Camp FI: Florida Edition
I spent last weekend at Camp FI (financial independence) in Florida. I’ve been to other FI related meetups ranging from local BBQs in neighbors’ backyards to the Ecuador Chautauqua. These meetups are fun for many reasons:
Money nerds: Most of us who attend these functions are money nerds. It’s not unusual for a person at one of these events to tell you their net worth within 10 minutes of meeting them.
Shared interests: Board games, outdoors, physical fitness. I get more of this when I’m around these people.
Really smart people: It’s fun finding someone that enjoys discussing cell phone triangulation or the inner workings of a nuclear submarine.
Lifelong Friends: Have you ever been to a party and said something like this:
Yeah, we should meet again soon!
But deep down inside, you know it will probably never happen?
These FI events are a little different. I keep in touch with many of the people who I met at Ecuador and have visited with some of them multiple times. I already have plans to meet again with one of the Camp FI attendees.
Because we’re spread out, I won’t see many of these folks on a regular basis. However, I do know that I’ll cross paths with many of them down the road and when I do, we’ll pick up right where we left off. This makes me happy.
The Camp FI movement is spreading including an event in the Midwest this summer. If you haven’t already, give one of them a try.
Very high on my bucket list is witnessing a rocket launch. To my extreme excitement, SpaceX was launching a rocket on the day the camp started (Friday). Although Cape Canaveral was over 100 miles away, I knew that I’d be able to see the launch because it was at night. Whoopee! And then it was canceled. Farts.
I was disappointed, but a little relieved as well because I didn’t want to be tempted to leave the group (I had considered driving to the beach to get closer). The launch was rescheduled for Monday evening and I’d be gone by then, so I’d just have to see one another time.
On Sunday, I happened to be glancing at my Twitter feed and saw that the launch had been rescheduled for 8 pm, just a couple hours away! Right before 8, a small group of us headed outside and looked South. And then it happened. We saw the rocket streak up to space. A short time later, we even got to see the first stage come down for a landing. It amazes me that someone has figured out how to bring a 150-foot tall rocket back to the ground and land it upright. This is one of the greatest engineering accomplishments of humankind and I was lucky enough to see it in person. Check that one off of the bucket list.
Personal Growth By Way Of Public Speaking
I’ve always been terrified of public speaking. And I’ve disliked myself for having this fear. Public speaking is a great skill to have in your arsenal and it annoys me that I’ve let insecurity stop me from practicing it.
Nothing great happens if you don’t stray from your circle of security, so some time ago, I decided to push myself. Mrs. Frugalwoods and I submitted a proposal for a talk at a media conference. A while later, we received notice that we weren’t chosen. I thought this:
Great! I tried! And I’m happy that I did. Now, I’m never going to volunteer to speak in public again. Phew.
A couple years later, Mrs. 1500 and I were invited to speak at Colorado State University (CSU). The thought of helping college students get their financial houses in order was deeply satisfying, so we agreed to the talk.
Our performance was good, but not great. My fear stopped me from living up to my full potential.
I’ve since realized that we’re are at our best when we let our personalities shine through. At CSU, I let my fear shut down the goofy person who I naturally am.
In the first half of 2017, my friend Stephen asked if I’d be interested in giving a talk at Camp FI. I’m not sure why, but I readily agreed. I immediately second-guessed the decision:
What would I talk about?
Would I make Stephen look like an idiot for inviting me?
Ugggh. I should just tell Stephen to uninvite me. I’m not worthy.
I wrote a draft of a talk and refined it. Then I deleted it. I wrote a second talk, only to delete that one as well. Neither of them felt right. Something was missing and it was this:
The talks didn’t reflect who I am. I was trying to be someone else.
We do our best work when it reflects our values and personality. I wrote version three with no shortage of goofy bits. I then edited it about 4,874 times and practiced it for hours and hours.
I’m A Better Person
The morning of the talk, the fear seeped in again. I started to sweat and my heart rate kicked into a higher gear. But as the hour drew closer, my fear gave way to excitement:
I wanted to see if the audience would laugh at my silly jokes.
I wanted to do a good job for Stephen.
I wanted to be up there talking to this group.
The talk wasn’t perfect and I’m not sure how it was received. However, I do know that it was better than any I’ve ever done. And after the talk, a thought popped into my head that surprised me. It was this:
I want to do this again. No, it’s more than that. I can’t wait to do this again.
I’m a different person as a result of doing the talk. I still have work to do, but I’m a little less insecure and a little more confident. I grew and I’m thankful that I had the opportunity, even if the crowd didn’t take me up on the offer for fart jokes.
Thank you, Stephen, for having me.
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