Is it possible to have a life of complete freedom without being a millionaire? By using time and mobility as a currency it might just be.

This is one of the underlying truths of Tim Ferris’ book The 4-Hour Work Week.  The best-selling author has been an adviser for Facebook, Twitter, Uber, and Alibaba, among others, which would suggest he knows a thing or two about making success happen. According to Ferris, real wealth comes from time and mobility and those who have learnt to build these dual additional currencies have become, what he calls, the “New Rich.”

Three hundred years ago, land was wealth. One hundred years ago, wealth was industrialisation. Today, for the new rich, wealth is information. In his book Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki writes that most people know only one solution to wealth: work hard, save, and borrow. In contrast, he says the rich know that their mind is their most valuable asset.

Essentially, you have two options in life according to Kiyosaki:

  1. Work hard, pay taxes, save anything left over, and get taxed on the savings.
  2. Take the time to develop your financial intelligence and harness the power of your brain to create assets.

Some people work ridiculously hard to retire early and young, but others recognize that inactivity is not the end-goal. Instead, they mobilise their financial intelligence to create time and mobility to distribute recovery periods, adventures and mini-retirements throughout their lives.

What’s the big deal?

Although a 4-hour work week isn’t possible for everyone, these simple tools can help individuals across different vocations to create more time and mobility for themselves. The key to a flexible lifestyle is structured around the acronym DEAL, according to Ferris.


In an article for Stanford’s UpRising magazine, Lauren Aguilar writes that 21st century employees face extreme work expectations like the “ideal worker” myth and the “flexibility stigma”. While our lives have changed, expectations of what we can do for work have not kept pace. Replace self-defeating definitions and assumptions about what work should be and define what you want to do with your time.


After defining what you want to do with your time, you can free that time. The Paretto Principle, famously observed by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, found that in any field of endeavour, 80% of results come from 20% of actions. With this in mind, channel your energy into actions that produce results and eliminate things that are stealing your time.


Once you’ve made some room in your schedule, it’s time to put it on autopilot. When you have a profitable formula for generating income, the challenge is to remove yourself from the equation, according to Ferris. This advice is much more concentrated to entrepreneurs who might be able to step away from their business and manage from a distance once it’s up and running. For anyone else, returns on investments might be the most feasible way of ensuring a constant cash flow that’s independent of you.


The last step in Ferris’ four step plan to a four-hour work week is creating mobility. One way of doing that is through promoting a Results Oriented Work Environment (ROWE). A ROWE workplace works by measuring the performance and output of employees, rather than the hours they work or their presence in the office. An in-depth study of ROWE found that it improved workers’ productivity, satisfaction, and health, according to an article in Huffington Post.

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