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The Confessions of a Self-Help Junkie

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.

Ryan Myricks

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.

Comments

  1. Hey Ryan,
    Reading this post and your "This is the End" post, it appears to me like you are trying to satisfy the expectations of others (FIRE bloggers, family and readers) as well as a set of rules that you have defined for yourself. And you are beating yourself up when you don't meet these expectations. IMO setting FIRE as a goal is admirable, but the pressure that comes from RE (Retiring Early - and who gets to define what early is?) takes away from the true value of this movement.

    Its true value to me has been about self improvement and being intentional about what I do in my daily life. Its about setting realistic goals and about making continuous small improvements. And the most important aspect for me is about simplicity – simplifying life brings inner peace and calms my mind.

    You have something to offer your friends, your family and your readers. Be true to yourself, be clear about your motivations and be honest and transparent with your readership.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow. What a fantastic comment. I think I needed to hear all of that. I have always been a people pleaser and I can recollect many times my wife has told me I'm being too hard on myself. Two things to consider before going off the deep end again.

      I'm glad FIRE has brought simplicity to your life, it has to mine as well. I guess that's why I make these rules for my self and for my readers, so you can gauge the success of your systems/goals. Creates a sort of balance between whats necessary and what's perhaps going to far.

      Thanks!

      Delete
  2. Hey Ryan, just want to reach out and say that what you have done here is important. Every once in a while we need to hit the brakes and do a self check, review ourselves for the sake of our mental health. I have a bit of a challenge seeking goal oriented nature to my unconscious habits which I am sure is what compels some of what you are sharing here. The key for me is to have fun with this journey and do it for me. I will leave you with a quote and a reminder to be kind and gentle to yourself. Cheers ~ Chris

    "People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost." ~ Dalai Lama

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Chris,

      Thank you so much for the kind words. I know you mean it from the bottom of your soul. Thanks brother!

      I'll handle that quote well, it's a great one.

      Delete

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