Well, kinda. You see, I ate lunch. He just sat there.
“You’re not eating?,” I asked.
“I ate one-and-a-half sandwiches before I got here,” he replied.
I asked why. He explained that ordering lunch at restaurants is expensive. He stuffed his stomach full of peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches immediately before coming to the restaurant, so he wouldn’t be tempted to order food.
I noshed on a chicken-and-cheese burrito while he explained that he had recently quit a well-paying tech job that everyone believed was a “dream job.” Everyone, that is, except him. He hated it.
He now had $15,000 in the bank and was living on his savings while he tried to launch a business with a couple of co-founders. He figured he could stretch that $15,000 to last for four or five months, as long as he lived frugally.
“If I can’t make any money after five months, I’ll need to find a job,” he said. His tone indicated that finding a job was his worst-case scenario.
We lingered at lunch for more than two hours. He sipped a $6 margarita. I paid the tab.
A few days later, he told me that he pays someone to clean his house weekly. He also hires someone to buy his groceries, pre-cook his meals, and store those meals in his fridge for the week ahead.
I was surprised.
“I thought you were trying to save money?” I asked.
“I am,” he replied. “But my time is valuable. If I can buy back a few extra hours in my week for $12 or $15, I will.”
“But you won’t order lunch?”
“That doesn’t buy time.”
Wow, I thought. This guy is focused. Here’s a perfect example of someone who ruthlessly slashes his spending on the things that don’t matter to him – like restaurant meals – so that he can spend lavishly on the things that matter most, like his time.
I told him I write a blog about people like him. I asked him to check out some of my articles and let me know what he thinks.
“I can’t,” he replied. “I’m not reading anything for the next five months. No magazines, no books, no blogs. I have to get this project off the ground.”
“What else are you giving up?,” I asked.
“Sports. Seeing my friends. Live music …” he rattled off a long list of sacrifices.
His path isn’t sustainable. No one can – or should! — deprive their life of simple joys like reading, friends and music.
But he has a tight deadline: five months. He has a mission: build company. And he has an Olympic athlete’s laser-focus. He’s willing to live like no one else.
I get the feeling that he’ll be just fine.
Thanks to N Duran for today’s photo.