They say that ignorance is bliss, and that statement has never been truer when it’s concerned me and owning a car. I never knew what a slave I was to it until now, and how much it kept me from doing important things like meetings and writing thinkpieces.
My awakening began precisely at 10:22 a.m. this morning, when Neil Patel’s article in Entrepreneur hit my desk. Patel describes himself as an entrepreneur, investor & influencer, and make no mistake: when someone calls themselves an influencer, they are immediately deserving of your attention.
Thought-provokingly titled “Why I Refuse to Own a Car,” Patel explicitly explains how the things you own end up owning you if you’re not careful. Including cars. He details how car ownership posed nothing but a series of “distractions” that prevented him from focusing the Things That Matter in his life, like his relationships and business(es).
Right off the bat, he corrected me in thinking that a car makes any “business sense”:
I soon realized, though, that my car was a distraction. I had to fill it with gas, get oil changes, figure out where to park it and try to drive in the crazy downtown Seattle traffic.
What a waste of time! So, I gave the car to a friend. He had to pay for gas and insurance, of course, but the car was his. My only condition? He had to give me a ride when I needed it. Basically, I had Uber before there was Uber.
For me, the agreement made perfect business sense. Purchase a car. Give it away. Don’t worry about the hassle, and get unlimited free rides in return.
Right on, Neil! I never realized that there was a nearly unlimited supply of personal drivers and errand-runners from the pool of people lucky enough to consider themselves my friends. When I have time for them, of course, after I’m done meditating and daydreaming and crafting uniquely personalized follow-up emails.
Neil goes on:
I’ve engineered my life to be incredibly minimalist. I don’t own a home. I don’t own a car. I don’t have any major recurring expenses. I wear the same thing every day. I eat the same thing. My life is extremely simple. That’s the way I’ve designed it.
Hell, just look at this guy. He’s achieved, like, fuckin’ nirvana. Neil could not care less about pedestrian-variety stuff like food, or owning property. To him, everything that isn’t business-oriented is streamlined to the point of non-existence.
I’m fervently taking notes here—efficiency seems to be the name of the game.
Plus, I’ve done the math. I spend roughly 8.2 hours a week in a car. That’s around 426 hours per year. Some people spend more time in their cars each week. I don’t really have to drive to work, but I have to go to meetings.
Do you hear that! He has meetings. Meetings are not something ordinary plebes have. Thank you for being such a super-important disruptor who goes to meetings and doesn’t have time to be stuck in a car like the underclass. I am learning so much.
Assuming that the average person spends 40 hours a week working, I am gaining 10.5 work weeks more than my competition. In essence, I am able to work more hours each year than my competition can, because I don’t drive, while they do.
As an entrepreneur, time is money. There isn’t enough time in the day. The company that executes the fastest tends to win. By using Uber and not driving, I gain 10.5 weeks a year on my competition.
At the time of this writing, I hardly go to enough meetings to justify selling my car. However, he’s given me something new to aspire to: go to more meetings to save time and avoid doing any actual real work. Everybody wins!
I also began to understand the subtle difference between owning a car and exclusively taking Ubers everywhere. Owning a car is a distraction, but consistently ponying up for a ride isn’t! See the difference?
After I finished reading Neil’s story, I walked over to the bathroom and gave myself a long and hard look in the mirror. I realized that the very tips of my hair seemed a bit dry and would probably benefit from a trim. But then I realized that these things matter very little in the way of the entrepreneurial spirit that drives only a select few of us.
To you, Neil, I can only say thank you. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the inhibitors that were keeping me from my full potential of going to meetings. Thank you for giving me something to strive for. To die for. I can only hope to bum a ride off someone to power lunch with you so we can network together.
Make no mistake, I will be in the presence of true greatness, the Lord of LinkedIn himself, when that day comes. I can hardly wait. I have so many questions.