Author Topic: FI vs Ambition  (Read 6739 times)

mubington

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FI vs Ambition
« on: June 05, 2013, 09:14:32 PM »
Is mustachianism at odds with ambition? Does  FI stifle potential and cut off unforeseen opportunities to contribute to some larger achievement  or even get rich? Maybe a pressurised work environment is conducive to creativity in some cases.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2013, 09:21:29 PM by mubington »

matchewed

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Re: FI vs Ambition
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2013, 09:56:11 PM »
No, no, and maybe but I'm not sure what that had to do with your first two questions.

Ambition being a desire for personal achievement is quite in line with mustachianism. FIREing is a rather ambitious undertaking.

I would more ask in what way do you think FI cuts of opportunities? The way I see it FI provides more opportunities due to the fact that money is no longer a concern. And what is rich? 1million? 1 billion? Or is rich a life which you get to define. A life where you are satisfied, accept the good or the value you provide and try within reason to improve yourself.

And a repeat on your last statement, what does that have to do with the previous statements. In some way structure does provide a groundwork for creativity but I have no clue to how that relates to what you are asking.

velocistar237

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Re: FI vs Ambition
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2013, 08:17:41 AM »
First, define Mustachianism:

Quote from: Mr. Money Mustache
I think Nolajo comes closest with the sentence "evaluate all aspects of your life with logic and don't just be content with less or with facing challenges, relish them. "

I believe the single most important characteristic of Mustachianism is embracing challenge and even hardship as a good thing, rather than running away and whining about it.

From that, all the other aspects automatically flow (valuing learning, doing things yourself, becoming more disciplined, working on your health as well as your wealth, giving to others, etc.).

By definition, Mustachianism is all about facing challenges and living sensibly. If you think the best way to do that is to keep your job, then that is a Mustachian choice. MMM believes that most jobs will get in the way, since you don't have the time you need to take care of your health, be with friends and family, etc. MMM's blogging and contracting retirement jobs work well for him and are on his terms. ERE Jacob found a full-time job that he liked. Certainly both are doing ambitious work and making important contributions.

When you do become rich, it would be unMustachian to increase your level of spending without good reason, and it also doesn't make much sense to hoard your money past a conservative SWR (I think Jacob was at 2% at one point). As a possible alternative, look into "Effective Altruism" and "Earning to Give."

DoubleDown

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Re: FI vs Ambition
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2013, 08:52:47 AM »
I think Jack Handey said it best:

"Ambition is like a frog sitting on a Venus flytrap. The flytrap can bite and bite, but it won't bother the frog because it only has little tiny plant teeth. But some other stuff could happen and it could be like ambition."

For me, I will be much more ambitious about post-FIRE pursuits than my corporate, 9-5 job which has worn thin after 16 years. So, no, I don't think FI has anything to do with lack of ambition; maybe the opposite depending on the individual and their goals.

mubington

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Re: FI vs Ambition
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2013, 08:57:45 AM »
I was thinking more about scale of ambition. There are some things that can only be achieved in large teams and perhaps FI can cut off channels of mentorship, resources and inspiration that's are difficult to replicate going solo with FI. The whole is greater than the sum and all that. I suppose I'm talking more issues i have with about early retirement self motivation in self employment than frugalism.

Adventine

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Re: FI vs Ambition
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2013, 09:20:38 AM »
Well, I immediately thought of this: http://lackingambition.com/

I was thinking more about scale of ambition. There are some things that can only be achieved in large teams and perhaps FI can cut off channels of mentorship, resources and inspiration that's are difficult to replicate going solo with FI. The whole is greater than the sum and all that. I suppose I'm talking more issues i have with about early retirement self motivation in self employment than frugalism.

Are you talking about working on a big project for a large company? Because you could also say that reaching FI allows one to conceive and implement grand, ambitious projects without having to worry about trivialities like paying the bills. You can focus 100% on whatever needs to be done, not on how to make it until the next payday.

arebelspy

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Re: FI vs Ambition
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2013, 09:45:43 AM »
Well, I immediately thought of this: http://lackingambition.com/

Good call.  Let me link to one of my favorite posts of Mike's:
http://lackingambition.com/?p=1103

And then some other related posts:
http://lackingambition.com/?p=1115
http://lackingambition.com/?p=886
http://lackingambition.com/?p=1038

All that being said, if you want to be ambitious, go for it.  If anything, I think being FI helps you, as it gives you the options and resources to accomplish much bigger things than if you were paycheck to paycheck and forced to spend your time on making ends meet.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

brewer12345

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Re: FI vs Ambition
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2013, 09:59:44 AM »
Feel free to piss away your earnings and keep trying harder every year in the name of ambition.

I chased the first prize for enough years to know that ambition is the cause of much misery.  You'll fgure it out eventually.

arebelspy

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Re: FI vs Ambition
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2013, 10:11:38 AM »
Seriously. I'm in the bath right now. I've retired early and really struggle with self motivation. I just think some people (not all) excel when working in high paced environments, and given FI are less likely to do anything remarkable with their lives, pricey or not.

Finding out a structure that works for you - that makes you feel as if you aren't wasting time/your life - is important.

That is only tangentially related to ambition.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

Adventine

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Re: FI vs Ambition
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2013, 10:19:30 AM »
 
Seriously. I'm in the bath right now. I've retired early and really struggle with self motivation. I just think some people (not all) excel when working in high paced environments, and given FI are less likely to do anything remarkable with their lives, pricey or not.

"Grand" and "remarkable" are extremely subjective words. Personally, I think achieving FI well ahead of most other people is a remarkable thing to do with one's life. It's an Extremely Ambitious Project that very few people take on, and even fewer actually achieve.

From your previous posts where you mention you're already FI, I think you're still searching for Extremely Ambitious Project #2. Who knows, maybe you'll have an Archimedes moment and have a flash of inspiration in the bath :)

Peter

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Re: FI vs Ambition
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2013, 12:29:56 PM »
I think it comes down to the difference between ambition and drive. Ambition to me means the ability to utilize your energy efficiently towards a very specific goal (i.e. get more money, power, prestige, etc) while drive is the ability to utilize your energy efficiently. There may be a goal, an unclear goal, or no goal.

I think ambition, in the traditional sense, is limited to "employment type" goals where "if you do ___, then ____ will likely happen and ____ will be your reward."

Drive is something more broadly emcompassing, and yet harder to have. It's the ability to do those things you have to do towards your goals, but with no guarantee, or even perhaps a very poor likelihood, of reaching your goal.

One who is extremely ambitious, but lacks internal personal motivation (drive), can only ever work up someone else's ladder. If they do it successfully maybe they'll be an upper manager after 20 years and a VP after 30 years. But that's as good as it gets.

The kicker is, it's very difficult to identify even if you have personal drive when you're too focused on ambition and exhausted from your full time job every week.

FI allows you to relax and truly discover in yourself whether you have drive in the first place, and gives you time to culture and channel that drive.

matchewed

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Re: FI vs Ambition
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2013, 12:34:51 PM »
Seriously. I'm in the bath right now. I've retired early and really struggle with self motivation. I just think some people (not all) excel when working in high paced environments, and given FI are less likely to do anything remarkable with their lives, pricey or not.

But here's a key thing. You're struggling with an emotion. You want to feel motivated prior to whatever action you would take. Life doesn't actually work that way. Take the action and the emotion may or may not follow. List some things you want to accomplish and go start working towards them regardless of your motivation level. You may be surprised at the result.

Think of it this way. Successful authors do not wait for motivation to write. They write and they structure it. X number of pages or Y number of words. The quality of it does not matter what matters is the action and the structure.

ScubaAZ

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Re: FI vs Ambition
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2013, 01:03:18 PM »
I think if it as working my tail off now to reach FI, and then I can decide to keep working if I like my job and want to do so.  If I don't, I have the option to leave and do a million other things.  Having the option would be the best blessing ever.  I think I would need some sort of "ambitious" activity to occupy my time.  Does it have to be law? Not necessarily.   But having the option to do it on my terms rather than worrying what will happen if I get fired will be an immense relief.

limeandpepper

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Re: FI vs Ambition
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2013, 01:56:05 PM »
It sounds like you don't know what to do with your time now that money is coming easily to you. Do you have anything that you enjoy doing outside of work?

I actually know someone who is a bit similar. He is basically FI already but he doesn't have much in terms of hobbies he wants to pursue, and doesn't seem to be interested in trying heaps of things just for the fun of it. He did have something he would be interested in pursuing but it required hundreds of thousands of dollars of investment. It's something other people would do for profit, to him it would be something fun, but he had trouble finding a business partner. So in the end he went travelling. He then decided he would like to travel more, so he's gone back to work so he can fund more travels, and is basically doing a mix of work + travel these days. I personally don't think he even needs to work, as his passive income is pretty decent and he doesn't do luxury travel. But still, I'm glad his current arrangement seems to be working for him.

One thing he has mentioned to me before. Survival is obviously a strong motivator for people. However, when that is the only motivator, then someone may not know what to do with themselves when they no longer need to earn money to survive. It sounds like you are in the same quandary. My advice would be to get out there and try different things. You may find a reason to live rather than just survive. :)