Author Topic: Mustachian Motivation  (Read 2899 times)

GatewayTwo

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Mustachian Motivation
« on: June 08, 2015, 01:14:10 PM »
Hello all!  I've lurked around here for a fair bit and now have a question to place before the masses.

I've been getting my mental house in order to help keep me on the FIRE path when times get hard.  What I need is a little clever help in thinking about what the connection between some Mustachian ideas are.

The concept that really resonated with me (thanks to jlcollinsnh) is:  Financial Independence, Intentional Living, Personal Freedom.

I see those three ideas as the big circles on a Venn diagram, with sustainable happiness being the intersection of all three.  My question for you all is:  What do you get at the minor intersections?  I've not yet been able to boil the jumble of ideas in my brain down to a descriptive phrase that reminds me what the point of it all is.  (And so, some crowdsourcing)

So, what do you think that you'd get from the combination of:

1.)  Financial Independence and Personal Freedom,
2.)  Financial Independence and Intentional Living, and  --> FRUGALITY
3.)  Personal Freedom and Intentional Living?

Let the games begin!

EDIT:  CaveDweller inspired me to come up with an Idea for #2. 
« Last Edit: June 09, 2015, 05:23:05 AM by GatewayTwo »

GatewayTwo

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Re: Mustachian Motivation
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2015, 01:33:31 PM »
A Happy Life indeed :)  That is totally where "Sustainable Happiness" was going.


lkc4863

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Re: Mustachian Motivation
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2015, 05:00:21 PM »
#1 - trust fund baby?

CaveDweller

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Re: Mustachian Motivation
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2015, 07:01:41 PM »
Really love this thought experiment, and I can totally picture the Venn diagram. I suppose most of us who are fortunate enough to live in wealthy nations have achieved some measure of all 3 components, while 100% achievement of any is fairly rare. (If you consider "financial security" as part of the same continuum leading up to "financial independence." Perhaps 'intentional living' is the one you might argue is commonly lacking in a large portion of otherwise fortunate people).

But I gather what you're proposing is to take each of these combos to their extremes by imagining a life in which 2 of the components are completely met, while the third is completely missing. With that in mind, I'd like to take a stab...

1.) Financial Independence and Personal Freedom, without any Intentional Living - Trust fund baby is right! This person has all the tools, but has no idea what to do with them. He or she lets peers or pop culture dictate what to do with his or her time, what to purchase, what exotic locales to visit and take pictures of to then post on their social media accounts, and basically what to value. This is probably someone who many envy, but who very few are close to. I'm reminded of the Avett Brothers song 'Open Ended Life' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3YqxTjS2d8

2.) Financial Independence and Intentional Living, without Personal Freedom - This is a sad story, because it sounds like the person has worked really hard and made good choices, but lacks freedom due to something outside of his or her control. Perhaps a severe disability or illness. Or maybe they are responsible for a loved one who requires a lot of care. Or it could be someone who does the right thing 99% of the time, but who made one major poor choice along the way, like marrying the wrong person and feeling compelled to stay in the marriage no matter what (I know someone like this), or perhaps someone who committed a foolish crime and is now incarcerated. Regardless how you slice it, all of these pictures are grim, suggesting Personal Freedom is the most valuable of the 3, and the most difficult to restore when it is lacking.

3.) Personal Freedom and Intentional Living, without Financial Independence - At first glance, this seems to describe most of us, and isn't too bad a place to be in, especially if one is at least working toward the eventual goal of Financial Independence. However, reminding ourselves to picture a scenario in which this component is COMPLETELY lacking, it's much different really. Maybe this person was born in a very poor country, but still manages to kick ass at life against all odds. Or perhaps the person has taken a vow of poverty, whether literally or effectively, and given absolutely everything of themselves. Mother Teresa and Paul Farmer come to mind. Or perhaps someone much less over-the-top in generosity, but simply introspective, like a Buddhist monk, or anyone who finds fulfillment in basic subsistence without any guarantee of security whatsoever. I think this is someone I would admire, but it's not the life I would choose.

There's just no end to the number of directions someone could take this. I'd love to hear other people's interpretations...

GatewayTwo

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Re: Mustachian Motivation
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2015, 05:21:30 AM »
@CaveDweller and lkc4863

That is a very interesting (and good) way to look at it.  In that sense, it's less like a Venn diagram, and more like pillars or a foundation, because any incomplete set leads to a sub-optimal finish.  (measured against true happiness).

What I am searching for, though, is the positive interaction of the two sets of principles.  It's less a combination of the end-state for me, and more a combination of the journeys.  So, reading the discussion so far, has given me this thought:

For #2, the combination of Intentional Living and Financial Independence is Frugality.  In making decisions to purchase freedom, instead of just mindless consumerism, one strengthens their frugality muscles and gets practice moving towards both intentional living and financial independence.

(of course, arguably making those decisions requires some measure of personal freedom, i.e. you're not in prison or something, but the whole point is to get my mental gears turning and remembering What The Point Is)

Hm, that leaves #1 and #3.

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Re: Mustachian Motivation
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2015, 06:56:59 AM »
... I've been getting my mental house in order to help keep me on the FIRE path when times get hard.  What I need is a little clever help in thinking about what the connection between some Mustachian ideas are.

The concept that really resonated with me (thanks to jlcollinsnh) is:  Financial Independence, Intentional Living, Personal Freedom.

I see those three ideas as the big circles on a Venn diagram, with sustainable happiness being the intersection of all three.  My question for you all is:  What do you get at the minor intersections?...

So, what do you think that you'd get from the combination of:

1.)  Financial Independence and Personal Freedom,
2.)  Financial Independence and Intentional Living, and  --> FRUGALITY
3.)  Personal Freedom and Intentional Living?...

I FIREd 14 years ago.  Looking back on my experience, I see this VENN diagram of yours more as a "virtuous circle" that I am  fortunate to traverse continuously.

For me, that virtuous circle goes something like this:

Intentional Living intent => Frugality => Financial Independence => Personal Freedom => Intentional Living actualization => enhanced Frugality => enhanced Financial Independence => enhanced Personal Freedom => ad infinitum.

At least for me, it is the continuing journey along that virtuous circle that results in life satisfaction => happiness.  And people not yet FIREd can still experience very similar (and happiness provoking) "virtuous eddies" as they move linearly towards their FIRE day.

arebelspy

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Re: Mustachian Motivation
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2015, 12:25:39 AM »
I like this concept (of thinking of it like a 3-circle Venn Diagram)! Thanks for introducing it to me, GatewayTwo.
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