I believe that Financial Independence is more than simply following a plan for increased passive income. It can spill over into all areas of life, not just the bank balance. In deciding what to spend money on, you must think of your needs, aspirations and the person you are / want to be. Here are my thoughts on what I call “Living In the Now”.
Now, being human, unlike any other species on the planet, we all live in three places. We spend varying amounts of time in each of these three places, sometimes commuting back and forth between them many times a day. And sometimes, tragically, we can get stuck in just one of them and can’t grow and improve as our humanity requires.
I don’t mean geographically. I’m talking about places in Time.
The Past, i.e. the experiences you’ve had, are a great teacher. But it can be one of the worst places to spend a lot of time thinking about. It’s a seductive place to visit however, especially if things in the Past were better than they are Now.
The trouble is, the longer you spend living in the Past the less you can grow and improve as a person. It can emphasize more negative thoughts such as regret and loss. And if you’re not looking forward, you’ll miss opportunities in front of you that may bring Financial Independence that much closer.
We can’t change the Past. But we can use it to teach us (*), to guide us on our way and make better decisions going forward.
(*) Except of course in investment decisions since Past performance has no significance to Future performance.
So if living in the Past isn’t such a good place, how about the Future?
Well it’s not such a great place either. If you’re living in the Future you’re likely more dreaming about being in a better place than actually getting there. This can even take the form of spending money that you don’t have and living beyond your means.
For some (including myself) the Future can be a fearful place if you spend too much time there – what if I lose my job, what if the stock market crashes, what if …. ? Fear is a powerful emotion and an important survival instinct, but sometimes we’re our worst enemy with conjured-up problems.
No. Rather than live in the Future, make a plan to make Your Future happen.
There’s just one place left between the Past and the Future. It’s Now. Today. This minute.
This is the best place to spend most of your time. Eyes wide open and aware, making as much of the moment and the day as you can. Being the person that you want to be.
I don’t mean this in the sense that you should rush out to have experiences such as zip-lining through an active volcano in order to get as much excitement every day. But however you choose to spend your time (whether reading or zip-lining), do it because it fulfills you and makes for a “Better You”. And if you have to spend time doing something you don’t want to do, do it as best as you can for the same reasons.
Living in the Now is not all rainbows and unicorns of course. For many it’s especially hard living day to day. My point is just to make the best of whatever you have, live below your means and make plans to improve it if you don’t like it. Life isn’t fair, but you can always choose your actions and how you hold yourself.
Easier said than done, I know. It won’t be easy, and the cost may even be more than you’re willing to afford. But it can be done.
As Benjamin Franklin said, “the Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.”
My Three Rules
So here’s my very simple guide to a better, and Financially Independent, Me.
1 – Learn from the Past
2 – Live in the Now
3 – Plan for the Future
It’s really nothing new; the Neanderthals lived it automatically but couldn’t tell anyone. The Romans figured it out more than 2,000 years ago and wrote it down. But it just seems lost somehow in this day and age of information overload and social pressure.
In closing, I leave you with the song from the recent concert that inspired me to write this post down, otherwise it would have remained as just thoughts.
Time is the most valuable currency. Spend it wisely.
Quote of the Day