The 4 Hour Workweek and First Impressions on a Zequenz Sketchbook

I don't like spiral bound sketchbooks because they look messy on a shelf and in drawers, but I'm also annoyed by sketchbooks with spines that make it difficult for them to stay open while you draw. Looks like I'll invent any excuse to not draw in a sketchbook... My friend Ben Ellmann, who I get coffee with most mornings, is an artist himself and after listening to my spiral bound gripes yesterday, he let me play in a sketchbook of his that he feels addresses the problems I sometimes have. I didn't expect to love this paper but it's really great for ink!

Zequenz*  is a brand I've never heard of and this book is THICC. The paper is whisper thin and amazon says there are 280 pages in this sucker! That's so many! I'm planning to do a 500(?) drawing challenge at the end of the year and now I'm thinking this would be a good sketchbook for said challenge. It's a dream to draw on with a pentel brush pen and black ink does not bleed. It's shockingly good for marker but it does bleed through to the back so put a scrap paper behind your page. The paper stayed surprisingly flat even when I used ink washes but that said, it's a thirsty cold press paper so the moment you put pigment down, it dries which makes it unsuited for ink washes and watercolor. You can see how streaky my greys got on that bird doodle. That said, the marker was easier to blend so it doesn't seem to have the same problem with alcohol. 

Positive first impression!

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It's May 1st!

As arbitrary as it is to assign fresh starts to the beginning of the month, I enjoy doing it and unless I'm using it to put off responsibilities that should be done in that moment, I see no problem riding the wave of motivation. That Meta-Modern take out of the way, Hello! It's my 2nd blog post! I've foolishly added another book to my stack of self-help reading. This one is called The 4 Hour Workweek: escape 9-5, live anywhere, and join the new rich by Timothy Ferriss. Boy this book has polarizing reviews and even though I'm listening to this one in audiobook form, I understand why. 

Ferriss encourages his readers to eliminate all their preconceived notions about what a "work week" has to be and further than that, to re-examine the established career path where you put in your time as a young person and saving up enough money to retire in comfort. Instead, he points out that putting your happiness off until retirement is a hogwild life plan. Instead, aim to pepper your life with mini retirements. Find ways to take a year to travel and do things as a healthy young person that will enrich your world. After going on an Alaskan cruise last July for only 7 days, I understand what he's talking about. Out on the deck of the boat, bundled up against the frigid winds and equipped with a camera (because I haven't learned how to just experience things without something in my hands yet) I stared out at mountainous glaciers. Once in awhile, they would  crack and whole sheets of ancient ice would fall, crashing with incredible power into the watery fjords and for the first time in my life I thought "This is what I'm living for. This is why I try to earn money. To fill my life with experiences like this". 

The 4 hour Workweek spends a lot of time upfront teasing an unbelievable globetrotting lifestyle and dangling stories of people who are able to make $40k, and $60K a month through passive income as they lounge in a beach side cabana with a mai tai in hand. Of course that's going to sound appealing! It has to, because the rest of this book is going to attempt to make you change the deeply ingrained and habitual societal patterns that have us going to work from 9-5 (hey look! Habits are coming up in this book too!). Ferriss asks you to re-imagine the rules of what earning enough money to live an exciting life looks like.

Bringing these ideas into my own brain, we're conditioned to imagine this picket fence suburban dream as the idylic tangable goal of life, but here's the truth of that dream- it's a minefield of pitfalls and financial traps. It's been a realistic goal for long enough that many companies have figured out how to prey on the people who are striving for it. Banks, landlords, real estate agents, zoning restrictions, building companies, home owners associations all piranha the simple family who are just looking for a place with a yard that their dog can run in.
This leads me to believe that yes, that "lifestyle" is dated so what happens does it look like if you change the dream?

I've only just started this book and I'm trying to be open to it because it's difficult to listen to someone I view as an "Entrepreneur bro" tell me that I haven't broken out of the system yet when I know that I have taken huge risks. Choosing to go to an expensive art school in 2009, quitting my full time job with benefits in 2015 to go freelance and launching this shop on my own last year in 2018. Those are valid risks, but it does me no service to shut the door on new ideas so I've propped it open and put on sunglasses so he can't see me squint at some of the things he's saying. 

Speaking of things he's saying, here's some pull quotes from this book that really do resonate with me: 
  • Focus on being productive, not busy
  • Most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty 
  • A persons success in life is often measured by the amount of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have. 
  • What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do. so define your fear
And finally, here's an Oscar Wilde quote that Ferriss uses in his book and that is also the inspiration for todays sketchbook doodle:
  • Everything Popular is Wrong
I like thinking about that. 

-Beth

 

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  • Kat on

    Fear…it’s a fickle pain in the ass, isn’t it? I just had a conversation with one of my employees about fear. (He is also a reverend, so let that color how you read this next point.) He says that if you’re scared of failing, then you’ve probably already failed. He asked, what is so bad about giving it your all, and then not getting the outcome you wanted?
    We live with the mentality of “If I try and fail, that’s the most embarrassing.” But should it not be more embarrassing to never have tried at all?
    Define your fear. Do the thing that scares you. Live to regret nothing.

  • Anna on

    I think I needed some of those quotes in my life, definitely going to be writing some of them on post it notes and sticking them in places I’ll see them when I need them.
    I had a knee-jerk reaction to that Oscar Wilde quote the first time I saw it, but now I can look at it and think “What’s so bad with being wrong? And why should I be afraid of that?”
    I’m not sure if that’s the purpose of the quote, but if we’re talking about defining fear and doing what scares us anyways, I think exploring why that quote made me feel unsettled is a good place to start. <3


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