Here at the frugalist FIRE Movement, besides profound things such as saving rates, investing and, as a result, financial independence, it is also about the big wheels. The meaning of life. The meaning of your life! When’s the last time you thought about that?
Until maybe the last two centuries or so, there wasn’t much of a chance to think about the point of it all. Very few people had a surplus of their own resources available. And because most could only think of their next meal, there wasn’t much time for introspection. When the moment did come, it was preserved for feasts, celebrations, and worship.
We’ve come a long way.
People who were mentally receptive after 15 hours of field or factory work had little time to reflect on the nature of their existence, let alone the universe. They were taught to pray and hope, look to God, and wish for the best.
Ever since finding out that fear and anger are very powerful tools to control other people and to keep them from achieving personal goals, ruling classes have been very closely aligned with the clergy. Whether it’s to wage a war of profit to spread Christianity throughout Asia and the New World, or to protect the Fatherland, men and women have been convinced to give their all for God and country time and time again.
But the buck stops at the FIRE movement. We call things by their name. If there was a God whom we are all afraid of, the whole pursuit of freedom, prosperity, and self-realization would make no sense. Then the whole FIRE movement would make no sense too and folks could finish here.
Fortunately, we – and many others – encourage people to think for themselves. Our ancestors fought hard for that privilege. We’ve come far from the generations who spent entire lives tending to their crops and praying to Freyr for rain and a good harvest. They have given their health, freedom and for some even their life for you to be able to read this kind of article.
This is a wonderful gift to all of us. But it comes with an obligation. If we don’t claim what is ours (our life), and pursue freedom, our ancestors and the progress they strove to bring into this world would have been for naught.
So, what does freedom mean?
Besides all the amenities, it is also an invitation. It’s an assignment to make as much of your life as possible. They fought and suffered for you!
Now you want to lie there, seeking immediate gratification around every corner, unwilling to take responsibility and plan for the bigger picture?
No? Then get up and do something!
But what can you do?
Quite simply you can make a great gift to all other people. The gift is: Be a shining example! Show us your talents! Figure out what they are, and dedicate yourself to something more!
Live out so that you shine in the most beautiful colors! Show us that you are making as much of your precious life as possible, no matter where you started.
You can only do that if you learn as much as possible from other people and choose the right things for you, but then follow your own path and stand by it. And stand for it.
There’s only one word that commands the power to let you stand for what you want, and reject how others tell you to live your life.
That word is “No!”
It could also be “Yes!” The two might seem like polar opposites, but it’s about context. The ability to declare yes and no is freedom. Independence. Unshackling yourself and pursuing a greater goal in life. Looking past the numbers and the need for the material, towards the immaterial.
Those who want to follow their path must set their own boundaries and reject the demands of others.
As a frugalist, I get requests almost every day to post sponsored articles on to the the Frugalist FIRE Movement blog, or to recommend things like P2P credits that are currently on everyone’s mind. I say no to at least 99% of all these inquiries. These are five-figure amounts. There’s a reason I decline each one.
To get to this point in my life, I had to say no to many people personally face-to-face. The first few times were extraordinarily difficult. I’ve been a people pleaser for a long time! This isn’t me! But I stuck to it.
A few weeks ago, I said a big “no” to one of my clients, after he asked me privately to accept a “special order”. An urgent topic for him, but ultimately, it would’ve forced me to sacrifice my own ethics, and throw another relationship into the snake pit.
I would never have dared to do that without my present plan of real financial independence. It’s only through that, that I’ve been given the freedom to decide how I wish to live my life.
This now gives me hundreds of hours, available for things that really interest me and for which I am passionate about. This ‘no’ has become a foundation for me. The ability to dictate and live by my own code.
As hard as it was in the beginning, I am happier as a result. I can spend my precious life doing things that mean a lot to me. I can live my talents more through this.
The ability to say no is a prerequisite for your life, if you really want to live a meaningful and fulfilling life.
That’s the real goal, is it not? Doing things that “fulfill you” and “give you meaning”.
These can be profound things.
For example, I like to cook for my family and friends and I would never have thought that I would feel so fulfilled. According to my sister, I make, among other things, the world’s best chocolate mousse. In any case, her daughter seems to confirm the claim.
And if anyone laughs about a man in the kitchen? They are welcome to do that, but just as with an opposite opinion when investing, this is simply theirpoint of view but not mine. I feel good about it. Cooking for my loved ones and thus caring for them gives my life a deeper meaning.
Regardless of our age, we need something to burn for.
People become unhappy when they no longer have personal goals. If you think, after reaching financial freedom, you will constantly be struck by luck, even if you do absolutely nothing that means something to you, you are terribly wrong.
Money is just a tool. Alone, it does not make you happy.
But it is a very cool tool. It is, among other things, the strongest no-tool I know.
- Carry on a job that brings you nothing but money? No!
- Resign yourself to circumstances or an environment, even though you are burdened? No!
- Keep people in your life, even though they are not good for you, but you need them for financial reasons? Double-No!
If you want to go your own way, you have to learn to say no and your own fortune and income will help you extremely well.
That’s why I’m so convinced that own wealth makes better people out of us all. And that’s why I want to have as many people around me if possible, with as much wealth as possible.
And not only because then I get many more millionaire interviews from them. Rather, I know that with these people they do much more what they really want to do. They are often more authentic, and I can learn more from them. As they have fewer reasons to pretend they are less willing to waste their lifetime on things that will give them only second-rate results.
Learn to say no – and thus you say yes to your own life!
The frugalist here wishes you a successful week ahead. If there is an interesting no, let us know in the comment section below!
And again, to the emotional hanger from the beginning – does the the frugalist author of this post believe in a god?
The answer is yes, I think so. But not in the way that manipulative people have been trying to force it over us for millennia.
God is a really cool guy to me. It bores him when people only live in their rut. It makes him mad when someone wants to manipulate others in his name. And it pleases him, when people recognize their own talents and live them out and thus are a shining example to others.
He is happy about friendships. And about people who realize that they have to respect themselves and have to be strong in order to be able to best serve others as a shiny example.
A God who demands unconditional faith, obedience, equality with the masses and not self-reflection, in my opinion has some big problems and in my experience, he would not have got the “God Job” in the first place.
A creature that creates the whole universe is damn cool and certainly does not need that petty fear-revenge-purgatory stuff.