Why Bigger Goals = Less Competition (Plus: Major Media Opp)


I had to bribe them. What other choice did I have?

My lecture at Princeton had just ended with smiles and enthusiastic questions.

At the same time, I knew that most students would go out and promptly do the opposite of what I preached. Most of them would be putting in 80-hour weeks as high-paid coffee fetchers unless I showed that the principles from class could actually be applied.

Hence the challenge.

I was offering a round-trip ticket anywhere in the world to anyone who could complete an undefined “challenge” in the most impressive fashion possible. Results plus style. I told them to meet me after class if interested, and here they were, nearly 20 out of 60 students.

The task was designed to test their comfort zones while forcing them to use some of the tactics I teach. It was simplicity itself: contact three seemingly impossible-to-reach people—J Lo., Warren Buffett, Bill Clinton, J.D. Salinger, I don’t care—and get at least one to reply to three questions…

Of 20 students, all frothing at the mouth to win a free spin across the globe, how many completed it?

Exactly… none. Not a one.

There were many excuses: “It’s not that easy to get someone to…”, “I have a big paper due, and…,” “I would love to, but there’s no way I can…” There was but one real reason, however, repeated over and over again in different words: it was a difficult challenge, perhaps impossible, and the other students would out-do them. Since all of them overestimated the competition, no one even showed up.

According to the default-win rules I had set, if someone had sent me no more than an illegible one-paragraph response, I would have been obligated to give them the prize. This result both fascinated and depressed me.

The following year, the outcome was quite different.

I told this cautionary tale and six out of 17 finished the challenge in less than 48 hours. Was the second class better? No. In fact, there were more capable students in the first class, but they did nothing. Firepower up the wazoo and no trigger finger.

The second group just embraced what I told them before they started, which was…

Doing the Unrealistic is Easier Than Doing the Realistic

From contacting billionaires [here’s how one reader did it] to rubbing elbows with celebrities—the second group of students did both—it’s as easy as believing it can be done.

It’s lonely at the top. 99% of the world is convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for the mediocre middle-ground. The level of competition is thus fiercest for “realistic” goals, paradoxically making them the most time- and energy-consuming. It is easier to raise $10,000,000 than it is $1,000,000. It is easier to pick up the one perfect 10 in the bar than the five 8s.

If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.

Unreasonable and unrealistic goals are easier to achieve for yet another reason.

Having an unusually large goal is an adrenaline infusion that provides the endurance to overcome the inevitable trials and tribulations that go along with any goal. Realistic goals, goals restricted to the average ambition level, are uninspiring and will only fuel you through the first or second problem, at which point you throw in the towel.

If the potential payoff is mediocre or average, so is your effort. I’ll run through walls to get a catamaran trip through the Greek islands, but I might not change my brand of cereal for a weekend trip through Columbus, Ohio. If I choose the latter because it is “realistic,” I won’t have the enthusiasm to jump even the smallest hurdle to accomplish it. With beautiful, crystal-clear Greek waters and delicious wine on the brain, I’m prepared to do battle for a dream that is worth dreaming. Even though their difficulty of achievement on a scale of 1-10 appears to be a 2 and a 10 respectively, Columbus is more likely to fall through.

The fishing is best where the fewest go, and the collective insecurity of the world makes it easy for people to hit homeruns while everyone else is aiming for base hits. There is just less competition for bigger goals.

(Excerpted: Chapter 4 – System Reset, The 4-Hour Workweek)

Case Study: The Eco-Bounty Hunter Competition

Two months ago, I issued a challenge to all readers of this blog and others with the help of Treehugger and Gizmodo:

Get a committal response from CEOs [of carriers or manufacturers] on why they would or wouldn’t test a [cell phone recycling] solution such as this in 2008/2009. “We’ll take this under review,” “we’re constantly seeking eco-friendly options,” and other vacuous corporate blow-offs don’t cut it. Get the CEO or someone of that level to respond with his or her verdict on the solution and whether or not they’ll test it and when. If there are problems they see, ask them to name them.

The grand prize electric Tres Terra motorcycle/bicycle was claimed by Adrian Reif, and the runner-up Strida folding bicycle was claimed by Christian Paredes.

The Strida

Here’s the interesting part: neither of them completed the challenge.

Both attempted, and based on that effort and their reporting of results (or lack thereof), they were entitled to the prizes. Showing up was more than just half the battle — it was the single deciding factor.

Does this mean that the challenge was ineffective?

Not at all.

Media mentions of the challenge were enough to expedite internal review of recycling proposals at several major manufacturers, whose project leads contacted me via e-mail from the original post. Several million people were exposed to the damages of cell phone disposal and alternative options in the comments of more than 50 related posts, including two on Technorati top-20 blogs.

The objective was to elicit progress towards an improved solution, not to get dozens of responses from CEOs.

Here’s how it works:

The former as the end, the latter was the means to produce a competition that would result in dozens of blog mentions on high-traffic sites and lead to offline media, which would then reach executives at the target companies via corporate communications departments who watch LexisNexis in addition to Google Alerts.

It only takes a few to show up to make a difference.

Strive to be one of the few. It’s easier than it looks.


Odds and Ends: Major Media Opportunity

For a cover story on retirement for a large national magazine, a writer wants to find people who felt pessimistic about their retirement prospects a few years ago, but then started their own businesses, and were either able to retire earlier than they’d ever imagined, or at least live a richer, more fulfilling life once they got to retirement because they had a little extra cushion of income.

If you’re interested in being featured, please post a comment below this post of at least 3 sentences explaining your situation and be sure to mention the following if comfortable: age, married or single, and if you have kids.

Deadline for posting a profile in the comments is before June 25th (Wed.).

Recommended reading for this post:

How to Get George Bush or the CEO of Google on the Phone

Picking Warren Buffett’s Brain: Notes from a Novice

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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97 Replies to “Why Bigger Goals = Less Competition (Plus: Major Media Opp)”

  1. Hey Tim!

    I read your book, got inspired, and started my own company a year ago. Right now I’m a semi-finalist in the Big Business Contest, and of course have given you bigtime props. Check out my video (your book is in it!):


    Thanks for the inspiration Tim. If you’re ever up for an adventure packed, ultra-endurance mini-retirement, shoot me an e-mail!

    All the best,


  2. Tim, thank you for the link again. I am sadden that no body was able to accomplish the task of contacting a CEO. I commend you for making a difference in how cell phone batteries are dealt with. I am sure the seed has been planted. Once again I would like to thank you for inspiring me to contact those who seem unreachable. That drive recently paid off again, in a huge way, with a local CEO leading to a rather large consulting contact.

  3. Tim,

    On the subject of choosing to lead. I love this point. It’s amazing how true it is, and how – even while knowing better – we are forced to constantly battle with ourselves, fighting to drive towards our potential.

    As someone who independently got into Ballroom dancing and who has traveled extensively I find it both interesting and intriguing that many of the concepts you’ve written about and that seem to be fundamental to your ideology parallel with my own experiences.

    I mention Ballroom and Travel because looking back and trying to understand what choices, moments, and actions have been pivotal catalysts in moving me forward I consistently have found these two activities have been central to my self realization.

    Both have increased my confidence, ability to interact, and self belief exponentially – particularly the time I’ve spent traveling in foreign countries on my own.

    I would love to hear your thoughts/experiences on this explored. Have you experienced a similar impact? Have you noticed bleed-over from the lessons you’ve learned while on the road and while dancing and traveling?

    Keep up the great work,


  4. When I was a college freshman, a very intimidating professor challenged my class to “knock on doors to get what you want.” The idea was not to be annoying, but to seek out people who could help you achieve what you truly desire.

    It was a great lesson that I try to practice to this day. I always make sure to introduce myself to people that share a genuine interest of mine. On the other hand, I don’t bother people when I have nothing to say to them, even if they’re famous.

  5. I agree wholeheartedly.

    There’s a thrill out of doing those things people are scared to death to even try. Just because 99% of the public thinks something can’t be done doesn’t make it true.

    The greatest accomplishments and achievements throughout history are done by those who didn’t listen to the crowds.

    How does that saying go? There are no statues dedicated to pessimists.

  6. Tim, this is in regards to the retirement media opportunity and your book in general. I’m 27, married, and recently left corporate America to pursue my online ventures full time. I actually did so after reading the Four Hour Work Week when I realized I was being irrational in my fear of both the unknown (I realized I was more afraid of going 40 years in corporate america wondering “what if?”) and not having to fill up an 8 hour work day to feel “safe.” I was always aggressive in saving for retirement (maxing out Roth IRAs and 401(k)s) but now I’m enjoying a far richer lifer because I have enough money to keep me happy but, more importantly, time to spend it on the things that matter to me. Unfortunately, one of those things is golf so all this free time might be fleeting. 🙂

    Thank you.

  7. Tim — I’ve read a lot about the importance of striving for “achievable” goals. As one reaches these goals, one gains confidence and the next goal can be one notch higher on the totem pole. Also, the thinking is if one tries to reach goals that is not realistic, one will often not reach the goal and then will get demoralized, insecure etc.

    I have also read that it is better to set goals that are “shoot for the moon” goals in that they seem impossible to reach. The thinking is that one might not achieve the goal of hitting the moon. But even if one misses, one might hit the tallest mountain and be better off than if they had set a realistic, achievable goal.

    Sounds like you would recommend the latter. But I’m not sure. Would be interesting to hear your take on this!


  8. Thanks Tim,

    Reminds me of phone call i made about 10 years ago to the board member of a large corporate I worked for.

    He was a bit of a maverick within a traditional hierachical firm and was telling us that as a middle management team we should be challenging the status quo much more – and feel comfortable to contacting anyone – regardless of how senior they were.

    A few days later, I called him on his direct line, re-introduced myself and asked if i could help out on a project he was working on that really interested me.

    Given he was 5 layers of management above me – this was not ther done thing to do.

    But he loved the fact I called: “I say that stuff all the time – but no one bothers to call me!” he told said.

    That one call did more for my confidence and career than any of the ‘hard work’ I did.

    As you say, sometimes you’ve got to aim much higher than everyone else. When you do that, its often much easier than you’d imagined

  9. Tim,

    When I read the book, this was one of the principles that you taught that really stood out to me. And I’m finding that its true. The easier the goal, the more people are tryign for it.

    I’m surprised you didn’t end this post with another challenge. I’d be up for it.


  10. Hi Tim,

    I’m interested in being featured for the Major Media Opportunity, and here is my story:

    In 2005 I was in Audio/Video sales for 7 years. I was married, and my wife had a good job. I was bored, and my future looked bleak. Retirement wasn’t even on my radar. I decided to start my own In Home Dog Service (Gopher Dogs) company in the fall of ’05 and haven’t looked back.

    I’m not quite comfortable in my current financial situation. I get closer every day. Besides money, here are my rewards thus far:

    I get to stay at home with my 7 month old. I have a location in Boston that generates passive income. My business generates (almost) passive income. My days are spent researching, reading books (like 4HWW), working on (not in) my business, and learning about anything that fuels my creativity like web design and Tai Chi Chuan. The future is wide open.

    I am no longer tied to a physical location. In a few years my wife will be able to quit her job and our whole family can live anywhere in the world and travel as often as we like.

    On a side note, I wanted to thank you for writing such an eye-opening book and blog. I find my self using bits and pieces of it all the time in my business and personal life. Keep doing what you do – inspiring a new generation of the endless possibilities and opportunities!

  11. Tim,

    Can I just say that this is about the most inspiratonal blog I have ever read? I have had the same desire for, and belief in, a life filled with pleasure, rather than the standard work to death and then retire, er, until death. I have not read your book yet, but I am going to start right away.

  12. I think I may be one of the students who would have tried. When I first read the challenge I was excited. I wish you had come to my school. That would have been cool. Thanks for the article. it was motivating!

  13. I might not be making millions, but life is fantastic and (while only knocking on 50 at present) I can’t see myself ever wanting to retire…I’m having far too much fun.

    I’ve been raising my 3 children solo since before the youngest was born (that’s coming up for 17 years) and in that time have established a rewarding textile practice rooted in ecological sustainability, using natural fibres and plant dyes. I’ve attained an MA (to prove to myself the grey cells still function), published a couple of books (the most recent being ‘ Eco Colour’ in March 2008). I exhibit internationally, have a small fashion label ‘Prophet of Bloom’ and from time to time make costumes for contemporary dance (clients include West Australian Ballet and Leigh Warren & Dancers).

    Occasionally I allow myself to be lured away from the family farm (where 3 generations of us live happily together) to teach workshops in ‘recofashion’ or plant-based dyeing : this is the best way to travel, with a purpose and with things to do and explore at the destination. Teaching, exhibiting and costuming has taken me around the world to favourite places including Latvia, USA, Japan, Austria and New Zealand. I manage three languages fluently, and have an impressive collection of ‘teach yourself a dozen words of………(fill in whichever language needed)’ books. with a bit of luck I’ll still be doing this when I’m ninety!!!

    I’m a newcomer to your blog, Tim, but am throughly enjoying it! best wishes,

    India Flint

  14. If “semi-retired” is okay, I wouldn’t mind being profiled for the magazine piece. I’m 46, and started my own business nine years ago – in Japan. The business is doing fine, and I’m about to take my first two-month semi-retirement to be with my mother, who’s starting to exhibit some signs of Alzheimer’s. I’m single (but engaged), no kids (but hoping to get started on that soon). If the writer is interested, I can be contacted at chrischardon[at]gmail[dot]com.

  15. I’m 25, single, and no kids. I don’t consider myself retired although I can say with some certainty that I will never work for anyone else the rest of my life. I quit my job to work for myself about 3 years ago and put my time into a fledgling little business that I’d started a few years prior. I grew it to the point where I could make ends meet and have been spending the past few years investing in other income generating assets (real estate, other businesses, my blog, etc). Would be happy to contribute if you’d like. You can read more at http://www.StartBreakingFree.com

  16. Tim, unrelated but very important question for you; In setting up your affiliate programs, what form of corporation do you use (I am assuming, as with Brain Quicken you used LLC, the best option with its pass through nature), and how do you set up the LLC quickly, and most importantly, cheaply??

    I have set up a few in the past using my tax attorneys, but that gets expensive.

    Also, do you set up a separate program for each program?

    Thanks, and I am sorry for how unrelated to the thread this question is, but I couldn’t find any article about this specific topic. If I have missed, please send me the link.

    Appreciate it, and look forward to hearing from you


  17. Tim,

    I’m writing for two reasons.

    First, I’m responding to your opportunity to learn in public about shaping retirement options and the future.

    Second, I’m writing because I had a really hard time accepting your book.

    On the one hand, I teach acceptance and remaining open to learning and growing in my book Breakthrough Parenting, Moving Your Family From Struggle to Cooperation. I’ve been teaching Parenting Education classes from that book in Santa Monica for the past 25 years. I had become so involved in the familiar way of doing things I had done almost nothing to prepare a legacy as I approach 80 years old. A student of mine asked me about creating an online learning and teaching community and it took years for me to let it all come together.

    He asked me to read your book and I told him I almost “threw it at him.” I blamed it on colorful metaphors and ridiculous examples. It took some time to admit I was over-attached to “my way of doing things”.

    Outsourcing my Inbox was hardest, and I’ll admit, I still have some issues with it, but I’m working on them. Now we have an e-learning community combined with a social networking environment (something I’m seeing barely come into view in other places in the Internet world). There is a team of six people either professional or volunteer who are helping us get the message out.

    We have plans to expand into five languages in nine months, and we’re preparing an environment that will complete the equivalent of our last ten years work in the next year-and-a-half.

    I don’t really know what it will mean financially, but I know that for the people who’ve held this as a service project it has created a great deal of good in their lives. It also has had a quantum effect on the reach of Breakthrough Parenting in the world. For example I’ve been asked to be a weekly guest on an Orlando based radio show called the Parent Empowerment Hour.

    You are welcome to browse the Online Parenting Community. We are currently between enrollment periods, so I’d have to set you up a temporary access pass (actually, my assistant would do it).

    I’m using the honor system here, so my instructions are simple. If you, Tim, are serious about looking around, have amy (at) fourhourworkweek (dot) com reach out to juliamaki3 (at) gmail (dot) com and refer to this post requesting a 48 hr pass…

    ** Anyone else – please follow the Fonzie Law above – we are donating portions of the funds this site creates to Performing Arts and Music programs in elementary schools.

    Thank you for the opportunity and the consideration.

    Jayne A. Major, Ph.D.

  18. Hi T,

    I’m interested in being featured for the Major Media Opportunity, and here is my story:

    One of my passions in life is to inspire, motivate, and inform others that they can stand up, live a life that they imagined as a young dreamer at any age. In that aspect Tim, I believe we are kindred spirits. So here’s to you. Keep up the great work.

    I am 43 years old, happily married (now that I call the shots as my own boss) for 14 years and have two incredibly beautiful daughters Kiana (12) and Lexi (10). I am living a dream life. But it has not always been that way. In fact, just a few years ago, the stress of not growing and evolving as a man, and not helping any one almost took me down. I almost got a divorce, I was depressed, and I almost lost it all.

    Presently I am making 500% more money now than I did 8 years ago when I ended my 18 year career as a truck driver for UPS. I will make $750,000 in 2009, and 5 Million in 2011.

    In Aug. of 2001 my wife forced me to do something “friggin” nutz. I quit. I left insurance benefits, steady pay check, Teamster “union” benefits, 401K, & most of all guarenteed retirement at the age of 62.

    Just like everyone of my buddies, we all hated the grind of UPS, and it was quickly taking the pep out of our once young athletic bodies. I am convinced that it was not the physical wear and tear (300 deliveries & 250 pick-ups with packages that could weigh up to 150lbs.) nearly as much as the menteal and emotional wear and tear of doing something a monkey could do. No offense to anyone intended, but I just knew that the quality of my life was directly related to the ability to grow and help others.

    So, when UPS went on strike about 10 years ago, I did the only thing that I knew how to do to feed my family, I worked out. I ran an ad in the local paper and got 3 clients to train. UPS was on strike for 8 weeks (no pay) and I found how I could help people.

    So I got an ACE certification and started training one client at the local fitness center when I went back to work at UPS.

    1 1/2 years after the strike, I quit and took a 100% commission job as a personel trainer at a club 45 minutes north toward the city (Chicago). Since my family was living paycheck to paycheck as a UPS”er, If I did not sign clients withing 2-3 weeks, I would not be able to pay my mortgage.

    Well Tim, you know what happens when you “burn the boats” (no recourse of going back). You only go forward. You do things you never thought possible. Well you get it by now. I was successful, I opened up my own shop 2 years ago, wrote a book, and now I am writing another one and meeting some of the best holistic / longevists people in the world to try to come up with what I think is the “Worlds Best, Fountain of Youth”. Exercise, nutrition, positive mind-set, goal setting, stress reduction, and social support.

    You can be, I should say you are on my social support team. Well, gotta go, the limo is out in the driveway to pick us up, we are off to Florida to hook up with Dr. Al Sears to see if I can learn some more .

    Sorry so long, Keep up the great work Tim, and get a hold of me anytime 🙂

  19. I actually read this (excerpt) directly from your book a few months ago on my first mini retirement to the Dominican Republic. I love your teachings (muse/lifestyle design) and also love Donnie Deutsch teachings (do what you love -BTW he just didn’t get you on the today show). I put both ethos’s together and started a company for Jet Setters who are into the 4HWW. Haven’t looked back since. Thanks. Enjoy your road trip with your bro.

  20. Re: media opportunity

    When I picked up 4hour work week, I was working 80 hours a week trying to market and build and a “million dollar estate planning law practice” so that in about five to ten years I would be able to retire and travel and start working on a book.

    Reading your book, along with others you recommended, such as Randy Komisar’s The Monk and the Riddle, opened my eyes to the folly of my “deferred life plan”. After doing an 80/20 on my client base, I realized that most of my income came from low maintenance real estate work that I could do from anywhere in the world with just a laptop and an internet connection.

    So, I stopped marketing to for high maintenance estate planning and probate work, cut my overhead by 50% because now I don’t need fancy marketing materials and a lot of support staff. I still have a virtual assistant/paralegal that helps me with ongoing cases, but in a few months those will be phased out and I will be free to work part-time and generate about the same net income I generated when I was trying to build the “million dollar estate planning practice” all the consultants were telling me I should want.

    So, although I am not completely retired, I am semi-retired making a good living and able to live anywhere in the world. My husband’s business still has us tied to our current location, so a move abroad for an extended stay is not feasible at this point, but I feel liberated and thrilled that I actually have time to be creative now. My next project is to create some products I can sell so that I can have passive income which will allow me to completely retire.

    I am age 41, married, no children.

  21. Tim, great article. I’m interested in the media opportunity. When I was 18 (5 years ago), I started making money reselling electronics & media on ebay. I was able to make $500 in profits in one week realizing that I can possibly start my own business one day.

    I went on to college, graduated, got a 9-5. Enjoyed the income but realized I still had the burning desire to start my own business. A year ago I came across your book and was inspired to pursue that desire in my free time. I’ve been working on several potential businesses and seeing encouraging progress. I’m not retired yet, however I’m only 23 and I can see myself retiring sooner than later. I certainly feel much more fulfilled and authentic pursuing my retirement goal. And since I’ve started pursuing it I’ve noticed an improvement in my dating life, my social life, and success in many other areas. I think I can provide a great perspective to the media of the transitional period one goes through from working a 9-5 to starting their own business and retiring. I’m 23/single/have no kids.

  22. 27, Single, No Kids

    Grew up with parents who work traditional jobs without a set plan to retire. It seemed like what I had to do as well. Made a decision to join the military at a young age. With the National Guard I have been able to build a lifestyle built for retirement with multiple streams of income including two businesses, military, and rental property.

  23. Hello Tim,

    It’s a little early to comment, but can’t help myself. 😉

    Prior to picking up your book last night, I’ve been thinking along the same lines of finding ways to streamline things at work so I can attend to more important task, both personal and business related. I am now convinced more than ever that it is possible.

    You’ve taken steps that I wouldn’t have imagined before. I am anxious to finish the book to learn more and while it may take a few weeks to work out the details, I am certainly going to give it a try.

    Thanks! Greg

  24. 1. 24

    2. Single, but engaged

    3. 3 dogs that act like kids

    I have not retired yet. But what I have done is blown the doors off of the prospect by delving head first into the use of a Virtual Assistant to further my goals in this regard. I would love to speak to this fact specifically, and how it may seem nearly impossible to achieve these goals with limited time by yourself, but when you realize that you now have unlimited time and expertise at your disposal everything is up for grabs. I have used my native English speaking VA, at $8 an hour, to:

    1.Write me a detailed business plan ($8).

    2.Implement the business plan and run it.

    3.Do any research for any other miscellaneous ideas I have like book ideas.

    4.Help plan my wedding.

    and more…..


  25. Hi Tim,

    I don’t know if it was your campaign or someone else’s push, but in the past several months, my company, The MathWorks, Inc., in Natick MA, has provided us with battery recycling boxes for all flavors of consumer batteries. The sheer quantity I found myself bagging up for the box led my wife and I to switch almost entirely to rechargeable batteries. I am happy to know that I have a way to dispose of my dead disposable and rechargeable batteries safely. Even if you did not directly influence my company to offer recycling, I want to thank you and your readers for inspiring companies everywhere to help tackle the problem of battery waste.

    Thanks very much,


  26. Re: Major Media Opportunity

    While working for a consultancy after graduation, I was surprised to note the amount of internal politics that one had to deploy to access management positions – the only ones allowed to have direct interaction with customers. So I left the consultancy. I left to create a business because I wanted responsibility. 4 years later my company, based in France, develops software in Slovakia and sells it world-wide (mostly to Africa).

    Today I feel as being retired: I do what I like in the domain that I like, I have responsibility, I travel and I enjoy making the world a better place.

    I am single, 30 years old, no kids. I am European. I wonder whether that is that good or bad for American audience which is targeted by the Media in this opportunity…


  27. Tim –

    So you’re coming though the I-5 corridor? Like, RIGHT now? If so, and you are still interested in tips on best places to visit in Seattle, I can help.

    You probably won’t miss Pike Place Market, but also check out some of the eateries and pubs on Post Alley, in Pioneer Square, and the Seattle Art Museum. Skip the duck tour. Get a boater to take you by Bill Gates’ house on Mercer Island. Something tells me that you could easily convince someone to do that.

    As for B&Bs, try the Greenlake Guesthouse or Pensione Nichols. Enjoy Seattle, and our springy summer weather preview!



  28. I really enjoy your posts/blog/outlook although I have to let you know that I was disappointed that choose to slight my home town of Columbus,Ohio…

    Not sure what your point of reference is but Columbus is a great city… the people there are some of the most genuine and caring on the entire planet.

    The Ohio State University is located not far from downtown as is the state capitol the business climate is wonderful and conducive to tremendous growth.

    I make this statement as business owner and multimillionaire who has literally spoken in and visited every major city in the united states…

  29. Tim,

    Thank you so much for this story. I’m right now at corss roads and I have some big decisions to make in order to get out of “mediocre” situations.

    It’s been a very hard and stressful week because making big decisions is not easy and (yes) it’s a bit scrary.

    You post got me thinking and it’s provided me with the extra boost I needed today to keep moving forward and NOT to give up on my dreams … no matter how scary the journey is.

    Thanks so much,

    Miss Gisele B.

  30. Excellent post, thank you. We are 50 somethings recreating ourselves after the collapse of our business in the states. We’ve always been in business for ourselves which is a tremendous leg up and we know persistence pays.

    It’s so true that “the collective insecurity of the world makes it easy for people to hit homeruns while everyone else is aiming for base hits.” If we can send our teens off into the world with some of these truisms firmly implanted under their belts, we’ll have done our jobs!

    Did you see A League of Their Own? Fun movie, but here’s what stands out for me: Tom Hanks’ character says something like, “Of course, it’s hard. It’s the hard that makes it worth doing. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it.” Teenagers hate hard… but the satisfaction of attempting, dissecting and, with any luck mixed in with the elbow grease, conquering the hard can’t be beat. And in less than four hours a week, of course! An attainable goal.

  31. just an update from Canada…Telus and Rogers (two of the four biggest cellphone providers here) have announced that they are now accepting old cellphones back from the consumers to “recycle” them. Upon talking to a former Rogers wireless employee it seems that Rogers has been doing this for some time but have not made it a big deal. Telus, however, has upped the ante by saying that they will plant a tree for every cellphone brought back to them to be recycled. I say good on ya, but don’t pass the buck I want to know how those things are recycled and made sure that they are not just sent to China or the middle of the Pacific to be added to the massive amount of tech debris piling up there.

  32. Tim,

    I’d love to comment on your request for retirees with unusual stories. In fact, I finally (after two years since leaving my practice!) used the words “I’m retired” out loud just yesterday when a recruiter called.

    I’m 44, single, no kids, and am a pediatric emergency medicine physician. I loved working with my patients, but after 17 years of practicing medicine, I left to pursue my life-long dream of becoming a writer.

    At the time I quit my practice I had no source of income other than my savings and was unemployed for the first time since I was fifteen! My partners thought I was crazy—one called it the equivalent of jumping off the Grand Canyon without a parachute. Other friends applauded my “leap of faith,” saying they wished they had the guts to do what I was doing.

    I had a dream and I was going to go for it. In fact, I now give keynote speeches on this very topic: Dare to Dream.

    After a rocky start (a publishing contract that ended up going nowhere) a major NYC publisher called. They had read my unpublished work and loved my voice and actually came to me!

    My first novel, LIFELINES, became a national bestseller and received rave reviews from major publications including Publishers Weekly (which called LIFELINES “a breathtakingly fast-paced medical thriller”), the Baltimore Sun, Newsday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and more.

    The second in the series, WARNING SIGNS, is due out February 2009 and I’m working on other novels as well.

    Yes, there is occasional “work” associated with being published, but the actual writing is a blessing. I’m living my dream, supporting myself, and reaching out to thousands more than I ever could as a physician.

    Too many people never dare to dream to start with—so they never get started down the path that could lead them to the life they want. And, I always say, if you’re gonna dream, dream big!

    If you (or anyone) wants to read more about myself or my books, feel free to check out my website.

    Thanks for reading!


    PS: great work on the cell phone recycling!!!

  33. Tim –

    I concur with everyone about how wonderful this blog is – and how great your book is and how inspiring you are …

    …but I must take issue regarding the perfect 10 comment. While I believe you’re right about everything else (getting 10million easier than 1 million, etc.) … with women it’s entirely different. A perfect 10 has been getting compliments day-in-day out for most of her life (yes there are rare ugly-duckling-turned-swan types that don’t fit this – but they aren’t the rule) … and while I’m sure we’ll have you and others chime in about real life situations in which the perfect 10 was had much easier – let’s get to some real life understanding on this one:

    There may be places, georgraphically where the dynamics of this change (an average guy in Gnome, Alaska may be much more likely to pick up the 10 then an average guy having to climb over 15 stock brokers, 25 millionaires and 20 other hot women, vying for the perfect 10 in a place like Manhattan) – and further, I’ll state to you that prior to the late 1980’s – you may have been entirely accurate due to our societies morals and role models being entirely different before that decade …. but after that era – men realized that being a go-getter was the only way to score with the hottest women – and that meant a number of things: 1./ Make money – as much as possible. 2./ Act like you are the greatest thing since sliced bread and make yourself believe it.

    …there are more to add – but the bottom line is – the old saw that most people are insecure (which is true) and that causes them to settle for less (true also), simply doesn’t not apply to the perfect 10 female … part of the equation is simply that even if only one-tenth of 1% of men did have the guts to go after the perfect 10 – it still means that women like this are INNUNDATED, day-in, day-out with every possible pick-up line and cat-call. An entire COTTAGE industry has sprung up on the internet by people willing to sell “How to get the perfect 10” to any fool who’s willing to buy it – (you probably even know the guy I’m referring to…he’s made hundreds of thousands trying to show people how to get their dream girl – it’s life immitating art – Frank T.J. Mackey from “Magnolia” coming to life…only on the internet instead of informercials) …

    …I have to say it’s the only thing I’ve heard you espouse that (from my experience, knowledge, wisdom and sources) tells me is simply not the case… I’m sorry to say this because I think you’re a genius and you show others how to get much more outta’ life than all that clap-trap out there …but in this instance, your credibility is strained…so I think you need to do one of the following:

    1. Drop the whole thing about the pefect 10 being easier to pick up (everything else – getting a loan …getting through to the impossible etc. etc. – hey – keep it all going – it’s great and it’s true)


    2. (throwing down the gauntlet here) Sponsor an event (or even get readers of this blog to participate) where this type of challenge is literally setup. Meaning this: much like this article talks about – (contacting the impossible to contact) …how about getting a focus group of guys together – and their sole aim is to ONLY go after to hottest woman in a given circumstance (party, bar, event etc. etc.) …and let’s see what the results are?

    …I have no idea how you’d set this up so that the control group could accurately be measured – but I think it’s important enough to attempt (and if you’re able to prove me – and probably a great many other skeptical people out there – wrong … I’ll be praying at the alter of the Tim god, forever afterward.)

    Take care and like I say – every bit of everything else I’ve read (and acted upon) by you is top-notch. I hope you’ll take this as constructive.


  34. TF wrote: “The level of competition is thus fiercest for “realistic” goals, paradoxically making them the most time- and energy-consuming. It is easier to raise $10,000,000 than it is $1,000,000. It is easier to pick up the one perfect 10 in the bar than the five 8s.”

    My thoughts immediately went to the scene in “A Beautiful Mind” in which Nash, in a serendipitous inspiration (equilibrium), is with his mates in a bar watching 5 ladies (1 blonde, 4 brunettes) walk in, and says something like: “If we all go for the blonde, we block each other and not a single one of us is going to get her. So then we go for her friends, but they will all give us the cold shoulder because nobody likes to be second choice. But what if no one goes to the blonde? We don’t get in each other’s way and we don’t insult the other girls. That’s the only way we win.”

    Which is in perfect keeping with what Timothy is saying: the collective result is what everyone is after, competing at the same level. It may be lonely at the top, but that’s because the bottom is crowded.

    Scene from the movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2d_dtTZQyUM

  35. @Steve,

    No slight to Columbus intended. It’s not that I dislike the city at all. I was trying to demonstrate that, all things equal, taking a domestic trip to a location that doesn’t differ much from home vs. taking a trip to Greece = two different animals.

    From a motivational standpoint, the latter will be more effective, even when thought of as more “unrealistic.”

    I’ve been to Columbus a few times and had fun… but not as much as in the Greek islands.

    All the best,


  36. Interesting idea, I recently tried it, reading it from your book. I contacted a CEO of a management company and to my surprise, we had a terrific conversation about leadership. I learned so much…

    Thanks Tim!

  37. Re: Cover Story on Retirement. I was a self employed contract programmer. I decided to go to China, learn Chinese, and start a company here, taking advantage of my English, experience with analysis, writing, etc. to bring lower cost software development to the US. My wife, working at the time, agreed to help, but I saved money before the trip.

    Contrary to the rules Tim laid out, I have not yet started the company, rather still in the Learning Chinese phase while In the meantime, my wife has retired, moved to India, and works as a volunteer. Age 57, 2 kids, 4 grandkids

  38. Tacoma, WA?

    Tim, if you are stopping in Tacoma during your I-5 journey, be sure to walk across the Bridge of Glass containing works of art by Dale Chihuly.


    It’s the specular entry to the world rennown Museum of Glass, but it’s free and in my humble opinion, more fascinating than the works in the Museum itself. However, if you are able to witness the glass blowing at the Museum, that too is a fascinating experience. You might be able to talk your way onto the floor to blow the hot glass with the artists. Bring your camera!


    Enjoy the Pacific Northwest!


  39. Hi Tim,

    I have a pretty serious complaint!

    After just finishing your book in two days as a typical case of “studie-ontwijkend-gedrag” (Dutch for study-avoidance-behaviour 😉 ) during my endterm period at university I am really impressed! It has shaken up what I thought to be some fundamental ideas about my future! Great book!

    The problem is that my mind is racing on how to implement your ideas into my life: I am 22, doing my M.Sc in EE at University in Eindhoven, Netherlands, have a part-time job as a project manager in an electronics development company and have had life-long plans to live a life just like the one you outlined in your book/are living now. But now, instead of focussing on my endterms I am looking at business leads for my muse and have already contacted some possible fullfillment houses nearby… Curse you! 😉

    Would love to trade ideas with you sometimes! Drop by whenever you are in Holland, it’s not all wooden shoes, windmills, tulips and cheese around here 😛


    Tim Koene

  40. THANK YOU for so simply explaining and illustrating the aiming for mediocre is easier thing. I live in a blue collar town and am often frustrated with the perceived (by others) limits around me. Your post has equipped me with some inspiring words to spread around, and the motivation to keep aiming higher!

  41. Hello Tim. Not sure if I qualify, but here goes. I’m 46, married, with 2 kids, 9 and 6. I and 15,000 of my co-workers worldwide were told to help the company by departing almost 2 years ago. I’ve been retired ever since, and having the best time of my adult life. I prepared for it so we could only live on my wife’s income. Now I follow the “I don’t want to be a millionaire, just live like one” philosophy, and have begun implementing strategies from 4HWW to get my wife retired asap. The best thing I’ve been able to do is think outside the box. While I don’t have my own business yet, there are two questions I ask myself when I see something I initially want – Do I really need it? and How can I get it for free? It’s amazing what the results are.

    All the best

    Steve from Canada

  42. Napolean Hill said “The ladder of success is never crowded at the top.”

    In this part of your book I think you’re saying “The ladder to big goals is never crowded.” I agree with both.

    As for your media challenge… you are looking for people who

    1. Felt pessimistic about retirement

    2. Then started a business

    3. Then retired earlier or richer than they originally thought they would.

    I’ve found that many people who retire early or rich don’t really retire. You talk about this in your book. Retirement is a mirage. When you get there you lose your sense of identity and purpose because both were intertwined with work/business/passion. Many people have to find another outlet to create/give/contribute… and thus aren’t really retired.

    Also, most financially independent entrepreneurs I know didn’t feel pessimistic about wealth. They felt optimistic, and ended up moving towards entrepreneurship to make that optimism realistic. Thoughts become things.

    So I know dozens of people who have created wealth through entrepreneurship, but they won’t technically meet your criteria.

    Tim, are you interested in their stories, or are you restricting yourself to anomalies who meet your criteria perfectly?

  43. Hello Tim,

    I am 26, single, with zero children. I have been dating the same girl for 3.5 years and one of my business goals is to marry her and pay for everything with cash… besides the point though.

    My story regarding retirement, feeling pessimistic, and then making a comeback. Being young, I plan to never retire until I have Alzheimer’s… it runs in the family. I started my journey in real estate flipping houses and purchasing rentals.

    The market crashed… my portfolio crashed. I learned a valuable real estate lesson… offer so low that you feel uncomfortable with the offer. Also if a tenant is on drugs don’t be afraid to confront and kick their #$% out!

    Finally I am able to breathe, a little, as I have improved my rentals and I am charging enough rent to pay the business bills. So started the internet business from I am sad to say MLM… but I did discover starting an internet business.

    And this started my next failure at business. I built a small business to help those in debt learn about debt and build a plan to get out. Tough market and my mind being pulled in all the different directions on how to market make this a complete failure… but I did learn valuable lessons in really choosing a passion.

    You have to choose a passion if you are to make it through the hard times. I have been a personal trainer and into weight lifting since I was 10… my older brother was a big lifter for swimming and he got me into it. So I said to myself… “Hey you love fitness and you have been doing it forever… make that your internet business.” And the start of The Art of Weight Lifting.

    This has not launched just yet… waiting on my sales letter, but the foundation is solid and the passion is there… the value is also there in spades.

    So while I hope to get many hundreds of members within the coming months and I will leave my corporate job… which kills me… I hope to say that I will have retired.

    Retired being I now do what I want for passions sake… I can start more businesses and all of that good stuff.

    Thanks and excited to see which of all these cool stories gets chosen.

  44. Tim-

    Can you comment about how you stay motivated to accomplish your big goals? While I agree, the competition is less at the very top other factors at times conspire to thwart the efforts of even very persistent and hard working people.

    I would appreciate some insights how you overcame some adversity and continued to push on when the chips were down.



  45. “Doing the Unrealistic is Easier Than Doing the Realistic”

    Interesting, isn’t it? Life is full of paradoxes.

    A great man — unfortunately, I don’t remember who — once said: “Whether you think you’re able or unable to do something, you’re right.”

    Thanks for the inspiring post. I’m sure it’s going to be a wake-up call for a lot of people (besides me). We all need to be reminded, once in a while, that our limits are mostly in our heads.

  46. Hi Tim,

    I am an avid reader and driven toward success every day. For the longest time I would sit and spin the wheels in my head just thinking about my dreams, but never knowing how I would acheive them. I read many books containing different and unique ideas and opinions of success and how to accomplish it.

    One day, when I woke up and the planets were yet again out of alignment and the timing couldn’t have been worse to persue my dreams. I had an epiphany. To this day I cannot figure out what triggered it, but nevertheless, it happened. As I set out to accomplish the same daily, boring, mediocre tasks something didn’t feel the same. I had always known of several paths I wanted to walk down, but before that day I never truly had the commitment. Something in my head snapped and the world suddenly didn’t feel so big. I got up and I changed my routine. I gathered all the information I needed to start my business and I did it.

    I had gone to college immediately after high school for computer science. I wanted to start a web development company. I never finished. I was learning everything on my own with hardly no help from indtructors. It was a joke, so I quit. I continued learning on my own without $30,000 more debt in school loans. I developed several websites for personal use and then dropped it for some unknown reason. I went to work for my father’s small family owned cleaning company. Two years later I could tell I was going nowhere. Ford’s Cleaning was my father’s baby, not mine. I was set to clean toilets for the rest of my life and I hated it. I had no retirement plan whatsoever and it looked grim.

    After my life-changing epiphany I started Chevtek Web Solutions. I built a site for my company and I started spreading the word. It started off slow, but soon the flood gates would open. I started doing work for 2 or 3 clients a month. About this time is when I read your book. My dad passed it along to me. Despite not being ready to jump ship on the service industry I took much of your advice. I painted Chevtek up to be the only source for high class professional web design. It exploded. I had upwards of ten clients or more a month. Keep in mind, these projects run anywhere from $1500 to $10000. Needless to say, I was and still am doing well. It’s amazing what happens when you aim high and realize how few people are up there to compete with you.

    I am a single 22 year old male that saw the light of opportunity shining next to the dim light of mediocrity. I value my independence more than anything and I am happier than I could have ever imagined. I keep my business small enough to not take up all my time, but large enough to support my dreams. I don’t want to deal with hiring employees or becoming a huge conglomerate. I am happy with the freedom I have now.

    I am finally free enough to start a project that I have always felt was impossible and that I would never have enough time for. For me, bachelorhood is a lifestyle. I first had a taste of single life after I wasted high school dating the one girl I thought I was in love with. When my high school sweetheart kicked me to the curb I thought my life was over. I was overweight, had no self-confidence and thought nobody would ever want me. I spent three straight months sulking and feeling sorry for myself. Finally I got up and started to enjoy college life. I embraced my new found single life. I learned to value my independence and bachelorhood was no longer a pool of despairity; it became my lifestyle. I go on many dates and meet many new people, but unless the planets do decide to line up one day, relationship life isn’t for me anymore. Instead I have embraced a different path. A path that has people asking me how I do it. It’s flattering, but the truth is that single life isn’t for everyone. It’s not a lifestyle for most people and the prospect of having a family outweighs the desire to be single. I have embraced it and that brings me back to my project.

    I knew it was meant to be when I searched out the domain name “SuccessfulBachelor.com” and it was available. I’ve decided to persue a source of residual income and acheive that four-hour workweek. It’s something I’m passionate about and I want to be the free online resource for aspiring bachelors like myself. I’m aiming extremely high with this project and I’m doing everything I can to promote it. It’s not finished and so it forwards to Chevtek.com, but I’m extremely excited to interact with the community and meet people like myself.

    I will cut it off here and apologize for the length, but once I get going I just can’t stop. I posted it all from a blackberry too, if you can believe that. I just wanted to say thanks Tim for really making me realize my potential. I have literally turned my sad life upside down. I lost weight, became wealthy, and enjoy life every day. I’m purchasing my first beach house soon and it’s all thanks to your book. I’ve wanted a beach house all my life and now my dreams are coming to fruition. Thanks for opening my eyes.

    – Chev

  47. @ Guy

    That quote was from Henry Ford…”Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right”.


  48. I am a seventy-seven year old retired electrical engineer, married with four children, eleven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

    I live a rich and full retirement life, because I devote my time to write a nearly completed book with a radically revised view of the physical world we live in, from microscopic bacteria to the human entity. A view that reinterprets the true meaning of Einstein’s equation e=mc2, explains the entire Universe without relying on additional imaginary dimensions, or any other fairy tale dogmas like the theory of evolution.

    I have yet to see any rewards for all my effort, because it sounds so unrealistic that no one appears to be willing to accept the possibility that it can explain in simple terms the solution to the numerous unexplainable and often contradictory assumptions like, “most likely, probably, must have, by the action of millions of years”, or a multitude of other undefined explanations.

    I want to be featured in the magazine.



  49. Hi Tim,

    Regarding your media opportunity:

    A few years ago, I was running my own business…but really, it was running me! I was in debt and didn’t make very much money to pay myself with. Last year, I read your book, and with its help and help from my friends I was able to turn the business around and sell it.

    After I sold the business, I “temporarily retired” and took several months off. Now I am starting a new business with the goal being to make $10,000 a month by the end of the year while only working two hours a day. I’m blogging my progress at erica.bi — a recent post is titled “Changing Your Perspective About Work: The 2-Hour Work Day.” http://www.erica.biz/2008/changing-your-perspective-about-work-the-2-hour-work-day/

    I’m interested in this media opportunity as an example of someone who “retired” at a young age (I’m 26). I’m determined to be in control of my own destiny and never again have a “job” disguised as a small business!

    I’m single — my boyfriend and I live together in San Jose, CA.

    You can contact me through my email address or website.

    Thank you for your consideration!

    -Erica Douglass

    Sold business and “temporarily retired” at age 26

  50. I was pessimistic a few years ago, did nothing much about it (still kinda pessimistic). Until recently. I have had, actually, a few different ideas that I have worked on – (trying to problem solve/found-reading 4HWW/found your blog) – working on. Only this current one, it seems, might be taking hold. [Hummmm…… major opportunity…….His other winners were out of the box solutions – ‘go for it’] Last October (07) I became certified as an Image Consultant – TODAY I completed my first day of a five day (3hr/da) summer camp teaching job.{Fashion Camp} -FIRST PAID JOB- yea! I was petrified of dealing with five 12 year olds. Actually, it turns out they were delightful -nice children. I made it thru the day. I look forward to completing the week AND turning this type of “Fashion Camp”(fashion, history of fashion, style and color, lots of other topics -girl stuff) into an income stream. That is where this post comes in – – MAYBE I will win. Yea!

    I am 58, single, two ‘not children anymore’ people attached to me (28 & 23).

    Retirement?? One needs a purpose for living… I would just like to get paid pretty well for doing a hobby I like alot/while helping out others.

  51. Re: Major Media Opportunity

    I was born in Camden, NJ, which is one of the poorest cities in America. My parents, a school teacher and nurse, were never raised with the idea that financial wealth was available to everyone, and didn’t study the art of financial success. Luckily for me, I’ve always enjoyed learning what it takes to be successful (both financially and on the happiness scale).

    While I was working for a consulting firm, my wife decided that she wanted to pursue her dream and leave her job to become a teacher. In the private pre-school at which she taught, she made less than $17,000 a year. At that point I knew I would never be able to retire, especially with the almost guaranteed evaporation of Social Security by the time I’d come close to retirement.

    Therefore, in 2000, I left my consulting job and started a company with two partners. I focused on using technology to simplify our consulting tasks and begin billing by the job instead of the hour. I leveraged many of the techniques explained in the 4HWW (if only you had written it a few years earlier, oh the time I would have saved), including virtual assistants and employees in India, The success was remarkable. Two years ago, at age 35, I retired (15 years ahead of my goal). I now have all day, every day, to spend with my wife and three children (ages 4, 2, <1).

  52. Being a bipolar entrepreneur, I find only my (ridiculously) big ideas motivate me. The question is how to capitalize on my bipolar high and actually get traction. My link is to my blog post where I use techniques I learned from Tim to do this.

  53. Hello,

    My name is Jose. I used to work at the fitness chain Bally Total Fitness when I was 20 and decided to quit. I had gotten inspired by a lot by the tools that Anthony Robbins had suggested. I am now 26 single and have no kids. I am currently starting another company and the best advice I can give is to have the outcome in mind. No matter if you don’t know how to achieve it, just write it down. I did this my first year in business and more than 10X my sales goals. I can prove this and wish the best to all.

    Pura Vida


  54. Hey Tim,

    Just started your book, my sister turned me onto it. I am at some what of a cross roads before even getting your book or reading this blog (first time today).

    Long story short, because of a death in my family I came upon some money, quit my job, and moved to Nebraska to start a land development company. I convinced the others in my family to contribute their money as well to fund this adventure. Things are going good, I like to be in charge of my future and I like to design. Not sure how to outsource it yet, but your book has me thinking.

    One thing that gets me though and that I realize after being out here by myself. Part what I liked about working in an office was the socialization, camaraderie and relationships I formed. Do you miss this or get lonely being a one man show? Do you have the above mentioned?



    Thanks for the comment. The socialization aspect of a formal office is one very redeeming feature. I think it’s not only important but critical to ensure you maintain constant human interaction, so I build this into my schedule with sports, clubs, dinners, wine nightcaps with friends, etc.

    Hope that helps!


  55. @Jonathan,

    Thanks for the comment. The socialization aspect of a formal office is one very redeeming feature. I think it’s not only important but critical to ensure you maintain constant human interaction, so I build this into my schedule with sports, clubs, dinners, wine nightcaps with friends, etc.

    Hope that helps!


  56. Since it seems that only men have commented on the “perfect 10” question, I would like to add my input. Tim is right, because most men don’t have the guts to approach the “perfect 10”.

    I was never asked out, not once, for all of high school and college. My husband, who was also my first serious boyfriend, was the first man who actually actively pursued me. He’s also shorter than me and a bit overweight.

    I’m not calling myself a perfect 10, but I was in really good shape at the time, and at least an 8 or 9 in my opinion. However, I’m not blonde, lol.

  57. I really enjoyed your book Tim!

    How does one meet other people who live the “Four Hour Work Week” lifestyle, and get up and travel at the drop of a hat? Any social groups that support this kind of lifestyle? I started a business over a year ago which combines club/lounge-style events with world music and travel. Currently, I am promoting an event, which aims at the under 40 crowd with that kind of “four hour work week” mindset and desire.

  58. I have a book I want to publish. I am curious Tim, what are the steps you took to get the 4 hour work week published? You are in your twenties, like me, and also a first time author. What was the strategy?


  59. Tim,

    After reading your book I decided to follow my passion and start my own business. I have been creating professional development guides for “professional do gooders” (people who work for nonprofits) and I am loving it. I am able to help people manage their careers, instead of letting their careers manage them. It hasn’t yet made me financially independent yet but I am happy and know that I have something to fall back on if I need it. That alone has taken away a ton of the fear that comes with relying on a job for your sole sustenance.

    Thanks for encouraging us all to reach higher,


  60. Tim,

    While I’ve known about your blog for a while, thanks to RyanHoliday, I only started reading last week and just received the book which is easily one of the most important I’ve ever read. In your bio you mention that you’ve raced motorcycles in Europe. This is absolutely my #1 goal in life.

    I raced karts for 10 years (ages 12-22) but am wondering how someone with no history of racing, such as yourself, went about reaching that goal? Where did you race? What was your greatest triumph and what was it like?

    Thank you for the inspiration.



  61. Hi Tim,

    I loved your book and some advice you gave us was to contact “the unrealistic,” well I’m making my unrealistic person YOU. I think that your an extraordinary person and rather then swoon over celeberties I wish to meet you. My name is Tammy and I’m 23. I would like to keep this short and to the point so here it goes; I was a ward of the court and put mysef through college. I have made my life all work and no play and all that i have to show for it is 80,000 dollars of debt and a peice of paper called a diploma. This is no longer a world of what you know but one of who you know. I have so many dreams that i’ve put on hold and i’m asking for some guidance. I’ve gone this far without asking for help and it hasn’t been working so for the first time I am saying “will you please help me?”

    Look forward to hearing from you,

    Jersey girl

  62. SO glad I stumbled across this website… kindred spirits here…

    Thought I’d throw my 2 cents in here: have studied bus. mgmt & admin. off & on for approx. 30 yrs – at first I wanted to get any kind of handle on it, but (like our boy Warren B. [“…read, read, read.”]), I assembled, over the years, a very good synthesis of successful business practices.

    What I find absolutely astounding is the dearth of adventurers today, especially in this respect: next time you find yourself in the library or a bookstore, go to the business section, especially the management section, and count how many other people are in there with you. Usually it is less than the fingers of one hand.

    I have worked a number of jobs over the years, and the vast majority of bosses I’ve been exposed to all seem to be ‘winging it’. Needless to say, the work day wasn’t an all-day party.

    Ego, I guess – ‘cuz many, if not most, of the successful business methods are known, out there, and being used. When studying, I like to concentrate on folks who’ve done what they’re writing about. Don’t really know why someone would not want to assemble a cash machine (successful and smooth-running business) that regularly spits cash out at you.

    Ya gotta WANNA succeed, folks. There IS a line between 100.000% and ANYTHING else…

    Will be getting the book very soon, and reporting on my application of its principles to this blog.

    Two quotes: 1) Reader’s Digest, from about 30 yrs ago, author unknown to me: “Greatness consists of TRYING to be great.”

    2) “Who Dares, Wins” – motto of the U.K.’s Special Air Service, U.K.’s elite fighters

    Thanks for the inspiration, Tim and others!

  63. Not to create a tangent here, but to some, equally or more important are, not just famous/high-power personages, but also places and events.

    New here – any threads on folks aspiring to visit special places/events, etc.?

    Like Mecca, or that holy mountain in Tibet (I believe), or the top of Everest, or the Marianas Trench, or Lourdes, or Olympus, or, well, you get the idea.

    Events – a Cabinet meeting (prob’ly MUCHO hard to get into, so maybe it could be ANY country’s Cabinet), UN session, Super Bowl winners locker room, etc.

  64. Hi Tim,

    I’m a fellow NR … I’ve created this great “job” travelling (Italy mostly) and reviewing spas — (I get pampered for free.) I stay in some of the dreamiest place and of course would normally not be able to afford to do that — You know the story. Last spring I took that leap to Italy (31 at the time, never been outside of the U.S); I lived there for 3 months (cheaper than living in California by the way) and didn’t do a lot of planning, just winging it along the way. Crazy as hell…fun as hell.

    Anyway, is the editing opportunity for your book still open?

    Also, any quick tips on helping me with my Italian language … I’m so-so.

    Grazie Mille!

    Melissa, Santa Barbara (most of the time … otherwise you might find me in Italy, Colorado, Wyoming or Austin TX)

  65. Ladies and Gentlement Behold,

    I just recently asked Randy Komisar a very intriguing question that I’ve been contemplating for a long time. He’s a VERY fascinating individual. His response is even more interesting. You can check out his response on my blog: http://newportventuregroup.blogspot.com/

    Hopefully it will help you out.



  66. Nevermind getting hold of the CEO of Google, or Bill Clinton, or even Tata Nelson Mandela to wish him a Happy 90th Birthday….just try get hold of Tim Ferriss!

    Hope to hear from you to introduce you to my new project, titled the same as that of my email address.

    I look forward to reading your book.



    Cape Town, South Africa.

  67. Hi, i love your book and it has deeply inspired me. I was thinking why this challenge wasn’t given to me when i read it. Haha. I will have got the round- world trip ticket! I was thinking whether there is some way for a 14 years old to start working and get a good pay.

  68. Hi Tim,

    Just wanted to say that I have been reading your book and already I feel really energized by the way and the manner in which you write. I just got off working on a cruise ship and I tell you – the philosophy on ships is work for the sake of working. However, I definitely did not gain any points for pointing that out to managment. Instead I was told to ‘shut up and obey’. Wow – that one made me laugh – and shudder a bit.

    Anyway, it’s nice to pick up a book that is not dumbed down for the masses, reads intelligently and is inspiring. I feel like you’ve read my mind sometimes! Creepy 🙂

    I’ve been living my life to the tune of my own drum for a decade now (much to the chagrin of my father and Grandmother – who think I should settle down and study computers – rather stick a fork in my eye thanks). Good to see somone write about freeing oneself from societal shackles and outdated beliefs.


  69. Hello,

    I really liked how the idea of ‘simply trying’ was the most effective, as told in the link with Warren Buffet. I tried contacting an actor once, and became discouraged, but I see that I have to perservere. Thanks for the great article!

  70. Tim and fellow New Rich Members,

    I am launching my own internet based business as well as a real estate holding company that buys cash flow properties and I was wondering if anyone had a good mentor/coach they would suggestion. I believe that success leaves a plan to follow and I want to be mentored by people who are currently living the life of the New Rich.

    There may even be people reading this Blog who want to “Pay it Forward” and help an entrepreneur just starting out. I am committed to helping others live the life of the New Rich when I live the life of New Rich myself in next 6 months.

    Thanks for your help,


  71. Hi Tim!

    I was at the Naional Society for Collegiate Scholars convention in Orlando earlier this month (17-19) and heard you speak. What you had to say was amazing and when you gave us the challenge to get answers to 2 questions from a celebrity/unreachable, I was inspired to go out and try it. But I must say its easier said than done. I tried to get ahold of several people by writing letters, e-mails, networking word of mouth, etc. During my networking srategies I even found out where to find Kobe Bryant, but by the time I got there, he was gone. I also happened to find out that my friend’s friend was working at the same resort that Mariah Carey was staying at, but when I tried to reach her at the resort (the yacht & beach club), I had no luck. So now i think I’ll just ask you 2 questions.

    How on earth are you able to network so well and what is the biggest secret to your success?


  72. So True!! Most people don’t even attempt something just because they think it can’t be done. When I was younger I tried and succeeded in contacting one of my favorite NBA players. Back then I was just excited that I got back a real reply. Now I think about the mindset I had that made me able to attempt something like that in the first place. I guess when you are a child you think less about what is possible and what isn’t.

  73. Tim,

    Post not explicitly related to blog entry outside of “aiming high/bigger goals”.

    – Want to build primitive log cabin in Alaskan bush with hand tools, hunting and gathering food.

    – Looking for insight into financing, training, and realizing my goal. What help/insight/advice can you/community offer?

    – Other long term goals include:

    1- circumnavigating the globe on sail power as a “live aboard”

    2 – becoming a proficient primitive bow hunter

    3 – and building a skin kayak.

    Thoughts? Input of any kind? If interested please contact.


  74. Tim,

    Your book really inspired me — you, too. It’s really inspiring to hear about a late 20-30 something who has found a way to actually live their dreams rather than buckling to the drudgery of a life of hard work (or, worse, become a hopeless dreamer of a sloth). I’d kill to simply meet someone like yourself. If you can recommend tips/resources/etc. or are finding yourself going through Northern Ohio one day & need a place to crash, you should have my e-mail above.


  75. Hi Tim,

    I am currently trying out the challenge of getting in contact with someone who is seemingly impossible to contact.

    I am trying to contact high-profile literary agents who can work with me to get my novel(s) to one of the major publishing houses. So far I have had a response from author publicists, automatic emails, and secretaries. I have had no responses from any of the literary agents yet. I even wrote to one on facebook.

    I am going to keep trying because I want that result!!

  76. Hi Tim,

    I thought that your book was great.

    I am still trying to master the part about not checking email very often. That has been incredibly hard for me.

  77. Tim,

    So I am a jazz musician and am currently reading your book. I am trying to incorporate your philosophy into my daily life and it is interesting so far. I am not sure if you are familiar with a pianist named kenny werner, and if you are that is great because much of his mantra is similar to youre, and if not you most definitely should check him out. His book “Effortless Mastery” is eerily similar to yours and I am wondering if you both had similar muses.

    I also was wondering, if you had any thoughts about the jazz music world and if there is a way for my generation of musicians to revive it. Finally, if you have any thoughts about finding ways to make money when you have none to start with that would be awesome to hear about too, and if you ever need a trumpet player, horn section(from 2-10piece) or band of any kind please let me know.

    Thanks much,

    Jon Lijoi

  78. Hi,

    I’m Chris Formoso, from the Philippines. Im 23 years old, single with no kids.

    I started business when I was 21. My role models have been Richard Branson, Trump, Warren Buffet, Michael Dell, My mum, tycoons in the Phil. and so many more!

    Trying to recall now how I got into business and the small success I enjoy I believed was pure luck, until I recently read Outliers and finally this article. True enough, I know now that simply showing up was what made me this lucky.

    I was taking up business mgt in one of the most prestigious colleges of our country, yet deep inside I saw bs/ a lot of things i thought we would never use in a true work setting especially in business, having seen my mom grow her small advertising firm. I ‘rebeled’, got bad grades and on my 2nd year I got kicked out. My mother despite being furious, asked what i wanted to do with my life. I didnt know, and I was lost and depressed having disappointed mum so much.

    Then during summer I remembered how much i enjoyed the book, Losing my virginity by Richard Branson, i picked out as we were required to read and talk about a book in our english subject. I was hooked. How awesome would it be to build a life like he did? I read more about people like and eventually turned to studying entrepreneurship in a newly established college. I soon started my first business outside of school out of coincidence.

    My good friend from my previous college happens who happens to have the same complaints with our previous school and interests in business (yes we both got kicked out and transferred to the same school at the same time, happened to be looking for scrap cartons and asking around my mom happened to have a friend that has a factory which had lots of them to sell! With as little as 5 thousand pesos each (a little over 100usd) we became partners. And the rest is history!

    I have since recently sold my shares to him for a small fortune. But still have one running business with him also as my partner which manufactures 100% recycled paperboard products like file boxes and desk organizers, and three other projects in the making. I dont know yet how things will turn out but Im having the time of my life living it! The best part about it is the freedom of being able to go where and do what Ive always wanted (not quite there yet especially this crucial time but Ill definitely get there!) and getting to live my dream  (at the least in a smaller scale. For now.) 🙂


    Chris Formoso

  79. Tim, thank you for the link again. I am sadden that no body was able to accomplish the task of contacting a CEO. I commend you for making a difference in how cell phone batteries are dealt with. I am sure the seed has been planted. Once again I would like to thank you for inspiring me to contact those who seem unreachable. That drive recently paid off again, in a huge way, with a local CEO leading to a rather large consulting contact.

  80. Dear Tim or anybody else,

    I am reading the book with great enthousiasm. Still, one question keeps me busy and is burning:

    How do I prevent to get my idea stolen?

    Imagine you are doing well, there are always some nice people who are motivated enough to try to steal your idea.

    I am reading through some articles and the book, but I cannot find a clear answer. Although picking an difficult to reach goal might be the solution, still I am sceptical: an idea is easily stolen.

    Can you guys give me some tips and some insights?



  81. I have been listening to your podcasts as well as having read your books and all blog posts from the beginning, even the “Cubicle Escape Artist” stuff. It seems now that you mention, almost passively, that you have periodic existential crises. I have a theory. You (I think you – or one of your guests, maybe Tony Robbins) claim that this can happen because you don’t have lofty enough goals.

    The best selling books and accolades and money and fame and angel investing are all great stuff, but it seems that you can help more people at scale than you are doing. Almost going through the motions just for the sake of remaining consistent with the ideals that got you here.

    Well, Tim 2007 isn’t Tim 2014. Tim 2007 wouldn’t believe where Tim 2014 is, and being thankful of your success is something you are seemingly good at.

    It also seems the search for fixing education that has been your goal since the beginning is also there. Just the goal. This is where you don’t seem to be following your own advice.

    Why not put your efforts into that? If you went all-in with trying to fix the problem instead of waiting for someone else’s solution and hop on their bandwagon you know you are well capable to build that vehicle, but you are avoiding it for whatever reason.

    I’m not sure if this is the cure to your anxiety or not but it seems a goal worth pursuing, rather than waiting around.

    I don’t care if my grammar is correct because I believe you understand my point.

  82. Hello, today second April 2021 I got to read this blog, recommended by Benjamin Hardy and his 30 future self program I’m changing my way of view the world and my way of approaching life. Im 24 and my goal is to retire at 30. Im single at the moment after a almost 6 years relationship. I don’t have kids.