It started off easy.
You and some friends decided on a back country skiing destination for the weekend. You woke up early Saturday to drive to the trail head. At the trail head, you strapped on skis with skins on them, put on your backpack, and started skiing up the trail.
At fist it was fun and everything was peachy. Then things got hard. Six hours into the trip you were still not at the destination where you can set up camp. Tired, thirsty, and hungry, physically you were a wreck. Your friends were miles way ahead of you. You were alone in the snowy back country. You started to wonder if you would ever get there…
The endless chase
When things get tough, some of us start making excuses and focusing on the reasons why we can’t do it. Eventually we are so focused on the reasons and excuses that we completely give up on what we set out to achieve in the first place. The mind is a very powerful tool, the moment that we start thinking that we cannot achieve something, our mind immediately starts sabotaging all of our actions without us realizing (i.e. sabotaging subconsciously). Before we know it, all we can see is the poor progress and convince ourselves that it’s time to give up. So, we go back to what we’re familiar with – the norm.
Take our daily lives for example, some of us go to our typical 9-5 jobs during the weekdays despite not enjoying what we do. We do this simply because we need the money to pay the bills. Because of this, we feel like we’re stuck in a rat race, running around and around on the rodent wheel, getting nowhere. We dream about the magical day where we can finally retire and start doing things that we love and start living the way that we always wanted. Some of us even have a goal of early retirement. However, after a few years of working hard on the early retirement goal, we measure our progress and found out that we’re nowhere close to our goal. So we give up. We tell ourselves that hey at least we tried. We even pat ourselves on the back for going back to the norm and toughing it out until the proper retirement age. When we eventually retire at 65, we don’t know what to do with our lives. Because we are so used to the 9-5 job cycle, we lost all of our interests and forgot all of our ambitions and dreams. What happens if we were to die before we reach the magical retirement age? Sorry, too bad? Try again next time?
What is preventing us from start doing things that we love right at this second? Are we so busy in our lives that we can’t take a couple of minutes each day to treat ourselves? Or are we just pretending to be busy to allow ourselves to escape from the reality?
Instead of doing things that we enjoy now, we constantly look forward to the magical retirement life… this becomes a dangerous game to play.
Human-being or human-doing?
For those of us that aim to retire early or reach financial independence, are we guilty of paying too much attention to this thing called FIRE that we forget to live in the present?
“What do you do for a living?”
Ponder the meaning of this question for a second, isn’t it one of the most ambiguous questions in life ever? Most of us give the typical who-gives-a-crap answer resulting some follow-on questions about how much money we make and such. Shouldn’t we turn the question around and reply with what our interests are and what we are passionate about in life?
We all need to learn to be in touch with ourselves. What we do in life does not define who we are. Work does not define who we are. Listen to that little voice in our head and go with our gut feeling.
We should all take the time to enjoy our lives even though we’re still working and not financially free. Regardless of our financial situations, we should all thrive to pursue doing things that we truly enjoy. Our interests are things that make us better human-beings. They keep us happy and balanced in life.
Instead of waiting until we reach financially freedom or retirement, we should all learn to enjoy our lives now. Be happy and content about our lives this very moment. Practice gratitude by being grateful for what we have in life right now. Stop looking toward to the future all the time and end up losing sight of what we have now. Do not be afraid to push our comfort zone and challenge ourselves. Stop the need of doing something all the time, like checking emails, checking something on the smartphone, or pretending being busy for the sake of being busy. Stop being a human-doing that needs to do something all the freaking time. We are human-beings, not human-doings.
Life is not a competition with others around us. We are only competing with ourselves so we can be better. Life is about the experiences that we gain during each of our personal life journey. We are the one defining who we are and how we react and feel. Stop judging others. Stop comparing ourselves to others. Stop questioning what other people think about us.
If we all stop doing these things, we’ll be a lot happier.
In other news, apparently someone developed an app that would let others to rate you like the typical restaurant review systems. Really? Talk about taking bullying to the next level. Apparently the company is valued at $7.6 million.
What a shocking way to make money eh?
27 thoughts on “The endless chase”
Thanks for pointing out subconscious self-sabotage, that can be such a problem!
Very cool post Tawcan. It can be a challenge sometimes to find that happy balance between saving for tomorrow and enjoying today.
Hi Dividend Daydreamer,
Finding a balance is definitely the key. The balance will be different for each individual.
Just got back from a week long surfing trip with a good friend on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Probably spent around $1k for the entire week. Definitely was not super frugal, but it got us endless fish tacos, beers, and a warm room to sleep at night.
As much as I love saving and compounding money, you’ve got to enjoy life in the moment. I could care less about the $1000 I could potentially have invested vs the surf trip.
“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
Totally Kapitalust. The $1000 that you spent on this amazing experience will live on and bring you smiles every time you think about it.
Very inspirational post! As much as I don’t really care what others think about me, I do like “healthy” competition at times as it helps me improve and get better in return. I like looking at what others do or say because it challenges my own actions and words. That’s where the competition should end to me.
As for the being happy in the present part, I sure work hard on that! The whole idea of the RV trip is that actually. We all wait, at some point or another, for the moment where happiness will come… only to realise happiness is not A moment, it’s all around.
Thanks. Your RV trip sounds amazing and you’ll have an awesome time.
Nice perspective Taw. I couldn’t agree more. There are people who are so focused on what happens in the future and they tend to forget to hold of what is in the present. That’s why I am more focus on the present and give my best today because I know what I am doing now will have an impact on what my future will become.
Focus on the present and give your best every day is the way to live Jayson.
You are exactly right. We are competing with ourselves.
I heard about the company you mentioned from the news. What a crazy world that we live in. Can’t believe the company is valued at $7.6 million. Rubbish
Rubbish indeed. I should create a similar company. Even if it only values at 3.8 million that’s still a lot of money.
Great post, my wife and I literally just got done watching a TED Talk on Netflix about how people don’t allow themselves to be happy and enjoy the present. It’s season 1 episode 3 (only 12 minutes), the focus is on how when we achieve a goal instead of enjoying it, we tend to just move the goal post down the field and focus on the next goal. I’m seriously guilty of that behavior and something I’m trying to be consciously aware of.
Will have to check out this TED talk. Becoming aware of this behaviour is the first step to be better.
This post is more raw than I usually experience you, T. Clearly you’ve been thinking……………and I think you summed it up pretty well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts/feelings. I hope you have a great weekend!
Hopefully being raw is good haha! 🙂
“Stop looking toward to the future all the time and end up losing sight of what we have now.”
We need to enjoy our time today, and not spend the time “dreaming” about what life would be when the coveted dividend crossover point occurs.
Your Financial Independence is a journey, not a destination.
DGI – a human doer for now ;-(
Nothing wrong with being a human doer, just need to slowly change to become a human-being. 🙂
“Human-being or human-doing?” – BAM!
BAM indeed. 🙂
Great post. Was just replying to a comment on my blog earlier today, along similar lines. We are enjoying our life now, even though we’re on the way to FIRE. We have deferred our FIRE plans by having a family… second baby is on the way right now. But we’ll still be able to reach FI in about 16 years… that’s 17 years earlier than state retirement age for me.
Keep at it, but keep at both FIRE and enjoyment!
Enjoying your life right now is definitely important but it doesn’t mean you should follow the YOLO mantra.
I think this is an incredibly refreshing point of view. So many people take the long view of freedom and never ask what can I do now? Of course, I offered a more extreme solution, but I am a huge advocate of working towards your highest priority at all times even if you aren’t free to pursue it with all of your time because of secondary priorities.
Thanks. This is a topic that I talk to Mrs. T quite regularly. She always reminds me to enjoy things right now rather than looking far down to the future.
Good perspective Tawcan. Sometimes personally I look too much to long-term goals and not what I have in the present. I’ve been making an effort lately though to smell the roses.
Hi Fervent Finance,
Breaking down long term goals into smaller pieces is a great idea.
You look like a professional back-country skier. I would like to try skiing someday.
Keeping at it everyday! In 2008, 2009 people were pulling out money like crazy, those people stand to lose the money because they couldn’t time the rebound. So, I wouldn’t be surprised they are doing the same thing right now instead of buying into it.
Well, talking about rating LinkedIn is a multi-billion dollars business, I wouldn’t be surprised if they start doing the “like” button or rating of some sort, because people like the “competition”.
I’m not professional backcountry skier but I do enjoy skiing. It’s all about doing things you’re comfortable with. No need to compare yourself with other people.