I think my entire philosophy on the interplay between money and happiness within the construct of financial independence can be boiled down into oatmeal and brown sugar.
Allow me to explain.
Your life, work, passion, and purpose is a big bowl of oatmeal.
Focusing on that bowl of oatmeal is significantly beneficial to one’s psyche in numerous ways, providing the catalyst toward greater happiness.
Oatmeal will fulfill you. It will provide longlasting energy. It will improve your health and wellness. It will provide clarity. It will motivate and inspire you. It will give you the tools to succeed.
Oatmeal is whatever it is that drives you. It’s what gets you excited to jump out of bed and begin your day. If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, oatmeal is the most important meal of one’s life – because it’s life itself.
My work drives me, but not because I need to work. My work drives me because I enjoy it. I love helping people achieve their dreams. Making others happy makes me happy. I want to positively change the world in my own little way.
And since adding value to the world naturally tends to result in value being added back into your life, much of the math behind early retirement is moot.
But it is a sense of purpose (not money) that is my focus. I focus on the oatmeal because it tastes good and makes me a better, fitter, more fulfilled member of my species. It fills me up.
Money is the brown sugar.
The brown sugar should be in the peripheral of one’s life. It should be off to the side, where condiments would be placed.
It adds some sweetness to the oatmeal, but one can’t sustain themselves off of brown sugar alone. If they try to do so, they’ll end up with a mouthful of rotten teeth. And the energy they’ll receive will only be short term in nature, sending them crashing back down to earth when they realize that there’s a lack of substance behind the high. Plus, they’ll never be full.
You cannot be fulfilled off of money alone. If it’s money that drives you, you’ll end up empty inside.
Of course, the foundation upon which one can almost solely focus on oatmeal alone is financial independence. And that’s why it’s so important to build the holistic lifestyle and life philosophy necessary to efficiently and quickly achieve financial independence, which I’ve laid out in my best-selling book.
Whereas most people are too busy focusing on brown sugar because they’re constantly in search for the next temporary high (after coming back down from the last one), financial independence allows one to circumvent the hedonic treadmill altogether by finding a lasting solution to personal fulfillment.
Once you eliminate money as a concern in your life (because your bills are paid indefinitely), you can instead just eat bowl after bowl of oatmeal. You’ll feel alive, healthy, alert, inspired, and fulfilled. And you’ll wonder how you ever got by with brown sugar alone.
That isn’t to say that one will never have brown sugar again. Quite the contrary, as financial independence allows for a stable full of more brown sugar than most people could ever dream of.
However, once you have so much of it, you’ll realize that consuming too much of it yourself will only corrode your insides, which is why many people with a lot of brown sugar decide to give much of their supply away.
A little brown sugar here and there certainly makes the oatmeal taste a bit better, but it should only be thought of as something that accentuates the primary focus of one’s life. It should only be used to sweeten the main course.
Writing this very article was an example of me consuming a little bit of oatmeal. And I must say, I really enjoyed it.
I hope you did, too.
What do you think? Do you try to eat oatmeal instead of brown sugar? What is your oatmeal?
Thanks for reading.
Image courtesy of: phasinphoto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.