If you’ve been reading CultureMutt for a while it won’t come as any secret that I think Tim Ferriss is awesome. He is the author of The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body (the latter of which I have a signed copy to confirm my geekdom) and the uber successful Top 1000 Experiments in Lifestyle Design blog. I like Tim Ferriss because he is very successfully unconventional, traveled and cultured but also because of the way he turns materialism on its head.
Multiply your purchasing power
“I’ve chartered private planes over the Andes, enjoyed many of the best wines in the world in between world-class ski runs, and lived like a king, lounging by the infinity pool of a private villa. Here’s the little secret I rarely tell: It all cost less than rent in the U.S. If you can free your time and location, your money is automatically worth 3-10 times as much…”
He’s absolutely right. Allow me to illustrate with some examples from my former life as a language student in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I lived in a beautifully furnished apartment in the Beverly Hills of Buenos Aires for SIGNIFICANTLY less in rent than I now pay for a bare, humble one-bedroom apartment in an uninspiring little corner of Chico, CA. I dined at excellent restaurants and hung out at superbly elegant little cafes all over Buenos Aires for what I spend on gas station snacks in California. I could pay for three of my friends and I to see a performance at the world class Teatro Colón for the price of a movie ticket in California. It’s not as though you have to make huge sacrifices in quality of life to live cheaper. The point is that I lived BETTER in Argentina for a fraction of the cost of my current decidedly middle, middle class lifestyle. I used to live 10 minutes walk from Evita’s grave. The coolest thing 10 minutes walk from where I now live is Walgreens.
What you do, When you do it, Where you do it, and with Whom you do it
Ferriss elaborates: “Being financially rich and having the ability to live like a millionaire are fundamentally two very different things. Money is multiplied in practical value depending on the number of W’s you control in your life: what you do, when you do it, where you do it, and with whom you do it. I call this the “freedom multiplier.”
The conclusion? “Options – the ability to choose is real power.””
Options define the new rich
Guess what, if you are a landlocked chubster stateside CEO, you may make a few hundred grand but you are, relatively speaking, poorer than someone who makes less than $50K freelancing but has the luxury of picking where she lives, is able to spend most of her time with family and is unconstrained by petty workplace politics.
You begin to experience the power of options as you start making successively bolder and more unconventional decisions. For example, growing up, my family certainly did not have much in the way of material excess. I have idealists for parents and we grew up on religious academic campuses in Hong Kong, the Philippines and England. Especially during the first decade of my life – the Asian decade – we got to travel like rich people while my parents were paid peanuts because of overseas worker benefits like paid-for furloughs provided by my father’s employer. Every year, we would travel around the world to visit grandparents in Scandinavia and hit as many other stops as the allotted travel money would stretch to allow.
As a result I have scattered memories of falling out of a neighborhood tree in rural Nigeria; riding a camel past pyramids in Cairo; splasing in a hot spring with my sister in Iceland; skiing the Swiss Alps with the Matterhorn in the background; taking a river cruise past impossibly pointy mountain peaks in China… the list could literally go on for ages. And none of the reasons for this exotic world travel has to do with millionaire status, I simply had the good fortune of being born to highly unconventional parents who understood that true riches are better measured in one’s ability to experience the beauty in choosing unusual life options.
As an old college buddy who now lives and works in Paris told me as I visited him a couple years ago, “People talk about how lucky I am and how much they wish they could live in Paris. I tell them that they can. It is all choices.” I am convinced he is right.
Live a life where you can make decisions about your own destiny. Where, before cash, you value OPTIONS.
LIKE CULTUREMUTT ON FACEBOOK