“Work 18 hours a week.” Offtopic


Something unexpected happened to me recently that completely transformed my outlook on business, work and life.


I was on a trip to Dubai, and I was introduced to a very intriguing personality.


Let’s call him ‘Wayne.’


Here’s what you need to know about Wayne.


He’s a successful technology pioneer who has built multiple massive companies.


And my meeting with Wayne happened in his penthouse in one of the tallest residential buildings in all of Dubai.


I mean, check out this view.

Residential buildings in all of Dubai.

What you’re seeing here is the entire Palm Jumeirah.


As we gazed out, Wayne asked me a question.


“Vishen, do you know what it really takes to become a billionaire?”


I turned to him with curiosity.


Because, yes, become a billionaire? Why not?


He said this to me:


“Work 18 hours a week.”




Did I hear him correctly? Or was I so distracted by the view that I misheard him?


I asked him, “What do you mean? Work 18 hours a week?”


He replied:


“I mean it. 18 hours. You need to figure out how to automate your work so precisely that you only need to work six hours on Tuesday, six hours on Wednesday, and six hours on Thursday. Monday and Friday - keep them free.”


I was confused and surprised.


It sounded counterintuitive. 


How is it possible for anyone to build this much wealth yet spend so little time at work?


Wayne explained.


“If a friend calls you up asking you to hang out with him in London, you should be able to say ‘no problem,’ hop on a flight Thursday night, be in London in a couple of hours, spend a few nights, and be back home in time for work on Tuesday.


True success is about not knowing what you’re going to do next week”




I was even more confused. 


In my mind, if you don’t even know what you’re doing a week ahead, doesn’t that mean you’re just disorganized and leading a life with no aim?


Wayne anticipated this.


So he continued.


“True success is about having the freedom to say ‘yes’ to that friend, to be spontaneous, and to seize opportunities. Because if you can live like that, you have so much more room to envision, to dream, to create, to think, to find new opportunities


This is why my advice to you is to work six hours on Tuesday, six hours on Wednesday, and six hours on Thursday. Keep Mondays and Fridays free. And watch what will happen to your life.”


This short two-minute conversation shifted me. 


And got me thinking about life in new ways.


You see, people like Wayne aren’t just masters of entrepreneurship. 


They’re masters of living.


It reminds me of this quote by Lawrence Pearsall Jacks:


“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.”

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