One of the main reasons for writing this blog is to document my thoughts and feelings throughout this journey. I hope it can be helpful to both myself and to others who may start this journey after me.
Once things started to settle down, I settled into a routine that actually was eerily similar to a typical work week.
Even my wife started saying that I was as busy (or even busier) than before. I began to realize that I still had the mentality of an employee, even though I had no employer to pay me!
But in the last couple of months, that started to change.
Everyone has heard of the quintessential question, “What would you do if money weren’t an issue?”
In the past, I would just answer with lofty goals like: found a start-up, travel the world, end poverty, save the whales, etc.
But now, even though I’m not quite FI, I’m feeling out possible answers to that question.
Thinking and Dreaming for Inner Peace
I’ve come to realize that, when free from constraints, one thing I really enjoy is to think and to dream.
Seriously, it is my favorite past time.
I read books on controlling anxiety and improving productivity. I listen to podcasts on personal finance and location independent lifestyles. I go to meetings about hot topic ranging from changing careers to solo entrepreneurship to social issues to the global economy.
And, I constantly plan and strategize about the future and analyze (or, unfortunately, ruminate about) the past to learn from mistakes.
But what’s the goal of all this thinking?
The goal is to achieve an inner peace, a lack of disturbance.
But I’m trying to achieve and maintain it not by protecting against or escaping negative circumstances but by learning to accept them and not be disturbed.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I do take reasonable precautions and proactively try to solve problems before they arise. If anything, I do it to a fault. At my core, I do think that good planning will prevent or solve many problems.
But bad things do happen regardless. And when those happen, what’s left is your own resiliency.
Progressing an Inch in All Directions
But the other thing I’ve realized is that, despite my tendency to be active and productive, I’m also very unfocused and distracted.
Amidst all the busy-ness and flurry of activity that my wife witnesses, I wind up progressing only an inch in several directions.
This is mainly due to having so many genuine interests and resources to pursue them.
Yes, first world problems.
So I easily switch between several things. Such as between a potential career in non-profit and starting my own solo entrepreneurial venture. Or between concentrating on new investments into my investment portfolio versus small side hustles and part time jobs. Or even studying the Christian, God-centered approach to mental health versus Greek philosophy which focuses on reason.
But I also think it’s due to fear – fear that I’ll make the wrong decision. That the decision I make will be suboptimal, closing doors to better options. Or even disastrous, leading to ruin.
Addition by Subtraction
What I’ve come to realize from my lack of progress is that I need to focus. And to focus, I need to eliminate many things from my life. In order to making great gains, I need to cut some things, even good things, out.
First, I must clearly define my ultimate goals for the next 3-5 years. This should be informed by what my values are, such as family relationships, physical and mental health, having an impact on the world.
Next, I need to look closely at things that take up my time and attention. The meetings I go to, podcasts I listen to, books I read. I need to pick and choose what will help me achieve those goals.
Finally, I will only focus on those items that will help me progress to those goals, and cut out all the other things.
What about you?
Do you feel like you are at a pivotal time in your life, where you are pushing in all directions but making little progress?