This will be an experiment of sorts. I have always enjoyed reading different perspectives that people have on how to make their lives better. I’ve included some of my thoughts on the subject in with my investing content. The genesis for all of this in terms of writing comes from our friend Bill, here in Walker who once said to us you can figure it out now or you can figure it out later but if you figure it out now you’ll be much better off. Figure it out refers to happiness/contentment/fulfillment/purpose.
The catalyst for this sort of self-awareness in my own life came from my having been sick in high school which changed my some of my attitudes about life although this has been ongoing process. Over the years I’ve received positive feedback about the life that my wife and I have put together for ourselves. This is not about my having the answers for anybody else but having figured out some answers for myself and maybe knowing what questions other people can ask to help them to figure it out for themselves.
These posts won’t be directly related to investing but there is a connection which I hope to explore. I will try to write a new post on a different, but related, subject once a week.
A good starting point for this series might be making the effort to get to know yourself which I take as figuring out what is truly important to you. It seems like people often get clarity on this only after something bad happens. Figuring this sort of thing out is about self awareness which is not an easy thing.
I view this as a top to bottom inventory of what is important in terms of how you live your life and how you spend your time. My own belief is that simpler is better. This often results in less stress because you are in less of a rat race, spending less money to maintain your lifestyle (living below your means), maybe having more time to take care of yourself in terms of regular exercise and for eating a little better (fewer quick stops at McDonalds or Burger King).
This is not a call to not work or even to imply that you shouldn’t pay your dues along the way but if you have the self awareness to realize that wishing every week away to get to the weekend is not the best way to live then maybe yo can start to give yourself the opportunity to do work that you enjoy. Tying in the idea of living simpler (meaning below your means) you’re more able to handle the type of adjustment that might come along if the job you hate pays $100,000 but the work you want to do only pays $65,000 (or whatever numbers fit your situation).
My wife and I have a running bit where I will say something about retiring, she will then ask me what I would do and I then say I would probably sit around on the computer reading about and watching the stock market, then do a little bit of writing about the market and at some point go to gym for a work out. Isn’t that what you do now, she will ask and then finish by questioning the logic of my (pretending) to want to stop being paid for my daily routine.
The point of course is enjoying your work such that you’d do it anyway even if you weren’t paid to. I have a friend who is a photographer. It’s a safe bet he’d still take pictures if his income were to somehow dry up.
I’ll try to expand on these and some others in subsequent posts.