My 4 Hour Work Week Journey: D for Definition (The Rules of the Game)

This is day 4 of My 4 Hour Work Week Journey. Please make sure you read the rest of the articles that came before this one to understand where I am in the journey. Click here to buy a copy of the 4 hour work week and go on the journey with me.

Step 1: D is for Definition (Pages 21 – 48)

The D for definition section is chock full of great information. For the sake of expediency we shall only talk about three things:

a) Annecdotes that make one want to begin their own 4 hour work week journey.

b) Laying the psychological ground rules that you must keep in mind when you are going through the process of lifestyle design.

c) Comfort and other exercises meant to help you define the type of lifestyle you want and deal with the discomfort of going on the journey.


From stories that show how empty the blind pursuit of fortune can be, to stories of families that have gone overseas, to even controversial Olympic gold medalists, Tim uses real life case studies and stories throughout this section to illustrate just how his principles and ideas apply in real life. Seeing as they don’t have direct bearing on my journey, I won’t delve into them and will leave these stories for you to read.

The Ground Rules

For the rest of this 4 hour work week challenge I will paste these ground rules on the mirror in my bathroom so that I read them every evening ( I work at night and sleep during the day) when I wake up. I have attached a video where I talk about this below:

The objectives of the new rich are quite different from those of conventional 9 to 5ers:

  1. To have others work for you.

  2. To prevent work for work’s sake, and to do the minimum neccesary for the maximum effect.

  3. To distribute mini-retirements throughout one’s life as opposed to “saving it all up” for the end of life.

  4. Not to be inactive, but to do what is exciting.

  5. Not the empty accumulation of possession but to become and do what you want to do, whether that involves material possessions or not.

  6. To be neither boss, nor employee but rather owner: Owning the train and allowing others to make sure they run on time.

  7. To make money TO achieve dreams. The dream comes first and you make money to achieve a dream and don’t just make money for the sake of making it.

  8. To have more quality things in your life and less clutter as opposed to simply more things, information, people etc etc

  9. As entrepreneurs, constant cash flow is objective number one; big paydays are a secondary objective.

  10. To never have to step away from one’s dream to go back to working for work sake (which Tim actually has an initial for: W4W)

In addition to that, there are some things I will have to keep in mind for the remainder of my journey if I am to be succesful:

  1. Retirement and accumulation for retirement is only done as a buffer against worst case scenarios and is not the desired lifestyle.

  2. Interest and energy are cyclical and therefore life should alternate between extended periods of enjoyable work and enjoyable rest and leisure.

  3. Less is not laziness: The goal is always to do the least work to achieve maximum output instead of constantly being busy especially with meaningless work.

  4. Timing is never right: Whenever one chooses to engage in something like a 4 hour work week journey or anything that makes one uncomfortable, there is never a right time. Truth be told, it’s a pretty bad time for me too. But don’t let that stop you. If it can have massive positive consequences, go for it.

  5. Ask for forgiveness and not permission: If it isn’t going to devastate people around you, but will make them uncomfortable, try it AND then justify it. Get very good at getting things started without asking for the permission of those around you and apologize when you screw up.

  6. Emphasize strengths and don’t fix weaknesses: Leverage your strengths and don’t work in areas of weakness, even though it’s to fix them.

  7. Things in excess become their opposite: We don’t want too much of anything – idle time, possessions etc etc. Instead we want a life that is more cyclical and balanced in nature.

  8. Money alone is not the solution: Money will never ever solve the deeper, existential questions that haunt us all.

  9. Relative income is more important than absolute income: If you can’t move around at will and don’t have time to enjoy the money you make, then someone who earns the same amount working less hours and with the ability to travel at will is many times richer. Relative income factors in time and mobility. Absolute income is just about the cents of dollars.

  10. Distress is bad, Eustress is good: For any people who studied psychology, then you all know what eustress is: good stress ( it exists, I hear some ask?). This is stress that makes us grow and expand as people in a healthy way. Distress is stress that simply eats away at us and leaves us no better. The goal isn’t to be inactive or eliminate stress but we want a whole lot of eustress that will make us better people.

Comfort Exercises

I have decided that I won’t do any of the comfort exercises in the book for the simple reason that I am not uncomfortable about going on the journey and so don’t need to slowly come out of my shell to go on it.

So I will concentrate all my energy around going on the journey: see you on Day 5.

To ensure you don’t miss a single moment of my 4 hour work week journey, subscribe to the site via RSS or email.

No Comments

  • By PMcG, July 8, 2008 @ 3:18 am


    I just purchased this book, and it intrigues me as much as it does you, I think. So, I’m very interested to see how well its methods work for you.

    I will definitely be following your adventures… Good luck!

  • By Mwangi, July 8, 2008 @ 3:20 am

    @PMcG: Welcome to the site. Have you read through the book yet. Look forward to hearing what you have to say as I go through the different stages of this journey.

Other Links to this Post

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment