The Misconception – Saying ‘Yes’ means spending money
The other day I came across this brilliant quote for the very first time. I read it over a few times and thought about how I could use it in my everyday life.
Always say ‘yes’ to the present moment. What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to what already is? What could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now? Surrender to what is. Say ‘yes’ to life — and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.
As a personal finance blogger and a financial independence retire early (FIRE) seeker, delayed gratification is a common everyday practice, meaning I have a tendency to focus on saving money now so we can enjoy life later. Or as I call it, the save, save, save, and save some more mentality. I’m sure readers who are saving and investing for their future can totally relate.
However, over the years, the save, save, save more mentality had created some tensions between Mrs. T and me and resulted in numerous arguments over small expenses. After looking at the big picture, like our growing net worth and that we could technically be financially independent if we really wanted to, I realized that it was important to find the balance between spending money now to enjoy the present moment and saving money for the future.
Unfortunately, finding this balance is not something everyone in the FIRE community does.
Within the FIRE community, there’s a common misconception that spending money is bad. One should avoid spend money as much as possible and save as much as one can.
The thing is, spending money does not always mean bad. Spending money is a natural process in life. And it is totally OK to spend money.
When you take a deeper examination, it’s really not about spending money, it’s about what you prioritize in life. Spend money on what’s important to you.
Once you realize this important concept, things begin to shift.
If you prioritize travel in life, spend money on travel and get that incredible experience. If you prioritize outdoor adventure in life, spend money on outdoor gear and outdoor trips. If you prioritize good food in life, spend money on quality ingredients and cookware so you can prepare your own meals. If you prioritize experience in life, spend money on experience instead of things. And so on and so on.
Prioritization is merely the first step.
The second step is a complete shift in mentality.
Rather than always say ‘no” to the present moment and justify this action by telling yourself that can’t afford it, start looking from a different angle. Start saying yes and ask yourself, how can I afford this?
When you are open to opportunities, opportunities come up to you.
Now I am not suggesting go to the extreme by start living the YOLO (you only live once) lifestyle and spend all your money on good times, experiences, and things.
I am simply suggesting you take the time to analyze the situation and try to say yes, instead of immediately shoot down every opportunity or experience.
For example, imagine that one of your favourite musicians is coming to town and you have always wanted to see this musician live. You prioritize experience in life, so this would be an amazing experience. Rather than saying no and telling yourself that you can’t afford the concert ticket, approach it differently. Say yes and look at ways to afford the concert ticket. Maybe don’t eat out as much for this month, maybe sell some things that are sitting idle at home on Craiglist, maybe try to earn extra income, maybe cut down on other entertainment expenses, etc. The possibilities are endless, it comes down to you seeing these possibilities and take actions.
It’s easy to think that saying yes to the present moment means spending money.
This is a misconception.
Saying yes doesn’t always mean spending money.
It is more than that.
It has to do with enjoying the moment. There are many things in life that do not require spending a dime.
Enjoy moments that might not be around forever. Enjoy moments that you will always remember and cherish for the rest of your life.
At 4.5 years old and 2.5 years old, Baby T1.0 and Baby T2.0 are still quite young. They often would come into our room in the middle of the night and want to sleep with us in the same bed. As parents, Mrs. T and I would feel annoyed that they were disturbing us and we wouldn’t get a good night of sleep. So we would say no, push them away, and tell them to go back to their room and sleep in their own beds.
But Baby T1.0 and Baby T2.0 aren’t going to stay young forever. They aren’t going to want to sleep and cuddle with us when they are teenagers. Often when the kids were laying in bed sleeping with us, I would look at their content and innocent faces, and I couldn’t help but smile. These moments were magical. They made sacrifices that we make as parents all worth it.
Mrs. T and I are learning to say yes more to the kids so we can look back and not regret we missed opportunities to create everlasting memories with them.
The other day, Baby T1.0 and Baby T2.0 wanted to play soccer outside. Mrs. T was preparing dinner and I was in the middle of paying credit card bills. Rather than saying no to the present moment, we decided to say yes to the kids and played soccer with them for 15 minutes or so. We kicked the ball around and chased after each other. All of us had a great time and the loving bonds between us grew stronger. We could have easily said no to the kids and went on with our tasks and not had this magical bonding moment together.
During the FIRE journey, it’s easy to look ahead and completely forget about the present moment. We all need to step back and realize that without the present moment, there is no tomorrow.
So say ‘yes’ to life and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.