First, Find Your Passion

Published by Thriving Erin on

A Discussion of “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Timothy Ferriss


I think we can all agree that a 4-hour workweek sounds pretty good. Even if you’re someone who enjoys your job, you probably wouldn’t mind having more hours in the week to spend on other things.


However, if you’re like me, when you first heard the idea of a 4-hour workweek you didn’t really think about it seriously. You probably made some kind of joke about that person at work who never seems to be around, made a comment about how much better shape you could be in if you only worked that much, and then gave no more thought to it.


I currently work 8.5-hour days, five days a week. That’s a 42.5-hour workweek and the idea of a 4-hour work-week is quite far outside my frame of reference.


The reality is that there are 168 hours in the week and let’s say you sleep an average of 7 hours per night, that leaves you with 119 hours left in the week. If you only work for four of those hours, that leaves you with 115 more hours in the week to fill. That’s a lot of hours.


Knowing Why  / /  Before we can even start to think about trying to get down to a 4-hour workweek, we need to know what we’re planning to fill those hours with, and why we should. As Ferriss points out in his book, simply detracting the bad does not create something good. Decreasing income-driven work isn’t the end goal. The end goal is living more and becoming more.


This book is full of practical tips about how to reduce your working hours, how to transition to working from home, and ultimately, how to automate your income. However, before we can get started on all that, we need to know why. Like so many things, it all comes down to knowing what you actually want in life. The reality is that we often use money as a scapegoat. We talk about how we need to work until we have X amount of dollars and as our lives go on, that number continually moves. The fear of not feeling productive, or useful, or purposeful drives us to keep grinding, to keep working simply because we don’t think we can do anything else.


“After years of repetitive work, you will often need to dig hard to find your passions, redefine your dreams, and revive hobbies that you let atrophy to near extinction.”


This statement by Tim Ferriss resonates so strongly with me. I remember being asked, “if you didn’t have to work another day in your life, what would you do?” I hated this question so much. I would give some expected answer like, travel the world, help the poor, or some equally vague, but culturally acceptable answer. The real answer, the one I never spoke out loud, always was, “I have no idea.” Because the things I was passionate about didn’t seem like something that could be tied to a career I ignored them, relegated them to the weekend, and slowly forgot how much fulfillment I got from them. Don’t get me wrong, I have a great life. I have been able to take advantage of some great opportunities and there are a lot of things about my life that I enjoy. However, I started this blog because I wanted to start living more intentionally, I want to make sure that each choice I make is creating the life I actually want.


Your Turn  / /  It is way easier to keep slogging away in a situation that is “fine” than it is to actually implement change. True introspection can be hard and it can be painful, but please do it. If you’re not sure where to start, look at what terrifies you the most. As I talked about in the post Claim Back Your Unlived Life, your greatest fears and self-doubt will most likely be hiding your greatest passions.


Once you know the why, read The 4-Hour Workweek and learn some practical tips on how to increase the amount of time you have to pursue these things that bring you joy and fulfillment.




Tyler Lowe · December 12, 2018 at 2:29 am

Hi Erin – thanks for a thoughtful post. I read the Four Hour Work Week last year just after I started freelancing, and had a similar reaction (very foreign! I could never do this!). Overall I’m very grateful I read it when I did. It gave me a lot of food for thought – and many of the tactics he espouses have actually ended up giving me second or third frame of reference to use when making decisions about my career, as I’ve morphed from freelancing into having a more structured company of my own: Do I really need to hire that employee to get to a certain revenue target? If I only worked one hour per day, what are the things I’d get done in that hour? etc etc. Overall – the feeling of terror in taking ownership of your own life is intense … and this book is one of the things that helped me realize/acknowledge that which makes it much more bearable somehow. I’m wondering what other lessons the book might have for you as a practical matter, what kinds of actions will you take that are different than they were before, even if you stick to the regular 40 hours per week for the time 🙂

Helen Lim · December 11, 2018 at 5:28 pm

Hi Erin, like Maria, I was most caught by the statement, “I wanted to start living more intentionally, I want to make sure that each choice I make is creating the life I actually want.” This is great self awareness. If you reflect from one month ago then six months ago, how much of your life now is actually what you want?

Who is your audience for your blog? Do you have a personal story you can share with the audience to help make the case for “Your turn”? We’re most often inspired by example. Thank you for sharing!

Maria Xenidou · December 11, 2018 at 12:34 pm

Erin, thank you for sharing this blog. I enjoyed reading it very much. I love how you write, which, seems to be exactly as you talk. This is powerful as it allows you to make a strong connection with the reader. I am looking forward to learning more from you. While I have not read the book, I appreciate the way you wrote about it and how you frame its context. “I started this blog because I wanted to start living more intentionally, I want to make sure that each choice I make is creating the life I actually want”. I aspire to do the same. Thank you, again!

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