The Curse of Tim Ferriss and Why Living Abroad Ain’t Always the Answer

by Marcus Sheridan

4 hour workweekYes, there is a Curse of Tim Ferriss and yes, it’s starting to get old. I’ll explain shortly…

But first, this article was spawned by a most interesting conversation I had with John Falchetto, popular expat coach and blogger. (Note: An expatriate (in abbreviated form, expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person’s upbringing or legal residence.) After reading his excellent article on ‘Expat Career Myths’, my mind was opened up to something that has been really bugging me over the past couple of years. Upon reflection of my thoughts, here is the comment I left on John’s blog:

I think there is a clear movement out there, especially with the youth, that the expat lifestyle is the most romantic choice a person can make with their life in order to achieve fulfillment. Don’t get me wrong, I think living the Expat life (or living abroad, or going walk-about, or country hopping) can be an incredible one, but this idea that you can throw an extra pair of underwear in a bag and just go is kinda crazy…..

After reading my thoughts, John responded with this excellent reply:

There is a clear movement in blogging that really brushes me the wrong side.
It calls to sell all your stuff and go minimalist, pack your laptop and head off into the sunset. Give me a break.

I think any life can be incredible. Expat or not. What really annoys me about this movement is how condescending it is towards the guy or gal who wants to stay stateside and work a 9-5 because they have student loans to pay-back, or a sick relative to look after. I will not even go into the case of people who have a partner and/or kids, do you get rid of them also and go minimalist?

We need to check our myths and stereotypes at the door sometimes.

Well said John, well said.

You see, I personally love Tim Ferriss’ book. I’ve read it 3 or 4 times and very much enjoy the principles of success found therein. But I’m also cognoscente of the fact that what works for Tim(as he’d agree) sure as heck doesn’t work for everyone else, and is by no means a ‘superior’ form of lifestyle.

Every day I look around the net, there is another blogger discussing life-changing methods for quitting your job and moving to your back-pack (funny thing is most haven’t even achieved this). Many even think they’ll only need to work 4 hours a week and soon they’ll magically find success by hiking the hillside. Again, I see nothing wrong with wanting such a lifestyle, but my personal take is as follows:

1. Work is Fun: Why in the heck would you only want to work 4 hours a week anyway? Personally, I love to be challenged. I love making a difference. And although relaxation and adventure are great, I want to create. That’s why I blog. That’s why I speak. That’s why I build relationships. And that’s why I have a family. Ultimately, I want to create a life full of great works, great relationships, and great memories.

2. There ain’t nothing wrong with 9-5: Why do we now have this idea that people who work an old-fashioned 9-5 job are somehow inferior? I find such a mentality idiotic. Personally, I would not choose the 9-5 lifestyle but if that’s what you do and it makes you happy, then what the heck is wrong with that?

3. Happiness is not extrinsic: That’s right, just because you quit your job and go walk-about doesn’t mean you’ll be any happier. In fact, there are thousands that have tried the lifestyle and failed miserably. I don’t fault anyone for experimentation, but many have forgotten the true source of happiness and fulfillment in the first place. Just take the words of famous concentration camp survivor and writer Victor Frankl:

“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Powerful words….and incredibly true. Choosing a career and lifestyle is important folks, no doubt. But let’s not assume our way is better. Let’s not continue to look outward for fulfillment. Let’s just live, work, create, and smile the whole way. If we do this, we’ll assuredly find what we’re looking for.

Your Thoughts:

OK, this is one of those subject where everyone should have an opinion, and I’m dying to hear what you’ve got to say. Am I dead wrong and a dufus or does anyone else notice this trend I’m speaking of? As always, comments are rewarded with mad karma and big smiles coming your way from my little basement in Virginia. :-)

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{ 125 comments… read them below or add one }

Jon March 14, 2011 at

Marcus,

You want to create. That’s an excellent want. Plus, let’s face it, idea creation results in immortality. Your ideas live on through others and are improved upon; the reverberation throughout the blogosphere, even our culture, is powerful.

A 4-hour work week? Ha. I see how bored my folks are being retired. They take up challenges and projects just to stay engaged. I will always be busy and hustling (thanks Jk Allen), that’s just who I am.

There’s nothing wrong with living abroad, living where you grew up or working a 9-5. Happiness is a CHOICE and the definition is relative. If you wake up and choose to wear happiness, that’s all that matters and that’s all you should be striving for honestly. Sometimes we need to (myself included) stop and take stock of what already have and how appreciative we should already be.

But…let’s face it. When work gets overwhelming, the nights grow long, and you’re beating your head against pending deadlines: who doesn’t want to just up and move far, far away? ;)

Thanks for your insight, Marcus!

Jon

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Marcus Sheridan March 15, 2011 at

Oh Jon, it’s so great that you started off the discussion here today, as your comments are always so spot on. I especially smiled with your simple statement:

idea creation results in immortality…

Honestly, I’d never thought about that, but it’s pretty dang cool brother! :-)

You’re doing great things Jon and I’m just thrilled to see your blog growing the way that it has.

Appreciate the support and comment.

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Eric Pratum March 14, 2011 at

The push to “sell all your stuff and move overseas,” “do something everyday that scares the poop out of you,” “what do you want to be when you grow up,” etc etc etc seems in my mind just a public call to sow your wild oats – in a sense.

I mean, we all know that, as far back as human history goes, people have reached a certain point in their growth when they’ve asked themselves, “What do I want to do with my life? And, maybe more importantly, what do I want to make sure I don’t miss out on?”

At the same time, look at your stereotypical male midlife crisis. A guy reaches a certain age and asks himself something like, “What do I want my legacy to be? Is there something more to life, something more meaningful that I should be doing?”

Now, look at all of this move overseas, be a minimalist, break the mold stuff. To me, it just seems like people living out those two points in life and challenging others to do the same. I hope though that anyone making these calls just realizes that some people aren’t there yet, some people are right in the middle of it, and to others it’s just old hat.

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Marcus Sheridan March 15, 2011 at

Ahh Eric, it’s always so great when you stop in and leave your comments bud. Awesome.

Yes, I do think there is a natural inclination, at some point in everyone’s life, to look within and wonder if there is something more. For some, travel and an internet lifestyle may be the answer. But for guys like me, it’s simply my next blog post ;-)

Thanks for the comment Eric!

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Ben March 14, 2011 at

The 9-5 lifestyle is something that MOST people want to get rid of, so I’m sure he’s just targeting those people. I myself enjoy working on my websites everyday, but I honestly don’t have to do anything. I could work 4 hours a week if I wanted to, but like you, I also enjoy working, and growing my business.

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Marcus Sheridan March 15, 2011 at

Hi Ben, so great to have you stop by, welcome sir.

I don’t know if ‘most’ people want to get rid of 9-5…Honestly, I think that’s a little presumptuous. There are plenty of people out there that simply love what they do. Some are teachers. Some are doctors. Some work on a landscaping crew. They’re everywhere.

When it comes down to it, I think the time concept is not the problem. 9-5 is relative. If someone really loves what they’re doing, then do hours and days and schedules really mean anything at all?

Anyway, thanks again Ben for stopping by and I hope to see you again.

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Eugene March 14, 2011 at

Marcus,

I love this post. I’ve talked about this with people before. Each persons choices are their own and there is nothing wrong with that.

In my opinion an “internet lifestyle” is the way to go. And I say that because it can be different for everyone! I think that utilizing the net and starting your own business can lend itself to whatever lifestyle you desire. Even if you are doing it part time.

Minimalism isn’t the end all be all. The internet lifestyle can be the opposite…maybe you want to make extra money on the side to buy a Porsche or something…why not!? Nothing wrong with that at all.

And it doesn’t mean that you HAVE to quit the 9 to 5. Although I am pretty sure that I accomplish less sitting in a cubicle at my 8 to 5 than I do in 4 or 5 hours of working on my own projects.

I’m not going to lie, I have contemplated going abroad for a while. But this is because I caught the travel bug when I backpacked across Europe. But people have a romanticized view of living out of a backpack. I have spent nights in some pretty raunchy hostels (and even a train station) …and this was in Europe which is far more developed than a lot of the “cheap” destinations people want to travel to.

But you’re right about an existing “curse.” Due to the popularity of the book there are many people that think this is the only way lifestyle design can be achieved. There are definitely a lot of golden nuggets in there, but readers have to remember that it is written by an individual who may have different views and different goals.

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Marcus Sheridan March 15, 2011 at

That, Eugene, was a perfect summation….especially considering you’re a guy that seems to have lived both lifestyles and truly ‘gets it’.

Regarding the ‘internet lifestyle’ though, if one really looks at it, less than 10% of business owners out there truly understand internet marketing. That’s why so many are still using antiquated marketing business models and a large (and sad) portion run from technology when they see it—thus the lifestyle fits a very small minority in terms of general knowledge base.

But I don’t see the internet lifestyle trend going away any time soon. With the younger generation growing up around computers, more will be willing to try their luck…but with that the competition will grow as well.

Needless to say, it should be quite interesting.

Thanks so much for your comment Eugene.

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Jens P. Berget March 14, 2011 at

I have also read the 4-hour workweek, and I must say that it sounds nice to be able to work only four hours a week. But what sounds better is to work as much or little as we want (and when and where we want).

But what sounds even better is when you say that work should be fun. If you have a job that’s a lot of fun, we can call it the zero-hour workweek.

A lot of people think about a new lifestyle where all they do is travel, and live at various coffee shops and beaches (and of course, they are earning money while traveling, doing nothing). To me, this sounds awesome, but only for a couple of months (it’s more like a vacation). After a couple of months, I would want to create, and help.

In the end, to me, it’s about passion, and doing things I love doing and getting paid (support my family) by doing it.

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Marcus Sheridan March 15, 2011 at

Jens, I see you and I are in the exact same boat here brother. Personally, the idea of traveling all over the world sounds nice, but I stinking love my home and my kids and playing softball in my yard, ya know?

I don’t want a life full of changing faces. I’ve found fulfillment, now I’m just trying to enhance what I already have even further.

Thanks for all your support Jens!

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Joe D. March 14, 2011 at

Great article, and spot on. I wrote a similiar post a while back called “Love Your Work? It’s OK If You Don’t. Really.” about how sometimes a job is a means to an end, and your true interests can revolve around something else. It was also a response to the “go anywhere at the drop of a hat crowd” that seems to permeate the net these days. I’d like to see some of these folks drop everything and travel when you have a couple of kids in school and a house that the bank still owns. Answer: you can’t, buddy.

There are different ways to do everything. If you are truly happy living out of a suitcase, good for you. But all of these writers trying to convince their readers that backpack minimalism is the only way to go eventually smells like e-book marketing to me.

I’m a salesguy. I’ve got no problem with people trying to sell me stuff. But call it what it is. Just my .02

Thanks for this Marcus.

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Marcus Sheridan March 15, 2011 at

Ahh Joe, you bring it hard with that Philly Flavor my friend, and I appreciate your frankness, as always.

Unfortunately, I think there are quite a few out there trying to living the abroad lifestyle and poorly market the entire experience. Then again, there’s another set that’s quite impressive.

Bottom line is I’m fine with the way you want to live, but just don’t act like it’s superior in any way, otherwise you’ve lost all respect.

Thanks for you support and comments Joe!

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William Tha Great March 14, 2011 at

Hey Marcus,

Thanks for the awesome post mate!

I have a 9-5 job and I work all night every night on my blog. I am loving every second of it even though it is hardwork. My body takes a beating but, it’s will worth it. My 9-5 is pretty laid back so it’s possible for me to get close to no sleep and still be able to function properly.

I think that people read about blogging and think they can throw up a quick blog and be able to quit their day jobs. That is not the case it usually takes years to get to that point, but many people never quit their 9-5 job.

The reason someday I hope I can quit my job is so I can travel the world constantly and experience new cultures.

Thanks!

God bless,
William Veasley

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Marcus Sheridan March 15, 2011 at

Good for you William, and I certainly hope you achieve your goals.

With so many people blogging these days and vying for everyone else’s eyes, it’s tough, like you said, to make a living doing this, especially over the long term.

But as long as you continue to work hard and sacrifice William, it will come my friend, and I wish you all the luck!

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Mark Harai March 14, 2011 at

Hi Marcus, some good points all the way around.

There’s absolutely noting inferior about working a 9 to 5 job if you absolutely love it and are being fulfilled in the endeavor. I don’t think this is true for most folks – on the contrary, they seem unfilled and unhappy about the dreariness of another work day and snap out of it when they’re older or on their death bed full of regrets. However, it’s not true for all as you point out.

I think human-beings in general have a tendency to box themselves in to a routine. I think many wish they could experience other cultures and work from abroad, but don’t believe it can actually be done, or that it’s for them.

The world truly is your oyster – if you can force yourself outside the box, anything you can think of or imagine can be accessible to you. Anything.

Life experiences can put some people in prison (of their minds) and shut off access to possibility. That’s a shame knowing everyone is just a thought away from being fulfilled and happy, whatever that may be. Happiness and fulfillment are different for everybody, but accessible to all.

Sometimes a different environment can be a big step in the right direction if you desire to improve and grow.

Just my two cents Marcus.

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Marcus Sheridan March 15, 2011 at

I’m very glad you chimed in here Mark. Considering you’re an expat and have ‘been there done that’, it’s great to get your perspective.

I do think change is good. If someone stays in a 9-5 simply because they are ‘satisfied’ or simply looking for ‘security’ I would say the time has come to be stretched.

For me, it’s all about learning and growth. If that happens day in and day out at a 9-5 job for someone over the course of 40 years, then cool, but such is very rarely the case.

I think there are also many people that are living abroad, doing the internet lifestyle, etc that are every bit as timid and enclosed as the 9-5 guy or gal that doesn’t quit because he or she is afraid of change. There are many ways to run from our fears and problems. For some, that’s done in an office cubicle. For others, that takes place climbing the Himalayas, ya know?

Thanks again for your support Mark.

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Susan March 14, 2011 at

Excellent. I wrote about something recently when I announced I was becoming self-employed again on my blog. I said right off the bat I wasn’t doing it to start a movement or revolution.

And I wasn’t. I think a variety of lifestyles and work can be phenomenal. Choosing to go expat or minimalist for the sake of going expat or minimalist is the same thing as slaving away in a 9 to 5 without questioning it.

But, I do tend to think majority of people who work in 9 to 5′s don’t see past traditional options. Not all, but most. And by other options I mean negotiating working from home, more time off, a promotion, or drumming up freelance work on the side to build income and skills.

My life feels best when I combine some ‘traditional’ work with nontraditional choices. I blog and create products like iPhone apps to make money. I work in creative industries. I job hop. I look for unconventional ways to break into industries. I also love to travel, and do so for free, when I can. And I also like to pay a lot to go abroad to be comfortable when that suits the period of time I’m in.

People confuse -what- they’re choosing as freedom, instead of seeing the -ability- to choose as freedom.

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Marcus Sheridan March 15, 2011 at

Susan, what a pleasure it is to have you visit my blog. Thank you!

You made one good point after another here, especially:

But, I do tend to think majority of people who work in 9 to 5′s don’t see past traditional options. Not all, but most. And by other options I mean negotiating working from home, more time off, a promotion, or drumming up freelance work on the side to build income and skills.

This was great. Just by thinking outside of the box just a little people can experience more diversity and richness in their life. Fact is, many are just like a horse, running as hard as it can around the same track, and with blinders on the whole way. People sometime forget just how beautiful a little daily diversity can be for the mind and soul.

You sound like the type of person looking to get the very most out of your life Susan. Very cool, and very kind of you to stop by and leave your thoughts. :-)

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Srinivas Rao March 14, 2011 at

Marcus,

As somebody who has recently relocated and done some of what you are talking about, I’ve got some things to add. I actually am working a very nice job that I absolutely love. While I wasn’t a typical 9 to 5er, I was in an office 3 days a week and I was doing work that was meaningful to me. It was only a pay cut and scaled back hours to due to budget constraints that I asked my boss if I could make the move. But I did it knowing that I’d still have my job. I wasn’t just about to pull the plug, sell all my stuff, and head off to another country.

I think there’s definitely a romanticized version of location independence. But what you don’t see is anybody talking about some of the down sides. I live in a town of 100 people, after being in LA. I miss my friends and family and I had to do this at a paycut. Friends say “you’re living the dream.” While I am to some degree, it’s not all fun and games. Some people have this idea thatI’m sitting on the beach all day drinking margaritas. While that would be nice, I’m working on building a business through BlogcastFM. I also have spent close to 2 years working on my personal brand to get to this point. It’s not stable, it’s not perfect, and those things make me nervous.

I think that you make a good point that life can be incredible no matter what you decide to do. I think that many people who have left the typical corporate life did so because it wasn’t the best fit for them. I was never happy in that situation but I’m fortunate that I get a blend of both with what I do. At the end of the day it’s all about living a life that’s full and that you have no regrets about. I told students at Pepperdine University a few months back “Dont look for a job, look for an opportunity to be remarkable” which I think can be done in the context of a 9 to 5 job. So there’s really no right or wrong way to do this.

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Marcus Sheridan March 15, 2011 at

Wow Srinivas, this was moving and exceptional.

Your honesty and transparency here was incredibly refreshing. And you’ve very aptly described your trepidations with this simple phrase:

It’s not stable, it’s not perfect, and those things make me nervous.

Very powerful words for that person considering your unique lifestyle. But I have to say I respect the heck out of what you’ve done and accomplished during this two year period. You appear to have turned what could be a major setback into an incredible growth period.

I know I’ll get a chance to ask you this Wednesday when we Skype, but what’s your long-term plan? How long do you see this lasting and ultimately where do you see yourself in 10, 20, or 30 years?

Again, thrilled you stopped in Srinivas and I hope we continue this relationship.

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Stuart March 14, 2011 at

Bugger me Marcus, I was just about to switch off my computer, then I get wind of your new post, and I’ve now delayed that ‘off’ button for a bit ;-)

In order to whole-heartedly answer your question, I’d have to go into what I define as work, what I define as truly important, where I see those 4 hours going (and should it be 4 hours?), why I don’t think what works for one person won’t work for you, how it’s possible to change what you truly want mid-journey, etc, etc…

Instead, I’ll settle for this; Tim Ferris is an exceptionally talented writer and marketer who has chosen to spend his days and hours following his lifestyle, as well as tell us all about it. If, after hearing what he has to say, you find yourself wanting to emulate him (and I mean REALLY emulate him after some soul-searching), then you should devour all you can, and create a goal to live at a similar level to Mr. Ferris.

However, if you don’t want to live his lifestyle, if you believe that you couldn’t cope with only ‘working’ 4 hours and you see enjoyment in work that’s meant for you, then follow that path. Find a career or a lifestyle that better fits your needs, and go with it.

Either way, what you have to do, once you’ve read Tim Ferris’ wisdom, is decide, do you want to? Not so much whether you agree with this wisdom, but do you want to emulate it in your own life? Once you’ve found an answer (and it should be an answer that you avoid rushing to), then pursue that answer until it no longer seems like an answer.

Apologies for the long-winded comment Marcus, this is actually the short version ;-)

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Marcus Sheridan March 15, 2011 at

This was great Stu, never apologize for adding some much to the conversation….and I’m so glad you kept your laptop open a little bit longer ;-)

What I like about what you’ve said is that you’re a strong believer in people actually taking time to figure out if a lifestyle is right for them or not. I think many people read 4-Hour and simply said, “OK, well that settles it, I’m going to get my backpack.” Ya know what I mean? I’m not saying (and I know you’re not either) that we should suffer from paralysis by analysis if we are considering a lifestyle change, but for the love we’ve got to really understand clearly what our long term goals are and why we’re doing what we’re doing…..then we can pull the trigger and let the chips fall as they may.

Great stuff, as always Stu. You rock man. :-)

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Matt Langdon March 14, 2011 at

I think the point of the Four Hour Work Week concept is that you work four hours to earn enough money to do whatever you want, including work. Those four hours are done to keep a boring business running so you have the money to pursue your passions. It doesn’t mean you hang around the rest of the week. You could start a business based on your passion and not have to worry about it giving you a salary because you’re already getting the money you need to live.

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Marcus Sheridan March 15, 2011 at

Hi Matt and thrilled you stopped by.

Although I very much agree with what you’re saying here, I don’t think most people read the 4HWW the way you did. In other words, what Ferriss pitched the most in the book was the adventurous/traveler’s lifestyle. Sure, he mentions other benefits but it wasn’t the underlying theme. But Tim is a great marketer, and he draws from experience, so he described his life— I have no beef with that in the slightest, but wouldn’t you agree most skew the powerful ‘financial freedom’ principles found therein?

Hope you stop by again sometime Matt!

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Matt Langdon March 15, 2011 at

Totally agree that’s how it was marketed. My frustration was the group of people who derided the book based on that fallacy.

I liked your post a lot. I’ve been lured into this desire for the minimalist, wandering the world, kind of lifestyle. However, health insurance requirements for type 1 diabetes basically puts a big hurdle there. Until I can make enough to pay for private insurance, I need to create a balance.

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Tristan March 14, 2011 at

I really enjoyed this one, Marcus!

I’ve lived overseas (including New Zealand, Kazakhstan, China, and Ukraine) for about a quarter of my life and absolutely love it. I fully plan on spending most of my life in other countries. I love the fact that simply existing in a different place is more of an adventure than a lot of the “adventurous” things I can do in a place that I’ve been for a while.

The 4-Hour Work Week changed my life when I read it after getting back from Ukraine in 2007. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but then I read the book and thought YES! THIS IS THE ANSWER! And I’m not going to lie, a huge part of that is the location independent lifestyle. It’s something I’ve always wanted but had no idea how to achieve. But I’ve recently been prepping for that jump to go back overseas by decluttering my life and getting rid of a lot of my junk.

Now having said all of that, I agree that the disdain and arrogance in the blogosphere regarding the 9-5 and location independence is very distasteful. Yes, I have noticed that trend. Like you said, do whatever makes you happy! If that includes a 9-5 job, then more power to ya!

There is no lifestyle design one-size-fits-all magic bullet, and to pretend that there is one just shows that you’re dumb, uneducated, and short-sighted.

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John Falchetto March 14, 2011 at

Hi Tristan,
I often think of location independence is like grading a climb, very subjective.
What I think is important is really what makes you happy as you say. Who cares really about the label? Location independence, 5.12?

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Tristan March 14, 2011 at

Ah, John, you’ve struck a chord with me there! I actually do NOT think that rating a climb is very subjective. I’ve done nearly 200 first ascents from 3-bolt sport routes to 1900+ foot sport climbs to multipitch trad and aid routes and rated each one. Sure, 5.12a might feel like 5.11c to one person and 5.12b to someone else, but in my experience, a consensus is definitely reachable by 95% of the climbers that do a route.

Not quite sure how that relates to location independence, but I can never miss a chance to talk about climbing :)

But you’re right, it doesn’t matter how hard you climb as long as you’re having fun. Same with the whole lifestyle design thing.

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John Falchetto March 14, 2011 at

Hi Tristan, actually I used 5.12 but as you know as soon as you leave the US of A, everyone uses a different system. Here in France they have 5a, 6c etc..The worst in my opinion is the British system with its VD and HVD. So everyone defines it as they see. Yes you are right there is some consensus on routes but different nations see it differently.

I think it’s the same with location independence, I don’t think you will find two people who define it the same way.

Same conclusion though, it doesn’t really matter!

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Marcus Sheridan March 15, 2011 at

Hey Tristan, man am I glad you stopped by for the conversation here, as I’m familiar with your rich history and the fact that your a sick linguist with some major adventure and travel traits in your bones ;-)

And to tell you the truth, I see you as being a life-long blogger, and fans like me will be able to keep up with your adventures well after you’ve left Utah and commenced following your heart. Personally, I’m looking very forward to witnessing it all unfold, which is one reason why I very much hope your internet biz blows up this year as you hope it will so as to give you that freedom and flexibility.

You’ve got a great perspective and balance Tristan, and I really appreciate your thoughts here bud.

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John Falchetto March 14, 2011 at

Hi Marcus, great post. You prompted me to get my Tim Ferris post out of draft mode and finish it.
First off, I agree TF is an awesome marketer, he single handedly re-wrote the book on publishing (sorry Seth). Now there are several ideas in his book which truly irritate me and these aspects seem to have been picked up by many location independent bloggers.

1. The disdain for employees, only entrepreneurs are worthy. This is bullshit, not everyone can or should be an entrepreneur. There are tons of reason I mentioned some in my comment.
2. Outsource everything including your relationships. Well again this is bull, I am online and in my business because I love the people I get to meet. I would never outsource my relationships online or otherwise.
3. Separate your life from your work. If you are a true entrepreneur you should be working at something that brings value to your life. By the same token the life you lead should enrich your work. I believe this to be the most important thing for any entrepreneur.

Finally, every entrepreneur I know works a lot more than 9-5 and puts in a lot more hours than most people I know who are employees. Why? Because they love what they do, the line is often blurred between hobby and work.

Marcus you are a fan of the Hedgehog and so am I, Ferri’s model takes out one big circle out of it, the passion. What is work without passion? A fast way to kill your soul.

Oh and by the way, location independence doesn’t exist, it’s myth, it’s beautiful and just like unicorns I have to see it. Joe D. is right.

See you soon on Skype bud.

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Marcus Sheridan March 15, 2011 at

Slam….bam…thank you Ma’am :-)

Wow, that was awesome John. I don’t think you need to pull out your first draft at all, as it all was said as perfectly and as opinionated as one could hope for above.

You’ve really made some excellent points about 4HWW, ones that many wouldn’t necessarily see or would intentionally overlook. Reading your thoughts, I see we both agree on the following principles:

Employees are not ‘bad’.
Relationships are ‘good’.
Work and life are intricately connected— that’s undeniable.

Love your passion and the fact that you really ‘get’ this John, and I’m so grateful you inspired this article (which blew my traffic sky high yesterday btw).

Thanks for all your support bud.

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Davina K. Brewer March 15, 2011 at

John, agree with Marcus’ “slam bam” comment. Well said.

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John Falchetto March 15, 2011 at

Thanks Davina, coming from you this means a lot to me. :)

I hope you had a great birthday !

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Rachel Rodgers March 14, 2011 at

I enjoyed this post. All of the location independence talk and the “work should be fun” talk messed my head up for a while. I thought to myself, I’m a lawyer, how in the hell is that supposed to be fun? Honestly, being a lawyer is (usually) not fun but I do find the work fulfilling and after trying other things realize that I won’t be happy unless I am really helping people and impacting other people’s lives in a meaningful way. So I am not in a creative profession that allows me to have fun all day, but I do spend my time doing work that makes me feel good and helps me provide for my family.

Also, I love to travel. I love to spend time overseas and experience new cultures (and have dreams of having a vacation home in the south of France) but all my travels abroad have taught me that there is no place like home. When I have been abroad, I’ve missed milestones in the lives of my truly favorite people in the world and that totally sucked. I love spending time abroad but I love my friends and family more. So as I get older, I find that I want to share experiences with them more than I want to travel. Now, if I could get my friends and family to do group trips abroad that would be the holy grail. :)

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Marcus Sheridan March 15, 2011 at

Rachel, Sweeeeet comment!!

Love your life experience here and how you’ve been open enough to say you’ve debated between the two lifestyles and seem to have found a happy medium and peace and satisfaction with your job along the way. Awesome.

I think you brought up another great point as well that hasn’t been mention until now– Time and priorities.

Often times, as we get older, we tend to focus on real relationships–people–those who we love the most. That is one thing I wonder about Tim Ferriss. When he is 70, what will his thoughts and feelings be. Will he have any regrets or will he look back with a complete smile and satisfaction? I honestly can’t make a predication but I hope he is able to attain that same thing we’re all after– inner peace, happiness, and fulfillment.

Thanks again Rachel for the tremendous comment. Please come back again.

Marcus

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Marlee March 14, 2011 at

Marcus, Marcus, Marcus,

I love how you gently stir the pot. And…I agree with you and John. I too lived overseas, in 11 different countries, and executed the life/work balance (practicing law) for about 6 months. By end of it, much like Rachel, I just wanted to stop having to lug my entire life everywhere I went.

It was an incredible, rich, lively, adventurous experience, and I’d do it over again a million times. I’d even recommend it to anyone who has thought through and planned for the experience.

HOWEVER, you made a very important point:
“…just because you quit your job and go walk-about doesn’t mean you’ll be any happier. ”
— Ooooo! Got em’

Your point here extends far beyond the romanticism associated with the location independent entrepreneur or the negative light shed on the faithful 9 to 5er.

Here’s how I’d put it:
Whatever thing, person, place, or _____ that you are looking for to make you happy, WON’T.

I think people buy the “you’ll be happy when” myth way too much, and it only leads to more disappointment. If you haven’t found your lasting joy within, you’re not going to find it at the The Grasshopper in Amsterdam, at Park Güell in Spain, or in the Jungfrau region of Interlaken, Switzerland (okay maybe there – but probably not).

As Mr. Frankel implied happiness is a choice. You either choose it now and open yourself up to the idea of abundance from where you currently stand, or you chase rainbows and leprechauns till you’re totally burnt and bitter.

If you want to take up Tim Feriss’s advice to the T for the sake of the experience, by all means go for it! But know that no one else can define success, happiness, or fulfillment for you. Many might suggest you try what worked for them, but remember…you are you, so do what works for you. You are no more nor any less for your preference.

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Marcus Sheridan March 15, 2011 at

Marlee, you are one awesome lady :-) This comment was one exceptional thought after another. Seriously. But I’ve just got to repeat something you said:

I think people buy the “you’ll be happy when” myth way too much, and it only leads to more disappointment. If you haven’t found your lasting joy within, you’re not going to find it at the The Grasshopper in Amsterdam, at Park Güell in Spain, or in the Jungfrau region of Interlaken, Switzerland (okay maybe there – but probably not)……..As Mr. Frankel implied happiness is a choice. You either choose it now and open yourself up to the idea of abundance from where you currently stand, or you chase rainbows and leprechauns till you’re totally burnt and bitter.

Wow, that was good. Really good. And I’m assuming you’ve probably been to all of them, haven’t you Marlee? I’d love to read about some of those adventures on your blog sometime (unless you’ve already mentioned them, if so, point me the way ;-) )

Thanks for your incredible insight Marlee. I very much value every time you stop by.

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Kevin Douglas March 14, 2011 at

Great post, Marcus!

I, like every other “yahoo”, have read the 4HWW and was inspired. However, I wasn’t inspired as much as other “Ferrisites” to run out and do it. Like others before me in the comments have mentioned, Ferriss romanticized the idea of living abroad and dominating the world with muses, and so on. But for some, as you mentioned, it is not possible due to whatever reason (money, familial obligations, house, etc.)

While it sounds better on paper than in reality, I think it’s a great alternative to those that CAN do it. Especially for the retirees and those who have worked for 40 years + in the same company with no real vacation.

My thought about it is, I like the idea to take the US dollar, while it is still strong, and take it to an economy where it will go farther. That’s just just basic economics. Get the most for your dollar. And I think that’s what a lot of the younger people are starting to realize as well. I myself would find it very hard to do what some of them have done. But, I’m seriously thinking of doing it.

I see both sides to the argument. I know it’s not an easy life and much harder to attain if you don’t have a minimum of $10,000 saved up to start. But, I would definitely like to do it, even just for a little while. ;)

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Marcus Sheridan March 15, 2011 at

Very cool take on this Kevin and I’m so glad you visited my blog today.

Like you, I think there is nothing wrong with some good ‘ol experimentation. If someone is not tied down to certain responsibilities and has a desire to go walk-about, then sweet. Good for them. I lived in Chile for a couple of years myself and it was as enriching as anything I’ve ever been a part of.

But one area where I disagree with you Kevin is using economics as a reason to go. Honestly, I don’t think money should at all drive this type of decision. If someone struggles to get ahead in the states, I think they’ll struggle when they live in the San Pablo, you know what I mean? I think this type of decision must come from a burning desire to see the world, travel, and be on the move.

But hey, that’s purely my opinion, and I’m sure I could be saying something very differently down the road.

Thanks again Kevin for stopping by, I really appreciate the comment!

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James M March 14, 2011 at

I think a lot of the people that live location-independent lives tend to ignore that this world functions on people who spend the majority of their lives in one place. It would be utterly ridiculous to have location-independent farmers who could go from growing corn in Nebraska to growing coffee in Brazil to growing rice in China. The majority of human lives depends on these people, and it has been this way throughout human history.

There is room for those explorers, but most explorers in the previous centuries have been seeking out new sources of riches or people to trade with to help out their own countrymen back home. I don’t see how the current trend of “pick up and go” is really helping people back home, or anyone, unless they are on a mission to volunteer in areas that need help (ie Japan, Haiti, etc).

There are exceptions to the rule (Robert Dempsey at Life of the Freelancer comes to mind), but this location-independent lifestyle has been heavily romanticized to the point where it is impractical for the majority of us.

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Marcus Sheridan March 15, 2011 at

Very keen observations James. When it comes down to it, if everyone lived a location-independent lifestyle, what would we have? No doubt, we’d have some major production issues, just as the Indians had hundreds of years ago on the plains.

I thought of Robert when I wrote this article. He’s clearly got the right perspective and isn’t dogmatic whatsoever with his lifestyle. Steve Scott is the same way.

There are plenty of wonderful people out there living this lifestyle, but the ones that turn a location-independence into some dogmatic religion are spoiling the bunch.

Good stuff James, very much appreciate your support man.

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Jk Allen March 14, 2011 at

Marcus – I really don’t have a lot of value to share here. But considering that I just purchase the book of reference here (literally, yesterday during my weekly-weekend bookstore visit), I find that it’s a sign that I must comment!!!

Now let me start with an admission – I have never, ever had the want to live abroad. I think others stories of their time living in foreign places and becoming embedded in new culture is exciting and captivating. But like an action movie…I’ll watch it, but I’d prefer not to live it! Why? Well, in my eyes, I already have it made…I don’t mean I have all that I want – but I have all that matters most to me, my family. Sure, I deal with things I don’t enjoy…but I think that’s a thing that comes with life – no human is immune to that – or am I missing something?

So, that’s my initial take on this…honestly, what separates my mind, from others in this category (I think) is exposure. I haven’t been exposed to this type of lifestyle…wasn’t even really familiar with it at all prior to jumping into the blogosphere.

Great closing Marucs: “…let’s not assume our way is better. Let’s not continue to look outward for fulfillment. Let’s just live, work, create, and smile the whole way. If we do this, we’ll assuredly find what we’re looking for.”

I’m cool with people wanting to live a minimalist lifestyle. I honestly couldn’t identify anyway that it affects me in a negative way…Sure, I end up looking like the L7 for have a square job (9-5), but for now – that’s what I’ve been commissioned to do, so I do it, and do it to my best ability. PEACE

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Marcus Sheridan March 15, 2011 at

I’ll be curious to hear your take on the book once you’ve completed it JK. You’re such a grounded guy with a love of wife and kids and coaching your son play ball and all those things– which in many ways is not the picture painted in 4HWW. That being said, if you’re able to apply its principles, and really get to a point where you ‘work’ less yet make more money, and ultimately spend more time doing what you love with the fam and your other projects, then that’s awesome.

So let me know your thoughts on everything when your done and as always, thrilled you stopped by bud. :-)

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CCelli73 March 15, 2011 at

It’s amazingly true how people waste their lives feeling unhappy with what they have, even though what they do have far outweighs what they don’t. And what the heck IS wrong with 9-5? You’re right…there are plenty of good, honest people who work 9-5 jobs, and then there are those who just can’t work like that. Everyone is different, and what works for one person may not work for another.

I know eventually I’ll probably live overseas. I’m married to someone from another country, and I’ve gotten used to the idea of leaving America. However, I’m not at all charmed, nor do I have unrealistic expectations about the whole expat experience. It will be incredibly challenging, and I know that. I’m also not in a rush to leave the country I love and call home, because I love the U.S.

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Marcus Sheridan March 15, 2011 at

Beautifully said CCelli…Glad to know you and I have a common passion– a love for our country and a feeling of being content in our homeland.

Good luck with the expat lifestyle, I’d love to know how it all works out for you!

Marcus

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Rajka Milanovic Galbraith March 15, 2011 at

Dear Marcus

I found you through Jon. He is expatlifecoach and I expatdoctormom. I agree with you whole heartedly. Glad I did as I just subscribed!

Tim Ferriss does have some good ideas but let’s face it he is young (in his actions) and still sowing his wild oats.

And I agree with John when you quoted him: “Any life can be incredible!” It is all about choice and creating the balance you desire. A few other bloggers (Marin Kate and Pat Flynn) also commented on Tim’s work ethic in their podcasts saying that just because he is able to work 4 hours doesn’t mean he does. He is the kind of person who is driven and likely working a lot more especially with every new project.

I am disappointed with who Mr Ferriss has become with the release of his new book. It is all hype and all about the media. A doctor out of California reviewed his new book on amazon and pretty much refuted a lot of what Tim had to say.

Looking forward to your next post!
Rajka

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Marcus Sheridan March 15, 2011 at

Welcome Rajka, I’m thrilled you’ve stopped in and commented. :-)

If you don’t mind me asking, what are a few of the refuted points of Ferriss’ new book? I hadn’t run across that article.

And I agree with what you said about Tim’s work ethic. I’m sure he actually spends much more time on his many projects, and why does he do it?? Because he loves to ‘work’ ;-)

Thanks again!

Marcus

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Crystal March 15, 2011 at
Marcus Sheridan March 15, 2011 at

Thanks Crystal. Read the review. Now I got it!

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Mitch Mitchell March 15, 2011 at

I know I don’t think work is fun, but I think it’s in the definition of the term. For instance, you said you love creating; so do I, but the problem is that my career supersedes my ability to take enough time out to create. What I’m hoping to get out of 4-Hour Work Week (I’m just reading it now) is the concept of maximizing my time for higher financial benefits so that I’m left with the time to create all the things I wish to. It still leaves me with a separation of work versus creativity, and if creativity ends up being financially wonderful, who’s to complain?

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Marcus Sheridan March 15, 2011 at

Hmmm, interesting comment Mitch. My question to you would be what do you like to create? And if you clearly know what that is, what has impeded your ability to integrate creation with income generation? I know, it’s much easier said than done, but I’d honestly be very curious to know the answer.

Thanks again for stopping by and commenting Mitch.

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Mitch Mitchell March 15, 2011 at

I write a lot of things, Marcus, and the idea is to create more information products as well as, well, regular literature; been working on a detective story for years. However, a big part of my work is not only writing, but in two other totally different fields. You can do both at the same time; it just takes longer to do it.

When I finally get over, and I know I’m going to get there, I don’t ever want to see anything I’m doing as work, whether I like it or not. If I’m doing speaking engagements that’s not work, that’s fun. If I saw it as work that I enjoy, I wouldn’t enjoy it. That’s just my mindset.

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Marcus Sheridan March 15, 2011 at

Cool Mitch, thanks for sharing man. Really hope you finish that novel and find what you’re looking for. :-)

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Lori Gosselin March 15, 2011 at

Wow – there’re a lot of great comments here!
My personal take on this – I’d prefer to live in the comfort of my home with family and friends nearby, say up to forty hours a week (I LOVE my work!) and then take the occasional vacation to ancient and exotic places – all play and no work – to recharge my batteries and become freshly inspired.

To each his/her own!

Lori

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Marcus Sheridan March 15, 2011 at

To each her own is right Lori, but like you, nothing can replace the joys home, family, and good friends. :-)

Thanks so much for your comment and support Lori, I’m always grateful.

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Davina K. Brewer March 15, 2011 at

I was gonna say TEHO, beat me too it Lori.

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Lori Gosselin March 15, 2011 at

Well great minds do think alike. High Five Davina!
Lori

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Dana R Thomas March 15, 2011 at

Marcus,

So you know that my wife and I are big into a lot of alternative lifestyles (ie home birth, homeschooling, alternative medicine, alternative diets, etc.). We are definitely working towards living abroad with our entire family some day as well.

The point I wish to make is I see the same attitude in this as in any other “alternative” choice. A lot of people look into homeschooling and fall in love and then all of a sudden the public school choice is inferior. A family decides to do home birth and they talk about hospital birth as if it is something out of a horror movie. The pendulum swings heavy to the other side. You give any of these families some time and they either sink deeper into the dogma of this new choice or their pendulum balances out and they see both sides equally.

I feel the real issue is dogma vs informed decisions. Myths and stereotypes are products of dogma. Confidence and happiness are products of informed decisions. Dogma and informed decisions exist on both sides of the isle.

Dana

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Marcus Sheridan March 15, 2011 at

Wow Dana, I’m blown away with your comment here bud, as it rings so very true.

You speak of that magic ‘pendulum’. Yes, that’s the way to put it. We begin to embrace a lifestyle and eventually lose all clarity when it comes to respecting and appreciating others. Kinda like saying my church is true and no one else has an ounce of the truth. Say what??

Myths and stereotypes are products of dogma. Confidence and happiness are products of informed decisions.

That, my friend, sums it up perfectly.

Thanks for coming by and leaving these great thoughts D’.

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Crystal March 15, 2011 at

I love this post, Marcus – you hit the nail on the head, again. I’ve never been a 9-5er at heart but spent nearly two decades living that life so I could provide for my family. But while working a regular job, I prepared for the time when I no longer had to – I raised my kids to be self-supporting, responsible, contributing adults and kept debt to a minimum.

While 9-5 has never appealed to me, I sure appreciate all those who do choose to work a regular schedule – especially when I need to go to the bank, store, doctor’s office or any one of the countless places that are open only because there’s a real person there. Anyone who scoffs at those who choose to earn a living by working for someone else needs to consider what life would be like if all those workers just chose to stay home instead. And the next time you’re checking out or hitting the drive-through, how about showing your appreciation and saying “Thanks for being here today.”

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Marcus Sheridan March 15, 2011 at

Very much with you Crystal, your passion is truly powerful here, and I can tell you were one awesome mom. :-)

Thanks so much for your support and comment!

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Danny @ Firepole Marketing March 15, 2011 at

This is a great post – one of those that I wish I had written. I’m a big fan of Tim Ferriss’s work, but I think it is misunderstood by a lot of people; Tim work really, really hard in between his mini-vacations, and his lifestyle is very, very extreme. It isn’t right for everybody

Speaking for myself, I’m not a travel junkie, and I don’t get excited about seeing a new corner of the world every month. I much rather stay in my city, build something great, and deepen my knowledge of people and connections with those around me.

I think there’s something very escapist about the whole concept, and I think it is mostly targeted at people who are frustrated with their 9 to 5s. And yes, while it might be nice to daydream about running a global empire from a beach in Cancun, I think it might just be the smarter move to change the circumstances that are pushing you to daydream so far away.

Especially for entrepreneurs (running our own businesses), we really have no excuse for wanting to be somewhere else, doing something else. It’s our business – if we aren’t happy with it, then we should just change it.

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Sheila Atwood March 15, 2011 at

Marcus,

Work is an interesting state of being. It is often demonized as keeping us from doing all the fun things in life. How much fun would we have if we did not have to go to work?

Yet work is creation. Whether you set out to create your own products or help in the creation of other products.

Work is participation. It is participation in society. It is how we function. It is our mode of exchange.

Work is sanity. When you look at criminals and those who can not work or do not work you see that this inability makes whole entire areas of insanity. Welfare neighborhoods with police cars and helicopters flying overhead.

Work is bound up in happiness. It is the zest of living.

I come from a family of 6 girls. Each one of us has handled work differently. #1 worked a steady job for years. This job gave her security, creativity and the chance to produce more and make more. #2. Happily worked the 9 to 5 and always felt like her job gave her the chance to contribute to others. #3. Has bounced around working for herself, she puts in long hours. She also works in a field that contributes to the daily lives of others. #4. I have always had my own business. I have provided jobs for others, especially for women that need special schedules. #5. Has struggled and can hardly work #6. Has very successful business, she keeps about 20 employees working on a full time basis.

I love the Victor Frankl quote. And totally agree that a life of no responsibility is not one of happiness.

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Marcus Sheridan March 15, 2011 at

Wow Sheila…there are comments, then there are COMMENTS. This was not just a bunch of sentences, it was powerful prose…I only wish you could wrap it up and turn it into another excellent blog post on your end. That was so well said, I really can’t even respond with anything other than thank you for being amazing. :-)

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Davina K. Brewer March 15, 2011 at

Wow, Marcus.. so many good comments. I have to single out Eric, Mark, Mitch and Marlee along with a few I’ve replied to already. These comments echo my own thoughts a little.. and now I may have to shatter your illusions a bit. ;-)

Love this chatting and commenting thing, but it don’t exactly pay the bills. (Working on that trick.) I have days I like what I do, others I really don’t and struggle to make it work. Well that’s anybody, everybody. Work is a four-letter word for a reason, and I just don’t buy into this ‘perfect work passion happiness’ myth. I think even if you are doing something you love you’re going to have bad days, times when you struggle and second-guess, blah blah real life whiney blah.

I work to live, I don’t live to work and never will. Turning a beloved hobby or passion into the means by which I make my car payments, pay the light bill, keep the water running would probably make me hate it. But then I’m picky and want power for my Internets and like showers on occasion. :-)

IDK.. CCelli is right, be grateful for what we have. I go back to the TEHO and if you can and do find happiness elsewhere, go for it. If working the mythical 9-to-5 is what puts food on the table, keeps you with your family then by all means. I’m not about to judge someone’s choices, you do what you gotta do. Unlike JK I do have romantic notions of living abroad – winning lottery ticket permitting – but for now, like Lori I’m cool with working for my next vacation. FWIW.

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Marcus Sheridan March 16, 2011 at

I agree with the idea that chatting + making money is much more fun Davina :-)
But with respect to that, I think if you clearly have a goal in mind as to why you’re busting your butt to establish your online brand and you at least make progress little by little, then it’s all good. And this is something I’ve seen with you lately. You’ve really put yourself out there, you’ve done some great guest posts, and people are finally getting their eyes on your excellent work.

Anyway, we’re all fighters here, just trying to make it happen. And anyone that frequents the TSL community likely isn’t some holier than thou entrepreneur anyway ;-) (At least that’s what the comments would tell us.)

Your support is awesome Davina.

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jonathanfigaro March 15, 2011 at

Hey Marcus,

First I want to say blogging is in you blog. You need to write a book!!! Secondly, I had the same mentality about the 9-5, i hated it. But i realize it necessary to an extent.Without a 9-5 I wouldn’t have been able to edit my book and put my website online. Eventhough, I hated my job. We all hated our jobs at one time or another, I think it’s a gift and a curse. I too also think the mentality is idiotic. And it should be a way to advance your self not regress into stupidity.

Thanks for the wake up call! U DA MAN ( Seth Rogen Voice)

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Marcus Sheridan March 15, 2011 at

You’re too kind Jonathan. But you’re right, sometimes we’ve got to work crappy jobs so as to expand our horizons and stretch our wings. That’s exactly what you’re doing, and honestly it’s what I’m doing as well. Owning a business allows me an income that is strong enough so that I can work on growing this blog without a gun to my head with someone telling me to ‘Make Money!’. This way, I can focus on great content and networking and then allow growth to do its thing.

You always bring a great perspective Jonathan. Thanks bro.

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Dia March 15, 2011 at

Hi Marcus,

The way I look at it is, it depends on the individual. Some people prefer to live in a different country, others don’t. Some like to work 9-5 and don’t like to have their own business, yet others don’t like to work 9-5. All opinions are valid.

For me personally, as everything in life, I like to have a balance. I’m for freedom and flexibility, so I am with the people who work or (like to work) 4 hours a day. By working 4 hours a day, I’m can have time for work, for family, wife and children (when I get married), health, etc… For me, this is great balance.

I agree with you that happiness in an internal state of mind. There are rich people who are not happy and yet there are farmers who are happy. It is all what is in the mind…

You keep writing excellent posts, one after the other Marcus. Thanks for sharing my friend ;)

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Marcus Sheridan March 16, 2011 at

All opinions are valid

Yep, that cannot be argued with Dia. I respect the fact that anyone can choose whatever path they like. Some want the 4-hour, others want the 40-hour. I do think ultimately we want freedom—freedom with our time and freedom from monetary stress.

Appreciate your constant support Dia. You’re always there to add to the conversation. :-)

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Hector Avellaneda March 15, 2011 at

Marcus

I definitely see the trend that you talk about in becoming an entrepreneur where entrepreneurs perceive themselves as being superior to those that decide to work for a living but I also dont think this is something that has recently happened. I think this mindset has been going on for years and while I agree with you that working a 9-5 versus becoming an entrepreneur is a matter of personal choice and that neither path is wrong or right, those people that do decided to follow the entrepreneurial route are special!

You’re a small business owner so I am confident that I don’t have to give you the “small business is the backbone of the American economy” spiel but among the major contributions that small business owners (entrepreneurs) make to their local economies and the public, entrepreneurs also have more guts than the average person. They are willing to take risks, they are willing to work endlessly and tirelessly until milestones and goals are met to see their visions come to fruition.

Again, there is nothing wrong with either path in life but I personally believe that credit should be put where credit is due. Entrepreneurship is not about being condescending to others and I do believe some of the rhetoric out there is way out of line. But it is up to every person that calls him/herself and entrepreneur to be respectful to the life choices of others.

I think work can only be fun if you enjoy what you do. If you are an employee and you don’t enjoy what you do, you have 2 options: 1) find a job you do like to do or 2) start a business that you do want to do.

Ultimately, I think that choosing to become an entrepreneur and not settling down for a 9-5 job has more to do with wanting to have options in life and doing the things you feel you were put on this earth to do more than with the pursuit of money money. I sincerely believe that it’s not money that most people really want, but the options that money can grant. In a recent article, I called this the X-Factor. Your X-factor is your WHY, your reason for being, the reason you exist and the reason why you wake up every morning.

At a subconscious level I believe that every human being (entrepreneur or employee) is in search of their WHY throughout their lifetime. I believe that we all have a WHY and we were all put o this earth for a reason. No 2 WHYs are the same. Those that elect to become entrepreneurs see themselves as having more of an ability to discover that WHY and that is where some of the rhetoric can get skewed.

Some succeed on this journey to discover their WHY and others fail!

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Marcus Sheridan March 17, 2011 at

Hector, wow, this was easily one of the best comments on this massive strand. You’ve just added so much value here:

Entrepreneurship is not about being condescending to others and I do believe some of the rhetoric out there is way out of line. But it is up to every person that calls him/herself and entrepreneur to be respectful to the life choices of others.

Yes, perfectly said. You do great job of this on your blog Hector. Your passion for entrepreneurship comes out with every article yet you don’t ever come across as ‘holier than thou’.

Also, LOVE your thoughts on ‘The Why’. Yes, everyone needs to know this. It’s the guiding light of one’s professional life.

Thanks again Hector for such an amazing comment. :-)

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Hector Avellaneda March 17, 2011 at

My pleasure Marcus. Thank you for your comment on my content. It’s really great to get commandments like that from an entrepreneur like you. I’m really glad to be part of your community Marcus. Thanks for everything you do here!

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farouk March 16, 2011 at

in my opinion what makes a person happy wont make the other happy. in order for someone to achieve happiness he must live the life style that appeals the most to him,
personally i like routine and love to travel once every few months for few days :)

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Marcus Sheridan March 17, 2011 at

Exactly Farouk, to each their own.

Thanks for stopping in!

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Tisha March 16, 2011 at

Great article Marcus! I recently wrote a post about a similar topic because I’m a mom with 2 small children and I consider myself a minimalist, but clearly living the “untethered life” would be difficult for obvious reasons. Like you, I’ve been inspired by the location independent bloggers who seem passionate about following their muses wherever they lead and I agree that there’s been a bit of condescension towards living a more traditional life. Basically, I think it’s great to explore various options when you’re young and still finding yourself or if you have the time, freedom and financial security to do so. I did it, and now these young bloggers are doing it too in their own way. Who knows how they’ll fee in 10-15 years? I think many will probably be glad to finally settle down somewhere. As far as the 4-hour work week, I always took that with a grain of salt. To me, what working less for people like Tim, et al., simply means is that work doesn’t feel like work anymore because they love it so much. And making a lot of money can certainly help to make your work conditions a lot more “non-work like”! :-)

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Marcus Sheridan March 17, 2011 at

Hi Tisha, and welcome to my blog, so glad to see you stop by :-)

It sounds like you’ve got quite the perspective. And like you, I certainly feel that life is so full of stages and transitions that what we feel is ‘who we are today’ can change drastically in 10 years. Wayne Dyer talks about this subject quite a bit with his book and movie ‘The Shift’.

Anyway, I certainly hope to see you again Tisha and thank you for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment.

Marcus

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Tisha March 17, 2011 at

Thanks for the suggesting The Shift Marcus – I’m always on the lookout for new inspirational material. And by the way, what service do you use for the email response to comments? I really like yours much better than mine!

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Samuel March 16, 2011 at

Awesome psot Marcus.
Yeah, there’s nothing wrong with the 9 to 5 job. but if you know that working as an employee won’t help you on a long term run then you can switch lanes. One main thing people forget is that they believe that when they get out of the rat race they will start living a stunningly great life.
They just switch lanes for no reason. These are the kinds of people who curse their forefathers for bringing them to life :) Work is fun that’s if you really love what you are doing :) Thanks for sharing hommie!

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Marcus Sheridan March 17, 2011 at

GREAT point Samuel. We don’t leave (nor should we leave) the ‘ratrace’ because we want to work less. That’s nuts. Entrepreneurs end up working much more, on average, than most but their passion and responsibilities is what carries them through. I’m sure you work way more hours than most of your friends but you’re a driven dude, seeking greatness, which is a wonderful thing.

Appreciate your support Samuel, thanks so much.

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Samuel March 16, 2011 at

Awesome post Marcus.
Yeah, there’s nothing wrong with the 9 to 5 job. but if you know that working as an employee won’t help you on a long term run then you can switch lanes. One main thing people forget is that they believe that when they get out of the rat race they will start living a stunningly great life.
They just switch lanes for no reason. These are the kinds of people who curse their forefathers for bringing them to life :) Work is fun that’s if you really love what you are doing :) Thanks for sharing hommie!

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Anne Sales March 16, 2011 at

Yes, I have to agree with Lori – to each his own!
Variety is the spice of life, I’ve heard it said. So instead of trying to convert someone, let’s celebrate our differences, learn from each other and, basically, just cheer each other on!

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Marcus Sheridan March 17, 2011 at

Hey Anne!! Great to see your smile on here again. :-)

Love your attitude here. Variety is a good thing. It’s necessary, it’s important. And yes, I’m very much down with the cheerleader approach!

Thanks for coming by Anne and commenting. :-)

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Robert Dempsey March 16, 2011 at

I’m late to this party so let me jump right in!

My family and I are currently living in Thailand for the next year. I work for myself (and have for years), I am married, and my daughter turned 3 in January. My wife is from here, so we’re living with family and moving to another part of the country soon. After our year (or more) is up it’s back to the US and a large city.

This is the life we have chosen to live. We love to travel, we have connections here, and our daughter isn’t stuck in the US school system just yet, though everywhere we go we put her in school (hey I loved school, except for high school – that sucked). Either way…

There are trade-offs to living like this.

I gave up the ability to network in person, the most powerful form of networking. So I have to work that much harder to make connections online. On my site I do a lot of video for that reason, and do video Skype calls as much as possible.

On the flip side we’re living in Thailand! The food and people are awesome, and it’s a beautiful country.

Caveat emptor. After my first failed business attempt 11 years ago, I learned to set up my businesses to operate 100% online so that I could have the flexibility and freedom I enjoy now. If you aren’t set up for that, you’re going to run into a serious problem when it comes to marketing and sales – two things you must have to have a business. If you plan to live life on the road be prepared for how much harder you’ll need to work to make and keep those connections.

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Marcus Sheridan March 17, 2011 at

Wow Robert, I’m so glad you’ve stopped by as you (along with Steve) were one of the guys I was thinking about when I wrote this article of someone really living the expat life and making it work…and doing it with the right attitude.

So glad you have the freedom and flexibility you desire Robert. Your perspective was awesome here.

Marcus

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Steve@Internet Lifestyle March 16, 2011 at

I have always had mixed thoughts about Tim Ferriss. In some ways he epitomizes the lifestyle I am living and want to live. In some other ways I think while a lot of what he says has great truth everything he talks about is shallow and laughable.

Look at the section on internet marketing in the book. For someone who knows nothing about it it sounds great. But he doesn’t really explain how to do anything. It is all attitude.

As you know as a businessman all business is either growing or dieing. The death cycle might take a long time, but it is still true. I make the majority of my money from a business I spend maybe 6-8 hours a week working at. Pretty Tim Ferrissy. I even went on a 8 month trip backpacking through Europe where I worked on THAT site a lot less than that. (but also spent about 4 hours a day on SSS)

Now over the past year i have seen my income decrease slowly. 4 hours to maintain an internet income will slow the decline, but will not stop that income from eventually disappearing.

As most people who make online incomes will tell you it takes one hell of a lot more work than 4 hours a week to create a viable business that will sustain you too.
——

I still like what Ferriss had to say. But I am far more along the gary vaynerchuk lines for work ethic and what I think it really takes to achieve and maintain a successful business online (bust your ass and then bust it some more)

Ferris is like a cheerleader, he is inspiring, he gets you fired up and excited but I do not think a cheerleader is the person to listen to when you are trying to decide what play to call on 3rd and long.

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Marcus Sheridan March 17, 2011 at

Steve, wow, this was perfect….

Look at the section on internet marketing in the book. For someone who knows nothing about it it sounds great. But he doesn’t really explain how to do anything. It is all attitude.

GREAT point. We all want application, right? Ideas are fine but processes, well that’s another story, and cheerleading, as you’ve so aptly put, doesn’t cut it.

One other point you made really struck me:

As most people who make online incomes will tell you it takes one hell of a lot more work than 4 hours a week to create a viable business that will sustain you too.

Ain’t all a bed of roses, huh Steve? Funny how so few people actually talk about that. Thanks for being so very real Steve.

Marcus

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Harriet March 16, 2011 at

I’m currently at university and I’m doing a degree in music which means I’m not likely to have a job thats 9-5 ever! The idea of that really quite appeals to me, but I’m pretty sure its gonna be late nights for me for the rest of my life!

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Marcus Sheridan March 17, 2011 at

I think if you’re doing what you love Harriet the hours won’t be too bad ;-) And hey, when you become GREAT in your field, which you will, you can call your own shots. :-)

Thanks for coming by Harriet, it means a lot to me.

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Lucretia Pruitt March 17, 2011 at

I really have no idea whose link I clicked to get here – but how happy I am that I did. What an awesome post and a lively discussion in the comments!

There is a desire in all of us for adventure. Tim Ferriss touches that part. But not everyone is built the same way. We must all find our own path.

Happiness is not a goal, it’s a symptom. Happiness happens when you are achieving your goals. No matter how many hours a week you spend at it – whether you are rooted or wandering – you will be happy if you are following your own star, not someone else’s.

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Marcus Sheridan March 17, 2011 at

Hi Lucretia (love the name btw), so glad you stumbled upon this discussion here. Loved what you said about:

whether you are rooted or wandering – you will be happy if you are following your own star, not someone else’s.

Exactly. If we’re following Tim Ferriss’ footsteps because he appears to be a happy and fulfilled guy, then that’s dumb. We need to follow our own passions, and no one elses.

So grateful for the comment Lucretia :-)

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Crystal March 17, 2011 at

“Happiness is not a goal, it’s a symptom.” Wise words, Lucretia – very profound. Thanks for sharing your thoughts:)

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Danny Brown March 17, 2011 at

I’m an expat. I live and work in Canada, but I was born and raised in Scotland. Most of my adult working life was in England. I went where the jobs were. I work for myself now, but that was more to do with the fact that I was pissed off at how poorly large companies were delivering on tactics but still charging an arm and a leg for the privilege.

I was under no romantic notion that it’s the job path to take – I did it out of ethics and a determination that the shysters wouldn’t win.

I have a HUGE amount of respect for people that “work the drudge” so their families have a roof over their head, and food on the table, and warmth in the fireplace.

I don’t care if it’s a security guard in income that should be higher for the work they do, or someone working part-time while they get their fledgling business off the ground – they’re the ones I want to emulate, because they’re busting balls for family, as opposed to a half-baked belief that a book is going to change their life.

Tim is great, but the book won’t solve your needs – you will. Make it happen, whatever it is, to make your success happen, in whatever country that needs to be.

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Marcus Sheridan March 17, 2011 at

Mr. Brown, what a pleasure it is to have you come by sir :-)

I didn’t know you lived in Canada, for some reason I thought you were still hailing from England. But dug what you said, especially this:

I was under no romantic notion that it’s the job path to take – I did it out of ethics and a determination that the shysters wouldn’t win.

Dang straight my man…well said.

Stop by again sometime friend ;-)

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Danny Brown March 17, 2011 at

You know it, sir! :)

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John Sherry March 17, 2011 at

I’ve read The Four Hour Work Week and the title suggests an easier life style in some doable steps but nothing is that easy. I think they way you work is what works for you. Some prefer the risky lifestyle, others the regular paycheck so who is right? For me give people the information on various working options and the tools but encourage them to follow through on what works for them and to take responsibility for that. To me the crucial underground point never faced is how or when you work are nothing compared to why you work and how that contribution makes you feel. As ever Marcus YOUR contribution has thought provoked my day. I love that!

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Marcus Sheridan March 17, 2011 at

Give them the information and let them choose…..Yes, perfectly said John.

You always make me feel great with your comments John. Hope things are well across the pond! :-)

Marcus

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Jason from Skyward March 17, 2011 at

I think Ferris’ strongest points in the book are the following:
-how to be ultra productive
-how to be an intrapreneur (for those not self-employed)
-how to work hard and play hard
-how to embrace learning and push yourself into new realms of development

Now, with that said I agree 1000% because he does sell ‘the web thing’ as being way too easy….and it may have been for a while. But the niche site is shrinking in terms of it’s viability, so it makes it more and more difficult to find that sweet spot……which is exactly what many folks are trying so hard to do.

Grand slam post my friend…you’re amazing!

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Marcus Sheridan March 17, 2011 at

Grand slams are good brother :-) (of course, you were always the one hitting them in high school!)

I think the Ferris ‘life/business’ model, like you said, could be dying very quickly. Too much competition, and Google just keeps making things more difficult.

Thanks for your keen thoughts bud.

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Theresa Bradley-Banta March 17, 2011 at

Hi Marcus. I feel as though I have to say this. Most of the expats I’ve met, and there have been many, typically sit around and talk about what a great decision they’ve made. As if they are trying to convince themselves of the wisdom of their decision to move. I started wondering if their priorities were all screwed up. This sounds harsh I realize, but almost to a person this has been my experience of expats. It actually seems as if there is nothing for them to do but to lament what they are not doing. And wondering if the romanticism was all a myth.

It is all about priories. And something else I’ve always wondered about expats. Are you running away from something or towards something? And is there a difference? Wouldn’t it be better to take a good look at what we are creating in the present and at how we are living now? Today? Before taking drastic measures to shake things up?

I’m with you Marcus I would much rather have many irons in the fire, tons of outlets for creativity, and opportunities to form meaningful memories.

Maybe I need to meet some new expats. :)

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Christina Crowe March 20, 2011 at

Hi Marcus,

First, before I dive into my thoughts, I just want to warn you that this comment may be a bit long (but I’m supposing that’s not a surprise to you, is it? ;) ). Anyway, here goes my two cents.

“Ultimately, I want to create a life full of great works, great relationships, and great memories.” – Well said, my friend.

And it’s funny you mentioned this… After going over the idea of a 4 hour workweek lifestyle in my head for a few days, and even weeks, after reading the 4-Hour Workweek, some small part of me got into thinking, “Well… Only writing for 4 hours a week? What would I do with all of my spare time?”

I mean, if you don’t enjoy your job, then I 4 hours a week of work might sound like paradise. But, otherwise, I simply don’t know how it’s possible to work only 4 hours a week, laze about all day, and still be satisfied with your life. Personally, I wouldn’t mind working 4 hours a day – maybe even 2 hours. But definitely not 4 hours a week; I would suddenly obtain ADD and go mentally insane!

As for the second point, you state, “I find such a mentality idiotic.” And I couldn’t agree with you more! Some people just can’t work in solitude for long (and entrepreneurship, especially freelance writing, requires a great deal of solitude). It’s just not who they are; they thrive in (and even crave) human contact and interaction. That’s why becoming a sole proprietor wouldn’t be possible for such individuals – working a 9 to 5 job just sounds more appealing simply because they’ll be around people everyday.

On a side note, you work in a basement, Marcus? Really now? Wow, I just moved my office to the basement part of my house to make space for a guest that’s living here. I can’t say that I like it too much (the heater and pipes down here are LOUD). But, hey, whatever rocks your boat!

Christina

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Marcus Sheridan March 22, 2011 at

Ha, this was awesome Christina (as have all your comments this past 24 hours been ;-) )

Yeah, I have my office in the basement, but it ain’t the normal basement, it’s fully finished and I’m actually in a guest bedroom/office. So now I just get off my elliptical and plop down at my desk….and it’s all good.

Glad to know we see eye to eye on this one Christina. But honestly, I’m not surprised one bit. You’ve got too much passion and you love helping others too much to embrace the oddly virtual lifestyle that is Tim Ferriss.

Thanks again for all your support!!!

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Christina Crowe March 22, 2011 at

Aww, sorry Marcus!

When I “catch-up” on my blog feeds, I tend to fill the blog with massive comments as I read each post (since I always seem to have something to say or a point to get across after a good reading – I even have a habit of writing down notes WHILE reading an article so that I don’t forget them when I comment!).

But good news! You’re not the only one suffering from my comment rampage. Tristan is too. :3

Christina

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Diana March 21, 2011 at

Hi, Marcus.

I am here to definitively declare that self determined expat living is not for everyone. A truer statement has never been uttered in the blogosphere. However, anyone who wants to make decluttering, starting a blog that monetizes, picking up and moving to the mountains of Jerez, living with yaks while siphoning off wi-fi to check the incoming donations on his paypal account account should go ahead and try. Please. Feel free.

I have been living in northwestern Italy for 7 years. We have renovated an old farm, I have a blog that does not monetize (yet, a girl can dream), we house travelers, I throw pots and fire them, we give wine tours and cooking lessons and all of those other things that expats in the romantic realm do. We live very simply without a lot of stuff just like all of those blogs say. We are lucky enough to earn our keep. But remember. We had money going into it. There were many other ways we could have invested that cash that would have yielded more sleep, less unbridled, full out, rock and roll panic, and we could have gone on doing what we were doing before, which, in retrospect, was fine.

We started in 2003. By May 2006, I was a wild woman, hair standing on end, screaming like a banchee at regular intervals, ” I want to work at the mall.” It was all I wanted. Nothing more. Someone could have taken it all at that minute for 45 hours a week at Starbucks. Luckily I got past that moment with the farm intact.

Anyone who underestimates cultural integration needs to realize: expat living is not for the faint hearted or for the idealistic. It will rip you a new one every time if you think you will come in conquering. There are HUGE benefits to having done this, but far, far be it from any one of us who have struggled, really struggled with making a self-sustained living in a foreign country to ever judge anyone with steady, paid employment anywhere.

If you REALLY do this expat lifestyle, you learn never to judge anyone. Life is tough and easy and fun and hard for everyone regardless. I am glad and proud that I have done what I have done. I don’t have regrets. But I can imagine it having been not as challenging. That would not have been so bad either.

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Diana March 21, 2011 at

god, terrible grammar in that first paragraph. I got too worked up. But you get the point.

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Marcus Sheridan March 22, 2011 at

Your grammar was just fine to me Diana, as was this incredible story. Wow, this was real, genuine, and your knowledge of ‘living it’ simply jumped off the page. Honestly, I’m honored you were kind enough to write all of this as there are a mountain of lessons here for this community of readers and anyone that’s considering the lifestyle.

I must ask you, have you ever thought about writing a book on this crazy experience? It sounds like such a real-life roller coaster that would open one eye after another.

Thank you so much Diana for coming by. Really, I do appreciate it and I very much hope it’s not the last time we chat. :-)

Marcus

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Christina Crowe March 22, 2011 at

Diana,

You have such a beautiful writing style. And I wouldn’t be surprised if your first fiction novel became a bestseller (if fiction was your thing) – that’s how impressed I am by your comment. Each word actively come together on the page to create such a vivid imagery that I could almost feel myself screaming and throwing pots at unsatisfactory employees. ;)

And the plus side? Not only did you just create a remarkable story, but you also made it humorous! You can’t get much better than that in my book. And I’ve always wanted to visit Italy!

Anyway, I just thought I’d get that off of my chest. By the way, were you (or are you) a member of the A-list Blogging Bootcamp? I could have sworn I’ve seen you there (at least, commenting on one of my forum posts ^_^).

Keep up the awesome writing, and, if you want to know my honest opinion, I strongly advise writing fiction. You have a gift!

Christina

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Marcus Sheridan March 22, 2011 at

Mega Dittos Christina!!

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Diana March 23, 2011 at

Marcus and Christina, I was overwhelmed today by the kindness of your replies here. Let me just say it this way — I needed a little bit of a positive boost about my writing and you gave it to me. Thank you. Christina, I am still in A List, we met back there in the forums, I think. I have a novel brewing, starting to boil. I have a memoir simmering and getting a bit congealed and slimy on the back burner. I have three blogs, two of which I try to ignore best I can and a third that wakes me up in the middle of the night screaming “make me monetize!!” I need help with marketing myself – so Marcus, I am going to be a regular here. Just subscribed.

All the best, and thank you again. Kindness rules, at least in my book.

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Christina Crowe March 22, 2011 at

Ugh, now I’m making grammar errors. I see a typo.

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Michelle | Bleeding Espresso March 21, 2011 at

Background on me: Another long-time expat in Italy (seven and a half years and counting); I’m a former lawyer (although I still pay my bar dues!) and full-time freelance writer — I also live in my ancestors’ medieval hilltop village and raise goats, chickens, and otherwise live a rather rural lifestyle. And love it. Most days anyway — don’t talk to me about package delivery right now ;)

But let me get to why I wanted to comment:

While I have no doubt that some expat/location independent/lifestyle/minimalist blogs can come across as preachy and overbearing — and I’m totally with you being against such a fundamentalist viewpoint as there simply is no ONE right way to live for everyone — if one doesn’t like that approach, one can find plenty of other blogs with different, supportive, nicer tones on similar subjects…and I know they’re out there, because I read them (and Diana’s above is absolutely one of them) :)

It’s important to ask, too, though whether the blog authors are *really* saying “My way is the only way! I’m so awesome! You’re not if you don’t do exactly as I’ve done!” or whether the reader is reading that into the text. Quick example, I wrote a post recently about how my life has been simplified by a move from being an appellate law clerk in center city Philadelphia to a freelance writer in rural southern Italy and got several comments protesting, “But Italy isn’t the only place you can live simply! Italy isn’t the only place you can be happy! Italy doesn’t guarantee happiness!” Um, right, I totally agree. And I never said it was or it does…and I wouldn’t because I don’t believe it — those comments mostly came from people who moved to Italy and hated it, so their reading of my post was colored by their own experiences, feelings, etc. — just as we all bring certain opinions and backgrounds to everything *we* read.

I also think it’s important not to lump all expat/location independent/lifestyle/minimalist blogs into the same category and assume that just because we’re writing about living a certain way, we believe everyone should do the same; in fact, as Diana noted above, if you’ve *really* gone through this expat experience, you know very well that this life is simply not for everyone — but that doesn’t mean that reading about my physical/emotional/mental journey can’t speak to others who would never even imagine leaving a 9-5 job.

I personally choose to share my experiences so that readers can take whatever speaks to them and apply it in their own lives if they wish — and if nothing speaks to them, well, there are plenty of other blogs in the blogosea, right? :)

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Marcus Sheridan March 22, 2011 at

Wow Michelle, you and Diana have enriched this discussion so much and simply taken it to another level. I’m just stoked a couple of awesome expats have stumbled upon my little virtual neck of the woods in good ‘ol Virginia ;-)

I have read many location independent blogs that do not look down upon the ‘traditional’ living approach. In fact, I think most are like that, at least the ones where the person is more mature and has achieved balance in their life, been through the ups and downs, and is capable of that wonderful thing we all call ‘perspective’.

My only beef is the haughty approach a few bloggers have. Ferriss, without question, does have such an approach in his book, and many of his ‘tribe’ share the same mentality. This is where my beef lies, ya know?

Again, thanks so very much for stopping by Michelle. I’m thrilled. :-)

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leon Noone March 21, 2011 at

G’Day Marcus,
Just catching up. I heard a radio interview recently with a ninety year old man He retired at 65. But his employer, a large national company, asked him to help out part time .

He’s been working full-time ever since.

The interviewer, a young whippersnapper like you Marcus, said , “But you’re 90! Why would you keep on working?”

“It keeps me alive!” said the 90 year old.

It definitely was John Wooden who said, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” He lived to 99. And George Burns, who seemed to live longer than Woody Allen says he wants to, once said, ” When I was a boy the Dead Sea was only sick.”

Y’know, I used to wonder what all the internet marketers multi millionaires actually do now that they’re so fabulously wealthy from spruiking their wares on the internet. Then I had a blinding flash of the obvious.

They spend most or their time commuting between their beach house in the Bahamas, their ranch in Montana, their apartment in Paris and all those other exotic places that they include enormous photographs of in their sales pages.

I’d like to be a millionaire…… .but all that travel must be a bit of a bugger. Believe me; I’ve travelled a lot in Australia and New Zealand on business. It gets awfully boring after a while.

“Home,” as Frank Sinatra observed shortly before he died, “is where your friends are.”

OK; no more quotes except this one from an anonymous bloke with the initials LN: “you only realize how important experience is after you’ve had it.”

Stay Alive!. Work 9 till 5! And always watch the Celtics on TV.

Hang Loose

Regards

Leon

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Marcus Sheridan March 22, 2011 at

Leon, Leon, Leon. Holy freaking cow. This was epic, epic stuff. I laughed once….then laughed again….then shook my head….then slapped my head….then laughed again….and then tried to learn some of the new words that were in the comment ;-)

You’re in sales Leon, but you should be in SMILES, because that’s the effect you have on anyone who reads your stuff. Man am I grateful to have you in this community!!!

Thanks mate!!

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Carlo Vargas March 22, 2011 at

Hey Marcus, I just started following you recently, great article man.

I guess the minimalist backpacker is a “model” that was good for someone, the problem is when we, the people, start making this model a “law”, a “this is the way it should be” statement. Exactly like you said, every experience is personal, and what worked for you will work or not, for someone else.

I think is a great idea to quit your 9-5 job if you are freakin’ unhappy there!! Yes, go on a minimalist trip across the planet, decompress all you want…everything will look a million times better than a job that sucks! Or…you can just find a cool job.

I guess these “models” become “laws” because we are lacking other basis, we are lacking honesty with ourselves. Happiness is a choice, as you said, and any choice carries with itself responsibility for the consequences. I firmly believe that once we embrace honesty, choice and responsibility…then we are free to create, to create ourselves and that, my friend, is the key to happiness…whether you’re a minimalist backpacker or a 9to5-er!

We’re all looking, seeking for answers…pursuing happiness if you will.

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Marcus Sheridan March 22, 2011 at

I must tell you Carlo, I love the way your brain thinks. Seriously, this was perfectly put and your perspective was so very spot on.

Yes, go on a minimalist trip across the planet, decompress all you want…everything will look a million times better than a job that sucks! Or…you can just find a cool job.

I kinda wonder how many people have praised the location independent, minimalist life style simply because they’re job stunk, ya know ;-)

Awesome to have met you Carlo, very much hope we chat again.

Marcus

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Kevin May 9, 2011 at

Right there with you Marcus. In regards to happiness being internal, I heard Derek Sivers tell a story to support what you wrote in the article. He was asking a friend if there was any reason why he should NOT go to Southeast Asia for several months, and his friend said “don’t go if you think it will make you happy.” Happiness should have very little to do with your physical setting (within reason).

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Marcus Sheridan May 9, 2011 at

Perfectly said Kevin. Isn’t it interesting how we’re always looking ‘on the outside’ to find happiness??

BTW, is this your first time here Kevin? If so, welcome aboard and make sure you grab your avatar which is free and can be found at http://www.gravatar.com. Then you can use the image on any blog you comment on.

Thanks and come back again!

Marcus

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Josh June 7, 2011 at

Great post- first time I have seen your site.

I always found the idea of the four hour work week absolutely absurd. I don’t want to to work 4 hours a week, I think the idea of doing something like working 3 months out of the year(and working your ass off during that time) so you could take the other 9 off sounded way more appealing.

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Jake July 28, 2011 at

The 4 Hour Work Week is not absurd, people. It sounds like a pipe-dream to people working their ever-lovin’ tails off for 60+ hours a week, building that gigantic nest egg for retirement. (and to be fair, sometimes, for their families.)

That book is a call to challenge the norm, to ask “what’s the worst that could happen if I quit the rat-race?”, and it offers advice and methods for making that happen without becoming homeless. We must redefine what “rich” means, as Tim astutely points out.

Because if happiness is a “choice”, and terms are so subjective as so many of you tend to infer, then what of the person that’s miserable when they’re at home with their wife and kids? Their love is their work, and I believe that is a much larger tragedy than suggesting one drop it all to find true happiness and meaning.

It’s not a law Tim is pushing. It’s just a brand new idea. And it is absolutely not absurd. How the heck could it work if it was?

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Marcus Sheridan July 28, 2011 at

Hi Jake, and thanks for your comment. I think you’ll find in the actual article that I’m not a Tim hater at all, I’m just reminding people that Tim’s solution to happiness is one of many to choose from, and thinking that traveling abroad or minimalism is guaranteed to make one happy is absurd. Does it work with some? Yes, of course. But to think that it’s the only way to live (as many do) is rather silly.

Thanks for dropping in Jake.

Marcus

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RS May 12, 2012 at

Tim Ferrisss is a scammer; plain and simple; I am appalled that so many Christian people I know put him on a pedestal; it is idoltry no less; I have been scammed of a large sum of money by weebly, a company invested in by Ferriss; no response, no nothing; consumers in the USA too have complained about weebly’s bad and harmful business practices but to what avail?

See http://www.000webhost.com/directory/reviews/weebly.com-pg16.

I happended upon that scripture yesterday n proverbs, the one that speaks about how God loathes the use of dishonest scales….see that is what Timm Ferris and weebly are about- truly dishonest scales…..and this is where I have to believe that at the end of the day vengeance is truly the Lord’s Isaiah 47.

I sincerely hope that people can see through the gunk and the fluff this man expounds in his books.

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Tom T. July 28, 2012 at

Great post. I completely agree. There’s nothing wrong with 9-5 if that’s what makes you happy and fulfilled. I think the condescending nature of some people that pursue the living abroad lifestyle has more to do with thinking that if you don’t pursue such a lifestyle, you’re unenlightened and unhappy. This isn’t the case for many people, although I do believe that it is for some because they’ve let society dictate the rules. But it’s ultimately up to the individual to choose which lifestyle they believe will bring them the most enjoyment. If that means settling down in the suburbs with a spouse and kids and working a 9-5, then more power to them.

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Marcus Sheridan July 29, 2012 at

Exactly Tom, GREAT, balanced outlook my friend.

Thanks for dropping by,

Marcus

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