For the past week, I've been reading & listening to my new favourite book, The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris, a 29 year-old entrepreneur who went from working 12-hour days, 7 days a week to travelling the world having exciting adventures, while still drawing a substantial income. His superb, reality-tunnel-busting book tells you how how he did it, & how you can do it too.
So what does it all have to do with NLP & Hypnosis?
Plenty. For example, when I started my company Salad nearly 5 years ago, I had several goals:
- To help lots of people realise they're capable of more than they thought they were & learn NLP.
- To spend my working time doing something I love doing.
- To create fininacial freedom & time freedom
To create financial freedom & time freedom
Financial freedom is an abstract concept, but what it means to me is being able to have all your expenses covered by passive income - income that comes in without you having to do anything. Examples of passive income might include:
- Dividends from investments
- Interest paid to you by the bank
- Royalties from songs, books or other intellectual property
- Revenue from a business that runs without your involvement
The big idea is that financial freedom resulting from passive income leads to time freedom. I've always defined time freedom as "not having to work". The regular response I get from people when I talk about "not having to work" is a variation of the following:
- But I like my work!
- I would get bored if I wasn't working!
- It's bad not to work, etc.
I then explain that it's not all about working, but about not HAVING to work.
Anyway, that's all by the by, because after nearly five years in busines, & having built a successful business which generates residual income, I suddenly realised that:
- I work full time
- I take few holidays
- I have not been experiencing time freedom, quite the opposite in fact!
People like what's familiar
Human beings like what's familiar. While we might have dreams of an exciting future, what we did yesterday has a proven track record - after all, it helped us survive until today! This 'familiarity factor' is sometimes referred to as your comfort zone. The comfort zone gets established whenever things have been a certain way over a significant period of time (sometimes as short as 3 weeks). While I've been talking about time freedom for years, what I'm familiar with is working. I've been working full-time since I was a teenager. Not only that, my dad & my grandfathers & the rest of my ancestors have been working full-time since the industrial revolution. That's hundreds of years of genetics, imprinting, conditioning, learning & social factors. For me, working full-time has been familiar, & highly rewarded.
Time freedom is an attractive but abstract concept
Time freedom is abstract - I like the idea of it, but it doesn't have anywhere near the same amount of substance as my day to day working life. Plus, it's non-specific. If you were planning a holiday, & your destination was "Peace & relaxation", you'd have to get way more specific before you can book your ticket.
"Peace & relaxation" sounds good, but it's an abstract concept. It's tough to buy that ticket. On the other hand, a three-week trip to the Maldives next June is something that can actually happen.
"Time freedom" sounds good too, but it's an abstract concept. It's tough to buy that ticket. Oops!
There are no voids at the unconscious level
You've probably heard people say that the unconscious doesn't process negatives (you can't not think of a pink elephant etc). Top NLP trainer Chris Hall says "there are no voids at the unconscious level", & uses the metaphor of the blind spot.
Check this out:
Cover your right eye with your hand, then (using your left eye) look at the small cross to the right side of the image. Slowly moving your head towards the screen, while looking at the cross, & at a certain point, the red dot will disappear.
That's because the red dot is now in your blind spot, where the optic nerve joins the back of your eye. But here's the cool bit: the space where the red dot was gets filled in with the blue lines around it. Your brain fills in the space with what it thinks should be there, using whatever is around it!
This is what my brain did with the 'void' that I created when I focused on the abstract concept of 'time freedom' - filled it in with what was all around it. And what was all around it? Work!
And now for the solution
The solution is incredibly obvious: plan how you are going to fill your free time, with specific, scheduled goals. Here are some of the ones Timothy Ferris has already accomplished:
- Princeton University Guest Lecturer in Electrical Engineering and High-Tech Entrepreneurship
- No-Holds-Barred Cage Fighter, Vanquisher of Four World Champions
- Speaker of Six Foreign Languages: Japanese, Chinese, German, Spanish, Italian, and Korean
- First American in History to hold a Guiness World Record in Tango
- Trainer and Advisor to more than 30 World Record Holders in Professional and Olympic Sports
- Nutriceutical Designer and Glycemic Index Researcher
- National Chinese Kickboxing Champion
- Political Asylum Researcher and Activist
- Knight and Ordained Minister
- MTV Breakdancer in Taiwan
- Speedo Model in the Hamptons
- Actor on Hit TV Series in China and Hong Kong
Unbelievably inspirational, huh? So here are a few things I'm planning to fill my 'time freedom' with over the next few years:
- Get a standing ovation from a crowd of 50,000 people when I talk (if you know of an audience, I am willing to travel)
- Earn my black belt in Krav Maga
- Eat at one of the world's greatest restaurants each month
- Go on the fantasticable
- Get a massage each week
- Learn a foreign language