Zero Hours Of Meaningless Work

"4 Hour Workweek" had a painful start, since in the very first few pages I could strongly feel the make-more-consume-more way of living. It felt as if Tim Ferriss was spending his life chasing excitement after excitement, and conventionally defined successes after conventionally defined success (winning a dance competition, being a best-seller author etc). It felt as if things that were sacred to some people, such as tango, had become things to consume to him. But I read on.

His book had some practical advice, and I could imagine how valuable his advice must be especially to people who cannot even dare to think another way of living is possible. He also, toward the end of the book, briefly talked about the meaning of life. He said our lives are meaningful when we are 1. learning and 2. serving, and on this, I agree with him. But he quickly dismissed the “what is the meaning of life” question, saying that asking it is a waste of time, and you should instead do things that give you joy, excitement, vitality.

What I found curious is that Tim Ferris does not realize that he was able to bring such clarity to his own life by engaging with this existential question and reading book after book. Thus his advice should have been, and my advice would be, to ask this “what is the meaning of my life” question as often as you possibly can. Give yourself years if not decades to come up with an answer that satisfies you. There is reason why we have a tendency to ask such existential questions. There is a reason why our prefrontal cortex is so developed, making us human beings different from other mammals. We look for meaning in our lives. We ask questions. It's important to find what you want to learn and what you want to serve - what you find meaningful. This effort will take time, but it is possible, so keep at it. When you find some initial answers, test them, and then, keep asking-answering-testing, because your answers might keep changing over time.

Take breaks if the questioning gets too dense. But then, come back to the questions. Enjoy the questions. Make the process more joyful: Can you talk to more people about it? Can you read more diversely about it? Can you find frameworks that will make your thinking stronger and clearer?

Tim Ferriss encourages you to do 4 hours of a job that you don't find meaningful. He percribes these 4 hours of meaningless work so that you can have time and money to learn and serve. I disagree. I think you should do** zero hours of meaningless work**. If you put your energy and time where you find meaning, it will stop feeling like work, and start feeling like an extension of you, something you cannot stop doing even if you wanted to stop. Your energy will flow naturally. You will stop saying "I have to work". You will work when you want to work, you will rest when you want to rest. In doing meaningful work, you will create so much more monetary and non-monetary value for your society, which will in turn pay you in monetary and non-monetary ways.

Any other way of living would be an inhuman way of living. It would be a way of living that is not designed for us. Don’t give in to this game.

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