Rules for people with time to spare.

Hey, you there working like a normal American laborer in order to function like a normal American consumer, i.e. always working and wanting and working for your wanting. Did you know that there’s a version of 5 Hour Energy designed to optimize your intelligence?

Yeah, I know. Surprising. Yes, it still tastes like shit, but…Wait, sorry. I’m getting lost in my own convoluted set-up. There is no taste. It’s not a thing. It’s a grand concept called leisure. Yeah, it’s what happens when you make so much money that you get what’s called “free time.” Turns out it’s not “free” at all. What? Oh, like billions of dollars. Or at least that’s the lesson I’m taking away from this purportedly inspiring article about how rich people have a “five-hour rule”

So what is the “five-hour rule?” It’s an entire five hours of deliberate learning per week. You know, doing things like…reading. Remember that? It was a thing your high school English teacher was really into (as if his life depended on it) but probably never had enough time to do himself.

Well, there’s hope yet! All you have to do is become an entrepreneurial billionaire! Oh, and this five-hour magic pill called learning is way more than reading: there’s also reflecting and experimenting. But don’t forget how one must act under this time constraint: deliberately. See? That’s what’s separating you from them – and believe me, there’s a huge gap between you and them. It’s that you’re learning so…haphazardly. I’d say discursively, but you’d have to be a deliberate learner to understand such diction (diction is a word for word choice that I chose to sound condescending; if you were a deliberate learner, you’d have been in on the joke, but to make it more condescending, I’m letting you in on the joke parenthetically).

So what are you waiting for? Better models to follow? Articles that don’t pretend like they’ve stumbled on something valuable? Posts about those articles that ate into what might’ve been five hours of fruitful time? Whatever your delay, it’s pretty clear: the “five-hour rule” is a totally legit social phenomenon. May we all be rich enough to deserve it.

We need to move beyond the cliché, “Lifelong learning is good,” and think more deeply about the minimum amount of learning the average person should do per day to have a sustainable and successful career.

Just as we have minimum recommended dosages of vitamins and steps per day and of aerobic exercise for leading a healthy life physically, we should be more rigorous about how we as an information society think about the minimum doses of deliberate learning for leading a healthy life economically.

The long-term effects of not learning are just as insidious as the long-term effects of not having a healthy lifestyle. The CEO of AT&T makes this point loud and clear in an interview with The New York Times; he says that those who don’t spend at least five to 10 hours a week learning online “will obsolete themselves with technology.”

Don’t obsolete yoself; entreat yoself to some online learning, yo!

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