|Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash|
There's something about always learning, always getting better and always trying your hardest that creates a background hum in your mind of inadequacy of the self and resentment of others far away.
Today I'm bringing you a blog post on this dead website for two reasons. The first, because I need to get this out of my system for the sake of my mental health and second because creativity is a reflection of self and there is nothing more sacred to the human soul (that just means I want to do this for the sake of expressing myself).
At some point in my journey to FIRE I've realised the entire point is to live long and happily. Therefore, FIRE is incredibly similar with the projected values of individuals and society as a whole but of course what people project is much different from what they actually do. Society may want to live long and happily but the individual actions of people taken every day are quite contrary to this. As a society we smoke, drink, gamble, rest, eat and spend far too much. I'm sure there's more to add to that list. I think each of these things in proper moderation is an optimized life but we simply don't moderate - therefore self-help enters the equation.
I pick on society for that very reason - I want to be better than it. By pointing out the various flaws of people around me and especially far away I get to feel so much better about myself. And when this hypocrisy inevitably crushes me in a certain sector of my life (lets say eating junk food) than I hopelessly squirm against the grain of mainstream society to seperate myself from the pack and become better. "I don't eat Skittles but I bet you do you - you must have no self control." That kind of crap.
I don't need to describe to you how stressful and pointless this form of thinking is. It's even more damaging when you idolise influencers in the self-help category who never watch TV, never work a job they don't enjoy, never finance a car, in fact, they've portayed a life where they never lose (except when it leads to winning anyways).
The problem with following such self-help authors is this: they are perfectionsists describing their version of perfection to aspiring perfectionists who relate on some level. The aspiring perfectionists like you and me will then feel crippling defeats over a minor slip up because we temporarily weakened ourselves by surrending self-control. As a FIRE walker, you might feel this defeat every time you make a consumer purchase outside your pre-determined budget. If so, no wonder people drop like flies in this movement.
So it's time to confess. To trying to be perfect. To trying to be somebody I'm not. For attempting to emulate my life to be someone I can't possibly hope to be happy with. To looking over my shoulder far too often for the sake of self-gratification.
The most difficult part of rationalising all of this is simply: change is hard. Improvement is hard. Training and conditioning new habits is hard. Overcoming the hurdles of imposter syndrome and anxiety is very likely normal and incredibly common when you're on a journey to learn and improve. It's also normal to shed relationships in the process even though cultural it's very damaging to do so.
So is all of this a normal step in the self-improvement process? Am I blowing up for nothing? Or am I a self-help junkie? Until I'm on the other side (for better or for worse), I won't know. I might never know. Same goes for FIRE.
My strategy right now is to take one day at a time and remove the big picture from my head. I'm not building a company with 10k employees. I'm not writing extensive complex code nor am I trying to explain the origins of the universe. My goals and systems are not that complex.
I'm just trying to be happy. It's really that simple.
P.S. Writing this did help me in a tremendous way. I'm going to keep doing it. I have many unreleased articles and I'm considering picking up where I left off.