I’m going to start this article off with a very meaningful quote:
If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.
There were these ‘WWJD’ bracelets that were pretty popular throughout my years in middle school and high school.
That acronym stands for: What Would Jesus Do?
The bracelets were essentially designed to remind people of a moral obligation to do the right thing as they encountered their various choices throughout their days.
Maybe you’re a fan of these bracelets (and/or religion in general). Maybe you’re not.
That’s not really the point.
I’m just using the bracelet as background to set you readers up for an explanation into a fundamental aspect of my overall perspective on life, which I think can perhaps help you drive toward your own goals.
This aspect influences a significant part of my overall trajectory in life.
That’s true for the trajectory I’ve already taken – which has led to financial freedom in my early 30s, incredible physical development, a very happy life, and the ability to do almost anything and live anywhere.
And it’s also true for the trajectory I’ll take in the future.
Maybe I should have said anti-trajectory.
That might have been more accurate.
The reason I bring up the WWJD bracelets is because I wear an imaginary WWMD bracelet around my wrist at all times.
What does WWMD stand for?
It stands for: What Would Most Do?
Said another way, it’s a way of asking myself a very simple question: what would most people do?
And then I do the opposite.
Let me break that down a bit more.
So this isn’t an everyday thing where I imagine what most people would eat for lunch or what kind of clothing most people would wear. It’s not about low-value choices.
It’s more of an overarching philosophy that guides me along a greater path, influencing the major decisions I make in my life.
I’ll give you a few examples.
Most people have jobs. Most people drive cars. Most people aspire to (or already) own homes. Most people spend most of their money.
Owning a home couldn’t be less appealing to me. And it’s not even about money. It’s a lifestyle choice that doesn’t agree with anything I believe in. I could have unlimited money, yet I’d still rent and live in an apartment or a condo in an urban area that allows for pleasurable walking to/from my everyday destinations.
Finally, I certainly don’t spend most of my money. I stopped doing that years ago, which is an ability that was built partly out of not following some of the aforementioned choices.
In order to become financially independent, I routinely saved and invested more than 50% of my net income for years. I often saved and invested 60% or 70% of my net income in a single month. And I still, to this day, spend less than half of my net income. This will almost surely continue until I die, upon which time most of everything I have left will go toward and conclude my philanthropic efforts.
Because I’ve saved and invested most of my money, instead of spending most of it, I control a collection of shares in more than 100 of the world’s best businesses, which generates the five-figure and growing passive dividend income I need to cover my basic expenses in life.
I became financially free at 33. Most people are still in the early swing of their careers at that age.
Thinking And Acting Like Everyone Else Results In A Life Like Everyone Else Has
What led me to imagining a WWMD bracelet around my wrist at all times is an epiphany I once experienced: thinking and acting like everyone else will more or less result in a life like everyone else has.
Input, to a large degree, equals output.
Once I realized that I wanted almost the complete opposite of what the average American has, I figured out pretty quickly from there that I had to then execute actions that were almost the complete opposite of what the average American would execute.
I wanted an extraordinary life. And I can’t have extraordinary output with ordinary input.
Most people wouldn’t sell their car and ride the bus. Most people wouldn’t eat ramen noodles for a year straight. Most people wouldn’t only get five hours of sleep because they’re working 10-hour days at the day job while simultaneously building an online business, reading annual reports, constructing a six-figure portfolio, exercising, and creating a new life and identity for themselves.
Most people do what most people do. They follow the crowd. They blend in. Yesterday takes place tomorrow. It’s the same old, same old.
The reason I’m sharing all of this today is to advise you of this philosophy.
If you indeed want a life that’s very different from your average American, you’ll have to make decisions that are thus very different from what they routinely make.
Now, maybe you want a life that looks a lot like an average American’s. There’s nothing wrong with that at all, nor is FIRE for everyone.
But if you are quite sure that you want something atypical – dare I say, something truly extraordinary – you’ll have to undergo a radical shift in your everyday mindset.
You’ll have to ask yourself: what would most people do?
And then you should do almost the complete opposite as it relates to finances, lifestyle choices, and your overall personal philosophy on life.
This post was not written to disparage anyone.
People, in my view, too often take on this “with me or against me” attitude, where someone disagreeing with their lifestyle choices is automatically an enemy. You see this in finance, politics, and religion routinely.
I don’t view things like that. If someone else wants to have a job, buy a house, drive everywhere, and spend a lot of money consuming, go for it. I have no personal problem with that. (My FIRE Fund, and the dividends it generates for me, thanks you. Or should I say, I thank you.)
That’s just not what I want. To each their own.
And so I take such a radically different approach, it may as well be qualified as the complete opposite.
I believe in this WWMD philosophy so much, I’m actually thinking of having a bracelet made for me here in Chiang Mai. It would complement my Dividend A Day bracelet that a friend of mine had made for me.
If you, too, want a lifestyle that’s very atypical, it would behoove you to imagine a WWMD bracelet around your wrist at all times. And then actually follow through on that obligation to take the path less traveled.
If you want to be in a position to live radically different from everyone else one day, you’ll have to start living radically different from everyone else today.
What do you think? Do you try to do the opposite of everyone else? Why or why not? How has it worked out for you?
Thanks for reading.
Image courtesy of: artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
P.S. If you’re interested in taking very different actions, which could result in the very atypical outcome of financial freedom relatively early in life, check out some amazing resources that helped guide me along the way.