2011 was a great year for Retire By 40, thanks to all of you. This blog was started to keep track of my progress toward quitting the full time job by 2014. Along the way, I’ve met my goal of generating $500/month from this online venture. I’d like to end 2011 by taking a break from my normal post about finances and close on a more philosophical note with a post about motivation.
We are all so busy with day to day life that we don’t have time to examine why is it that we do what we do. However, it is worth it to take a little time to figure out our true motivation.
I’ve heard one story about Hannibal and it resonated with me. Why did Hannibal bring his army over the Alps to wreck havoc on the Roman Empire? It was a difficult feat and he lost many soldiers (perhaps 50%) during the trek. He even brought elephants over the pass and that was unheard of. Hannibal came over the Alps and won many battles against the Romans and we still use the saying “Hannibal is at the gate” to this day. What was his motivation? Well, the Romans had killed his father so he held a grudge against them and did his best to disrupt the Roman Empire. (I spent a few hours goofing off at work reading about Hannibal.)
I’m not comparing myself to Hannibal, but we all need to take stock of our motivation and channel it appropriately.
So why have I been going to work in a 6×10 gray cubicle every day for the last 15 years? Why do I sit down in front of a laptop after putting baby RB40 to bed to write blog posts. Why did we put down $75,000 and saddle ourselves with another mortgage on a rental 4 plex? Yes, it’s about generating income, but what is the underlying motivation?
We all have the same basic needs – food, shelter, clothing, security, education, health care, and a few other things. In the US, Canada, and other developed countries, these basic needs can be met with a little hard work. Once these needs are met, we all would like some luxuries, but are these luxuries worth the time we are putting in to pay for them?
I plan to leave my full time job within 2 years and I’m trying to make the cash flow work with that scenario. Why would I want to leave a nice paying job with great benefits? I came to a conclusion that the corporate setting is not for me. It’s great for some people, but the endless drive to generate profit drains me. The corporation is squeezing every drop of efficiency out of their workers and I guess it’s what a corporation is designed to do. It’s not for me even if the squeeze comes with a nice paycheck.
I want to try working for myself for a while and see if we can make it. I don’t want the PHB (pointy haired boss from Dilbert) to tell me what to do and I don’t want to tell my co-workers what to do either. I want to set my own schedule and work on what I care about. I don’t want my raise to depend on who I’m friends with, but my own abilities and talent. I guess I’m not a team player after all.
Family is very important to me and I would like to help raise baby RB40 as much as possible. I’m tired of the little guy catching another bug from daycare every week. It would be ideal if I can work part time for a few years until he goes off to school. After that I would work for myself or on something that I enjoy.
So my motivation is all about having the choice to determine how to spend 10 hours of every weekday. If we live a modest lifestyle and minimize luxuries, then I think we can pull it off. Luxury cars, the latest gadgets and electronics no longer appeal to me, so we can cut many of those things out.
Sorry about the long rambling post, but this is quite a difficult topic for me to write. If you’ve made it this far then maybe you can share your motivation with us. Have you examined your motivation lately? Why are you in the office today working on some boring spreadsheet? Is that Lexus really worth these soul-sucking 10 hours/day? Or are you one of those lucky people that love your job?