The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines manifesto as “a written statement that describes the policies, goals, and opinions of a person or group.” So with that in mind, it is time to write mine.
Here are my main principles when it comes to how I want to live my life:
- Time is the most valuable commodity
- Working for other people is not an ideal life
- Having time to be productive in the way I want is paramount
- More Is Less, Less Is More
- I want to avoid stress
- Health is more valuable than money
1. Time is the most valuable commodity we have
The most important commodity we have is time. You can’t make more of it, you can’t buy more of it, and in fact, you don’t even know how much of it you have. You can get or make more of every other commodity. With time, you cannot. That is why I value my own time highly and want to be free to spend it wisely.
To make my time mean something I’d prefer to be doing things that make me happy. To that end, I need a place to live, food to eat, some peace and quiet if possible, and the ability to spend time with people I care about. That’s about it.
I don’t live for possessions because many possessions cause more problems than they solve. The more things you have the more things can break. The more you’ll have to spend your time and money getting them repaired. The more devices you own, the more setup involved. The more possessions the more purchasing decisions you have to make and the more you have to be worried about breaking them.
My main goal is owning my time. Because when I own my own time I can do what I want with it. If I want to write a novel I can do that. If I want to watch a movie I can do that. I control my destiny to a larger extent when I control my time.
The major factor that takes my time away is having to have a job, so I have opted to dramatically reduce my cost of living and forgo some luxuries so that I can have more time. This has allowed me to work on things I find fulfilling.
2. Working for other people is not an ideal life
There have been days where I missed individuals I used to work with at the office, but I have never missed working for others. Most people don’t like working for their boss, or the company they work for, but they leave themselves in a position where they avoid it. Or can they? Many can but are unwilling to cut back and I don’t want to be one of those people.
I will do whatever I can ,within reason, to not have to work for others. I might have to but I’m going to do what I can to avoid it. Don’t get me wrong, I think a hard day’s work is very important and to that end I’m working on productive things every day. But Spending 8 or more hours at the office plus an hour driving to and from work, just to come home and exhausted and drop into bed? Nope, not worth it for me, I’d rather give up some creature comforts. I’d say saving 10 hours a day is worth it.
3. Having time to be productive in the way I want is paramount
As I said, I think it’s incredibly important to be productive, but it’s the way in which I am productive. I’d rather be writing my own books, making my own furniture, making music, writing blog posts, or just working outside in my garden.
This allows me to work on things that I actually enjoy, and that is quite satisfying.
4. More is less, less is more
I feel fortunate to have experienced poverty as a youth then wealth as an adult. It gives me a certain perspective that well-off individuals may not have.
As an example, between the ages of 12 to 14 we had to walk over a mile and a half one way to get to the local food outlet because my dad didn’t have a car. Living in a somewhat rural area with no car and being made fun of by other kids was like a calamity for the 12-year-old me.
However, over time, I found out that it wasn’t that bad. We didn’t have everything, but I started to look forward to those walks and the time my dad and I spent together. We talked baseball, observed some of the birds we’d see in the fields, and got exercise in the process. If we were home, honestly, we would have been watching TV.
So, I had less, but in many ways, I had more. Today it’s the same. I used to have a sublime apartment near a major city where I lived on the 15th floor. Hawks and the like would fly by my window and I’d see the amazing snowfalls happen from a perspective I hadn’t seen before. Then, to reach financial independence, I moved to a much smaller house in a rural area with the understanding that I would be given up a tremendous amount. To my surprise, I found I don’t miss it at all. There are so many unexpected benefits of living in a rural area that I don’t think I’m missing a thing. More is less, less is more.
5. I don’t want stress
For me, the stress comes because I get overly involved in work. I’d be worried over the success of the project and then work like a maniac to avoid failure. I can’t tell you how many times I was up late on a Saturday at 2 or 3 in the morning just so I could deliver a project when I said I would. I didn’t do it because I had to, as if my manager was going to scold me. I did it because I really wanted the project to succeed. Do you know what I got for my hard work? Not much.
Even if the company profited because of what I did, how does that affect me? Sure, I could get a bonus or maybe words of appreciation from my boss. Big deal, who cares? I know it sounds like, “This guy is just burned out from the corporate world”, and that might have been true at points, but really it comes from me stepping back and realizing that I’m not really doing much other than helping a company out. Would that company end up caring about me the same way? Of course not, I’d be let go if it was convenient.
A friend of mine is in finance and she is pretty well-to-do. She has close to a million dollars in the bank and doesn’t need to work again if she doesn’t want to. Surprisingly, she might be the most miserable person I’ve ever met. She works constantly, filling out reports, making PowerPoint presentations for the CFO, and she’s always disappointed she doesn’t get the recognition she feels she deserves.
She wants her co-workers and bosses to really appreciate her and what she’s doing, which makes sense, we are all human and want to feel appreciated, especially if we work hard. However, the point I keep making to her is that it is an impossibility. They are co-workers, they aren’t family or friends. If she left tomorrow the company would continue to function. Still, she lives in a constant state of stress over her job. To each his own I suppose, but I don’t want that stress.
Blogging, making videos and writing books, the things I do now, are not stressful at all. If I’m successful great, if not, that’s fine, no big deal.
6. Health is more valuable than money
Last, but not least, is health. When working full-time your focus during the day is going to be on work, and as mentioned in the stress section, it can consume us. For me, I’d notice that I’d end up eating much worse than I normally would, simply because
I had priorities at work that needed to be met. Food was just fuel that I’d dump in the system, and any fuel would do. Over time those burgers and tacos were adding up. Health problems became more abundant and I just wasn’t feeling as well. Again, all because I was working too hard.
Now that I don’t have to work I don’t have that concern anymore. I’ve been able to focus on my diet and am much healthier for it
These are the driving force behind me and why I chose to live a FIRE lifestyle. So far I’ve had a great time and it’s fixed so many of the problems in my life. I hope you choose a similar path and if you do, I hope these articles are helpful. 🙂