What is the measure of one’s worth? For many people, bottom line, it all comes down to the Benjamins! The more we earn, the better we feel about ourselves. Moreover, that feeling of “success” can become so intoxicating that it shrouds our views and prevents us from seeing the cold-hard “truth”.
When you make money, it just feels so damn good!
And if you’re the type of person who’s struggling just to make ends meet, really, at the end of the day, are you going to sit back and lament the decisions you’ve made to help provide yourself (and your family) with a better life?
Of course not…
Life is already hard enough as it is… If you’re going to complain about anything, you’d probably rather argue as to why you’re still grossly
If it feels sooooo good, how could it possibly be wrong?
Removing the Need
As someone who has previously worked in Corporate America for close to a decade, believe me, I am all too familiar with the grind, and rat race. I’ve experienced: days, weeks, months, years, fly by, without really comprehending what on earth just happened with my own life…
You’re so knees deep in the trenches, that you become borderline myopic…
I’m not saying that’s right or wrong, or anything like that.
It’s just the reality of real life that I think most everyone out there can comprehend and appreciate.
However, in my own career, I’ve always been at least cognizant enough to step back (even if just slightly), and ask myself the bigger, more important question — What exactly am I contributing to society?
To answer that question, I’ve always had to search deep down… No, I wasn’t going to listen to my bosses (and their bosses), who were ALWAYS spewing some type of corporate propaganda into my ear all day long while I was at work…
“This is an amazing accomplishment!”
“This product will revolutionize the world and society!”
“You should all celebrate and toast to all your hard, wonderful work!”
Put into the right context, no, no, and no!
Perhaps, releasing a new high-tech gadget can “change the world”… But after the 5th, 6th, 7th, 100th iteration of the “same exact thing”, what more are we really adding to this world? More scrap to the landfill?
When I peer behind the curtain, here’s what I usually find:
“A promotion for my boss.”
“Much fatter compensation and praise for the corporate execs.”
“More work for my co-workers and myself.”
Sure, any product success would also allow for the opportunity for one to pad up their resumes further, and perhaps go job hopping elsewhere to try and land some more robust compensation…
I’m plenty guilty of that… All I did while working as an engineer was job hop left and right…
But again, put in the right context, at some point in time, when the money becomes increasingly irrelevant to one’s ability to survive, more of it does not necessarily provide any more useful utility!
When your basic needs for survival are met and you are financially free, it’s time to see the truth for what it really is and seek fulfillment elsewhere!
A More Fulfilling Journey
Ultimately, chasing true happiness is what I decided to do for myself. Since starting this blog in 2012, I’ve been on a relentless pursuit to achieve early financial independence. I reached a net worth of over $1,000,000 in 2015. I landed a “dream job” (as far as high-tech goes) that paid $200,000/year.
Been there, done that.
So, when I reached an inflection point where more money did not produce any more real happiness, I said, “adios”!
Just so readers know, this was not a rash decision by any means. Since about 2014, I knew full well that there was a much better path in life for me.
Around 2014, I started to travel more aggressively, and visited places like: NYC, Boston, Key West, Tokyo, Bangkok, Rome, etc.
Each time I made announcements on the blog of where I was headed to next, I would always receive a warm comment or e-mail from a reader who wanted to meet up.
After attending one meet up after another, I realized something… they made me genuinely happy. I loved being around other like-minded people. I got a kick each time, talking about topics that I was actually passionate about. I felt a sense of purpose each time someone told me that I had inspired them in some way, shape, or form.
I felt so… alive.
The human connection… Something that was so sorely lacking in my corporate life.
So, I knew what I had to eventually do…
I had to chase real happiness.
Making a Difference
Pursuing individual happiness can be viewed as “selfish”, but when I try and look at things objectively, I would actually argue that I am now contributing much more to society, today, as a blogger than I would have had I continued to work as a disgruntled wage slave.
Sure, I don’t get paid anywhere near as much… only a tiny fraction of what I was previously earning.
But when you remove money from the equation (which I have), I feel like I’m making a much, much larger impact on society.
Whether it’s through:
- Rambling on this blog.
- Contributing investment articles/ideas to external websites.
- Hosting podcasts.
- Continuing to meet up with early financial freedom fighters.
- Engaging in discussions, comments, and emails.
What is possible through blogging extends far and wide…
As an engineer, the products that I was working on, I could not identify with… I felt no connection, no attachment, no affinity for any of it. Further, I would always be limited in scope to what my boss wanted me to work on. I had no freedom to branch out and experiment with new ideas, designs.
As a blogger, the harder I work, the more people I can reach. Motivate. Inspire. I have the freedom and luxury to be able to try out new ideas. I can experiment to my heart’s desire. There is no ceiling to what is possible. It’s all up to me!
So, I don’t care what my old bosses might say. I am NOT throwing away and squandering my talents. I am NOT wasting away my life! I am NOT a menace to society!
In fact, with each passing day, every new e-mail that I get in my inbox from another motivated financial freedom fighter is just further affirmation that I am making the right decision with my life.
And when you can finally remove making money from the equation, the fear of failure is no longer a limiting factor… You are allowed the opportunity to chase your dreams with reckless abandon. For instance, it takes a loooong time for me to record, edit, and upload podcasts to the web. Further, I’m reaching my data limit on Soundcloud and will probably be forced to upgrade my account for $15/month. With these podcasts, I’m not currently making any money off of them… If anything, I’m losing money, and putting in a whole lotta love and labor into it!
But I really don’t care.
If readers and listeners gain value from the podcasts, I’m going to keep putting them out there!
I want to make a difference in this world.
I want my life to actually mean something.
Engineering was no longer the answer…
Now, I’m off to try out something new.