Hard to believe you made it, but you’re here.
An innocent enough question to ask, with very big implications about the rest of your life.
See, everyone likes to figure out their money. But they often don’t take the time to figure out their life.
It’s important to figure out both, because I can tell you there’s no FIRE “finish line” to cross with some kind of coronation awaiting you.
FIRE is wonderful. But it’s just the start in many ways.
It’s simply part of the journey of life. It allows you the options to flexibly customize your life. This freedom is amazing when held in the right hands.
Well, I believe those “right hands” are aware of and take advantage of the “three P’s” of FIRE.
Way back in 2013, I wrote about the three P’s of achieving FIRE.
If you can master patience, persistence, and perseverance, you’ll do well. I’m not talking about just FIRE, either; these qualities will help you across every aspect of your entire life.
But actually enjoying FIRE, once you’re there, requires a different set of P’s.
These are the three P’s of actually enjoying and making the most of it once you achieve it.
I have a very strong conviction about this.
You MUST have passions in your life to enjoy FIRE.
These passions should consume you and your time, energy, focus, and creativity.
If you don’t have real passions, I’m afraid you almost certainly will not enjoy FIRE at all. In all of my time writing about this and meeting people in and around the FIRE circle, I’ve yet to meet anyone who’s successfully FIRE without passions.
The best thing about this is, passions can and often will be monetized. This is why I believe the math behind early retirement is mostly moot. Those who focus on the pedantic elements of personal finance are totally missing this.
Now, passions could be many things.
Family. Exercise. Travel. Art. Cooking. Reading. Writing. Volunteering. Fishing.
I could go on and on.
Unfortunately, I would say many people don’t have real passions. This is why I don’t believe everyone is cut out for FIRE.
Most people are probably better off with a job of some sort because they’re better off when tasks are assigned to them to keep them and their bodies/minds busy. That’s just how it is, I’m afraid.
However, some people don’t have passions because they’re too busy with their jobs. So it’s a bit of a catch-22. They don’t have time to figure out who they really are because they’re too busy at work; they’re too busy at work to have the time to figure out who they really are.
I was aware of this issue before I quit my job, which is why I started to foster my passions way before FIRE. I tried to figure out a life because I realized that figuring out the money was more or less an inevitability.
Look, I don’t deserve a round of applause because I was able to save and invest money in a land of abundance. It’s a pretty basic thing that should be the norm. I simply had to stop making dumb choices with my money.
Money’s this repetitive thing that ends up working for you so you don’t have to work for it. That leaves you to your own devices. So you better make sure you have some devices.
I can tell you that I count investing, writing, reading, exercise, and learning as some of my core passions in my life. I’m 100% enthusiastic about each and everyone of them. I attack them all with a ferociousness that only a true passion calls for.
Don’t know what your passions are?
This goes hand in hand with passions.
One of the major reasons we continue to survive and thrive as a species is individual productivity.
You must continue to be a productive member of your species.
This is lost on a lot of people. And when they lose it, they feel lost.
Without some kind of productivity in your life, I’ll just about guarantee you that you will feel lost.
You simply cannot leisurely bum around all day. Productivity must remain a very large part of your day-to-day life.
Look, leisure is great. It’s awesome. Don’t get me wrong here.
But it’s only awesome when it’s tied to productivity. Work and leisure complement and add value to each other. You cannot have and/or enjoy one without the other.
I look forward to waking up (late) in the morning. I spring out of bed because I’m so excited about my productive afternoons that consist of, for example, writing inspirational content and hitting the gym.
There’s measurable productivity with both of these passions. The articles wouldn’t exist if I didn’t write them, for instance. And my muscles wouldn’t exist if I didn’t build them.
I’m producing something of value with every word I type. All of this is reaching and impacting people all over the world. Remaining a productive member of my species, even in a very small way, keeps me happy. It makes my life feel more worthwhile.
This adds on to the other two P’s.
Once you have your productive passions in place, you must also continue to rack up progress with all of them.
Moving forward makes life far more rewarding and livable. If you’re standing in one place, you’ll likely become depressed.
Just imagine being the same person at 50 that you were at 20. No growth. No progress. You’d surely feel like your life was wasted.
If you’re the kind of driven person who’s setting out to achieve FIRE, you absolutely will not feel complacent with FIRE in and of itself. That need to progress and achieve audacious goals is what will require you to continue to progress as a human being across all aspects of your life.
Progress equals happiness. There are levels of making it in life and whatever you think ‘making it’ is, when you get there, you’ll see there’s another level. That never ends, because if you stop growing, you’re going to be unhappy. When you achieve a goal, it feels good for — how long? You know, a week? A month? Six months? A year? And then it doesn’t feel so good. I don’t care what it is you’ve achieved, and the reason is because life is not about achieving the goals, life is about who you become in pursuit of those goals.
Progress is the “crown jewel” to the three P’s, in my opinion. It’s arguably the most important one of all.
You have to figure out and cultivate your passions. Then you have to remain productive in all of those endeavors. Finally, you have to progress and continue to “level up” as a human being.
It’d be like playing a video game and remaining on Level 1 forever. How boring. Or, leveling up to Level 60 and then going back to playing in an area of the game that was reserved for Level 1 skills. It’s too easy. You have to continue progressing and moving forward to keep life interesting. I talked a little bit about this in my podcast interview with Brett Dev a while back.
The reason I’m not still writing articles like “What Is A Dividend Payout Ratio?” is, I’ve progressed as a writer and investor. Analyzing businesses and learning something new, then sharing that via my writing, keeps me progressing forward with those particular passions.
FIRE is wonderful. It truly is.
But part of its wonderful nature is the way in which it can allow you to unlock all of your potential and “level up”.
It allows you the cumulative resources to live your best life.
Living that best life, and enjoying FIRE in the process, means you will need to understand and take advantage of the three P’s of FIRE.
If you’re able to cultivate passions, remain a productive member of the species, and continue to progress forward, I can almost promise you that you’ll absolutely love FIRE. At the very least, you’ll be setting yourself up for very favorable conditions to succeed and live a very happy life.
I can tell you, personally, FIRE has been all that and a bag of chips.
I’m living my dream life these days!
But that wouldn’t be the case if I didn’t constantly remain productive with my passions and progress forward as a human being.
What do you think? Are these three P’s critical to success with FIRE and life itself?
Thanks for reading.
Image courtesy of: bigjom at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
P.S. If you’re ready to achieve FIRE and make the most of it with the “three P’s”, check out some amazing resources I personally used on my way to becoming financially free at 33!