It was a cold afternoon and after 5 hours of studying for my biology exam, the text, the book and the entire library fused into a giant haze. I stood up to wander the halls, when a glance at the scammiest title ever printed stopped me in my tracks.   I opened “The 4-hour workweek: escape 9-5, live anywhere, and join the new rich” and I didn’t put the book down the entire night. I took notes cover to cover and discovered the most inspiring, liberated, passionate and interesting person that I have ever known, my hero Tim Ferriss.

Tim has a baffling roster of experiences.  He is the first American in history to hold a Guinness World Record in tango, and is a fluent speaker of FIVE languages. He was an actor on a hit TV series in China, a National Chinese Kickboxing champion, an MTV break-dancer, a Yabusame rider and the list continues.  His greatest contribution has been the “Four-hour workweek”, a book that has motivated millions of people to enjoy life and achieve the goals that they never thought possible.

His ability to challenge untested presumptions and the immense value that he brings to people is what makes Tim an admirable person.  Because of a premature birth and a collapsed left lung, it was essential for him to find out the minute details of what he planned to do, and to focus on the things that made the biggest impact. This paradigm allowed him to test and defy the limits that society has on people and to explore his interests wherever they took him. For example, when he ran a nutritional supplement company, by focusing on the customers that brought him 80% of the revenue, he effectively grew his business while lowering the time that he spent working. He also challenged the idea that to become fluent in a language, it takes years of immersion and classes. The presumption was shattered when by focusing on the most heavily used words in the language, Tim reached 97% fluency in three months! What is even more amazing is that instead of choosing avenues that offered him greater income, he chose to share the information to the masses. There are people that charge thousands of dollars for material that has half as much value as Tim gives, and yet Tim adds even more value from the hundreds of useful blog posts he writes. He also participates in a plethora of initiatives to involve people and give them a chance to succeed. Tim was a massive advocate for Room to read, where he helped build a school in Nepal. He is also an advisor to numerous technology companies that are changing the way people spend their time on the internet.

Tim’s idea to treat life as a science experiment has helped me break the box I put myself in and explore my potential. It is a teenage thing to do, but the first time I implemented his ideas were with girls. I always considered myself ok with girls, but I still didn’t talk to the women that I really had a crush on out of a twisted fear that I didn’t deserve them or my world would end with a rejection. Of course it took only a couple of tests to realize the fallacy, and I was introduced to a completely different world with unlimited possibilities. Years before I had read his book, I also had a passion for starting businesses, but after being told that no one would take me seriously, I gave up on my dreams of financial freedom. However, I decided to test this belief and started a student-run tutoring service called Tutorcurve. We matched University tutors with driven high-school students, and by keeping our start-up costs low and taking a smaller portion of the hourly rate, we were able to make it affordable for everyone.  Despite my fears, we barely had to do any advertising to get clients, and we have changed the way education is viewed in Toronto since then. I am now one step closer to affording my dream University and allowing my parents to go back to Georgia, their native country that they have not seen for 5 five years.  Furthermore, I deeply resonated with his drive to help students make a difference. Because I literally had no money to donate, I founded Students Helping Students, an academic and social mentoring program for my school.  I also used his knowledge to increase my marks. The five-hour stretches of procrastination was draining for me, and it removed the passion that I used to have for the subjects that I studied. I reduced my studying time by 50% when I focused on the methods that increased retention, like reading out-loud, rather than quietly staring at my book for 4 hours. I am currently holding a 91.5% average, and can dedicate more time to the Salsa club that I also founded in my school.

There are two lessons that I hope to carry out in the future. Although both of us love to explore and try different things, Tim is definitely more daring. It is my goal regularly put myself out of my comfort zone. Every time I have tried to do something I was afraid to, I grew tremendously and never regretted it.  I wish to contribute a lot more value to my community as well. For now, I will continue to volunteer and start clubs, but once I am able to have an income that will allow me to support my family, I am going to focus all of my proceeds on helping young entrepreneurs in developing countries.

This essay was submitted Stepan Parunashvili for the December 2010 – Scholarship. See and vote on your favorite essays here. When asked what he would do if he won, Stepan said: If I am the winner, I have three things planned for how I will use the money and the opportunity. In Toronto, there is a $120 application fee for Universities, and because I will also be applying to McGill University in Montreal, I have to pay another 80 dollars. I will use the 200 dollars from the prize money to send my applications by the end of winter break, and I will save the rest for advanced placement tests and tuition fees. Furthermore, I am  looking forward to the mentoring that was offered. I am running a business, and another venture is also under development so to have the guidance of personal finance and lifestyle design professionals would be very valuable for me.