You probably know Tim Ferriss for his book "The 4 Hour Workweek". I read his book many years ago and thought well isn't that special (in the Church Lady's voice, of course). I loved the idea of what he was talking about. I also loved how he talked about it. After I read the book I started thinking about how I could implement some of the strategies. Some of them I already did - like not watching the news - if it's important enough, someone will tell you about it. True dat. I have always had a hard time watching the news because basically the news is an hour long seminar of what's wrong with this world. I've always been an empath and sitting there watching an hours worth of murders and stealing and missing children and whatever else is wrong with humankind hurts my soul. It makes me want to crawl into a hole and never come out. Then on top of that I would feel shame/guilt when I would say no to someone would ask me if I had heard about x disaster or whatever the big story was on the news that week. Tim gave me permission to not feel bad about that. Hey, I'm saving myself valuable time and energy by not watching the news. If it's important, someone will fill me in! Well that's a huge load off my shoulders, for sure. After reading that book I decided to set a new goal for my life. I wanted to work less and make more $. At the time I was working 40-50 hours a week at a corporate job which also included an on call rotation. Btw, I FUCKING HATE being on call. PLUS spending every spare moment on my music. It was too much.
Fast forward a few years and I'm still maintaining some of those things I plucked out of that book. I'm working less and maintaining pretty much the same quality of life. So I decided to hit the local library up for some self-help books that might give me some new perspective and inspire me to make more adjustments to better my life. Here's how I shop for books to read: I go find the self-help section and grab any title on the shelf that looks relevant to the problem I'm trying to solve and put it in a pile. I'll go through the entire section and when I've picked out all the books I see that I think I might need I sit down on the floor, spread them out and start flipping to random pages. If l like what I read I'll put it in the yes pile, if I don't, it goes into the no pile and those go back on the shelf. The first book I pulled was "Tools of Titans". I didn't even pay attention to who the author was. I opened it to page 161. A chapter called "COACH SOMMER - THE SINGLE DECISION". The chapter talks about the perceived failure we place upon ourselves because we haven't made as much progress as we might have liked by a certain time frame. What he says is this: "This impatience in dealing with frustration is the primary reason that most people fail to achieve their goals. Unreasonable expectations timewise, resulting in unnecessary frustration, due to a perceived feeling of failure." Tears welled up in my eyes when I read this. It rang true through my bones. When I changed careers back at the beginning of the year I thought - this is it! I'm going to kick ass and book all these shows and I'm going to have so much time for all the things! But that's not really been the case. It's still just as slow going as ever and I feel like I've actually made LESS progress than I have in previous years towards my goal of paying my bills with my music. So, I grabbed the book, tucked it under my arm and headed toward the used books section, feeling already very accomplished in my mission. I found a few more books that also rang true for me, we'll save those for another journal entry though.
Tim (I hope he doesn't mind that we're on a first name basis) is a straight shooter kind of guy. He also has a fabulous way of painting new perspectives. Plus his sense of humor is on point. My favorite parts about this book (besides the section on Scott Adams, who is one of my favorite people in the whole wide world) are the "grey" chapters. The ones where Tim talks about his own routines and what works well for him. I don't necessarily connect with every single one of them, but there are so many things about Tim that are parallels of my own self that I find it comforting and maybe just a little bit creepy, but also extremely inspiring. For example, I love that Tim is a chronic journaler and list maker. Before smart phones, I ALWAYS carried one of those thick 5 subject spiral notebooks around with me. Every time I was still would write down my thoughts, feelings, experiences, poems, doodles, pretty much whatever came to my mind. I'm not much of an experimenter though like he is, which is one of the things I admire so much about him. I like to start things, but not necessarily finish them.. I love to learn just enough about something that I can have a semi-intelligent conversation about it, and then I move on to the next thing. I've been that way my whole life. 2 weeks of piano lessons, 2 weeks of ballet, 2 weeks of gymnastics.. My time limit with any particular theme seems to be about 2 weeks, then I've gotta move on to something else. The one constant thing throughout is my writing - whether it's songs, stories, journals, poems, the writing has always been there. I wonder Tim would have to say about that? Reading this book has ultra-inspired me to really get writing. I've started a fresh journal and have been re-inspired to pick up my "what did I love about today" journal and get back to making daily entries again (see the chapter on the "Jar of Awesome").
I also love that Tim likes to keep things simple. In the chapter about his podcast equipment he talks about how he just used Garage Band for a long time because it was simple to learn and it got the job done. A few years back I decided that I needed to stop letting myself get distracted by musical gear and equipment and get back to actually making music (surely I need THAT gadget/software to make my songwriting even better!). Sure, I could spend entire days playing with sounds and learning every DAW software on the market, but I decided that wasn't really necessary. I did a little research, bought what I needed and now I have a very simple and great sounding setup so I can do decent quality demos and voice overs at home, which is all I want to be doing anyway. I don't want to be a producer (but I did spend a couple of weeks trying to be one once), I want to write songs and be able to get them recorded so that I can come back to them when it's time to go into the studio to record an album.
There are SO many great things in this book. One of which is that Tim decided he wanted to have some illustrations and so he went around asking everyone what their spirit animal is. He didn't realize it at the time, but this is a pretty serious question that he found many people were quite thoughtful in answering. I didn't even notice this until I caught it out of the corner of my eye in the footer of one of the chapters. I must have subconsciously picked it up because before I noticed that, I was already thinking that Tim was my spirit animal from all of our similarities. Funny how those things creep up on you like that. What I haven't found yet was what TIM's spirit animal is. Interesting that he asked over 100 people what theirs was, but didn't address this for himself? Maybe it's in here somewhere but I have yet to find it. Do you know what your spirit animal is? I would love to know!