For better or worse (mostly worse), external pressures tend to shape our personalities. This coercion comes from:
- Our careers: You need to impress Bob if you want the promotion!
- Our neighbors: Look at our new SUX 6000! You should get one too!
- Family: You sister (insert one: moved out, had a baby, got a new job, got straight A). When are you going to be more like her?
- Friends: Hey, when are we going to Vegas to watch the Big Game?
These forces dictate how we dress, how we speak, what we buy, and most importantly, how we act. Everyone wants to fit in, so we do what we think our tribe expects of us.
But, the contradiction is this:
Trying really hard to fit in is the worst way to fit in.
Other humans don’t respect people-pleasers because they have no personality.
We’re attracted to leaders and authenticity. Tim Urban explains it best in this post (stop reading my garbage and go read this NOW).
The Real You
One of the unexpected (and perhaps the greatest) benefit of FIRE is that it helps you to be You. The Real You. It’s because having to earn money is a pressure that can manifest itself in negative ways:
I need money, so I’m going to do what it takes to keep my job, even if some of the decisions don’t agree with my values.
Money is liberating. If you have enough, who cares if your company goes Full Enron and you get shit-canned? You’ll find another job. Or maybe you won’t. Whatever.
Your life will change when you leave your job and it will probably be for the best. One personal example is my circle of friends.
One of my biggest fears around quitting formal work was that my life would lack meaningful interaction with other humans. My coworkers were a fine group of people and I enjoyed their company.
Since quitting, I’ve found that my the circle of people has shifted. I still have my old friends, but now I frequently find myself talking to traditional retirees while out on walks (they give me strange looks when they ask me what I do and I start talking FIRE). Or, I chat up strangers at the RC airplane field that’s close to my home. A couple of weeks ago, I flew to Oaxaca to visit with other FIREy people:
But the people I spend the most time with are other early retirees or humans who have unconventional jobs:
- Me: Hey, it’s noon on Wednesday, let’s go on a hike!
- Random human: Sure!
Life is good. And it’s authentic.
Mile High FI
And now that I don’t feel like I have to impress anyone anymore, I can be who I really am, a middle-aged guy that’s enjoys fart humor way too much.
I confess; this long-winded post is some self-promotion for the podcast I recently started with my friend Doug Cunnington. While every episode contains some good information, sometimes you’ll also find us laughing at our own nonsense. If you’d like to check it out: Mile High FI.
We also publish to YouTube which is slightly scary, but yeah… getting out of your comfort zones and all that crap…
Here is one of the better episodes where we talked to JL Collins:
And in this one, Doug and I talked to Mindy of BiggerPockets fame. Spoiler alert: She’s also my wife.
What will you do when you become the most pure version of yourself, the Real You?
I’m still not sure I’ve figured myself out, but the journey sure is fun. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
More 1500 Days!!!
You can also find me (and the dinosaurs) at:
Mile High FI podcast:
- EconoMe: Hey look, I’m speaking at EconoMe later this year!
- Facebook: Facebook group and page
- YouTube: My channel is mostly devoted to home improvement, but I have some other material coming up soon too.
- Instagram: Pretty pictures of dinosaurs, sunsets, and nail guns!
- Twitter: Spontaneous, often insane, ramblings
- Coworking space: On the surface, MMM HQ is a coworking space. Look a little deeper and you’ll see that we’re really building community. The members of MMM HQ are some of the finest people I know.
Other resources I like:
- Camp FIs are amazingly fun! I hope to attend Rocky Mountain and Joshua Tree this year. See you there?
- Need to learn how to invest? The Simple Path to Wealth is all you need.
- New to FIRE? Need some FIREy guidance? Check out Fiology and the accompanying workbook!
Join the 10s who have signed up already!
Subscribing will improve your life in incredible ways*.
*Only if your life is pretty bad to begin with.