It's hard when you're sitting on the turnpike waiting for the traffic to move to imagine that there's an alternative to the hustle and grind. After all, as far as you can see from over the top of your steering wheel everyone is doing the exact same thing. Everyone is commuting. They're all heading to their job where they'll work for eight or nine hours, honk their way home, then get up and do it all over again. If there was a better way to live, someone would have thought of it by now.
Some people did but you can't see them because... well, you're on the turnpike and they're just rolling out of bed now and getting ready to pour themselves a fresh OJ.
I was speaking with Joel Comm recently and he believes people should have fun while they are succeeding.
If you want to know who is having fun, John Lee Dumas is one of those people. A veteran who served as an officer in Iraq, he tried law school, corporate finance and commercial real estate, doing the commute, the cubicle-sitting, and the hustle and grind, before realizing that none of those things was for him. His health suffered, his nutrition suffered, the fitness levels that he'd picked up in the military declined. He wasn't happy.
In Fallujah, the unit that John led lost four men, and at each of those soldier's funerals, John had committed to honor those heroes by never living a life that was less than he was capable of achieving.
"Every time I came up against a wall," he says, "and I had to make the hard decision to leave, I would think of them and say I'm not honoring that commitment if I remain in this path that's not for me. I'm depressed. I'm not having fun. I'm not happy. But I'm alive and their gift of life was taken away. I'm not honoring what they gave to this country."
That commitment gave John the courage to look for an alternative, and what he found was a way of living that's highly productive and lucrative but also fun and satisfying.
Instead of hustling for nine hours every day, John uses a schedule to set short bursts of intense focus. For him, they last 42 minutes but they can also be as short as 25 or 35 minutes. They're followed by a "refresh time" which could be a walk outside, a look at the football scores, or a quick workout. "You get so much done without feeling that you're hustling and grinding through the entire day," he says.
He laid out that schedule, a way of setting and accomplishing one goal in 100 days, in The Freedom Journal. Supported by a Kickstarter campaign, the journal has sold more than 21,000 copies. His Entrepreneur on Fire podcast is one of the most popular on the Internet and has given him a seven-figure business.
John now runs that business by working intensively for less than three hours a day, spending the rest of the time doing what he loves the most. Those 160 minutes are spent on having fun and on what makes him happy.
We often think of life having seasons: a time to learn and a time to grow. But days can have seasons too. You can have periods of intense productivity followed by periods of rest and refreshment, and still get things done. It's a lot more fun than sitting on the turnpike.