Tag Archives: timothy ferriss

Learning Italian

I’m most likely traveling to Europe in the later spring and I’ve decided that I will learn Italian so that I can at least be conversationally fluent 95% of the time that I’ll be in Italy.

Street in Florence

Inspired by Timothy Ferriss‘s work on language learning I have a few months to get myself in verbal shape.

I have a fear of language learning cause I’ve always considered myself bad at it.  I struggled through two years of French in school and even went on to live in Montreal for almost four years and I still struggle to put words together.  Compounded on top of my apparent inadequacy at learning French I’m afraid of making mistakes in another language because I resent making them in English.

So if you see me and know Italian start asking me simple things in Italian or just asking me how my Italian is going.

Having the social obligation is definitely going to be a pressure to help me learn.

Now to determine the 100 most commonly used words in verbal and written Italian and get these sentences translated by a native speaker into Italian.

The apple is red.
It is John’s apple.
I give John the apple.
We give him the apple.
He gives it to John.
She gives it to him.

I must give it to him.
I want to give it to her.

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Vagabonding – Month 1 – Atlanta

I have hit the road.

After a month of deliberation and semi-planning I took off from Maine.  I landed in Atlanta December 8th after a few tribulations – losing my wallet, missing my flight, losing my book (on vagabonding) – and immediately headed out dancing.  A great relief.

My plan to travel has been spurred by many factors, but the principal one which gave me the idea to travel without a home was reading the Four Hour Workweek and coming to the conclusion that my life wasn’t really on any particular road and I was just doing what had been presented to me – not what I had chosen for myself.  I had lost my job, had multiple reasons to leave New York City behind not least the exceptional expense of living there, my ties of being in a relationship were over all of which created an opportunity.

Perhaps I should have done a bit more prep and research before I left, but I’ve spent almost a month in Atlanta (with a week trip to Asheville) which has served as a gestation period for my ideas and route through the U.S.

Things I would have prepared a little differently for:

  • wait an extra week or two to pad my accounts
  • get my motorcycle license
  • line up a bit more work in Atlanta (I tried this but it didn’t work out)
  • research vagabonding a bit more

If you are planning a vagabonding trip I recommend a few resources to start:

There are many more which would come in handy that you’ll discover on your own.  Starting with Vagabonding and Four Hour Workweek will definitely give a jumpstart to your dreams of leaving the assumed real world behind.

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Slacker – A Definition

Reader’s Digest Great Encyclopedic Dictionary c. 1966

One who shirks his duties or avoids military service in wartime; shirker.

Wikipedia

The term slacker is commonly used to refer to a person who avoids work (especially British English), or (primarily in North American English) an educated person who is antimaterialistic and viewed as an underachiever.

So while I am not going to recommend enlisting in military service (the Reader’s Digest definition may be a touch out of date) I will recommend putting your talents to good use – as I hope to put my own to use without over burdening myself with the traditional notion of work.

As to my definition of a slacker – the wikipedia definition for North America is on target.  I would add to it that slackers general have a level of idealism that breeds a cynicism of the current system (or at least I do).  As for in practice: slacking, as I used it in my school career, consisted mostly of ignoring the busy work and completing important tasks (projects, papers, etc.) in the shortest time possible (usually at the last minute).

In a way this was my use of Parkinson’s Law without knowing about it.  Parkinson’s Law is cited a great deal in Timothy Ferriss’s book The Four Hour Workweek and refers to the notion that we a job will swell in work according to the time given.  While some may dispute how Timothy Ferriss uses the Parkinson’s Law, Study Hack for example citing the specific context Parkinson was referring to in his paper on British Civil Service, it is in many contexts an effective idea to put to use.

The purpose of slacker reform is then not to take the slacker out entirely but to optimize the slacker for high yield and efficiency while maintaining a minimal level of work.

Are you a slacker?  Even if you aren’t, how would you define slacker?  Let me know and comment.

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Laziness – My Gift

Recently I have been devouring Timothy Ferriss’s book (in audiobook format) the 4 Hour Workweek.  It’s fantastic.  I could rave about it for a while, but I’ll leave it at that and get to the point.

I have always been lazy.  I prefer to do the minimum required but I do it exceptionally well.  For many years a lot of people have hinted that this is really just sloth, an unwillingness to live up to my potential, or some bullshit like that.  However, I’ve never been a fan of the traditional sense of work.  I’ve always thought it was rigged without any real purpose.  “We’ve agreed to shuffle papers between the hours of 9 to 5.”

Who made that agreement?  Certainly not me.  My boss (at the job I no longer hold) said to me on many occasions (he knew full well we had nothing to do sometimes) – “just look busy”.  Why should I look busy when there is nothing to be busy over?

I’m here to do things, do them well, and then enjoy the rest of my time on other things that I can be doing. If it takes me one night to write that paper that it took you three weeks to stumble through, who are you to complain that I’m a procrastinator.  I’m just effective.

Back to my point of laziness.  Being lazy isn’t about not doing anything.  It is about not doing the things you don’t want to do.  I can be very good at that.  I’m downright exceptional at sloughing off duties that aren’t important and do my best at handing off those that aren’t interesting for me to do.

Laziness is a gift.  Few people understand the value of not working.  Those of us who are lazy – we do.

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