If you’ve found yourself in a continual loop of obsessing about the future lately, STOP IT!! Do not wish your days away! Today is more important!!
I know we all want to hit our millions and retire all proud of ourselves on the beach/tiny house/camper van, but don’t waste your precious God-given time waiting for it! It shall come and you shall be just as sexy when it does! :)
I had to remind my own self of this after getting an email asking for advice around precisely this same thing… It was in response to our book giveaway last week on financial fails (winners announced at the end of this post, btw!)), and here’s what it said along with my response back:
“My biggest regret is not learning about FI, budgeting, saving till 30. I missed critical years in my 25-30 period which could have already made me FI…
The biggest problem I have now is, I cannot wait to get FI and leave my job. Makes it hard to concentrate. I know I should be kicking ass in my job, which I am but can do better. Leaving the job for now is not an option for my plan, but even with a 64% saving rate FI feels so far.
Have any words of wisdom to keep kicking ass in job while still knowing this is just a side step in the grand scheme?”
I couldn’t think of anything at first, and then it hit me…
Not really, other than DON’T WISH YOUR LIFE AWAY!!!
Yeah FI is going to be great, but once you’re there you’re now gonna be X years older (if you’re even still alive!) so better to focus on the *daily* stuff and lifestyle, and then whenever you hit it you hit it… and I bet you find ways to enjoy life better so that once FIRE does come it’s actually not that much of a difference!
Daily happiness > future happiness”
Was pretty proud of that last line ;)
But it’s true, right?? Who wants to age themselves like that just for the sake of more dollars or titles to their name? Who knows if we’ll even be ALIVE by the time we hit it too?!
And damn. He’s crushing it with that 64% savings rate – that is insane… I shoulda prob told him to slow down a bit and actually use up some of that money now too while he can, but didn’t want to get in the way of his killer system there…
Now it’s just maintaining his daily happiness until the future happiness hits! Which is bound to w/ a savings rate like that – only 10.5 years left according to Mr Money Mustache’s famous chart:
That other line I threw in there deserves some special attention too:
“I bet you find ways to enjoy life better so that once FIRE does come it’s actually not that much of a difference!”
This should actually be a prerequisite for ALL of us pursuing FIRE, and not that hard to do if you start years ahead and habit stack. Most things people want to do in their free time can easily be done today with a little finagling… Taking more walks, going fishing, golfing, traveling, volunteering, spending more time with family, grandkids, granddogs, spending more time on your hobbies, writing, thinking, building, creating.
$hit – I was just complaining to myself the other day that I didn’t have enough time to read, and then after sending our friend here that response I decided to shut down the computer IN THE MIDDLE OF MY WORK and pick up a book (Atomic Habits). 30 mins of bliss later I came out totally refreshed! And do you wanna guess if it ruined my entire work day?? Of course not :)
Now you can’t *always* sneak in stuff as some days are more demanding than others, but getting into the habit of at least trying to grant yourself 1-2 small joys on the daily will up your mood pretty handily. This is not an All or Nothing play here as much as it sometimes seems like it is! You do not have to wait until XYZ days/years/months later for happiness! Grab it now and feel more FIREd while you’re on your way!
I had the following note back from our friend the next morning:
“Daily happiness > future happiness” should be printed and put in eyesight by everyone (specially people pursuing FI) on a daily basis :D Thank you for reminding this, it is just so easy to forget.
Started my work day 1 hour late, with a walk in a park, coffee and croissant. Starting to incorporate more “daily happiness” tasks ;) will incorporate more of this every week.”
“A walk in a park, coffee and croissant.” Gosh… so magical…. And how hard do you think it was for him to pull this off?? Not very if he did it within hours of my email! I’m sure he had all types of things pre-planned that he just moved around or better yet canceled after realizing it was busy work, lol…
But THIS is the stuff that makes living life so joyful… The big goals are important and you get a bigger boost for hitting them, but they’re sooooo far and few between and if you’re not paying attention enough you’ll speed through life and miss out on everything else.
And believe me – you do not want to Rip Van Winkle it and wish you could go back in time! Even if you’re nice and FIREd by then!
People like to think they want to be Warren Buffett or Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates, but if it means turning 92 at the end of the month like Buffett is about to hit, something tells me they’d change their mind quick. I can tell you what HE’d choose if given the opportunity to switch with you ;)
Money can buy a lot of things, but extra time on Earth is not one of them.
Anyways, something to remind yourself of today, and I hope it pushes you to focus more on the present than the future too.
If you’ve got the foundation set and game plan going, your money/business/career goals will eventually get hit. So if you already know you’re going to reach it later, why not shift the focus back on the present and how you can win TODAY as you wait?! There’s no rule saying you can’t enjoy both the present and the future! Go for it all and be a greedy little bastard!!
Happiness today > (potential) happiness later. Pick it up where you can get it and enjoy your damn life 💪💪
UPDATE: From our friend above:
Some more incorporations into my “daily happiness”:
- Using Pomodoro at work, concentrated work for 40 mins, 10 mins my time (in which I do some German, read “The Great Mental Models”, meditate or just go and make a nice cup of home made tea (performance is up, happiness is up))
- Not checking Slack after hours (shutting it down on my phone gave me mental peace)
- Reminding myself about my 8 month emergency fund (so less worry if I get fired)
- Not constantly looking for promotion or raise (if it comes good, if it doesn’t also good)
- Meditation (been doing this on and off for a year, and this is definitely the biggest one)
* Winners of last week’s giveaway, that should have only been two, but I accidentally picked a 3rd so now one of you got doubly lucky! –> Diane C, Amy Capone, and Katherine Euliano – congrats! For everyone else that was interested, make sure to pick up the book at Amazon or your local library – it’s now out!