Getting Older, Getting Better

Getting Older, Getting Better

So I turned 33 yesterday. Don’t know about you, but for me, this is the time for self-reflection. If I have a couple minutes of silent free time (which is very rare) all these questions flush my mind immediately. Where am I? Am I satisfied with my life? Am I on the good track? What did I mess up? What are my goals? What are my options? Etc…

If you have read some of my posts so far you probably know that I am an average guy in many aspects. Ok, I know that being average is relative so let’s say I am average by my standards. We have a house and a car, both modest, nothing fancy, just by our means. My job is one of the best in town, both in terms of nature of the work and salary. Not too easy, not too hard. I am not over neither underpaid. I can go on and on with every aspect and on most fields, the statements would be the same.

Then there is the question of satisfaction and gratitude. Am I satisfied with my life? Well, the correct answer is “Yes and No”. When I look at where I am currently I have to tell that I am satisfied. I have a lovely wife. Two adorable daughters. A loving family. I can check every aspect of life and I can say that we are doing ok. Thus, I can say that I am extremely grateful for all of this. Then I start to look and think about the possibilities and suddenly everything gets a different light.

Thinking Monkey
A selfie from me while writing this post

To be honest this aspect started to show up before my eyes since one day I bumped into the personal finance blogosphere. Until that, I thought that I am killing it. Then I was facing all the awesome things other people are chasing (and more importantly successfully chasing), let it be financial independence, early retirement, mini-retirement, traveling the world, spending huge amount of time with the kiddos and loved ones, becoming freelancers and entrepreneurs, help other people and in some cases change the world. These things just blew my mind. And I stopped feeling that I am killing it.

Since then I am on the everlasting quest of devouring information about improvement. I always liked to read, but these days I read more than ever before. And I know that this is good, but to put this information into action is a totally different story. Reading about making a change is easy, actually changing things is not. Falling into the trap of eternal planning and constant procrastination is a real threat. Forming plans and then let them fade away into the greyness of everyday life. Letting everything to just levitate in this chaotic structure called schedule.

Then something happens (like a birthday), you enter this state of mind called self-reflection and suddenly you start to question everything. What do you do? Why do you do it? Is it right? Does it worth it? And you realize that you don’t have exact answers. Sometimes I feel that everything is fine. I provide stability to my family both emotionally and financially. But then sometimes I ask myself if I could do better? And the obvious answers is a big bold YES. Which leads to the next rational question, why don’t you do it then? Now this question is a harder nut to crack.

Yesterday I bumped into this article from Sam, listened to it, then watched the TED video in the end. Needless to say, I was amazed, as always hearing a story about someone who starts from a disadvantageous situation and reaches great success. Then the question comes to your mind every time “What is your excuse?”. Damn, even one of the most successful (if not THE most successful) blogger on earth, Jon Morrow has an illness which makes him unable to move his body below his neck. And there are hundreds of other examples.

So what is my excuse not chasing my dreams fanatically? What is the difference which gave these people the motivation to achieve everything they want? Well, the answer for this is different in every story, but there is a pattern. And to come to this conclusion I had to turn the question upside down. What causes my lack of motivation to chase greater goals? The answer came instantly as always when you find the right question to ask. It does not hurt enough.

Good enough is the enemy of greatness.

When you are thinking about your things and you label everything as good enough this leads to two things. On one side you will be grateful for your situation, but as you will not be extremely grateful it often fell out of focus. You will be motivated to achieve more, but as you are not obliged to do so it is very easy to step back when bigger obstacles come your way. (Or is it just me? :))

So while it is cool to have a “good enough” life same time it can also prevent you from achieving more. Probably that’s why it took me almost a year to finally start a blog. And that’s why I have problems keeping myself consistent with it. Whatever, I believe this is the root of the problem.

The next rational question is that what can we do about it? Well, the source of motivation can be different for everyone. I found it in my relationship with my children. To provide a better life for them. One with more happiness, more fulfillment and more options to them. This is something I think worth working for. So I am here. On the quest for learning new skills. To prove myself that I can be consistent. To prove others that I can fight for my dreams. And to break the chains of mediocrity and aim for getting better.

Sorry if this post is a little bit chaotic and messed up. I am kind of sick’n’tired and my head is dizzy. These flowing thoughts disturbed me and I wanted to get them off of the top of my head. I hope that next week I will be able to get you a proper, more entertaining story.

8 thoughts on “Getting Older, Getting Better

  1. We all have these moments HCF. I would venture to say that every single person involved in the PF community has been where you are. This is to a large degree because modern life just never seem to quite fit as well as we imagine it when we are kids.

    Having said this, you have discovered the one true path to happiness – being grateful. Focus on what you have, not what you want. Focus on you, not on what other people have achieved.

    Now once you’ve done this, think about where you want to be. Take a step. Any step. Just do it. Walk slowly and over time you’ll get there. Just one day at a time.

    And for the love of all that is good don’t compare yourself too much. Check out a great article that Millennial Revolution posted about comparing yourself just last week.

    1. Thanks for your kind words. I totally agree with you. The only thing I wanted to add is (as I wrote above) not comparing is a two edged sword too. It helps you not worry, but also it can put you into a false calmness, that everything is just fine as is. So let me reframe the problem. The real task is to build a stable starting point (for which you could be grateful), then compare yourself to the right role models and then instead of whining about your situation (that totally was not my intent with the post) make a plan to replicate from their success what is important to you. Sounds better this way? 🙂

  2. The “Good enough is the enemy of greatness.” line struck me.
    Sometimes being happy is appreciating what we have, and what we think is good enough is pretty great. It is common for people to leave jobs, and later realize things weren’t so bad at their old job.
    Good enough is not the only enemy. Sometimes our idea isn’t good enough, so we never share it. Other times our plan isn’t ready or good enough, so we never start.
    I have many similar thought to those you mentioned. Remember that you are reading some pretty exceptional stories. Fight discouragement and remember you can create a great story too.

    1. Thanks for your encouraging words. These thoughts haunting me often. My greatest fear is that I get rusty and apathetic in a life situation which I consider good enough, but later I will find out that it really isn’t. That the fact that you are comfortable with your life keeps you from the desire to achieve more, just because “it does not hurt enough” to force you to go for it. And doing this while you have the potential buried inside you.

  3. Look no further than my blog to inspire you to greatness!!! 😉 hahaha… Nice read, friend.

    Glad you found good ol’ Sam too. I don’t really jive with his stuff but he has a lot of “it” figured out, doesn’t he?

    1. You know that I do and I like it 😉

      You are not the same person so it is natural that you don’t agree with him at every point, but he did figure out a lot of “it” indeed. 🙂

  4. I was struck by the sentence Mr. Jump Start mentioned, and also this one:
    “Falling into the trap of eternal planning and constant procrastination is a real threat.”

    Devouring much of the FI information is a double edged sword; there are so many great ideas and stories– some of which may help you immensely, and other’s that might cause you to spend time pursuing things you never wanted in the first place. Or make you think you’re not taking action on your own plans when in reality, you probably are.

    1. Exactly. For first it took half a year to convince myself finally to start this blog. Also, I am analytical thinker by profession which has its downsides. Overengineering and overplanning is a common mistake I make. Just to demonstrate I have a title on my planned posts list: “Plan the shit out of it and then do nothing”. Needless to say, that I did not write it yet 😀
      Thanks for reading!

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