The month of June was a difficult one for me and I re-learnt an important lesson. There was a perfect storm of difficulties i.e. both professional and personal difficulties arriving at the same time and creating havoc.
- Professionally, my company had a layoff…it was a stressful week while all of this was happening as the laid off folks were not announced at the same time. Fortunately I was not affected, but a friend and colleague was. It left a bad taste in my mouth. Nothing to compare what my friend was going through, but I have been around a few layoffs in my career and it leaves more disgust in its wake each time. My mind was yearning for freedom from all of this for many days. What this event made clear is that the path I am on right now i.e. the path of achieving Financial Independence, is the best choice I could have ever made.
- Personally, there was a family emergency that forced me to travel across the country and away from my office at the critical time of layoffs. The issue took a week to resolve itself and the resolution was mostly positive. But, while I was spending time out there, my mind kept coming back to my work and the layoff scenario. I know that is really lame, but I kept wishing I had the freedom to spend some more time taking care of the family issue rather than coming back after a week or so.
On my path to Financial Independence, I am learning a lot from my experiences and in a bigger way from all the smart people who share experiences from their financial independence journey. And somehow along the way, my journey has focused mostly on financial goals. Yes, finance is a great part of achieving financial independence, but I think I forgot the true underlying reason to reach for Financial Independence. I would like those who are reading this to pause and rethink the reasons for their FI journey. Anyways, my real reason is hinted in the title of this post, which is a total steal from some wise person. I just do not remember whom to make a proper attribution to….my apologies for this.
True financial independence is not only about having enough money, but it is also about having total control of your time. It is the ability to spend time as you wish and when you wish it. I remember some wise soul saying that everything in life is about trading money for time OR vice versa. FI is about trading money for time i.e. building enough FU money (link below) to be able to gain control of our time in life. The amount of money needed for FI may be different for each person, but once achieved, you have control of how to spend your time and that is being wealthy. While I was waiting for the family situation to resolve itself, I re-learnt this important feeling of wealth. Thanks to June 2015.
PS: I am behind on some of my blog updates and replies to some wonderful comments. My apologies for that along with my promise to get back to them soon.
All of us face adversity many times in our lives. Some adversity we are forced to go through, some adversity we try to avoid using many many ingenious ways. But, we all surely face adversity. Is there any benefit from adversity? Is it useful at all? I have often read that adversity will forge your character. During my own times of adversity, believe me I have had a few tough ones and will have some for the rest of my life, I do not think about character building….but I have always asked one question: what is the meaning of life? Is this adversity supposed to help me find meaning in some way?
Towards that end, I recently came across a wonderful talk on TED…a website with some wonderful talks by an amazing set of people. This talk is from a person named Andrew Solomon, whom I had not heard about before this talk. The talk was titled “How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are“. The main thesis in the talk was to use Adversity to Forge a Meaning and hence Build an Identity. The examples given in that talk explains the thesis so beautifully that I felt it would benefit others as well. It is amazing how some people can frame the problem and the solutions so beautifully that it is beneficial to lots of others who do not have that gift. The talk is about 21 mts and worth every minute of it.
Hope it benefits all who watch it.
Step by Step
<< I recently read a wonderful article from UConn.edu. I am reproducing it here verbatim since I thought it was extremely powerful. It lifted me out of my blues..hope it does the same to others as well. >>
The famous basketball player Michael Jordan wrote the following about goal setting in his book, I Can’t Accept Not Trying: Michael Jordan on the Pursuit of Excellence:
I approach everything step by step….I had always set short-term goals. As I look back, each one of the steps or successes led to the next one. When I got cut from the varsity team as a sophomore in high school, I learned something. I knew I never wanted to feel that bad again….So I set a goal of becoming a starter on the varsity. That’s what I focused on all summer. When I worked on my game, that’s what I thought about. When it happened, I set another goal, a reasonable, manageable goal that I could realistically achieve if I worked hard enough….I guess I approached it with the end in mind. I knew exactly where I wanted to go, and I focused on getting there. As I reached those goals, they built on one another. I gained a little confidence every time I came through.
…If [your goal is to become a doctor]…and you’re getting Cs in biology then the first thing you have to do is get Bs in biology and then As. You have to perfect the first step and then move on to chemistry or physics.
Take those small steps. Otherwise you’re opening yourself up to all kinds of frustration. Where would your confidence come from if the only measure of success was becoming a doctor? If you tried as hard as you could and didn’t become a doctor, would that mean your whole life was a failure? Of course not.
All those steps are like pieces of a puzzle. They all come together to form a picture….Not everyone is going to be the greatest….But you can still be considered a success….Step by step, I cant see any other way of accomplishing anything.
I Can’t Accept Not Trying: Michael Jordan on the Pursuit of Excellence is published by HarperSanFrancisco, a division of HarperCollinsPublishers (ISBN 0-06-25119)