What is 4HL or lindy? Well, perhaps you’ll get an idea after reading this new part of my series “Thoughts by the Sea” following my articles on antifragility and frugality. My wife and I go on vacation once or twice a year to a small but luxurious hotel right by the sea. This time TEV junior was with us, so I had less time than usual to take long walks along the coast or relax at the indoor pool. Nevertheless, there was enough time to write down a few thoughts together with Mr. Lagavulin.
“What is funnier, a lawyer who tells a joke or a joke that tells a lawyer?”
Have you ever heard of 4HL? It’s a sad buzzword that keeps giving me food for thought.
“4HL” stands for the so-called four-hour live (“4HL”). The 4HL is basically the antagonist of the 4-hour week. 4HL is supposed to represent the number of hours that people have at their free disposal during the day, i.e., the time that they don’t spend working, commuting to work or sleeping.
Four hours… out of 24 hours. According to the 4HL, it is only a small part of our lives in which we can devote ourselves to what we like to do. On the other hand, the rest of the day is characterized by a tight corset of externally imposed rules. Be it because nature requires us to sleep or because we have to fulfill tasks at work according to the specifications of others.
4HL is nonsense and – sadly – reality at the same time
Ultimately, 4HL is a way of thinking that encourages reflection on the use of leisure and personal time. It is about maximizing this limited resource to live a fulfilling life.
4HL is dystopian nonsense
In my view, it’s nonsense to divide life into categories such as “good leisure” and “bad work”. But that’s exactly what the 4HL concept suggests. And it reminds me of this:
This separation creates an unhealthy dichotomy between pleasure and duty, which is not only misleading but can also be a hindrance to a fulfilling life.
The idea of leisure as being ‘good’ and work as being ‘bad’ evolves out of the assumption that work is necessarily unpleasant and stressful. On the other hand, leisure is a time of enjoyment and relaxation. However, this black-and-white view is too simple. It neglects the variety of experiences that life offers.
The misconception about work
Work can be much more than just a tedious duty. It can move us forward and be a source of self-fulfillment.
You can grow from it and it can bring joy. If you pursue an activity that matches your own skills and interests, it can be perceived as enriching and meaningful.
By dividing life into “good leisure” and “bad work”, we miss the opportunity to change our attitude and blur the boundaries between work and leisure. The pandemic, in particular, has increasingly blurred these boundaries through working-from-home concepts and the technologization of many white-collar jobs.
It’s not about demonizing work or idealizing leisure time, but about looking at life as a whole. We can see our work as an integral part of our lives if we approach it with passion and interest. At the same time, we can consciously choose activities in our free time that fulfill us and help us to grow and regenerate.
We are hard-working bees
The 4HL concept degenerates people into completely fun-free machines whose entire mindset is determined by what reduces our everyday lives to four hours of free time daily.
According to this concept, we are busy worker bees who diligently collect pollen, sit in front of the screen in their honeycomb of prosperity, and follow share prices on our MacBooks.
But the 4HL tale also has a true point
But the 4HL story also has a true point.
I often notice how much everyday life is characterized by a almost theatrically heavy seriousness. Small mistakes are stylized into big affairs. Missed opportunities evolve into failed existences. In the tunnel of everyday career life, I perceive physical complaints at most as an annoying distraction that needs to be shaken off. I take my health and, above all, that of my family and friends, on the other hand, as God-given.
Sometimes, this fundamental seriousness is compounded by a daily rush. You can observe this in the morning and evening, for example, when the busy bees leave home with a coffee cup in their hand and a chorused step, or in the evening when they stare at their smartphone on the subway with a crumpled shirt and the same expression on their face.
Let’s talk about something more fun instead
It is important to enjoy life and not be overwhelmed by the razzle and dazzle of everyday life. The same applies to the noise on Twitter and crash prophets of all kinds.
Life is short and precious. This makes it all the more important to fully savor the moments we are given and not let 4HL restrict our mentality. There is so much more to discover and experience. We just need to free ourselves from the constraints of everyday life and experience life in all its diversity.
I realize that the larger my portfolio and the higher my monthly cash flow from dividends, the easier it is for me to put seriousness aside.
An annually growing cash flow that covers an increasing proportion of my fixed costs helps me to look to the future with joy and humor. This is especially true when things aren’t going so well in my career or with individual investments.
I am not Diogenes
It’s about the little things that make life worth living. I live a modest but not necessarily frugal lifestyle. I try not to be a Diogenes in a wooden barrel.
Experiences and relaxation are important to me. For example, I love to enjoy the beauty of nature, be it on a remote beach, in the mountains or in a picturesque storm-tossed town on an island in the sea. The wind blowing through the dunes, the sound of the waves, these are the moments that recharge the batteries.
And then there are the many small pleasures of everyday life. A glass of whiskey by the fire after a long day can work wonders. It’s a moment of relaxation and enjoyment that has nothing to do with pursuing money, financial freedom or the next career move.
Enjoying good food is also an important part of my life. It’s not just about satisfying hunger. It’s about delighting the senses and celebrating life. On your deathbed, no dividend in the world can replace a memory of a long, lavish dinner with friends.
It is important not just to exist, but to live
We are fast approaching Christmas. The year has flown by (once again). It’s important not just to exist but to live. And that means creating space for enjoyment, relaxation and personal fulfillment. If we limit ourselves to living only in the supposed four hours of free time per day, we might forget how important these small but meaningful moments are.
Life is more than the sum of all the hours that are not working hours. It’s about the moments that give us the feeling of really being alive. It’s about appreciating these precious moments and living life to the fullest.
Adding some lindy elements to my 4HL
Those who put themselves under pressure to live in a supposed corset and slavishly chase after their goals remain trapped in a 4HL mentality.
How does it benefit me to want to escape this 4HL world at all costs if I spend the day in my financial freedom trumpeting my bitterness about the world and the people in it on Twitter? A financially free crash prophet on Twitter will likely be much unhappier than a salaried employee with career prospects.
If you remain flexible, shake off the black/white dichotomy and spice up your life with a large pinch of lightness and humor, you will unearth a treasure that cannot be weighed. Because lightness and humor are timeless – they are “lindy“.