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Is The 4 Hour Work Week Lifestyle Bullshit?

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4 hour work week lifestyleI received a great question recently about whether or not the 4 hour work week lifestyle was real, or simply bullshit.  This was a great question and I took the liberty of answering it from my experience in the video below.  In case you’re not aware, The 4 Hour Work Week is a book written by Timothy Ferriss, which is a fantastic book that shows people how they can escape the 9-5 and work only 4 hours a week, while traveling the world.  But, are Tim Ferriss and these “internet gurus” really living this lifestyle, or is it just marketing?  Watch the video to find out my answer.

(Click here to watch on YouTube)

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My Experience Living The 4 Hour Work Week Lifestyle

I wrote a review about The 4 Hour Work Week years ago.  It’s one of the best books that I’ve ever read.  It really made me realize that my goal should be in accumulating passive income streams, not trading my time for money.  It also made me see the power of outsourcing and automating my lifestyle.  I now employ virtual assistants from the Philippines that help run my businesses, and Tim Ferriss is the guy that made outsourcing cool.

At 24 years old, I achieved my dream of becoming “financially free”.  I was making $5000 month as passive income and that more than paid for my apartment and lifestyle expenses.  When I first achieved this goal, it was a dream come true.  I remember re-attending a seminar called the Millionaire Mind Intensive, and when they asked the audience “Who here is financially free?”, I was one of the 3 people that stood up and received an applause from the audience.  It felt awesome, as a few years ago I was admiring those that had achieved that kind of lifestyle.

So here I was, at 24 years old, working “4 hours a week”.  My businesses didn’t require much maintenance  work at all.  I could have retired if I wanted to.  For how long?  Who knows, as my earnings could have disappeared a few years later.  But the point is, I was in a situation where I didn’t have to work and could do whatever I wanted to with my days.

I soon encountered a number of challenges with being financially free, that I didn’t expect.

4 hour work weekFirst, I was bored.  Really bored.  It was fun to sleep in and watch movies all day or go out, but after awhile, it got seriously boring.  Everyone else I knew was working and they didn’t have the “free time” that I had anyways, so most of my time was spent alone.  I traveled for a bit too, which was fun, but after awhile I encountered the second challenge.

The second challenge was that I was missing a real mission or purpose in my life.  I realized that business gives me an incredible sense of PURPOSE and it’s a way for me to grow and contribute.  Growth and contribution are the two human needs (according to Tony Robbins) that gives us fulfillment, and I wasn’t experiencing either of them.  Sure, I was reading some books and whatnot, but it wasn’t the same as being an entrepreneur and overcoming the challenges in business.  No seminars or books can replace working several hours per day towards building something great.

I needed to be challenged.  I needed to find something to do that I’d be passionate about and that would allow me to share my gifts with the world.  I needed a mission.  A purpose.

Not long after, ProjectLifeMastery.com was born.  PLM was a passion project for me and I wasn’t doing it to make any money.  I wanted to share my gifts and inspire others.  Every video and blog post I put up, I don’t make any “immediate money” for it.  It’s basically work that I do for free and to serve others.  Of course, down the road these people that get my content might buy something that I sell or recommend, but for the most part I don’t get paid upfront for the work that I do.  And it doesn’t matter to me, I do it because I love it!

PLM gave me an incredible sense of purpose and fulfillment.  It has led to some pretty remarkable things for me, such as launching my Kindle Money Mastery course, coaching, and even writing a book.  I now work on my business harder than I ever have, not because “I have to”, but because I WANT to.  It’s my passion and I am seriously addicted to it.  I can stay up to 2AM working on blog, recording videos or creating content, because it’s something that gives me immense joy.

This experience of being financially free and living the “4 hour work week” lifestyle really opened up my eyes.  I realized my goal is NOT to retire or just be financially free, while doing nothing.  I tried that and it didn’t make me happy.  Instead, my goal is to fulfill my mission which is to grow and to give.  What I do now fulfills that.

I also learned that many of the most successful people on this planet had the same experience.  I began to notice that people like Donald Trump or Tony Robbins are in positions where they don’t have to “work”, but do so because they WANT to.  These wealthy and successful people don’t have to work another day in their life if they wanted to.  So why do they still work their asses off every day, harder than anyone you know?  Simply because they LOVE it.  Their work is aligned with their purpose and it’s their way of growing and contributing.  This was a big eye-opener for me.

Are There People Living The 4 Hour Work Week?

tim ferrissYes, there are.  I believe Tim Ferriss has at points in his life.  So has many of these “internet gurus” out there.  But, for how long?

Not long.  These people that market the 4 hour work week (and I know many of them), all work their asses off.  They, just like me, have found their passion and purpose and love doing it.  They work HARD on their businesses and are immersed in it.  They aren’t sitting on the beach drinking martinis, they are WORKING.

The 4 hour work week is really a marketing ploy that speaks to people that are working the 9-5 and hate their jobs.  It spoke to people exactly like me.  But once these people achieve that lifestyle, they’ll live it up for awhile, but soon realize that it won’t make them truly fulfilled and likely discover their mission or purpose in life.

I remember reading about a study awhile ago from insurance companies that when people retire, a few years after they die.  They die because they don’t have a purpose anymore in their lives.  Most people when they retire are BORED.  If you want to learn more about the power of having a purpose, then read the book Mans Search For Meaning.

So to answer the question that I started this blog post with:  yes, the 4 hour work week lifestyle is real.  

Yes, you can achieve it and live it.  But, understand that it’s not a sustainable lifestyle to live and that it won’t bring lasting happiness or fulfillment to your life.

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Is The 4 Hour Work Week Lifestyle Bullshit?
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  • Thoai

    “First, I was bored. Really bored. It was fun to sleep in and watch movies all day or go out, but after awhile, it got seriously boring. Everyone else I knew was working and they didn’t have the “free time” that I had anyways, so most of my time was spent alone”
    Thanks for your post, that exactly how I feel right now. I’m making more money than ever before and I was extremely excited at first, but that feeling was only existed for about a month or two, then I began to get bored. And right now I’m wondering what to do with my time, since I don’t want to get back to 9-5 job anymore, but spending my time alone all day is not a good choice either, I want to make friends, to work with others.
    So do you think what I should do in this situation ?
    (Just found out your blog thanks to google and I will spend the whole day tomorow to dig into it.)
    Thanks !

    • Guest

      If I were you I would automate your current business as much as it’s possible. Then I’d get involved in a new startup with another founder if you want to hang out and work with more people. Visit the places you can meet like-minded people (conferences, forums, meetups, coworking spaces, etc) and just talk to them, new opportunities will come up. Btw, what kind of business do you run?

    • Hey Thoai, thanks and welcome to the blog! My advice is to do some soul-searching and to try to find what you really love to do and are passionate about. It took me awhile to really discover what I wanted to do, which is this blog, and once I found it I haven’t looked back since!

  • Rolf Nordal

    Great Post Stefan! Really liked it.! So I’m starting creating my freedom through your course and it is really good! Thumbs up! So next step is one that i have a lot of trouble with that could end up outstanding blog post from you – How To find You Muse! What if your not aware of what you truly love! Then what to do.? I Really love your AR view on this topic. Keep On the awesome Work!

    • James Harkins

      I would love to hear this question answered as well!! 🙂 Keep up the great work!

    • Awesome Rolf, I’ll keep this in mind for a future lesson! But ultimately, there is no set way to find your muse… it requires a lot of self-discovery and experience, learning about yourself to find out what makes YOU happy and passionate about.

  • Mary

    Great video as usual. Sefan. Makes a lot of sense. If I may I ask— when you had the “freedom” you talked about, were you working on line at that time, or was it from another avenue?

    The reason I ask is because the online business seems to takes a lot of time and energy. I cant imagine that it would ever go on “autopilot”.

    Truthfully, I dont believe that I would have a problem with financial freedom with a successful on line business. This may be because I do things with classes and communities, friends, family and want to pursue retreats and health if I had money and time.

    BUT I will be working on line and, even as the middle aged person that I am, I will still work at something I love outside of the home.

    That is like you said,, Stefan, we do have to make a difference. and be involved. I need the “one on one” as well as the virtual community. Maybe it is because I have worked so hard all my life “helping”— I have often thought about what I would do if I had the time and money. Thanks for the great work that you do! Mary

    • Thanks for the comment! I achieved the financial freedom from online businesses. Online businesses don’t have to take a lot of time or energy… and they ARE autopilot. The reason is because you are using computer systems to leverage yourself. The internet is all about leverage and gives you the freedom to travel, because you only work from a computer, and you set up websites or systems that make it run without you – no humans involved, just technology. A good book to read is The Millionaire Fastlane, it will explain to you why an online business is the way to go.

      • Mary

        Thanks Stefan, I appreciate your response. I have been dabbling with three blogs and am debating putting up lists or moving on to another model. I love the blogs though.
        The posts alone take hours and then there will be comments and training videos or webinars as I progress (which is the present plan). Also, I am working on the ebooks with your program. I enjoy the work on line a lot, but I am afraid at some point, it will be unmanageable.
        It may be why I have dragged my heels for so long. I didn’t realize that it was a problem until this post and your response.
        What kind of an online business is autopilot? I have often wondered about that for a long time.. Thanks for everything, Mary

        • Hey Mary, blogging is definitely not autopilot as you’re required to always put up more content. But Kindle publishing is – what part about it isn’t autopilot? You publish a book and it continues to make you money month after month, without requiring your time. Yes, you can get a VA (or do yourself) to do some promotions or reviews for it over the long-term to keep it more profitable, but it’s a “set it and forget it” type business model. Same goes with creating any sort of product or website that gets traffic and converts to sales for you. Even a website with advertising on it is autopilot. I have sites from years ago that I haven’t touched and continue to make me money every month.

  • Wow, what a coincidence! I just finished reading the last chapter of ‘The 4 hour work week’ today! A must read for people seeking financial freedom & early retirement.
    But as you rightly said Stefan, life is all about continual learning & contributing. So one has to do meaningful work to lead a fulfilling life.

  • David

    Hey Stefan, do you have any plans to do a post on or provide the top wordpress plugins you use for PLM? This would be great!