Growing up along the 128 beltway, we were surrounded by the epitome of success. Our paths were seemingly predetermined, and we never once thought that there could be an alternative to how we should live out our destiny. We were expected to follow suit in our mission to be successful, and had falsely believed that the map of our lives should adhere to what mainstream society dictated.
But, once we discovered that the game was rigged, we could see clearly the brainwashing that mainstream society had forced upon us.
We needed to be honest with ourselves and admit that we were nothing more than conformists, who were wrongly impelled into believing that there was only one road to take in life. We never bothered to think outside of the box, but instead followed in the footsteps of what mainstream society expected from us.
Let’s take a look at the path that mainstream society has conditioned us to follow:
- Graduate high school
- Go to college
- Get married
- Buy a house
- Have a family
- Work until you are at least 70
The way we see it, we were born into a system that requires us to be consumerists. It’s all about the money and how much we put back into circulation. This is Keynesian economics at its very core. Our system relies on a perfect economic equilibrium which requires us to participate in the endless work/spend cycle to keep the economy strong .
We are convinced that our excessive spending habits and debt burdens are a normal part of our existence. We are made to feel as though we are indebted to society, and that we must make a contribution in order to keep the economy going for the good of our nation. And despite the illusion of our economic sovereignty, we are constantly reminded that we must do our part for the benefit of the world and for the sake of globalization.
Society depends on us to be successful, because success by its very nature keeps us on the wheel of consumerism.
Here are some of the things we are persuaded to buy in order to show that we are successful:
- Fancy cars – We are convinced that our car says everything about us. Leasing a brand new luxury model every two years proves just how successful we are.
- Lavish vacations – We feel we deserve to treat ourselves to expensive vacations because of how hard we work.
- Designer clothes – We feel it’s important to impress everyone around us and show that we can afford a $600 handbag or $1100 dress shoes.
- Restaurants – We don’t think twice about eating out where we work so many hours. We feel we owe it to ourselves to indulge on these shortcuts in pursuit of saving time.
We realize that our way of thinking may appear as though we are going after success with a pitchfork, but we must digress. We have worked to achieve success in our own right, and feel as though we owe it to ourselves to improve our standard of living. We are just more aware of the lifestyle inflation that can sneak up on us as a result of being successful.
We appreciate our success, because it enabled us to experience a great mind shift in how we view success.
When we had our epiphany, we realized that success in and of itself was the very thing that had made us feel trapped. Mostly because we felt as though we were suffocated by our long hours at work and endless pursuit to get ahead. We no longer cared about battling our coworkers and strategically finding ways to shine brighter in the eyes of our employers. Those elaborate titles no longer meant what they used to, nor did we care about that extra boost in salary that disguised itself as a time thief.
For us, this was a personal decision. We felt that mainstream society sold us a bill of goods that we didn’t bargain for in our daily existence, and we believe very strongly that there has to be a better way to live than to give the majority of our waking hours to an entity that doesn’t care about us. Time is a precious commodity and we want to be able to make our own choices on how we want to spend our time. However, we are both very uncertain as to what those choices will be.
Therefore, in our quest to achieve FIRE, we must dig deep and ask the following questions:
- Who are we really?
- What are we about?
- What are our dreams for the future?
- What are our basic needs in life?
- What are we looking to get out of life?
Sadly, we are still trying to find meaningful answers to these five questions. However, we must continue to ask these questions. For we both know that it’s much easier for us to conquer our dreams if we are able to identify what they are.
And thanks to our great mind shift, we are now able to face our future without immediate answers.
Looking back on our financial behavior, we now realize just how much the people around us influenced our financial decisions. It was almost as if we fell victim to adult peer pressure. It didn’t seem wrong for us to spend our money as though we were rock stars because everybody else was doing it. We wanted to prove that we were just as worthy.
But, now that we don’t care what other people think, and we have freed ourselves from the material competition brought on by success, we are much better for it. We know that one day we will have the answers to all of our questions which will eventually lead to a new path, our path, and not the path that mainstream society dictates.