As I’ve done in the past, I am publishing here my resolutions, mostly for this blog and wish all my readers La Multi Ani, Feliz Navidad (better late than never, right?) and A Happy New Year!
I went to Cuba more than once and at some social event I was talking to someone who traveled there as well. This person was big on Salsa and I shared with them how I sucked and how I’m not really into that culture, even though chicks dig it. At that point, they told me that it’s not that hard and that even a self-help/business guru, Tim Ferris, did it and made it to the semifinals of some big tango event, having started from scratch.
I had never read Tim Ferris’s stuff, possibly because I was spelling it wrong and my searches didn’t turn up much. It’s actually Timothy Ferriss (ending in double s). But back when I started blogging, everybody was talking about this guy and his main thing, the 4-hour Workweek, sounded like hoax to me. I avoided it. But when this person mentioned it in the context of dancing, it rang a bell.
So when I had to spend some time in a library, recently, and saw a book written by him on display, I spent a few hours procrastinating what I was going to do and skimming through it. Then I got the 4-Hour Week Expanded as well as Tools of Titans and found some interesting tidbits as well.
I’ve made a more personal summary of my resolutions as well as the books and though I don’t mind sharing it with some of my readers, you have to go through the survey first before you request access, as with all the other limited-access documents on this blog. What you can access is an album of screenshots of his book as well as live by night (Amazon).
Now let’s have a look at some of the things he has said. For starters, he talks about a contest with no takers. On my blog, I gave away money for nothing and sometimes had no takers. It seems to me that had a self-promoting motive, but maybe others could say the same about me. Either way, I gave up on that experiment and will update my pages accordingly, as to make it viable I would probably have to invest in advertising on top of money-losing prizes, and I am not prepared to do that. I've found quite a few examples of advertising/media kits (tb-adv).
Tim Ferriss offered a valuable ticket to any of his students who managed to get through to a celebrity, and nobody even bothered.
Author and Princeton alumni Tim Ferriss stood at the podium. He was not a professor. He had no specialized knowledge of computer programming or advanced algorithms; he wasn’t there to inspire them to save the rainforest or spread the wealth. He was there to teach them the principles of the new rich. His goal was to nudge them in the direction of designing the life of their dreams, rather than meld their existence into the common and traditional 9-5 mentality. On the stage he had a challenge for them. He would attempt to entice a shift in their expectations. He hoped it would alter the way they viewed realistic versus unrealistic expectations. All they had to do was attempt the challenge.
But not a single student did. Not even after he offered them a bribe: a round-trip ticket to any destination in the world. Twenty students proclaimed that they would try. Tim Ferriss then subsequently received twenty emailed excuses about why they could not even attempt it. They said they had no time, too much homework, or any number of legitimate sounding reasons. All rationalizations of the real root cause: fear of the seemingly impossible nature of the challenge. Yet, this was the point, Ferriss knew that doing the unrealistic is actually easier than doing the realistic. He told them that everyone at Princeton was trying to get jobs at the top firms, which made those jobs highly competitive, but no one was accepting his challenge. Were they to simply do the math, they could plainly see that his challenge was in fact easier. 2,000 kids were going after the same 200 jobs, whereas no one went after the 1 challenge that could change their careers today.
All they needed to do was accept his challenge to get a high profile person to respond to a question. Any question. It could be J.LO or George Bush Sr. the celebrity just had to respond via email. Not only did no one try, but because no one even attempted to complete the task, no one won the trip. By the way Ferriss had set it up, were but a single student to prove they even tried then they would have won the trip. But no one did.
Yet, Ferriss was used to impossible tasks himself. He didn’t surrender. The next year, a student named Ryan Marrinan sat in on the lecture. He was shy, but he took the challenge seriously.
It happens all the time. In this economic terms contest, the one contestant was wrong, but he won nonetheless because nobody else bothered to participate. So an upcoming change on this blog will be a more focused approach to such giveaways.
Another change I’ve been considering making the commenting policy more restrictive after having to deal with Blegoo and its aftermath. It does appear that he puts off commenters and people like him have a negative contribution to this blog, so why bother? On the other hand, it’s not easy having to constantly police commenting.
T.F. bans commenters who don’t play nice with others.
I'm fine with people attacking me, particularly if they have something remotely valuable or insightful to share. I have pretty high tolerance, but if they attack other people in the community, that's not allowed. I view the blog as my living room. There's plenty of negativity out there in the world. I have no responsibility to invite that into my life. Very few things give me greater pleasure than if somebody writes this atrociously long, like five hour mini-novella of hate and I'm just like "Ah-ha-ha, delete. Oh-ho- ho, delete. You just wasted five hours of your finite life. Thank you very much."
One of my biggest fears is becoming famous and having my identity become public knowledge. Consider, for instance, what happened to Elena Ferrante (dm-1, dm-2). Sure, I’m not as successful as her, haven’t tried and probably never will, but that, to me, is a cautionary tale.
T.F. receives “regular death threats” and advises against sharing addresses and other data on the Internet, though I think that’s not enough.
But, I mean, I've had pretty regular death threats. I've had people show up at my mailing address. I've had people try to blackmail me, extort me. And I would just caution you and say, "I'm not an outlier." When I talk to my friends who are similarly exposed, they're like, "What are you kidding? Like, I should sue you right now just for, like, being a nice guy. How naive are you? Like grow some balls." And it's like, "Wow" and this happens to all of them. Across the board, it's what you sign up for.
So I would say, that's number one. Right now that's why I don't have a TV show. I've turn down dozens of approaches for that because quite frankly I'm like, "You know what? I'm not sure I want that in my life. I'm not sure I want that level of exposure." And I don't think you need it to have the experiences and possessions and so forth that you want. Bill Murray is pretty famous for saying, "If you think you want to be famous, try being rich and not famous first."
I was actually told long ago by the executive producer of the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie, which was by film standards an amazing success. The money in and the money out was just ludicrous. And he said, "I want everyone to know my name and no one to know my face." I think that's a pretty good policy. If you want to become famous, make your name famous, not your face. Certainly not your addresses.
I wrote in the past about having downsized to embrace a more “nomadic lifestyle”. My story is quite long and I’m not sure I want to write much about it yet.
T.F. uses Seneca, a famous stoic, to illustrate frugal living.
So Seneca had an expression, I'm going to butcher it a bit but, paraphrasing it he said, "Take time occasionally to subsist on the scantest affair in both in food and clothing and ask yourself all the while is this the condition I so feared." So I actually make an effort to continually do a few things: give away a fair amount of money, and I'd like to say that's 100% altruistic, but there is some self- interest there. So I don't become attached to this number that's constantly increasing. If I'm constantly hacking it down, it's hard to become attached to it. Giving away possessions, exposing myself to real suffering, not me personally, necessarily, but like spending time, go spend time with a doctor in the ER room in the ICU. Go spend time in a hospice where you see people who are actually dying and you'll figure it out pretty quickly. Like, "Oh, my God, I have to do overtime for two hours," like suck it up.
Or exposing yourself, or like going to a country like Nicaragua where it's the poorest country in the western hemisphere, second only to Haiti. And expose yourself to that stuff so you actually appreciate what you have at the same time. Anyway, hopefully that's, that helps. Yeah.
And I hope the above helps you too in becoming a better person in 2017! Happy New Year!
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