit or not, that I think this book does a really great job and I think he, he sort of brushes over it. So it's something to highlight. He gives a number of tools and one of them is how to eliminate the unnecessary. So the whole premise of his book and this process that he gives by which you can end up working remotely is to make your work away, that you can basically eliminate anything you don't need to. And then automate a bunch of things that you can automate and so that you can not be in the office all the time.
And he talks about how we all waste so much time at work, which we all know and if you've ever worked in the office, you know the majority of the day there's that aren't just pointless. That could've been an email. There are tons of times where you're just chatting with coworkers, scrolling through Instagram, doing all these unnecessary things. And especially with work, we're just in our inbox and we're getting distracted and there's all this science about contact switching and how it takes our brain a long time to go from one thing to another. And yet we're constantly with every ping, every DM, every g-mail chat, every email or letting ourselves be distracted. And so one of his lessons, one of the things that he talks about is how to start becoming very ruthless with your time and eliminate everything that's unnecessary so that you can - I mean the way he talks about it is like you can reduce a five day work week to about two days.
And I think if you can be super productive, you can do that. I mean, I don't know who operates at that kind of a level because we all kind of need to, our brains get distracted. But I do think it brings up a lot of really amazing points. One thing he talks about is the Pareto principle, which is the 80 20 principle, which basically says that 20% of your input accounts for 80% of output in anything. So if you look at sales, 20% of your customers will account for 80% of your sales. And so becoming aware of that, you can focus on the 20% and so with that, all of us to, you know, whatever you're doing, whatever project you're working on, 80% of it is fluff. You're just doing busywork, you're trying to make yourself feel important.
You think we procrastinate with smaller tasks like I’ll just check email or I'll work on this little side thing and set up a schedule as opposed to actually working on the thing that's going to move the needle forward. And he talks about this in the sense of making sure that you can whittle down your workweek so that you have a lot more freedom when you're working remotely to enjoy the country then you're in. But I think even if you're not doing this, these are principles to implement in your life when you're at work, figure out what are the unnecessary tasks. He talks about digital detoxes and really cutting down email. I think that's a huge thing that anybody should be doing. Like checking your inbox only once or twice a day because you can go quickly through all of the emails as opposed to checking every time an email comes up.
Even social media or how much we're on our phones during the day, like figuring out, maybe you work in a place where you can put your phone away because then you can get through the actual work that you're doing in less time. And I think if you can learn to optimize your time and have more time in a week, then a lot of the excuse that you have for not being able to do the thing you want is already eliminated. Because even if you're not doing this, in order to become a remote worker or to travel the world, if you can eliminate three hours a week, not a day a week, okay. To spend on, let's say, discovering what your passion is or working on a side hustle, figuring out what your next career is. That's 156 hours in a year, which comes out to a full 40 hour week, like workweek month.
So four weeks of 40 hours weeks you have just built into working three hours a week on a side hustle. Maybe it's during your lunchtime. And so a lot of times we always act like we don't have time. That's the biggest thing, right? We're so busy, everyone's so busy, everybody's running around and we feel overwhelmed and we feel stressed. And that's just because we have so much coming in. Whether that's through news and media and social media and our emails and so we feel depleted even though we're not actually, our output is not that much. And so when you can really take stock, and I think this book does a really good job of breaking down what you have to do in order to detox, you know, from a phone, and I think some of this stuff is extreme and you're not going to do it, but figure out how you can be more efficient at work so that instead of scrolling through Instagram, you're spending that time building out that blog you want to build or looking into other careers that you want to be doing or reading or doing anything else that's going to give you more fulfillment.
Maybe you're using that time to just do the things that you actually love as opposed to I need another career and that's fine too. But it's a matter of not wasting your time so that we are always feeling set back. You know that you're working around the clock and you're not actually getting anywhere. So one is eliminating the unnecessary. Another thing I think this book, it really does, and I would say another big thing that I took away from the book is how much control we actually have. I think we often like to convince ourselves that we're just stuck and that we, we, we don't realize that we're acting like victims in our own life. But that's exactly what we're doing. We act like we are just byproducts of our circumstances and we're going with the flow and there's nothing that we can do.
And I think when he talks about kind of going in and asking for these remote working conditions and he gave these scripts, it's just a really good reminder of how much control you actually can have. And now maybe it doesn't work in every situation, but the fact is that you are allowed to ask for certain things, you're allowed to go to your employer. And whether that's asking for a raise are asking for more different, ah, responsibilities are asking for time off or whatever it is. Our thoughts are just like, Oh my boss is going to get mad or I'm going to get fired. And I think if you're an asset to your boss like I think most of us don't realize that business owners at law firms anyway like they don't want to train someone new. They know the value of a good employee and if they think that you're a good employee, they will want you to stay.
And so you actually have more power than you think. Now if you're not a good employee, then maybe you don't have leverage, you know you're going to get fired. And I think part of that is really one, providing value and two, working on your own thoughts to realize the value that you have. I think so often we are great employees and we just have told ourselves, “I'm terrible, I don't know what I'm doing. Everyone's gonna figure it out.” And that goes with a lot of mindset work. But I think if you can realize that you are an asset and they are not going to want to replace you. And so I'm, you know, maybe not asking for really outlandish things but going in prepared, knowing your value, knowing what you've given to them, do your homework. And I think that he does a great job of showing how you can position yourself to show them your boss, how much you've given them, how much they're going to get from whatever situation you are proposing.
We have so much more control and I see this now, I'm going to a lot of groups with business owners and it's funny to watch them talk about their employees because there are certain employees that they would give them raises, they would give them whatever they ask because it's such a valuable, valuable employee but the employee doesn't know that and so they never asked. And you know, your employer is not going to just come to give it to you. They're not going to just give you more money. Maybe if they're very nice they’ll give you a raise, but they're not going to just come throw money at you. And so often we get stuck in these situations because we think that we don't have any control and a, we have so much more control. And I know that again, our brain goes to, “I know my situation is different.” But it’s not.
It really isn't. If you can provide value and then show that value that you can provide, you have leverage and you can ask for things. Now it might be just minor things and maybe go in starting asking for minor things. But I think this is such a big tool to learn and lesson to learn that I love about this book is even having the mindset that you're allowed to go in and ask for things. You don't have to just take whatever they give you. We've sort of developed, we've adopted the mindset that as employees we're dispensable and we have to be there and keep quiet and nobody should say anything and you should just pray. You never get fired. It's just not a good way to live. So I think the more you can realize I'm in control of my own life and yeah, maybe there's uncertainty and maybe you push comes to shove.
It doesn't work out with that employer. But I think again going back to reevaluating your life and realizing what you want out of that situation and becoming a lot more empowered to ask for the situation you want, whether that's more money, whether that's a different work, you know, our lease structure, whatever that is. I will say it is, I remember when I was at the law firm, I was at a big law firm and I was a first-year associate. So as a lawyer is a first year, you're kind of at the bottom. You are expected to just do the work and obviously you're also scared. You don't really provide that much value because you don't know anything yet. And me being, you know, kind of a type a personality and being anxious and never wanting to have anyone be upset with me, I realized that a lot of the stress that I thought was coming from the job was coming from my own mind because I thought I had to be there more hours than I actually did.
I had to show my face because I assumed that my bosses were watching or were going to get upset. And I remember once, I think it was an end to working there and I was anxiety-ridden and I felt really stressed and it, and I had accepted everybody's ideas about what working at a big law firm was actually like. So I remember one day there was one another associate who started at the same time as me and we were working on the same project. There was a lot of really intense days leading up to that. That specific day there wasn't that much going on and it wasn't noon. And I went to go talk to him about something and he was in his office and I was asking his secretary where he was and she said he went surfing.
And it blew my mind because I mean this guy was just a lot more relaxed than I was. He didn't take it as seriously. And guess what? I left that job in less than two years but he's now partner at a law firm and he stayed there for nine years and he did just fine. And it was just our own thoughts right about that situation. We were in the same exact situation. We were the same year as well as associates. We were working on the same project and there was no more need for me to be in the office than it was for him. But I know that if I left to go to the beach, I would have a heart attack because I would keep thinking in my head that they're looking for me or whatever.
And so I think it's really important to understand that I could have sworn to you up and down that you don’t understand my situation. I work at a big law firm. I can't just leave. I have to be here this many hours and that I remember this specific situation where I thought, why do I think I have to be here all the time? How is this person just so relaxed that he's out surfing and doesn't have a care in the world? And I'm literally sitting at my [inaudible] a desk being a stress case. I think a lot of us that go into these fields are like this. I just want you to be aware though. A lot of times you think it's a certain situation but it isn't actually you're on making it that situation and it goes back to mindset and your thoughts. I think that he does a really good job of talking about how we can go into these situations and really take control.
And so even if you're not going to do it for a remote year, it provides a lot of understanding of how you can create a situation that you actually want. And lastly, another thing that I really think that we need to think about and talk about a little more in this book, and I think this was kind of just a side point for him, is that he talks about liberation at the end about leaving and going off and doing these amazing mini-retirements and traveling the world. And he says that most people can't slow down. When they go to another town, another country, and you know that town has a siesta during the day and the store is closed at 4:30... You start feeling a ton of anxiety and he talks about this - our addiction to speed and how we need to deal with that.
And it takes a while to decompress. But I think this is a really important problem, a deeper problem to talk about. And it is our addiction to having to constantly be productive and do, do, do, do, do. And I think in our society we've just glorified this hustle. And luckily the conversation is changing a little bit and we're realizing that sleep is important and self care is important. But I think it goes beyond what he was talking about because he goes into the fact that a lot of people when they get into retirement they become depressed. And the reason is a lot of times they have nothing else to do. And so you have to deal with a lot of the thoughts of uncertainty.
Your self-worth was so wrapped up in what you were doing that it takes a lot of that self-discovery and really kind of getting deeper into these ideas about your self-worth. And so a lot of people deal with that kind of later in life. And I actually think it's something to really deal with now in the sense that if you are finding yourself feeling guilty when you're taking time off, whether that's on a weekend, whether it's just taking a nap, whether it's watching TV, if you constantly feel like you have to be multitasking or you constantly feel like you have to be busy, that is a sign that you should really explore. Well, why? Because so often we are attaching our self worth with how much we produce. And again, we've been programmed for that. So I'm not saying it's your fault, but it's something to be aware of.
And I see this happen. I see it happen with myself all the time. And it's something that I'm definitely working on. And I never understood when people said, “You are enough.” Because I never felt like it. I had thoughts of worthlessness about myself. But I realized that I do tie my self worth to productivity and it really comes back to like, you don't have to do anything. You don't have to prove anything. You are enough. You're worthy of rest and you're worthy of happiness. And you're worthy of security even if you're not out there producing a mad person. And so he is speaking of this and he talks about it in the sense that we always need, uh, to be learning and to be in service. And so when you go on these trips, you should kind of tailor them around things that you can learn.
And while I agree with that, I do think humans need growth. And so we need, we are just wired that way. If you look at children, you don't just get content and sick with what you know. You constantly want to learn more. And that's why so many times the work that we're in becomes really soul-crushing is because you're doing the same thing over and over again. So even if you loved it at one point it can become really tiresome because you want change. So I do agree with that. But I also think there's a deeper problem that we get anxiety now when we slow down and we need to figure out, how do I extract worth from what I'm doing and how do I really sit with the fact that I deserve rest and that I just don't have to constantly be doing something or doing all the things for my family and for work and for everybody else and be this perfect person and how can I take time to figure out who I am and what I want and be okay in the stillness.
And so that's a side note. His prescription for that is to just take some time, you know? And I do think if you have that, that is the best way to do it is to take time to unplug, have weeks where you're doing digital detoxes, have times where you're not having to work actually take a vacation that's longer than a couple of days. I think all of that stuff is helpful. But I think beyond it, it's really exploring these just the thought work. Think about what are my thoughts around when I'm not productive, what does that mean about me and why am I making that mean that about me and how do I change those thoughts so this was a little longer than I had expected. Thank you for sticking with me if you've stuck with me to the end. I think that this book is really great and bringing up a lot of really important points and I think that these are all points that you should really think about for your own job and your own career and what you want and whether you want to quit or not and what you want to do afterward and what you want that life to look like.
I very much, I encourage you to read it if you haven't read it yet and I would love to know your thoughts. If you read the book and you have different thoughts or if your thoughts on this episode, please let me know. You can email me at
I will be back next week for another episode. Thank you so much for listening. I can't tell you how much it means to me. If you liked the podcast, please rate and review us on iTunes. It'll help other people find the show. If you want to connect or reach out, follow along on Instagram and Facebook at lessons from a quitter and on Twitter at quitter podcast. I would love to hear from you guys and I'll see you on the next episode.